|We will have lost only the moment humans give up and stop fighting. As long as they keep on fighting, our defeat is not certain.|
|— Mike speaks of his faith in humanity to Nanaba.|
Mike Zacharias (ミケ・ザカリアス Mike Zakariasu?, also spelled as Miche Zacharius in the FUNimantion dub of the anime) was a Squad Leader and trusted member of the Survey Corps. He was considered humanity's second strongest soldier after Levi. Mike had a remarkably good sense of smell, which allowed him to detect Titans from great distances.
Mike was a tall and well-built man. The bangs of his blond hair were parted down the middle, and he had a dark mustache and beard. Similar to his commander, Mike was almost always seen wearing a serious, calm expression. He was typically seen dressed in the standard Survey Corps uniform but also wore the Survey Corps' signature green cape during expeditions.
Mike was an acknowledged leader with a brave heart and a tactical mind. He was a loyal member of the Survey Corps and an adamant vanguard for mankind's freedom, believing humans can only lose when they stop fighting. During times of ease, Mike was shown to be a quiet man, rarely speaking unless it concerned a more serious matter. He also had a bizarre habit of "sniffing" people out when he met them. However, fellow squad leader Hange Zoë claimed he was a very capable leader, despite this strange habit which she claimed probably meant nothing. He also cared a great deal for his squad, as he took on a great deal of Titans to allow them more time to escape. In the end, despite his courage, Mike proved to have a breaking point. Trapped and helpless, he showed utter terror as he had been relieved of his equipment by the Beast Titan. However, he gathered his courage and raised his sword to continue the fight shortly after, but this moment of strength fell short as he could only scream in agony and horror as he was pulled apart by numerous Titans.
In the year 844, prior to the fall of Wall Maria, Mike served as a member of the Survey Corps under Erwin Smith's command when the latter was still a Squad Leader. As one of Erwin's most trusted comrades, Mike took part to the capture and the recruitment into the Survey Corps of Levi and his friends. During the mission, he teams up with Erwin to get Levi and is the first to attack him but is quickly defeated. Erwin eventually comes to attack their target. When he is disarmed, Mike intervenes, stopping Levi's gesture and telling him to look at his friends, who were captured by Erwin's squad members. After that, Erwin interrogates the trio, and, seeing none of them was willing to cooperate, Mike begins the physical threats by hitting Levi's head against the ground.
After the rain during the second part of the expedition outside the Walls ceased, Mike and Erwin manage to find Flagon's squad, only to learn a group of Titans killed most of the group before being slaughtered by Levi, who is the last survivor. When the latter attacks Erwin, Mike goes to help him but is ordered by Levi not to intervene. As the two discuss about Lovof's document, Mike worries about Erwin bluntly explaining all his plan to Levi. Eventually, Levi calms down and the three men leave to join the rest of their comrades.
Having little introduction at first, Mike is formerly introduced by Hange Zoë while they, and some Military Police soldiers, escort Eren Yeager to the military court room for his trial. During this time, he takes a few moments to sniff Eren and then smirk, much to Eren's confusion. Hange explains that he, like herself, is a highly qualified squad leader in the Survey Corps and that his strange habit of sniffing others likely holds no real meaning.
Mike later participates in the Survey Corps' first attempt at apprehending the Female Titan during their 57th Expedition Outside the Walls. Once she is caught by the special target restraining weapon, Mike, alongside Levi, attempts to carve her out of the Titans nape but is unsuccessful due to her ability to selectively harden parts of her body. When the Female Titan screams, Mike is able to smell the approaching Titans at a distance and he then tells The Commander that many Titans are coming from all directions.
After the battle in Stohess District, Mike and Nanaba are tasked with watching over a number of the Survey Corps' members from the 104th Training Corps who are under suspicion of being Annie's accomplices. During this time, Titans unexpectedly appear within Wall Rose. When Nanaba is left distraught by the possibility of Wall Rose being breached, Mike orders her to not give up hope, reminding her that humanity can only be defeated when the will to fight is lost. After ordering the others to escape and warn the surrounding towns, Mike takes on nine Titans by himself in order to buy them time to get away.After leaving on his own, Mike manages to kill five of the Titans before he encounters an Abnormal Titan that worries him due to its disinterest in him and the mass amount of fur on its body, a trait never before heard of in Titans. To Mike's sudden horror, the Beast-like Titan grabs his horse and hurls it towards him, which forces Mike to jump off the roof of the building he was atop. Caught in a nearby Titan's mouth, it attempts to eat him whole and begins crushing one of his legs, snapping it and twisting it around. However the Beast Titan speaks and tells the smaller Titan to halt, as it wishes to question Mike. The Titan ignores the command and continues biting into Mike's leg, but the Beast Titan squishes its head with its hands. It then questions Mike about the weapon around his waist, referencing his vertical maneuvering equipment. In shock, Mike does not respond, which causes the Beast-like Titan to become impatient, wondering if they speak the same language. The Beast Titan then proceeds to steal Mike's vertical maneuvering equipment as he huddles over in terror. The Beast Titan the promptly orders the surrounding Titans to do as they please with him. Mike tries to fight one last time, remembering his vow to never give up, but it is a hopeless effort. Immobilized and deprived of maneuverability, Mike screams in agony as he is devoured. The Beast Titan is amused to know that they do indeed speak the same language after all. Erwin Smith contemplates his role as Commander of the Survey Corps and the lies he has told his comrades, he envisions himself standing atop a mountain of corpses of the soldiers he sent to their deaths. In Erwin's mind, Mike lies at the top of the mountain of corpses, alongside Nanaba and Gelgar, staring back at him. Later in the Battle of Shiganshina, as Erwin Smith begins to lament the dwindling hopes of his dream, Mike stands among the many fallen Survey Corps comrades in Erwin's mind, wanting to know if their deaths had meaning.
Anime and Manga Differences
In the OVA adaptation of Ilse's Notebook, Mike takes part in the Survey Corps' 49th Expedition, where the Corps would find Ilse Langnar's notebook. During the expedition, Mike's sense of smell alerts him that Titans are near by, including the Abnormal Titan that had killed Ilse a year prior.
His olfaction (sense of smell) was extremely acute, to the point that he could detect approaching Titans far before they were in visible range.
Mike Zacharias's Statistics :
- Erwin Smith - Mike and Erwin had a deep mutual trust due to their lengthy time in service together, as well as having respect for one another's skills as soldiers. For much of his service, Mike was by Erwin's side serving as his right-hand man. Even after all their years together, Mike considers Erwin difficult to read, but follows his commands loyally, regardless.
- Levi Ackerman - In A Choice With No Regrets, Mike and Erwin apprehended Levi together, and Mike aided in Erwin's interrogation by forcing Levi's head into a muddy puddle at Erwin's command. Later in the main series, Mike and Levi are shown to be capable team mates, complementing each other's outstanding fighting skills and creating a formidable team.
- Hange Zoë - Mike and Hange were shown to have a mutual respect for each other and were typically seen together serving directly under Erwin.
- Mike was noted by Hange to have a strange habit of greeting new people by sniffing them, and then smirking to himself. He demonstrated this the first time he met Eren Yeager.
- Mike was one of the few Erwin trusted with the true objective of the 57th Expedition, being a veteran who had served prior to the destruction of Wall Maria.
- Hajime Isayama revealed that Mike is older than Erwin.