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ketita wrote in shingeki_kyojin
So this came up on tumblr, I thought I'd see if anybody here has any thoughts.

People make a huge deal out of Corporal Levi, but 'corporal' is actually really really low on the military scale. He's not even an officer, he's barely more than a private. Even taking into account that their military structure may be a bit different, I'd find it difficult to bump him up too many ranks.
So we've got this super-mega-awesome titan slayer who's stlil at the bottom of the military hierarchy, and that's actually kind of weird. Why hasn't he been promoted?

Any thoughts?

Personally, I wonder if there's not something intentional behind it. Maybe he's being kept down so he'll be on the field a lot, doing what he does best. Or maybe he himself doesn't want to be promoted, 'cause he doesn't want to deal with officer responsibilities. 

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hm. That's pretty interesting. I don't know anything about military rankings so that was very informative. I'm sure military rankings vary from country to country so maybe Isayama is following the military ranking of some European country (since the setting is Europe)...or maybe he just made a mistake or doesn't know himself? maybe? but I don't think so on that last part, I'm sure he did some research lol. ok idk.
I wouldn't be surprised if he was kept in the low rankings for some reason, like you said.

The degree he's ranked at - 兵長 - is a (currently defunct) Japanese one. It's been translated as corporal, because that's the closest thing, apparently. But looking through lists of rankings, it's usually between low and very low, and it's not an officer ranking.
Isayama's been pretty decent about research so far, so I'd be surprised if it was total ignorance on his part, though he might have let it slip by or something.

If it was intentional, there's got to be something weird. Especially because talented soldiers are usually made into officers *soooner* than their peers.

I see, so it's not that much of a translation issue since he is ranked low, the translation went with a low rank as well.

Maybe we will find out in December, when Levi's and Erwin's past stories will be revealed.

December?!?! dangnabbit, that's far off DDDDDDD:
Well, guess we'll have to just wait and see. And see if we remember this issue six months from now....
December. oh man :|

Maybe we will find out in December, when Levi's and Erwin's past stories will be revealed.

REALLY?! Where'd you hear that?

Love me some hints about the future.

My comment was marked as spam for some reason. Hope you got the link.

nooooooooooo it's going to be a visual novel :(
why do they hate us

ikr? I hate it when they do stuff like that.

I'm sure some good souls will spoil it on the internet, but it's not the same. Why couldn't it have just been a manga chapter extra or something? I don't have any consoles :<
I wonder if it would work with an emulator. And if somebody'll patch it (if there's no official translation)

I never really thought about it. First, yeah I guess we don't know if the entrance path into their army is the same for everyone, or whether like in many irl armed services there are often different entrance paths for officers and enlisted soldiers. But that aside, Levi is "humanity's strongest soldier," yep, but ...that's it. That's what he's good at. Why would you make someone an officer when their one strength is working as a soldier on the front lines? He's also rude and I can't see him really playing the politics necessary to advance in rank. So anyway, when I read, it made sense to me that he'd be in a slightly higher position for an enlisted front-lines type, but definitely not a high-up commissioned officer. The translation I read had him as a lance corporal, which wikipedia says is the lowest non-commissioned officer position. Which if he's risen up slightly from being a non-commissioned enlisted soldier, seems about right. He's basically in a position of authority over only his own squad and other front-line soldiers.

I guess it stood out to me because I come from a military culture. And really, the first thing that happens to anybody with any talent is getting bumped up the ranks. There aren't huge politics involved, not at the lower ranks. And officers still get to be in the field, they're just also telling other people what to do. Officers in fighting units are still soldiers, and they're still in the field.

In terms of leadership, we actually haven't seen Levi being too terrible at it. He's got loyalty from his subordinates and comrades, he thinks on his feet and does his best to take care of stuff around him. He's trusted. So fine, he's rude, but we mostly see his epic rudeness towards Eren and people under him (at least, I don't remember him mouthing off horribly to anybody else). Being a really good soldier doesn't negate any of these traits - if anything, logic dictates that he'd do *more* good as an officer.

I think he's too "lazy" to deal with the responsibilities of a higher rank. LMAO
Or maybe it has something to do with Eren, or the other Titans, idk. I mean, how to cope with all this mystery involving the titans without drawing attention?
I know that apparently the thing about the titans can turn into humans and vice versa, was recently discovered, but that it's all very mysterious.
And to deal with a titan, the soldier must be GOOD. And who better than Rivaille?

Yeah, but couldn't he be set to deal with the titans even if he *did* have a reasonable rank? It doesn't have to be one or the other....
I mean, maybe they're pretending Levi's a corporal to hide...something, but that's kinda weird.
The whole thing's weird XD

Super weird.
Another thing that caught my attention is that Rivaille has no surname. I'm not saying that there are no other characters without surname, but among the "main characters" he is one of the few who doesn't have.

yup. I wonder if there is going to be a big reveal one day about that.
He's just Levi. Maybe he doesn't have a last name. Maybe he's an orphan, maybe Levi is not even his real name. Maybe he does have a last name, but there is no need for people to mention it because he is a living legend already like I need to go to bed.

It's a case of "lost in translation."

calorescence on tumblr explained it better than I could have:

"Due to the confusion of the original scanlators, many parts of the fanbase are convinced that Levi is a Lance Corporal. However, Levi’s apparent high standing as one of the Scouting Legion’s elite soldiers seems to contradict the low rank of Lance Corporal, resulting in confusion as to whether characters like Hanji Zoe outrank Levi.

"The confusion is primarily due to the word and abbreviation used for Levi’s title in the original Japanese.

"In all formal descriptions of Levi’s name and rank, he is referred to as 兵士長 [heishichou]. However, colloquially, he is referred to as 兵長 [heichou] by his comrades.

"From Levi’s official profile on the manga site:


兵士長 [heishichou] of the Scouting Legion
A person who is viewed as humanity’s strongest soldier,
called 「兵長」["heichou"] by his comrades.
160 cm / 65 kg

"The confusion comes from the fact that 兵長 [heichou] is also an archaic rank from the Imperial Japanese Army roughly equivalent to Lance Corporal, the lowest possible rank for a non-commissioned officer.

"However, no other character has an actual rank in the original Japanese. Rather, all characters are titled by their role: Erwin is 団長 [danchou] (leader of the [Scouting] Legion), Hanji is 分隊長 [buntaichou] (leader of a squad), etc.

"Similarly, 兵士長 [heishichou] (leader of the soldiers) is not an actual rank. Rather, it is a common title given to characters in European Medieval-themed fantasy works, usually translated as “Captain" (for example, in Dragon Quest VI).

"Hence why the official translations refer to Levi as Captain as opposed to Lance Corporal."

And there you have it.

Levi doesn't seem like the type of guy who cares about his social status. I bet he just doesn't want to be promoted.

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