|How pitiful...To never learn from the mistakes of history....In the end, they'll send every last person in the walls, down to the children and elderly, on a suicide charge. Saying if they're going to die, they might as well die proud. It's bullshit!|
|— Zeke's frustration at Eldians within the Walls|
Zeke Jaeger (ジーク・イェーガー Jīku Yēgā?) is the 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." 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.
In his human form, Zeke has a tall, broad, well-toned body with gray 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. 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.
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.
Zeke is a very intelligent and curious individual, 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.
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, or when he beat Reiner Braun to make him and Bertholdt Hoover focus on acquiring the Founding Titan instead of saving Annie Leonhart. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Zeke was subjected to intense indoctrination to the Restorationists' rhetoric by his parents while simultaneously taught to obey Marley's teachings to earn their trust; such contradictory instructions proved to be too much for young Zeke to handle and cracking under the pressure and the stress, he turned his own parents in to Marley's government.
During his time in the Warrior program Zeke was given a position of authority of his fellow candidates. He learned that the next six Warriors would soon be chosen and tasked with going to Paradis Island to reclaim the Founding Titan and passed the news on to his fellow candidates. The news caused two of them, Reiner Braun and Porco Galliard to get in a fight. Exasperated, Zeke simply told them not to be late to their next meeting so that he would not get into trouble and left.
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.
Zeke infiltrates Wall Rose and somehow transforms the citizens of Ragako village into Titans. He then leads them 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.
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.
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. 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.
While waiting in Shiganshina District, Zeke eventually meets up with Bertholdt Hoover and Reiner Braun, who try to convince him to work with them to free their comrade Annie Leonhart from captivity. When he refuses, Reiner uses his Armored Titan to try to force him to help them, but the Beast Titan swiftly defeats him. As Bertholdt tries to remove Reiner's body from his Titan form, Zeke emerges from his Titan body, telling the two of them that they can rescue Annie after securing the Founding Titan. He then informs them of his plan to wait in Shiganshina to ambush the Scout Regiment in order to capture Eren and the Founding Titan.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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. 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. 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.
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 also retains even his ability to speak.
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.
- 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. However, his control over the Titans is not absolute unlike the Founding Titan, as they can ocasionally disobey, either by ignoring or not comprehending orders given.
- 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.
- 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. This is notably exercised during the battle of Shiganshina to wipe out most of the Scout Regiment soldiers with crushed rocks. 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.
- 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. It also seems to possess extremely dexterous hands, as it managed to retrieve Miche's ODM gear without damaging him or the gear. 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.
- Human Transformation: Zeke possesses a scream that can transform Subjects of Ymir into Titans. These Titans, unlike the regular Titans encountered, were capable of functioning at night as long as the moon is out.
- 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.
- 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.
- Former inheritor of the Beast Titan (as a Pure Titan)
- Marlo Freudenberg
- Erwin Smith
- Numerous unnamed Scout Regiment members
- Mid-East Allied Forces fleet
- Miche Zacharius
- Ragako inhabitants
- Zeke shares an English dub voice actor with Shikishima from the Attack on Titan live-action movies.
- He appears to have had limited to no contact with the humans inside the Walls, as he expresses interest in humanity's omni-directional mobility gear.
- 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.
- 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.