No Regrets: What Attack on Titan Shows Us About the

No Regrets: What Assault on Titan Displays Us Concerning the Name of Christ

Attack on Titan is a violent show, and not just because of the blood and guts that are shown. The characters also have deep faith in a leader who tells them to leave their lives behind and fight the titans. People who are leading this cause, like Commander Erwin Smith and Captain Levi Ackerman, can be both inspiring and scary because they are so brave and sure of what they believe in. Still, these leaders’ stories show us what a life of faith in Christ should be like: stepping up to a tough call with desire to follow the right leader without any regrets.

One of the best examples of this isn’t in the main series, but in No Regrets, a two-part OAD that tells the story of how Captain Levi came to be. There are spoilers ahead!

A cartoon of a person with his fist raised

Description automatically generated

As we know him from Attack on Titan, Captain Levi is the most skilled and feared member of the Survey Corps. He doesn’t say much and seems cold and uninvolved in the sadness of death around him. He is ready to kill at any time. However, in No Regrets, we see a younger Levi who is an orphan living in an underground city and wants to live above ground. He steals his way to the top to get there. In this part of his life, Levi is clearly a criminal, but he is also a kind one who cares about other people, especially his two friends and crime partners, Furlan and Isabel.

For a life on the surface, Levi and his friends agree to kill military commander Erwin Smith as a deal with Lobov, a dishonest politician. This is where they get into trouble. It’s clear that working with a shady politician to kill a military figure is not a good idea, but the three friends are desperate and this quick way to the top seems to be their only choice.

Levi and his friends agree to the deal, but things go badly very quickly. Levi realizes how dangerous things are when they join the Survey Corps to start their undercover job. He tries to leave his friends behind on the mission to keep them safe and make sure that only he is risking his life to kill Erwin. But Furlan and Isabel beg Levi to trust them and let them help. He pays attention to what they have to say and lets them in on the plan.

A cartoon of a person sitting on a motorcycle

Description automatically generated

Things don’t go as planned, though. They go on their first Survey Corps mission with the goal of killing Commander Erwin, but his two best friends are killed in battle not long after they meet some titans. Even worse, Erwin finds Levi on the battlefield and tells him that he knew about their plan the whole time. Levi gives up and falls to his knees, looking at the bodies of his friends. When he thinks about how they begged him to trust them, their cold, dead eyes still haunt him.

Levi starts to close down after the deaths of his only friends and the end of his dream of living freely on the outside. In this moment, when Levi is at his worst, Erwin steps in. Instead of killing the would-be killer, he talks to him directly about his position and keeps him from giving up. At this very moment, it seems like he knows exactly what is going through Levi’s mind: “If you start to regret, you’ll stop making decisions and let other people do it for you.” The only thing left for you to do is die.”

Levy hears Erwin’s words while he kneels among the dead bodies that are all over the battlefield. The look on Levi’s face tells us everything we need to know. Levi had faith in his friends and thought that their plan would work and that they would stay together. But his trust did not pay off, and both of his friends died. Levi was having trouble with his faith.

But Erwin says, “No one can tell what will happen.” Every choice you make only matters if it changes the choice you make next. Then he turns around and tells Levi straight out, “We’re going to keep going on expeditions.” Levi, I expect you to follow me.”

There are dead bodies on the ground, and Erwin looks at them before riding off. He leaves Levi to decide if he wants to follow him or not.  

A cartoon of people in a field

Description automatically generated

In the last scene of No Regrets, we jump ahead in time to see Levi getting ready for another mission as a member of the Survey Corps. Levi makes his decision clear: “I don’t understand.” He knows he doesn’t know what’s going on. I’ve never gotten it. Even if I think I’m strong… No matter how much I trust my friends’ choices… No one in the end… Levi stops for a moment as if he is still trying to deal with the fact that his broken faith cost him friends. The listener is left hanging by his unfinished thought. Nobody… what in the end? Does no one get it? No one is alive? No one else can be trusted? Levi may have stopped talking here because he is still debating what he believes.

Then he looks ahead and sees Erwin riding ahead of him, ready to lead the first charge of their next adventure. At this point, Levi makes up his mind: “But this man is looking up at something I can’t even see.” Fine. I’m going to follow you, Erwin Smith. As long as I live, I will never regret making this choice.

It’s so sad in this scene because Levi has found something to believe in, even though he seems cold and uncaring. You might think that Levi, who is very skeptical, wouldn’t choose to follow Erwin and stay in the Survey Corps. He is more likely to go his own way and live his life like the lone wolf he seems to be.

He decides to trust Erwin and follow him instead.

A cartoon of a person with blue eyes

Description automatically generated

It’s important to stress Levi’s choice to answer the call and follow Erwin. He paid a huge price for making this choice, which changed his whole life. But here’s the truth: we all have to make the same choice: to trust and follow the right person, and to think about what it will cost us to do so that we don’t have any doubts.

But how do we know if the choice we are making is the right one? When it comes to questions of faith, this is a very tough question. If you pick the wrong person or belief system to follow, it can cost you a lot. In Luke 9:57–62, Jesus talked about this with three people who were thinking about becoming his followers. There is a lot of the images that Jesus used in his answers to them in No Regrets. Just like in the episode, it shocked his audience and made them wonder if it was really worth it to follow Jesus. Let’s look at these three exchanges one by one.

In the first one, Jesus talks about how the call means giving up safety. As they walked along the road, someone told Him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.'” Christ told him, “Fossies have holes and birds of prey have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Jesus shows that following him means giving up the safety that comes with a normal life and material things by saying that he is homeless. He says that even wild animals are safer than his disciples. You wouldn’t think this would be Jesus’ last line if he wants a lot of people to follow him!

When they talk again, Jesus stresses how urgent the call is. “He told another, ‘Follow me.'” He said, “Lord, let me first bury my father.” Christ told him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.” “But as far as you go, tell people about the Kingdom of God.” This can be a tough thing for Jesus to say. In the first century, it was common for Jews to be buried in two places. Before, the body was buried or hung in a cave for a year so that the skin could break down. The bones would be put in a box called an ossuary for the second funeral after all the flesh was gone. More than likely, this guy had already buried his father the first time and was now waiting a year for the second burial.

“Let the dead bury their own dead” is Jesus’ strong statement. It means, “Your father is already dead.” Now, let the dead take care of him. You need to answer a much more important call.” Jesus’ words don’t mean we should be insensitive or disrespectful to funerals or families, but they do make it clear what it means to be a disciple: we can’t put off the call. We can’t put things off or make excuses. Regrettably, we can’t think about the past. We shouldn’t miss out on what God wants for us by thinking about the past. Instead, we should focus on living out our calling right now. Jesus tells us to forget about the past and focus on the present. It’s like Erwin telling Levi to leave his dead friends behind and focus on his choice to follow him.

A cartoon of a person holding a sword

Description automatically generated

Take a look at how the two swords form into an X or cross. This picture shows how Erwin’s call is like Christ’s call to “take up our cross and follow him.” It is a path of pain that will lead to hope in the future.

In the third conversation, Jesus shows how determined you have to be to answer the call. “Yet another person replied, “I will follow you, Lord, but first I must say goodbye to those who live with me.” It is not fit for the Kingdom of God for someone to put their hand to the plow and look back. There are many layers of meaning in this sentence. Putting one’s hand to the plow means deciding to do something and starting a new project. In some of Jesus’ parables, He is shown as a farmer bringing in the crops, which fits with the plow as a metaphor. Jesus, like Erwin, talks about sorrow and makes it clear that we need to be determined: once you move forward, you can’t go back. The choice has to be made for sure and without any regrets. We need to get to work.

It’s interesting that Levi Ackerman’s name is related to this verse. In German, the last name Ackerman comes from the word for “acre man” or “farmer.” Its basic meaning is “plowman” or “person who pulls a plow.” (Is it a coincidence? I don’t think so!)

A cartoon character with glasses

Description automatically generated

Jesus’ call to follow Him is just as harsh and painful as Attack on Titan’s themes of death and sorrow. His call to us is not easy, just like Erwin’s call to Levi. It doesn’t mean that everything will be easy or that all of our dreams will come true. In fact, he says that this world will be hard and full of trouble. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him ‘come and die.'” People don’t like this calling, and it’s also not socially accepted. Still, he calls us.

What does Levi do when Erwin tells him to follow him? He doesn’t take care of his friends’ bodies after they die. He gives up his old job as a thief. He heads toward a man he doesn’t know and can tell is looking at something he can’t see. This is a tough call that Erwin gave him. However, Erwin has a real reason to hope, and Levi is determined that he will never rue his choice.

A person looking at birds in the sky

Description automatically generated

What if we were as determined as Levi was to follow Jesus? Because of bad things that happen in our lives, we sometimes feel sorrow. We might miss the safety that comes with our old way of life, and we start to wish we could go back to it. This could be because it is easier, or it could be because we want to be like everyone else. Erwin Smith says that when this happens, we will not be able to make decisions and will let other people do it for us. After that, death is the only thing left for us. Being able to stand firm in who Christ has called us to be and what Christ has called us to do is possible when we follow Jesus without feeling guilty about it. After that, we can live out the old hymn’s words, “I have chosen to follow Jesus.” Not going back. Even if no one goes with me, I will still follow. Not going back. The world behind me and the cross in front of me. There’s no going back.

We can see from Levi’s conversation with Erwin that the trouble is not having faith or trust in other people. How to choose who or what to trust is the real problem. In No Regrets, Levi makes this choice more than once. He made the wrong choice by putting his faith in the dishonest politician Lobov. It wasn’t smart for him to trust his friends to steal and kill their way to a good life. But trusting Erwin was the right thing to do, and it changed his life in a big way.

A person on a horse

Description automatically generated

What’s so great about Erwin? Lobov lied to them. Isabel and Furlan said things they were not going to do. “This man is gazing up at something I can’t even see,” Levi says. Erwin is a man who is driven by hope and purpose. He can share that hope and purpose with Levi and he can finally give him the new life of freedom he has been looking for. He has faith in something Levi hasn’t even started to fully grasp. However, Levi is sure that what Erwin is seeing is real. Levi decides to follow him because of his faith.

Like Levi, there are many voices around us that want us to trust them. That being said, how are we to know which call to make? As Lobov says, some people are out to trick us and take advantage of us. They tell us what we want to hear and promise us happiness that seems too good to be true. Other voices, like Furlan and Isabel, mean well but are still misleading because they offer immoral ways to get happy quickly. One man, though, like Erwin Smith, speaks things that give us hope and a reason to live. He is looking up at something we can’t see. Like Erwin, who gives Levi a new life above ground, this man can give us a new life with hope, goals, and freedom. Today we’re going to talk about Jesus. He is the only person who can look up at God and make it possible for us to see Him (John 6:46).

When we think about Levi Ackerman’s life and then our own, it makes us ask: Are we ready to leave everything behind and follow Jesus, or are we hanging on to the old way of life? Are we ready to trust Jesus instead of things that will let us down? When Erwin Smith meets a broken young man like Levi, he tells him to follow him. Jesus has also come to us, broken people by sin, and said, “Follow me.” When we answer the call to follow Him, we are filled with hope, meaning, and freedom that only Christ can give us. As Levi says, we will never regret the choice as long as we live.

A cartoon of a person with black hair

Description automatically generated

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.