Jean Kirschtein is a member of the Scout Regiment, ranking 6th among the 104th Cadet Corps.
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|If I hadn't become a soldier, I never would've had to worry about who's next.... I know I have to fight. But not everyone can be a suicidal maniac like you....|
|— Jean thinks of Marco and Eren|
Jean Kirschtein (ジャン・キルシュタイン Jan Kirushutain?) is a graduate of the 104th Cadet Corps, among whom he ranked 6th best. Jean hails from Wall Rose's Trost District, and joined the military with hopes of obtaining a peaceful life as part of the Military Police Regiment, but would later find himself joining the Scout Regiment.
Jean has short, light ash-brown hair with the sides and back trimmed shorter; making them a darker hue. He has small, intense light-brown eyes and is said to have the same vicious look as Eren does in his eyes. Jean is of average height and muscular build. He has a scowl similar to Eren's but is said to have a long face (a "horse face"). He is often seen wearing the typical uniform of the Scout Regiment worn with an olive-gray button-up shirt underneath.
His casual attire usually consists of a white button-up shirt, dark pants, and a dark-brown vest.
Jean has a blunt personality. He holds no restraint when it comes to speaking his mind, even when he knows it would not be wise to do so or when it could spark conflict. Jean is also pragmatic: he has a strong aversion to exposing himself to dangerous situations, and has openly admitted his desire to join the Military Police Regiment is due to wanting an easy and safe life.
During his time as a cadet, Jean was extremely hot-headed, easily becoming frustrated and quick to resort to violence when pushed. Jean was also very cynical about defeating the Titans, believing that humanity has no chance against them. He openly mocked more idealistic individuals like Eren, and saw resisting the Titans as a hopeless cause.
Despite his shortcomings, Marco describes Jean as a natural leader, being able to understand others and assess situations well because of his flaws. Indeed, during the struggle for Trost, Jean proves capable of leading his fellow soldiers when they are left confused and leaderless, and rallies Armin and Reiner in an attack on the Female Titan, knowing that not fighting her would endanger the rest of the Scout Regiment.
Although he presents himself as self-centered, Jean places high value on the lives of his comrades, and is ashamed and horrified when he must leave helpless allies behind to save himself and others. He was also willing to risk his life even if just to slow down the Female Titan, as refusing to do so would have certainly resulted in countless more deaths. Jean later criticized Erwin's plan of withholding information from his subordinates out of fear that there was a spy among them, feeling that the plan did not justify the lives lost because of it.
Jean hails from Wall Rose's peaceful town of Trost. Though he lived a relatively normal childhood under the loving care of his mother, Jean had always wished to live the comfortable life of a proud Military Police soldier in the inner district of Wall Sina.
After coming of age, Jean enlists into the military, joining what would be the 104th Cadet Corps. On the day of his enlistment, Jean admits his desire of joining the Military Police, and receives a headbutt from Keith Sadies for his troubles.
That night, Jean overhears Eren Jaeger talking about his desire to join the Scout Regiment and criticizes him for the decision, but apologizes after seeing that his words have upset Eren. As the cadets file out of the mess hall, Jean sees Mikasa and, immediately taking a liking to her, tries to talk to her but she immediately blows him off in favor of talking to Eren. Devastated, Jean develops a grudge against Eren.
The following night, after performing well during his first day of omni-directional mobility gear aptitude training, Jean is approached by Eren for tips on how to maintain balance, but only ridicules him for his poor performance.
Over the course of training, Jean and many other cadets begin slacking off in all areas except for those which will be absolutely necessary to graduate in the top 10, including hand-to-hand combat lessons.
On another night, Jean brags to his friends about the ways he utilizes his ODM gear, joking that they should refrain from telling his secrets to others so that he will not face extra competition for a place in the top 10 graduates. His joke annoys Eren, who criticizes the idea of improving one's Titan-killing skills in order to get a position in the military farther away from the Titans. As their argument becomes increasingly aggressive, Jean finally loses his temper and gets physical with Eren, prompting Eren to disarm him by kicking out one of his legs. Their fight is interrupted by Instructor Sadies, and Eren and Jean agree to finish their fight later. This motivates Jean to start taking his training more seriously.
Jean performs well during his training, motivated by his ambitious dream of ranking amongst the top 10 to join the Military Police Regiment and his desire to outdo Eren.
As part of the 104th, Jean succeeds in ranking in the top 10 of its graduates, placing just under Eren and coming in at sixth. After the graduation ceremony, Jean, proud of his accomplishment and eager to join the Military Police, gets into an altercation with Eren. Fancying himself a realist, Jean's ideals bring him to blows with the more idealistic Eren, who criticizes Jean as a coward.
In the year 848, Jean and his fellow cadets embark on a navigation training exercise to learn how to sustain themselves in times of peace, during which he and Eren continually get at each other's throats.
During the night, the group is ambushed while they sleep. Held at gunpoint, they are unable to do anything as the thieves carry off their ODM gear and Christa Lenz. Marco Bodt suggests abandoning the mission and getting help from Sadies, but Eren convinces the group to help him chase down the thieves before they can get away. Sasha suggests using a higher vantage point to look for the kidnappers, and the group is able to successfully locate where the thieves are camping for the night.
The group devises a plan to confront the kidnappers. After Conny and Sasha successfully block off the kidnappers' route out of the forest, Marco is able to determine which of their carriages they are carrying the cadets' stolen goods in, and alerts Jean and Eren so that they can attack. When Jean and Eren are able to recover the cadets' ODM gear, but not Christa, they use their gear to continue their pursuit. The group confronts the kidnappers again, but are left unable to fight when the men begin threatening Christa's life. Helpless, they are forced to hand over their gear again, only to be saved by the timely arrival of Thomas' group, who successfully ambush and capture the attackers.
In the year 849, the 104th holds an omni-directional mobility gear drill in Jean's hometown, Trost District. Although other cadets hailing from the district take the opportunity to visit their families, Jean vehemently refuses to even discuss his family with his friends.
During one of the corps' drills that Commander Dot Pyxis is observing, Jean attempts to impress the commander by racking up a large number of Titan kills, leading his team away from their posts in the process. However, each of Jean's prospective kills is stolen from him by his fellow cadets.
After the drill, Jean confronts Conny and Sasha for stealing his Titan kills. Their argument quickly threatens to come to blows, despite Reiner trying to break them up, as both sides trade insults, until they are interrupted by Pyxis, who suggests that they settle their disagreement with a cooking match that he will judge. Although Jean is hesitant, he is quickly goaded into accepting the challenge by Conny and Sasha.
Jean enlists his teammates Armin and Annie to help him hunt a colossal boar living in the woods outside of Trost, believing that serving meat will ensure his victory. However, Sasha and her team have the same idea, and manage to find the boar first. Although Jean's team tries to stop them from securing the boar first, they fail and Sasha succeeds in killing the boar, to Jean's ire.
Later that evening, Jean contemplates how to beat Sasha's boar meat when his mother arrives, asking why he has not visited her. Embarrassed, Jean urges his mother away before finally yelling at her to leave when she continues to act motherly towards him in front of the others. Dejected, Jean's mother leaves, and Eren suggests Jean should be nicer to his mother.
As the cooking competition draws near, Jean proposes he, Armin and Annie should steal meat from their superiors' storeroom. Armin freaks out at the thought of stealing and flees in a hysterical panic, and winds up slipping on the stairs, injuring his legs. In no condition to be stealing anything, Armin opts out of Jean's plan, as does Annie, who states getting caught is not worth winning a competition.
Jean decides to try stealing the meat on his own, determined to win the cook-off and prove he is not a mama's boy. As he nears the storeroom, Jean's superior finds him and delivers a bag, stating it is from Jean's mother. Jean opens the bag, finding it to be a homemade omelet. Jean remembers all the times he and his mother have been there for each other and realizes how much she means to him. With new-found determination, Jean begins cooking.
When the time comes for the competition, Jean presents his dish: an omelet. The audience and Pyxis are taken aback by Jean's simple dish, but Pyxis proceeds to eat it, regardless. With his meal finished, Pyxis announces Jean the victor of the cook-off. Jean encourages a dejected Sasha, and the two make peace. With a new day dawning upon the cadets, Jean muses that he will pay his mother a visit.
Following the second attack of the Colossal Titan, Jean, along with the rest of the 104th Cadet Corps, are sent to the front lines to deal with the Titans that have begun entering the city. Only one day away from joining the Military Police Regiment, Jean panics, and regrets the timing of the attack on Trost.
Later, Jean is among the cadets that are left unable to evacuate from the battle, as their equipment have run out of gas. Although Conny suggests that they make a last ditch attempt to reach the military headquarters and resupply, Jean points out that they have no one to lead them, and begins lamenting what a boring life he has led.
Once Mikasa arrives and decides to make a last ditch charge for the HQ, Jean joins her in rallying the soldiers present to attack. As the soldiers begin to advance, Jean advises his allies to keep any engagements short, so as not to waste gas. However, Jean soon realizes that there is no way to reach the headquarters without sacrificing some of the soldiers on the way. One of his fellow cadets runs out of gas and is stranded, and against although Jean advises against it, other soldiers go to try to rescue him. As the would-be rescuers and captured and devoured along with Tom, Jean decides to capitalize on the situation by leading the remaining recruits to reach the headquarters while the Titans are distracted.
Reaching the headquarters, Jean is horrified by his decision to exploit his comrades' deaths, before attacking the supply soldiers hiding in the building, telling them their inaction is what led to the soldiers' deaths. He is interrupted by the arrival of Titans outside the building, attracted to the large number of humans that have gathered. Losing hope that beating the Titans is impossible, Jean is left stunned at the arrival of an abnormal that proceeds to fight off the Titans. Mikasa, Armin, and Conny arrive in short order, explaining that the abnormal is helping them.
In need of a way to clear out the Titans that have infiltrated the headquarters' supply room, Jean and his comrades search the building for weapons, eventually finding buckshot rifles amid the Military Police Regiment's supplies. Armin devises a plan to clear out the Titans in the supply room using the rifles to blind them so that others can cut their napes. Jean is among the seven soldiers selected to slay the Titans after they have been blinded. The plan succeeds, and all of the cadets are able to resupply. As they are resupplying, Marco compliments Jean on his leadership skills, explaining that Jean's lack of strength combined with his good judgment make him an ideal leader. Jean is less than convinced.
After resupplying, Jean prepares to leave with his fellow cadets, but is distracted when Mikasa and Armin go to observe the rampaging Titan. He, Reiner, Bertholdt and Annie follow, and are greeted by the sight of the Titan being cannibalized by its fellow Titans. Reiner suggests helping the abnormal Titan out, but Jean is unwilling to risk his life for a Titan, and is unconvinced by Reiner's argument that it could be used as an ally. Fortunately, they do not have to because the Titan breaks itself free in order to attack another Titan, collapsing soon after. As an unconscious Eren emerges from the Titan's nape, Jean is left stunned by the knowledge that Eren was responsible for the rampage her just witnessed.
Jean, Annie, Reiner and Bertholdt are put on standby with their fellow cadets, and are ordered not to tell anyone else about what they witnessed. Jean's fellow cadets are concerned by Mikasa's absence, worried that she injured herself while leaving the headquarters. Jean refuses to answer their questions, although he freely admits that he does not expect the military to be able to keep what has transpired covered up for long. Hearing an explosion coming from the Wall, Jean and the others who witnessed Eren's transformation recognize what is happening and immediately go to investigate.
During the mission to seal Wall Rose using Eren's Titan form, Jean, Conny, and Annie are given orders to lure Titans close to the Wall so that they can be killed using cannon fire. However, while they are working, Jean's ODM gear breaks and he is left stranded in the middle of the city. Taking shelter inside of an abandoned building, Jean spots a nearby corpse equipped with gear. Waiting until there are no Titans nearby, Jean attempts to take the corpse's gear for himself, but has a hard time getting it off the body. Jean finally manages to equip the gear while Annie, Conny, and Marco distract approaching Titans, and despite having a difficult time controlling it, manages to use the gear to maneuver his way to safety atop the Wall.
Two days after the successful sealing of Wall Rose, Jean is among the soldiers who help remove bodies from Trost, and comes upon Marco's body. Shocked and horrified, Jean tries to ask other soldiers if they saw what had happened to him, but is stopped by a nearby nurse who insists that Jean identify the body and continue to work.
Later, he and the rest of the 104th Cadets burn the corpses of their fallen comrades in a bonfire. Watching the bones of his friends burn, Jean remembers Eren's speech and Marco's compliment about his strengths. Mourning Marco's death and internalizing his words of encouragement, Jean asks the other cadets which branch of the military they are planning to join. Against his own wishes and fears, Jean tearfully declares that he will join the Scout Regiment. During graduation, despite fearing what might happen to him in the future as he would inevitably encounter more Titans, Jean joins the Scout Regiment instead of the Military Police Regiment.
After joining the Scout Regiment, Jean confronts Eren regarding his role as humanity's savior, declaring that he is putting his trust in him as he does not wish to die. Jean participates in the 57th Expedition of the Scout Regiment.
Not long into the expedition, Jean encounters the Female Titan. Cooperating with Armin and Reiner, Jean engages the Female Titan, believing that if he does not at least slow it down, it will continue to wipe out more and more soldiers. The three succeed in confronting the Titan, but are quickly overpowered and are nearly killed, though they all escape with their lives. Following the battle, Jean desperately tries to locate his lost horse. With only Reiner's horse present, someone would most certainly need to be left behind. Luckily, Christa arrives with Jean's horse in tow.
Making their way to a Forest of Giant Trees, Jean and the others are ordered to perch among its tall branches to distract Titans from entering while Erwin Smith handles the Female Titan. Jean is surprised to see how the Titans learn to climb the trees in order to reach them. While they wait, Armin confides to Jean his belief that their commander had suspected a spy amongst them but declined to reveal this knowledge. Jean questions the morality of such a decision, but Armin defends Erwin, stating that it was a necessary risk, and the lives it cost are justified if gambles are ever to succeed, though Jean has his doubts.
After the expedition fails, Jean returns safely to Wall Rose. Days later, due to having both similar eyes and demeanor, he is chosen to pose as Eren during his handover to the Military Police, leaving the real Eren free to help in the final attempt to capture the Female Titan.
When the Female Titan appears and begins fighting with Eren, Jean breaks cover in front of the Military Police and heads off to the battle with Erwin's permission. Along the way he notes with disgust that the youngest members of the Military Police are standing around too shocked to do anything and he could have been one of them.
He finds Eren pinned beneath rubble and learns from Armin that Annie is the Female Titan. Jean yells at Eren for being unable to transform when everyone, including himself, is counting on him. When Eren does not respond, Jean leaves to fight the Female Titan and he helps lead her into a trap set by Hange. Though it only holds her a short time, it is enough for Eren to finally transform into a Titan.
Jean watches the two Titans fight along with the rest of the Scout Regiment and witnesses Annie's defeat and subsequent encasing herself in crystal. After her crystal has been pulled free for examination, he pounds at it with his weapon, breaking the blade, and yells at her for not talking with them.
Following the battle, he and Armin are brought in for questioning by the Military Police. On the way, Jean wonders whether abandoning one's humanity is really the only way to win, and whether it would be a victory if Eren did destroy all the Titans.
Jean joins the main body of Scouts in Trost District and is present when Phil reports to Dot Pyxis that there is no breach inside Wall Rose. When he hears that three additional cadets from the 104th can change into Titans. He demands to know who they are, but Erwin calms him down.
He joins the combined military force of the Scouts, Military Police, and the Garrison in a long range scouting formation to a forest of giant trees where Reiner and Bertholdt are suspected of taking the kidnapped Eren. Jean is among the Scouts who enter the forest to search for him. He and the other members of the 104th encounter Ymir in her Titan form and watch her capture Historia Reiss in her mouth before fleeing. Jean calls for everyone to pursue her.
At the edge of the forest, Reiner transforms into the Armored Titan, carrying Bertholdt, Eren, Ymir, and Historia on his shoulders as the soldiers pursue them. When Reiner protects Bertholdt and Eren by covering them with his hands, Jean grapples on to the Armored Titan and joins the other members of the 104th in trying to talk down Bertholdt and Reiner by asking if their friendship had meant anything. He calls out how they shared the same roof for three years and how the other cadets used Bertholdt's odd sleeping positions to predict the weather.
Though Bertholdt breaks down beneath the weight of his guilt, any possible resolution is interrupted by the arrival of Erwin and the horde of Titans chasing him and the rest of the military. Jean and the others have to jump off the Armored Titan, which charges into the horde.
He is shocked by the carnage in front of him as the Titans immobilize and chew on Reiner, but Erwin tells him they are just getting started. Erwin orders the soldiers to retrieve Eren and Jean joins the charge along with Mikasa. She tries to free Eren, but is grabbed by a Titan when she misses her attack on Bertholdt. Jean stabs it in an eye to free her.
The soldiers retreat when Eren is freed, but Reiner begins throwing Titans at them. One of them lands directly in front of Jean, knocking him off his horse and causing him to land hard on the ground where he passes out. In the ensuing chaos, Armin tries to protect him. As the situation looks desperate, Eren punches the Titan attacking him and Mikasa and triggers something that causes all the other mindless Titans present to tear it apart.
Erwin calls for the soldiers to retreat and Jean is among those who return alive, though the Scout Regiment loses over half of its veteran soldiers. Back in Trost District, Jean and Armin share a theory that Eren was the reason no Titans attacked them on the way back. Jean tells Eren that his rescue puts him in a tough spot. Whether those soldiers died for nothing will depend on him.
Some time later, Jean is selected to be a member of the new Levi Squad assigned to safeguard Eren and Historia. While the squad is stationed in their isolated forest cabin, Jean and Eren bicker again like old times in the Cadet Corps. There, Jean assists Levi, Hange, and their squads in overseeing Eren's Titan experiments.
However, Erwin Smith sends a message warning the cabin's inhabitants that the government is freezing all Scout activity outside the Walls and is demanding that Eren and Historia be handed over. Levi and Hange abandon the cabin with their squads, and Jean goes with Levi and his squad to Trost District where they hope to avoid the Military Police.
In anticipation of trouble, Jean reluctantly disguises himself as Eren while Armin does the same as Historia, to serve as a distraction and bait while the real Eren and Historia are transported separately. He and Armin are kidnapped by members of the Reeves Company, much to Jean's dismay, who did not want to serve as Eren's body double a second time. When the rest of the squad arrives though, they manage to subdue their kidnappers.
Shortly after, Jean and the others hear the sound of gunshots and go to investigate. They spot the wagon carrying an unconscious Eren and Historia with Levi in pursuit. To Jean's shock, there is another soldier tailing Levi, who aims a gun at his captain. Levi kills the soldier and orders his squad to chase the wagon and kill their opponents, given the chance. Jean is disturbed by the order, but takes control of the wagon with Armin, on Levi's command. When Mikasa knocks over the soldier driving the wagon, Jean tells her not to move, rather than taking the opportunity to kill. This gives her the opportunity she needs to knock away his blade. However, Armin shoots her before she can kill Jean, and Levi and Sasha pull the two of them to safety before the rest of Kenny's special unit can finish them.
Back in the warehouse where Jean and Armin had been held hostage, the squad discusses what happened. Jean can see how distraught Armin is over having killed the other soldier, and he apologizes for not having killed her himself. He also tells Levi that he thought it was wrong to kill other people, but now he realizes it was he who was wrong. Next time, he will shoot.
When Dimo Reeves tricks two Military Police of the First Interior Squad to come with him to a remote cabin, Jean and other members of Levi Squad take them hostage at gunpoint. Jean and the rest of the squad listen uncomfortably to the screams as Levi and Hange conduct their interrogation. When the two are through, Jean and the others are informed that Eren and Historia are likely being held near Rod Reiss, and will likely be eaten soon.
After the Scout Regiment is accused of trying to monopolize Eren's Titan powers, the government begins arresting all members of the organization. Jean and the rest of Squad Levi avoid being captured, and camp out in the woods outside of Stohess. Sasha warns them of approaching MPs, and the squad captures them.
While Levi interrogates the two, Jean listens carefully to what they have to say, taking note of Marlo Freudenberg's request to help the Scouts, and asks Levi to allow him to personally get rid of them. Resolving to test Marlo's desire to help, he takes them away from the squad and pulls a knife on them, before tripping and dropping it. Marlo takes the chance to pick up Jean's knife but Jean proceeds to pull a gun on him. Jean then makes a proposition: if Marlo places his trust in him and hands over the knife, he will believe that Marlo's wish to help the Scout Regiment is sincere. Marlo accepts and throws away the knife. However, Jean is then blindsided by Hitch, who smashes him in the head with a tree branch. Marlo stops her, and Jean tells them that Levi will accept them.
Thanks to Marlo and Hitch, Levi's squad manages to successfully destroy a Military Police checkpoint. The squad takes a hostage and Jean watches while Levi interrogates him. They are interrupted by the approach of soldiers, who turn out to be Hange and Moblit. They inform the squad that the Scout Regiment has been exonerated, and that they have a lead on Eren and Historia's whereabouts.
Jean takes part in the assault of the Underground Chapel against the Anti-Personnel Control Squad. He first shoots flares in order to keep Levi and Mikasa hidden, before jumping into action with his ODM gear. Unlike his hesitation back in Trost, Jean manages to kill his first human enemy by cutting his adversary's neck.
Levi's squad locates the cavern where Eren and Historia are, which is starting to collapse due to Rod Reiss transforming into a gigantic Titan. Jean helps unchain Eren while trying to explain the current situation to him. Just as Eren is freed, Jean and Levi pull Eren out of the way of a falling boulder. As they contemplate their options, Eren begins apologizing and doubting himself. Jean jokingly questions his abilities, but like the others, he waits for Eren to decide what action to take. Eren finally decides to transform into a Titan and believe in himself in order to save his friends.
After Eren transforms and hardens his body to hold the falling rocks, Jean helps Mikasa get Eren out of his hardened Titan body. The squad then begins to follow Rod's Titan, arriving in Orvud District to intercept it. As they arrive, Levi takes the opportunity to inform Historia of Erwin's plan to install her as queen, and although Jean protests, Historia agrees to it. Jean then attends the meeting to hear Erwin's plan to combat the Titan.
As Rod's Titan arrives at Wall Sina, Jean and the rest of the squad cover themselves in water to resist the Titan's intense heat. After destroying the Titan's hands to make it slump, Eren, in his Titan form, obliterates its head using concentrated gunpowder. Jean and his squad mates target chunks of the destroyed Titan's body, hoping to destroy Rod's human body within.
After Historia is crowned as the new queen, Jean and Squad Levi accompany her as she goes to find Levi so she can punch him. The squad tries to talk her down, but she punches the captain as soon as she sees him. Expecting Levi to retaliate, the squad is surprised when he reacts by smiling and thanking them.
Two months later, Jean, Armin, and Eren are talking on a farm that Historia uses as an orphanage. He tries to antagonize Eren, but is ignored. When Historia sees them, Jean tries to convince her to give them a break. She orders them to continue carrying boxes inside, causing him to compare her to his mother.
Days later he is in the barracks eating with other soldiers. He talks with Marlo about how happy he seems about transferring to the Scout Regiment even though he has never seen a Titan, just like other soldiers that did the same, and that the new Titan guillotine works, allowing the soldiers to retake Wall Maria. The conversation changes to Eren's memories and the nature of the Titans, remembering Ymir and Conny's mother. Jean tells Eren that he has to focus on remembering the man that his father met years ago. He again jokes with Eren, saying that he should be head-butted by the commandant, prompting Eren to recognize the man in his memories as the commandant.
In the morning, Jean goes with Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Levi, Hange, and Sasha to see the commandant. Jean sits inside a small house with the rest of the team except Sasha. He listens to the story about Grisha Jaeger and Keith Sadies without saying a word. Finally, after telling the whole story, Keith admits that he has no power and that he is just a bystander.
The night before the operation, the soldiers are having a special dinner in order to celebrate and prepare them for the operation. The dinner becomes crazier and crazier because of various reasons: first, Sasha gets mad after seeing all the meat, trying to eat it all, even biting Jean and punching Marlo.
After this, Jean explains Marlo why, as a rookie, he should be on the rear instead of on the front line, saying that he needs it in order to learn and survive long enough to train other soldiers. Jean uses Eren as an example of a useless and a suicidal soldier, who charges straight into the enemy. This enrages Eren and they start fighting and insulting with nobody stopping them. Jean shouts at Eren asking him how many times would he have died if he did not have those Titan powers and how many times would Mikasa have had to save him. The fight continues until Levi steps in and knocks them both, stopping the fight.
The next morning, Jean takes part in the operation to retake Wall Maria. After hearing the cheers of the civilians, he is one of the first that screams in joy. When the operation starts, he is with the rest of Levi Squad, riding towards Wall Maria.
On the way to Shiganshina, the soldiers are walking at night on foot through a forest on a mountain. Jean scolds Conny for calling Eren for his name, telling him he has to assume that there is an enemy around every corner. As he is speaking, Jean stumbles upon a Titan slumbering Titan and quickly alerts the rest of the scouts to it.
When they arrive at Shiganshina, Jean switches to his ODM gear at Erwin's orders. He is covered in a hood and a cloak just like the other soldiers, so Reiner and Bertholdt cannot discover which of the soldiers is Eren. After Eren seals the hole in Wall Maria, Jean's squad begins to return to Erwin, but stop and take up positions on the Wall before they can reach him after seeing him fire a signal flare. From there, they are able to watch as Reiner reveals himself to be hiding inside the Wall, and the Beast Titan reveals himself with an army of Titans.
As Eren engages Reiner in his Titan form, Jean and his squad wait alongside Hange's squad for an opportunity to attack. After Eren manages to maneuver Reiner into an area of town with tall buildings, Hange and Mikasa blind Reiner with their new Thunder Spears, which allows Jean and his fellow soldiers to destroy the armor covering Reiner's nape with their Thunder Spears. When Hange orders a second attack to destroy Reiner's nape, Jean notices Conny and Sasha hesitating, and pushes them to fight. After destroying Reiner's nape, Jean begins gloating to Reiner's body, but the sight of Conny and Sasha crying for Reiner causes him to tear up as well, though he desperately tries to convince them to cheer up. As he is yelling at them, Jean and his comrades are caught off guard by a roar from Reiner's Titan.
Having been informed by Armin of Bertholdt's approach, Hange orders Jean and his comrades to retreat before they are caught in the blast of Bertholdt's transformation. After retreating to a safe distance, Jean and his comrades watch as Armin goes to try to negotiate with Bertholdt. When negotiations fail and Bertholdt transforms to his Titan form, Jean and the rest of Squad Levi take cover behind Eren's Titan form to shield themselves from the blast. As Mikasa and Armin return, Jean learns that they have no idea whether Hange and their squad survived.
As Bertholdt begins to rampage through Shiganshina, Jean and his squadmates ask Armin to instruct them on what to do. However, Jean is unhappy with Armin's plan to retreat beyond the Wall and wait for Bertholdt to exhaust his energy, pointing out that Bertholdt will simply throw burning debris over the Wall where the horses and the commander's group are. Armin is overwhelmed by the pressure and passes leadership to Jean, but even though Jean acknowledges he can read their current situation, he will still help finding a way to get them out of this.
After sneaking around Bertholdt, Jean has Eren attempt to attract the Colossal Titan's attention away from the rest of the Scouts, but is surprised to see that Bertholdt is deliberately ignoring them. With no other option, Jean orders a direct attack on Bertholdt, despite protests from Conny and Sasha. As Eren approaches Bertholdt, Jean and his comrades spread out and watch as Eren attempts to push Bertholdt back. For a moment, it looks as though Eren has stopped Bertholdt's advance, but Jean and his teammates are horrified when Bertholdt calmly kicks Eren to the top of Wall Maria.
Jean recognizes this failure comes from their lack of plan, but that they do not have much of a choice. Humanity is on the verge of defeat, and he does not think they should go down without trying to defeat the Colossal Titan. He rallies his squad around him and plans to take advantage of the Thunder Spears, since the Colossal Titan is unaware of their properties. He joins Conny and Sasha in shouting insults at Bertholdt to get his attention so Mikasa can pierce his nape with the Thunder Spears. However, the Colossal Titan repels them with a blast of pressurized steam. Before Jean can formulate another attack, his group is stopped by the sight of the Armored Titan. Seeing that Reiner has once again recovered from his injuries, Jean begins to lose hope and turns to Armin for advice. After hearing Armin's theory about the Colossal Titan's weakness, Jean agrees to lead Squad Levi in an attack against Reiner while Armin goes to retrieve Eren.
As he leads Squad Levi toward Reiner, Jean orders his teammates to focus on Reiner and to trust Eren and Armin to stop Bertholdt. Jean orders his teammates to try to keep Reiner's attention, but when Reiner ignores them, Jean agrees with Mikasa that Reiner will have to be killed. As the squad only has three Thunder Spears left, Jean devises a plan to blow open Reiner's mouth with two, before firing the third into his mouth to blow him out of his Titan's nape. Jean acts as bait to distract Reiner while Sasha and Conny attack, but they are caught off guard when Reiner throws debris from nearby buildings at them. Jean is injured by the attack but remains conscious to witness Hange's return and Reiner's defeat at Mikasa's hands.
As Jean's injuries are treated by Mikasa, Jean watches as Hange interrogates a captive Reiner. When Reiner refuses to give up any meaningful information, Hange decides to execute him, but Jean hurriedly argues that Reiner should be kept alive so that his Titan power can be taken away with the Titan injection. Hange's response, that Reiner is too dangerous to be kept alive, surprises Jean, who comments that Hange has never been the type to simply accept not understanding something. Swayed by Jean's words, Hange orders Mikasa to retrieve the serum from Levi so that they can use it, to Jean's relief.
As Jean and Hange discuss who should be given the serum, they are interrupted by Mikasa, who fires a signal flare, signaling that Reiner should be executed. As the flare rises into the air, Jean notices a quadrupedal Titan approaching Hange. Acting quickly, Jean manages to save Hange from being devoured but is unable to stop the Titan from rescuing Reiner and departing. As the Titan retreats, Jean angrily blames himself for letting Reiner escape death yet again, though Hange assures him it was their choice, thus Hange's mistake.
He comes to the rooftop with Hange and Conny, who carries Sasha on his back. Jean is shocked after seeing Erwin and Armin, both half-dead and lying unconsciously. Then he and his comrades observe debate over who receives the serum. When Levi proclaims that he is going to inject Erwin, Jean leaves the roof with the others, crying and saying his goodbye to his comrade. However, Levi finally decides to give Armin the serum instead. Jean and his fellow soldiers see Armin's mindless Titan form devouring Bertholdt. They later help Armin with getting out of his Titan body.
Jean joins Conny, Hange, Mikasa and Floch in searching survivors in Shiganshina while Eren and Levi stay with Armin and Sasha. After receiving a signal to return to the other survivors, Jean informs Armin that they have not been able to find anyone else in the four hours since the battle ended.
After returning home victorious, Jean accompanies Hange to deliver Ymir's letter to Historia. He then attends a meeting where he and the rest of the surviving Scouts are debriefed by Military generals and Historia.
Jean is later seen awaiting an honorary ceremony with his fellow soldiers. When Hitch arrives, Jean tries to tell her that Marlo died with honor, but Floch tells her that he most likely regretted his choice in his final moments. Jean is left appalled by Floch's insensibility. He is later honored by Historia with the other Shiganshina survivors.
A year passes and the use of the Executioner from Hell clears Wall Maria from all Titans. Jean is among the Scouts to lead a scouting mission beyond Wall Maria, and finds a Titan whose limbs were so small that it can only crawl. He is among the Scouts that arrive at the ocean, amazed that the water was actually salty.
Jean is an exceptionally level-headed individual, able to see the big picture and make tactically wise decisions when it counts. It was these traits that earned Jean his rank as 6th best among the 104th Cadet Corps.
Omni-directional mobility gear
Jean is highly adept at using omni-directional mobility gear, being able to maneuver well even on open terrain, which is considered extremely difficult. He has also shown his capability in being able to attack and slay Titans efficiently even without his proper equipment and can successfully maneuver around them in order to directly attack their nape or simply avoid them. He is one of the best soldiers in the 104th training corps with the Maneuvering Gear.
- Marco Bodt - Since their days as cadets, Marco had been Jean’s closest friend and confidant. Jean would occasionally mock Marco for his idealistic reasons for joining the Military Police, insisting that the only reason anyone would join would be for the safety and comfort. Despite this, it was Marco who encouraged him to accept his abilities as a leader, and his death at Trost had a life-altering impact on Jean.
- Eren Jaeger - Jean and Eren initially share a fierce rivalry which stems from their differing viewpoints: while Jean sees Eren’s eagerness to join the Scout Regiment as suicidal and foolish, Eren sees Jean’s desire of joining the Military Police as cowardly and selfish. It was actually Jean’s desire to outdo Eren that would push him to improve himself during training. Despite their bitter rivalry, which would occasionally turn violent, Jean also respects Eren to a certain degree, admitting that he lacks the latter’s courage. Upon realizing Eren’s potential as a Titan and the hope he represents for mankind, Jean sets aside his enmity for Eren.
- Mikasa Ackermann - Jean has had a huge crush on Mikasa ever since he met her, and admires her beautiful black hair, although Mikasa has more or less remained indifferent to Jean. During casual conversation, Jean tends to blush and stutter around Mikasa and immediately jumped to her rescue when a Titan threatened her. Despite his crush, Jean does not sympathize with Mikasa’s devotion to Eren, stating that most people do not share her willingness to throw their lives away for him. It was this same devotion that partially fueled Jean’s resentment of Eren. It is implied that he continues to harbor feelings for Mikasa, as he lost his composure when he saw a Titan had grabbed her, and furiously attacked it head-on in order to save her.
- Armin Arlelt - Although Jean was initially put off by Armin’s dedication to Eren, the two eventually manage to find common ground in their similarly rational natures. Jean and Armin often share complex conversations of morality, strategy, and the problems at hand. While Jean usually takes a more humanistic stand, Armin will often defend a more pragmatic point of view. Despite their differences, Jean and Armin gradually become friends.
- Hajime Isayama has said his favorite character is Jean.
- According to Isayama, if the 104th Cadet Corps had an arm wrestling competition, Jean would be evenly matched with Eren Jaeger.
- "Jean" is the French variant of "John," meaning "Blessed by God."
- When feeling great confliction, Jean has a habit of tightly clenching his fist and staring at it intently.
- In the second OVA, the intro is heavily edited to show Jean as the main character, with Eren, Mikasa, and Armin as supporting characters.
- Jean is one of eight characters to have his own character song. The others being Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Reiner, Bertholdt, Levi and Erwin. Jean's song is called Rusty Honesty.