Nothing divides the AOT fandom quite intensely like a statement saying Gabi Braun is the female counterpart of Eren Yeager. The thought might come off ridiculous, even vexing, for many. After all, it wasn’t long since Gabi first appeared and united the entire AOT fandom against her.
But while the proposition is not so well received, we still believe that the thought deserves some backing. After all, the two actually share quite a lot of similarities.
Here are some of the reasons why we believe Gabi is actually the female counterpart of Eren.
Appearance-wise, Eren and Gabi could pass off as siblings. Sure, they don’t share the same eye color, but they still look eerily similar to each other.
In fact, no less than AOT manga creator Hajime Isayama confirmed that the character design of Gabi is actually based on the female version of Eren he drew back in 2013. As can be observed, both have dark brown hair, defined eyebrows, tan skin, and wide set of eyes that easily reflect their emotions.
Prisoners of Their Own World
Eren and Gabi might have different upbringings but they share the same plight of being trapped in a place they want to get away from. Eren was confined within the walls; Gabi was forced to stay inside a camp. Like the naive people in Plato’s allegory of the cave, they are chained in their own little worlds, compelled to live their lives with a fragmented sense of reality. And beyond their caves, just outside the gates of their make-believe safe spaces, are creatures that pretty much wanted them dead. In the case of Eren, he is surrounded by flesh-eating titans. As for Gabi, she is surrounded by Marleyan soldiers who can easily kill her and her family at their liking.
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Children of War
Eren and Gabi live their lives in a time of war. And like any other people living in such turbulent times, they lost many of their loved ones, were forced to act older than their age, were compelled to find ways to survive, and eventually learned how to become the aggressors themselves. They are ruthless, brutal, daring, and desperate – the exact representations of children forced to live in a time of war.
Consumed by Blind Hatred
Aside from appearance, what really made Gabi similar to Eren is her intense hatred toward the creatures she perceives to be humanity’s “enemies.” It is important to note that both she and Eren hate Titans to a superlative degree. They also both vow to exterminate every single one of these terrifying creatures. Yet, ironically, these very same Titans that they hate are actually their people. They share the same blood, history, and even plight as part of the marginalized.
Their pitiful situations made them become blinded by rage to the extent that they become unaware of the fact that their “enemies” are the same as them. In a way, their situations represent how in a time of war, it is so easy to dehumanize others. The people that we share a lot of common ground with are suddenly reduced to brainless, emotionless monsters that need to be exterminated.
In the end, both Eren and Gabi represent what kind of people are created by decades of endless violence, revenge, and war.
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The Bottom Line: Gabi and the Struggle to Break the Cycle
With all these similarities between Eren and Gabi, one cannot help but ask: What is the point of Gabi’s character? Was she introduced simply to provide fans with a female Eren? Or was she planted in the series just to spur annoyance among viewers?
Taking into account the overall story of Attack on Titan, it might be a good guess to say that Gabi personifies the younger generation’s struggle to break free from the endless cycle of exacting revenge and repeating the same outdated beliefs and practices that were passed down from generation to generation.
In the story, while Gabi was initially portrayed to be prejudiced, stubborn, and even lacking any ounce of sympathy against her “enemies,” she eventually showed growth and maturity. Of course, the whole transformation process was long, brutal, and painful to watch. Gabi has certainly done a lot of mistakes that she cannot undo. And there were many instances where she appeared to be a hopeless case. Naturally, it’s not surprising if many would believe that she is irredeemable.
Still, it is worth noting that in the end, she learned to slowly overcome her prejudice and admit how wrong her beliefs were. In the scene where she finally realized how wrong she was, one of the bird cages was shown to have opened. This symbolizes Gabi’s successful break-free from the cage of generational hatred and biases that have been forced down upon them.
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