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 she 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. Hange explains that he, like herself, is a highly qualified squad leader in the Survey Corps and that his strange habit of sniffing others likely holds no real meaning. 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, taking part in the corps' first attempt at apprehending the Female Titan during their 57th Expedition Outside the Walls. Once she is caught by the special target restraining weapon, he and Levi, attempt to carve her out of the Titans nape but are unsuccessful due to her ability to selectively harden parts of her body.
As the soldiers are preparing explosives to use on the Female Titan the Titan begins screaming. Mike is alarmed to smell Titans nearby, and informs Erwin that multiple Titans are approaching from all directions. On Erwin's orders, Mike and the other soldiers attempt to fight off the oncoming Titans, but they are forced to give up and retreat.
While a second attempt at capturing the Female Titan is carried out in Stohess District, Mike's squad is tasked with watching over a number of the Survey Corps' recruits from the 104th Training Corps who are under suspicion of being Annie's accomplices. During this time, Titans unexpectedly appear within Wall Rose. Smelling the approaching Titans, Mike sends Thomas to inform Erwin, and begins to mobilize 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.
After leaving on his own, Mike manages to kill five of the Titans before he encounters an Abnormal that worries him due to its disinterest in him and the mass amount of fur on its body, a trait never before heard of in Titans. To Mike's sudden horror, the Beast-like Titan grabs his horse and hurls it towards him, which forces Mike to jump off the roof of the building he was atop. Caught in a nearby Titan's mouth, it attempts to eat him whole and begins crushing one of his legs, snapping it and twisting it around. However the Beast Titan speaks and tells the smaller Titan to halt, as it wishes to question Mike. The Titan ignores the command and continues biting into Mike's leg, but the Beast Titan squishes its head with its hands. It then questions Mike about the weapon around his waist, referencing his vertical maneuvering equipment.
In shock, Mike does not respond, which causes the Beast-like Titan to become impatient, wondering if they speak the same language. The Beast Titan then proceeds to steal Mike's vertical maneuvering equipment as he huddles over in terror. The Beast Titan then promptly orders the surrounding Titans to move freely. Mike tries to fight one last time, remembering his vow to never give up, but it is a hopeless effort. Immobilized and deprived of maneuverability, Mike screams in agony as he is devoured. The Beast Titan is amused to know that they do indeed speak the same language after all.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 a 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.