|Scout Regiment Commanders|
|◄ Preceded by|| 12th|
|Followed by ►|
|Yes... Normal people accomplish nothing... Special people do exist. This just means I was never one of them.|
|— Keith admits his own shortcomings|
Keith Sadies (キース・シャーディス Kīsu Shādisu?) is the head commandant (教官 Kyōkan?) of the 104th Cadet Corps. He is in charge of their training and evaluation to become soldiers. He is the former Commander of the Scout Regiment, being the direct predecessor of Erwin Smith.
Keith is a tall and intimidating man. He is bald, with prominent wrinkles on his forehead and dark circles around his eyes. He has a small beard growing from under his chin. He is only ever seen wearing the standard commandant's uniform for the Cadet Corps.
In the past, Keith had a head of short brown hair and a much more youthful face, lacking the wrinkles and bags under his eyes that he would later develop. He also kept his face clean shaven before ascending to the Scout Regiment's commander. He wore the standard Scouts uniform while on duty, and his civilian attire consisted of a dark jacket over a button-up shirt, and dark pants. After becoming commander, Keith's hair became more unkempt, and he began to grow a thin beard along his jaw.
In his youth, Keith is shown to be fascinated with the world beyond the Walls. It is this fascination that drives him to join the Scout Regiment, and leads to him developing a very self-righteous personality, often referring to himself as being "different" from everyone else within the Walls. This aspect of his personality is only strengthened after he meets Grisha Jaeger, whose high praise for Keith leads him to begin considering himself a special "chosen" human being. Because of this, Keith begins to look down on others, always considering himself the smartest person in any given situation, and reject new strategies from his soldiers as he feels his own ideas are adequate.
Over time, however, Keith's repeated failures as Commander of the Scout Regiment, compared to the successes of some of his subordinates, cause him to come to the conclusion that he is not one of the "chosen" people, and he eventually is forced to admit his failures while presenting the remains of one of his soldiers to a grieving mother. Keith chooses to step down from his position so that someone more qualified will be able to guide humanity to victory. Keith then became a commandant for the Military, claiming he chose to become one as penance for all of the soldiers who died under his command, although Hange Zoë theorizes that he only did so because he wanted to run away from his failures.
As a commandant, Keith deliberately presents himself as imposing, strict and frightening, and because of this most of the cadets from the 104th Cadet Corps remain wary of misbehaving around him. He shouts and commands at the top of his voice, putting the cadets into submission and fear.
He is observant and has the ability to discern the character traits of other people by their expressions, mannerisms, actions and abilities, as shown when he gives a character analysis of some of the cadets of the 104th Cadet Corps.
Keith met Grisha Jaeger in the year 832 outside of Wall Maria by Shiganshina District's gate. Bringing the man back to Shiganshina with him, Keith was forced to imprison Grisha, as it was illegal for citizens to venture into Titan territory. After Grisha was released from prison without charges, Keith promised to teach him about the world inside the Walls.
In a bar, Keith explained the lifestyle that the citizens of the Walls led. Although Grisha was suitably impressed with the lives that the Walls' citizens led, Keith insisted that Grisha was wrong to be happy with what humanity had within the Walls, as there was an entire world beyond that they were unable to access. Grisha was intrigued as to whether these beliefs were what drove Keith to join the Scout Regiment, and although Keith confirmed that they were, he admitted that all the Scouts have done is remind humans why they should be afraid of the Titans. Grisha, impressed by Keith's words, began to praise him for his work, and is overheard by a barmaid named Carla, who began to chastise Keith of trying to recruit more people to the Scout Regiment. Keith was left stunned by Grisha's response to her: that he would not join the Scout Regiment even if offered, as it required special people.
Taking Grisha's words to heart, Keith developed an attitude of superiority. As the Scouts' failures continued to pile up, he began to feel that if he were to become the Scouts' Commander, he would achieve unprecedented results.
When an epidemic broke out in Shiganshina, Carla and her family were among those that were stricken by it. Upon discovering her, Keith brought her to Grisha, who announced that he had developed a cure for the disease. Keith helped Grisha administer the cure to his patients, but noticed during his work that Grisha and Carla had become closer.
Keith later attended the wedding of Grisha and Carla, leaving early in the ceremony.
Returning from another failed expedition, Keith was forced to listen as crowds of onlookers insulted him for always staying alive while other soldiers had died, and comparing his failures to Erwin's successes. Carla, observing their return, called out to Keith from the crowd, introducing her child to him. She asked if he would keep doing this until the day he died. Snapping, Keith began to rant that ordinary, worthless people like her would never understand why he did what he did, as they were incapable of thinking of anything beyond their own lives.
Commander Keith Sadies holds a meeting with the section commanders of the Scout Regiment, where Flagon expresses disapproval over Keith's decision to train Levi, Furlan Church, and Isabel Magnolia. Flagon argues that it would be bad for morale if trained soldiers are treated in the same manner as criminals. Erwin vouches for their skills and Keith supports his assessment, adding that Erwin's new formation will also help them avoid Titans and reduce their losses. Keith agrees that their new recruits lack discipline, but believes they should be able to learn quickly enough.
He then introduces Levi, Isabel, and Furlan to the members of the Scout Regiment and assigns them to Flagon's squad, despite the latter's objection.
On a carriage ride back to headquarters, Keith informs Erwin that the delayed budget for the next expedition has been approved. An assembly member, Nicholas Lovof, suddenly switched his vote. Noting Erwin's lack of surprise, Keith asks if he has done something underhanded to cause this. Erwin informs him he has evidence that Lovof favors a company that supplies the Military Police and wishes to reallocate the Scout Regiment's funding to them.
As Keith leaves the carriage, he inquiries about Erwin's plans, and Erwin requests that he not ask any further questions. Keith refrains, but notes that Erwin is placing himself in a precarious position, a position that Erwin finds necessary and defends by placing the future of humanity on it. Taken aback, Keith regards those words as Erwin leaves.
In the year 845, the Scout Regiment returns through Shiganshina District after a failed expedition outside the Walls. Keith's surviving troops trudge through the town in defeat, most injured, and are observed from a distance by a young Eren and Mikasa. The mother of one of his fallen soldiers comes to him to inquire about her son. He presents the elderly woman with what little remains of him, only but an arm. Horrified and in tears, she asks him if he served well and aided humanity's cause even in the least bit, forcing him to break down as well and admit that all their missions have ended in failure and that he has nothing to show for all the deaths under his command.
Broken by this latest example of his failure as a commander, and forced to finally admit that he is not one of the "special people" Grisha referred to, Keith resolves to resign as commander. He names Erwin as his successor.
That night, after Wall Maria's breach, Keith is located by Grisha, who asks him to help him find his family. Frantic to find Carla so that he can apologize for what he said to her the last time they met, Keith is left devastated when Grisha locates Eren, and Eren reveals that Carla has been eaten. Grisha begins to take Eren into the woods, saying that he must avenge Carla, but Keith insists that Grisha should not place such a burden on Eren, as the child might not be special like him. Grisha tells Keith that being his son makes Eren different from him, and orders him not to get involved.
Minutes pass when Keith unexpectedly hears thunder from the direction Grisha went with Eren, prompting him to venture into the forest to find them. He finds Eren lying unconscious with no sign of Grisha. He brings Eren back to the shelter to rest with Mikasa and Armin.
He is next seen two years later, having left his command and now serving as a commandant of the 104th Cadet Corps. He goes around intimidating and frightening cadet after cadet, asking them their names and place of origin. Other commandants note this as "rite of passage," meant to break cadets down so that they can become stronger. He ignores a few cadets like Eren, Mikasa, Annie, Bertholdt, and Reiner as he is able to read, from their faces, the terror they had undergone. He roughly turns Armin around with his hand, asking the third line to turn around and watch him as he proceeds. After hearing that Jean wanted to join the Military Police, he gives him a head butt, making him fall down. He attacks Marco telling him how he would be a very good servant for the King. When Conny performs the salute with his left hand, he picks him up, holds his head and stretches his eyes and asks him if his heart was on the right side.
He sees Sasha Braus eating a potato and walks over to her demanding to know the reason she was eating it at a time like that. When offered a piece of the potato, Keith orders her either to skip lunch or do laps until she was on the verge of death. She accepts the latter.
Next day, Keith supervises and instructs the cadets regarding the basic aptitude test, which involved swinging upright with ropes tied to their waists. If they failed at it, they would be sent to work in fields. When Eren was unable to balance himself correctly, he commands him to keep his upper body up. Eren still was not able to pull it off, so he gave him a second chance the next day.
On the next day, Eren was momentarily able to remain upright, after which he swings over upside down and hits his head. Keith claims to notice that something is off and presumes that Eren's equipment might be faulty, asking Thomas Wagner to switch belts with Eren. Eren is easily able to pull it off after that and he praises him for having managed as he did even with a broken belt. Keith muses that Grisha's son has finally become a soldier.
Later, he supervises and instructs the cadets regarding further training involving horse riding, hand-to-hand combat, mobility gear, etc. He is seen commanding and criticizing Armin for his lack of stamina and observes as Reiner helps Armin to carry his load and soon enough, Armin refuses to be helped and proceeds confidently. He keenly observes the characters of each of his cadets and analyses the strengths of the squad.
He notes the following regarding some of his cadets:
- Reiner Braun - Stalwart in both mind and body, and well-respected by his comrades.
- Armin Arlelt - Although lacking in physical strength, his aptitude in the classroom is extraordinary.
- Annie Leonhart - Her slice attacks are absolutely flawless, but her reclusive tendencies make her a poor fit for coordinated efforts.
- Bertholdt Hoover - He possesses remarkable potential, but lacks aggressiveness.
- Jean Kirschtein - Top-class omni-directional mobility. But his volatile personality tends to cause friction with others.
- Conny Springer - He excels at executing quick turns, but is also a bit dim-witted.
- Sasha Braus - She has unconventionally good intuition, but also demonstrates poor teamwork as a result.
- Mikasa Ackermann - Completely proficient in every area. It's apt to say she's an unmatched, unprecedented genius.
- Eren Jaeger - He has no real specialties, but he's improved his grades with his unparalleled effort. And he possesses twice the sense of purpose than anyone else.
In the year 848, Keith sends two groups of cadets on a wilderness exercise to teach them to sustain themselves in times of peace. After the mission, Armin delivers him a report of their run-in with a group of thieves during the exercise. When asked by Armin if he thinks they were right to pursue the thieves rather than return to report them, Keith simply tells him that the right choice was whatever was the most important to them.
In the year 849, Keith has the cadets participate in a mock defense drill in Trost District. When Dot Pyxis puts together a cooking contest so that two of the cadets can settle their differences peacefully, Keith serves as an announcer for the contest.
When Rod and Historia Reiss trigger an incapacitated Eren's memories, Keith is among the flashing images, where Eren sees the moment when Grisha found him among the fleeing crowd after the fall of Wall Maria.
Recognizing Keith in his father's memories, Eren and his comrades pay Keith a visit at the training grounds. Bringing them inside to speak, Keith notes that he barely recognizes any of his former cadets. Levi likewise notes that Keith has changed much in the five years since he stepped down as commander of the Scouts. Keith sullenly notes that he was the first commander to step down rather than die, and notes that this might have been the one decision of merit that he made in his entire career as commander. Keith notes that Eren looks just like his mother, which prompts Eren to ask Keith to reveal everything he knows. Keith obliges, but cautions that nothing he knows will be of any benefit to humanity. He then recounts his experiences with Eren's parents, beginning with his discovery of Grisha outside of the Walls, and ending on the night of Wall Maria's breach.
Once he has finished his story, Hange angrily chastises Keith for becoming a commandant for "childish" reasons, and for withholding information from the Scouts, but Eren stops the criticism, admitting that Keith was right in his assessment that Eren is not special, and is only related to someone who is special. Eren's words move Keith, who tells Eren of something Carla once told him: that in her opinion, Eren does not have to be better than anyone in order to be special. He is special simply for being born into the world.
As his guests leave, Keith visits the section of the training grounds where new cadets' aptitude for omni-directional mobility gear is tested, and reminisces on his failed attempt to sabotage Eren's entrance into the Military.
- Grisha Jaeger - During an expedition outside the Walls, Keith found Grisha walking around with no horse or equipment. He was shocked to learn that Grisha did not know of the Scout Regiment or anything about the ways of life inside the Walls. He brought him inside, teaching him of the life people lived in the Walls. Together at a bar, Grisha told Keith that he was a special, chosen man, which gave him a great sense of confidence. When Grisha claimed that he remembered he was a doctor, Keith put him to work at a hospital where he later brought Carla, begging Grisha to heal her. This later resulted in Grisha and Carla's marriage, which generated feelings of jealousy and sadness in Keith. When Wall Maria fell, Keith implored Grisha not to get Eren to exact his revenge for Carla, saying he may not be special. In the later years, Keith held feelings of resentment toward Grisha for making him think he was special, and he then turned over his position as Commander to Erwin Smith.
- Carla Jaeger - It was hinted that Keith had strong feelings for her. During their youth, he frequently visited her store, and quickly brought her to Doctor Jaeger when she fell ill. When she was cured, she hugged Grisha with great gratitude and Keith displayed a shocked expression at the scene. During Carla and Grisha's wedding, Keith sadly watched the new spouses from the distance and left the venue in silence. During his return from an expedition, Carla expressed her worry about Keith's activities in the Scout Regiment, and he rudely accused her of being a worthless individual who ingratiated every man she saw by pouring them drinks and that she was too ordinary to ever understand what great deeds were. However, after hearing the news of the invasion of Shiganshina, he regretted his words and wanted to apologize, but collapsed when Eren informed him that she had been eaten by a Titan. In respect for her, he tried to prevent Eren from joining the military after he enlisted in the 104th Cadet Corps by sabotaging his equipment, in order to save his life, but changed his mind after witnessing Eren's determination.
- According to Hajime Isayama, he remains single because he does not believe he deserves happiness after so many soldiers died under his command.
- Keith was the first commander of the Scout Regiment to ever name a successor and step down before being killed.