Tell me you are a fan of Attack on Titan without telling me you are a fan of Attack on Titan.
“heishi yo, ikare! heishi yo, sakebe! heishi yo, tatakae!”-Erwin Smith
“The world is merciless, and it’s also very beautiful”- Hajime Isayama
“There is meaning in every catastrophe. Whether humanity is fated to die or survive…that decision is in God’s hands. My mission is to summon god back into this world and offer my prayers to her.”-Rod Reiss
We can do this all day and we are not the only ones.
Attack on Titan, commonly known as AOT is a Japanese anime that has been the center of attention for weebs from all parts of the globe ever since the show first aired in 2013. Attack on Titan comes off as a popular fantasy anime where the heroes aren’t at the center of it all.
The show is famous for having insanely complex antagonists that have ulterior motives with some pretty tragic backstories and also due to the brutal killings that fans saw as the show went on.
One such character was Lord Reiss, or should we say, Rod Reiss. The true king who ruled humanity from 845 to 850 was from the royal bloodline and was the relative Ymir in AOT, who is deemed as the first titan. The titan form of Ymir isn’t talked about much.
Even though Rod was one of the most powerful villains, fans still adored him due to his twisted takes on tradition and heritage which made all of the arcs that he featured in worth all the hype. In case you are looking to jump straight into the action, you can skip all the fillers by taking a look at the filler list of the episodes of Attack on titan.
For now, let us get back to Rod as today’s blog is all about the megalomaniac father of Historia whose decisions changed the fate of humanity.
Appearances of Rod Reiss
Similar to his daughter, Historia, Rod Reiss was also a short person. Although, he was a bit overweight when compared to his daughter Historia. Rod had short black hair, a round face along a thin black mustache.
Mostly he was seen wearing clothes that made him look rich, which usually featured a white shirt with buttons in the front, a pullover vest in pitch black color, loose black pants, and polished black shoes.
Despite that, when Rod Reiss was busy conducting titan rituals, he was wearing a white shirt and pants with a long coat, something that all of the male members of the Reiss family wore during family meetings.
This is the popular “Abnormal titan” form that is seen in both the manga and the animation. Rod Reiss’ appearance as a Titan has no sort of resemblance to his human form, apart from being male-like which is pretty common in Titans. He was the largest known titan in the world to exist, reaching up to a whopping height of 120m (40m at the withers). The size of Rod Reiss’ titan is twice as large when compared to Colossus titan, which comes at a height of 60m.
If one has to study the body of Rod Reiss as a titan, it would be fair to say that his body is pretty disproportionate. The abnormal titan had a small head with a large torso, had quite thin limbs for the size of the titan, which is majorly why he was unable to stand up and needed to crawl on all fours to move forward.
The titan lacked muscle and this was clearly visible as he was pretty skeletal and most of the bones were visible. The front side of his face was destroyed because of the friction against the ground since he had to drag himself to move constantly, which further led to exposing his brains from the front side.
Although if he were to stand up on his feet and not drag his head while moving, he would be able to regenerate the front side of his face in no time. The sides of Rod’s titan were covered with ribs and the frontal side of his body lacked muscle and skin due to all the dragging which further exposed his internal organs from the front when he sat up.
Irrespective of how strange it may seem, the design of his body was meant to move in a manner that was similar to a worm, and surprisingly enough, his torso was able to stretch and shrink like that of a worm or an accordion, which made his uncanny movement where his front half went forward, followed by his lower half coming after.
Similar to the Colossus titan, the humongous size of the titan made motion pretty slow and generated tons of heat, which is why he was always covered in steam. The heat produced by the body of the titan was so high, it made it impossible for anyone to get near without getting burned in the process as all of the trees near him turned into ashes in an instant as he moved past them.
About Rod Reiss as a person
Rod seemed to have a calm personality with a demeanor that seemed pretty worrying. Every time he said something about the events that included his daughter, Frieda Reiss, and his brother Uri Reiss or about the time when they obtained and lost the power of the founding titan, he spoke with utter certainty and intelligence.
Mostly, Rod always seemed to be calm and composed during his time with Historia, Eren Yeager, and Kenny Ackermann. A brilliant instance of his composure can be seen when Kenny grabbed him and started to threaten him with a knife to his throat.
The only time fans saw Rod lose his composure and go to a state of panic is when Historia threw him after crushing the serum and bashed him for his beliefs of godhood. After the events that took place, Rod reached for the syringe that was lying there on the ground, shattered, and in a desperate attempt to become a titan himself, he licked the syringe from the ground.
Rod Reiss was the eldest son and the brother of Uri. Their father, who was the inheritor of the founding titan, was also deemed as the true king of humanity. After some time, Rod welcomed his younger brother Uri into this world.
For the majority of their time on land, Uri and Rod always begged their father to free the humans from the torture of titans, but their father never paid any attention to this issue, neither disclosing the reason behind it. it extended to the point where Rod had to be locked in a cage multiple times for his attempts at the whole “save humanity” act.
As the time came for his father to pass the position to one of the two sons, Uri volunteered for that and politely asked Rod to pray. As soon as Rod saw Uri’s eyes, he saw his father’s presence and realized that his brother had now become an all-knowing being who will protect the world. This led Rod to devote his whole life to protecting god, that is Uri, keeping his brother’s promise.
In his early youth, Rod married a woman who has been left unnamed in the manga and had five children with her, namely Frieda, Florian, Abel, Dirk, and Urklyn. During this time, he also met Kenny from the Ackermanns dynasty of Attack on Titan, who tried to kill the former king and the brother of Rod, Uri Reiss. Although Uri was urged by Rod to kill Kenny for attacking him, and Kenny being an Ackermann made the plea more convincing, yet Uri apologized to Kenny and refused to kill him. This led to the start of something good for both as Kenny became a loyal servant of the Royal family.
In secrecy, Rod gave birth to Historia, his sixth child with Alma who was one of his servants. In 842, Frieda devoured Uri to become the queen of humanity. Sadly, Frieda, similar to the former king, Uri, fell victim to the ghosts of the ancestors despite trying her level best to prevent that from happening.
Role in Story
The fall of Shiganshina arc
Fast forward to the day when Wall Maria went down by the attacks of the armored Titan and the Colossal titan, the whole Reiss family went to a chapel to pray that was located in the secret underground area. But things take a turn when Grisha Yeager, a man from the outside world comes to talk with the Reiss family, trying to convince Frieda to save people inside the walls from the Titans that attacked the city.
Frieda refused this proposal as she was bound by the will of the first king. Instantly, Grisha transforms into a titan, challenging Frieda and the two engage in combat. Despite being the bigger and stronger titan, Frieda lacked experience which ultimately led to her loss as she was eaten by the neck (nap).
After this, Grisha tries to kill the entire Reiss family and succeeds in killing everyone, apart from Rod, who fled the scene. The death of his daughter led to Rod becoming the king of humanity. As days pass by, Rod goes to Historia to inform her that she will be living with him from now on.
The first interior squad and Kenny Ackermann himself gather around Historia and her mother. Rod is asked by Kenny whether he knows the two women, to which he denies. What follows is simply cruel. After the confirmation, a young Historia watches the throat of her mother being slit right in front of her while Rod watches her die as she denies being the mother of Historia.
As soon as Kenny moves to Historia, Rod comes up with the proposition to enroll Historia in the survey corps, hoping that she would die in battle. Everyone agrees to this, stating it as a fitting alternative.
All of this was revealed to be a charade that Rod came up with up until the point where Historia made it to the survey corps, with Kenny admitting that he knew about all of it from the very beginning and helped Rod to execute the plan.
The Royal government arc
In the later seasons, when Rod learns that Eren Yeager possesses the power of the titans, he starts working out a plan to bring Eren and Historia to him so as to reclaim the power of the titan for the Reiss family in secrecy. After the two were captured successfully by Kenny, Rod unties the restraints on Historia and apologizes to her for everything that happened with her up until this point.
Later, both Eren and Historia were taken to the cavern which was underneath the Reiss chapel, restraining Eren so as to make sure that he is unable to transform. He also tries to explain to Historia that everything he has been doing is in the best interests of humanity and is essential for the survival of the human race.
After waking up, Rod notices that Eren seems to be familiar with the cavern and recognizes it even though he has never been there. In turn, Historia asks Rod to explain what is happening to Eren, to which Rod places his hand on Eren along with Historia’s hand, which triggers Grisha’s memories in Eren. Upon triggering the memories, Rod asks Eren whether or not he has remembered the sins of his father.
To his surprise, he sees that Historia is also shaken up quite a bit, which can only mean one thing, the contact also restored Historia’s memories of Frieda. He further explains that she was her half-sister and that it is quite possible that Frieda erased Historia’s memories of her in order to protect her. On hearing this, Historia thinks whether she can thank her but Rod tells her that she was killed mercilessly along with the rest of the Reiss family by none other than Eren’s father.
Amidst all this, Kenny interrupts the conversation to tell Rod that the military was able to lead a coup against the royal government and it was only a matter of time before they reached the chapel. Rod orders Kenny to take his squad to guard the entrance of the cavern while he and Historia begin with the ceremony.
As soon as Kenny goes to stop Levi’s squad at the entrance, Rod reaches for his bag to take out the titan injection and tells Historia that she can still meet Frieda again. Eren’s frantic efforts to talk to Historia are in vain as the gag stops him from saying anything at all while Rod states that Eren is keen on returning the power to the rightful place after his father, Grisha stole it.
He further goes on explaining about the history of the founding titan and the power that it holds. He also tells Historia that with the power of the founding titan in AOT, she will be able to finally put an end to the Titans to save the citizens of the world, but now that the power is in the hands of an individual who is not of the Reiss family, that power is dormant.
Rod’s explanation is halted by the entry of Kenny, who furiously asks whether or not the founding titan is useless for anyone who isn’t from the Reiss family. Rod confirms this for Kenny, but Kenny loses his cool and threatens Rod, yelling that he took advantage of Kenny all those years. Rod remains calm and composed, unfazed by the threats and insults Kenny by stating that Uri employed a stray dog like Kenny.
Historia tries to stand up for her father as Kenny tells Rod that if he keeps on insulting Uri, he will kill him. From the other end, Kenny accuses Rod of being a coward and of being someone who is too afraid of becoming a titan himself. Rod doesn’t entertain him and simply says that he cannot become a titan himself due to certain reasons. Kenny lets go of Rod and Rod further relieves Kenny from his service telling him that he should go on and live a long and happy life on his own. Things escalate more quickly than Rod thought as Kenny moves to Eren and cuts the boy’s head open, with the intent to force Eren and Historia in their titan forms for the place of the founding titan.
Panicking, Rod takes the syringe and tries to inject it into Historia’s hands, telling her how the injection would make her powerful enough to take on Eren. Historia is hesitant, asking questions to her father such as why none of the previous founding titans used their powers to save humanity from this torture, to which, Rod says that the first king wanted humans to be controlled by titans as that is the only way to find peace.
Historia smashes the syringe on the floor as the serum is spilled all over the floor. Afraid of what will follow, Rod leaps on Historia but she flips him over her shoulder, slamming Rod on the floor. Historia rushes to Eren, while Rod moves to the shattered syringe in a desperate attempt to reclaim the power of the founding titan from Eren, he licks the contents of the syringe and turns into a pure titan.
A twist in the tale appears to take place as Rod’s titan ignores everyone and starts crawling straight towards the Orvud district of Wall Sheena, drawn by the population of the city. Soldiers try to lead the pure titan away but are unable to get close enough due to the immense amount of heat emanating from the body of the huge titan form of Rod Reiss.
At dawn, when the huge titan arrives at Orvud, several Survey corps and Garrison members are already there, waiting for him. Heavy cannons are launched at Rod Reiss’ titan from both sides of the wall, yet somehow, he manages all of the attacks launched at him and manages to scale the wall. The change in the wind and the immense heat forces the soldiers to cover themselves in water to prevent burning.
Eventually, the hands of the titan are blown off by the squad of Levi, further making him fall as he loses balance. Following this, Eren shoves barrels of gunpowder into Rod’s mouth which blows off the nape and head of the titan. After this, Levi’s squad begins to cut off the blown pieces of the body in hopes to cut the nape to end the story of Rod once and for all. Ironically, the nape was found by Historia, who then cuts it off and in the process, receives some of the memories of her father, one of the major ones being that of Rod asking his father to save humanity from the cruelty of titans.
Historia had a tough life from the very beginning. She was the illegitimate child of Rod who was deemed by the order as unfit for being heir to the Reiss family. This is why Kenny was assigned to kill Historia and Historia’s mother and was later charged for the same.
Later, Rod came to get his daughter to live with him, but due to the interference from the military police, he was forced to make a rather dangerous decision. He further proposed an alternative where the chances of survival of his daughter were slim, but it was still better than seeing his daughter die in front of his own eyes.
This is where the story indicated that Rod cared deeply for his daughter. Later on, when Eren and Historia were captured, Rod Reiss hugged his daughter with tears in his eyes, saying sorry for how she had to live all these years, which came as a surprise to both Historia and Eren.
The reason behind this affection can be that Rod Reiss wanted to give Historia the power of her half-sister someday. Historia defied this request from Rod as she realized how this power consumed her sister and destroyed her humanity. She later found out that Rod wanted her to Eren only so that she can have the power of the founding titan so that the Reiss family can regain the power of the founding titan.
It was no secret that no matter the kind of human Rod was, he loved his daughters more than anything in the world. After Historia rejected the serum, Rod went mad because of the loss of Frieda’s power and memories. In a desperate attempt, he licked the serum from the ground in hopes of reuniting with his family and with his daughter Frieda.
It was in a memory where Frieda told Rod to allow her to be the next inheritor, also stating that she wouldn’t give in to the ghosts of her ancestors.
She was one of the servants of Rod at first, but with time she became the love of his life. As soon as she got pregnant, Alma was taken away to the farm of her parents. Rod thought that she was the only person on the land who could understand what he was feeling all that time.
After the death of Rod Reiss, Levi and Erwin breathed a sigh of relief while Historia was made the queen of humanity. The last episode of season 3 in the animation takes a turn for good when humanity’s hope of survival is at an all-time high. But as it turns out, season 4 is for nothing less than a bag of surprises. Later in the show, the arrival of Zeke Yeager, the other son of Grisha Yeager, will put things into perspective. The craze for this show has gone to the extent that fans are now getting inked by taking tattoo ideas from the attack on titan.
Don’t worry as we won’t be dropping any more spoilers.
We hope that this blog has everything that you wanted to know about Lord Reiss.
Up until next time! Peace out.