- Before the Fall manga
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Angel is a pale man, with a lean, muscular body. He has messy, neck-length blond hair. During his later years, Angel would also grow a long beard. He also developed a limp at some point in his life, resulting in Angel using a cane to walk.
Having grown up without a family, Angel always saw himself as having to constantly be looked after by others. Angel possesses an inquisitive mind and would always look for way to improve his inventions as well as others created by his colleagues, granting him the nickname of "King of Inventions."
Angel grew up in an orphanage without any known family or relatives. He became lifelong friends with two other children there: Sorum Humé, who Angel saw as his older brother and Maria Carlstead as an older sister. Angel was concerned with Sorum's early desire to join the Survey Corps when he grew up and wanted to be able to ensure Sorum would make it back from outside the Walls. This desire was what initially got Angel into becoming a craftsman when he got older, in order to help his friend and brother achieve his dream.
By the time Angel turned eighteen, he had become a prodigy craftsman in a workshop within Shiganshina and eventually gained a private development room at the workshop as well as an assistant named Corina Ilmari. One day, Angel sat down and relayed to Corina how the last expedition failed and that he saw heads that were thrown by Titans coming over the walls, including the head of Heath Mansel. Although disgusted by what he saw, Angel admitted that he was glad to have seen it due to it reminding him of how terrible Titans could be. He expressed his frustration over how despite creating inventions for the military, including the cannons atop the walls, he had no idea how effective they were (if at all) against Titans due to the Military not providing any feedback.
Angel looked over and spotted a long reed of bamboo, which Corina told him had been dropped off by a Corps member to see if it could be used as a craftable material. Angel tested it and was surprised to see it shared the same properties as iron. Not long after this, Angel was called upon to journey to the newly constructed Industrial City with Xenophon Harkimo, Corina, and Sorum. While on their way the convoy fell under attack by militants; the soldiers were able to fend off the attack, but Angel and Xenophon were forced to participate in the fight as well. Upon arriving at the Industrial City, Angel learned of the existence of iceburst stone from Sorum and collected samples of it. Later that night, Angel discussed with Corina how to possibly use these new discoveries to help ward off Titans. Corina suggested using them to help eliminate the height difference between Titans and humans, inspiring Angel to spend the next week creating a device that would allow humans to move in three dimensions. Despite being a bit cumbersome, Angel performed a demonstration of the device and impressed both Xenophon and Sorum.
When they return to Shiganshina, Angel hears a large group of Titan Cult worshipers opening Shiganshina's gate. During the confusion, a single Titan manages to enter the city. As it bears down on their carriage, Angel and Xenophon are able to evade its grip but Corina is crushed and eaten. Saddened and enraged by this, Angel quickly equips his device and begins to race toward the gate with the Titan following behind. As he exits the town and the gate shuts behind him Angel tests his device by firing a hook into the Wall and reeling himself onto its side. The rope, however, begins to fray, but luckily Maria sends down a rope from the top of the Wall and pulls Angel to safety. As he escapes Mammon's clutches, Angel swears vengeance against it and resolves to kill it to avenge Corina's death.
Many months pass and Angel hears about an expedition planned to try to capture a Titan alive, so they can learn if there is a way to actually kill them; seeing this as an opportunity to test his iron bamboo net, Angel volunteers. He meets with Jorge Pikale and is eventually authorized to come along. Several days before the expedition, Maria meets with both Angel and Sorum and is understandably concerned about them both going; she is especially worried about Angel since he is a craftsman, not a soldier. Sorum drunkenly resolves to bring him back safe; he also reveals that he plans to transfer out of the Survey Corps and that him and Maria are expecting a child, greatly surprising Angel.
During the expedition, the Corps are able to successfully capture a Titan thanks to Angel's iron bamboo net. Placing his hand on its body, Angel notes with surprise that the heat coming off the Titan is remarkably similar to that of humans. Angel then starts the procedure of examining it for any weak points. After numerous tests fail to produce any results, Angel gets frustrated and begins to attack the captured Titan as a means to deal with Corina's death. During this, however, the restraints holding down the Titan are blown off. This forces the Corps into retreat; Mammon, the Titan that broke into Shiganshina, joins the first Titan and begins to attack the soldiers. Angel falls behind and Sorum comes to his rescue, breaking one of his legs in the process. However, they are unable to get away from the rapidly approaching Titans. Sorum tells Angel to look after Maria and, despite Angel's protests, rolls off the horse and sacrifices himself to buy Angel enough time to get away. While Angel rides back to the Walls, he hears an explosion; Angel looks behind him and notices that Mammon had begun to evaporate, leading him to mistakenly deduce that the weak point of a Titan is located in the throat. Despite this revelation, Angel lost two things during the expedition: one of his best friends from childhood, as well as his chance to avenge Corina's death. With the death of the Titan that killed both Corina and Sorum, Angel shifted his vengeance to all Titans in general. A week after the expedition, Angel visits Maria on top of the Wall and tries to say Sorum saved the other soldiers and Angel himself, but she stops him and knows it was a heroic sacrifice. Angel vows to continue working to create a weapon that will give humans an edge in fighting Titans. After the surviving soldiers returned, future expeditions outside the Wall are put on indefinite hold and the Corps itself is technically dissolved.
Having refined his device, Angel is able to convince Jorge Pikale into exiting the Wall once more for a test; they are able to encounter a Titan and Angel moves to engage it, attacking it with his sword. When his slash fails to kill the Titan, Angel panics and gets caught behind its head. Angel remembers that the back of the neck was also destroyed in Sorum's blast. He tries to swipe its nape, but finds that with the single sword it is impossible to cut. Angel unhooks himself from his equipment and detonates the gas canisters, destroying the nape and killing the Titan. Despite feeling triumphant over being able to kill a Titan himself, Angel soon becomes despondent that it did not change anything. Worse, he one day notices his eyesight beginning to fade (presumably from the explosion that killed the Titan he engaged earlier). Angry that he had been robbed of everything, Angel exiled himself away to the Underground City within Stohess District.
Despite being in exile, Angel still occasionally performed work in the area including crafting some weapons and other products; as he was the only blacksmith living in the Underground City, many people would come to appreciate Angel's skill including Klarissa and Leo. Fifteen years after his self-imposed exile, a young woman named Sharle manages to track him down due to the iron bamboo dagger he had made for a member of the Military Police named Hans. Angel refuses to acknowledge her, yet gives her a chance to prove herself when she says she is an apprentice under his old friend Xenophon. After hearing Xenophon is doing well, Angel smiles at the thought of him still being the same after fifteen years; Leo notes this is the first time he has ever seen the usually cranky Angel smiling since his arrival in the city. However, Angel becomes despondent again after hearing that Sharle is the same age as Corina was when she died. After he tells her of the loss he has suffered since beginning work on his Titan killing device, Angel demands that she leave. Sharle obeys his request, but asks Angel if the driving factor behind him becoming a craftsman and fighting Titans was from something that happened long before Corina's death. This stirs up a memory Angel has with Sorum and Maria back when they were children, wondering about what life is like outside the Walls. Realizing that there is in fact something he can still do, Angel regains his confidence and passion. He cleans himself up and visits Sharle the next day, pledging to help fight the Titans once more. Angel says his farewells to the friends he has in the Underground City and, promising to return as soon as he is finished, leaves with Sharle back to the Industrial City.
As they travel, Angel initially refers to Sharle as a kid; he apologizes, stating he has trouble remembering names due to many years of not maintaining a proper human relationship. Hearing from Sharle that her brother Xavi is looking for her, Angel proposes they take a detour that would bypass most of the guards. He recalls how Sharle mentioned the Dissidence uprising and that access to the Industrial City will be more difficult, but is still confident they will make it into the city. Angel reflects back on how time felt different while living in the Underground City as opposed to up on the surface, but there was life down there and it was normal. When Sharle asks if by "breaking the cage" will cause both worlds to overlap, Angel does not believe it will be an immediate effect; however, it will be an important first step in changing how society will act moving forward.That night over dinner, Angel discusses his device with Sharle and asks her what the main flaw is; hearing that it is the weight, Angel muses that the issue has been one that has plagued him almost from the beginning. Angel says that both horizontal and vertical movement is essential and understood the flaw, applauding Xenophon's work on reducing the weight to what it is now. Regaining the spark that helped dub Angel the "King of Inventions," he asks Sharle what other flaws she is aware of that could help the new design. He is intrigued by Sharle's observation that one hand is required to operate the device and one to use a sword. Angel thinks of possible areas to shift control to when Sharle proposes moving it to the grips of the sword itself. Laughing, Angel admits he never thought of using the sword itself as part of the configuration and is confident Sharle's idea will work. Just then, Angel hears someone hidden nearby and abruptly stops, peering into the darkness; passing it off as nothing, Angel remarks they need to get some sleep and must return to the Industrial City at once.
Eventually Angel and Sharle reach and gain access inside the Industrial City, where Angel is glad to see Xenophon for the first time in years. After they warmly reunite, the two inventors have an argument over their different thoughts of the device but eventually Angel (as well as Cardina's report) are able to get through to Xenophon. After they share with Xenophon Sharle's idea to combine the grips and the sword into one, they successfully reinvent the device with the new features. Proud of their accomplishment, the three are caught by surprise when Gloria Bernhart pays them an unexpected visit; Angel and Xenophon are appalled to hear they now have three months to perfect the design before the Survey Corps will be forced to go on an expedition to test the equipment against Titans. They try to appeal the decision but are told that is all the time they will have available. Working around the clock, the inventors finish a few days later and Angel and Sharle travel to the training corps academy within Wall Rose.
After reuniting with both Jorge and Carlo, Angel is introduced to Kuklo and Cardina who utilized his old device and helped figure out the flaws in the design. He mentions that Sharle was the one who convinced him to come out of exile and proposed a base idea that both the craftsmen took to heart. After going inside to talk, Angel informs the others that the device was flawed despite his own efforts and Xenophon's attempts to improve the device over the course of many years. He acknowledges that Kuklo stumbled upon the fact that Titans are not stationary targets and the earlier versions of the device did not accommodate that. Angel brings a sealed case brought from the Industrial City onto the table; opening it, he shows to the others the final evolution of his device and christens it the "vertical maneuvering equipment."
Angel and Sharle describe the improvements made to the old design and go with the others to see Kuklo demonstrate it in the forest nearby. As Kuklo takes off, Angel expresses some disappointment that he is unable to see the device due to his poor eyesight and asks Carlo to describe it; he smiles after hearing Carlo call it incredible. Angel mentions once more about his lack of foresight in requiring his device to need horizontal and sideways movement as well as vertical to effectively fight Titans. As Kuklo lauds the new equipment, Angel reveals that Sharle deserves equal credit and without her, the vertical maneuvering equipment would not exist. He explains to them how Sharle ventured on her own to find him (much to her embarrassment.)
After both Angel and Sharle reveal Gloria's conditions, they inform the others that even in spite of how fast they can work, only thirty sets of equipment will be produced before the expedition. Carlo and Cardina decide to shift part of the training regimen so only the top thirty will use the equipment and Jorge requests that Angel produce iron bamboo swords for the foot soldiers he will take command of. The next day, Angel goes to where Kuklo, Cardina and several senior Survey Corps members are constructing a balancing aptitude device and comments on it; he notes to Cardina that despite his blurry vision, he can make out what it is and its purpose to help with balance.
Angel travels with the Survey Corps to Wall Maria but due to his limitations, does not participate in the expedition. He travels atop the Wall the day of the expedition and sees the Survey Corps off with Maria, Jorge and Sharle. Angel asks Maria if she is concerned at all about Rosa going on the expedition; he muses about her stating how a parent is trapped between fear and pride for their child and chuckles when Maria mentions that if he becomes a parent, he would understand the feeling too. Angel overhears Jorge mention how the Survey Corps have lost many soldiers over the years and speaks up when he begins to discuss how they were the result of a foolish old man; Angel asks that Jorge place his trust in the new soldiers to deliver a new path for humanity as well as the vertical maneuvering equipment that will help them achieve this goal. Soon, Maria decides to give Jorge some time alone and takes both Angel and Sharle back down to Shiganshina.
Upon the return of the expedition, Angel is glad to hear that his life's work has proved to be a success against fighting the Titans; however, he decides that his purpose has been fulfilled and quietly leaves to return back to his life in the Underground City. Sharle writes to him two months later and fills Angel in on what happened since he left, including how Carlo has now been appointed the commander of the Survey Corps. He smiles upon hearing that the future will be in good hands as Kuklo, Rosa and the Survey Corps will continue fighting to help change the world for the better in part due to his technological achievements.
Angel is a master craftsman, and credited with creating multiple inventions that are still in use by soldiers and citizens.
After losing his eyesight and living underground over the course of fifteen years, Angel's other remaining senses have been heightened to an astounding degree. His hearing has gotten so acute to the point that he is able to hear Fuchs, an agent well-known for his stealth, from several meters away.
- Vertical maneuvering equipment - A device allowing humans to make up the difference in height between a human and Titan, so that they can reach their weak point.
- Cannons - Heavy, strong weapons meant to sit upon the Walls to keep Titans at bay from inside the Walls. It is also implied that Angel is capable of rifling the barrels in order to increase range and accuracy.
- Iron bamboo Net - A strong net made from iron bamboo, meant to allow humans to capture Titans.
- Corina Ilmari - She was Angel's young assistant. When the Titan Mammon devoured her, Angel took it very hard. Her death fueled his attempts to find the Titans' weakness.
- Sorum Humé - Angel looked up to Sorum as his big brother when they were children at the same orphanage. His desire to make sure Sorum would return home safely helped spur Angel to becoming a craftsman. Angel was greatly saddened when Sorum sacrificed himself to save the other soldiers during an expedition and initially harbored some guilt over being partially responsible for his friend's death.
- Maria Carlstead - The two have been close friends since they were children. As they have gotten older, Maria has taken on more of a motherly role. While they have not been seen interacting much since his return from exile, Angel was made aware of Maria's involvement in some of the testing of the device.
- Xenophon Harkimo - Despite initially being nervous around the older foreman, Angel developed a rapport with Xenophon and the two would quickly become friends as they both experimented with improving Angel's device.
- Sharle Inocencio - Initially, Angel noted Sharle's abilities as a craftsman but held her in contempt and wanted no part in coming out of hiding. Eventually, he would see many similarities between Sharle and his original assistant Corina, gradually warming up to her. Angel's respect for Sharle would increase when she was able to come up with a solution to his device's design that he had not even considered possible.
- His surname is Finnish, in which the word "aalto" means "a wave."
- Angel also invented the cannons atop Wall Maria. It is unknown if he made the other cannons atop the other Walls.
- Angel is the second person to successfully kill a Titan, the first being Sorum Humé.
- However, while Sorum's kill was achieved mainly through luck, Angel was the first person to successfully locate and exploit a Titan's weak point.