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|“||Grisha: But why? Why do something like that? Do you get some sick pleasure out of watching people get eaten alive?
Gross: I wouldn't call it pleasure ... I just find it interesting. Does that sound a bit crazy to you? Well, the fact is most people want to see cruelty. Don't get me wrong, I think peace is a wonderful thing but something about it just feels lacking ... we've pushed death out of sight and mind ... now that's no way to live death is always near in nature... and some might think me of normal for investigating such things. But to them I'd say I faced this cruel world head-on. And because I bothered to deepen my understanding of death I can accept it when my time comes. See, it's about education my boys learned from watching their dogs eat your sister.
Grisha: Do you not feel any remorse?
Gross: Well, I guess I get what you mean. If something that horrible were to happen to one of my children, my heart would break no question. You poor devils. It's a shame you had to be born Eldian.
|~ Gross and Grisha|
|“||If you leave rats in your household alone, you might be infected with a disease sooner or later, so the desire to eliminate them is natural.||„|
Sergeant Major Gross is a minor but pivotal antagonist in Attack on Titan. He was a cruel and sadistic commanding officer of the Marleyan military, serving in the Public Security Authorities.
In the anime, he was voiced by Ikkyuu Juku in the Japanese version, and by Bradley Campbell in the English dubbed version.
In the year 817, the officer Gross is first seen slacking by the riverside with his colleague Eren Kruger in Liberio, where they spot Grisha and Faye Yeager, having wandered out of the Liberio internment zone to observe a blimp. Gross and Kruger recognize them as Eldians based on Grisha and Faye's armbands and ask for their exit permits. Seeing that they lack the permits, Kruger gives the children the choice of either working or receive punishment. Grisha chooses punishment to avoid troubling his parents and requests to take Faye's punishment as well. The two accept the request and Gross leaves to escort Faye back home while Kruger beats up Grisha. However, instead of taking Faye back home, Gross takes this as an opportunity to teach his sons about how the world works based on his beliefs of the Eldians. He brings the eight-year-old to his home where he brings his three sons along with them to an isolated area of Liberio. There Gross throws Faye on the ground and has his sons' dogs violently maul her and rip her to shreds.
After Faye's mutilated body is found in the river the next day, Gross and Kruger visit the Yeagers' house to discuss Faye's death and inform them about hers and Grisha's serious violation of leaving the internment zone without an exit permit. Gross claims to the grieving Yeager family that he does not know what happened and that he only showed Faye back to the internment zone's gates and left, because he was too busy with work to escort her all the way back to her home. Gross tells Faye's parents that her death was her own fault for wandering around town without permission, and scolds them for the way their children were caught outside the ghetto. Gross implies his suspicions that the parents are not teaching Grisha the dark history of Eldia, as he feels that the boy does not grasp the place his people have in the world. Grisha can easily tell that Gross is lying, as he saw both him and Kruger laze around by the riverbank instead of working, but besides having no proof that Faye was murdered by Gross, the Yeagers know better than to speak against Marley's public officials and oppose the system which is strongly against Eldian's human rights. Because Faye was an Eldian, the Marleyan authorities and Gross' superiors did not bother to investigate the causes of her death, thus Gross easily got away with Faye's murder.
In 824, seven years after the event, the eighteen year old Grisha is brought into a newly formed resistance group after being told from Grice about the truth of Faye's death and how Gross was the one responsible, and soon becomes one of the leaders of the Eldian Restorationists. Eight years later in 832, the Public Security Authorities discover the movement's existence and quickly start to collect the names of the families involved. Before they can complete their investigation, Grisha's son and cadet child soldier of the army's Eldian Unit, Zeke Yeager, exposes his parents as Restorationist leaders and sells out the resistance group to Marley for his and his grandparents' safety. Gross, by now ranking as a Sergeant Major, is present along with Kruger when the Public Security Authorities raid Grisha's house to detain Grisha and his wife Dina, accompanied by the Warrior Tom Ksaver, Zeke and Grisha's parents. The Restorationists are all arrested for treason and terrorism, and tortured by the soldiers to be questioned about the identity of their top shadow leader codenamed "the Owl", the person who formed and armed the rebels.
Through their own previous investigations, Zeke's report and the torture of the Restorationists, Gross and his men found out that the Owl is the one who organized the rebel movement and that he is someone working within the Marley government as an official, and the fact that Zeke was being used as a mole in an attempt to infiltrate the Warrior Unit and steal the Founding Titan during Marley's incoming military campaign on Paradis Island in near future years, all while the Restorationists were still trying to use the Founding Titan to gather more rebel support from the Eldians living in the internment zones. This under the grave crime of trying to restore Eldia and start a new war to destroy and conquer Marley once more. The Public Security Authorities are unable to discover the Owl's identity, as even after the torture all the Restorationists keep swearing they have no idea who the Owl is and that he entirely worked from the shadows to maintain complete secrecy.
The Restorationists are deported on a ship to "Heaven" on Paradis Island, to serve their life sentence in the penal colony as per Marley's policy to turn Eldian criminals into Titans. Gross is annoyed by Grice's cries and rants and kicks him off the wall. Gross then tells Grice to run and make it to the Walls of the Eldian kingdom. When one rookie soldier asks Gross about what he did, he reveals that Grice will never make it to the Walls, only using him as bait to lure the Titans away to the inner island. Gross' soldiers inject the Titan serum into the other Restorationists and kick them all down, watching them as they transform into Pure Titans and go off chasing Grice. Annoyed by Grisha's screams, Gross tells Kruger to silence him and turn him into a Titan already, but Kruger insists that he wants interrogate him a bit more. As he brings out Dina, Gross gets further annoyed by Grisha's panic and yelling, but Kruger silences him before Gross can understand what he is saying. After injecting her with the serum, Gross taunts Dina that she and Grisha will make a "great" Titan couple, before kicking her down, turning her into the Smiling Titan.
After witnessing his wife turn into a Titan and listening to Gross' jokes, Grisha angrily accuses Gross as the one responsible for murdering his sister fifteen years ago. Angered at the public accusation, Gross then remembers him and takes the last Restoration member as he orders his soldiers except Kruger to return to the ship. The soldiers know better than to argue against the Sergeant Major's power abuse, explaining to the rookie it is best to leave him with his entertainments without questioning him. The soldiers are also both unsurprised yet disturbed by the fact they just learned that Gross is also putting his hands on eight year old girls, regardless if they are Eldians. For revealing one of his secrets in public, Gross decides not to turn Grisha into a Titan, but instead turn Grisha's last comrade into a small Titan of three or four meters so that Grisha can fight him and get slowly eaten alive. When Grisha asks him why is he doing these things, Gross answers because it is fun and interesting to watch humans suffer and die, like them getting eaten alive by monsters. Gross tells Grisha that even if some hate it, the truth is that most people want to see cruelty and brutality.
He complains there has not been any war in mainland Marley since the fall of the Eldian Empire, and he feels that with peace something is still lacking, which is the "feel of being alive". Gross claims he always wakes up expecting any day to be the one he dies, and considers this feeling the natural state of all living things. He feels that Marley's society takes peace for granted and he is aware that people who think like he does are considered abnormal, but he is fine with being deemed insane by society. Gross claims that he understands and faces the harsh truth of the cruel world, and that is why unlike most people he is ready to accept any death when his day will come. Gross explains to Grisha that he killed his sister to "educate" his sons, and since learning should also be fun he made it funny for them. Gross states that watching Faye getting eaten alive by his sons' dogs was an entertainment that he needed in his life and that it "built character" for his sons. As he finishes his speech he injects Grisha's last fellow Restorationist and kicks him off Heaven's wall where he transforms into a Titan.
Disturbed, Grisha asks Gross how he can live with himself and if he can feel any remorse, to which Gross states that he tenses up when he thinks of his sons meeting their fate similarly to Faye. He nonchalantly and unapologetically admits to Grisha that his sister did not do anything wrong to deserve such fate, to which Grisha adds that all she wanted to do was to see the blimp in Liberio. Upon hearing about how Faye dreamed of being able to ride a blimp to somewhere outside the internment zone, Gross, while not changing his cold expression, sarcastically comments what a poor thing Faye was and how different life could have been for her if she was not an Eldian. Pointing at Grisha's comrade who just turned into a Titan, Gross reminds him that Eldians are only devils and fake humans whose true forms are the Titan ones they assume once injected with the serum, and to Gross that is his justification for not feeling empathy for Eldians; they are only monsters and not actual human beings.
Gross' usual lazy and cold expression changes into rage and hate as he tells Grisha that there is nothing in the world as abnormal as the Subjects of Ymir; monsters in human skin who should have been exterminated a long time ago when the Eldian Empire fell, in Gross' opinion. Gross does not understand why the governments of Marley and the other nations are still allowing them to reproduce, when the Eldians could rise again any time to conquer the world once more, and he views the Restorationists as an example of that. He wishes he could cleanse the world of the entire Eldian race himself, by making them all become Titans or food for the Titans, as in his eyes having allowed for the Eldians to live in internment zones is the same as a neglected rat infestation, bound to get out of hand. As he fears that Eldians are a threat to Marley and the world, Gross finds that exterminating all of them is the easiest and most obvious answer, and tells Grisha that wiping out every single Eldian from existence is something all of humanity in the world wishes to make happen.
Gross coldly states that he does not feel any remorse for his actions and that he is perfectly happy. Instead he reminds Grisha about his own crimes against the nation of Marley as he calls the Eldian Restorationists killers who were following the same evil path as the old Eldian Empire, and asks Grisha how does he lives with himself. Grisha claims that the world's history of Eldia is all a lie and starts talking about his personal theories and views about the Empire's foundation, as he claims to have read about how the Founder Ymir Fritz brought only peace, wealth and prosperity for all the people of the continent with the Power of the Titans. Bored, Gross sarcastically mocks Grisha for believing that the history of humanity and Marley was somehow all distorted and prepares to send him to his Titan friend below so he can "talk about it" with him. Grisha begins resisting and screaming when Gross tries to push him over to enjoy watching him fight for his life. The sergeant major ignores Grisha's pleads and instead he wants him to promise that he will make his death "interesting" and slower, where he will show him a new way of gruesome death that he never saw before. When Grisha responds with insults, Gross is amused and taunts him to be more positive about the importance of fun, mockingly telling him that his sister is calling for him. Suddenly, before Gross can throw Grisha off the wall, Kruger pushes him instead, resulting with Gross landing right in front of the Titan. The frightened Gross is caught by the Titan and has his face bitten off, as Kruger reveals himself to be the infamous Eldian spy, the Owl.
Gross is portrayed as a merciless and sadistic man who enjoys watching the Eldians suffer. An extreme racist with prejudice over Eldians, he wishes that all the Eldians in the world could die in oppression and cruelty, going as far as having his dogs rip apart an innocent eight year old girl just for being an Eldian. He believes that humans should always be prepared to face death, and has no problem admitting he loves to see cruelty, criticizing "normal" people for taking peace for granted.
Apparently, Gross follows a philosophy based on racial social darwinism and believes it is normal for lower races to suffer inhumane treatment from their betters. Gross views the Eldian race as enemies of mankind who should have already been exterminated, and does not seem to approve how Marley keeps allowing them to live. He also seem to lack any honor and empathy for his fellow human beings in general, as he claimed he would only grieve for his children.