|Whether this revolution is good or bad for humanity is of no interest to me. I suppose that makes me quite the villain. But... you're no different, are you?|
|— Darius Zackly reveals his true feelings|
Commander-in-Chief Darius Zackly (ダリス・ザックレー総統 Darisu Zakkurē Sōtō?, also spelled as Dhalis Zachary in the FUNimation sub of the anime) is the head of all three divisions of the Military: the Survey Corps, the Garrison, and the Military Police Brigade.
Zackly has the typical appearance of an old man. His eyes are sunken and tired-looking, he wears glasses, he has noticeable wrinkles on his face, and his hair is receded and gray. He also has a gray scruffy looking full beard and mustache. In addition, he is rather short which gives him a presence uncommon for a man of his rank. Zackly's casual attire consists of a plain white shirt with normal dark colored pants. In a more formal setting he adds a bolo tie, much like the three commanders under him, Nile Dok, Erwin Smith, and Dot Pixis. Over this he wears a brown trench coat that has a black shield emblem with a white boarder and cross.
When he was first introduced, Zackly was said to be a strict military leader who was only concerned with the best interests of humanity. As the head of the entire military, his priorities were said to lie within what is best for all of humanity. Only after being logically convinced of Eren's usefulness did he pardon him. At this time he appeared to take most things lightly, as if he had experienced them previously. During the trial of Eren he wore simple clothes and conducted the trial without any drama or passion. Similarly, he overthrew the monarchy with an incredibly casual demeanor. This indicates that Zackly has no time for drama and is solely focused on carrying out his judgments. He remains ever serious but at the same time appears tired as if his age is catching up to him.
According to Armin, Zackly is among the people capable of abandoning their humanity to outdo the Titans as well as having the guts to also abandon things important to them in order to change something in the world, along with Erwin Smith, Ian Dietrich, and Dot Pixis.
However, after Zackly assisted in the revolution against the monarchy he shows a completely different personality. He noted to Erwin that his only interest in participating was due to an intense and long-standing hatred of those in charge. He took great delight in seeing their fear when they fell from power. In direct contrast to the idea that he acts in the best interest of humanity, he told Erwin that he does not care if the revolution helps humanity or not. His only interest is his own desire to humiliate the monarchy, such that he set up a torture machine that fed one of them their own feces and called it a beautiful work of art. Ultimately, he was willing to admit that he values his own life more than humanity.
Darius shows a demented, psychopathic side to his personality when he subjects an official to inhumane torture, laughing while forcing him to drink his own urine.
In a flashback, Zackly is seen in his office discussing with Keith Shadis and Erwin Smith about the Long-Distance Enemy Scouting Formation Erwin had created. While finding it ingenious and agreeing with its concept, he nevertheless refused to let the Survey Corps use the formation, arguing that the major anti-Survey Corps opinion within deputies would not allow it. In addition, Zackly reminded to an angry Keith that the dissolution of the Survey Corps would be decided in five days.
Later on, Zackly announced to Keith and Erwin the assembly voted to maintain the Survey Corps. Noting that it will not probably be the case next time, he urged them to do their best. Erwin then asked him about a request he formulated earlier which consisted in going to the Underground in order to recruit a gang of thugs, putting the emphasis on their outstanding skills. Interested in Erwin's sayings, Zackly accepted.
Zackly first appears when Eren Yeager is put on trial. He confirms who Eren is and then announces that the sole right of judgement rests with himself. Eren will either survive and go with the Survey Corps, or he will go the Military Police Brigade and be killed. Nile Dok, Commander of the Military Police, advocates for Eren's death by reasoning that Eren causes too much strife within the Walls, potentially starting a civil war. While he is prepared to acknowledge that Eren saved Trost, Nile concludes that Eren must be executed after being named a war hero. Zackly calms Minister Nick down after he called for Eren's immediate destruction and then offers Erwin the chance to speak. Erwin calmly announces that with Eren they can retake Wall Maria, which should be the top priority of humanity. A merchant panics and reasons that only the gates can be destroyed so they should all be removed, a plan that Levi disagrees with since there is no guarantee it will work. Nick interrupts again and begins arguing with the merchant, prompting another call for order from Zackly. Zackly asks if Eren can use his powers for good, Eren replies yes and Zackly counters that Eren reportedly attacked Mikasa Ackerman, another soldier. Mikasa reluctantly admits that he did attack her. However, she also requests that it be taken into consideration that Eren saved her life twice before that. Nile disagrees with this by citing an incident from Eren's past where he stabbed 2 robbers. Nile orders the Military Police to point their rifles at Eren but Levi has already intervened and is mercilessly beating Eren. Levi states his belief that pain is the best form of discipline. Nile cautions Levi that he could awaken Eren's Titan power and Levi wonders how the Military Police were going to execute him if they are apparently afraid of him. Erwin offers a proposition to Zackly: the Survey Corps will take Eren and assess his usefulness to humanity and if anything goes wrong, Levi will kill him. Zackly agrees with this deal and announces that Eren will join the Survey Corps and return to trial after his ability has been assessed.
Zackly appears again during the trial of Erwin Smith in the King's Throne room. After Anka Rheinberger reveals that Wall Rose has been breached, the capital officials decree that no refugees will be allowed to enter Wall Sheena. This shocks the small military crowd inside the room, particularly Nike Dok. Anka leaves the room and moments later, Darius appears within the room. He reveals that the breach of Wall Rose was a ruse and Pixis announces everyone's role in rooting out the corruption present within the royal government. Erwin is released and the officials are then taken in to custody for valuing their wealth over the lives of the people.
After announcing to the people that the old regime had fallen and the royal capitals administrative district had been conquered, Darius and Erwin board a carriage. Erwin voices that it may have better to leave all authority to the former royal capital and send his friends and himself to his death if it meant that half of humanity would survive over all if humanity dying to the Titans. Darius comments that with the current state of things, death may have been a preferable option. He goes on to reveal that he himself has long since despised the government, and has waited his entire life for this day. He appears rather amused as he recalls the hysteria that the arrested officials displayed, remarking that he has been contriving various methods of humiliating them. He claims that he does not care whether or not the revolution benefits humanity, acknowledging that this puts his morality into question, though he believes Erwin is no different than him.Soon after, he is seen torturing an official by hanging him upside down and forcing him to drink his own urine. Darius says that he will only be allowed to wear clothes from the knees down. He also mentions that the official will be publicly humiliated this way, as retribution for his vile acts against his people. He also remarks at how the torture device is the greatest work of art ever conceived. The official taunts him, saying that he has slave's blood and the official's royal blood will enable him to erase Darius' memories to the point where he could not remember how to defecate, but Darius silences him by plugging the device's tube into the official's mouth as he lets out a burst of laughter.
After the battle with Rod Reiss and attack on Orvud District, Darius is among the military branch leaders, Nile Dok, Erwin Smith, and Dot Pixis, when he crowns the true heir to the throne, Historia Reiss, as the new queen of the Walls. The officials then kneel in front of Historia and she bows to them before turning to the crowd and offering her heart in a salute as they cheer.
As Armin Arlert explains his plan for victory against the Colossus Titan to Eren, Darius sits with the other military leaders drinking tea and worrying if the operation to retake Wall Maria and humanity's land will be successful.
As commander-in-chief he is the highest authority within the military structure. The three military divisions, the Garrison, the Military Police, and the Survey Corps are all officially under his command, despite having their own leaders. In matters of military law he is the sole decision maker that cannot be argued against. Within the context of a Military Court, he has the power to condemn the defendant to death if he chooses.
Darius Zackly's Statistics :