Levi is the squad captain of the Special Operations Squad within the Survey Corps, and is said to be humanity's strongest soldier.
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|I'm making the choice. Give up your dreams and die for us. Lead the recruits straight into hell. I'll take out the Beast Titan.|
|— Levi tells Commander Erwin Smith to die for them|
Levi Ackerman (リヴァイ・アッカーマン Rivai Akkāman?), often formally referred to as Captain Levi (リヴァイ兵長 Rivai Heichō?), is the squad captain (兵士長 Heishichō?, lit. "leader of the soldiers") of the Special Operations Squad within the Survey Corps, and is widely known as humanity's strongest soldier.
Levi has short, straight black hair styled in an undercut, as well as narrow, intimidating dull gray eyes with dark circles under them and a deceptively youthful face. He is quite short, but his physique is well-developed in musculature from extensive vertical maneuvering equipment usage. He is usually either frowning or expressionless; that, plus his extremely calm demeanor, often makes it difficult for others to guess what he is thinking.
He is most often seen in his Survey Corps uniform, with a light gray button up shirt underneath along with his trademark white ascot. When embarking on expeditions outside the Walls, he also wears the Survey Corps' green hooded cloak. Once, when forced to take leave from his duties due to injury, Levi was seen in a black suit, plain white shirt, ascot, and dress shoes. However, since the beginning of the The Uprising arc, he has left the ascot off. For most of the arc, during which the Survey Corps were on the run from the military and monarchy, he simply wore his vertical maneuvering equipment harness over casual clothes.
Levi is described as a "clean freak" by those who know him personally, as he prefers his environment and himself to be spotlessly clean. He is averse to having either himself or his equipment soiled, and has been known to wipe down his blood-smeared blades while still on the battlefield. However, he will not hesitate to touch filth if he deems it necessary.Despite his preoccupation with cleanliness, Levi is not very approachable. He rarely shows emotion, giving a cold impression to others. His manner of speaking tends to be very blunt, even insulting, and his comments are often coarse or inappropriate. He is not above provoking or belittling those who oppose or irritate him. His sense of humor tends toward the vulgar, insulting, and dark. All of this makes him unsettling to a great number of people.
In his pre-Survey Corps criminal life, when he lived in the Underground City, Levi refused to take orders from anyone (as Petra Ral tells Eren), though he placed a great trust in his comrades, something he would later do with his subordinates. However, after he joined the Survey Corps, he came to greatly respect Commander Erwin Smith, whose orders he follows willingly because he trusts in Erwin's vision for the Corps.
Levi's obedience is strictly limited to individuals he respects, and he has no problem showing open disdain for authority from anyone outside of this circle. At Eren's tribunal, he insulted the merchants by calling them "pigs" and told the Military Police that they were not competent enough to handle Eren, mocking several MPs by observing that they have never battled or even seen a single Titan. He even sardonically suggests that they join the Survey Corps, which caused them to back off. He openly resents most of the MPs for their continual attempts to undermine the Survey Corps, and also presumably because of the criminal life he led before he joined the Corps.
Although he rarely shows it, Levi has a strong sense of morality and empathy. One of his most defining characteristics is the great value he places on preserving human life; this is especially shown when it was revealed that all Titans might have once been human themselves. The thought that he had unknowingly been killing humans all this time disturbs him greatly.
Though he bore no malice against Eren, he was willing to resort to violence in order to save his life at his tribunal, eventually asking Eren whether he resented him for the beating. Levi himself has stated that he hates unnecessary casualties, and he tells his subordinates to use their judgment so that they can avoid blunders that may cost them their lives.
Because of their hazardous profession and his personal values, he cares greatly for his subordinates' welfare, which is seen several times: when ordered to retreat early to Wall Rose at the end of the disastrous 57th Expedition, Levi was visibly distressed that so many of his soldiers had died on a fruitless mission. Later, he risked his life against the Female Titan in order to retrieve Eren from her mouth and also to protect to Mikasa, who had gone after her recklessly looking for vengeance. As they re-entered the gate, Petra's father approached him, cheerfully talking about his daughter and her unwavering devotion to the Survey Corps (in the anime, he speaks of her devotion to Levi). Unbeknownst to him, his daughter had just been killed; Levi remained silent, he was too overcome with grief to reply. Levi was visibly affected by the loss of his entire original Special Operations Squad at the hands of the Female Titan, stating that he carries the will of his fallen comrades, and that their collective grudge against the Titans further strengthens his resolve to continue to fight.
Despite his obedience to Erwin, Levi operates rather independently. Many of his Titan kills are solo, accomplished with little direct cooperation from other soldiers (due to him usually assigning them to hunt other Titans in the vicinity). Although he is looked up to by many, and he does not hesitate to give orders when necessary, Levi does not see himself as a leader in the way Erwin is. He does not seem to have much use for hierarchy in general, and he leaves decisions up to his subordinates as often as he can.
Though Levi is aware that his battle skill is in a different league from that of almost any other human soldier alive, he is not particularly arrogant about it, as he knows from experience that no human soldier is invulnerable. Few will argue with his claims that only he can handle certain difficult tasks, because he has proven his ability to accomplish them.
While Levi shows loyalty and empathy for his comrades, he shows no mercy towards the Titans, slaughtering them indiscriminately with obvious indifference. When dealing with individuals he perceives to be enemies to mankind, Levi is capable of behaving sadistically, even vindictively. For example, when the Female Titan was captured, Levi told her he enjoyed watching her suffer and described in chilling detail how he intended to mutilate her human body. He has also tortured Djel Sannes with Hange Zoë, punching him and twisting his already broken nose.
Levi is occasionally known to lose his calm demeanor and to use threats or violence to get others to listen to him, even if they are fellow members of the corps. An example of such behavior was shown when he directly ordered Historia Reiss to take on the role of queen when the question was presented to her. When she shakily says she is unfit, he grabs her shirt and lifts her off the ground, choking her and telling her to fight back if she does not like it. He then drops her and yells at her to make her decision, but is however calm once again when she complies with his demands.
Levi is the son of Kuchel Ackerman, a prostitute who worked in the Underground and got pregnant by one of her clients. One day, Kenny Ackerman, Kuchel's older brother, came to the city to see her; only to find that she was dead. There, he found a young and squalid Levi sitting in front of his mother's bed.
Kenny decided to take care of him, but he did not consider himself a good father, so he raised Levi as well as he could: teaching him knife skills, how to get along with people, and violent behavior. Levi also learned to use his own inner power that he possessed as a member of the Ackerman family.
Time passed, and eventually, Kenny Ackerman taught Levi everything he knew. One day, in the subterranean city, Levi started a fight which he won easily. At that moment, Kenny decided to leave him behind, satisfied that he had taught Levi the skills he needed to survive.
While on an expedition beyond the Walls, Levi and Hange recover the notebook of a soldier named Ilse Langnar. Reading the contents of the journal, Levi is left stunned, and comments that it is what Ilse died for.
Levi is seen leaving Trost District, along with the rest of the Survey Corps, on the 56th Expedition Beyond the Walls—the same day the Colossus Titan attacks the district. He is seen rescuing a dying soldier from a Titan's grasp before killing two other Titans. As his subordinate dies, Erwin orders him to Trost, stating that it is possible that the gate has been breached.
After Eren seals the Trost gate and Armin Arlert retrieves him from his Titan body, the two of them and Mikasa find themselves surrounded by Titans. Before the Titans can attack, Levi swoops down and kills all them all. Three days later, after Eren wakes up in the dungeon beneath the courthouse, Levi assures him that the higher-ups will let him join the Survey Corps—and that he himself will make sure Eren does not get out of hand. Should that happen, Levi says, he will not hesitate to end Eren's life.
After Eren issues a verbal challenge to the audience during his trial, Levi violently beats him on the spot, mockingly observing that while chained on his knees, Eren is perfectly placed for his kicks. Armin has to restrain an infuriated Mikasa from coming to Eren's rescue and killing Levi. She glares at Levi after the trial, and Levi appears unsettled by her gaze. The beating was an act, which Mikasa was not aware of, and was designed to convince all witnesses that while the Military Police Brigade cannot keep Eren under control. Levi can.
After the trial, Levi hands Eren over to his Special Squad for the next month. They move into the old Survey Corps HQ inside Wall Rose. Levi orders Eren to sleep in the castle dungeon, so that if he accidentally transforms, he will not cause problems. During this month, Hange conducts experiments to try to get Eren to transform. If Eren goes out of control in Titan form, Levi intends to cut him out of the nape in a manner that would sever his human limbs, which would grow back in any case. However, Eren fails to transform, and his hands do not heal from his bites. The Squad decides to postpone any further experiments.
One day, while having tea with them, Eren leans over to pick up a spoon and accidentally generates a partial Titan body. The alarmed Squad threatens him, and Levi has to defuse the situation. Levi tells Eren not to take their actions personally, and that they have good intentions. Later, after Hange explains why Eren triggered his Titan form, Levi's entire squad punishes themselves, and apologizes to Eren for acting on assumption.
During the 57th Expedition Beyond the Walls, Levi and his team are ordered to ride in the safest area of Erwin's formation. When the formation is suddenly attacked by a horde of Titans coming at their right flank, they change course toward the Titan Forest, and Levi's squad takes the central route.
Once the Female Titan appears, his squad begs Levi to give them orders, but he continues to ride forward and look straight ahead. Eren badly wants to transform and fight the Female Titan, but Petra and her comrades urge him to trust them, and Eren hesitates. Levi tells Eren that he is not wrong for wanting to transform and that nobody can know the correct choice until after they have made it. Whatever Eren chooses to do, Levi says, he should do it and believe he will not regret it. Eren then declares that he trusts completely in his squad's victory, and they keep going through the Forest. This enables the Survey Corps to capture the Female Titan.
Shortly afterwards, Levi gets separated from his squad. He reunites with Erwin and prepares to extract the human in control of the Female Titan from the nape of her neck. He and Mike attack her and try to cut her hands, only to discover her ability to harden her skin. After Erwin orders the cannons to be loaded with explosives and aimed at the Female Titan's wrists, Levi, standing on her head, taunts her with threats of violence, telling her he would like to face her in her human form over the deaths of countless of his soldiers. In response, the Female Titan begins to roar. Shortly after, Titans come at her from all directions and devour her. On Erwin's order, Levi and the rest of the Survey Corps elite try to protect her from them, but they fail due to the sheer number of Titans. Erwin orders the Corps to retreat back to the Karanes District. However, Erwin notes that the steam from the Titan bodies will make it difficult for the rest of the Survey Corps to see the signal flares. He then realizes that the human inside the Female Titan may have escaped, and he orders Levi to replenish his gas canisters and blades.
After the Female Titan returns and kills Levi's entire squad and captures Eren, he and Mikasa join forces to rescue him. Levi tells Mikasa to distract the Titan but avoid trying to kill her, since she is able to harden her skin. Levi then proceeds to attack the Female Titan, and after a series of successful attacks, he incapacitates her. Seeing that the Female Titan is now helpless, Mikasa disobeys Levi's orders and attempts to kill the person inside the Titan. However, the Female Titan swings her hardened fist at Mikasa, and Levi is forced to pull Mikasa out of the way. While doing this, Levi injures his left leg. Using the momentum he gained from the last attack, Levi then proceeds to cuts through the Female Titan's facial muscles, causing her to open her mouth and reveal Eren inside. He grabs Eren and flees with Mikasa, whom he reprimands for having risked the life of her "special friend" for the sake of vengeance.
As they enter Karanes after retreating, the Survey Corps receives a hostile response from the public for their failed mission. Levi is approached by Petra's father, who reveals that she wrote to him frequently. He tells Levi that, as a father, he is worried about Petra's decision to dedicate her life to him, as she is still quite young and has her whole life ahead of her. Levi continues to walk silently ahead without responding. A few days later, Eren is summoned to the Capitol for a trial to decide his fate. Beforehand, Levi, Erwin, Eren, and the other survivors reunite in the old Survey Corps HQ. Armin tells them his theory about the Female Titan's true identity. Levi, still injured, does not participate in the subsequent operation in the Stohess District; during this part of the arc he is only seen with Erwin.
During the supposed breach of Wall Rose, Levi is seen accompanying Hange and the others as they head to Ehrmich District while they attempt to get information from Minister Nick. Though he will not personally offer them any information, he agrees to reveal the identity of a person who is able to speak about the secrets of the Walls: Historia Reiss. The Shiganshina Trio offer to help locate her, and in describing her, Mikasa reveals the name of Ymir—much to Hange's and Levi's surprise.
Levi is briefly seen again at Trost District, still sidelined due to his injury. After the appearance of the Armored and Colossus Titans atop Wall Rose, a detachment of about 100 soldiers from all three military branches is gathered. Some of the MPs express disappointment not to have seen any Titans nearby. Levi calls their bluff by inviting them to join the Survey Corps any day so they can go outside of the Walls to fight them, whereupon they back down.
Levi visits Erwin when he is well enough to talk and expresses sympathy for the loss of Erwin's arm. Hange and Connie arrive as well to report on their findings regarding Ragako village and Hange says that they support the theory that the Titans were once human. Levi is initially skeptical because they have never found humans inside the bodies of Titans, even living ones, and is depressed to think that he could have been killing people this whole time. Hange offers some comfort in that there is no solid proof of that.
By contrast, Erwin smiles at the news, which disturbs Levi to the point he says Erwin is going to make him sick. Since Erwin is exhausted from his ordeal, Levi notifies him that he has taken the liberty of selecting members for his new Special Operations Squad. He believes that Eren needs to be pushed into desperation.
Levi, Hange, and members of their squads retreat to a remote cabin where Eren and Historia are being hidden. Their objective is still to seal the hole in Wall Maria, and if Eren can do that as a Titan it would save the logistical costs of hauling out materials like originally planned. When Eren says he is willing, Levi gives Hange the responsibility of running the experiments necessary to test the limits of Eren's abilities.
However, Hange also wants to lay low because Minister Nick has been murdered. After hearing the details, Levi disagrees. An enemy that persistent will find them eventually. He also guesses that Nick did not reveal any information, as all his fingernails had been pulled out. Someone willing to talk, he states, would have given up after just one. Levi sees two paths forward: they can either flee before they are stabbed in the back, or exterminate their would-be killers. Hange suggests they do both, and Levi notes that this is exactly what Erwin would say.
After running their experiments, Levi receives a note from Erwin and asks those members of his squad "dumb enough" to trust the Commander to come with him. They manage to escape before intruders reach their cabin and hurry to their rendezvous point. When they arrive, they are approached by a crowd that blame the Survey Corps for the poor living conditions in Trost District. In the middle of this, a carriage comes crashing through and seemingly kidnaps Eren and Historia. However, the kidnapped ones are actually Jean Kirstein and Armin in disguise. Levi and his squad track the kidnappers to their hideout.
They attack the kidnappers before the deception can be discovered and quickly subdue them. Their leader turns out to be Dimo Reeves, the merchant boss who was blocking the gate with his cargo the day Trost was invaded. Reeves protests about not knowing anything and Levi suggests that they go out and talk. On top of Wall Rose, Levi says he is not here to lecture him, but find out about the deal Reeves made with the Interior Military Police. Reeves reveals that there was no deal so much as if his company did not cooperate his employees would be out of jobs and he would be dead.
Though the Reeves Company does a lot of good for Trost, Levi recognizes that this will not last and compares Reeves' fight with the Military Police to that of the Survey Corps against the Titans. So that Reeves will fight too, Levi offers to hand over Eren and Historia on three conditions: the Reeves Company will work against the Interior Military Police together with the Survey Corps, the Reeves Company will trust the Survey Corps completely, and the Survey Corps will receive priority access to any luxury goods. It is a hard bargain, but Reeves agrees and baits Djel Sannes and Ralph of the Interior First Squad into a trap so that they can be captured by the Survey Corps.
In hiding below ground, Levi and Hange begin work on Sannes, who proves difficult to crack, even after being beaten and having his fingernails removed to equal the treatment received by Minister Nick. Sannes expresses some remorse for the torture he has had to inflict, but believes it was necessary to maintain peace within the Walls. Levi is unsympathetic and suggests beginning Sannes' torture properly if he does not answer questions correctly, starting with the identity of the Reiss family.
Rather than giving in to the torture, Sannes goads them into tormenting him further. He knows what it is like to be the torturer and the power it gives. Disgusted, Levi suggests they take a break, and they leave the door open a crack behind them. This allows Sannes to overhear a staged conversation between Levi and Ralph, where Levi claims that Ralph told them everything and Ralph in turn pretends to have no care for Sannes, calling him a pain, and asking if there will be a bed in his cell. Levi adds that if Sannes speaks, the two of them can even be housed in the same cell together later. This is enough to break Sannes and he confesses that the Reiss family is the true royal bloodline.
The next morning Nifa returns after carrying news of the Reiss family heritage to Erwin and bringing back a return message. Levi holds a meeting with his squad along with Keiji, Nifa, and "Goggles" from Hange's squad. Dimo and his son, Flegel Reeves, are present as well and Levi insists that they stay. However, Levi neglected to inform his squad of Historia's heritage, shocking her when Nifa raises the topic of how to place her on the throne. When Historia panics, he agrees that most people would not step up under such circumstances, but it does not change things. She has to do it. He makes it clear that if she refuses, she had better run, because they will do everything in their power to force her.
Though the rest of his squad is upset by his behavior, Levi presents his worldview, where food, sleep, even the lives of companions are not guaranteed to be around tomorrow. He is abnormal, the way he sees things, but because of it, Levi will be faster to react to a crisis than any of them. If he has to play the lunatic and kill some people to save some portion of humanity then he will, but it would be better if someone else simply seized control of the world so things do not come to that point. Unfortunately they do not have the time for Historia to think this over, so he snaps and demands her answer immediately. She cracks beneath the pressure and agrees. They then move ahead with the plan for the Reeves Company to hand over Eren and Historia and track their kidnappers to Rod Reiss.
The kidnapping goes wrong when Dimo Reeves and his employees are killed  and the murders pinned on the Survey Corps. While his squad waits in an alley for their part in the rescue plan, Levi along with most of Hange's manages to catch up with the First Interior Squad in town and spy on the hearse and coffins that they suspect are carrying Eren and Historia. Levi is disturbed that the First Squad figured out the Reeves Company deception, because that would require thinking like him, or perhaps more like "Kenny the Ripper." Nifa calls him an urban legend, but Levi assures her that he is real. Levi lived with him when he was a kid. He notices how the tactics he uses are strongly influenced by Kenny.
As he realizes this, Kenny Ackerman appears behind him, wearing vertical maneuvering equipment that is modified to work with guns for killing humans. Levi narrowly dodges being shot, but Nifa is killed instantly. Elsewhere around the stakeout, Keiji and "Goggles" are killed as well.
Levi manages to deflect Kenny's next shot with one of his blades and dodges a second by throwing his cloak as cover. He makes a break for it, frustrated that Kenny can read all his moves and shocked that Kenny of all people has become an MP. Members of the Anti-Personnel Control Squad ambush Levi, using vertical maneuvering equipment modified for use with firearms, and he takes cover in a bar to avoid being shot. Kenny follows him in.
The two of them exchange barbs about their past and while Kenny talks, Levi takes the opportunity to load the barkeeper's rifle and reposition an alcohol bottle, allowing him to see Kenny in its reflection. Kenny figures that Levi joined the Survey Corps for the same reason he joined the Military Police. He found something he wanted to do and hobbies make life worth living. When Levi asks if killing his soldiers is a part of that, Kenny admits he will kill anyone if it gets the job done. Levi would do the same.
He agrees and shoots Kenny by aiming with the bottle's reflection. The shot hits the chair Kenny is holding, but is still strong enough to throw him back outside and Levi takes the opportunity to escape. He tosses a chair through a window to distract the squad members outside before emerging himself and firing a grappling line into the throat of the nearest one. The remaining two members nearby prepare to fire, but Levi uses the dead man as a meat shield so that he can get in close in and kill them. He continues to flee and curses that there are still over ten pursuers left.
Levi catches up with his squad while the Anti-Personnel Squad is chasing him. He kills one of the MPs before landing in Armin's wagon and orders them to stop following the hearse. Their plan has leaked and now Eren and Historia are being used as bait to kill them. As they make their escape, he tells his squad that they must kill their pursuers whenever they have the opportunity, but Jean is unable to do so and finds himself on the wrong side of a gun.
Before Jean can be slain, Armin uses his pistol to lethally shoot the MP and save his life. Though Levi's squad escapes intact, Armin is deeply bothered by the fact he was willing to kill someone and Levi explains to him that he was able to pull the trigger because he knew that if he did not, then Jean would have died. Jean admits he thought Levi's way of doing things was wrong, but it was more that he did not want to hurt other people. He will fire next time. Levi agrees that Jean's softness put them in a bad spot, but he does not know what is right or wrong and Jean might not have been wrong.
Levi and his squad trap Marlowe Freudenberg and Hitch Dreyse, who have been sent into the forest to look for Survey Corps soldiers. They take their uniforms with the intention of infiltrating the Military Police to find out where Eren and Historia have been taken. Before he can announce their fates, Hitch challenges him over the civilian deaths in Stohess District and berates his squad over the disappearance and presumed death of Annie, who she never really got to know.
Levi corrects her about Annie's true state, in that she was the Titan hiding in Stohess and she is currently being held, though that is not likely a fact they want new recruits to know. It bothers him that collectively so many people are in the dark about the truth of their world. Marlowe asks if the Survey Corps really killed the people from the Reeves Company and Levi replies that it was the Interior Military Police, which causes Marlowe to offer helping him to set things right. He would be more effective as an actual MP than Levi's disguised soldiers. Levi is skeptical, but Jean steps in and asks if he can handle this. Levi allows it.
Jean tests their character to see where their hearts truly lie and when it is clear they have no intention of killing him or following their original orders, he believe this is enough to convince Levi to trust them. Levi and his squad use the information gathered by Hitch and Marlowe to attack an Interior Military Police compound.
The infiltration goes successfully, with the Interior MPs being disabled rather than killed, but they do not find Eren and Historia. Levi and his squad depart with one hostage who Levi interrogates about their location, but the MP refuses to talk, instead spouting off about how the Survey Corps will be lucky to survive and how Erwin and the other captured soldiers will be executed. He tells Levi that their only option is to surrender and hope that enough to spare their comrades' lives.
Undeterred, Levi asks again where Eren and "Krista" are located. The MP is surprised that Levi would give up on his comrades, but Levi doubts the crown would spare them and savagely twists and breaks the MP's arm for not answering his question. The third time he asks about Eren and "Krista" the MP is panicked and confesses that he does not know where they are. Kenny Ackerman is extremely tight-lipped about it.
Both Levi and Mikasa are surprised to hear the last name, but they are interrupted by people approaching on foot before they can question the MP further. The squad prepares to do an ambush.
However, the newcomers turn out to be Hange along with Marlowe and Hitch, who have come with good news. The false charges against the Survey Corps have been dropped and the capital is now under the control of Commander-in-Chief Darius Zackly. Levi's squad celebrates and he asks what in the world could have been done to accomplish this. Hange answers that it was the individual choices of many people that changed their world. He apologizes for losing Keiji, Nifa, and Goggles, but Hange finds hope in the fact that their sacrifice enabled Levi to beat the First Interior Squad, to which Levi admits that their leader and his team are still out there.
Hange has a lead though and suspects that Eren is going to be eaten in order to obtain his Titan power. Erwin had a report commissioned on the Reiss estate, and assuming that Eren and Historia were captured by the Reiss family, that is likely where they are being held. The day Wall Maria fell a group of bandits burned down the village chapel while the Reiss family was inside, massacring everyone except for Rod Reiss. Days later he initiated contact with Historia. Levi concludes that there must be something special about her bloodline.
The destroyed chapel is what interests Hange though, because fire should not have torn down a stone building, and then Rod Reiss rebuilt the place with his own assets. There is something strange about all that. Levi agrees and has everyone head there.
He warns his squad that Kenny will be their biggest obstacle, because fighting him will be like fighting Levi himself. Levi asks Mikasa if she thinks Kenny might be related to her since they share the same last name, Ackerman, but she does not directly answer. She only knows that her father's family was persecuted, and not the reason why. Levi then asks her whether she experienced a moment when she felt a sudden power awaken inside her. Upon confirming this, Levi tells Mikasa that he and Kenny also experienced such moments in their lives.
They arrive at the chapel and find the secret door leading underground. Levi and the others make preparations for facing the Anti-Personnel Control Squad, which is waiting for them below. The group sends barrels of gunpowder and bags of oil down the stairs, setting fire to them and filling the underground chamber with smoke, reducing visibility and the usefulness of firearms. Most of the squad exacerbates the problem with signal flares while Levi and Mikasa scout out their enemies. Levi calls for his squad to take them down and the team springs into action. After a concerted push, they manage to drive back the Anti-Personnel Squad. Levi leaves Armin to take care of an injured Hange while he and the others chase after them.
The squad finds Rod Reiss transforming into a Titan and Historia trying to free Eren from his chains. When she is blown back, Levi, Connie, and Jean take the keys to help free him. Making matters worse, the roof begins to collapse from the size of Rod's Titan and the team is trapped against the wall of the chamber. Eren is hesitant to act until Levi pushes him to make a choice, just like he did back when they were facing the Female Titan. The memory is enough to get Eren on his feet. He grabs the "Armor" bottle that had fallen out of Rod's bag and breaks it between his teeth as he transforms. Eren's Titan form then crystallizes, stabilizing the cavern around the squad, preventing them from being crushed. Even after he is cut out of it, his hardened form does not disappear, which Levi states is a huge development, as they can now seal the hole in Wall Maria.
Levi and his squad exit the cavern through a hole made in the ceiling above and see the trail of destruction left in the wake of Rod Reiss' Titan. Armin believes it is an abnormal since it is ignoring them and Levi tells everyone that they are going after it. Eren entertains the possibility of getting eaten by Rod, since that would turn him back into a human who would then have the powers of the Progenitor Titan, but Levi disabuses him of the notion. Even if they turn Rod Reiss back into a human, they would still have to undo the First King's brainwashing in order to get him to help them.
Erwin meets up with them and Levi briefs him on the situation. The Survey Corps regroups in Orvud District in preparation to fight Rod. At dawn, Historia joins the others on the Wall in preparation to defeat the gigantic Titan and Levi tries to convince her to stand down, but she pushes back using his own reasoning about choosing whether to run or to fight.
Levi watches the Garrison's cannon attacks against Rod Reiss, noting how ineffective they are. When the Titan reaches the Wall, Levi and his squad move forward with Erwin's plan to cripple Rod Reiss' hands with explosives and have Eren shoves barrels of gunpowder inside Rod's mouth, causing him to explode. The plan is a success and they begin cutting down the flying pieces of flesh to find Rod Reiss' true body and Historia is the one who kills him.
Some time after the fight, Levi and a subordinate find Kenny sitting under a tree in the woods. Kenny is heavily wounded and Levi sends the other soldier away, saying he will be fine on his own. As if to mock him, Kenny shows Levi one of the syringes with the serum that transforms a person into a Titan. However Levi knows that if Kenny was inclined to use it, he would have done so by now. Levi asks him about the First King and why he does not want humanity to survive, but Kenny only knows that it was for that reason that the Ackermans opposed him. When Levi, now knowing that his last name is Ackerman, asks Kenny what exactly was he to his mother, Kenny laughs and reveals that he was her older brother, thereby making him Levi's uncle. Shocked, Levi questioned him on why he abandoned him and is told that the reason he left Levi was because he believed he was not fit to be a parent. He gives Levi the serum just before dying as Levi looked at his late uncle with a solemn expression.
After Historia's coronation, Levi is confronted by the new queen and the members of the Special Operations Squad. She punches him, as Dimo Reeves had told her to do, and she dares him to retaliate. Instead of getting angry however, he smiles and thanks his friends.
Two months later, Levi backs up Historia on providing a home for the poor and orphans, considering that he was from the Underground City as well. He is present at Trost when Hange Zoë is testing out the Titan guillotine and attends the military meeting where Erwin Smith goes over a new expedition to Shinganshina. In a private follow-up between the heads of the military, Erwin decides to entrust Levi with the Titan injection since he has the highest chance of surviving. It will be Levi's call if and when to use it.
The next morning, Instructor Keith Shadis is visited at the training camp by Eren, Hange, Mikasa, Armin, Jean, Sasha, and Levi. The reason for this is that Eren now remembers a past memory where his father Dr. Yeager met Keith after the massacre in the Reiss family chapel. Eren asks Keith to tell him everything he knows about his father, and they go to a house to talk. Levi remarks that Keith has changed a lot since they last met, remembering his head full of hair and then looking at his now bald scalp.
Keith starts by warning them that he knows nothing of Grisha's secrets, but anyway recounts to them all his experiences with him ever since they met 20 years ago, until the day of the fall of Wall Maria after Keith found Eren unconscious in a forest after receiving the Coordinate. A furious Hange tells him that he is not the one who decides if that information is valuable or not and reprimands him for not saying anything about it to the Survey Corps before, prompting Levi to tell her to stop. Hange continues to chastise him and is only silenced when she is again asked to stop by Eren.
During a meeting with other members of the Survey Corps, Levi sits silently and listens to the Hange tell Erwin what Keith Shadis explained to them on their visit. After the meeting is finished, Levi waits until all the other members have left and then shuts the door, intent on having a private conversation with Erwin. He tries to persuade Erwin to sit out on the upcoming mission to retake Wall Maria and to leave it to the others, telling him that in his weakened state, Erwin will simply be Titan food and that he is not willing to carry along any extra baggage. Erwin however explains to Levi that the chain of command must be preserved, and that he has an intense desire to see what is in Yeager's basement, which prompts Levi to threaten to break both of his legs. However, this does not deter Erwin and Levi realizes that he will unfortunately not be able to change Erwin's mind, even though he fears his death as a wounded soldier.
Late that night at a special 'red meat' dinner, Levi breaks up a fight between Eren and Jean by kicking and throwing them both into submission. He then orders that they and the rest of the Corps to go back to their quarters and go to bed. Shortly after, Eren, Armin and Mikasa talk about their returning home and Levi listens to them while in the barn. As he hears Armin's ambitions, his expression is lowered and darkened.
The next day, just before sunset, Levi along with the other Survey Corps leaders salute the higher-ups of the brass, including Darius Zackly and Commander Pixis. Levi watches on as the citizens of the Trost District cheer for the Survey Corps and call out his name. He acts modest and calls them selfish before seeing Erwin cheer back at the enthusiastic civilians. Right after, the 58th expedition begins, Levi rides out with the corps at Erwin's side as he glances back at Eren and Mikasa.
Near dawn, the Survey Corps walk on foot through a forest on a mountain, leading their horses. Levi questions a subordinate, asking if they are still not at the bottom of the mountain, worrying that it is almost dawn. As Squad Levi talk among themselves, Jean spots a Titan and Hange order the Corps to halt and illuminate the area, using fragments from the cave below the Reiss Chapel. She then states that the Titan is asleep, and the Corps continue. Eventually, they reach Shiganshina District and ride in on their horses. Erwin orders the soldiers to be wary of hidden Titans and then orders them to switch to vertical maneuvering equipment and begin the mission. The soldiers leave their horses and rush toward the gate to Shiganshina. As Eren arrives atop the inner Wall, he stares at the ruins of his home town. He is quickly urged on by Levi to get to the outer gate and the two take off. As per the plan, 100 soldiers covered by hoods rush to the outer gate to confuse any watching enemies, making sure they do not know which soldier is Eren. Hange and Levi wonder why there are no Titans in the area and Levi claims that they have fallen right into the enemy's hands. However, the two agree that they must go forward with the plan anyway as Eren flies up above the gate and prepares to transform. After Eren successfully seals the hole in the Wall, Levi reminds him that they have to kill all of their enemies, including Reiner and Bertolt before their mission will truly be finished.
When Reiner is discovered by one of the Survey Corps members and attempts to attack Armin, Levi attacks Reiner, shoving his blade through the nape of his neck and stabbing him, before kicking him to the ground. After seeing that Reiner survived the brutal attack, Levi angrily laments that he was not able to kill Reiner. While on the ground, Reiner shifts into his Titan form. Levi makes his way back to Erwin's side, where the latter begins issuing commands. He tasks Levi with helping to protect the horses, believing that Levi is the only soldier he can trust to take out the Beast Titan. He arrives first, out of the two squads sent, and immediately kills two Titans, ordering the soldiers under his command that they cannot die. After Bertolt is thrown over the Wall and transforms, Levi and his soldiers are bombarded by a barrage of stones and boulders from the Beast Titan. They retreat to the Wall where Erwin meets them. Levi asks about Eren and Squad Hange's well-being, and Erwin informs the soldiers of their increasingly desperate situation. As the young recruits fall into a panic, Levi asks Erwin if he has some kind of plan.
Regarding the situation, Levi gives Erwin the advice to save as many lives as possible by "loading them on Eren" to make an escape. Levi continues by saying that he will fight the Beast Titan. Although Levi knows that there is little chance of a victory, he deduces that there is still hope for the Survey Corps if Erwin and Eren survive. But for Levi to take down the Beast Titan, Erwin must sacrifice himself and his men. At this point, Erwin is melancholic, but Levi makes the decision and swears that he will take down the Beast Titan after telling his commander that he must die for them. In an attempt to get closer to the Beast Titan, Levi uses the line of Titans around him to his advantage while in an open space. To his side, he notices Erwin's men following closely behind, fear-stricken as they ride toward their death.
After Erwin and most of the Survey Corps fall when charging the Beast Titan, Levi takes out the surrounding Titans and engages Zeke. After realizing what has happened, Zeke attempts to crush Levi, who merely dodges, slicing up the Titan's arm to pieces in the process. Levi then proceeds to slash the Beast Titan's eyes, blinding it, then cuts up its ankles which causes it to topple over. Slicing open the nape, Levi thrusts his blade into Zeke's mouth, commenting that his body is heavily damaged after transforming into a Titan so Zeke can not transform again while he is busy healing it. Further thrusting his blade right through Zeke's cheek and above his right eye, Levi decides he cannot kill him yet, pondering over whether there are anyone still alive who he would use the Titan injection on and have them eat Zeke to steal his Titan power. However, Levi is interrupted and shocked when the Quadrupedal Titan snatches Zeke and carries him away in its mouth. Zeke then orders the remaining Titans to kill Levi, but Levi, remembering his promise to Erwin, finds his resolve and begins to take on the Titans and chase Zeke.
As Eren stands on the other side of the Wall mourning Armin, who had been badly burned by the steam from the Colossus Titan, Zeke, atop the Quadrupedal Titan, jumps the Wall and begins to speak with Eren; he is however, interrupted when Levi appears atop the Walls, exhausted and soaked in Titan blood. He uses an extremely small puff of gas to land on the roof where Eren and Zeke stand. Zeke and the Quadrupedal Titan then escape and Levi is stopped by his lack of supplies so he orders Eren to give him all his gas and blades so that he can chase Zeke. After Eren does this, he realizes that Armin is still breathing.
Just as Mikasa lands on the roof as a scout for Hange, Eren panics and demands that Levi give Armin the Titan serum. Levi hesitates, but agrees. Just as he is about to hand Eren the Serum, a recruit crawls up onto the roof exclaiming that he had finally caught up to Levi. On the recruit's back is the wounded body of Erwin, who is on the brink of death. The recruit mentions using the serum on him and Levi is shocked, holding the serum close. Eren beckons him to give the serum to Armin, but Levi decides that he will give it to Erwin. This greatly enrages Eren and he begins to contest the idea; before Mikasa draws her blade and goes toward Levi.
Appalled at Eren and Mikasa, Levi reminds them of how important Erwin's survival is, and orders them not to let their feelings bias their decision. When Eren refuses to step down, Levi forcefully punches his face and knocks him aside, before being pinned down by an enraged Mikasa. Eren and Mikasa try to convince Levi of Armin's value, while Floch argues that Levi is correct to save Erwin, and a fight between them is only narrowly avoided by the arrival of Hange, who pulls Mikasa off of Levi. Levi prepares to inject Erwin, but is given pause by Eren, who tries to sway Levi by telling him of Armin's dream to see the ocean. Levi orders his comrades to leave him alone while he injects Erwin.
As Levi prepares to inject Erwin, he recalls Armin's conversation with Eren and Mikasa about the ocean, and Erwin's dream to see the secrets locked in Eren's basement. As he begins injecting Erwin, Levi recalls Kenny's final words about people becoming slaves to their own desires, and is surprised when Erwin lashes out in his sleep, knocking away the syringe. As he watches Erwin, Levi recalls his order to Erwin to give up on his dreams and die with the rest of the Survey Corps' recruits, and the look of relief on Erwin's face at the order.
After injecting Armin, Levi watches as Armin's mindless Titan form devours Bertolt, and explains to a confused Floch that, after all he has given, it is time for Erwin to finally rest. Levi attempts to apologize to Erwin for failing to kill the Beast Titan, but Hange informs him that Erwin has already died.
On top of the Wall, Levi notices that Armin has awoken. He fires a signal flare for the soldiers to regroup. He orders Eren to tell Armin about the events that occurred in the past few hours. Armin shows remorse for the measures his comrades have taken for him, but Levi advocates that he should not be regretful. Afterwards, Levi follows Eren, Mikasa, and Hange to the Yeager family's basement. When the group find that Eren's key cannot open the locked door, Levi proceeds to kick the door open. They inspect the basement thoroughly and Mikasa finds a drawer which needs Eren's key to unlock. Initially empty, Levi discovers a false bottom and under it are three hidden books kept intact with various preservatives. They open the first book and within it they find an uncannily realistic portrait of Grisha standing beside a fair-haired woman and a child. On the back of it, Grisha had written that it is not an illustration; it is called a photograph and humanity has not perished.
While serving their punishment in jail cells, Mikasa and Eren discuss the journals and Grisha’s memories until Hange, Levi, and Armin interrupt Eren and provoke them about what they were talking about until Levi accuses him of going through a phase as a teenager and lets them go, claiming that their sentence is being cut short because of their low numbers and their superiors failure to catch the Armored and Beast Titans. The group, now with Jean, meet Historia afterward to speak with her after she finishes reading a letter left to her by Ymir. After the meeting, everyone, including all other military commanders and officials, meet to discuss the recent expedition, the journals, and the huge loss of life.
Once the information obtained from Eren's basement is released to the world, Hange and Levi meet with Roy and Peaure to discuss the revelations and how the public are handling it.
The royal government plans for the Survey Corps to be awarded with medals in a ceremony for their bravery and success. Over hearing a fight breaking out among the younger recruits, Levi cuts in to stop them and tell them to prepare for the beginning of the ceremony. A military audience gathers in a large room where Historia presents each of the nine soldiers with a medal of honor in the form of a dark bolo tie with the wings of freedom on it.
Months later, in the summer season, Shiganshina District is once again populated with people as all the Titans had been cleared out. Finally, the Survey Corps once again ventures outside of Wall Maria on an expedition for the first time in six years. They find a trail left by a Titan crawling along the ground, and follow it until they reach the edge of Paradis. Here, the Survey Corps sees the ocean for the first time. Jean, Connie, and Sasha begin splashing and playing while Hange gleefully picks up never before seen ocean materials such as coral much to Levi's dismay, as he attempts to caution them against touching the water.
Levi is excellent at using the vertical maneuvering equipment, to a point that everyone says he is the best at it. He is also said to be as valuable as an entire brigade, far outweighing all of the other soldiers. Furthermore, he was considered extremely strong even before joining the Survey Corps.
He has shown the capability of incapacitating the Female Titan by moving too fast for her to defend, something which whole squads and even Eren in his Titan form could not accomplish. He even defeated Zeke Yeager in his Beast Titan form, who is one of Marley army's strongest warriors and an extremely skillful Titan. Neither of these assaults are without some degree of prior planning and situational advantage, as the Female Titan was tired out from multiple conflicts in the span of a few hours, and Levi had engaged Zeke by surprise, getting too close to defend against before Zeke noticed. That said, Levi's full abilities with his blades are still tremendous, able to carve the Beast Titan's arm into multiple clean pieces so fast they fell in unison.
Levi has formidable physical strength, which is no doubt evident by his mastery of the vertical maneuvering equipment. Despite his small stature, his body is well built with heavy muscle, making him very strong, and easily able to defeat his opponents. At one point, Levi intercepts one of the Female Titan's attacks, by using her hand to launch himself towards her mouth before she could hit Mikasa. This does not stop him from injuring himself though.
Aside from his extraordinary battle skill, Levi has shown a profound ability to quickly analyze situations, and make calculated decisions in the heat of battle. This has given him the ability to save himself and his comrades on many occasions such as when he realizes the Female Titan cannot be killed easily because of her skin hardening and regenerative abilities, and subsequently saves Mikasa when she tries to slay the Female Titan herself, or the time when he fights Kenny Ackerman inside a bar, using chairs, a double-barreled shotgun and even corpses to stop his adversaries. However, Levi admits that he does not believe a person can be right all the time, and some scenarios are beyond a person's control.
Levi Ackerman's Statistics :
Being a member of the Ackermans, Levi has 'awakened' a dormant power within himself earlier in his life that he describes as "knowing exactly what needs to be done". This also prevents him from having his memory wiped.
Levi has an unusual fighting stance that involves holding his right sword backhanded with the blade facing out and being behind him instead of in front of him. By doing this, the blades cut in a "circle" around him, and give him the ability to utilize spinning and other rotating attacks, allowing him to maintain incredible speed and agility while fighting. At the same time, this helps him keep his energy up without wasting stamina and strength needlessly, enabling him to fight for longer periods of time and take multiple targets out simultaneously. This also allows him to block bullets with his sword, that were shot at him from a relatively short distance. This reverse-grip technique may have been inspired by Kenny Ackerman's lessons on knife-wielding, in which Levi learned at a young age how to hold a blade in a reverse grip.
- Erwin Smith - Levi and Erwin's relationship was not initially an amicable one. Erwin eventually became one of the few people Levi places full trust in, obeying his every command and judgment. However, this did not stop Levi from speaking in his usual rude manner around him. Erwin was also one of the few people that could maintain casual conversation with Levi, able to exchange brief banter with one another on equal grounds.
- Hange Zoë - Levi was introduced to Hange during his first expedition as part of the Survey Corps. He immediately snubbed Hange's attempts at getting to know him, but their relationship would eventually improve over the years. By the events of the story, Levi and Hange are on better terms, though he is still annoyed by her obsession with capturing Titans, and dislikes her recklessness. Levi has gradually become more familiar with Hange, able to comfortably reach out and reprimand her when she gets too carried away. After years of working side by side, the two share a strong bond of trust, and Levi does not doubt any theories she may have on the Titans, even if he may dislike them.
- Eren Yeager - As humanity's strongest soldier, Levi commands great respect from Eren. Upon encountering Eren personally, Levi treated him like an animal, wary of his Titan shifting power, though he was impressed by Eren's passion. Upon getting to know him, Levi began treating Eren as he does most others: dismissively and coldly. However, Levi also becomes a mentor of sorts to Eren, understanding the potential good the young recruit is capable of, and offering advice during Eren's moments of doubt. He later becomes more patient with Eren, forgiving his mistakes, and nurturing his growth as a soldier, and as a vanguard for humanity's hope.
- Mikasa Ackerman - Mikasa quickly took a disliking to Levi, one of the first actions she witnesses is of him beating Eren at his military trial. Since then, Mikasa held a grudge against Levi, swearing to one day make him pay for his actions. She would later lash out at Levi, blaming him for Eren's capture by the Female Titan, and her carelessness would later result in Levi needing to rescue her at the cost of injuring his leg. While sidelined, Levi repeatedly offers advice to Mikasa, who deeply regrets her mistake and endeavors to protect Eren in his place. By the time of the Survey Corps' rebellion, Mikasa has largely set aside her bitterness for Levi, choosing to trust his leadership. Levi and Mikasa share the same physical and intellectual traits. The two share the last name Ackerman, indicating both hail from the same bloodline.
- Petra Ral - Petra served under Levi in the Survey Corps and was later hand picked by him to be in his first Special Operations Squad. She harbored a deep respect for him and was proud to be a part of his team. Levi seemed to trust her and her capabilities as a soldier, as she held one of the highest records for killing Titans (48 assist kills and 10 solo kills). After Petra was killed by the Female Titan, Levi guarded her body until the Corps had to retreat back to the Wall and was horrified after her father informed him of her intentions to dedicate her life to serving him and the squad, possibly because her father assumed that she had feelings for him.
- Kenny Ackerman - Kenny looked out for Levi during his childhood and taught him the skills needed to survive in the underground city. He told Levi that he was friend of his deceased mother. However, he eventually abandoned him due to believing that someone like him was not fit to be a parent. Years later, they had an antagonist relationship due to being on opposite sides of the coup d'état. When Kenny finally lay dying, he told Levi information about the Ackerman family and revealed that he was the older brother of Levi's mother, making him his uncle.
- Zeke Yeager - As the Beast Titan and superior to Annie, Reiner and Bertolt, 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 Shiganshina, Levi blinded as severely wounded Zeke. In vengeance he told the remaining Titans to kill Levi.
- Levi has ranked first place in two Character Popularity Polls.
- He is attributed with the title of squad captain (兵士長 Heishichō?) among the Survey Corps. However, his comrades and subordinates usually call him by the shortened title of "captain" (兵長 Heichō?), though the literal translation of this rank is "Lance Corporal". This has led to the wrong idea that he is actually a Lance Corporal, a somewhat low rank.
- His name is Hebrew in origin, and means "attached" or "joining".
- His name was inspired by a person from the American documentary 'Jesus Camp'.
- Levi's age is one of several mysteries Isayama has hinted about in interviews. He once stated that Levi is "surprisingly old", but declined to give an exact answer beyond stating that he is "older than 30". In February 2016 he was interviewed again at the Attack on Titan "The Real" theme park, and when questioned about Levi's age responded that he is in his "late thirties". However, Marina Inoue (Armin Arlert's voice actress) later rectified and said Isayama made a mistake due to nervousness, and had asked her to correct that Levi is actually in his "early thirties". This was further confirmed in the Attack on Titan ANSWERS guidebook.
- In Levi, Erwin, and Hange's character interview, it was said that Levi forcefully bathes Hange by knocking her unconscious. 
- At a recent convention, Isayama has said that Levi had once wanted to open a tea shop.  
- Levi's liquor tolerance is not bad. More specifically, he does not get drunk.
- He only sleeps an average of 2–3 hours.
- Isayama has said that if he could say one thing to Levi, it would be, "Go quickly to sleep," as Levi suffers from slight bouts of insomnia. Also, Levi does not change clothes before going to sleep, as it is such a non-event for him. Rather than sleeping in a bed, Levi just sleeps in his chair.
- It was also confirmed that due to living in the Underground in an unsanitary state in his younger years, he longed for a clean home. That may be the reason for his obsession with cleaning.
- Levi's short height was inspired in part by Might Adam's Astro Boy, and in part by Kyuzo from the film "The Seven Samurai."
- In Isayama's interview he was asked about Levi's preferred type of woman and answered "A type of woman he likes? Since he’s short, small people tends to like tall people… I guess he might like tall people.”
- Levi currently finds Eren to be the best at cleaning.
- In a Q and A session, Levi was asked from a fan, what is his type. He responded by saying "It must meet my cleaning standards."
- Levi's blood type is A.
- Levi is known to cut his own hair, using clippers.
- Levi was aware that Oluo Bozado was imitating him and thought it to be annoying.
- Isayama has stated that Levi drinks plain tea, as any additives such as sugar or milk are too valuable for him to afford.
|Each and every one of you... making those silly faces.|
|— Levi to a pair of Titans.|
|You've served more than enough, and you'll continue to do so. The will you leave behind will give me strength. I promise, I will drive the Titans to extinction no matter what!|
|— Levi to a dying subordinate.|
|This is just my opinion... but I've always found pain the most effective punishment. The lesson you need right now... can't be taught with words… only with action. And you're kneeling, which makes you easy to kick.|
|— Levi expresses his philosophy on learning to Eren at his trial.|
|He’s a true monster. It’s got nothing to do with his Titan power. No matter how much he’s held back... no matter what cage he’s in… no one can force him... to submit.|
|— Levi on Eren’s true nature.|
|The difference between our judgement and yours is experience. But... you don't have to fall back on that. Choose... believe in yourself... or believe in me and them... the Survey Corps. I don't know the answer. I never have. Whether you trust in your own strength... or the choices made by reliable comrades. No one knows what the outcome will be. So, as much as you can... choose whatever you'll regret the least.|
|— Advice to Eren as they are perused by the Female Titan.|
|Mikasa... did you ever experience a moment in life where it felt as if a power had awoken inside of you?|
|— Levi questions the Ackerman bloodline|
|Isn't there... anyone still alive? It doesn’t matter how injured they are. Just as long as they’re still breathing.. I can use this shot to turn them into a Titan.|
|— Levi wonders if he's the last man standing.|
|Wait... I swore to him… that I'd kill you no matter what. I... swore to him!!|
|— An exhausted Levi proclaims his resolve as he begins to chase Zeke.|