“Everyone is a slave to something.”Kenny Ackerman
From the very first episode of Attack on Titan, we have seen how Mikasa has instinctively protected Eren time and time again. Be it from bullies or blood-thirsty titans, she was always the first one to jump in and save Eren.
Just like Mikasa herself, we composedly believed that it was because of Eren’s kindness towards her.
But things got trickier in Episode 14 of Season 4 when Eren explained Mikasa’s “Saving Eren” affinity as her Ackerman’s instinct that had turned her into Eren’s ‘slave.’
So, does it mean that the ‘Ackerbond’ is the real deal? If yes, does that same rule apply to Levi and Kenny? We bring you everything that you need to know about the concept of ‘Ackerbond.’
If by ‘Ackerbond’ you mean reaching the highest potential of Ackerman blood while protecting or serving a liege: YES! Such a tendency is seen among the Ackermans.
But that doesn’t make them a ‘slave’ to their host. All those things Eren said about losing the ‘true self’ after accepting someone as a host were lies to keep Mikasa away from this chaos.
This was Eren’s attempt to save her from the despair that his upcoming actions may cause her by severing the bond between them before it’s too late.
1. The Three Possible Ackerbonds
Despite being the most powerful kinds of people in the Attack on Titan universe, Ackermans are often found to be exceedingly loyal to a particular person, and that’s where the concept of Ackerbond comes into play.
Does that mean our sturdy and adamant Captain Levi has a liege too? Did he serve someone other than humanity?
The three possible Ackerbonds, in my opinion, are:
- Mikasa → Eren
- Levi → Erwin
- Kenny → Uri
Many of you may disagree with the Levi → Erwin part, but if you think closely, its highly probable since Levi never really questioned or disobeyed Erwin in the first place.
Although he openly threatened Erwin to break his limbs, he didn’t actually do it and ultimately showed faith in his judgment.
(Season 3 Episode 4) When the MP declared that Erwin was going to be the first to be hanged, Levi broke his arm in an instant.All these events somehow hint that Erwin had a liege-like presence in Levi’s life.
(Season 3 Episode 7) Similarly, in Yuri and Kenny’s case, when Rod said terrible things about Uri, Kenny immediately showed a hostile attitude.
Lastly, coming to Eren and Mikasa, I don’t think I have to explain why I think Eren is Mikasa’s liege since we have witnessed Mikasa’s favouritism towards Eren repeatedly.
2. Eren’s Version on Ackerbond
“You have to mix some truths in with the lies in order to make your lies believable.”Commander Pixis
Eren did that pretty well when he explained the concepts of Ackerbond to Mikasa.
He mixed bits and pieces of truth with some self-made fabrication that made his explanation more believable to Mikasa.
According to Eren, the Ackermans were accidentally created to protect the Eldian King. Ackermans can awaken their true potential after accepting a person as ‘host’ or ‘liege’ whom they will serve and protect no matter what.
Once all the conditions are met, an Ackerman loses his/her true self to the Ackerman instinct, thereby turning him/her into a slave.
He further comments that if the Ackerman’s true self tries to deny the liege’s order, they suffer from severe headaches.
This reminds Mikasa about the headaches that she has been suffering from since the day she first killed a person.
I. The Truths
- Ackermans were created to serve and protect the Eldian King, who possessed the Founding Titan.
- Ackermans tend to reach new heights while fighting for or protecting someone they serve or care for. Even in the latest episode (Season 4 Episode 14), Levi remembers the promise he made to Erwin before blasting Zeke with a thunder spear.
- An Ackerman inherits the battle experience of all other preceding Ackermans once he/she awakens the true potential. This explains to us why Levi and Mikasa are miles ahead in combat compared to any other character.
- In some cases, Ackermans can access a portion of Titan power (strength, speed and durability) when triggered by something. This ability is the result of experiments performed on them by the Old Eldian Empire with Titan science.
Everything else that Eren said is either half-truth or lies to make Mikasa question her actions and keep her away from his way.
Only two clans were resistant towards the King’s ideology: Ackermans and the Azumabito clan. Mikasa belongs to both of them (her dad was an Ackerman and her mom was from the Azumabito clan).
3. Are Ackermans Slave to Their’ Liege?’ Is it a Choice or Compulsion?
As I said, they tend to show high loyalty towards a specific person, but that doesn’t make them slaves. If that was the case, Ackermans would have never revolted against the Eldian King.
Levi didn’t stop Eren from riding into his death, and Kenny went against Yuri’s wish by trying to get his hands on the Founding Titan. These incidents prove that they weren’t bound to follow or protect their liege.
Unlike the other two Ackermans, Mikasa is a sensitive and emotion-driven person.
Everything she did was her choice and not as a compulsion, but as a way to pay back Eren’s kindness and to keep his mother’s promise of safeguarding him.
Moreover, Mikasa didn’t save Eren when he was hit by Levi or Jean (Season 1 Episode 12) and didn’t feel any headache at that time. So, this proves that Ackermans can choose when and when not to protect their chosen one.
[Chapter 130 of Attack on Titan manga confirmed that the slave thing was a lie because Zeke himself was totally clueless about it. Instead, he told Eren that Mikasa probably likes him so much that she’d “snap a Titan’s neck” for him.]
I believe it’s just their instinctual need to protect themselves (or someone important to them) that awakens their true strength.
4. The Headaches
From all the lies that Eren spewed, according to which an Ackerman suffers from severe headaches when he/she tries to go against their liege’s wish.
Firstly, we have never seen Levi or Kenny suffer from headaches in any part of the series, which pretty much confirms that Eren was lying.
But that’s not the case for Mikasa, who has been seen suffering from headaches multiple times. She had a headache after awakening her Ackerman instinct, but I think it was because of the trauma of losing her parents.
Moreover, she had a headache when Armin was about to die, which has nothing to do with Eren.
It would have made more sense if she had the headache after Levi refused to give Eren the syringe, but she had it before, thereby busting the myth completely.
5. Is a Liege Necessary for the Awakening?
It’s true that Ackermans push their limits while protecting someone important to them; I think this rule stands for other humans too.
Let’s just clarify that the awakening or ‘moment of clarity,’ where they feel a sudden surge of power, has nothing to do with their liege.
Yes, they reached new heights while following orders, but Levi and Kenny were very strong even before they met their liege.
Moreover, Levi’s awakening was in no way connected to Erwin. He did it as an act of self-preservation, and was able to release a massive attack against the titans who killed his friends.
It was just a coincidence for Mikasa that her ‘awakening’ happened in front of Eren, who is supposedly her liege (someone she protects by choice).
6. Does the Ackerbond Erase the Ackerman’s True Self?
From all the lies that Eren said, I found this the most ridiculous one, according to which an Ackerman loses his/her true self after forming an Ackerbond with someone.
Levi is the living example of an Ackerman who retained his personality after bonding with Erwin. He has always been foul-mouthed, violent, unpleasant, and a clean freak; he remained pretty much the same throughout the series.
Moreover, Eren didn’t really know how Mikasa was as a person before her ‘awakening’ day. He just knew that she had lost both of her parents with nowhere else to go.
He has no way to verify if his claim regarding ‘losing the true self’ is true or not. Maybe he said all these intentionally to hurt Mikasa’s feelings.
7. Final Thoughts
Ackermans are undoubtedly the flag-bearers of superhuman strength and coolness. In other words, they are the Uchihas of the Attack on Titan universe.
Now think about it, how could the Royal Family have ensured that the Ackermans won’t revolt against them? Thus, the bloodline of warriors was created with a sense of loyalty towards a more assertive personality.
However, this article proves that ‘Ackerbond’ isn’t strong enough to turn them into a slave. Like any other race, the Ackermans have evolved over the years, and their limiting traits got weaker and weaker with time.
There are still many things we don’t know about Ackermans, and I fear we may never find those missing pieces of the puzzle.
The anime is on its final episodes, and the manga is just a chapter away, so there isn’t much ‘Ackerman’ show left for us.
The Attack on Titan series is filled with the most unforgettable characters, and yet the explosive Ackermans stand out from the rest.
Deep down, we all know that these inherent warriors will have a special place in our hearts even after the series ends.
8. About Attack On Titan
Attack on Titan is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. Kodansha publishes it in the Bessatsu Shonen Magazine.
The manga began serialization on September 9th, 2009 and continues to date with 30 tankōbom formats.
Attack on Titan follows humanity settled within three concentric walls to protect themselves from the terrifying titans that prey on them.
Eren Yeager is a young boy that believes that a caged life is similar to that of cattle and aspires to go beyond the walls one day, just like his heroes, the Survey Corps. The emergence of a deadly Titan unleashes chaos.Originally Written By Epic Dope