header art: https://twitter.com/9baMelo
But in today’s blogpost things will be a bit different, since the character we are going to talk about is someone who is hated among the fandom for several reasons yet a very important role for the series and also the viewer to understand a concept of Shingeki no Kyojin.
The character mentioned here is none other than Gabi Braun, Eldian blood but a proud follower and warrior of Marley who seeks to eradicate the people of Paradis Island and atone for the sins of her ancestors.
This post will contain major spoilers for the anime series, it will not go further than season 4 part 1, for those who are still watching it read at your own risk.
With that said, let’s get started on the passionate child blinded by war.
The fearless warrior with strong idealistic values appears in the final season for the first time and starts her screen-time in Episode one right away.
An Eldian young girl around the age of 12 born in the Liberio internment zone and raised there. She is the cousin of Reiner Braun and also the candidate who is most likely to be chosen to inherit the Armored Titan due to her great achievements and strong will to get rid of the Paradis Island. She views herself and her fellow Eldians as “true Eldians”.
Risking her life several times when even grown men show fear and also being very intelligent when it comes to battlefield matters, Gabi took out a train on her own in order to save her fellow soldiers.
Not only that but she does not fear facing the survey corps all on her own, climbing up the airship while many Marley soldiers were killed by those very enemies she tried to face alone as shown when she still managed to kill Sasha despite being surrounded.
As a child she may look innocent to others but her being a warrior-candidate implies that she stands out of the masses, not only among her peers but also grown soldiers and high-ranked officers.
From the beginning it is clear that Gabi does not fear anything as long as she can successfully achieve victory and she does that in the perfect manner that is to be expected from her. Yet it seems she always surpasses the expectations from the higher-ups which earned her the most advantage to be chosen to inherit the Armored Titan power, as we saw her even throwing away her clothes and rushing in while a mass of soldiers feared to step forward to face the train.
Despite that she also shows natural leadership traits as she is very assertive when it comes to her own ideals and goals, is also a trait that makes her very reckless and over-domineering not listening to others opinions and trying to force her own thoughts upon them.
She is very dense when it comes to daily matters or things that are mostly usual for children in her age, for example when Falco openly shows his affection and worries towards her she does not understand them as romantic feelings but rather sees him as a competitor while everyone around her already took the hint that Falco has a crush on her.
Her hatred towards the Paradis Island Eldians shows no limits as she doesn’t show any regret in killing any of them as seen when she killed Sasha on the airship and being surrounded by those who loved her dearly, even when being confronted with her deed and being seen as a heartless monster she does not flinch away nor does her way of thinking change.
It is seen that she was successfully manipulated by the false story of her ancestors that Marley uses in order to brainwash warrior-candidates and not only that, also with fear and even death when not showing loyalty towards Marley and acknowledging the fact that Eldians are a sinful folk. But Gabi on the other hand does not fear death or question her own loyalty it’s quite the opposite she is proud to be a “true Eldian” who could serve Marley and bring peace to her “homeland” by inheriting the Titan power and eradicating the people of Paradis Island.
Through that Gabi’s thoughts align with those of Marley and we see her mostly act upon her hatred and not on her own common sense which she seems to lack in many points throughout the events of the final season. It makes her a self-righteous brat that justifies her own actions and even kills civilians’ lives based on that firm belief, which unlike Falco made her want to fight them despite being imprisoned on the island.
As we now know much more about Gabi’s character it’s easy to assess which role she has in the series despite being stamped as a support character.
If we view the series from the perspective we have encountered up until the final season she is viewed as an antagonist of the Paradis Island citizens, especially Eren Jaeger.
Not only that but she is the representation of innocent children or at least despite the circumstances of war and its harshness, when it comes to Gabi being a full-fledged warrior other people still view her as such. Being brainwashed through the propagation of Marley’s ideals stripped her away from her own ability to form an opinion on who should be her ally and who should be her enemy. Showing that very innocence of not being able to distinguish on her own and being very trusting towards the “adults” who forced her will to become something that she didn’t decide on her own in the first place.
The way that Gabi views the world in a much simplified manner as seen, her own kind being the good people and the others being the bad still shows the naivety within her.
On the other hand due to her extreme way of thinking and perspective the viewer is able to understand the actual conflict in the world of Shingeki no Kyojin since Marley, Eldian and Paradis Island are all terms that were mentioned at the end of season three leaving behind great confusion about the general problems mentioned by Grisha Jaeger. Not only that but since the story was told from the perspective of the Subjects of Ymir up until that point who lived at that isolated island clueless about the outside, Gabi is on the other side of the story, being Eldian herself yet not recognizing her fellow Eldians who are corrupted in her eyes.
With the things up until now we can tell that Gabi plays a valuable role in this series not only causing the death of Sasha that caused many consequences even within the survey corps, but also shows the stark contrast of environmental influence and how much control government and propaganda can have on a mere child. A one-sided view of war not questioning a bit if the enemies are truly “devils” or not but following the manipulation.
Despite her being Eldian as well she blindly follows the Marley government in order to rank high and gain status along with her family to become a honorary Marley citizen.
Yet this thin line between enemies and oneself was even made clear to one of the most loyal and blinded warriors, Gabi Braun as she was imprisoned within Paradis Island along with Falco. After escaping when the Blouse family took them in and cared after them for the time being Gabi is seen to stay adamant that those before her are still her enemies and not to be trusted, as she despite the things she was taught and blinded with is surprised to see that it’s far different than what Marley taught her.
It’s the beginning where expectations and reality meet in front of her, as a heated discussion between her and Kaya revealed that Gabi blamed them for the sins that the Eldian Empire used to do are being now repaid so they deserve to suffer as Kaya mentioned her mother was also eaten by a Titan. Flaco explains that the government used the destroyed village Kaya grew up in was destroyed due to a test of strength, it is also revealed later on that Sasha was the one who saved her.
Even after knowing about Gabi’s und Falco’s identity Kaya goes her way to help them and sends them to a restaurant where a Marleyan chef works at and lead them to a possible escape route, to Gabi’s surprise the friendliness of Kaya despite her knowing their identities took her back, a first indication that started to change her tiny bit shaking that false one-sided view of war that everyone on the other side is evil.
Soon enough Gabi starts facing the true consequences of having killed Sasha as she proudly boasts to Nicholo, the Marleyan chef, that she killed her being immensely proud of it before the latter attacks her and almost kills her, telling her he was in love with Sasha despite that he was Marleyan.
Mr and Mrs. Blouse along with Kaya, finally get to know that Gabi is the real killer of Sasha Blouse and their demeanor changes when her and Falco’s identities are revealed. Now the killing was different for Gabi.
It showed her change and view being shifted that the so-called corrupted Eldians on this island who lived along with some Marleyans weren’t what she expected. She saw reality unfold and the killing she did this time, which seemed natural up until that point, was now a heavy burden and even endangered Falco’s life on her own accord.
Being faced with the horrifying reality and confusing revelations that her actions could have been with no meaning or even wrong she represents many people in our own world who went through the same.
Acting blindly without giving others a chance to justify themselves or heavily act upon own beliefs seeing them as absolute, from a fearless blinded soldier to a shaking child who finally understood that her simple world may not be so simple anymore, as the feeling of losing Falco may have been felt by many others whose lives she took.
Despite that many people hate Gabi she is a very important character who shows us the opposition of the story we saw up until now, Sasha who was a beloved character not only among the fandom but also among the Paradis island people getting killed due to Gabi being a child and therefore hesitating lead her to her death.
Yet we saw snippets of Reiner’s journey, Gabi is just going through a similar one as she is at a point where she is unsure and lost her determination that she once had not being able to trust anything anymore that what she was taught.
As Gabi is being hated by many for her behaviour it is actually a bit more complicated than her being a warrior who takes people’s lives due to her beliefs, one has to consider that Gabi is about 12 years old and on top of that not only her parents and cousin but also herself grew up with that behaviour and rooted hate deep inside of her, something that cannot be unhinged when considering that she is a warrior-candidate carefully chosen by the Marley military making her the perfect puppet that she is supposed to be.
Her being heartless when it comes to her wrongful actions but in the end she was just a child facing consequences and getting her simple world turned upside-down after realizing that all her killing is coming back to her when she is about to lose Falco. Being raised to be the best and honorary when following Marley but also seeing her closest friend almost dying due to her own actions that seemed wrong in the first place, it’s a heavy responsibility laid into a child’s hands.
As every child learns that actions have consequences at some point, Gabi also learned it through a different and much bigger incident. The wonder child who had a big future ahead of her is no longer as amazing as she opened her eyes to the world around her for the first time.
Simply said, many hate Gabi for the things she did, yet not consider where she came from and how she was raised. It doesn’t justify her actions in any way but it’s a point that should not be overseen as it happened in history already many times.
Gabi Braun the blinded warrior opened her eyes for the first time and that’s the time she realized she was a mere helpless child in the first place, pulled by the strings of Marley.