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Quote1 God-like power. Everyone who gets their hands on it seems to turn compassionate. Would the same thing happen even to garbage like me? I want to know... what's it feel like? What does it look like from up there? Can a piece of trash like me ever see the same kind of thing that you can see? Well, Uri? Quote2
— Kenny Ackerman thinks back on his life

Friends (友人 Yūjin?) is the 3rd chapter of the 17th volume and the 69th chapter overall of the Attack on Titan manga, written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama.

Overview

A dying Kenny Ackerman recalls significant past events of his life. He remembers the time when he met Uri Reiss and how Uri spared his life after being captured by him during a failed assassination attempt. Uri even apologized to him for the persecution the Ackermans suffered and for failing to save humanity, prompting an impressed Kenny to become his bodyguard. After his sister Kuchel died of sickness in the Underground, Kenny takes in her son, Levi. Kenny, not wanting to be a parent, teaches him only what he needs to know to survive and then leaves him some years later without explanation. After much time has passed, Uri tells Kenny about the inherited power of the Reiss family, making him desire to obtain it. Kenny starts his plan by becoming the captain of the Anti-Personnel Control Squad. After Rod Reiss' Titan transformation, Kenny is hit by the debris of the collapsed chapel basement, and his squad is wiped out. After the battle at Orvud District, the dying Kenny is found by Levi. Kenny talks about his life dreaming of obtaining power, recognizes he was a bad uncle for Levi, and then dies after giving him the Titan serum he stole. Not long after, Historia is crowned as the new queen. After the ceremony, she punches Levi as part of a challenge, but Levi just smiles and thanks his team.

Summary

Uri traps Kenny in his Titan hand

Uri traps Kenny in his Titan hand

Some time in the past, a partially transformed Uri Reiss holds Kenny Ackerman in his Titan hand, who is surprised to meet someone stronger than him and to see a Titan for the first time. Rod Reiss tries to shoot Kenny, since he attempted to kill them, but Uri stops him, guessing that someone in the Assembly leaked their existence to the assassin, and wanting to interrogate him first. However, he recognizes Kenny as a member of the Ackerman family and knows that his power will be useless on him. He also acknowledges that an Ackerman has justified reasons to hold a grudge against the monarchy.

Uri bows before Kenny

Uri bows before Kenny asking his forgiveness

Kenny attempts another attack by launching his knife against Uri but the latter stops it with his human arm, though the knife gets impaled into it. The assassin shamelessly begs Uri to release him and to give him another chance to set up a proper ambush, and Uri releases him, much to Rod's and even Kenny's shock.

As Uri approaches Kenny, the latter points his gun at him, and Rod demands that they must kill him because his memories cannot be erased. However, Uri bows before Kenny and apologizes for the persecution the Ackermans suffered at the hands of the monarchy, and for failing to build a paradise within the Walls. He then begs him to spare his life since he cannot die yet.

Kenny is shocked to see a king with that much power bowing before someone like him, and offers to help him; to Uri's acceptance. In the next assembly, the mole Kenny talked to has disappeared, but Kenny has become Uri's bodyguard. Kenny thinks on the irony of the events but feels calm that the Ackermans are no longer persecuted.

Kenny meets Levi

Kenny meets a now orphan Levi

Kenny goes to the brothel his sister Kuchel was working at in the Underground and is surprised to find her sick in bed with a haggard appearance. He tries to wake her up but a child curled up in a corner of the room informs him that she has already died, and reveals he is her son, Levi.

Despite not being as heartless as to leave Levi to die alone, Kenny does not feel good enough as to act as his parent, so he adopts him but without revealing his surname, simply telling him that he is an acquaintance of Kuchel's. For some years, Kenny raises the child and teaches him everything he needs to survive in the Underground, including how to fight holding the blades in his characteristic reverse-grip style.

Kenny abandons Levi

Kenny abandons Levi

In a meeting with the Assembly, Kenny talks to Djel Sannes, apologizing to him for killing so many of his friends of the First Interior Squad and observing Sannes' admiration towards the king. Though Sannes questions if Kenny does not feel the same, Kenny points out that his respect for Uri is because he acknowledges him as the strongest. As he remembers this, he recalls the time when he abandoned Levi while the latter was in a street duel with knives, believing he was ready enough to avoid meeting an end like his mother's.

Later in his life, Kenny talks with an aged Uri, who tells him about how he will pass on his powers and memories to one of Rod's children and hence he will not die. He believes the world will end in a near future and reveals he wants to build a paradise for the small number of mankind left. He expresses to Kenny his belief that what turned them into friends that day when they were about to kill each other was a miracle.

In the aftermath of the ritual where Frieda Reiss consumed Uri, Kenny is present at the mass with the Reiss family and recognizes Uri's presence after looking at Frieda's eyes. As he sees her, he wonders why both were always talking about love and peace, and concludes it is because they have so much power that it gives them the freedom. He then wonders what would happen if he obtained that power.

Kenny meets his new subordinate

Kenny has found his favorite subordinate

Two years after the fall of Wall Maria, Kenny introduces himself to the recently created Anti-Personnel Control Squad as their new captain, revealing that he was "Kenny the Ripper", and believing they will be hesitant to work with him for that reason. One soldier admits that she does not care who she takes her orders from, which amuses Kenny. He encourages them by telling them that their purpose is not to oppose the Survey Corps as he told to the Assembly to get their approval, but to reach a greater dream.

He afterwards recalls his days fighting alongside the soldier who would become his second-in-command, and the news that Trost District was saved by a Titan, followed by the moment when he ended Dimo Reeves' life. He ends his memories by remembering the collapse of the underground of the Reiss chapel after Rod's Titan transformation, and how he and his subordinates were all killed by the falling debris and the burning steam. He alone just barely escaped with his life.

In the aftermath of the collapse of the cavern, he is leaning against a tree, dying from his injuries. He is found by Levi, who informs him that all his subordinates have fallen and observes that Kenny will die soon too.

Kenny dies

Kenny dies

Kenny takes out a box with a syringe and a vial of Titan serum that he stole from Rod's bag before the ritual and considers to inject himself to escape death. He philosophizes about how the only thing he always wanted was power when he realizes that all people live for the same purpose, needing something to keep them going: booze, women, God, family, the King, dreams, children, power; everyone, even Uri, was a slave to something.

He asks Levi if his reason to live is to be a hero, but Levi ignores the question and asks him why the Reiss family never did something to stop the Titans, and what kind of connection he has with his mother. Kenny tells him he does not know the answer for the first question but reveals he is Kuchel's older brother. This prompts Levi to ask why he abandoned him when he was still a child, to which Kenny responds it was because he was unfit to be Levi's parent. After giving him the box with the Titan serum, Kenny dies.

Queen Historia

Historia Reiss, Queen of the Walls

Not long afterwards, Historia is crowned as the new queen among the admiration of the citizens, who acknowledge her as their savior. Historia remembers when she asked Erwin to tell the citizens that she was the one that stopped Rod to make people accept her before this was actually achieved. Erwin smiles at himself, surprised with his success in defeating the King.
Levi thanks his friends

Levi thanks his friends

After the ceremony, Historia and her friends search for Levi, wanting to meet Dimo Reeves' challenge of punching Humanity's Strongest Soldier after becoming the queen and daring him to hit her back. The group finds Levi leaving a room and Historia punches him in the shoulder. She expects he is going to get mad but a still shocked Levi smiles and thanks them all.

Characters in Order of Appearance

  1. Kenny Ackerman (flashback, dies in the present)
  2. Uri Reiss/Founding Titan (flashback)
  3. Rod Reiss (flashback)
  4. Kuchel Ackerman (deceased in a flashback)
  5. Levi Ackerman (flashback)
  6. Djel Sannes (flashback)
  7. Frieda Reiss (flashback)
  8. Traute Carven (dies in a flashback)
  9. Dimo Reeves (flashback)
  10. Historia Reiss (flashback)
  11. Nick (flashback)
  12. Alma (flashback)
  13. Grandfather Ackerman (flashback)
  14. Darius Zackly
  15. Peaure
  16. Roy
  17. Hange Zoë
  18. Flegel Reeves
  19. Moblit Berner
  20. Nile Dok
  21. Erwin Smith
  22. Dot Pixis
  23. Mikasa Ackerman
  24. Eren Yeager
  25. Armin Arlert
  26. Connie Springer
  27. Sasha Blouse
  28. Jean Kirstein

Trivia

  • While no character ever directly reads the label on Kenny Ackerman's Titan serum, the label on the serum vial bears the kanji "Normal Titan" (フツウノキョジン Futsuunokyojin?).[1]

References

  1. Attack on Titan manga: Chapter 69 (p. 31)

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Start a Discussion Discussions about Friends

  • Chapter #69: "Friends"

    18 messages
    • I love how the Ackermans have it in their blood to be Kingsguard. Levi and Kenny were wild, unfettered and chaotically powerful until they fo...
    • NocturnoCulto wrote: I love how the Ackermans have it in their blood to be Kingsguard. Levi and Kenny were wild, unfettered and chaotica...

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