|They also possess a bloodline once thought to exist only in legends told by the royal family. The Ackerman clan, byproducts of Titan science. To be frank, I never want to meet them again.|
|— Zeke Yeager acknowledges the power of the Ackermans|
The Ackerman clan (アッカーマン一族 Akkāman ichizoku?), also known as Ackerman family (アッカーマン家 Akkāman-ke?), is an Eldian family living within the Walls. Traditionally, they were a bloodline of warriors that protected Eldia's king, but were persecuted to the brink of extinction after refusing to follow Karl Fritz's ideology. Only two known members are left.
The Ackermans lived in Eldia prior to the raising of the Walls. They were the accidental result of the Eldian Empire's experiments with the Subjects of Ymir and Titan science. They were designed to protect Eldia's king, and acted as the monarchy's right hand, entrusted with the survival of their people. After the Eldian Empire collapsed during the Great Titan War a century ago, the family moved inside the Walls that King Fritz created for the Eldians to live in.
When the King erased the memories of the people inside using the power of the Founding Titan, the Ackermans were among those immune to it; the others included the Asian clan and those who would later become the noble families inside the Walls. However, along with the Asian clan, they rejected the King's idea of peace, and turned their backs on the monarchy. Fearing his inability to control them, the King persecuted them, bringing both races to the brink of extinction. In the end, the head of the Ackerman clan offered his own life to ensure the survival of the bloodline and was executed. The rest of the generation avoided telling their children about the world before the Walls in order to protect them from the monarchy's purge. As a result, the following generations grew up without that knowledge.
Nevertheless, not even this stopped the oppression on them: Several generations later, the Ackermans were still being pursued and some of them sought refuge in the Underground City. Others fled to the mountains at the edge of the Wall, but someone got in the way of their business which made them stay poor. The purge only truly stopped after Uri Reiss, the king at the time, met Kenny Ackerman in an assassination attempt. The former apologized for the actions of prior monarchs on the latter's family, stopped the persecution, and accepted Kenny as his right-hand man.
The Ackermans have an "awakened power" displayed by some members of the clan. Levi Ackerman describes it as knowing exactly what needs to be done, and it lets the Ackermans exhibit physical abilities far above the average human. Eren Yeager learns from Zeke that this is because they were the result of the old Eldian Empire experimenting with the Subjects of Ymir. They can manifest the power of the Titans as humans, without becoming a Titan or inheriting any of the Nine Titans. When awakened, the Ackerman gains the battle experience from every single Ackerman before them via paths.
Despite this power being a tremendous asset, it is not automatically active and has to be triggered through survival instinct. For example, Mikasa was a normal girl until the age of 9 when three robbers killed her parents and kidnapped her. Eren came to her rescue, and when they were facing death, he told her to "fight." This awakened Mikasa's dormant power, and she was able to kill one of the criminals with a single stab and snap the floorboards with the strength of her foot. Levi has stated that he and Kenny also had similar moments that awakened their powers.
Eren Yeager once made the claim to Mikasa that the conditions of unlocking the potential of the Ackerman bloodline are to find a host, and when facing death, to obey an order from the host. This will activate the state found in the Ackerman's blood to protect the host. By Eren's claim, an awakened Ackerman is forced to serve their host, and they experience sudden headaches if their "true self" tries to resist. However, these details were fabricated by Eren, as Zeke Yeager had no knowledge as to the origin of Mikasa's headaches or the validity of the idea that an awakened Ackerman requires a host. Armin Arlert rightly speculated that Eren was lying and used Mikasa's headaches to support his claim, and it is Zeke's belief that Mikasa's protective nature over Eren comes from her affection for him and not a predisposed inclination.
Immunity to the Founding Titan
The Ackermans are Subjects of Ymir; however, they are immune to the Founding Titan's ability to alter the memories of the Subjects of Ymir. This led Kenny's grandfather to believe that they are not Subjects of Ymir.
- In Attack on Titan ANSWERS, Hajime Isayama stated that "[Mikasa, Levi, and Kenny] are all part of the same Ackerman bloodline. However, their reasons for protecting their respective counterparts do not have anything to do with the bloodline itself—it is just their nature."
- "Ackerman" roughly translates to "Ploughman." As "Acker" is a germanic word for "ploughed field."
- A similar Swedish surname, "Åkerman" exists.
- In the Q&A section of the August 2018 edition of Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine, Hajime Isayama answered a question regarding a hypothetical mixing of the Ackerman and royal bloodlines:
Q: If a child were to be born between two people from the royal family and the Ackerman clan, which blood would take precedence? ("Chewing Gum" from Chiba Prefecture)
A: I think that both [of their bloodlines] would be reflected [in the child] as usual. (Isayama-sensei)
- Presumably, this means that the child would have the "awakened power" of the Ackermans and can become a Titan with royal blood—able to activate the Founding Titan and fully utilize the power of the Titans—like the members of the Fritz/Reiss royal family.