|They also possess a bloodline once thought to exist only in legends told by the royal family. The Ackerman clan, byproducts of Titan science. To be frank, I never want to meet them again.|
|— Zeke Yeager acknowledges the power of the Ackermans|
The Ackerman family (アッカーマン家 Akkāman-ke?) is an Eldian family living within the Walls and is one of the few clans that are not Subjects of Ymir. Traditionally, they were a bloodline of warriors close to the crown, but were persecuted to the brink of extinction after refusing to follow the ideology of the First King. Only two known living members are left.
The Ackermans lived in Eldia prior to the raising of the Walls, and were "byproducts of Titan science." They were warriors close to the crown, and acted as the monarchy's right hand, entrusted with the survival of their people. After the Eldian Empire collapsed during the Great Titan War a century ago, members of this family moved inside the Walls that King Fritz created for the Eldians to live in.
When the King erased the memories of the people inside using the power of the Founding Titan, the Ackermans were immune to it due to not being Subjects of Ymir; the others included the Asian clan and those who would later become the noble families inside the Walls. However, along with the Asian clan, they rejected the King's idea of peace, and turned their backs on the monarchy. Fearing his inability to control them, the King persecuted them, bringing both races to the brink of extinction.At the end, the head of the Ackerman family offered his own life to ensure the survival of the bloodline and was executed. The rest of the generation avoided telling their children about the world before the Walls in order to protect them from the monarchy's purge. As a result, the following generations grew up without that knowledge.
Nevertheless, not even this stopped the oppression on them: Several generations later, the Ackermans were still being pursued and some of them sought refuge in the Underground City, while others fled to the mountains at the edge of the Wall. This branch of the family moved south near Shiganshina but someone got in the way of their business which made them stay poor. The purge only truly stopped after Uri Reiss, the King at the time, met Kenny Ackerman in an assassination attempt. The former apologized for the actions of prior monarchs on the latter's family, stopped the persecution, and accepted Kenny as his right-hand man.
The Ackermans have an "awakened power" displayed by some members of the family—a "byproduct of Titan science." Levi Ackerman describes it as "knowing exactly what needs to be done," and it lets the Ackermans exhibit physical abilities far above the average human. The Ackermans with this power are extremely powerful fighters: Levi is known as "humanity's strongest soldier"; Mikasa is regarded as the best soldier of her generation, "as valuable as a hundred average soldiers"; and Kenny was considered by Levi just as dangerous as himself, capable of killing more than 100 members of the Military Police without being caught.
This power is not automatically active, however, and has to be triggered by experiences in the Ackerman's life; it appears to be permanent afterward. Mikasa was a normal girl until the age of 9, when three robbers killed her parents and kidnapped her. After witnessing one of the robbers strangling Eren and being urged by him to fight, Mikasa awakened her dormant power and was able to kill the criminal with a single stab; she was even able to snap the floorboards with the strength of her foot. Levi stated that he and Kenny also had similar moments that awakened their powers, although he did not lay out any specifics.
- The Ackermans were traditionally a bloodline of warriors who acted as the right-hand of the monarchs, and curiously enough, the three known "awakened" Ackermans ended up fiercely loyal to someone they know: Mikasa follows Eren Yeager everywhere; Levi trusts and obeys Erwin Smith; and Kenny was the bodyguard, right-hand man, and close friend of Uri Reiss.
- In Attack on Titan ANSWERS, Hajime Isayama clarified on this matter: "[Mikasa, Levi, and Kenny] are all part of the same Ackerman bloodline. However, their reasons for protecting their respective counterparts do not have anything to do with the bloodline itself—it is just their nature. Within the story, Mikasa and Levi almost have the guardian/knight-like roles, right? That is because they have encountered the existence of a "boss"-like individual, and the desire to work for that person is very in line with their personalities..."
- "Ackerman" roughly translates to "Ploughman." As "Acker" is a germanic word for "ploughed field."
- A similar Swedish surname, “Åkerman” exists.
- In the Q&A section of the August 2018 edition of Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine, Hajime Isayama answered a question regarding a hypothetical mixing of the Ackerman and royal bloodlines:
Q: If a child were to be born between two people from the royal family and the Ackerman family, which blood would take precedence? ("Chewing Gum" from Chiba Prefecture)
A: I think that both [of their bloodlines] would be reflected [in the child] as usual. (Isayama-sensei)
- Presumably this means that the child would have the "awakened power" of the Ackermans and can become a Titan with royal blood—able to activate the Founding Titan and fully utilize the power of the Titans—like the members of the Fritz/Reiss royal family.