silkycuttle: (Default)
silkycuttle ([personal profile] silkycuttle) wrote in [community profile] snk2014-08-08 12:29 am

WEEKLY META: Levi

A different character or plot/setting point will be posted each week for meta discussion. This week:

Levi!

Discussion can be on anything, so long as it's at least tangentially related to the weekly topic. Reply to the first comment to vote on what next week's topic should be.

Spoilers should be warned for, but are allowed. Creating your own posts on whatever meta you wish, your own or reccing someone else's, is still highly encouraged.

(Anonymous) 2014-08-08 02:25 am (UTC)(link)
I'd totally fuck him.

(Anonymous) 2014-08-08 02:39 am (UTC)(link)
I'd like him more if it weren't for the fandom. Too often I see fangirls who love Levi for the same reasons they hate Mikasa. They're both really great characters; why can't we agree on that?

(Anonymous) 2014-08-08 02:45 am (UTC)(link)
Yes, both of them are amazing characters.

I ignore the great bulk of the fandom because, well. I suspect that the dudebro segments also idolize Levi and despise Mikasa.
blitzwing: ([Attack on Titan] mikasa)

[personal profile] blitzwing 2014-08-09 12:08 am (UTC)(link)
Too often I see fangirls who love Levi for the same reasons they hate Mikasa

Why do people love Levi though? (Not saying that as a hater, I am just genuinely curious what it is about him that makes him so many people's favorite character).

(Anonymous) 2014-08-09 01:24 am (UTC)(link)
It's the whole stoic, badass "humanity's strongest" thing, I suppose. But they hate it in Mikasa because it makes her an emotionless "Mary Sue."

(Anonymous) 2014-08-09 06:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Ugh, yeah, as in this stupid Reddit thread (http://www.reddit.com/r/ShingekiNoKyojin/comments/2cu52a/excellent_fan_comic_about_how_mikasa_feels_about/cjj327j).

And if she showed "her soft side," she'd be hated for being an emotional gurrrrllll.

(Anonymous) 2014-08-09 04:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Levi's not my favorite nowadays, what with him being practically everywhere and me wishing that he got less focus in the story. That being said, I did really like him upon his introduction (waaay back when I first read the manga) and I do think that he is fairly interesting though for me it hinges strongly upon with whom he interacts.

I do enjoy/am interested in his interactions with Mikasa, Hanji, Armin and Jean. Erwin's alright, too, but I don't love Levi/Erwin as much as many others in fandom.

Eren may be his most popular ship, but even on a purely platonic level I just don't feel their interactions, I guess? I don't feel they have much chemistry and I do get the vibe that many of their interactions in the past were more out of plot necessity (the protag and his mentor/handler) rather than even Isayama himself being all that interested in writing their relationship. Given how sparse their interactions have been so far in the new arc (despite them being so popular together), only seems like a confirmation of my theory. But this is all purely subjective, naturally, and me making pretty big assumptions about what the author is thinking.

I know that Levi is the SNK cash cow, so he might as well never die or not any time soon, but if he ever does, I've recently caught myself wondering if it wouldn't be by him sacrificing himself to save his new squad?
Sort of both as a kind of atonement to make up for why he chose them (not in the sense that he'll think so himself, but rather in the eyes of the readers) and because he keeps losing squads (his first one and then Hange's). The latter might be a case of fandom empathizing a coincidental pattern, though, rather than this being legitimate build up. I suppose in relation to my theory it might be also interesting to explore if he cares about any of his new squad (or will eventually) and how much?
In an older discussion one anon made the rather interesting observation that Levi is so used to suppressing his emotions that his cold facade his become a permanent feature of him and that at times, he himself might be kind of out of touch with his own feelings (or something like that). More about that?

behold the tl;dr

(Anonymous) 2014-08-09 07:50 pm (UTC)(link)
I disagree with you regarding Levi and Eren's interactions, and Isayama's interest in them. You could argue that he oversaw the development of Burning Brightly in the Forest of the Night simply because he wanted Ereri shippers' money, but this doesn't sound to me like a VN created only as a cynical cash grab:

http://settana.tumblr.com/post/76898524367/how-levi-sees-eren-official-vn

I don't agree with the OP that Levi normally expects strict, unthinking obedience of his subordinates; his interactions with Jean in ch. 59 suggest otherwise. That said, you can see his trust and understanding of Eren building throughout the month between the tribunal and the 57th Expedition. It culminates in the forest scene when Levi does not order Eren to follow the squad rather than shift into titan form. Granted, he's trying to manipulate Eren emotionally by appealing to his need for camaraderie, but ultimately he leaves that decision up to Eren.

Eren, of course, idolizes Levi, one of his childhood heroes. He submits to the courtroom beating with no later resentments because he understands the Survey Corps is trying to point up his humanity and youth in the interest of saving his life. And there's a scene, I forget when exactly it is, when he's urging his fellow 104th graduates to help him finish cleaning before Levi returns to their cabin (?). I've seen convincing meta about that scene arguing that Eren doesn't fear Levi punishing him, but rather is anxious that Levi be as comfortable as possible in his surroundings. Levi knows that his cleanliness standards are neurotic, not realistic. Eren, who's fairly emotionally perceptive except in the area of romantic intent, grasps that at some level, I think.

I'd argue that the two of them understand one another because they're both monsters: Eren a literal one, Levi a figurative one. Levi comes right out and says it in 56: He's abnormal, after everything he's seen, and is more than willing to become a mass murderer if that's what it takes to accomplish the SC's goals. When the MP in this current chapter calls him crazy, he admits it might be true, and his expression reinforces it.

Anyway, I like mentor/protégé ships to begin with. Not everybody does, due to the power differential, but that's not an uncommon ship dynamic. I'm not too concerned that their interactions are sparse in the current arc. I mean, Ymir and Historia haven't interacted in ten chapters now, but they're canon. Which doesn't mean I think Ereri is canon, or even should be. Canon doesn't matter that much to my shipping preferences; interaction and chemistry do.

I'm the anon you mention who said a while back that Levi has become so good at concealing his emotions that it's now second nature to him. OTOH, he's only human, despite his formidable strength and self-control. Isayama is showing him unraveling. It starts, I think, appropriately enough at the halfway point of canon: chapter 51, where he learns in Erwin's hospital room that he's been killing humans all along, and the revelation weighs heavily on him. Of course, he's an ex-thug who learned violence at Kenny's knee. But for all he knows the humans inside the titans were innocent victims, and that's different than killing fellow thugs or MPs (but that's redundant). His advice to Armin in 59, about accepting that his hands are bloody and moving on, is advice he's had to give himself in order to shore up his own sanity.

Then there are all the other stresses on him. He realizes that he, like all the other people inside the walls, has been lied to and manipulated all his life for the convenience of the nobles and the monarchy. He's worried for Erwin, who lost an arm, looked a little crazy in his hospital room, and is now on the verge of execution. He's worried for Eren and, regardless of his reasons therefor, Historia. He watched Hange's previous squad die in front of him, not all that long after he saw the remains of his own squad in the Forest of Giant Trees. He's worried about Mikasa discovering whatever traumatic knowledge about her (their) own family we have yet to learn, whether or not he knows the whole of it himself — I doubt he wants a subordinate worth 100 ordinary soldiers, one with whom he's developing a solid mentor/protégée bond (yeah, I ship it too), to be distracted by that knowledge. Nor does he want her running off to take on Kenny on her own. She's matured enough that she wouldn't, but he might not get that, especially since he's the one who had to haul her away from attacking the Female Type Titan on her own. And, finally, he doesn't know that Erwin has passed the leadership torch to Hange; for all he knows, he's the new SC commander, and that's a heavy burden.

On the top of page 10 of chapter 60, just after the mustachioed MP says that Erwin's about to be hanged - look at Levi's eyes. He's enraged. Not as blatantly as someone like Eren would be, but for him, that's a strong show of emotion. That, plus the MP presuming to put his hand on Levi's shoulder as a "confidante," almost certainly precipitates Levi breaking the man's arm, much more so than the bad-faith bargain the MP tried to make with him.

And look at Levi's face in the last row on page 14, after the MP has revealed Kenny's surname. Compare that to his expressions while he and Hange were torturing Sanes. In that chapter, he does look shaken after Sanes has told him, "You should have been erased," and stressed after Sanes tries to appeal to their sense of guilt and they decide to take a break. But otherwise he looks absolutely calm the whole time, and at the very beginning he looked absolutely entranced while he gazed at the pliers. But as he continues to kick and threaten the MP out in the field, he looks considerably less in control.

I don't know how far Isayama intends to take the theme of Levi coming apart. I don't think it will ever render him unfit for combat or leadership. Rather, he'll go out in a blaze of angry glory, taking down dozens of enemies with him, especially Kenny. If there's a protracted dying scene, he'll pass the torch to Mikasa, and her resentment of him over Eren — which according to Isayama still persists, despite their improved relationship — will evaporate. (This is presuming of course that Mikasa survives. I venture to say that, as the last or one of the last Asians known to their society, she will survive as a symbol of hope and of defiance of the monarchy. At the very least, I hope the Shinganshina Trio all survive.)

OTOH, your theory that he will sacrifice himself for the 104th graduates, rather than see another entire squad die before his eyes, is also appealing. I don't know. He did say in this chapter that some SC members are more valuable than others, and everyone knows that before they sign up. It's possible that he harbors enough self-loathing for the life he's lived that he will decide toward the end that he's given all he's worth for humanity and will let himself be killed so that the recruits can live. But I'm more inclined toward my "blaze of glory" theory. That said, they're not necessarily mutually exclusive.

As popular as he is, he's extremely marketable, so no matter how he dies it won't happen until the end of the series. The chapters will be at least into the nineties by that point.

Re: behold the tl;dr

(Anonymous) 2014-08-09 08:35 pm (UTC)(link)
SA forgot to mention the scene in 56 in which he manhandles and threatens Historia. All things considered, I hardly think it's an example of "monstrous" behavior on his part, although it certainly wasn't admirable.

More importantly, though, it shows that he's beginning to lose it. He admits up front that he should have told her, and the rest of his new squad, earlier about the Reiss family's power. If he'd done so, it would have given him, or maybe Hange, more time to talk Historia into it, maybe not having to use force at all. Hange is empathetic enough to have figured out a way to do it, and Levi is good enough at manipulating people (Eren; Edward Reeves) that he could have accomplished it in a pinch. I don't think it's coincidental that his "I'm not normal" speech came immediately afterward.

(Anonymous) 2014-08-12 12:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Same anon as before. I just saw a comment about the Levi/Eren dynamic elsewhere that sums up their chemistry in a very different way than I did, but still makes sense to me:

It's a fandom favorite -- two strong personalities with the same basic goal, one responsible for the other. Tons of passion + rough meets tough + competence meets magical power-up + shades of master/slave = lots and lots of fic ideas.