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|I don't know the answer to that. I never have. Whether I trusted myself or the choices of my dependable comrades, there was no telling how things would turn out. So, just do the best you can and choose whichever you'll regret the least.|
|— Levi urges Eren to act|
Levi Ackermann (リヴァイ・アッカーマン Rivai Akkāman?), often formally referred to as Captain Levi (リヴァイ兵長 Rivai Heichō?), is the squad captain (兵士長 Heishichō?, lit. "leader of the soldiers") of the Special Operations Squad within the Scout Regiment, and is said to be humanity's strongest soldier.
Levi has short, straight black hair styled in an undercut, as well as narrow, intimidating dull blue eyes with dark circles under them and a deceptively youthful face. He is quite short, but his physique is well-developed in musculature from extensive omni-directional mobility gear usage. He is usually either frowning or expressionless; that, plus his extremely calm demeanor, often makes it difficult for others to guess what he is thinking.
He is most often seen in his Scout Regiment uniform, with a light gray button up shirt underneath along with his trademark white ascot. When embarking on expeditions outside the Walls, he also wears the Scout Regiment's green hooded cloak. When forced to take leave from his duties due to injury, Levi was seen in a black suit, plain white shirt, ascot, and dress shoes.
Levi is described as a "clean freak" by those who know him personally, as he prefers his environment and himself to be spotlessly clean. He is averse to having either himself or his equipment soiled, and he has been known to wipe down his blood-smeared blades while still on the battlefield. However, he will not hesitate to touch filth if he deems it necessary.
Despite his preoccupation with cleanliness, Levi is abrasive and not very approachable. He rarely shows emotion, giving a cold impression to others. His manner of speaking tends to be blunt and insulting, his comments are frequently coarse or otherwise inappropriate, and he is not above provoking or belittling those who oppose or irritate him. His sense of humor tends toward the vulgar, insulting, and dark. All of this makes him unsettling to a great number of people.
In his pre-Scout Regiment criminal life, when he lived in the Underground City, Levi refused to take orders from anyone (as Petra Rall tells Eren). However, after he joined the Scout Regiment, he came to greatly respect Commander Erwin Smith, whose orders he follows willingly because he believes in Erwin's vision for the Scouts. He also places great trust in his subordinates.
However, Levi's obedience is strictly limited to individuals he respects, and he has no problem showing open disdain for authority from anyone outside of this circle. At Eren's tribunal, he insulted the merchants by calling them "pigs" and told the Military Police that they were not competent enough to handle Eren.
Although he rarely shows it, Levi does have a sense of morality and empathy. One of his most defining characteristics is the great value he places on preserving human life. He himself has stated that he hates unnecessary casualties, and he tells his subordinates to use their judgment so that they can avoid blunders that may cost them their lives.
Because of their hazardous profession and his personal values, he cares greatly for his subordinates' welfare. When ordered to retreat early to Wall Rose at the end of the disastrous 57th Exterior Scouting Mission, Levi was visibly distressed that so many of his soldiers had died on a fruitless mission. As they re-entered the gate, Petra's father approached him, cheerfully talking about his daughter and her unwavering devotion to Levi. Unbeknownst to him, his daughter had just been killed; Levi remained silent, he was too overcome with grief to reply.
Though he bore no malice toward Eren, he was willing to resort to violence against him in order to save his life at his tribunal. Afterward, he made a point of asking Eren whether he resented him for the beating. Levi also was seen to be visibly affected by the loss of his entire original Special Operations Squad at the hands of the Annie Leonhart. He has also stated that he carries the will of his fallen comrades, and that their collective grudge against the Titans further strengthens his resolve to continue to fight. Levi risked his life against the Female Titan to retrieve Eren from her mouth and to protect Mikasa, who had gone after her recklessly looking for retribution. He sustained an injury to his leg by doing so.
While Levi shows loyalty and empathy for his comrades, he shows no mercy towards the Titans, slaughtering them indiscriminately with obvious indifference. When dealing with individuals he perceives to be enemies to mankind, Levi is capable of behaving sadistically, even vindictively. For example, when the Female Titan was captured, Levi told her he enjoyed watching her suffer and described in chilling detail how he intended to mutilate her human body.
Though Levi is aware that his battle skill is in a different league from that of almost any other human soldier alive, he is not particularly arrogant about it, as he knows from experience that no human soldier is invulnerable. Few will argue with his claims that only he can handle certain difficult tasks, because he has proven his ability to accomplish them.
Despite his obedience to Erwin, Levi operates rather independently. Many of his Titan kills are solo, accomplished with little direct cooperation from other soldiers (due to him usually assigning them to hunt other Titans in the vicinity). Although he is looked up to by many, and does not hesitate to give orders when necessary, he does not see himself as a leader in the way Erwin is. He does not seem to have much use for hierarchy in general, and he leaves decisions up to his subordinates as often as he can.
Levi was born to Kuchel Ackermann, a prostitute who worked in the Underground and was impregnated by one of her clients. One day, Kenny Ackermann, Kuchel's older brother, came to the city to see her only to find that she was dead. There, he found a young and squalid Levi sitting in front of his mother's bed.
In a rare showing of compassion, Kenny decided to take care of him. He raised Levi as well as he could: teaching him knife skills, how to get along with people, and violent behavior. Levi also learned to use his own inner power that he possessed as a member of the Ackermann family.
Time passed and eventually, Kenny taught Levi everything he knew. However, he did not consider himself as a good father figure. One day, in the subterranean city, Levi started a fight which he won easily. At that moment, Kenny decided to leave him behind, satisfied that he had taught Levi the skills he needed to survive.
Levi eventually became acquainted with Furlan Church. Furlan decided to test Levi's strength by having him fight a group of thugs. Furlan's plan was to see if Levi was worth recruiting into his group of thugs or not, and he was surprised to see Levi beat them all single-handedly. The two became friends, and eventually started a gang together.
After one of many heists pulled with their gang, Furlan was placed in charge of dividing the profits from the job among his comrades. Knowing that Yan was suffering from a leg injury and would need extra money to afford medicine, Furlan gave Yan a larger cut compared to everyone else's. Noticing this, Levi requested to know why Furlan had been giving Yan preferential treatment. As Furlan was explaining, he was interrupted by the arrival of a young girl at their hideout's doorstep. Seeing that she was being pursued, they scare off her pursuers and Isabel reveals that she was trying to get a bird up to the surface. That is why she was trying to sneak up the stairs. Having seen the two of them perform heists using omni-directional mobility gear, she asks if she can become one of them. Levi agrees by saying she must first learn how to clean.
After she is trained and sets the bird free, the trio is approached about a job. Their advance payment is the treatment of their crippled friend Yan, who has already been taken away to a surface clinic. Levi views the arrangement as their client taking a hostage, rather than offering payment, and their client sweetens the deal by saying if they succeed they will receive the right to live on the surface.
As the trio prepares for a heist, Furlan lets Levi know that he has confirmed the identity of the man offering the job and that Yan is safely in a first rate clinic. This is the the real deal. Levi tells his teammates to act normal and if their targets appear, they start the job.
Shortly after the heist begins, the trio are pursued by more than the usual Military Police. Levi recognizes the Wings of Freedom and that the newcomers are from the Scout Regiment. The trio split up and Levi tries to dodge his pursuers by diving through a building and exiting through a different window. He fights with Miche Zacharius until their battle is interrupted by the arrival of Erwin Smith. The two face off and Erwin tells Levi to stop and look around. Levi sees that Isabel and Furlan have been captured and he reluctantly surrenders.
The trio are shackled at the wrist while Erwin interrogates them about where they obtained their mobility gear and their training. He recognizes Levi as the leader and asks if he was ever in the military. When Levi does not answer, Miche grabs his head and slams his face into a dirty puddle. Seeing Levi's mistreatment, Furlan insists they were all self-taught.
Erwin then offers Levi a deal. He will not be charged for his crimes if he joins the Scout Regiment. If Levi refuses, they will be handed over to the Military Police, who are unlikely to treat them well. After a moment's consideration, Levi agrees.
Levi and his friends are assigned to Flagon's squad. Their new section commander is not fond of them and tells them to keep their barracks clean, implying that because they came from the underground that it would be a foreign concept for them. Levi nearly loses his temper, but Furlan intervenes and manages to appease Flagon. He also reminds Levi that they do not want to cause a scene. The three of them intended to be captured and recruited as part of the job for their client. They are there for two reasons: to retrieve a document in Erwin's possession, and then to kill Erwin Smith.
They undergo training as part of their cover. Though Flagon initially disapproves of the way Levi chooses to hold one blade facing backwards, Levi proves to be extremely competent with his unorthodox style. However, the trio have no luck finding the document and conclude that Erwin would probably keep something that important on his person at all times. The upcoming expedition should be the best time to steal the document and kill Erwin because the Scouts will all be focused on the Titans, but Levi tells his friends to stay behind. None of them have ever fought Titans before and it will be dangerous.
Furlan and Isabel convince Levi to believe in them though, so he gives in and the three of them depart on the expedition the next day. Before long, Titans appear. Levi kills one of them by himself, and worries when another grabs Isabel, but she manages to get free and Furlan kills it. Despite the three being proud of their success, Erwin scolds them for having used too much gas, which irritates Levi, who asks if he is supposed to prioritize his equipment over the lives of his friends.
Shortly after, a heavy rain falls, limiting visibility, and Levi realizes this is their best opportunity to kill Erwin and get the document without being seen. He tells Furlan and Isabel to stay behind so that the formation does not notice all of three of them abandoning their position and the two of them wish him luck as he rides ahead. Before he gets far, he discovers a large number of bodies where an abnormal Titan has torn through the Scout Regiment formation. He realizes that he must have ridden right past it and turns back around to find his friends.
Levi arrives too late, finding Isabel's severed head and Furlan's torso. He goes blind with rage and tears apart the Titan with unbelievable speed, even cutting off the head entirely. As the rain dies down, Erwin finds him crying by the corpse of the Titan. Erwin calls him unsightly for being the only survivor and Levi lunges at him with the intention of killing him, but Erwin grabs his blade and reveals that he always knew of Levi's intentions. He is too late. The document is already on its way to Commander-in-Chief Zachary.
This stuns Levi, as he realizes how much he has lost and that the job was over before it began. Before he can sink too far, Erwin tells him not to regret his choices, or eventually he will no longer be able to make any of his own. Levi decides to stay with the Scouts and as another expedition starts, he tell himself that he will not regret his choice.
In the year 850, as the Scout Regiment prepares to depart on their 49th Exterior Scouting Mission, Hange tries to convince Levi to help her capture a Titan alive. Before she can finish her pitch, Levi immediately refuses.
When Hange breaks away from the regiment to pursue a Titan on her own, Erwin sends Levi's squad to keep her safe. Oruo Bozad tries to kill the Titan, but Hange intervenes and stops him, causing Oruo to get caught by the Titan. Levi quickly slays the Titan, saving Oruo's life, before confronting Hange, enraged that she endangered his soldiers' lives. He is interrupted by Petra Rall, who points out a soldier's corpse that has been enshrined in a nearby tree. As they investigate the body, Levi finds a notebook nearby recording the soldier's final experiences.
Following the expedition, Levi accompanies Oruo as he goes to apologize to Hange for insulting her during the expedition. As they return to the Scout Regiment's headquarters, Levi informs Hange that the information from the notebook they recovered has convinced Erwin to allow her to start trying to capture Titans alive.
Levi is seen leaving Trost District, along with the rest of the Scout Regiment, on the 56th Exterior Scouting Mission. As the scouts are waiting for the signal to depart, Levi takes the opportunity to insult Hange.
While on the expedition, Levi sees a scout caught in the jaws of a nearby Titan and kills it. As more Titans approach, Levi orders Petra to take care of the injured scout while he, Gunther Schultz and Eld Gin take care of the remaining Titans. After clearing the immediate area, Levi checks on the injured scout, who is quickly succumbing to his injuries. In an attempt to comfort the scout in his dying moments, Levi assures him that he has done his duty well. As the scout dies, Erwin arrives and informs Levi that they are returning to Trost. Levi is unwilling to turn back so soon, is forced to concede when Erwin informs him that Wall Rose has possibly been breached.
Levi arrives back in Trost in time to find two Titans bearing down on four soldiers at the base of the Wall. He quickly kills the Titans, and demands that the soldiers fill him in on what has happened.
Three days later, after Eren Jaeger awakes in the dungeon beneath the courthouse, Levi assures him that the higher-ups will let him join the Scout Regiment—and that he himself will make sure Eren does not get out of hand. Should that happen, Levi says, he will not hesitate to cut Eren down.
After Eren issues a verbal challenge to the spectators during his trial, Levi violently beats him on the spot, mainly by kicking him, and mockingly observes that while chained on his knees, Eren is perfectly placed for Levi's kicks. Armin has to restrain an infuriated Mikasa from coming to Eren's rescue and killing Levi. She glares at Levi after the trial, and Levi appears unsettled by her. The beating was an act of theater which Mikasa was not aware of, designed to convince all witnesses that Levi can keep Eren under control, while the Military Police Regiment cannot.
After the trial, Levi hands Eren over to his Special Squad for the next month. They move into the castle that is the old Scout Regiment HQ inside Wall Rose. Levi orders Eren to sleep in the castle dungeon, so that if he accidentally transforms, he will not cause problems.
During the month Eren with Levi's squad, Hange conducts experiments to try to get Eren to transform. If Eren goes out of control in Titan form, Levi intends to cut him out of the nape in a manner that would sever his human limbs, which would grow back in any case. However, Eren fails to transform, and his hands do not heal from his bites. The Squad decides to postpone any further experiments—until, while having tea with them, Eren leans over to pick up a spoon and accidentally generates a partial Titan body. The alarmed Squad threatens him, and Levi has to defuse the situation. Levi tells Eren not to take their actions personally, and that they have good intentions. Later, after Hange explains why Eren triggered his Titan form, Levi's entire squad punishes themselves, and apologizes to Eren for acting on assumption.
During the 57th Exterior Scouting Mission, Levi and his team are ordered to ride in the safest area of Erwin's formation. When the formation is suddenly attacked by a horde of Titans coming at their right flank, they change course toward the Forest of Giant Trees, and Levi's squad takes the central route. Once the Female Titan appears, his squad begins to beg Levi to give them orders, but he continues to ride forward and look straight ahead. Eren badly wants to transform and fight the Female Titan, but Petra and her comrades urge him to trust them, and Eren hesitates. Levi tells Eren he is not wrong for wanting to transform—that nobody can know the correct choice until after they have made it and there are results. Whatever Eren chooses to do, Levi says, he should do it and believe he will not regret it. Eren declares that he trusts in his squad's victory, and they keep going through the Forest. This enables the Scout Regiment to capture the Female Titan.
Shortly afterward, Levi separates from his squad. He reunites with Erwin and prepares to extract the human in control of the Female Titan from the nape of her neck. He and Miche attack her and try to cut her hands, only to discover her ability to harden her skin. After Erwin orders the cannons to be loaded with explosives and aimed at the Female Titan's wrists, Levi, standing on her head, taunts her with threats of violence, telling her he would like to face her in her human form over the deaths of countless of his soldiers. In response, the Female Titan begins to roar. Shortly after, Titans come at her from all directions seeking to devour her. On Erwin's order, Levi and the rest of the Scout Regiment elite try to protect her from them, but they fail. Erwin orders the Scouts to retreat back to the Calaneth District. However, Erwin notes that the steam from the Titan bodies will make it difficult for the rest of the Scout Regiment to see the signal flares. He then realizes that the human inside the Female Titan may have escaped, and he orders Levi to replenish his gas canisters and blades.
After the Female Titan returns and kills Levi's entire squad, he and Mikasa join forces to retrieve Eren from her. Levi tells Mikasa to distract the Titan but avoid trying to kill her. Levi then proceeds to attack the Female Titan, and after a series of successful attacks he incapacitates her. Seeing that the Female Titan is now helpless, Mikasa disobeys Levi's orders and attempts to assassinate her. In saving her from the Female Titan's hardened fist, Levi injures his left leg. Using the momentum gained from the last attack, he cuts through the Female Titan's facial muscles, causing her to open her mouth and reveal Eren inside. He grabs Eren and flees with him and Mikasa, whom he scolds for having risked the life of her "special friend" for the sake of vengeance.
During the Scout Regiment's retreat to Calaneth, the remainder of the Scouts are attacked by several Titans after one of the soldiers went to retrieve back the body of his fallen comrade. As the Titans close in on one of the carts, Levi, who cannot fight because of his injury, orders that the dead be rolled out of the cart to lighten the load so that they can outrun the Titans. One of the corpses is that of Petra; her shroud blows off, and her body is trampled. However, the unloading of the dead enables the living to outrun the pursuing Titans.
As they enter the Calaneth gate after retreating, the Scout Regiment receives a hostile response from the public for their failed mission. Levi is approached by Petra's father, who reveals that she wrote to him frequently. He tells Levi that, as a father, he is worried about Petra's decision to dedicate her life to him, as she is still quite young and has her whole life ahead of her. Levi continues to walk silently ahead without responding.
A few days later, Eren is summoned to the capital for a trial to decide his fate. Beforehand, Levi, Erwin, Eren, and the other survivors reunite in the old Scout Regiment HQ. Armin tells them his theory about the Female Titan's true identity. Levi himself, still injured, does not participate in the subsequent operation in the Stohess District. However, in the final moments of Eren and Annie's battle, Levi, despite his injury, rescues Eren from his Titan form before Annie's crystallization of her own Titan can trap him.
When Titans are spotted in Wall Rose, Levi accompanies Hange and the majority of the Scout Regiment as they head towards Ehrmich District. Minister Nick of the Order of the Walls involuntarily joins them and Levi keeps an eye on him, with a pistol ready. Although Nick does not disclose any valuable information, he does tell them of somebody who knows about the secret of the Walls and is allowed to reveal it to the public if she so wishes.
Levi arrives in Trost District with the Scout Regiment, though his injury from fighting the Female Titan forces him to remain a bystander. Circumstances have forced the Military Police out of the interior to help fight the Titans and a few of them express disappointment to not have seen any Titans nearby. Levi calls their bluff by inviting them to join the Scout Regiment any day so they can go outside of the Walls to fight them. The Military Police back down.
Following Eren's rescue, Levi joins Dot Pyxis by Erwin's bedside, where the Commander is recovering after the loss of his arm. Hange and Conny report their findings on the theory of Ragako Village and she says their findings support the theory that Titans were, at some point, humans. Levi's expression sours at the thought that he could have been flying around killing people all this time. Hange offers him some comfort, saying that there is no solid proof for this.
Levi watches Hange and Conny leave, then turns to find Erwin smiling strangely. He asks Erwin what the hell is he smiling for, to which Erwin replies that they are one step closer to the truth. Skeptical, Levi tells him that they will run out of men before they can uncover it.
Some time later, Levi selects a number of Scout Regiment recruits to join Squad Levi, assigning them to protect Eren and Historia in an isolated cabin forest. Levi eventually joins his squad at the cabin, checking the underside of a table for dust. Finding it dirty, he expresses his dissatisfaction with their cleaning, but postpones that discussion for later. Instead, he takes the squad out to work on Hange's experiment regarding Eren's powers.
After the experiment goes poorly, Levi comments that the plan to use Eren's Titan abilities to seal the hole in Shiganshina District is a good one, but they are still a long way from achieving it. That evening in Trost District, as Erwin reads the report Levi has brought regarding Hange's failed experiment, Levi tells him the problem is that they lack information about the hardening ability. He wonders if they could get the information they need through Historia.
After Hange returns with the report about the death of Pastor Nick, Levi was present as Hange described the scene she saw. From the fact that all his fingernails had been torn out, Levi is able to conclude that Nick had not talked before being killed, which means the Military Police does not know the Scouts are looking into the Reiss family.
Afterwards, Nifa arrives with a message from Erwin. On reading it, Levi orders everyone to move out, and to leave no trace that they were here. By sunset, the cabin is swarmed by Military Police, but Levi and Hange's squads are already outside in the woods. Levi reveals that the government has frozen all Scout activity outside of the Wall and demanded that Eren and Historia be handed over.
Levi decides to take everyone to Trost District, because it would be safer than the interior and they can use omni-directional mobility gear in the city. Hange decides that she and Moblit will go after Erwin, but she leaves Abel, Keiji, and Nifa behind to assist Levi. After Armin and Jean, disguised as Eren and Historia, are kidnapped, Levi and his squad track them to an abandoned warehouse. As one of them molests Armin, Mikasa warns Levi that their disguises are not going to last. Noting that the kidnappers appear to be amateurs, he leaves the situation in his squad's hands while he goes to Eren.
Elsewhere, Levi joins Nifa on a rooftop where they have a good view of Keiji's journey through the city with Eren and Historia. However, even though the body double decoy was a success, Levi realizes that using such amateurs does not feel like a Military Police operation. He asks Nifa if she has heard of Kenny the Ripper and assures her that the legendary mass murderer is a real person. Levi grew up with him, and this operation feels like something Kenny would do.
He realizes too late, that in Kenny's place, he would have two groups tailing the wagon from the rear, from a high place with a view, just like where they are now. Levi tries to warn Nifa, but is too late as Kenny blows off part of her head using ODM that has been modified to carry a shotgun instead of a blade. More soldiers appear, of a unit that has not been seen before, and one of them kills Abel. Kenny taunts Levi as he stalks up the rooftop and reloads his guns, and Levi screams as he draws his blades to retaliate.
Levi makes a break for it, frustrated that Kenny can read all of his moves and shocked that Kenny of all people has become an MP. Members of the Military Police Regiment ambush Levi as he takes cover in a bar to avoid being shot. Kenny follows him inside. The two of them exchange barbs about their past and while Kenny talks, Levi takes the opportunity to load the barkeeper's rifle and reposition an alcohol bottle, allowing him to see Kenny in its reflection. Levi then shoots Kenny by aiming with the bottle's reflection. The shot hits the chair Kenny is holding, but is still strong enough to throw him back outside and Levi takes the opportunity to escape. He tosses a chair through a window to distract the squad members outside before emerging himself, killing several of his pursuers during his escape.
Levi begins pursuing the wagon carrying Eren and Historia, running into his squad along the way. He orders them to chase the wagon and kill their opponents, given the chance. They manage to retake the wagon, but Jean is unable to do so and finds himself on the wrong side of a gun. Armin manages to shoot the soldier in time, saving Jean, but Levi and Sasha are forced to pull both of them out of the wagon to keep them from being killed, resulting in the loss of Eren and Historia.
Returning to the warehouse, Armin is deeply bothered to have killed someone, and Levi attempts to comfort him by explaining to him that he was able to pull the trigger because he knew that if he did not, then Jean would have died. Levi then confronts the kidnappers' ringleader, Dimo Reeves. Learning that Reeves was coerced into aiding Kenny, Levi proposes that the Reeves Company take up with the Scout Regiment in exchange for protection and aid in rebuilding Trost, to which Reeves reluctantly agrees.
Reeves lures two Military Policemen into an ambush by Levi and his squad, allowing them to take the men captive. Not bothering to ask him any questions, Levi immediately begins torturing Sannes until Hange and Moblit arrive to help. Hange and Levi torture Sannes, but he refuses to divulge any information to them. After more torture only results in Sannes begging that they kill him, Hange and Levi leave and force Ralph, at knife-point, to read a script outside Sannes' door, making him believe he has been betrayed and is considered a lunatic by his comrades. This causes the man to break, revealing to Hange the secret of the Reiss family—the true rulers of mankind.
Following Sannes' confession, Levi and Hange reveal the information they gleaned from Sannes, as well as her theory that Rod Reiss is planning to eat Eren. Mikasa is very upset at the prospect and attempts to leave to find Eren, and Levi is forced to talk her down, and convince her that they need a plan of action to rescue him.
After the Scout Regiment is accused of trying to monopolize Eren's Titan powers, the government begins arresting all members of the organization. Levi and the rest of Squad Levi avoid being captured, and camp out in the woods outside of Stohess, while discussing a plan to rescue Eren and Historia. Sasha warns them of approaching MPs, and Levi and his squad capture them.
They take their uniforms with the intention of infiltrating the Military Police to find out where Eren and Historia have been taken. Before he can announce their fates one of the soldiers, Hitch Dreyse, challenges him over the civilian deaths in Stohess District and berates for causing Annie Leonhart's death during the conflict. Levi informs them that Annie was the Titan hiding in Stohess, and is currently being held for the destruction she caused. The other soldier, Marlo Freudenberg, asks if the Scout Regiment really killed the people from the Reeves Company and Levi replies that it was the Interior Military Police, which causes Marlo to offer helping him to set things right. Levi is skeptical, but Jean steps in and asks if he can handle the two, which Levi allows.
Jean tests their character to see where their hearts truly lie and when it is clear they have no intention of killing him or following their original orders, he convinces Levi to trust them. Marlo and Hitch direct Levi's squad to a nearby MP checkpoint that they should be able to overtake. As they are preparing to attack, Levi sends the two back to their own squad so that their superiors will not get suspicious.
The infiltration goes successfully, with the Interior MPs being disabled rather than killed, and Levi takes one of them hostage to interrogate about Eren and Historia's location. The MP refuses to talk, instead spouting off about how the Scout Regiment will be lucky to survive and how Erwin and the other captured soldiers will be executed. Undeterred, Levi savagely twists and breaks the MP's arm for not answering his question.
Explaining that those who join the Scouts all understand that some lives are more important than others, he again asks where Eren and Historia are being held. The MP is panicked and confesses that he does not know where they are. Kenny Ackermann is extremely tight-lipped about it. Both Levi and Mikasa are surprised to hear the last name, but they are interrupted by people approaching on foot before they can question the MP further.
However, the newcomers turn out to be Hange and Moblit, who have come with new that the military's coup has been successful. As his squad celebrates, Levi apologizes to Hange that he lost the three people she loaned him. He points out that they still do not have any leads on Eren and Historia, but Hange reveals information that Erwin gathered on the Reiss family, saying that it may be of use. She reveals that Rod's entire family was slaughtered by bandits on the day of Wall Maria's fall, just a few days before he went to try to retrieve Historia, leading Levi to conclude that there is something special about their bloodline. Hange reveals that the underground chapel they were in at the time was destroyed, and that Rod rebuilt it with his own money. Theorizing that the chapel is important to him, the squad elects to investigate it next.
En route to the chapel, Levi warns his squad that Kenny will be their biggest obstacle, because fighting him will be like fighting Levi himself. Levi asks Mikasa if she thinks Kenny might be related to her since they share the same last name, Ackermann, but she does not directly answer. She only knows that her father's family was persecuted, and not the reason why. Levi then asks her whether she experienced a moment when she felt a sudden power awaken inside her. Upon confirming this, Levi tells Mikasa that he and Kenny also experienced such moments in their lives.
They arrive at the chapel and find the secret door leading underground. Levi and the others make preparations for facing the Anti-Personnel Control Squad, which is waiting for them below. The group sends barrels of gunpowder and bags of oil down the stairs, setting fire to them and filling the underground chamber with smoke, reducing visibility and the usefulness of firearms. Most of the squad exacerbates the problem with signal flares while Levi and Mikasa scout out their enemies. Levi calls for his squad to take them down and the team springs into action.
During the battle, Levi tries to kill the squad's ringleader, but is ambushed by Kenny. Levi takes cover from Kenny's gunfire and, immediately anticipating that Kenny will flank him, successfully counters the older man's next attack. Kenny proceeds to fire upon nearby platforms set up throughout the cavern, causing debris to rain down on Levi, leaving him distracted.
Levi successfully parries Kenny's next knife attack, and tries to retreat out of range, but is immediately fired upon. Levi is prepared, and tosses a pouch of gasoline into the air, which is ignited by Kenny's blasts. The resulting explosion allows Levi to land a successful blow, cutting Kenny across the midsection and forcing him to retreat. Before Levi can pursue, he is distracted by the sight of Hange being badly wounded by one of Kenny's squad members.
The squad finds their way blocked by a barricade created by Kenny's squad, but before they can find a way to circumnavigate it, they see light from a Titan transformation deeper into the cavern. The resulting quakes shake loose the barricade, and Levi leaves Armin and Moblit to take care of Hange as the rest of the squad proceeds.
The squad finds Rod Reiss transforming into a Titan and Historia trying to free Eren from his chains. When she is blown back, Levi, Conny, and Jean take the keys to help free him. Making matters worse, the roof begins to collapse from the size of Rod's Titan and the team is trapped against the wall of the chamber. Eren is hesitant to act until Levi pushes him to make a choice, just like he did back when they were facing the Female Titan. The memory is enough to get Eren on his feet. He grabs the "Armor" bottle that had fallen out of Rod's bag and breaks it between his teeth as he transforms. Eren's Titan form then crystallizes, stabilizing the cavern around the squad, preventing them from being crushed.
Levi and his squad exit the cavern through a hole made in the ceiling above and see the trail of destruction left in the wake of Rod Reiss' Titan. Armin believes it is an abnormal since it is ignoring them and Levi tells everyone that they are going after it. Eren entertains the possibility of getting eaten by Rod, since that would turn him back into a human who would then have the powers of the Founding Titan, but Levi disabuses him of the notion. Even if they turn Rod Reiss back into a human, they would still have to undo the First King's brainwashing in order to get him to help them.
Erwin meets up with them and Levi briefs him on the situation. The Scout Regiment regroups in Orvud District in preparation to fight Rod. Before attending the meeting to discuss a strategy to defeat Rod's Titan, Levi briefs Historia on Erwin's plan to make her the next ruler of the Walls, and Historia accepts on the condition that she be allowed to take part in the operation to kill Rod.
As Rod reaches the wall, Levi watches the Garrison's cannon attacks against Rod, noting how ineffective they are. When the Titan reaches the Wall, Levi and his squad move forward with Erwin's plan to cripple Rod's hands with explosives and have Eren shove barrels of gunpowder inside Rod's mouth, causing him to explode. The plan is a success and they begin cutting down the flying pieces of flesh to find Rod Reiss' true body and Historia is the one who kills him.
Some time after the fight, Levi and a subordinate return to the site of Rod's transformation and find Kenny sitting under a tree nearby. Kenny is heavily wounded and Levi sends the other soldier away, saying he will be fine on his own. Levi comments that Kenny will likely succumb to his wounds soon, but is blind-sided when Kenny smugly reveals he is in possession of a Titan injection. Seeing through Kenny's bluff, Levi points out that if Kenny was inclined to use it, he would have done so already.
Levi asks him about the First King and why he does not want humanity to survive, but Kenny only knows that it was for that reason that the Ackermanns opposed him. When Levi, now knowing that his last name is Ackermann, asks Kenny what exactly was he to his mother, Kenny laughs and reveals that he was her older brother, thereby making him Levi's uncle. Shocked, Levi questioned him on why he abandoned him and is told that the reason he left Levi was because he believed he was not fit to be a parent. He gives Levi the serum just before dying as Levi looked at his late uncle with a solemn expression.
After Historia's coronation, Levi is confronted by the new queen, who punches him and dares him to retaliate now that she is queen. However, instead of getting angry he smiles and thanks her and the rest of his squad.
Two months later, Levi backs up Historia on providing a home for the poor and orphans, considering that he was from the Underground City as well. He is present at Trost when Hange Zoë is testing out the Titan guillotine and attends the military meeting where Erwin Smith goes over a new expedition to Shiganshina.
The next morning, Levi and his squad visit Commandant Keith Sadies to find out what he knows about Eren's father Grisha. In a private follow-up between the heads of the military, Erwin decides to entrust Levi with the Titan injection since he has the highest chance of surviving. It will be Levi's call if and when to use it.
During a meeting with other members of the Scout Regiment, Levi sits silently and listens to Hange tell Erwin what Keith explained to them on their visit. After the meeting is finished, Levi waits until all the other members have left and then shuts the door, intent on having a private conversation with Erwin. He tries to persuade Erwin to sit out on the upcoming mission to retake Wall Maria and to leave it to the others, telling him that in his weakened state, Erwin will simply be Titan food and that he is not willing to carry along any extra baggage. Erwin however explains to Levi that the chain of command must be preserved, and that he has an intense desire to see what is in Grisha's basement, which prompts Levi to threaten to break both of his legs. However, this does not deter Erwin and Levi realizes that he will unfortunately not be able to change Erwin's mind, even though he fears his death as a wounded soldier.
Late that night at a special 'red meat' dinner, Levi breaks up a fight between Eren and Jean by kicking and throwing them both into submission. He then orders that they and the rest of the Corps to go back to their quarters and go to bed. Shortly after, Eren, Armin and Mikasa talk about their returning home and Levi listens to them while in the barn. As he hears Armin's ambitions, his expression is lowered and darkened.
The next day, just before sunset, Levi along with the other Scout Regiment leaders salute the higher-ups of the brass. Levi watches on as the citizens of the Trost District cheer for the scouts and call out his name. He acts modest and calls them selfish before seeing Erwin cheer back at the enthusiastic civilians. Right after, the 58th expedition begins, Levi rides out with the scouts alongside Hange.
Levi is excellent at using the omni-directional mobility gear, to a point that everyone says he is the best at it. He is also said to be as valuable as an entire brigade, far outweighing all of the other soldiers. Furthermore, he was considered extremely strong even before joining the Scout Regiment.
Aside from his extraordinary battle skill, Levi has shown a profound ability to quickly analyze situations, and make calculated decisions in the heat of battle. This has given him the ability to save himself and his comrades on many occasions such as when he realizes the Female Titan cannot be killed easily because of her skin hardening and regenerative abilities, and subsequently saves Mikasa when she tries to slay the Female Titan herself. However, Levi admits that he does not believe a person can be right all the time, and some scenarios are beyond a person's control.
Levi has formidable physical strength, which is no doubt evident by his mastery of the vertical maneuvering equipment.
Despite his small stature, his body is well built with heavy muscle, making him very strong, and easily able to defeat his opponents. At one point, Levi intercepts one of the Female Titan's attacks, by using her hand to launch himself towards her mouth before she could hit Mikasa. This does not stop him from injuring himself though.
When Levi first joined the Scout Regiment, he wielded one of his two swords in a reverse grip which his section commander noted was "wrong." However, this method has greatly helped in his ability to slay Titans. This method involves holding his right sword backhanded with the blade facing out and being behind him instead of in front of him. By doing this, the blades cut in a "circle" around him, and give him the ability to utilize spinning and other rotating attacks, allowing him to maintain incredible speed and agility while fighting. At the same time, this helps him keep his energy up without wasting stamina and strength needlessly, enabling him to fight for longer periods of time and take multiple targets out simultaneously.
- Eren Jaeger - As humanity's strongest soldier, Levi commands great respect from Eren. Upon encountering Eren personally, Levi treated him like an animal, wary of his Titan ability, though he was impressed by Eren's passion. Upon getting to know him, Levi began treating Eren as he does most others: dismissively and coldly. However, Levi also becomes a mentor of sorts to Eren, understanding the potential good the young recruit is capable of, and offering advice during Eren's moments of doubt. He later becomes more patient with Eren, forgiving his mistakes, and nurturing his growth as a soldier, and as a vanguard for humanity's hope.
- Erwin Smith - Levi and Erwin's relationship was not initially an amicable one. After being captured and blackmailed by Erwin into joining the Scout Regiment, Levi at first wanted to kill him, but he later chose to set aside his revenge. Erwin eventually became one of the few people Levi places full trust in, obeying his every command and judgment. However, this did not stop Levi from speaking in his usual rude manner around him.
- Hange Zoë - Levi and Hange did not interact with one another when he first joined the Scout Regiment, although he amazed her with his skills. By the events of the story, Levi and Hange are on good terms, though Levi is annoyed by her obsession with capturing Titans, and dislikes her recklessness. Levi has gradually become more familiar with Hange, able to comfortably reach out and reprimand her when she gets too carried away.
- Mikasa Ackermann - Mikasa quickly took a disliking to Levi, one of the first actions she witnesses is of him beating Eren at his military trial. Since then, Mikasa held a grudge against Levi, swearing to one day make him pay for his actions. She would later lash out at Levi, blaming him for Eren's capture by the Female Titan, and her carelessness would later result in Levi needing to rescue her at the cost of injuring his leg.
- Petra Rall - Petra served under Levi in the Scout Regiment and was later hand-picked by him to be in his first Special Operations Squad. She harbored a deep respect for him and was proud to be a part of his team. Levi seemed to trust her and her capabilities as a soldier, as she held one of the highest records for killing Titans (48 assist kills and 10 solo kills). After Petra was killed by the Female Titan Levi guarded her body until the Scouts had to retreat back to the Wall and was horrified after her father informed him of her intentions to dedicate her life to serving him and the squad, possibly because her father assumed that she had feelings for him.
- Isabel Magnolia - She was a close friend and family to Levi. When they lived below the capital, she always used to name him as her big brother. Her death was one of the reasons why Levi became a part so important of the Scout Regiment.
- Furlan Church - He was a close friend and family to Levi. When they lived below the capital, he was Levi's confidante when they lived in the Underground City. He was also the reason why Levi became a part so important of the Scout Regiment.
- Kenny Ackermann - Levi was raised by him in the underground as a child. Because of this, he appears to be familiar with Levi's character, predicting on one occasion that he would not have to search for him as Levi will show himself in due time. Despite their past history, he does not appear to harbor much sentiment for Levi, attempting to kill him multiple times when they are on opposite sides of a conflict.
- Levi has ranked first place in two Character Popularity Polls.
- His name is Hebrew in origin, and means "attached" or "joining."
- His name was inspired by a person from the American documentary Jesus Camp.
- Levi's age is one of several mysteries Isayama has hinted about in interviews. He once stated that Levi is "surprisingly old," but declined to give an exact answer beyond stating that he is "older than 30."
- In Levi, Erwin, and Hange's character interview, it was said that Levi forcefully bathes Hange by knocking her unconscious. 
- Levi seems to have a fondness for black tea or enjoys collecting tea leaves.
- At a recent convention, Isayama has said that Levi had once wanted to open a tea shop. 
- His liquor tolerance is not bad. More specifically, he does not get drunk.
- Levi takes three-minute combat showers.
- He only sleeps an average of 2–3 hours.
- Isayama has said that if he could say one thing to Levi, it would be, "Go quickly to sleep," as Levi suffers from slight bouts of insomnia. Also, Levi does not change clothes before going to sleep, as it is such a non-event for him. Rather than sleeping in a bed, Levi just sleeps in his chair.
- It was also confirmed that due to living in the Underground in an unsanitary state in his younger years, he longed for a clean home. That may be the reason for his obsession with cleaning.
- Levi's short height was inspired in part by Might Adam's Astro Boy, and in part by Kyuzo from the film "The Seven Samurai."
- In Isayama's interview he was asked about Levi's preferred type of woman and answered "A type of woman he likes? Since he’s short, small people tends to like tall people… I guess he might like tall people.”
- Levi currently finds Eren to be the best at cleaning.
- In a Q and A session, Levi was asked from a fan, what is his type. He responded by saying "It must meet my cleaning standards."
- Levi's blood type is A.
- Levi is known to cut his own hair, using clippers.
- Levi was aware that Oruo Bozad was imitating him and thought it to be annoying.