Captain Levi "Post-Mortem" Ackerman: Attack on Titan and the Disaffected Hero Trope

WARNING: The following contains spoilers about Attack on Titan. Please read at your own risk.

I hate Levi Ackerman.


I didn’t always. Back when Attack on Titan was airing its first season in dub form on Toonami/FUNimation’s website, he was merely my least-favourite character. Sure, the other characters in-world were frequently screaming and running from giant monsters, but I’d act no differently in their position. Plus, they were rich with personality. They had real flaws, even when they were super-talented at defeating Titans (see Mikasa Ackerman.) But Levi? Levi was a stone-cold warrior so drone-like that he came off as boring.

However, as I began to think over what Levi represented, he started to grate on me. He was so good at what he did, so in the right constantly, that he felt like a male Mary Sue. A Gary Stu, to be more exact, except without the likability factor. I think the pinnacle of how much I hate Levi occurs with the first battle with The Female Titan, aka Annie Leonhardt, during the expedition to Eren Jaeger’s father’s cellar. As scouts were wiped out left and right, with the elites eventually being forced to take her on directly, Levi never once lost his composure. He never once showed signs of weakness, he never once questioned his own leadership, he simply led like he was prepping for this since day one.


And then the elite scouts were picked off one-by-one like flies, including Levi’s betrothed, by Annie, and what did Levi do? Zoom by their corpses as if nothing had happened in an attempt to save Mikasa and rescue Eren from Annie’s mouth. Not even a slight glimpse at his comrades’ bodies, not even a tear over the loss of Petra Rall and his chance at settling down, nothing. Not even his eventual sprained ankle warranted much of a reaction. It was the biggest middle-finger to a human response ever, and I hate it with a passion.

Levi’s quirk is one the internet loves, despite it not being natural. He’s basically a “disenfranchised badass”, a character who responds to chaos and despair by shrugging it off. It’s usually complimented by routinely snarky comments, much like a quipper who never knows how to shut up and be human. It’s one of the many complaints people lob against the MCU with its heroes, but even then they’re not emotionless bricks. Besides, Iron Man, Captain America and company have compelling reasons for being the way they are, many of which are shown via flashbacks or solo movies in-continuity.

I’ve heard defence of Levi’s behaviour as being a conditioned response to the harshness of battle, but even that doesn’t excuse his lack of emotion. A soldier so heavily battered by war would be scarred mentally, even if they don’t openly show it. You’d see it in their behaviour on and off the battlefield, and it’d eventually surface when the stakes are down. Levi hasn’t shown any hints of that either. As with everything, he even takes his pain in stride like it means nothing.

It’s also true that Levi’s compassionate, yes, and cares deeply about his fellow soldier, but even then he’s so stoic and brave (read “emotionless”) that it comes off as forced. Because there’s nothing natural or emotional about him, right down to his dub portrayal by Matthew Mercer. I know the internet happens to love this about Levi, but c’mon. Captain America, the literal paragon of righteousness, shows compassion too, yet he never lets go of his humanity. He gets mad, he has regrets, and he doesn’t always make the best decisions. He still feels human, so I’m willing to forgive his extreme righteousness.

So yeah, not a fan of Captain Levi Ackerman, and the only option at this point would be to kill-

-Well, shoot my mouth! It might actually happen! According to an article entry from The Latin Times, there’s a rumour that Levi might be killed off in Season 2 of Attack on Titan. It’s from August 24th, 2015, meaning it’s dated, and it’s not official, but I’d be more than happy if it happened. Because, as I’ve clearly outlined, I hate Levi. Besides, the show’s no stranger to killing off interesting characters. It wiped out Levi’s elite team in a single episode, and I loved all of them, so why not up the ante and kill off everyone’s favourite walking brick? Besides, it might actually force them to like a character with depth, like, I dunno, Eren?

Okay, that was a little mean on my part. But still, I would be more than game to see Levi die in Season 2 of Attack on Titan. My only hope is that Production I.G. and Studio Wit release said season this year. Seriously, the show recently snagged another delay! How many more can we have?! At this rate, it'll take forever to see what happens next!

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