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Erwin is a large, tall man with smooth blond hair styled in an undercut and parted neatly to the left side of his head. He also has bright eyes, but an often stern expression and a strong jawline. He is often seen wearing the Survey Corps' uniform with a white button down underneath, and on missions, wears the Survey Corps' green cloak.
Erwin is a calm person who takes every news neutrally, whether it is bad or good, but has already been seen showing enthusiasm in Levi's skills. He is ingenious and is not afraid of standing against the majority's opinion. The progress of humanity means a lot to him and he is willing to do everything to win against Titans. Erwin also has a ruthless side, as he does not hesitate to use violence or manipulate his allies in order to get what he wants.
Interested in Levi's skills, an underground thug, Erwin leads a unit to find and recruit him. His squad chases him and his friends, with Mike and him trapping Levi. After they apprehend the trio, Erwin asks them where they got their equipment from and if Levi received military training. After getting no answer, Mike uses force to make Levi talk. Erwin asks him his name and, as the latter did not talk more, he threatens the life of the two others. After Levi finally speaks, Erwin offers him and his friends to join the Survey Corps so that they would not be arrested by the Military Police, which they accept.
A few weeks before the underground mission, the Survey Corps was in danger of losing funds for expeditions. When Keith Shadis was ready to give up and accept the collapse of his regiment, Erwin intervenes and saves the corps. Then during the carriage ride, Keith mentions that Erwin's suspicions about Nicholas Lovof being the leader of the Dissolution Faction were correct. Erwin tells Keith that according to the information he gathered, Lovof has sent a spy to infiltrate the Survey Corps in hopes of redirecting funds. Keith mentions about appealing to Darius Zackly, but Erwin replies that Zackly is aware and asks Keith to leave matters to him. Keith questions Erwin's methods, but Erwin tells him that no matter how foul the efforts, the Survey Corps must take back the world from the Titans. When the two men return to Zackly's office, Zackly asks if Levi and his friends will be useful despite being good with the vertical maneuvering gear. Erwin replies that their skills cannot be overestimated, especially Levi, whose level is beyond a veteran's. Erwin also reveals that he plans to make contact while he is close.