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Beast Titans
◄ Preceded by Zeke Jaeger
(842-Current)
Followed by ►
Tom Xaver
(829-842)
None
Quote1.png What's more, if we hadn't been born, we wouldn't have had to suffer! Quote2.png
— Zeke's belief of salvation[7]

Zeke Jaeger (ジーク・イェーガー Jīku Yēgā?) is the former War Chief (戦士長 Senshi-chō?) of Marley's Warriors, assigned to take the Founding Titan from the Eldians of Paradis Island. He is the current holder of the Beast Titan, and is considered the strongest warrior by Reiner Braun, contrasting Levi Ackermann's title of "humanity's strongest soldier."[8] He manipulated and deceived both sides of the war between Eldia and Marley in order to achieve his own agenda of causing the extinction of his own people, which he views as "salvation."[7]

He is the son of Grisha Jaeger and Dina Fritz, older half-brother of Eren Jaeger through his father and a member of the Fritz royal family through his mother.[5]

Appearance

Human form

Zeke's current appearance

In his human form, Zeke has a tall, broad, well-toned body with blue eyes, shaggy blond hair, and a matching mustache that descends down into his beard. He was seen wearing loose pants with no shirt on, combat boots, and circular glasses.[9]

Four years after his return to Marley, Zeke begins to sport a more clean-cut look, contrasting his look while on Paradis Island. He has his hair cut much shorter, so that it no longer falls into his eyes, and sports a thinner beard.[10]

While in the Paths, Zeke's hair was more overgrown, reaching his shoulders and resembling Eren and his father's hairstyles as well. His beard had also become overgrown.

Beast Titan form

In his Titan form, Zeke is an extremely unusual specimen, having a distinct, ape-like appearance. Its body structure and facial features are like that of a human's, and it walks upright like one as well. It stands at a previously unseen 17 meters in height. Dark fur covers the large majority of its body while also forming a beard, with the exception of its face, hands, feet, and torso. It possesses pointed ears and sharp teeth, unlike most Titans. Its arms are also extremely elongated, with long fingers and fully functional thumbs and short (and somewhat stocky) legs. The proportions of its upper body are similar to those of the Colossal Titan, possessing a massive torso and small head, as well as disproportionately long and slim arms. His Titan's eyes possess a dark sclera and red irises; however, they were more human-like the first time the Titan was seen.[4]

Personality

Zeke is a very intelligent and curious man, as seen when he tried to communicate with Miche Zacharius in order to get information about the omni-directional mobility gear and learn about Miche's language. Zeke's cerebral traits are also characterized by a marked apathy and callousness, such as him showing complete indifference to Miche's death in favor of examining the man's ODM gear which he had stolen.[4]

Zeke displays the traits of a leader, comfortable with giving orders and commanding his subordinates. If his orders are not followed, he does not hesitate to use brute force. This was seen when he crushed the head of the Titan that was eating Miche as soon as it disobeyed him,[4] or when he beat Reiner Braun to make him and Bertholdt Hoover focus on acquiring the Founding Titan instead of saving Annie Leonhart.[9] Additionally, his decision to prioritize the capture of the Founding Titan over rescuing Annie, and his deduction that she was not really being tortured by her captors, demonstrates an ability to think tactically as a leader, and prioritize mission objectives over sentimentality.[8]

Zeke also seems to be quite ruthless, though not explicitly sadistic. He has killed human soldiers without hesitation and let a group of Titans eat Miche when the latter had exhausted his usefulness, outwardly indifferent to the pain that he was about to endure. Instead, he mused over them speaking the same language.[4]

However, in spite of Zeke's cold, militant and sarcastic personality, he is somewhat self-conscious of his emotions and savage tendencies: associating sentiments such passion and honor with his negative perception of his father, Zeke strives to differentiate himself by insisting upon cold logic and detachment to evaluate his experiences. However, his repressed emotions surface at times: he has been shown to take pity on the citizens living within the Walls, claiming that it is a "tragedy" that they continually sacrifice their lives trying to leave the Walls because their memories of the world have been taken away, even to the point of having an outburst of anger himself at their sacrifice. To deal with these doubts, Zeke will often remind himself during battle to not get worked up and to find the "enjoyment" in life, indicating that his outward apathy towards his actions might be some form of a coping mechanism.[11]

History

Zeke Jaeger's birth

Zeke Jaeger was born to Grisha Jaeger and Dina Fritz, Restorationists who were planning to overthrow the Marley government and put the Eldians back in power. When the Marley government announced the Warrior program, asking for Eldian children between the ages of five to seven to serve as potential Warriors, Grisha decided to enroll Zeke into the program for the latter to infiltrate the Marleyan military as a spy for the Restorationists.

At home, Zeke was routinely sent to his grandparents while both Dina and Grisha attended Eldian Restorationist meetings, with most of his visits being spent listening to his grandfather recounting stories of the Eldian race's crimes against the world. Over time, his parents' preoccupation with the Eldian Restorationists led them growing continuously distant with Zeke, with Grisha in particular showing very little investment in his son's life outside of his studies and performance as a Warrior candidate.

Zeke during Warrior training

Initially, Zeke did not perform impressively as a Warrior Candidate, and his trouble keeping pace with his fellow candidates caused him to be ostracized by his peers and his instructor. However, he did manage to make one friend during his training: Tom Xaver. After a day of routine training, Zeke happened to meet Xaver while the man was in the middle of playing catch by himself. After some prodding from Xaver, Zeke joined him in the game, and was thrilled to hear Xaver complimenting him on his pitching skill.

After returning home, Zeke tried to tell his parents about the experience, but found them in the middle of a meeting with a fellow restorationist. Zeke tried eavesdropping on the conversation and listening in as his parents reassured Grice that he had the ability to save Eldia.

Zeke overheard his parents argue about his performance

During another public training event, Zeke was once again outperformed by all of the other candidates. To his distress, Zeke observed that both his parents had come to watch and was dismayed to see his father storm away from the field in frustration. That night, he cried in his room while listening to his parents argue over what to do about his poor performance.

After the training event, Xaver tried to cheer him up during one of their games of catch, before joking that Zeke becoming a Warrior would be a dumb idea. Surprised to hear a Warrior slandering the Warrior Program, Zeke asked to know why Xaver had chosen to become one. Xaver's explanation, that he had wanted the opportunity to study the Titans scientifically, surprised Zeke but he agreed with Xaver's assertion that neither of them were meant to be soldiers.

While cleaning the halls of the Warriors' headquarters, Zeke overheard that the Marleyan Authorities were close to discovering the location of the Eldian Restorationists. Knowing that this would sentence his entire family and himself to the border of Paradis to be converted to Pure Titans, Zeke went to his parents and begged them to stop but was met only with their insistence that what they were doing needed to be done for the good of all Eldians.

Zeke was yelled at for suggesting to stop rebel plans

In a desperate attempt to appeal to his father, Zeke reminded him of Faye and asked if he would be okay with his own son meeting the same fate: this only managed to enrage Grisha. Terrified, Zeke tried to remind his parents that their whole family would be sent to Paradis if they were discovered, but Grisha only reiterated his previous statement that they needed to win back the rights that Marley had taken, in order to make sure that no one else met the same fate as Faye.

Emotionally drained from the argument, Zeke pointed out that Faye only died because Grisha took her outside of Liberio without permission.

With no one else to turn to, Zeke revealed everything to Xaver. Although Zeke had resigned himself to being sent to Paradis and spend an eternity as a Titan, Xaver suggested that he turn his parents in so that only they would be punished; this would allow Zeke and his grandparents to go free. Zeke initially protested the idea, but Xaver insisted that there was no other way, reminding Zeke of all of the turmoil and strife he had experienced on account of his parents forcing their ideals on him without thought for his own feelings.

Zeke reported his parents

After some thought, Zeke agreed and turned in his parents to secure his status in Marley's eyes as a loyal Warrior. Soon after, Grisha and Dina were sent to Paradis Island to be transformed into Pure Titans. Still not knowing the truth of Zeke's heritage, Marley sent him to be raised by his grandparents.

Despite believing he sent his father and mother to their deaths, Zeke sympathized with their goal to free the Eldian race. Thus, Zeke continued his parents' cause by operating from the shadows to secure the Eldians' freedom from Marley in his own way. Zeke continued playing catch with Xaver regularly during his time in the Warrior program, often using the games as a time to have long discussions with him.

During one such game, Xaver revealed that the Founding Titan had the power not only to affect the memories of Subjects of Ymir, but also to change the composition of their bodies. Inspired by this, Zeke theorized that a holder of the Founding Titan might be able to use it to render all Subjects of Ymir sterile, so that they would die out within 100 years without a need for mass genocide. Noticing Xaver not immediately tossing back the baseball, Zeke heard Xaver reveal that he once had a family with a Marleyan woman who had killed herself and their son after learning he was an Eldian.

Zeke resolved to end Eldia's suffering

Listening to his mentor lament his own birth, Zeke vowed to Xaver that he would take back the Founding Titan from Paradis and keep it out of Marley's hands to ensure that it could not be used to hurt anyone again.

Soon after, Zeke was told the key in the planned euthanasia of the Eldians, the Founding Titan, must be in possession of someone who will agree to the plan and be in physical contact with a Titan descended from the royal family. Xaver asked Zeke to find someone who is willing to go through with the plan.

Zeke inherited the Beast Titan

At the age of 17, Zeke became the eldest of the Warrior candidates to be selected to receive the power of the Titans, inheriting the Beast Titan from Xaver in the year 842. Zeke kept Xaver's glasses after inheriting his Titan, as a memento of his former friend. It was subsequently discovered that through the administration of Zeke's spinal fluid into Subjects of Ymir, he would be able to trigger their transformation with a scream, and control their Titan forms afterwards, even when the moon was out.

These abilities could not be explained by the Titan Biology Research Society, who were still unaware of Zeke's royal heritage.[7]

Zeke bombarded an enemy nation

One year after inheriting the Beast Titan, Zeke and his fellow Warriors used their Titan forms to crush an entire nation. Zeke used his Beast Titan form to bombard enemies, in the midst of retreat, with explosive ammunition. With the battle being a large success, the Marleyan army regarded the new Warriors as more effective than their predecessors.[12] Zeke would later speak to his fellow Warriors about how the Marley government were preparing to begin the Paradis Island Operation in the next few years.[12]

Story

Clash of the Titans arc

Five years after the start of the Paradis Island Operation, Zeke travels with Pieck and a small number of Marleyan soldiers to Paradis Island to infiltrate the Walls. After arriving, the group locates a small village inside of Wall Rose, and chooses to turn its residents into Titans. The soldiers releases a gas laced with Zeke's spinal fluid into the air, which is blown into the village and inhaled by the villagers. Zeke then lets out a scream, triggering all the affected Eldians to begin transforming into Titans.[13]

The Beast Titan transforms the citizens of Ragako into Titans and leads them in an attack on Wall Rose

Zeke leads the Titans in an attack within Wall Rose. He is later spotted wandering around by Miche Zacharius, who instantly notes the strangeness of his characteristics, mistaking him for an Abnormal. Noticing Miche, Zeke grabs his horse as it is returning to him, crushes it, and launches it at him, preventing his escape and throwing him from the roof he was on. After Miche falls to the mouth of a Titan, Zeke orders the Titan to withhold on eating him so that it can question Miche about the omni-directional mobility gear.

The Beast Titan grabs Miche's horse

However, the Titan disobeys him and he crushes its head to release Miche. Zeke then proceeds to interrogate Miche, but as he neglects to respond out of shock, Zeke theorizes that they speak the same language but Miche is simply too frightened to speak. He also notes how he uses swords, indicating that the soldiers of the Walls are aware that the nape is the weak spot on Titans, and removes Miche's equipment for further inspection. After stealing the equipment he hears Miche's cries of defiance, and allows the surrounding Titans to devour Miche. As Miche screams in horror and pain Zeke is amused to see that he could in fact talk. He then leaves the grounds contemplating the ODM gear ignoring Miche's screams.[4]

The Beast Titan observes the Scouts surrounded in Utgard Castle

Zeke is later seen again wandering around the outside of Utgard Castle where several members of the Scout Regiment are trapped by Titans, despite them being usually inactive at night. He then climbs up Wall Rose and watches the Titans surrounding the tower from a distance.[14] After the Scouts kill most of the larger Titans, Zeke begins throwing large stones at the tower, killing Lynne and Henning along with their remaining horses. Shortly afterward, twice as many Titans begin to advance while Zeke roars at them from atop Wall Rose. Nanaba notices the unusually strategic method in their attacks, indicating that Zeke is controlling the other Titans' actions. As the Titans swarm Utgard, Zeke descends the other side of Wall Rose.[15]

Two days later, Zeke stops in Shiganshina District and exits his Titan's body, seemingly anticipating something to come.[16]

Royal Government arc

The Beast Titan defeats the Armored Titan

At the time Historia Reiss is crowned queen (roughly two months after both Reiner and Bertholdt are exposed as traitors and escape the Scout Regiment), Zeke is reunited with the two Warriors. He learns from them that Marcel had been eaten shortly after arriving on the island and Annie had been captured by the Military. However, Bertholdt and Reiner reveal that they have discovered the identity of the person in possession of the Founding Titan: one of their former comrades in the Scout Regiment named Eren Jaeger. Stunned to learn that Eren is his younger half brother (along with the fact that Grisha somehow managed to survive and avoid getting turned into a Titan), Zeke breaks down in anguish that evening. In addition, Zeke contemplates how Eren, despite not possessing royal blood, managed to use the powers of the Founding Titan. Realizing that their father must have obtained the missing Attack Titan, Zeke theorizes that he must have found a way to gain the Founding Titan and passed them both on to Eren, while also indoctrinating him much like he did with Zeke. Because of this, Zeke believes Eren to be suffering from the influence of Grisha's will and memories and must be freed to make his own decisions. Certain that Eren is the person who could make his ideal succeed, Zeke makes acquiring his half brother the top priority of the Warriors.

When he informs both Reiner and Bertholdt about this, they protest and insist the recovery of Annie takes precedence over capturing Eren. Eventually, Reiner decides to challenge Zeke to a battle with their respective Titan forms in the ruins of Shiganshina District, but Zeke swiftly and effortlessly defeats him. While Bertholdt takes Reiner's body from his Titan form, Zeke emerges and proclaims himself the winner. He then tells the two of them that they can rescue Annie after securing the Founding Titan, informing them of his plan to wait in Shiganshina to ambush the Scout Regiment in order to capture Eren and the Founding Titan.

Return to Shiganshina arc

After settling their disagreement, the three Warriors begin waiting for the Scout Regiment atop Wall Maria. Zeke advises Reiner and Bertholdt not to worry about Annie, pointing out that the Scouts would not be able to torture her without triggering her Titan abilities and theorizing that she is likely only in hiding. Noting their dissatisfaction, he questions whether they have lost their resolve. He offers to fight Reiner again to decide what they will do next but threatens to feed him to another Warrior if he loses again. When neither of them is willing to risk fighting him, Zeke proclaims that their sole objective is to regain the Coordinate in order to put an end to what he calls a "cursed history." The Cart Titan arrives shortly afterward to inform them of the Scouts' imminent arrival, and the three proceed to their designated posts to prepare for the upcoming battle.[17]

The Beast Titan appears with a horde of Titans

The next day, the Scout Regiment initiates its operation to retake Wall Maria. After Eren manages to seal the outer gate of Shiganshina, the Warriors launch their attack. After Reiner's failed attack and momentary downfall, Zeke transforms along with a horde of Titans outside the Wall and immediately throws a large boulder at the Wall's inner gate, destroying it so that the Scout Regiment's horses will not get over it. Having cut off the only escape route for the soldiers and trapping them within Shiganshina, Zeke begins advancing toward the district with his army.[18] As he advances he roars, ordering smaller Titans to attack the Scout Regiment's horses while having the larger Titans form a circle around the entrance of Shiganshina District in order to prevent the soldiers from escaping.[8]

The Beast Titan throws crushed stones at the Scouts

After some time, Zeke receives the signal to throw a barrel containing Bertholdt into Shiganshina in the form of a roar from Reiner's Titan form.[17] After sending Bertholdt over the Wall, Zeke begins assaulting the Scouts north of the district with a barrage of rocks, shredding the front line of buildings in the process. He muses about his first pitch being too high, and decides to go for a "perfect game." Each throw breaks the sound barrier and every soldier who is caught in the barrage is utterly mutilated, forcing Levi and the rest of the soldiers to retreat to the base of the Wall.

The Beast Titan notices the suicide charge

As he continues to throw projectiles, Zeke notices a large group of soldiers, led by Erwin Smith, riding toward him. Zeke notes that he had expected a better counterattack than a suicide charge, before throwing another barrage of rocks at them.[19] As his pitches hit their mark, Zeke laments the fact that King Reiss erased the soldiers' memories of the world, forcing them to keep making the same mistakes and push themselves to "die honorably" as a result of their ignorance. Getting worked up at the thought, Zeke accidentally crushes the stones in his hand even into dust and is forced to calm himself down for a moment before resuming his attack.

Zeke is assaulted by Levi

Killing many more soldiers, Zeke notices there are some that, despite the odds, are still alive and continue their charge. Seeing their persistence causes him to become annoyed again, opining that they can shoot smoke at him all day long, as it will not achieve anything. As he finishes off the stragglers with a final barrage of stones, Zeke begins to lament their deaths before noticing with alarm that the Titans flanking him have been killed. Bewildered as to what is happening, he is suddenly ambushed by Levi, who slices his arm to pieces as he attempts to grab him. Realizing that he is facing the soldier that Reiner and Bertholdt warned him about, Zeke tries to guard his nape but is immediately blinded by Levi. Before Zeke can react to being blinded, his Titan's achilles tendons are slashed, leaving him unable to stand. Realizing that he has no time to harden his nape, Zeke tries to use his hand to shield it, but it is immediately cut to pieces as well.

The Cart Titan carries Zeke away

As Levi begins to cut open his nape, Zeke emerges from his Titan, trying to use the steam emitted to blind Levi, but is immediately skewered through the mouth by the captain. Luckily, before Levi can execute Zeke, the Cart Titan rescues him and carries him away from the battlefield. As they flee, Zeke orders his remaining Titans to kill Levi, gloating that once Levi is dead he will have wiped out the entire Scout Regiment.[11]

The Cart Titan carries Zeke into Shiganshina, where he locates and approaches Eren, who is holding Bertholdt hostage. Zeke recognizes him as his younger half brother and tries to talk Eren down, claiming that they are both victims of his father. Eren is shocked by Zeke's resemblance to Grisha, but before Zeke can further elaborate he is forced to retreat due to the arrival of Levi, whose sudden appearance takes Zeke by surprise. As he takes his leave, he apologizes to Bertholdt, noting that he will not be able to save him, before promising Eren that he will come back and "save" him. While escaping, Zeke and the Cart Titan locate a severely injured Reiner, rescuing him from the remaining Scouts who have captured him.[20]

Marley arc

The Beast Titan lands in Fort Slava

At some point after the battle at Shiganshina, Zeke makes contact with Kiyomi Azumabito from the nation of Hizuru on the possibility of forming an alliance with Paradis. As a token of goodwill, Zeke brings out the vertical maneuvering equipment he took from Miche Zacharias and presents it to her; he mentions the existence of iceburst stone, which powers the device and there are scant traces still inside. Noting that it is found solely on Paradis, Zeke tells Kiyomi it would greatly assist the nation of Hizuru. The two sides agree and Kiyomi makes plans to travel to Paradis while Zeke returned to Marley and continued with the war effort.[21]

Shortly after the battle of Shiganshina District, the Marley Mid-East War began. At some point during the war, it was decided that Warrior candidate Colt Grice would be the one to inherit Zeke's Beast Titan at the end of Zeke's term. At the climax of the war, 4 years since it began, Zeke takes part in the assault on Fort Slava. As Eldian captives parachute down from an airship, Zeke transforms the captives into Titans, inflicting a devastating airstrike upon Fort Slava. After the Armored Titan destroys the Anti-Titan artillery, Zeke transforms into the Beast Titan and joins the battle. Using leftover artillery rounds as projectiles, he destroys the Mid-East Allied Forces fleet. The fleet fires upon Zeke before their destruction, but Reiner's Armored Titan saves Zeke, being destroyed in the process.[10]

After the conclusion of the battle, Zeke takes part in a meeting with Marley officials to discuss the war's conclusion and Marley's future. Here, Zeke suggests that Marley should resume the Paradis Island Operation to retake the Founding Titan as soon as possible, so that the Founding Titan can be used to buy time to reorganize their military. Zeke also expresses his desire to redeem himself for his failure in Paradis before the time comes for Colt to inherit the Beast Titan.

After the meeting, Zeke speaks with Colt about the latter's unique powers as the Beast Titan. Commander Magath joins the conversation, and they discuss the 32 survey ships that have disappeared when sent to Paradis Island. Zeke speculates that at least two Titans were responsible for the disappearance of the 32 survey ships, and informs Magath of the existence of the Ackermann clan in Paradis.

Zeke departs on a train to Liberio. After the train arrives, Zeke walks with the Warrior forces into the Internment Zone. When he arrives, he is lovingly welcomed home by his grandparents.

Zeke speaks with the other Warriors

Zeke later holds an unofficial meeting, attended by his fellow Warriors and Colt. He speaks about the worlds growing animosity towards Eldians, as well as the future in which conventional weaponry will eclipse Titan weaponry. He also expresses worry for the future of the Eldian race for these reasons. Zeke states that to solve these concerns, Marley must continue with the plan to regain the Founder, with the prestigious Tybur family narrating the Warriors plans to the world, improving the reputation of the mainland Eldians. These points are debated among the Warriors, with him and Pieck staying on the same wavelength throughout. The unofficial meeting had been tapped by Marleyan authorities, with Zeke seemingly aware of this fact.[2] Afterwards, along with the Warriors, Zeke attends a meeting with his superiors where they explain their plans for the new operation on Paradis Island.

On the night of the Liberio Festival, Zeke arrives with the Warriors for Willy Tybur's speech. When Falco Grice asks Reiner to accompany him, Zeke allows it since there is still time before the play begins.[22] Just as the show is starting, a Marley soldier informs the remaining Warriors that Magath has summoned them. Whilst being walked to Magath's apparent location, the soldier instructs Zeke to split off and go through the front gate, which he does.[23]

Zeke repels the Scout Regiment

After hearing the battle between the Attack Titan, the War Hammer Titan and the military, Zeke transforms into the Beast Titan and approaches the battlefield while joining the Cart and Jaw Titans. He provides artillery once more by launching debris at the soldiers and nearly gets attacked by two soldiers but is saved by Pieck. He has her provide covering fire from behind and he repels the Scouts. He then announces that Eren is not his enemy, but another soldier from Paradis Island is: Levi Ackermann. He calls out to Levi and demands him to come face him again, stating that "time is running out." Shortly afterwards, he notices Armin's transformation into the Colossal Titan from the nearby harbor along with everyone else. While the explosion has everyone distracted, Levi ambushes Zeke and slices his nape, rendering his Titan inert. Levi immediately throws a bomb into Zeke's open nape, blowing it up.[24]

Zeke recovers aboard the ship with Eren and Yelena

Using the explosion as cover, Levi cuts Zeke out of his nape and brings him aboard the Eldian airship. As he regenerates his severed limbs, Zeke converses with both Eren and Hange Zoë. When both Gabi Braun and Falco are brought aboard, Zeke expresses surprise at seeing them there. He then discusses with Hange that despite a number of "miscalculations," namely the two Warrior cadets, the sacrifices made during the fight were worth it to ensure Eldia had both the Founding Titan and someone who possesses a Titan power with royal blood. He is now confident that Eldia will have a chance at finally obtaining their freedom.[25]

After arriving on Paradis Island, Zeke is seen with Levi inside of a carriage, commenting that the citizens celebrating in the streets are ignorant of the true impact of the assault. Although Levi tries making death threats to him, Zeke is unperturbed and coolly insists that Levi take him to Eren. Levi instead takes Zeke to the Forest of Giant Trees, informing him that this is where he will be staying. Marveling at the sight, Zeke asks Levi if he can show the trees to Gabi and Falco, but is told that it depends on his own actions.[26]

War for Paradis arc

Zeke claims that he destroyed Ragako to conceal his true allegiance

While Zeke is being guarded inside of the forest, he explains how he was able to transform the citizens of Ragako. Levi is bothered by Zeke's nonchalant explanation, accusing him of having no concern for human life. Zeke waves away Levi's criticisms, explaining that his loyalty to Marley would have been questioned if he had not complied with his orders. Changing the subject, Zeke requests to know when he will be able to begin experimenting with Eren's Titan abilities, but Levi claims he is not allowed to answer. Zeke claims that it would be unwise to remain inactive for much longer, to which Levi readily agrees.[13]

He later asks if there is any wine left and Levi informs him that the soldiers drank it all; Zeke sarcastically mentions that Levi comes up with the worst punishments. As Levi walks off, Zeke sees an opportunity to escape and runs into the forest. Before Levi or any of the other soldiers can stop him, Zeke lets out a piercing scream. This triggers all the Scouts in the camp who drank the wine to transform into Titans, which fall out of the trees around Levi. Confident that Levi would not slaughter his own subordinates, Zeke mockingly states he did not want to do this but laments that this is not a proper conflict. Regardless, he summons three of the newly created Titans and bids farewell to Levi. He ponders if the Eldians truly understand the ramifications of their surprise attack on Liberio and inwardly states that only he and Eren truly know the costs.

Zeke's Beast Titan hurls projectiles at Levi in the forest

As he plans to have the Titans take him to the agreed upon meeting place with Eren, Zeke is stunned to see a bloodied and angered Levi appear in front of him. Zeke frantically orders one of the Titans to attack him and then subsequently transforms into the Beast Titan. He immediately hardens his nape and scans the area for Levi. Finding him, Zeke tears apart the final surviving Titan and throws the bloody Titan pieces towards his foe. He chastises Levi for killing his subordinates and notices many tree branches falling towards him. Zeke is unable to spot Levi among the branches, and is struck by several Thunder Spears that pierce through the hardened nape of the Beast Titan. Horrified, he only has a moment to process this before Levi detonates the spears, severely injuring Zeke.

Zeke screams out Xaver's name and pulls out the pin of Thunder Spear

Sometime later, Zeke awakens tied up on a carriage with a Thunder Spear sticking out of his abdomen. Levi informs him that the fuse and triggering mechanism are tied around his neck and any sudden movements can set it off. While Zeke vomits uncontrollably, Levi begins to slice off Zeke's legs to prevent him from transforming, making Zeke scream in agony. Only half conscious, Zeke asks where his glasses are, before having his memories of Xaver flash before his eyes. Zeke mutters about his plan to euthanize the Eldian nation to ensure the world's safety. Levi mocks him for this, declaring that his impending death at the hands of a Titan is too merciful for the lives he has taken. Zeke weakly protests that he was saving their potential children's lives by killing them, prompting Levi to angrily prepare to cut off his legs again. Suddenly, Zeke screams out Xaver's name and jerks his head back, pulling the pin on the Thunder Spear lodged in his stomach, causing an explosion.[27]

The explosion leaves Zeke completely mutilated and his wounds too severe for his body to regenerate from. Succumbing to his injuries, Zeke's last thoughts are of the meeting he had with Eren in which the two of them agreed to sterilize the Eldian race. One of the Titans Zeke created regenerates and approaches his corpse. Rather than devour him, the Titan tears open its own stomach and places him inside.[28]

Zeke's rebirth

Zeke regains consciousness to find himself alone in an unknown location. Surprised to discover that he is somehow still alive, he notices a lone girl silently reconstructing his body out of soil. After a short time, Zeke is released from the Titan's stomach, fully healed from his injuries and in a slight daze. He watches on as soldiers pursue Hange before being approached by a number of Jaegerists, with Floch trying to ask him what happened. Recomposing himself, Zeke avoids his questions and merely proclaims that they just have to move forward before departing with the Jaegerists.[29]

Zeke arrives in Shiganshina to find the district under siege from Marley's forces and Eren locked in combat with Reiner. After climbing to the top of Wall Maria in his Titan form, Zeke launches debris which knocks Reiner off of Eren and commends his younger brother for standing against Marley's forces, comforting him that he will now take care of the enemies. Zeke throws a barrage of stones which destroys at least some of the Marleyan airships before turning his focus towards Pieck and Magath. After the Marleyans forces begin to fall back, he spots Reiner charging at Eren and proceeds to bombard the Armored Titan, as well as Galliard when he tries to ambush Eren.

Zeke begins to gloat about how close he and Eren are to achieving their dream but is silenced after spotting the charred remains of the Cart Titan. Believing Pieck to have perished in the attack, he mourns his former comrade's death. He is caught off guard by the sight of several Marleyan soldiers emerging near the Cart Titan to attack. Before Zeke can react, Magath fires a round from the anti-Titan artillery atop the Cart Titan's corpse, damaging his Titan's nape and shearing off much of his human body. Incapacitated by this, Zeke plummets off the Wall and crashes into the ground.[30]

Zeke hears Colt's pleas to not scream

As Zeke comes to his senses, he sees Eren grappling with Reiner and announces to his brother that he will transform the soldiers who have ingested his spinal fluid. However, before he can scream he notices Colt and Falco arriving. Zeke is heartbroken to hear from Colt that Falco accidentally ingested his spinal fluid, but refuses Colt's request not to scream until Falco has gotten out of range. Zeke gives his condolences to Colt before letting out a scream, triggering all the affected Eldians to transform into Pure Titans.

Seeing Eren struggling to get away from Reiner, Zeke orders a newly transformed Falco to fight Reiner and kill him. After giving the command, Zeke is subsequently shot by Magath's anti-Titan artillery a second time. Exiting their Titans to make it appear that they have both been defeated, Zeke crawls towards Eren and reaches out towards his brother. However, before the two can reach each other, Eren is decapitated by a blast from an anti-Titan rifle fired by Gabi.

Zeke catches Eren's head

Eren's head lands in Zeke's outstretched hand, allowing him to activate the Founding Titan before Eren can die from his injuries. Zeke arrives in the Coordinate first and is forced to wait for Eren. While waiting, he uses his time to learn more about the Founding Titan, culminating in him learning to break Karl Fritz's vow of nonaggression.

Zeke waits in chains until Eren finally arrives, informing his confused younger brother that they are inside the Coordinate. As Ymir Fritz approaches them, Zeke explains her presence to Eren, theorizing that she uses the sand in the Coordinate to create the Nine Titans and heal their users' bodies when they are injured. Zeke encourages Eren to command Ymir to begin their euthanasia plan, but Eren first asks about Zeke's chains. Zeke claims that the chains are what keeps Karl Fritz's descendants from acting freely.

Zeke under the First King's vow in chains

To Zeke's despair, Eren reveals that he has no intention of following the euthanasia plan and was only using his brother as a means to activate the Founder. Heartbroken, Zeke reveals to Eren that he freed himself from Fritz's vow while waiting for Eren, and that Ymir will only obey a person with royal blood. Chaining Eren, Zeke laments that Eren has been brainwashed by Grisha, but promises to save him. Despite Eren's protests, Zeke begins showing him their father's memories.[31]

As the brothers systematically observe Grisha's memories of his time on Paradis, Zeke bitterly notes how seemingly easy it was for Grisha to move on to a new family and forget about his old one. He shows Eren how Grisha used his occupation as a doctor to socialize with nobles to try to gain information on the royal family, despite the risk such actions would pose for his family. Zeke himself is surprised to learn that Grisha apparently delayed his mission upon discovering the Reiss family's chapel out of love for his new family, coldly admitting that Grisha might have learned from his failure with Zeke. To Zeke's shock, his musings are interrupted by a scene of Grisha seemingly trying to apologize to his first son in his sleep.

Zeke realizes Eren was never brainwashed

The two brothers continue their journey through Grisha's memories, with Zeke admitting that Eren was evidently not brainwashed by Grisha. In light of this, Zeke questions Eren on why he betrayed him, and what he had planned to do with the Founder's power. Eren answers by stating he had always been this way and that the pitiful brother Zeke had wished for does not exist in him. Despite this, Zeke promises to save Eren by opening his eyes to the danger Eldia presents, deciding to do this before saving the world with his euthanasia plan.

Zeke and Eren eventually arrive at the date Grisha steals the Founding Titan from Frieda at the Reiss Chapel. While watching the memory play out, Zeke notices Eren's face distorted with rage at listening to King Fritz's ideology, and is later astonished when Grisha explains the Attack Titan's ability to peer into its future inheritors' memories. Zeke is shocked once more when Grisha finds himself unable to kill the Reiss family, confused as to whether the past had changed. His shock quickly turns to horror when Eren begins talking to their father, spurring him on in his mission.

Zeke and his father reconcile

In the wake of his attack on the Reiss family, Grisha becomes aware of Zeke's presence, revealing to him that the future will occur the way Eren wants it to, and that it is terrible. Grisha embraces Zeke, expressing regret that he was a poor father and still loves him. Grisha ends by begging Zeke to stop Eren.

In the unknown land, Zeke breaks away from Eren, horrified by what he has seen.[32] Eren thanks Zeke for allowing him to access Grisha's path, thereby enabling the future he had seen within his father's memories to occur. Terrified, Zeke orders Ymir to steal the ability to reproduce from the Subjects of Ymir. As she begins walking towards the pillar of light, Zeke tells Eren that Grisha had wished to stop him, having seen part of Eren's future which Eren had not. When Eren escapes his chains after a struggle, Zeke says that it is pointless, as once Ymir begins to move, nothing is capable of stopping her.

Zeke attempts to stop Eren

Eren embraces Ymir and begs her to help him end the world with her power, much to Zeke's alarm. He is even more alarmed to see that Ymir has stopped moving and frantically tries to reach his brother and Ymir, repeatedly ordering Ymir to obey his previous command, stating that he is descended from royal blood. However, before he can reach them, Ymir agrees to help Eren, activating the Rumbling. [33]

Abilities

Power of the Titans

Zeke is able to transform into a 17-meter Titan referred to as the Beast Titan (獣の巨人 Kemono no Kyojin?). He used the Titan when he transformed the inhabitants of Ragako into Titans and impose his will on them. He retains his human mind when transformed, allowing him to do delicate tasks, and he even retains his ability to speak.[4] Zeke's unique powers are due to his status as member of the Eldian royal family that stayed on the continental mainland.

Some of his abilities are:

  • Communication: Unlike most humans with Titan power, Zeke is able to fluently speak without issue in his Titan form, casually talking to humans and mindless Titans, and giving them orders which they can follow.[4]
  • Titan Control: Unlike most humans with Titan power, Zeke has the ability to control Pure Titans through vocal commands, often giving them orders which they follow. Titans under his control are even able to function using only moonlight without falling into fatigue.[14] However, his control over the Titans is not absolute unlike the Founding Titan, as they can occasionally disobey, either by ignoring or not comprehending orders given.[4] Zeke's control was eventually revealed to be limited to those Titans that were transformed with injections directly from his own spinal fluid and a result of him being descended from the Fritz royal bloodline.
  • Regeneration: Just like all Titans and those with the power of the Titans, Zeke has the ability to regenerate at a tremendous speed any wound on his Titan or human body. After being fatally wounded by Levi, Zeke healed part of his face when he encounters Eren.[20]

    Zeke's Beast Titan's monstrous arm strength

  • Enhanced Strength: He possesses immense physical strength, enough to break off large chunks from Wall Rose and hurl them at a great distance away, and throw a bombardment of rocks with devastating destructive capability, as well as creating a visible sonic boom when he lobs them, effectively throwing them faster than over 700 feet per second.[15][19] This is notably exercised during the battle of Shiganshina to wipe out most of the Scout Regiment soldiers with crushed rocks.[19] Towards the end of the Marley Mid-East War, it wiped out the entire naval fleet of the Mid-East Allied Forces stationed at Fort Slava.[10]

    Zeke's Beast Titan's accurate throw

  • Precision: The Beast Titan's throwing ability and incredible accuracy is second to none, as seen when it accurately threw a horse at Miche and again when it lands a direct hit when tossing a boulder at Lynne and Henning from a great distance away atop Wall Rose.[15] It also seems to possess extremely dexterous hands, as it managed to retrieve Miche's ODM gear without damaging him or the gear.[4] Another display of the Beast Titan's incredible precision, was when Zeke threw a large boulder at the gate of Shiganshina to block the passage from a far distance away, during the retake of Shiganshina District.[18]
  • Human Transformation: Because of his royal blood, Zeke possesses a scream that can transform Subjects of Ymir into Titans.[10][18] These Titans, unlike the regular Titans encountered, were capable of functioning at night as long as the moon is out.[14] In order for the human to turn into a Titan, all the human must do is to intake Zeke's spinal fluid and Zeke must use his scream at the targets, and after doing so, they turn into Titans. These Titans are connected to his Beast Titan via "paths" and obey his orders.[13]
  • Hardening: Zeke is able to harden his Titan body at will to protect himself from attacks. However, this ability needs some time to prepare; during his brief battle with Levi, Zeke tries to harden the nape of his neck but was unable to due to Levi's overwhelming speed.[11]
  • Fighting Skills: He seems to be a very formidable fighter, since he was able to defeat the Armored Titan and inflict him debilitating damage without sustaining any visible injury. According to Reiner, while Levi is indeed powerful, the former claims that he is no match for their War Chief.[8]

Relationships

  • Grisha Jaeger - As a child, Zeke could sense his father becoming distant with him and was often envious of other children who had a more positive relationship with their fathers. When the Marley government decided to recruit Eldian Warriors, Grisha forced Zeke to enlist as the Restorationists' mole. For two years, Grisha forced his beliefs and philosophy into Zeke's mind; this would soon cause Zeke to harbor resentment towards his father for using him. Around twenty years later, Zeke learned his father survived banishment and fathered another son. He later mentions that both he and his half-brother Eren are "victims" of Grisha and have been brainwashed by him, showing his continued dislike for his father. Furthermore, he has "disowned" Grisha as his father, calling him detestable. Despite having poor views on his father, Zeke eventually learned that Grisha regretted his poor treatment of his first son, greatly shocking him. When Zeke and Eren saw Grisha's past memories, Grisha was somehow able to see Zeke and tearfully apologized for making him suffer as a child and being a terrible father. Grisha embraced Zeke, who was shocked by this sudden display of emotion, and actually called him "Dad."[32]
  • Dina Fritz - It is presumed that, just like with his father, Zeke initially had a positive relationship with his mother Dina. Eventually, her commitments towards the Restorationists led him to view her in a negative light just like with Grisha. Despite this, Zeke was crestfallen to hear of his mother's demise while on Paradis Island.
  • Jaeger and Grisha's mother - As Zeke's grandparents on his father's side, following the arrest of his parents, Zeke was cared for by them. Zeke loves them greatly as he was seen fondly greeting them upon his return home after the conclusion of the Marley Mid-East War.
  • Tom Xaver - Zeke met Tom by chance as a child during his early days as a Warrior candidate and would soon view him as both a friend and a surrogate father figure in his life, often going to Tom for advice on what to do. He would soon learn of Tom's history and vow to succeed him as the Beast Titan; due to Tom's influence in his life, Zeke would also begin to develop his ideology and drive to take back the Founding Titan.
  • Theo Magath - Magath had evidently watched over Zeke to some extent throughout the 22 years Zeke had spent in service to Marley and even was his instructor when Zeke first joined the Warrior program. While he expected Zeke to display the respect towards Marleyan authority that would be expected of any Eldian, he nonetheless openly expressed how impressed Zeke left him with his words and actions. He was willing to disclose valuable military information with Zeke, and even accepted his advice on the issues faced by such matters. Magath no longer viewed Zeke favorably following his actions during the battle of Liberio, and saw him as a threat to Marley from that point on.
  • Reiner Braun and Bertholdt Hoover - As a fellow Warrior, Zeke serves as Reiner and Bertholdt's superior. While offering encouragement to the two Warriors, he does not hesitate in displaying his dominance as a Captain, settling disagreements he has with them through combat; a prime example is Zeke's fight with Reiner over his decision to forsake Annie's well-being in favor of waiting in Shiganshina for the Founding Titan. He is also not above threatening them, as seen when he threatens to have Reiner give up his Titan, and his life in the process, to another Warrior if he ever challenges Zeke to combat and loses again. Four years after their defeat, Zeke still seems to hold Reiner in contempt blaming both himself and Reiner for the war with the Mid-East Allies and the current situation with the Eldians. However, the two of them are still able to work together on the battlefield with Reiner taking enemy fire in Zeke's stead. After Zeke betrays Marley, any camaraderie between Reiner and Zeke is severed, and they later meet on opposing sides of the battlefield.
  • Annie Leonhart - Zeke appears to be very familiar with Annie, as displayed by his knowledge of her expertise in kicks and his tendency to affectionately refer to her as "Little Annie" (アニちゃん Ani-chan?). Despite this familiarity, he made the decision to wait to save Annie until after he had received the Founding Titan, prioritizing the power over Annie. However, despite his apparent lack of care for Annie, Zeke seems to trust her abilities to an extent, explaining to Bertholdt and Reiner that he believes Annie is fine, and in hiding, as she is skilled enough to avoid being captured, and her Titan powers are enough to keep anyone from attempting to harm her.
  • Pieck Finger - Zeke and Pieck appear to share a close camaraderie. During a meeting in his office, Zeke is shown to greatly admire Pieck's intellect and ability to deduce and solve problems. Following the revelation of Zeke's betrayal, Pieck plays a role in significantly injuring him during Marley's counterattack showing that whatever camaraderie the pair shared is gone. Despite Zeke's intentions to actually kill Pieck during the Paradis Island Surprise Attack, he laments the way she was allegedly killed by the Jaegerists.
  • Eren Jaeger - Eren is Zeke's younger half-brother. Zeke first learned of him when Reiner and Bertholdt Hoover return from their mission and understood Eren was born from his father's second family. Though their first encounter was as enemies during the Battle of Shiganshina District, by the time of the Raid on Liberio, they were already working together over their mutual goals and belief that they both were victims of their father's brainwashing. Eren trusts Zeke enough to turn against his friends at the Scout Regiment and plot with him an attack on Marley behind their backs and eventually overthrow the military of Paradis, with the aid of the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers and Jaegerists. Likewise, Zeke appreciates having a younger brother whom he can be honest with and relate to, and rushed to support him by attacking his former fellow Warriors when they were trying to eat him and steal the Founding Titan. Pieck also noted that the encounter between Zeke and Eren at Shiganshina was the first time she saw Zeke being honest. Eventually, it is revealed that Eren had been deceiving Zeke and refuses to go along with his plan to sterilize the Subjects of Ymir, which shocks and hurts Zeke.
  • Yelena - Zeke saved Yelena's life during the Marley Mid-East War, after which she started to idolize and see him as a god, following his commands without question. As one of Zeke's closest followers, it is presumed that Zeke holds great respect and admiration for Yelena. He trusted her enough to reveal his euthanization plan to her, which she believed would save the world.
  • Levi Ackermann - As the Beast Titan and superior to Annie, Reiner, and Bertholdt, Zeke serves as one of Levi's greatest enemies. In turn, Levi's status as humanity's strongest soldier made him a priority target for Zeke. During the battle of Shiganshina, Levi blinded and severely wounded Zeke. In vengeance, he told the remaining Titans to kill Levi. While trying to save Bertholdt shortly afterwards, Zeke was shocked to see Levi had survived and followed him, forcing him into a tactical retreat. Four years later, when Zeke returned to Marley and reported the events, he admitted that he never wanted to meet Levi or any Ackermann again. After Levi helps lead a surprise attack on Marley, Zeke does not hesitate to order Levi to be killed. After four years, it is presumed that Zeke's hatred for Levi has mellowed to some degree as they both helped coordinate the attack on Liberio and acted civil to each other during the escape. Despite this, Zeke and Levi still share a mutual dislike for each other and do not hesitate to insult each other with Levi threatening to kill him on multiple occasions. Their animosity returns after Zeke triggers many Scouts to transform into Titans and tries to escape in order to rendezvous with Eren.
  • Hange Zoë - Zeke seemed to have a cordial relationship with Hange Zoë as they were seen conversing with each other as the Scout Regiment were leaving from Liberio. He initially did not see Hange as an enemy and helped coordinate the Liberio raid with them and Levi; however, after aligning with his brother and his group of rebels, it is presumed that Zeke saw Hange as an enemy once more.
  • Colt Grice - As the candidate set to inherit the Beast Titan from Zeke, the two shared a close camaraderie. Colt greatly admired Zeke's high status and influence in the Marley military as well as his unique ability to create and control Titans. The two had a mentor and protégé relationship with Colt standing by his side in important meetings and even playing catch together. Their relationship, however, did not stop Zeke from activating his scream to transform all the affected Eldians, including Falco, although he admitted it was a pity and had a somber look in his eyes.

People killed

Indirectly

Failed attempts

Trivia

  • Zeke shares an English dub voice actor with Shikishima from the Attack on Titan live-action movies.
  • Zeke's name is the shortened form of "Ezekiel," which is Hebrew in origin meaning "God will strengthen." In Biblical literature, Ezekiel was a prophet among the Hebrews exiled to Babylon who prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and Israel's restoration.[36]
    • The katakana for Zeke's name is identical to that of the German word "Sieg," meaning "victory," which is also a German given name. This thematically fits with Grisha Jaeger's intentions for his son, who he believed would lead Eldia to victory.[5]
  • Zeke's Titan appearance resembles a number of cryptids, such as the Sasquatch/Bigfoot, Yeti, and Yowie.
  • In Episode 57, a young Zeke is seen playing with a long-armed monkey toy, foreshadowing his Beast Titan form in his later life. A horse and two fallen soldiers toys are shown as well, also foreshadowing his massacre of the charging Scout Regiment soldiers during the Battle of Shinganshina.
  • Zeke and Historia Reiss are the only known living people who have royal blood.
  • Tomohiro Machiyama, the screenwriter of the live-action film adaptations of the series, has claimed that he was informed by Tetsurō Araki that Hajime Isayama modeled Zeke's appearance after Machiyama.[37]

References

  1. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 34
  2. 2.0 2.1 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 61
  3. "登場人物". shingeki.tv. Retrieved on December 9th, 2020.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 26
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 57
  6. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 58
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 74
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 51
  9. 9.0 9.1 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 47
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 60
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 54
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 62
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 72
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 28
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 29
  16. 16.0 16.1 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 37
  17. 17.0 17.1 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 52
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 50
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 53
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 55
  21. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 69
  22. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 63
  23. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 64
  24. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 66
  25. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 67
  26. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 68
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 73
  28. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 75
  29. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 76
  30. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 77
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 78
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 79
  33. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 80
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 Attack on Titan anime: Episode 81
  35. Attack on Titan anime: Episode 27
  36. Ezekiel on Wikipedia
  37. アニメ版の荒木哲郎監督に先日お会いしたら「諌山さんがジークのモデルは町山さんだと言ってましたよ」と言われましたが、あの「いいんじゃない?」みたいなヘラヘラした口調かな? でもハンジとジークどっち? ってか、ハンジ女じゃん。

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