WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 4, Episode 6 of Attack on Titan, "The War Hammer Titan," now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Attack on Titan fans are rewarded in the anime's sixth episode of Season 4 when the Survey Corps finally roll-up. And not only are these beloved heroes a sight for sore eyes, but they're also markedly different in appearance, some sporting new hairstyles and others much taller in stature following the four year time skip.
Most notable, however, is their change in uniform. Gone are the white shirts and green cloaks, replaced by sleek, black all-body coverings and steel armor plates... Or, at least, they're mostly gone. As a number of viewers clocked, Levi Ackerman has held onto his cloak, the possible explanation for which is unusually sentimental for the stoic captain.
The season's first five episodes have been focussed entirely on Marley's side of the story, where Zeke, Reiner and the other Warriors have been plotting their next attack on Paradis Island. But in Episode 5, Eren Jeager treats the Marleyan ghetto of Liberio to a rude awakening -- swallowing Willy Tybur mid-war declaration in the process. Viewers hoping that the rest of Eren's friends would soon join the battle didn't have to wait long and the Scouts' arrival in Episode 6 -- leaping out from seemingly nowhere -- is reminiscent of some of their pre-battle reveals on the island in past seasons.
This time, however, they're on an entirely new battlefield, though their years of training to fight Titans within city walls don't seem to let this displacement slow them down. Some things never change, though. When Mikasa lands on the Attack Titan's shoulder to talk some sense into Eren, she's still got her signature red scarf around her neck. The item was wrapped around her by Eren himself when the two were children, and she's never removed it since.
As one fan on Twitter suggests, the same could be said for Levi's decision to keep his green cloak. But it's not Eren that the other obsessive Ackerman is honoring -- it's Erwin Smith.
Though Levi could merely be marking himself out an authority figure (and it's worth noting that Armin Alert still has his in Season 4's poster), his close relationship to the deceased Commander, and his pledge to keep Erwin's "dream" alive after his demise, is certainly a compelling argument, particularly when you consider any lingering survivor's guilt Levi might be holding onto.
In Season 3, Levi was made directly responsible for Erwin's ultimate fate. Following his suicidal charge at the Beast Titan during the Shiginshina reclamation arc, which nearly helped Levi stop Zeke for good, Erwin was left on the brink of death. But so was Armin after a similar play to help Eren take down the Colossal Titan. This pushed Levi, who found himself in possession of Titan spinal fluid that could save one of their lives, into something of a Sophie's Choice. Though he badly wanted Erwin to live, as did many others, he chose Armin, believing his Commander would have made the same call.
Though pinning his feelings for Erwin on the cloak's appearance in Attack on Titan Season 4 is very out of character for Levi (who once casually beat Eren up in a court of martial law, let's not forget...), characters acting out of character is always important for their development. In any case, the detail has been delighting Levi/Erwin stans online, a ship that unlike poor Erwin, is still very much alive.