The origin of the Ackerman family in 'Attack on Titan'

Levi and Kenny Ackerman (Image via Twitter/@DrOtagamer)
Levi and Kenny Ackerman (Image via Twitter/@DrOtagamer)

Throughout Attack on Titan, Mikasa and Levi Ackerman have demonstrated impressive strength. Proving themselves capable of battling Titans unlike any other humans. An “awakening power”, which grants Ackerman's strength, far surpasses regular human capabilities.


In Attack on Titan, the Ackermans are able to access the fighting power and experience of their ancestry. Allowing them to use the strength of Titans without becoming one themselves.

The Ackerman clan has always been Attack on Titan’s biggest mystery. That is, until the manga cleared all that up recently. Here’s the long-awaited origin story of the Ackerman family.

Attack on Titan Ackerman family origin story

The Ackerman family’s unique prowess was first introduced to Attack on Titan through Kenny and his nephew Levi. Kenny served as the only mentor to young Levi, whose mother passed away due to an illness. From the get-go, Kenny was a legend in the Attack on Titan universe. He even gained the name “Kenny The Ripper” owing to the brutality he subjected his victims to.

Through all his training, Levi became one of, if not the most powerful soldiers in Attack on Titan, not to mention the most powerful Ackerman. After learning more about his family, Levi confirmed that his powers were “awakened”. That prompted him to ask his cousin Mikasa if her own powers had been awakened, which they were.

As Attack on Titan progressed, Eren revealed the truth about her ancestry to Mikasa. The Ackerman family was designed to create a race that would serve and protect Eldian kings. The power of the Ackerman family is activated when a figure serving as a Titan host commands them to act.

In the case of Mikasa, her powers were activated by Eren when he instructed her to attack the robber who killed her parents and assaulted them both as children. Eren even speculates that Mikasa’s powers tether him to her, as he was the host that activated her powers.

What exactly is a host?

The world of Attack on Titan does not exactly make the exact definition of a host clear. Eren possesses three Titans, two of which he inherited from his father. Adding to his lack of royal blood, Mikasa serving him as a host is slightly questionable. It's a conundrum, as Armin points out.

With Eren’s drastic transformation, it’s possible he could be hiding something he learnt in his father’s basement. Given that Eren also mercilessly beat Armin for disagreeing with his analysis, it’s safe to say he might know more than he is letting on. Even so, there is no doubting that the power of the Ackermans could possibly be host-binding.

Final thoughts

The Ackermans have been one of the most powerful families in the franchise. Falling into the overall theme of the show, they have had a tragic backstory. Despite their strengths having varied levels, the Ackermans are collectively the most powerful group of Attack on Titan’s humanity.

Levi is the most powerful soldier, Mikasa is the strongest junior soldier, and Kenny has made a name for himself as the most notorious serial killer in Attack on Titan. Needless to say, this brief insight into Ackerman's background is just the thing the fans needed to grow a deeper connection to the family.

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Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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