- Before the Fall manga
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Hugo is a tall young man with light to medium brown hair that is slicked back and scraggly at the ends. He has a long nose and small eyes that always appear to be closed. Hugo wears a white shirt underneath the traditional uniform of the Survey Corps.
Hugo is, for the most part, a quiet and reserved individual. He usually keeps to himself and ends up surprising his friends when he does speak; notable examples include when Kuklo was able to escape detection by the Military Police and when Hugo voices his agreement to tracking down a saboteur lurking within the training grounds. Like his friends and fellow squad mates, Hugo shows an interest in joining the Survey Corps but does not explicitly reveal his motivations for wanting to join.
Hugo is with his friends as they perform a training exercise and come across Kuklo's unconscious and injured body. They take him to a cabin they found within a nearby forest. After the course of a week, Hugo hears from Rosa that the teen is awake, and they go see him. As the other recruits mention their reasons for wanting to join the Survey Corps, Hugo stays silent but nods in agreement when Felix mentions his desire to see the world beyond the Walls. Along with his friends, Hugo swears that he will do his best to prove to famed hero Jorge Pikale and his son Carlo, the current head of the Corps, that they are worthy of joining.
Roughly two weeks pass, and both Hugo and Felix inform Jorge that Kuklo wants to see him. They return to the cabin and find Kai, Rosa and Ivo being threatened by two members of the Military Police. After Jorge settles the issue, Hugo is amazed to see Kuklo hiding up in a tree and using his device to get down. Believing that Kuklo jumped up there, Hugo asks how he was able to escape being seen and hears how the device is used. Like Ivo, Hugo shows interest in being able to learn how to use the device. Hugo is among those who volunteer to attend the special training regimen with his friends; he shows much improvement over the first month of training, and they are moved to the next phase of training that involves balancing.
While many recruits fail the initial test (including Rosa, Kai and Felix), Hugo is able to pass the initial test along with Ivo, Kurz and two others. Hugo's resolve is tested along with the other trainees after being taken to the Walls and witnessing Titans for the very first time; despite this, Hugo vows to stay in the training program along with Ivo. Along with both Ivo and Kurz, Hugo is given a set of vertical maneuvering equipment and is taken to a nearby forest to test it. Hugo goes to use it and while aiming, misses the intended target and is dragged along the ground for quite a long distance. After the second aptitude testing, Hugo is glad to see both Rosa and Kai pass but silently agrees that they should not celebrate until Felix is able to join them too. He applauds with the other trainees after seeing Rosa effortlessly use the vertical maneuvering equipment in the forest area. Eventually, Felix is able to pass the final aptitude test and join them in the training area.
After Rosa is knocked unconscious due to her equipment being sabotaged, Hugo voices his agreement with Kai's plan to sneak out and watch over the maintenance area. He is surprised along with everyone else when Rosa returns the next day for training. That evening, Hugo helps boost Kai to see into the maintenance area after Felix spots movement but the group is spotted by Kuklo. Hugo goes along with Kuklo and the others and is surprised to see the perpetrators were the same individuals that him and his friends fought against in the mess hall a few months earlier. Since Hugo and his friends disobeyed a direct order by sneaking out, he is sent to the guardhouse as punishment. He then overhears Felix describe the recruits reasons for the sabotage and reflects on it while looking out at the moon.
At the end of the training period, Hugo and the remaining recruits are taken to Shiganshina in preparation of the expedition which will occur in a few days. Along with the others, Hugo is officially accepted by Carlo as a member of the Survey Corps and is grouped into team ten with the rest of the special training class members; he is also glad to see that Rosa is elected as the team leader of the group. As the others celebrate that evening, Hugo watches many of the new soldiers, including Felix, Kurz and Kai voice how they will ultimately follow Rosa and become a team leader within the Survey Corps someday. During the expedition, Hugo rides with his friends and come across a 5 meter Titan; using the vertical maneuvering equipment, Hugo works with Kurz and the two slice into the Titan's shoulders, momentarily stunning it. After Cardina and Rosa strike the killing blow, the Titan is defeated and disappears in a blast of steam. Hugo then looks on and smiles while the rest of the team celebrate their first victory over the Titans.
- Rosa Carlstead - Along with his four other friends, Hugo greatly respects Rosa and the five are known to work well as a unit. This respect continues once Rosa is elected as a Team Leader within the Survey Corps and Hugo always follows Rosa's lead.
- Kuklo - As the main user of the vertical maneuvering equipment, Hugo was curious about Kuklo and was eager to master his device and become a member of the Survey Corps.
- Kurz Mauer - One of Hugo's squad-mates in the special training class, Hugo initially had a neutral relationship with Kurz. However, they would later on often work in tandem during practice sessions; during the Survey Corps expedition, both Hugo and Kurz worked together in helping take out two Titans.