I'm an Eruri shipper, but sometimes I get the feeling that Erwin didn't love Levi back, which makes me sad. Levi's feelings towards Erwin are 100% canon and have been reiterated countless times, but Erwin seemed too focused on his father and his mission to truly love Levi back! I think is why their relationship hasn't been established as romantic: Levi loves Erwin but cannot be with him due to Erwin's one track mind. It makes me sad, as I don't want Levi living knowing Erwin didn't love him :(
Okay so this is an argument that I’ve heard many times before and I’ve already answered a few asks about this: Undoubtedly. Unquestionably. Unconditionally. Let me see if I can set your mind at rest Anon…
You’re right that Levi is much more vocal about his devotion to Erwin. There are countless examples in the manga, in the Smartpass content and most recently, and most heartbreakingly, in the monologue that accompanies Levi’s character song.
“In order to catch the freedom, I felt outside the wall. I chose everything by myself. Even Erwin will lead me to hell, I will never regret. Never. Not even a bit.”
JFC just kill me Levi….
Erwin is much more reserved, but that doesn’t mean that he does not reciprocate Levi’s feelings, and in actual fact there’s plenty of evidence that he does. It’s there in the way he talks to Levi in the manga, the weird humour they share, the fact that he uses ore when talking to Levi rather than watashi, which he uses with everyone else. It’s there in the Smartpass content, in the private meals they share after expeditions, the tender moment in the rain, the fancy clothes and the contraband tea that Erwin procures for Levi. It’s there in the ridiculously shippy official art. And it’s there in spades in ACWNR where Erwin is openly fascinated by Levi and pursues him with single minded determination.
Now I know there is an argument that even if Levi and Erwin’s feelings are reciprocal, they never have a chance to act on them as they are in the middle of a war. And I think there is certainly a grain of truth in that. However, war does not necessarily negate love, if anything it can heighten feelings of devotion, particularly for those who fight side by side. Sure Erwin and Levi aren’t going to go swanning off on fancy dates, but it’s canon that they spend private time together when they can. In times of war, love may be reciprocated in the smallest acts, a meal shared together, or the grandest gestures, I will trust you with my life and fight to the death for you.
And I know there is also an argument that Erwin is so focused on his dream that he has no time for anyone or anything else, and that’s certainly the way that Erwin himself sees it latterly. But as I’ve said over and over again, Erwin is the most unreliable of unreliable narrators. It’s true that Erwin’s dream has always driven him forward, but it’s really only towards the end that it becomes an all encompassing obsession. Erwin is clearly depressed towards the end of his life, he’s weighed down by guilt, and confesses to suicidal thoughts, however depression and love are not mutually exclusive. You don’t stop loving someone just because you suffer from depression, even if it means you struggle to express those feelings. Even if you are in the depths of despair, those feelings are still there, buried deep. I think it’s telling that when Erwin does finally confess his fears and his struggles, it’s Levi that he opens up to. And it speaks volumes that it’s Levi who is able to free him from the burden of guilt he carries. Ask yourself this Anon, would Levi’s words really have had such an impact on Erwin if he didn’t love and respect him?
Daisuke Ono said in an interview once that the amplitude of Erwin’s feelings is so great that it can be hard to see. So don’t worry Anon, I’m certain that Erwin did love Levi and I’m certain that Levi knew it, you just have to stand back to see it.