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|This world is cruel. And also... very beautiful.|
|— Mikasa's personal outlook on the world.|
Though she desires only to live a peaceful life with Eren, Mikasa chose to follow him into the military — where she is considered the best soldier among the 104th Cadet Corps — and later into the Scout Regiment.
Mikasa is a fairly tall, physically fit, and very muscular teenage girl with chin-length black hair she initially wore longer, but cut short at Eren's suggestion, despite Jean telling her it was beautiful. She is of Asian heritage, with pale skin and calm, black eyes. In the anime, her eye color is not consistent and often varies, depending on the light and surroundings, between shades of gray and occasionally blue. Her body has been depicted as extremely well-toned, with little, if any, in the way of body fat and muscles lined throughout her arms, legs, and abs. Mikasa also has a small scar below her right eye, which she received after Eren unknowingly attempted to kill her in his Titan form.
As a soldier, Mikasa often wears a uniform consisting of a short, light-brown jacket with the badge of the Scout Regiment on both shoulders, on the front left pocket, and on the center of the back, a white shirt, a brown sash around the waist covering the hips, white pants, and brown knee-high leather boots. She also wears a green cape with the symbol of the Scout Regiment after entering the faction. A unique part of her attire is a dark red scarf, which was given to her by Eren after saving her from human traffickers. Because of that, it is very precious to her, and she almost always has it with her.
A few years before joining the Jaeger family, Mikasa appeared to be a cheerful, outgoing, yet unusually perceptive child. From an early age, Mikasa was aware of the harshness of nature, witnessing the manner in which predators would hunt and kill weaker prey. However, her innocence allowed her to push these thoughts to the back of her mind, and she continued to live happily with her parents. This illusory peace was shattered when a band of criminals brutally murdered her parents before her eyes in a failed kidnapping attempt on herself and her mother. To save herself and her rescuer, Eren Jaeger, Mikasa managed to abandon all inhibition and hesitation, allowing her to kill one of her assailants. Following this traumatic event, Mikasa would gain a generally cynical outlook on life and accept the world as a cruel place where only those who are strong are able to survive.
After the murder of her parents, Mikasa has become noticeably emotionally withdrawn and serious, but she still loves and cares deeply for her friends, especially Eren and Armin, seeing them as the last remnants of a family she cannot afford to lose. Her personality as a teenager is very much influenced and molded by Eren, who told her she stood no chance of survival if she did not fight for it. His words continue to stay with her, and her mind automatically recalls them to spur her on when she is close to death. Her determination to protect Eren as much as possible may also have contributed greatly to her phenomenal skills as a soldier. Though she is among the best of the best, she remains humble and refrains from putting on airs or displaying arrogance.
Mikasa has a strong sense of right and wrong, but she is also very protective of Eren and does all she can to advise him to follow what she deems to be the right track. Despite that, she knows well that she cannot always sway Eren in his decisions and makes a point to follow Eren to almost everywhere he goes and stick by whatever final decisions he makes, just so that she can be around to help him out when he is in trouble. The sole reason she enlisted in the military and joined the Scout Regiment after her graduation was to keep an eye on Eren, despite the fact that she truly wished to live out the rest of her days in relative peace within the Walls alongside him. She also takes Eren's opinion seriously, so much so that when he once said that her hair was too long, she immediately had it cut, even though Jean had just commented that it looked beautiful.
Despite all her blind loyalty, Mikasa is quite stoic and level-headed. Her will is remarkably strong, and she is rarely seen to lose her cool or be at a loss of what to do, no matter how bleak a situation seems to be. Even when she believed Eren to be dead, outwardly she managed to remain so calm that only Armin could tell that she was battling with the pain of losing Eren. However, she is not completely immune to the effects of her emotions. Her strong feelings for Eren, particularly when he is in harm's way, does at times cloud her judgment - sometimes to the endangerment of herself and others. A notable example is the occasion she briefly gave into her grief over Eren's apparent demise and lost the will to live - forgetting her responsibility for the lives of the soldiers she had taken upon herself to lead in the process. However, she was reawakened by her memories of Eren, after which she made a conscious decision to never give up again, as if she were to die, her memories of Eren would die with her. When she found him alive and well, she completely lost her composure and wept tears of joy.
Mikasa's bond with Eren is undoubtedly her most important relationship, and one that defines Mikasa. For Eren's sake, Mikasa has expressed a variety of emotions such as compassion, concern, anger, embarrassment, sadness, and tenderness. She has openly wept tears of relief at his safety, and developed vengeful grudges towards those who harm him. She relentlessly attacked the Female Titan in a murderous fury as it attempted to abduct Eren. Mikasa blushed when it was insinuated she and Eren were lovers, and has suffered crippling distress at the thought of losing Eren forever. Mikasa also wears the red scarf Eren gave her when they first met, holding on to it as a source of strength and comfort when she is upset.
Mikasa was born to a white father and Asian mother, the former being an Ackermann. Before her parents' death, she lived peacefully with them in the farmlands of Wall Maria. When she was a child, her mother taught her an Asian style of embroidery. Being the last of their race made them high value targets to human traffickers, who killed Mikasa's parents and attempted to kidnap her for the purpose of selling her as a slave to the people in the Capital when she was only nine years old.
She was rescued by Eren, who tricked and killed two of the slavers. He was then overwhelmed by the third trafficker and was on the verge of being strangled. Desperately, Eren urged Mikasa to fight to win. Although she was initially frightened, she came to realize that, "This world is a callous and merciless place," dispatching the kidnapper who was trying to kill Eren. When Eren's father arrived with members of the Military Police Brigade, she was given the scarf by Eren and accepted into his family. This event awakened the fighting instincts and perfect self-control that would later turn her into a formidable soldier. She lived with Eren's family in Wall Maria's Shiganshina District until it was destroyed by the Colossal Titan.
Mikasa appears for the first time in year 845 somewhere inside Wall Maria. She is seen waking Eren up, telling him that they need to return to home. She is surprised to see tears in his eyes and asks why he was crying. On their way home, they meet Hannes. Mikasa watches as Eren complains about the soldiers slacking off while on duty. Later, both Eren and Mikasa watch the return of the Scout Regiment forces, witnessing yet another failure of their expedition. After returning home, Mikasa tells on Eren, revealing to his parents his desire to join the Scout Regiment. Annoyed, Eren leaves, with Mikasa following him. They save Armin, who is being beaten by local bullies and together discuss their desire to go outside the Walls.
At that moment, the three kids witness the sudden appearance of a Colossal Titan that breaches the Wall's gate. Mikasa and Eren run back to their home to find it crushed and their mother trapped under the debris. In spite of their attempts, Mikasa and Eren are unable to free her, Hannes rescuing them as a Titan devours their mother. Mikasa and Eren are placed on a ship just as the Armored Titan breaks through the inner gate, letting the Titans inside Wall Maria. Eren's vows to kill all the Titans as they are transported to safety. Once inside the safety of Wall Rose, Eren confronts a soldier from the Garrison who manifests his annoyance for having to share their food with outsiders. The short beating the soldiers give Eren cause him to claim that he will retake Wall Maria with his own hands. He insults Armin for his doubt and Mikasa punches him to bring him back to his senses. She then declares that she will do everything to keep him alive, forcing him to eat the rations he had previously discarded out of anger.
After the events of the Wall Maria's destruction, the government's desperate attempt to reclaim the lands using the refugees leads to nothing but more casualties. This prompts Mikasa, Eren and Armin enroll with the army and become members of the 104th Training Corps.
During their training, Mikasa helps Eren as much as she can as he initially fails to grasp the basics of the omni-directional mobility gear. They manage to pass the qualifying tests, Mikasa quickly proving her skills and is praised as one of the best trainees in military history. At one point, Mikasa asks Annie Leonhart, a fellow trainee with exceptional skill, to teach her a self-defense technique that she was teaching Eren, which eventually calls for a bet with the 104th Cadet Corps to see who is the stronger fighter. At the 104th Cadet Corps' graduation, she is ranked first in the class. Much to her dismay, Mikasa is assigned to the rear guard to help fend off the Titans while the civilians escape into the safety of Wall Sina. Before fulfilling her duty, she makes Eren promise her not to do anything reckless.
Later on, as an abnormal Titan approaches the escaping civilians who are blocked at the gate. Mikasa kills it, saving everyone. She then witnesses why the civilians are taking too long to escape; an overloaded cargo cart is blocking the way. Mikasa asks the businessman to move the cart so that the people could escape, but when he refuses, she has to resort threatening him after knocking his guards unconscious, which scares the man enough to relent and move his goods. Seeing a mother and daughter show their gratitude for saving them, Mikasa flashes back to the time she lost her own parents and realizes that Eren is the only family she has left. Thus, with the evacuation of Trost District citizens complete, she heads to the front guard in order to aid her comrades. However, the sole trainee survivors are low on gas, making them unable to scale the Wall while the supply team inside the headquarters has barricaded themselves in against the onslaught of multiple Titans. After hearing of Eren's supposed death from Armin, Mikasa regroups the survivors and insults them, saying she will break through the Titans assaulting the headquarters.Because of her grief over Eren's death, she fights irrationally and does not notice that she is running out of gas. As two Titans close in on her, she contemplates giving up and begins to remember her time with Eren, recalling Eren's cries of fighting back against her kidnappers, which gives her motivation to fight once more. When Mikasa stands up to kill the Titan in front of her, another Titan comes running from behind and saves her. This Titan, which ignores Mikasa, gives Armin enough time to rescue Mikasa and they both continue heading to the supply HQ. As they watch this rogue Titan continue killing other Titans, they hatch a plan to lure it to the HQ and relieve the siege there. With its help, the trainees manage to successfully refill their gas tanks and have clear access to the Wall.
However, as they watch the rogue Titan dispose of the last Titans surrounding them, Eren appears out the nape of its neck. Overcome with relief that Eren is alive, Mikasa quickly rescues and embraces him, everyone leaving for the Wall. However, Jean, along with Annie, Reiner, and Bertholdt are ordered to hand Eren over to superior officers under the command of Kitz Woermann and to treat the incident as something confidential. Their refusal to do so causes Mikasa and her friends to be accused of treason and find themselves surrounded by Captain Woermann's men, who are prompt to execute them. Mikasa attempts to defend Eren by drawing her blades and threatening to kill anyone who would try to harm Eren, but witnessing Eren's Titan form fighting in Trost District, Woermann does not hesitate and orders a cannon to fire at them in spite of the latter's claim that he is a human. Eren uses his power to block the cannonball and tries to think of a plan of escape. He proposes that they either try to flee over the Walls and escape into the Titan territory or have attempt Armin persuade the soldiers to spare them, leaving him to choose. Armin tries his best to convince the soldiers that Eren's Titan abilities could help to save humanity, but realizes the commander is far too scared to think rationally. Before the order can be given to fire upon them once more, they are saved when Commander Dot Pyxis, head administrator of the southern region, intervenes. They are sent on a mission to plug the breach in the Wall with a rock that only Eren in Titan form can lift.
As the mission commences and Eren goes into Titan form, he loses control, attacking Mikasa, and eventually knocking himself out. The elite team, lead by Ian Dietrich, Rico Brzenska and Mitabi Jarnach, designated to defend Eren as he carries the rock quarrel among themselves about what to do next. Mikasa is on the verge of attacking them until Ian orders everyone to continue protecting Eren until he recovers. Thanks to Armin's intervention, Eren eventually regains his senses and successfully places the rock down, albeit with many casualties. At that moment, they are saved by Levi as he kills the Titans approaching them.
After the battle of Trost District is over, Eren is brought before a military tribunal to decide his future. Despite Mikasa's best efforts to defend him, she is forced to testify against Eren as his reckless actions have frightened many people in the courtroom. She is also forced to watch helplessly as Eren is assaulted and humiliated by Levi.Some time later, Mikasa and everyone else have their omni-directional mobility gear inspected in order to find out the culprit who killed the two captured Titans. Later on, Commander Erwin Smith comes to recruit new members for the Scout Regiment which is scheduling an expedition within a few months. Many leave except for Mikasa, Reiner, Armin, Sasha, Christa, Conny, Jean, Bertholdt and a few others.
Mikasa is then seen to be a part of the 57th expedition.
Shortly after leaving for Wall Maria, the Female Titan appears and defeats numerous Scout Regiment members. The formation eventually reaches the Forest of Giant Trees, with Mikasa being stationed at its outskirts, making sure that no Titans enter the forest. Eventually, she attempts to approach Eren as she hears his roar in his Titan Form. Upon reaching Eren's location, she witnesses the Female Titan devouring Eren's human body. After overcoming the initial shock, Mikasa charges at the Female Titan, cutting it up in order to rescue Eren. However, she is unable to do so until she teams up with Levi. They manage to take Eren back and join the rest of the rest of the formation. While heading to the Walls, the formation is attacked by multiple Titans brought by a couple of rookie soldiers who disobeyed a direct order from Commander Erwin, and Mikasa must save the rookies who are caught by the Titans.
Following the Scout Regiment's failure, Armin manages to convince Annie to help them out until they can gather evidence to prove to the King that the Walls need to be protected better. During that time, Mikasa takes a notice of the lack of diligence and honor in the Military Police. She prepares for battle when she gets fed up with Annie's games and excuses. She takes off her disguise and draws out out her sword to fight her, promising to "cut up the Female Titan one more time".
In the following battle, Mikasa learns that Eren in his Titan form is not powerful enough to defeat Annie by himself. Being the strongest and most powerful soldier herself, she decides to take the fight to her. Despite being ordered to pull away by Hange Zoë, Mikasa manages to make it to Annie as she attempted to climb over Wall Sina to escape to the flat lands. Since Annie had already climbed more than half way towards the top of the Wall, Eren throws Mikasa upwards so she can catch up with the Female Titan, and cut off all her fingers. She then proceeds to push Annie off to fall to the ground. Annie is therefore captured, but encases herself in a crystal to avoid interrogation. However, it was far from over as Mikasa has just taken noticed of a Titan inside the Wall. As both the Scout Regiment and Military Police take an encased Annie underground to detain her, Mikasa realizes the Titan hiding in Wall Sina is alive, but is too weak to move due to a lack of sunlight. Mikasa remains at Eren's bedside as Armin and Jean head down to a meeting involving Erwin and the Military Police.
Owing to the need to protect her adoptive brother who often runs off looking for trouble, Mikasa had honed herself to be a talented fighter at a very young age, often throwing boys bigger than her with ease, gaining her reputation. An example of this is when Armin was being bullied and Eren came to his rescue. The boys were preparing to take Eren on when they saw Mikasa behind him and promptly ran away, even though the bullies had superior numbers. She is strong enough to lift Eren off the ground without effort.
While she was still training, Keith even noted that Mikasa's performance is exemplary in every subject, and that she is truly a genius. Combined with her prodigious skill in omni-directional mobility gear, she can easily take down Titans with speed and efficiency. This has lead to her being mentioned as a military genius many times and "worth one thousand ordinary soldiers." With such prodigious skills coupled with her own remarkable will, she displays lethal force against Titans rarely seen among soldiers, recruits, or veterans alike. This has been proven true when she took Annie in her Titan form, who had killed numerous experienced veterans with ease before, and survived.
- Eren Jaeger - Mikasa considers Eren to be her 'family', since she was adopted into his home following the death of her own. She always wears a scarf, given to her by Eren, as a token of the moment when he first wrapped it around her in an attempt to comfort her when she had first lost all hope. From the time he saved her life and accepted her into his home, Eren has been a great source of strength and comfort for her, and when she had thought him dead, she very nearly allowed herself to die as well, but kept living on to remember him. She became distraught when learning Eren had been abducted, wrapping the scarf over her face to hide her sadness. Because he is the only 'family' she has left, she will go to any lengths to ensure his safety, and vows to follow him wherever he may go, stating her only wish is to remain by his side,This often results in Eren becoming annoyed whenever she becomes too protective, and telling her not to treat him like her 'baby brother'. Due to the intensity of her devotion to him, several characters, from Ian to Jean and even Levi, are confused about the nature of their relationship. Interestingly, Mikasa only ever blushes when Eren is involved. Examples of this include her embarrassed blush when Ian mistook him for her lover during the reconquest of Trost, and Armin leaving her alone with Eren after capturing the Female Titan.
- Armin Arlelt - Mikasa is a very close friend of Armin's. She frequently helped Eren fend off the older boys who bullied him when they were children. Mikasa recognizes Armin's ability to reason out the best solution and come up with the best strategy during dire situations, and is faithful to him and trusts him deeply, as shown when she refused to leave him behind to his death during the Battle of Trost. She encouraged him to have more confidence in himself whenever he doubted or criticized himself. Her faith in him, along with Eren's, were responsible for Armin's boost in confidence from the time he attempted to convince a hostile brigade of soldiers of Eren's value as a military weapon.
- Annie Leonhart - Their relationship is implied to be some sort of rivalry. Their animosity deepens when Annie was found to be the Female Titan, and was responsible for the deaths of countless soldiers and Eren's attempted kidnapping. Things came to a peak as Mikasa became fed up with Annie's games and called her out as the Female Titan that had attacked them. With that exposed, Mikasa stopped Annie from escaping by cutting off her fingers and forcing her to fall off of the Wall.
- Jean Kirschtein - Her primary interactions with him relate to his rivalry with Eren, and it is unclear whether she is even aware of his affections for her. When he grimly admonished Eren for attacking her, Mikasa felt Jean was attempting to discredit Eren, and quickly became defensive on his behalf.
- Levi - Their relationship began in a negative fashion, as she witnessed him beat Eren during a military trial. She once swore to make him pay for his abuse, and lashed out at him when the Female Titan managed to kidnap Eren after slaughtering Levi's squad. Regardless, he expresses an understanding of her and is wounded saving her life—while temporarily sidelined, he repeatedly offers her advice, and she herself agonizes over causing his injury.
- Grisha Jaeger - Though he initially hoped Mikasa would get along with Eren as a friend, in the end Grisha took in Mikasa after the brutal murder of her parents. He treated her kindly as if she were his own daughter, and for that Mikasa respected and gratefully relied on him as her father figure.
- Carla Jaeger - Carla took care of Mikasa during her stay in the Yeager household. Much like her husband and son, she treated Mikasa as a family member and took care of her. The two seemed to have an implicit understanding between them when it came to keeping Eren out of trouble. Carla urged Mikasa to look out for her reckless brother and give him help when he needed it. During the Titans' assault on their home town, she desperately tried to lift the roof beam preventing Carla from running away from the danger. Despite Carla's pleas, she tearfully refused to leave her, and could not bring herself to watch as a Titan eventually killed and ate her.
- Hannes - it is implied that Mikasa is grateful towards Hannes for rescuing her and Eren from being killed by the Titan that ate their mother. Despite admitting to his cowardice in front of her, she does not resent him for failing to rescue Carla, and she values him as one of the few people left with whom she shares memories of more peaceful times.
- Mr. and Mrs. Ackermann - Mikasa shared a loving bond with her biological parents, and was happy with the simple life they shared. Being one of the last members of an Asian clan, Mrs. Ackermann had Mikasa undergo a scarring ritual involving the engraving of their clan's mark on her right forearm. She praised Mikasa for receiving the mark without making a fuss and encouraged her to carry on the legacy with her own children. Mr. Ackermann was a kind father to Mikasa, and she was very relaxed around him. She was not shy of asking either parent anything she did not know, and trusted them completely. The day a trio of kidnappers attacked and killed her parents in front of her, Mikasa lost all hope and believed her world had gone cold until Eren's father decided to adopt her.
- Mikasa's surname is derived from the German name "Ackermann" meaning "fieldman".
- Mikasa ranked third in the Characters Popularity Poll.
- According to an interview with Isayama, Mikasa will opt to not wear her scarf if it is too hot out.
- Mikasa's red scarf may be a reference to the "red string of fate", which in Japanese folklore represents an unbreakable connection between soulmates or lovers.
- The name Mikasa has several significant links in Japanese culture:
- The name Mikasa, literally meaning "three bamboo hats", was a unique pre-dreadnought battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy, and served as a flagship during the Russo-Japanese War. The manga's author, Hajime Isayama, supposedly named Mikasa after this vessel due to his belief that series' with female characters named after famous warships come to be successful.
- Mount Mikasa in Nara, Japan. An annual festival involves burning the dead grass on the mountain.
- The princely house of Mikasa-no-miya, a branch of the Imperial family in Japan.
- Mikasa is one of the Attack on Titan characters who were made into Nendoroid figures, along with Eren, Levi, and the Colossal Titan. A Nendoroid playset of the Attack on Titan setting was also made.
- In the game Age of Gunslingers Online, a special Titan Mode was made as a tribute to the series. It features Elsa, an NPC modeled after Mikasa and voiced by Yui Ishikawa. A trailer of this mode can be viewed here. A special skin for the Blade Class is also available for purchase.
- In The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror XXV", several other incarnations from other animated franchises of the family are shown, each one with a respective theme. In the anime theme, each of the family members were depicted as a specific anime character. Lisa portrayed Mikasa, with her traditional hairstyle and military outfit using the omni-directional mobility gear.
- Mikasa was once referred to as being "worth one thousand soldiers". This line was taken from Tales of the Heike, where it was used to describe a legendary female Japanese warrior named Tomoe Gozen.