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The Unexpected DC Character That Inspired Attack On Titan's Captain Levi

"Attack on Titan" is packed to the brim with fan-favorite characters. The hit anime takes place in an alternate reality where the last of humanity hides away from roaming giants in a walled city. From this starting point, we follow dozens of characters as they join the ongoing fight against the titans.

Unlike typical shonen protagonists, though, Eren Jaeger (Yuki Kaji and Bryce Papenbrook) isn't a kindly goofball or a neurotic malcontent. Instead, Eren is filled with the kind of self-righteous anger and appetite for vengeance that is generally more characteristic of villains. These factors set him apart and are likely part of what makes him such a popular hero. 

Other popular characters in the series include the food-loving Sasha Braus (Yu Kobayashi and Ashly Burch), stoic badass Mikasa Ackerman (Yui Ishikawa and Trina Nishimura), and excitable scientist Hange Zoe (Romi Park and Satomi Ishihara). Still, no character in "Attack on Titan" is as revered by fans as Levi Ackerman (Hiroshi Kamiya and Matthew Mercer). While short in stature, Levi is a titan-killing machine and one of the oldest surviving members of the Scout Corps, who go beyond the walls to battle titans in the open. 

What fans might not realize, however, is that Levi was inspired by a character from DC Comics.

Levi is based on Rorschach from Watchmen

The fan-favorite character from "Attack on Titan" is partially based on another fan-favorite character from DC Comics, Rorschach. The gravelly-voiced vigilante first appeared in Alan Moore's seminal comic book mini-series "Watchmen" (via ComicsBeat) and was later portrayed by Jackie Earle Haley in Zack Snyder's 2009 film of the same name. Like Levi, Rorschach is deadly and short in stature. Both characters also tend to keep to themselves and even wear similar clothing, most notably a cravat.

"Levi is a character I accidentally created while idly doodling, and I, of course, knew I had something," Hajime Isayama, the creator of "Attack on Titan," told Mangabrog in 2014. "Then I saw 'Watchmen,' and the character Rorschach really stuck with me, and I decided I wanted to try doing a similar character, so I combined him with that doodle."

Interestingly, the characters also share a similar background. Levi grows up in the slums of an underground city in "Attack on Titan," while Rorschach is the target of abuse in a working-class New York City neighborhood. The trauma endured by both characters hardens them and subsequently turns them into violent men. Still, they also share a dedicated moral compass, attempting to point their violent rage at deserving targets.

While the DC Comics inspiration isn't the only comic-related connection in "Attack on Titan," it certainly is an interesting tidbit for fans to consider while they eagerly await the final arc of the story.