Mike Zacharias was a squad leader and trusted member of the Survey Corps. He was considered humanity's second strongest soldier after Levi.
|Humanity's first defeat will come only when we stop fighting. As long as we keep fighting, we haven't lost.|
|— Mike speaks of his faith in humanity to Nanaba.|
Mike Zacharias (ミケ・ザカリアス Mike Zakariasu?) was the squad leader (分隊長 Bun-taichō?) of Squad Mike, a major division of the Survey Corps. A trusted soldier, he was considered humanity's second strongest soldier after Captain Levi. Mike had a remarkably good sense of smell, which allowed him to detect Titans from great distances.
Mike was a tall and well-built man. The bangs of his blond hair were parted down the middle, and he had a dark mustache and beard. Similar to Erwin Smith, Mike was almost always seen wearing a serious, calm expression. He was typically seen dressed in the standard Survey Corps uniform but also wore the Survey Corps' signature green cape during expeditions.
Mike was an acknowledged leader with a brave heart and a tactical mind. He was a loyal member of the Survey Corps and an adamant vanguard for mankind's freedom, believing humans can only lose when they stop fighting. During times of ease, Mike was shown to be a quiet man, rarely speaking unless it concerned a more serious matter. He also had a bizarre habit of "sniffing" people out when he met them. However, fellow squad leader Hange Zoë claimed he was a very capable leader, despite this strange habit which Hange claimed probably meant nothing. He also cared a great deal for his squad, as he took on a great deal of Titans to allow them more time to escape. Mike felt sorry for putting the 104th recruits in such a vulnerable position during a Titan invasion. In the end, despite his courage, Mike proved to have a breaking point. Trapped and helpless, he showed utter terror as he had been relieved of his equipment by the Beast Titan. However, he gathered his courage and raised his sword to continue the fight shortly after, but this moment of strength fell short as he could only scream in agony and horror as he was pulled apart by numerous Titans. In the end, Mike stayed true to his word to never stop fighting even when faced with overwhelming opposition.
Mike, Hange Zoë, and some Military Police soldiers escort Eren Yeager to the military courtroom for his trial. During this time, he takes a few moments to sniff Eren and then smirk, much to Eren's confusion. After escorting Eren to his trial, Mike observes the proceedings with Levi, Erwin and Hange. Following the trial, the four officers meet with Eren privately to formally welcome him to the Survey Corps.
Mike participates in the Survey Corps' 57th Expedition Outside the Walls, taking part in the corps' first attempt at apprehending the Female Titan. Once she is caught by the special target restraining weapon, he and Levi attempt to carve her out of the Titan's nape but are unsuccessful due to her ability to selectively harden parts of her body. As the soldiers prepare explosives to use on the Female Titan, it begins screaming and Mike is alarmed to smell Titans nearby. He informs Erwin that multiple Titans are approaching from all directions. On Erwin's orders, Mike and the other soldiers attempt to stop the oncoming Titans from devouring the Female Titan, but they are forced to give up and retreat.
While a second attempt at capturing the Female Titan takes place in Stohess District, Mike's squad is tasked with investigating the 104th recruits for any possible accomplices to her. Smelling approaching Titans, Mike sends Thomas to inform Erwin that Titans have appeared inside Wall Rose and mobilizes his squad to depart. Seeing Nanaba distraught by the possibility of Wall Rose being breached, Mike orders her to not give up hope, reminding her that humanity can only be defeated when the will to fight is lost. After ordering the others to escape and warn the surrounding towns, Mike takes on nine Titans by himself in order to buy them time to get away.
Mike manages to kill five of the Titans before he encounters an Abnormal Titan that worries him due to its unusual features and behavior. The Beast Titan grabs Mike's horse and hurls it towards him, forcing Mike to dodge it and inadvertently jump into the mouth of a waiting Titan. Mike's legs are crushed and the Beast Titan orders the Titan not to eat Mike so it can question him. The Titan ignores the command and the Beast Titan crushes its head and begins questioning Mike about his maneuvering equipment. Mike is too shocked to respond, causing the Beast Titan to become impatient and simply steal his gear before abandoning him. Mustering his courage, Mike tries to fight back but the Beast Titan allows the surrounding Titans to move freely again. The Titans immediately pounce on Mike, ripping him apart.
As Erwin Smith contemplates his role as Commander of the Survey Corps and the lies he has told his comrades, he envisions himself standing atop a mountain of corpses of the soldiers he sent to their deaths. In Erwin's mind, Mike lies at the top of the mountain of corpses, alongside Nanaba and Gelgar, staring back at him. Later in the Battle of Shiganshina, as Erwin Smith begins to lament the dwindling hopes of his dream, Mike stands among the many fallen Survey Corps comrades in Erwin's mind, wanting to know if their deaths had meaning.
In the forest, as Levi contemplates all the times he risked his life to save Eren, Mike appears among the comrades he had lost along the way.
His olfaction (sense of smell) was extremely acute, to the point that he could detect approaching Titans far before they were in visible range.
Mike Zacharias's statistics :
- Erwin Smith - Mike and Erwin had a deep mutual trust due to their lengthy time in service together, as well as having respect for one another's skills as soldiers. Even after all their years together, Mike considered Erwin difficult to read, but followed his commands loyally, regardless.
- Levi Ackerman - Mike and Levi were shown to be capable teammates, complementing each other's outstanding fighting skills and creating a formidable team.
- Hange Zoë - Mike and Hange were shown to have mutual respect for each other and were typically seen together serving directly under Erwin.
- Mike ranked sixteenth in the First Character Popularity Poll.
- Mike was noted by Hange to have a strange habit of greeting new people by sniffing them, and then smirking to himself. He demonstrated this the first time he met Eren Yeager.
- Hajime Isayama revealed that Mike was older than Erwin.
- He shared a birthday with Nile Dok.
- Rough sketches of manga panels included at the Attack on Titan: Final Manga Exhibition revealed that a working name for Mike was Yamada Taro (山田太郎 Yamada Tarō?).
- In the rough sketches Hange Zoë is referred to by the name "Yamada Hanako," suggesting a possible familial connection was intended between the two.