Hiroshi Kamiya(voice actor of Levi) as well as the English voice actors of Levi and Petra said that they ship Rivetra. Hard.
“I like Petra. Seeing her have lines and being animated, it makes me think ‘she was the one who stayed by Levi’s side.’ Petra understood Levi about himself deeply, so she stayed with him. I am truly grateful.
I am disappointed that Levi’s lines weren’t said when he saw her body, though. I wanted him to have lines about her body in the show.“ ~Hiroshi Kamiya Tweet
(I’ve been working on this forever omg)
But before anything starts I want to just confirm.
THIS IS A THEORY DO NOT TAKE MY INTERPRETATIONS AS FACT UNLESS I PROVIDE EVIDENCE OF A CERTAIN CLAIM OK? EX: Levi thinks Petra is cute due to an interview, Levi likes black tea, Levi wishes he was tall etc.
The way I see things, I believe that the way Rivetra works in the show is an unrequited love on both ends.
Let me explain.
Levi knows that he had a deep feeling of respect as well as a sense of defense over Petra in many scenes of the manga and the anime.
Such as warning the left flank, helping the wounded etc.
He always positioned her away from danger despite her having a higher kill stat than him. (evidence provided in the official guidebook)
Now, when he is searching for his squad after their deaths he begins to slowly pass each body, I noticed he didn’t pass them in order of how they died.
When this scene happened, I was expecting that’s what they would do to try and prove no greater connection over a single member. You know, show that he had a strong bond with all of them as a whole as equals.
But, he found Petra last. It almost felt like they wanted him to find Petra last in a way to say “he was searching for her in hopes she was alive.” (In my opinion, don’t take this as fact)
And I feel that once he fights the female Titan, and is now gathering the dead bodies, his expression is a lot more hurt and furious than when he first saw her.
Not to mention in the official wiki he was described to be “protecting Petra’s body” when they were going back to the walls, even when he knows it’s just her dead body, and that she’s long gone.
I mean in the anime he told those soldiers to leave their friend’s body behind because it’s just that. A body. Levi decides to comfort him with a patch later on, stating that the reason he even took the patches from their uniforms was because it comforted him.
We see that he only took Petra’s on screen. (Very heartbreaking but selfless of him to sacrifice his own comfort for a comrade mourning) But…How do we know it’s her? Her skin tone is light, just like the body’s (they haven’t been dead too long and blood loss may have been heavy but she still would bare the closest resemblance) and it has a bite mark imprinted in the skin on their hand. The only other person who’s hand was focused on in the anime around that time was hers.
It triggered the transition from the flashback to the present, and Petra was the one to speak on behalf of the squad as to why they even did it. She was the one that filled that mark with the most heart. So, it’s about 90% clear to assume it was her body.
He reassured himself another time when the bodies were dropped that she was only a body then. She’s gone and there’s no point in staying trapped in a rut of thoughts of what could’ve been. I see it as a sense of self comfort as he tried not to look back to Petra’s body (he failed though) to spare him any pain, frustration, or regret.
He’s having more trouble remaining stoic with his emotions than before. So that means he OBVIOUSLY cares that his squad died, but it was when he saw Petra that the expression set for a longer period of time.
My interpretation of this is that he was frustrated at himself for still not knowing whether or not he had feelings for her or not. It’s only until he meets Petra’s father when it clicks to him that he may have actually harbored feelings of love towards her, without even realizing it.
Same goes for Petra. She translated it through her letter as devotion and dedication in a form of respect towards him, because she may have mis-categorized her true feelings. After all, her Father is the one interpreting marriage and such, showing he may have seen past her real feelings though a bit more extreme.
I even looked through the panels of the manga, and every time there’s a free space for the squad, Petra is always talking to Levi showing more proof that there was an obviously strong connection. They may have loved each other without even realizing it, and it makes sense considering they don’t necessarily focus on love in their world and in the anime.
Speaking of the anime and revisiting a previous statement, there’s a scene shown only in the anime and never in the manga where Petra’s body falls, and Levi is shown looking back in regret. Isayama green lights every scene put in the show and is notorious for adding scenes he wished he could’ve put in the original source material. But why? Why would that scene be necessary enough to put in if it wasn’t even in the manga? I personally believe it may be because he wanted to translate their bond more.
There’s also the evidence of having their own Valentine’s Day art out of all possible couples where Petra is giving her own gift to Levi.
Petra even had the honor of receiving her own Birthday art which very few characters had received.
If she wasn’t an important character like others say, then why did she make such an impact on the franchise to keep reappearing even after she was killed off?
Notice that the two men in her art are Eren and Levi, because she had made an impact in both their lives.
Eren was taught to trust in others, and now understands that he must earn trust before receiving it.
While Levi?….What connection is it that differs from the rest of her squad?
In his separate card for her birthday art, he says that Petra picked out the suit for him and found it helpful she did, confirming the canon that Petra on occasion picks out his clothes when he’s out of uniform.
Pretty close for being a Captain and Subordinate, no?
Not to mention it was confirmed a while back that Levi saw Petra as a cute subordinate, whether or not he loved her as a significant other was still undetermined, but he definitely loved her as a comrade at the very least. Canon as a relationship or not, they still have a strong bond I wish I could explore more!
Ahhh, it’s so interesting.
I hope anyone who reads this enjoys it, and also understands this is a theory and the pairing isn’t considered canon officially. It’s honestly just my view of why I still hang onto this ship for so long! I apologize if it’s a bit scrambled it’s so late at night when I finished! ε-(´∀｀; )