- Before the Fall manga
- Junior High/High School manga
Cardina Baumeister (カルディナ・バウマイスター Karudina Baumaisutā?) is the last remaining member of the Baumeister family, and currently a member of the Survey Corps. He serves as one of the two deuteragonists of the Attack on Titan prequel series Before the Fall.
Cardina is a tall, slim, young man with long and curly blond hair. He has piercing blue eyes. He has some muscle tone at least to his arms, despite his outer appearance. As a civilian, Cardina is mostly seen with a white shirt under a dark vest and pants; as a member of the Survey Corps, he usually wears either a white button up shirt or turtleneck under the traditional Survey Corps uniform.
Cardina is a strong-willed person who is straightforward and sincere. Oftentimes, he acts upbeat towards new people. Cardina tries to the best of his efforts to hold up his reputation as the last member of the Baumeister family. Despite being part of a noble family, Cardina is humble and frequently downplays his achievements; he has mentioned how flattered he is when people refer to him as exceptional or superhuman. He is loyal to those who offer him kindness, as shown when he came back for Kuklo, who fended off a Titan to buy Cardina time to climb up Wall Maria. To Kuklo's surprise, Cardina came running back and aided him in incapacitating the Titan.
He expresses a calm exterior when need be. That trait is shown when Xenophon takes him up as a "spare," which slightly offends Cardina, but he makes an effort to react calmly nonetheless. Cardina has an impressive memory and was able to develop a training routine for Kuklo and himself from his experience as a training cadet many months earlier. What could be Cardina's most invaluable trait is that he is analytical and, while not as assertive as others, can take charge when needed. Both of these would be used when he works with Carlo Pikale to develop a brand new training routine for recruits joining the Survey Corps.
Pressured by his family to join the Military Police, Cardina reluctantly enrolled in the Training Corps and was part of the same class as Xavi Inocencio. At about the same time Cardina enters the Training Corps, both Cardina's father and Xavi's father Dario arrange to have him marry Xavi's sister Sharle. Despite showing some promise, Cardina would soon lose interest and drop out of the Training Corps.
Soon after, the Baumeister family got involved in some political turmoil and Cardina ended up in an underground prison. While there, he notices another prisoner, Kuklo, trying to dig his way out and tells him that he will get beaten if caught. He then says there is indeed a way to escape; Kuklo says that is a lie, claiming 'you would not be here if that were true.' Cardina mentions the very fact they are here means they will be taken outside the Walls and fed to the Titans. He decides to introduce himself and tells Kuklo he was imprisoned due to political reasons, like many of the other prisoners here; this causes Kuklo to realize that Cardina was the man Sharle was betrothed to. Cardina asks Kuklo if he knows about a rumored city outside of the Walls. This city, Naraka, is believed to be the home of exiles. He goes on to talk about how the government knows more about Titans then they are letting on. When Kuklo questions why he is telling him this, he implies that he is stupid because "even after all you've been through, you keep on trying to escape. Only an idiot would fail to take the hint." Kuklo decides to help him and mentions that despite this, he still has business inside the Walls. Cardina inquires if it is about a girl; Kuklo agrees, surprising Cardina.
Two weeks later, Cardina, Kuklo, and other prisoners are escorted by the Military Police in wagons to outside the Walls. When Kuklo acquires a knife from a mysterious Military Police soldier, he uses it to cut his and the other prisoners bindings. Both Cardina and Kuklo jump out of the moving wagon and run away from the impending terror of the Titans back towards the main gate of Shiganshina District. As they get closer, Cardina is spooked to acknowledge that the wagon they jumped off of had successfully reached the Titans, and they are drawing closer. Cardina and Kuklo sprint westwards from Shiganshina, but the pair are quick to notice that they are being tailed by a Titan. Though Kuklo makes it to the Wall on time, Cardina falls behind and is quickly caught by the Titan. Kuklo declares on buying them time and distracts the Titan, but is incapable of stopping it alone. Cardina joins in on the fight by clambering onto the Titan and bashing a large rock onto its teeth, rescuing Kuklo in the process.With the Titan temporarily down, the two of them run to the edge of the Wall and get reeled upwards by the same Military Police soldier who gave Kuklo the knife in the wagon. Cardina politely thanks the man for saving them. The man reveals himself to be Jorge Pikale, whom Cardina recognizes instantly. Hours later, Jorge leads Cardina and Kuklo on a wagon, and he discusses his plans. Cardina notes that Jorge used their exile to his advantage. A grateful Cardina salutes to his apparent instructor, and the two disclose their connection to Kuklo. Cardina reveals his family's aspirations for him to become part of the Military Police and his subsequent desertion. Even Jorge agrees with the assessment that he had potential to be in the top ten if he had stayed; Cardina further goes to reveal he figured out Kuklo's identity due to hearing Xavi brag numerous times about fighting the "son of a Titan" while part of the Training Corps.
As they continue through the forest, they are told that Jorge is taking them to an Industrial City within Wall Rose. When Kuklo asks about Sharle, Cardina jokingly refers to how she was his betrothed and the one Kuklo kidnapped; drawing the ire from the latter. After Kuklo inquires why the Device is not being widely used by the Survey Corps, Cardina mentions that since it only goes up and down, it would be ineffective against Titans who can move in all directions. When the three of them reach civilization, Cardina shares Kuklo's thoughts about the increased presence of troops in the city. He watches the reunion between Kuklo and Sharle, and pipes up that he introduces Sharle to both him and Jorge. When she hides after learning Cardina's name, he casually mentions that the engagement between them was off due to him rebelling against his father and offers to be friends. On that note, the four of them head to a factory and are introduced to Xenophon Harkimo. Xenophon disregards Cardina and thinks of him as a "spare." Even so, Cardina tries to keep his cool and introduce himself properly. He curiously examines Cardina and Kuklo's arms, and deduces that the duo seem competent enough to be excellent fighters. With that in mind, Kuklo is interested in joining the Survey Corps, but keeps a conditional bargain with Xenophon - he must be able to use the "Device" in order to kill Titans.
Later at night, Cardina completely indulges himself in the food Sharle prepares, complimenting how good it is. He overhears one of the workers mention a previous test Xenophon conducted himself that caused a rupture and asks him about it. Eventually Cardina notices that both Sharle and Kuklo have been gone for some time, thus tempting him, Jorge, and Xenophon to go look for them. Cardina finds them on a bench, but is alarmed by Kuklo's sorrowful exclamation that the Titans will attack again and eventually break down the Wall. The next morning, Cardina notices that Jorge and Xenophon also show a lack of sleep from the night before, as they all heard Kuklo's utterance. Despite that, Jorge is determined to show them the Iron Bamboo before leaving. As they approach the main factory, Cardina remarks about how overwhelming the size of it is and asks if the Iron Bamboo is produced there as well. Soon, a carriage bearing the Military Police emblem approaches and Jentsch Dafner, the commander of the Military Police steps out, greeting Xenophon. Xenophon gives Cardina and Kuklo aliases and mentions he wished to take them to see their harvesting spot. Jentsch allows them in and salutes to them as a sign of welcome.
In the thicket of Iron Bamboo, Cardina and Kuklo learn that the Titans allegedly have a weak spot. As expected, Jorge notifies them of his findings, but Kuklo's resolve to be part of the Survey Corps has not wavered. Out of impulse, Cardina volunteers to join too. Jorge tells them the story of how he obtained his results years ago. After hearing the story (and Kuklo pledging to work with testing the device), Cardina pledges himself to the cause as well. The two teens spend the next three months repeatedly testing and making notes of the device as it gets modified by Xenophon and the other workers.
Soon, Jorge returns and takes them back to Shiganshina in order to do a proper testing of the device against the Titans. Noting that he is not as confident as Kuklo, Cardina asks Carlo and Jorge to slowly lower him down. However, he is spotted by the Titan Ogre and it charges him. Cardina is able to safely escape due to the timely intervention of Carlo. The two then return and get Kuklo away from the grasp of Ogre. Several days later, Cardina and Kuklo hear that a rebellion is taking place and the Military Police in Shiganshina have been sent to the Industrial City. Cardina tries to stop Kuklo from going, since he is still recovering but it falls on deaf ears. He agrees to go also, if only to try and knock some sense into Kuklo. As he prepares to infiltrate the city, Cardina gives Kuklo his sword due to the latter losing his own. When Cardina hears that Kuklo was grievously injured and unaccounted for, he tries to go out and search for him but Jorge tells him to fall back.
Acknowledging that Kuklo can handle himself, Cardina is told by Jorge about a plan he has in mind and is sent back to the Survey Corps headquarters. Along with Carlo, Cardina is tasked to begin developing a training regimen to show how to properly use the device in combat against Titans. During this time, Cardina drafts a report up on the device and sends it to Xenophon in the Industrial City; in addition, Cardina is accepted into the Survey Corps by Carlo. When Jorge visits the site, Cardina is made one of his assistants and makes plans to bring the newest batch of recruits to start the training as soon as possible. One month has passed and both Cardina and Kuklo are practicing horseback riding; Cardina notes how many of the trainees, especially Rosa and her friends, have shown great improvement. Kuklo agrees, and they decide to move on to the next phase of training. However, Sharle arrives with Angel to the training academy where Cardina introduces himself to the famed inventor. Hearing that an expedition to determine the fate of the Survey Corps will occur in about two months, Cardina offers a solution to this turn of events. He proposes that only the top thirty would be able to learn how to use the device (in accordance with the number that could be produced in the remaining two months) and asks Angel to ship them to the academy as soon as possible. Cardina reveals that Kuklo and himself built and used a training tool that controls the body's balance in mid-air; this could be used to determine the aptitude of the recruits. After getting authorization from Carlo to do so, Cardina works with Kuklo, Sharle and several senior members of the Survey Corps to erect three of the 'aptitude testing devices' when he spots his old classmate Xavi approaching.
Stunned to see a member of the Military Police there, Cardina is surprised when Xavi reveals that he was sent to monitor the training regimen, per Gloria Bernhart's orders. Xavi reintroduces himself to Cardina, who uneasily agrees to get better acquainted with his former classmate. Cardina later oversees the recruits take turns on the aptitude training device and is glad to see several were able to maintain their balance; he expresses surprise that Xavi was able to easily stay balanced, and also when hearing that Xavi will be participating in the expedition outside the Walls. Later during a meeting, Cardina looks over the results from the day of testing and hears that due to the rushed schedule, not everyone will be able to learn how to use the device before the start of the expedition. Cardina then proposes a new idea: to allow only the most promising recruits to learn how to operate the device.
He goes on to explain that since only thirty sets of equipment will be finished by the start of the expedition, the five who have already passed will get to train with the device. The remaining recruits can be exposed to how the device works by observing their classmates and those who scored highly, yet did not pass the test, will be eligible to retake it and form a secondary and tertiary group to fill out the thirty available positions. After no objections, Carlo agrees and allows Cardina to make the necessary changes. At the end of the meeting, Cardina asks Carlo about why Xavi is present and will be participating in the expedition; he learns that due to the fate of the Corps in the hands of Gloria, it is a compromise that they must accept. Later that night, during dinner, Cardina and Kuklo are in attendance when Jorge announces the structure change in the training regimen. Seeing the responses from the recruits, Kuklo deems that Cardina's idea was the right choice; yet the latter merely states that he suggested what seemed to be the best option available.
Cardina is seen traveling with Kuklo, Jorge and the trainees to Wall Maria. He demonstrates how to use the equipment to the trainees and flies to the top of Wall Maria. After being helped up by Kuklo, the two meet with Maria and ponder the increased number of Titans in the area. As the trainees look on and see the cannons shooting at the Titans, Cardina analyses how they can reform damaged areas and poses the theory that the Titans do not heal as much as regenerate. Kuklo agrees and realize the cannons can only serve as a deterrent; therefore, the Garrison troops on the Wall will be unable to work with the Survey Corps during the expedition. Cardina notes some time later that there has been some withdrawals from several recruits due to the trip to the Wall, and many of the remaining recruits are showing clear signs of hesitation.
As the months go by, Cardina is glad to see the trainees who expressed signs of hesitation have seemed to overcome this and agrees when Kuklo states the instructors will have to improve as well. During a testing of the equipment, Cardina is amazed to see Rosa use it so well for her first try but notes that her upper body and arm strength will need to improve in order to use the blades properly in combat. After Rosa gets injured and it is discovered that the equipment was sabotaged, Cardina helps Sharle and Angel look over the damaged sets; he reports back that none of the users of the equipment had any shared features and it was not aimed at any recruit in particular.
When Jorge mentions that he has trained Xavi in how the gear works, Cardina is shocked and begins to believe that he may have had a part in the sabotage. Theorizing that the sabotage had to have been done in the maintenance room, Cardina agrees that an announcement be made the next day as a means to weed out the culprits. After those responsible are caught and sent back to the training academy, Cardina mentions that the titles assigned to the two groups was a mistake and damaged the pride of the general class of trainees; this would have greatly contributed to the sense of jealousy he gathered that was directed towards the special training class.
Once the members of the expedition arrive to Shiganshina, Cardina is officially made a member of the Survey Corps and has his criminal record erased. Carlo then separates the eighty members of the expedition into ten teams, with Cardina being part of team ten along with Kuklo and many of the special training class. While Kuklo goes with Sharle and Jorge to meet Maria on the Wall, Cardina stays behind to celebrate with the rest of the new soldiers. When asked why Kuklo or himself were not considered to be a team leader, Cardina replies that they were ineligible due to the Military Police presence in the expedition. Due to team leaders needing to be the most experienced, Cardina and Kuklo observed that Rosa had the most progress out of all the trainees and selected her instead. He raises a mug of ale and refers to Rosa as Team Leader, mentioning he will be looking forward to serving underneath her during the expedition.
During the expedition, Cardina notices how the terrain is still poor and will be an issue later. After arriving at the 5km oasis marker, he recalls the last time both Kuklo and himself were out beyond the Wall. After remarking that the oasis serves as a marking point for the Corps, the primary camp will be located at the oasis 10km out. As the soldiers mention what could be waiting for them past the oasis, Cardina expresses his desire to find the rumored city of Naraka to the north; hearing Rosa, Kurz and Kuklo express interest renews Cardina's hope that it actually exists.
Just then, a red signal flare is sent up alerting them to Titans nearby. As team nine stays behind, Cardina and the other team ten soldiers ride out towards the south where the flare originated. Cardina grimly notices that it has started to rain once again and the flare is extinguished, stranding the members of team ten. Several minutes pass and Captain Barna arrives with the rest of team nine; knowing the layout of the area, he volunteers to lead them towards the direction of the flare.
The two teams come across a destroyed munitions wagon and Cardina goes to investigate with Kuklo. It turns out to be from part of an armed escort consisting of teams seven and eight that was utterly destroyed, with only the remains of a few soldiers left behind; while team nine and ten mourn the deceased, Cardina investigates further and takes note of the size and dimensions of the Titan footprints left behind. He takes note of a particularly large one and comes up with the theory that the group was attacked by an estimated ten meter Titan. When Kuklo believes that it could have been Ogre, the Titan that nearly killed them several months prior, Cardina mentions it is a possibility.
- Kuklo - Initially, Cardina thought of Kuklo to be headstrong and stubborn beyond the point of reason. However, his opinion on Kuklo would soon change and now values him as a genuine friend. This is due to him admiring Kuklo's take-charge determination and will, along with how Kuklo saved Cardina a number of times without a thought to his own safety.
- Jorge Pikale - Cardina thinks highly of Jorge, as he was Cardina's instructor while he was still a trainee. The two of them share a mutual trust and respect for each other. For example, Jorge expressed that Cardina had the potential to rank in the top ten. Jorge trusts Cardina to the point where he tasks the young man to work with Carlo to develop a brand new training course for the Survey Corps.
- Sharle Inocencio - Though Sharle acts fairly hostile towards Cardina regarding that he was meant to be her betrothed, Cardina works on being as friendly as possible with Sharle, attempting to show no ill-will after all that happened between them.
- Carlo Pikale - Cardina was saved by Carlo during a test of the device and has worked closely with the current head of the Survey Corps on developing a training regimen in accordance with Jorge's wishes. Carlo also respects Cardina's ability to analyze and point out the most capable of the new training recruits and is open to any ideas Cardina has to ensure the new recruits' training will be streamlined and optimized for maximum effect.
- Xavi Inocencio - Cardina and Xavi appeared to get along reasonably well as both were trainees in the same class. Cardina states that Xavi used to brag about cutting out the Titan's son's right eye, which helped Cardina figure out Kuklo's identity. After hearing how both Sharle and Kuklo suffered at the hands of Xavi, Cardina is understandably more wary around Xavi and is surprised when he arrives to oversee the training of new recruits.