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Eren has messy dark hair, large eyes, and usually-furrowed brows. He wears the standard Attack Junior High uniform.
Eren is very outspoken and not afraid to share his beliefs, even when he is the target of ridicule. Often singled out and/or mocked as a loner, Eren does not seem to mind and is comfortable being by himself. Passionate and often overcome by anger, Eren is steadfast in his belief that all the Titan students at Attack Junior High School must be driven out due to their treatment towards human students and faculty. He has displayed some charismatic qualities, being able to rally his fellow classmates several times against both Titans and upperclassmen.
Despite being classified as somewhat of an outcast, Eren does have a caring side to him. Eren is fiercely protective of his friends and when they question themselves, he is always the first to try and raise their spirits.
Eren walks with Mikasa on their way to junior high school, admitting that he is excited for a chance to finally defeat the Titans. Just then, a gigantic eraser hits him on the head; getting up, he decides to gouge his name into it out of spite. Mikasa tries to pass it off as an accident but Eren vows revenge for it. At that time, a ruler of the same size and dimensions hits him on the head as well. Glaring at the Titan that did it, Eren watches it pick up the dropped eraser and throws it back at his head in response to Eren gouging his name on it.As they all wait in line, Eren continues to vow revenge and is told off by Mikasa. Not listening, he goes over to an open Titan sized backpack and decides to steal something from it. He spots a cloth and smells it; this causes him to almost throw up. Regardless, he starts pulling the cloth out of the bag and is soon covered by it. Getting out from underneath, Eren decides to burn it when Mikasa and a teacher come over and order Eren to apologize for stealing a student's gym shorts. He refuses to and then spots the Titan he stole from crying; he finally realizes that he stole a pair of sweaty Titan gym shorts and the fact that he smelled them causes Eren to slump over in shame and embarrassment. He does not change his views and confides to Mikasa that he still believes the Titan he stole from to be evil. As the welcoming ceremony begins, Eren looks in shock to see that the principal of the school is the same Titan that stole his lunch five years ago.
During roll call, the teacher asks them to introduce themselves and say what their dream for the future is; Eren immediately jumps up and states his desire to drive out every Titan from the school. He is immediately called a future skinhead by the teacher and Eren becomes insulted when another student, Jean, wishes for a dream that is the exact opposite of his. He moves to fight Jean, but Mikasa firmly tells him to stop and reminds him he needs to get along with his classmates. Content with being a loner, Eren tells off Mikasa and runs off. As he takes his frustrations out on a tree, Eren accidentally hits the Titan he stole from earlier. He screams as the Titan puts Eren in its mouth and starts to suck; it soon spits him back out. Mikasa goes over and convinces the other students that Eren put himself in harm's way to save everyone.
Later in the week, Eren and his friends notice that Armin has yet to come to school this year and the entire class is set to go up against a rival class in a dodge ball match the next day; Eren and Mikasa go to Armin's house to try to convince him to attend. Despite Eren's efforts, Armin does not believe him. Mikasa is able to sway Armin by berating Eren's habits, something the latter wonders if it was actually considered help; eventually, Eren and Mikasa convince Armin to come the following day. In an ironic twist, Eren does not show up for school that day and oversleeps; looking at his clock, Eren slowly realizes what happened and runs to school in a blind panic. He is able to make it in time for his class's second match against Class 3; he is criticized by Mikasa and he also insults Jean for trying to look like him (despite Jean being forced to.) One of the players from Class 3, Annie, proclaims they will win and the two sides begin. Eventually, Eren is able to hit Annie with the ball, eliminating her and winning the match.Class 4 are told they are going on a field trip to visit the Titan section of the school campus. Eren continues to belittle the Titans in spite of them performing better than humans in various classes, believing it is a farce due to the principal being a Titan as well. After running off in embarrassment, the lunch bell rings and the class is surrounded by Titans that only steal their packs; remembering the teacher's insistence for the students to bring lunches with them during the trip, Eren realizes what is happening but is unable to prevent his schoolmates' food being taken by the Titan students. Eren vows once more to make the Titans pay for the constant mistreatment, with several other students beginning to share his views.
Eren learns that he must enroll in a club and is reluctant to, despite it being mandatory; he learns of a secret club known as the "Survey Club" and journeys with his classmates to find the meeting area. After finding it and showing great interest in joining, they all are able to join but told that they cannot use the name when enrolling due to the club's secrecy. Eventually, the teacher enrolls Eren and the others into the "Wall Beautification Club." The leader of the Wall Beautification Club, Rico, assigns them to start by cleaning the windows on the human school building. Dismayed at this turn of events, they only relent after Hange reminds them that everyone who is part of the Survey Club are part of other clubs. Afterwards, Rico shows them how to clean the Walls and Eren is impressed by the equipment she uses to scale to the top of the Wall. This energizes Eren and the others to put more effort into their work and become certified; however, Rico inadvertently reveals they are nothing more than janitors for the school, crushing their newfound spirit and enthusiasm.
As the Survey Club goes on a field trip to Wall Rose, Eren walks off on his own and unexpectedly encounters Annie, along with Hitch and Marlowe, who were trying to track down the Club to disband it. They issue a challenge for the club, which Eren accepts on their behalf. He ends up having to face Annie in the deciding round; Eren tries to ask Annie why she seems to hate him so much, but Annie merely replies he will have to beat her to figure it out. They end up in a draw for thirty minutes and then Eren manages to get the upper hand. He decides to show mercy instead of claiming victory and asks one more time. Annie finally reveals that they shared the same favorite food and since Eren blurted it out during the welcome ceremony, Annie was afraid of being embarrassed and unable to say it as well. Taken back, Eren apologizes for this and offers to finish the match; he is surprised to hear Annie concede defeat, realizing that she over-reacted. The next day at lunch, Annie comes over and offers to share her food with Eren, making Mikasa jealous.
He later sees Jean fawning over a love letter he received and mentions he is overthinking it. As Jean goes to his locker, the rest of the class follows him and Eren sees Hitch running away. Understandably, Eren and the others are surprised to think that Hitch is the one behind the letters. As Eren goes to the restroom, he finds Hitch and is informed by her that she caught a glimpse of the true author: a Titan. Eren and Mikasa believe that it would be better if Hitch continued acting like she was Jean's admirer, but she decides to reveal the truth; Eren looks on as Jean tries to rebuff the Titan's advances only to get flattened. Eren and the others hear of an upcoming dance and Armin insists Eren take him as a partner. Eren only relents and agrees to after he realizes that Armin wanted to go with someone he trusted (due to not being comfortable at social events like this.) One day while having lunch inside their classroom, Eren witnesses both Mikasa and Annie verbally sparring with each other at the door. Going over to see what is going on, Eren is told by Annie that the student council has tasked him with monitoring Titan delinquent activity and to meet her after school; Eren enthusiastically agrees. He puts on some protective gear and meets Annie outside, only to spot a Titan and rushes after it. As Annie tries to get his attention, Eren ponders what the Titan is up to, and spots another. This goes on for some time until Annie reveals that there is no such position and that the Student Council did not want him for anything. Eren is surprised to hear Annie say that it was a method to get him away from Mikasa and asks Eren to go with her to the dance. Eren tells her no and reveals to both her (and Mikasa, who was following them) that he already promised to go with Armin. He proposes both girls go with each other, only to have both refuse.Later on, Eren and the other students are criticized for getting to the Survey Club later than usual. This, along with getting punished earlier in the Wall Beautification Club due to Jean's actions, causes Eren to lash out and gets slapped by Levi. After Mikasa threatens Levi, Eren tries to backpedal and reign her in but is surprised when Levi proposes the first years go up against the upperclassmen during the athletic festival. Eren agrees to the challenge, only for him and the other first years to learn that the losing side will have to attend the dance with the Titan students. Horrified by the thought of having to dance with Titans (and not their partners), Eren rallies the first years together to come up with a plan to win the challenge. Petra informs the first years that due to having participated once before in dancing with Titans, the fear provides the upperclassmen with a winning edge. Eren merely responds that it has provided them with an even greater determination to succeed. As they get ready, Krista arrives with Annie to cheer them on from the sidelines. After a rocky start, Eren is able to get the first years within striking distance of defeating the upperclassmen; unfortunately, he tries to take Levi's armband and gets wiped out along with the other first years. Although they are forced to dance with the Titan students, the older members of the Survey Club mention the first years have earned their respect and will be nicer from now on.
After hearing the Survey Club will be taking part in an overnight trip with the club's faculty advisor, Eren immediately assumes the advisor is loyal to the principal (and thus, to the Titans as well.) As a pair of Titans advance on some other students, Eren goes to intercept them but is held back by an instructor. He is surprised to see the instructor approach the Titans and allows them to keep the food they stole. Eren is dumbstruck to learn that the instructor, Mr. Smith, is the advisor to the Survey Club. While the others marvel at how he handled the Titans, and recall their previous interactions with Mr. Smith, Eren doesn't buy into it and begins to insult him. This does not change during the camping trip with the others starting to turn against him. When confronted by Jean, Eren badmouths both him and Mr. Smith and goes to fight the Titans that are rumored to be camping in the same area as well. He learns Mr. Smith is following him and refuses any assistance. Eren soon finds the Titans and is nearly swallowed, but is saved by Mr. Smith. After hearing Mr. Smith actually hates Titans, Eren begins to appreciate his efforts.
- Mikasa Ackerman - Mikasa is Eren's adoptive sister and they presumably have a normal sibling relationship. Eren does get annoyed when Mikasa scolds him for talking about Titans constantly and for treating him like a child. He also does not appreciate Mikasa's attempts to inject herself in positions where she is always nearby or tries to fight his battles for him, but will defend her when she is threatened either by a Titan or an older student.
- Armin Arlert - Armin is Eren's best friend. He does his best to rally Armin and build his confidence up when needed. This is seen when Eren agrees to be his date for a social dance, knowing that Armin does not do well in those kinds of events and wanted Armin to have a positive experience. Even when both Mikasa and Annie invite him Eren declines, showing that he values Armin as a friend so much that he placed Armin's needs before his own.
- Annie Leonhart - At the start of the year, Eren inadvertently made Annie hold a grudge against him due to his actions during the welcoming ceremony; this only intensified after Eren's team beat hers in a dodge ball match. They eventually are able to reconcile and become friends. It's possible that Eren has begun developing a crush on Annie; when Krista brought Annie to help cheer them on, Eren saw Annie was clearly embarrassed and personally went over to encourage her to do her best. Eren has also regularly noticed how pretty Annie is and complimented her many times.
- Levi - Eren has show to idolize Levi as the head of the Survey Club and strives to be just like him.
- Erwin Smith - Eren held Mr. Smith in contempt for always seeming to appease the Titans and believed he was too soft to be the faculty adviser for the Survey Club. Not until he learns that Mr. Smith actually despises Titans does Eren relent and start to see him in a more positive light.