|Two brothers are going to remake the world. I just want to have a good view of the action.|
|— Yelena to Commander Pixis|
Yelena (イェレナ Yerena?) is the leader of the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers working under Zeke Yeager. She was one of the Marleyan soldiers on board the first survey fleet to Paradis Island after Marley's failed attack operation.
Yelena is a very tall woman with her blonde hair styled in a short bob with straight bangs. She has large black eyes, thick eyelashes and somewhat androgynous features due to her build and style. She also sports a chinstrap beard, which is later revealed to be fake. Originally, Yelena wore the standard Marleyan military uniform, but after disaffiliating she began wearing a casual white button-down with a dark blazer and pants.
Yelena is a fervent follower of Zeke Yeager, holding great admiration and respect for him. She is usually calm and collected, her demeanor remaining unchanged even when Jean Kirstein yelled at her for failing to see her job through. Nonetheless, she is willing to take responsibility and apologizes should she fail in her task. Yelena appears to maintain a very relaxed demeanor while having dry, humorous undertones to much of her actions.
Many have noted that Yelena is somewhat deranged in her zealotry; if any of her comrades are thought to be working against their goals or insult those whom they are ultimately trying to save, Yelena will come forth and kill them without hesitation. It can also be argued that she is a sociopath, basking in the destruction of numerous airships and countless people while smiling and on the verge of tears.
Born into an unassuming family in Marley, Yelena eventually became disillusioned with her own country. After meeting Zeke Yeager, Yelena concocted a plan to solidify herself in history by assisting Zeke in saving the world.
As part of her narrative, Yelena created a false background for herself, claiming that her homeland was invaded and conquered by Marley. She was forcibly drafted as a soldier to fight in the Marleyan military, where she met similar-minded soldiers and organized them into the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers to fight against Marley.
During the early stages of the Marley Mid-East War, Yelena and her comrades were placed in a situation where they completely lost their will to rebel against Marley. However, Zeke Yeager saved them from the clutches of death, rejuvenating their fighting spirit, and inspiring Yelena. She also becomes a devoted follower of Zeke, to the extent where she considers him a God. She and her group joined with Zeke and begin planning a rebellion in earnest.
As she works with Zeke, she and the other members of the Volunteers are notified by Zeke of his half-brother Eren, who has possession of two Titan abilities. Expressing a desire to see him, Yelena volunteers to go to Paradis Island as part of the crew serving aboard a survey ship. In 851, the ship arrives at Paradis and is promptly captured and beached by Eren's Titan form; soon, she and her fellow soldiers are confronted by Hange Zoë, offering to negotiate with them. When her commanding officer refuses to listen, Yelena promptly kills him and, along with Onyankopon, accepts Hange's offer to talk. As they prepare to disembark, Yelena gazes up at Eren's Titan, stating that she has been wanting to meet him for some time.
Meeting with Hange and Levi Ackerman, Yelena and Onyankopon allow the two to inspect their weapons, explaining that Marley has not yet launched a full assault on Paradis Island due to a war they are currently caught in. Hange guesses that Yelena and her comrades are sleeper agents who have infiltrated the Marleyan army, but Yelena explains to them that they are simply conscripted soldiers who have chosen to rally around Zeke Yeager in opposition of Marley as the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers. Forming an alliance with Paradis Island, Yelena and her comrades begin sharing their technology with the islanders, and prepare to fight back against Marley.
Around one year later, the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers arrange a meeting between Paradis and the Azumabito family to discuss an alliance. While waiting for the family to arrive, Yelena gets a chance to see Eren. She is ecstatic to finally meet him, and despite not being allowed to interact with him, declares that it will be a good day. As the Azumabito family arrives, Yelena calls Mikasa Ackerman's attention to their appearances, explaining that they resemble Mikasa's mother because they are related to her.
While attending a banquet to celebrate the opening of the rail system in Trost District, Yelena's personal guard is abruptly changed, being replaced by Floch Forster. This allows her to slip away unnoticed and meet with Eren in private. Both having grown impatient with the military's perceived lack of urgency, they easily come to an agreement that something needs to be done to stir up the military and push it to action; she mentions to Eren the basic premise of Zeke's plan and states that he wishes to speak with Eren about it in greater detail. At about the same time, Yelena began distancing herself from the other Volunteers and arranged with Zeke to have numerous bottles of wine mixed with his spinal fluid sent aboard the survey ships to Paradis. She meets with Niccolo and tells him the wine being brought in are to be distributed and given to all those the military, especially the more senior members and leaders.
In 854, after their forces receive word that Eren Yeager is planning on launching a full-scale attack on Marley, Yelena is among the forces Paradis Island dispatches to retrieve him. Using a fake beard to disguise her appearance, she pretends to be a Marleyan soldier from the Lakua military base in the west and arrives at the Warriors' seating area during Willy Tybur's production. Declaring that Magath called for them, she asks that Pieck, Galliard, and Zeke follow her. Soon after, she sends Zeke off in another direction while continuing to lead the other Warriors. They stop temporarily when Pieck suddenly hugs one of the Panzer Unit soldiers that they meet on the way. She leads them into a room, where she traps the two in a hole.
At the end of the Raid on Liberio, she joins the rest of the Survey Corps on the airship. Standing in a room along with Zeke, Eren Yeager, Armin Arlert, Levi, and Mikasa Ackerman, she takes her fake goatee off when Levi asks her to, commenting how people seemed to like it. They are soon joined by Jean Kirstein, who brought the recently captured Gabi Braun and Falco Grice. Jean yells at her for not carrying out her duty of locking up the Jaw and Cart Titan, causing more soldiers than necessary to die, for which she accepts responsibility.
After returning to Paradis, Yelena and her fellow Volunteers turn over a stock of Titan serums they managed to steal from Marley to the Garrison. After receiving the serums, Dot Pixis has his soldiers capture the Volunteers, revealing that Paradis is not willing to trust Zeke and his followers yet. Yelena is unconcerned with the betrayal, confidently declaring that the Volunteers and the Eldians will soon dine at the same table.
After some time in confinement, Yelena receives a visit from Pixis. She notes that the view is nice, but sarcastically notes that it would be nicer without the bars on her windows. Pixis acknowledges that Eldia is in their debt for all the Volunteers have done for them, before noting the seemingly great lengths Yelena has gone to appear trustworthy. Pixis produces a report and reveals that Eren started acting without authorization roughly ten months prior, around the same time that Yelena attended an event in Trost District near his residence. He also makes note of the fact that the guard for her that day had been Floch Forster, who was part of the group arrested for leaking Eren's confinement to the press. Yelena seems surprised at this as Pixis goes to the table in her room and sits down.
Yelena quickly admits to meeting with Eren, apologizing for keeping the meeting a secret. She claims that she only met with Eren to persuade him to do something that forces the military into action, but Pixis points out that she could have just talked to the military directly. He accuses her of trying to influence Eren to Zeke's will, but Yelena passionately argues that she did not, and that she only wanted to meet Eren out of curiosity due to his unique traits as the Founding Titan and as Zeke's brother. Revealing that none of the other Volunteers were aware of her meeting with Eren, Yelena claims that she only wants what is best for Eldia. Pixis remains unconvinced, telling her that she is a terrible liar.
After the military's officials learn that they have unwittingly been drinking Zeke's spinal fluid, many of them defect to the Yeagerists so that they will not be turned into Titans. As a result, Pixis is forced to surrender unconditionally to the Yeagerists, and is brought to speak with Yelena. Yelena begins the meeting by reminding Pixis of her promise that the military and the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers would soon dine with each other again. She remarks how glad she is that Pixis ordered no resistance to their demands and agreed to meet with her, but Pixis points out that he is only complying because his hand has been forced. He goes on to remark that the Yeagerists' strategy of marking Eldians who were quicker to join their side is strikingly similar to Marley's systems of oppression, but Yelena is unfazed by the comparison; she stares at Pixis and reminds him that they refused to join the Volunteers, lamenting that the world would already be saved were it not for the military's overly-cautious nature. Pixis is confused by her statement, pointing out that releasing the Colossus Titans would only save Paradis, but Yelena refuses to clarify her statement. Instead, she glares at Pixis and condemns him for trying to have Zeke killed, promising that she will punish the Eldians of Paradis for their actions.
She then travels to the cell holding the captured Survey Corps soldiers and again regrets that they are meeting behind bars again. Yelena takes offense when Griez begins insulting the memory of Sasha Blouse and promptly shoots him when he calls her a filthy whore and an island devil. She apologizes for his rudeness and, pulling up a chair, decides to reveal the specifics behind the euthanasia plan. She begins to glorify how Eren and Zeke will be spoken of as symbols for thousands of years, and is glad to hear Armin state that he was moved by her words. Just then, Yelena is shocked to hear from a Yeagerist that someone managed to infiltrate their ranks. Going to meet Eren on top of the building, she is surprised to see Pieck and Gabi with him; as they are led to the edge of the roof, Yelena shares with Eren how he should not trust Pieck. As Yelena signals to the Yeagerists to get ready to fire if needed, the rooftop cracks and Galliard's Jaw Titan appears in front of them. Yelena is at a loss for words as she then notices several blimps from Marley arrive at their location. Yelena pleads with Eren to exit his Titan form and flee to safety underground. Eren ignores her and goes on to pursue the Warriors, and Yelena orders that the Yeagerists' forces be mobilized to protect him.
As they watch the ensuing battle from the headquarters, Yelena and her compatriots are stunned to see the tide of the battle rapidly turning in Marley's favor. Yelena is horrified to see the Warrior Titans slowly triumphing over Eren and is overjoyed when Zeke arrives to aid Paradis's forces. Yelena is thrilled by the sight of Zeke destroying the Marleyan airships, and continues to watch the battle as the newly freed members of the Survey Corps arrive on the roof to join the battle. As Jean ponders why Zeke is here in Shiganshina, Yelena forms a smile and states that he must have defeated both Hange and Levi to reach them. After hearing Armin dismiss Connie's concerns and that they have to team up with the Yeagerists to help the plan succeed, Yelena gazes intensely at him only to smile and ask that they save Eren.
As the battle continues to rage, Eren eventually makes contact with Zeke, allowing him to take full control of the Founding Titan and manifesting a massive new Titan body while awakening the Colossus Titans hidden within the Walls to being the Rumbling. Aghast at what is happening, Yelena inquires on the fate of Zeke as Eren prepares his assault on the outside world. The Titans created by Zeke begin swarming the military's headquarters. As the other Volunteers panic, Yelena is left dumbfounded as to why Zeke is not controlling his Titans. After the Titans around the headquarters are killed, Floch arrives and arrests Yelena and the other volunteers.
Because of Yelena's knowledge of Zeke's plan to euthanize the Eldians, she is sentenced to death. As Floch and Jean prepare to publicly execute her and Onyankopon, Yelena sullenly refuses to give any final words when offered. However, she, Onyankopon and Jean are kidnapped by the Cart Titan before her sentence can be carried out. They are then taken outside the district to Hange, Levi, and Magath. Jean reveals that he has decided to side with Marley. Yelena asks him why she was brought along and Hange informs her that Magath requested she be brought to him.
Later that night Magath tries to get Yelena to reveal where Eren will go first, pointing out that she was the one who would have given Eren knowledge of the mainland. Yelena refuses to help Magath, perplexing everyone at her refusal to disclose information which would help save her homeland, and Pieck reveals that Yelena is in fact Marleyan. Yelena begins trying to turn the Marleyans and the Eldians against each other, reminding them of the crimes they have committed against each other. She talks about how Reiner Braun broke the Wall causing many of the Eldians inside to die by being devoured by Titans, she then talks about how Annie Leonhart killed many members of the Survey Corps, afterwards she criticizes Armin and the way someone so sensible would recklessly destroy the Marleyan naval port using his Colossus Titan. After a few more remarks and seeing that she is not convincing the group, she finally manages to strike a nerve with Jean by reminding him of Marco Bott's death at the hands of Reiner and Annie, causing Jean to attack Reiner in a fit of rage.
The next day the group travels to Paradis' harbor but finds it overrun with Yeagerists. As Hange and Magath are observing the harbor they discover that Eren's Titans have most likely already reached Marley. Enraged, Magath begins torturing Yelena for information about Eren's whereabouts, breaking her arm in the process. Terrified, Yelena agrees to tell Magath where Eren is if he lets her live. Afterwards, Onyankopon builds a makeshift sling for Yelena's arm.
Whilst the Armored and Female Titans along with the Survey Corp members engage the Yeagerists, Yelena sits on top of the Cart Titan's back and is carried to the Azumabito's ship as they prepare to depart. After boarding, she along with the rest of the group are surprised to see a captured Marleyan cruiser explode after Magath chose to stay behind.
After waking up from her fever, Yelena reveals she had discussed the Global Allied Fleet's military capabilities with Eren. Rather than the fleet, what worried her was the flying boat research base at Fort Salta. Yelena suspects that will be Eren's next target, to destroy the flying boats that could potentially be a threat. In return for cooperating, she asks those present to admit that Zeke's euthanization plan was right, to which Hange agrees.
Yelena is later evacuated to a lifeboat with the rest of the ship's inhabitants so that Falco can transform into the Jaw Titan.
- Zeke Yeager - Yelena holds Zeke in high regard and sees him as a god after saving her life during the Marley Mid-East War. She follows his commands without question, believing he is the one to save the world, and after Zeke was defeated and betrayed by Eren, Yelena continues to believe that Zeke's euthanasia plan was the only way to do it.
- Onyankopon - One of the other high ranked members of the Volunteers, Yelena has a stable relationship with Onyankopon. Occasionally, though, Onyankopon is surprised and disturbed by Yelena's methods and her devotion to Zeke.
- Eren Yeager - After hearing from Zeke about the existence of his half brother Eren, Yelena harbored a desire to see him due to holding more than one Titan ability, including that of the Founding Titan. She held Eren in as high regards as Zeke, calling him a god and a future symbol that people will look to for thousands of years. However, Yelena's trust and faith in Eren evaporated after she witnessed his betrayal to Zeke and the start of the Rumbling.
- Dot Pixis - Initially, Yelena had displayed some level of respect towards Commander Pixis despite him ordering the Volunteers arrested. The feeling was mutual, though Pixis had begun to harbor some slight distrust towards her. Their relationship became hostile after Yelena discovered the plan put forth by Pixis and the military to have Zeke killed immediately after he set foot on Paradis and had treated him with disdain, mocking Pixis's decision to not align with the Volunteers.
- Yelena ranked twenty-seventh in the Fourth Character Popularity Poll.
- Yelena shares a birthday with Ackerman and Lisa Blouse.
- At 190 cm, Yelena is the tallest female character in the series.
- Yelena is the Anglicized form of "Jelena" which is, in turn, a Slavic derivation of a Greek name "Helénē" (Ἑλένη).