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|“||How sad they haven't learned a thing from the mistakes of their past; it's a tragedy that King Fritz took the memories of the world away from them. Because of that, they make the same mistakes over and over again. I'm sure that by the end, they'll be sending every person inside those walls off on a suicide charge, from their elders to their children, they'll go on saying that if they're going to die anyway, they might as well die a proud death. It only proves how unimaginative and set in their ways they are. The little fools. Oops. I crushed it into dust, heh, what am I doing? What're you getting so worked up for? You're not like your father, remember? You need to find joy in every little thing. Now let's turn those soldiers into proud little chunks of meat.||„|
|~ Zeke as he is suicide charged by the Survey Corps|
|“||If we'd never been born in the first place...we never would have to suffer.||„|
|~ Zeke's suicidal outlook on life|
Zeke Yeager, otherwise known as the Beast Titan, is the main antagonist of the Attack on Titan series.
He is the Eldian son of Grisha Yeager and Dina Fritz, who was indoctrinated by the Marleyan mititary and its commanders. Reiner Braun refers to him as "Warchief" and considers him to be strongest warrior. Zeke is also the half-brother of Eren Yeager, the nephew of Faye Yeager, a member of the Fritz royal family through his mother and Levi Ackerman's arch-nemesis.
He serves as the main antagonist in the first half of the Clash of the Titans arc and the Return to Shiganshina arc, a supporting character in the Marley arc, and the central antagonist of the War for Paradis arc.
While certainly dangerous as a Titan, his greatest threat comes from his intelligence: he is a strategist able to plan and orchestrate long-term events, and is willing to ruthlessly cut down anything in the way of his ambitions. In his nihilism, Zeke intends to end his "cursed race" by using the Progenitor's power to manipulate the Eldian's physiology - planning to render every member of the race sterile so that they will slowly die out.
In the Japanese version, he was voiced by Takehito Koyasu, who is best known for voicing Dio Brando in the Japanese version of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood. In the English dubbed version, he was voiced by Jason Liebrecht, who happens to voice Dabi in the English version of My Hero Academia.
Zeke in Titan form is 17 meters in stature, larger than the common 15-meter Titan. While all other Titans seen in the story thus far have been distinctly human in appearance, Zeke's titan form possesses more animal-like features. It has apelike features, and most of its body except for the face and torso is covered in fur.
In his normal human form, he has well-toned body, has wavy blonde hair along with a beard and mustache. He also wears glasses. While in Paradis, Zeke grew his facial hair out, but after returning to Marley, he sports a more clean-cut look with shorter hair and a thinner beard.
On the exterior, Zeke presents himself as a cheerful, mild-mannered individual who rarely loses his calm; however, this facade serves to hide his calculating Machiavellian tendencies, which he fully displays in battle. Intelligent and inquisitive, Zeke prefers to gather enough information and assess a given context before acting, as demonstrated with his perpetration of the Wall Rose Invasion in order to gauge Paradis' strength. While he makes sure to formulate strategies and plans in advance, he leaves them open-ended enough to be able to adjust them and adapt to unforeseen circumstances should they emerge. These traits make him an excellent tactician who has the deductive genius and the ruthlessness to carry out his ambitions.
Zeke tends to be callous and militant in battle, commanding his subordinates with an iron fist, as seen when he rejected Reiner's demands to rescue Annie by defeating him in a sparring match. He also has a habit of cracking morbid, sarcastic jokes to emotionally detach himself from the cruel deeds that he commits, such as amusingly teasing Mike as he fed the latter to a group of Titans and comparing his slaughtering of the Survey Corps in Shiganshina as a perfect game of baseball. However, despite his savage actions, he is not explicitly sadistic as so much as he is simply indifferent to the damage that he causes.
One of Zeke's more prominent traits is his over-reliance on his logical and utilitarian thought process. Zeke prefers to evaluate everything from a purely cerebral viewpoint to the point of actively distancing himself from his emotions and showing distrust towards sentiments such as love and honor. Though he cares for his grandparents and enjoys the company of his fellow Warriors, he is careful to not become too invested in their well-being and is willing to betray and sacrifice them for his own goals. His philosophy is made apparent when he pitifully scorns the Scouts' suicide charge in Shiganshina, criticizing what he believes to be their sentimental attachment to honor. Though Zeke's logical mind is part of what makes him a great strategist, it is also one of his weaknesses: his inability to empathize with the emotional aspects of the human psyche prevents him from being able to comprehend or factor them into his plans and manipulations. For example, his failure to gauge Levi's will and his overestimation of Levi's closeness to his comrades was what ultimately led to his defeat in Chapter 113.
Despite his dedication to rational thought, Zeke is in truth anyone but a rational person. Due to repeated childhood trauma and stress under his demanding parents and hostility that Marley harbored towards him for his Eldian status, Zeke developed an extremely nihilistic, suicidal outlook on life that caused him to believe that he would have been better off if he had not been born at all. Encouraged by his mentor, Xaver, Zeke expanded his twisted ideas to encompass Subjects of Ymir in general, believing that all Subjects of Ymir are destined to suffer like he did and that it is his obligation to "save" them from existence. Thus, he feels no remorse for killing and titanizing Eldians, because to him, he is saving their children from Eldian discrimination. Zeke holds a very pessimistic view on the prospects of Eldian redemption and rejects the idea of Eldian restoration, arguing that Eldian "euthanasia" is the only hope of salvation for his kind. Due to basing his whole life off of the belief that he must "free" all Subjects of Ymir from suffering, Zeke has developed a God complex that he fails to be aware of.
Ironically, for all of his insistence for rationality, Zeke's plan of Eldian "euthanasia" to save humanity and Subjects of Ymir from each other stems from an irrational need to project his own self-loathing, and despite his demeanor as a calculating, collected mastermind, his true self is a broken, delusional man who is unable to move past the trauma and hurt that he received as a child.
However, his character takes a turn after having been devoured by Ymir. Upon encountering Armin in the Paths, the two of them have a conversation, with Zeke explaining the origins of life and its purpose to multiply. When Armin asks Zeke to find a way to escape, he asks why bother continue fighting, musing that people would all have to die eventually and that in a person's death, they could achieve true freedom. After Armin replies and explains his past and the moments where he took the most joy, this makes Zeke remember the fun he had with Tom Ksaver simply playing catch. It is here that Zeke comes to regain value in life, and while he still thinks that the euthanasia plan was the correct one, he would now choose to live again if it meant playing catch with Tom again. When his previous comrades and family arrive in the Paths, Zeke calls on them for help to stop the Rumbling, and decides to call to Levi to kill him in order to stop the Rumbling. In his final moments, Zeke stares at the sky and gazes at his beauty, wishing that he'd realized it sooner, but then laments to himself that something that simple would be too much after all the people he killed, finally showing remorse for all the atrocities he committed and being able to move past the trauma of his youth, redeeming himself in the process.
Powers and Abilities
Powers of the Nine Titans
Zeke is a holder of one of the Nine Titans, and this results in him possessing the special powers of a Titan. However, because he is a member of the Fritz royal family, there are certain unique abilities that are exclusive only to him, and that none of the other non-royal Titan-shifer has.
- Superhuman strength: As the Beast Titan, Zeke possesses great physical strength, sufficient enough to pick up a horse or even break off large chunks from Wall Rose and hurl them at a great distance away. When he got angry, he crushed the chuncks of a large rock to dust with his bare hand.
- Superhuman speed: While the Beast Titan may be slower than most of the Nine Titans, it is no pushover either. While he lost against Levi Ackerman in terms of speed, Zeke was fighting an incredibly experienced Ackerman and not an ordinary soldier, thus, had he reacted the same way he reacted with Levi but with an ordinary soldier in the latter's place, the Beast Titan's hand would have swiftly crushed the soldier.
- Superhuman endurance: As a Titan-shifer, Zeke's durability is highly enhanced, but not on par with the likes of the Armored or War Hammer Titans.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: Like the rest of the Titans, Zeke is able to regenerate almost all kind of wounds very quickly. In one occasion, he escaped his death when a Titan showed up and put his nearly destroyed body in it's stomach, successfully regenerating Zeke.
- Hardening: Like all of the Nine Titans, Zeke is able to harden his Titan body at will to protect himself from attacks. However, this ability needs some time to prepare; during his brief battle with Levi, Zeke tries to harden the nape of his neck but was unable to due to Levi's increased speed and attacking before Zeke had enough time could harden himself. While offering ample protection, it can be damaged and destroyed with the use of Thunder Spears.
- Speech: Unlike most other Titans, he is able to fluently speak without issue in his Titan form, casually questioning a terrified Mike for information of the 3D Maneuvering Gear.
- Long Arms: The Beast Titan's overly long arms greatly benefit Zeke as he combines them with his excellent throwing abilities, making his Beast Titan the ideal artillery unit.
- Abnormal Titan Creation (Royal blood ability): As a member of the Fritz royal family, Zeke can make a number of Subjects of Ymir consume his spinal fluid and later turn those Subjects of Ymir into unique Abnormal Titans (who can move at night with moonlight) with a scream. However, these Subjects of Ymir must be in his screaming radius to be successfully turned into Titans, otherwise, they would only feel an electrical surge but the transformation would not take place.
- Abnormal Titan Control (Royal blood ability): The Subjects of Ymir who were turned into Titans with his scream are now under Zeke's control, linked to his Beast Titan via Paths. However, his control over his Titans is not always absolute, as the Titan that was biting Mike continued to do so after Zeke ordered it not to.
- High Intelligence: Zeke's true power is his great intelligence, which his official stats rank as being 11/10. He demonstrated his skills many times, such as when he is able to accurately deduce that the Survey Corps were not actually torturing Annie and that Reiner and Bertolt should focus on their mission to retrieve the Coordinate. He also has been manipulating both Paradis and Marley into trusting him for years, despite not truly serving either nation. Despite this, however, Zeke is not without weaknesses: in the process of executing his plan he tends to be carried away by emotion and underestimate his foes, leading him to defeat on more than a few occasion. His continual misjudgement of Levi Ackerman had almost killed him at least twice. Additionally, due to having grown up without love of family he is seen desperately craving it, in contrast to his seemingly ice-cold demeanor. This is especially true as he is determined to 'save' his half-brother Eren from Grisha's 'brainwashing' and rally him to his 'cause', even when it became clear that (in chapter 120) Eren has absolutely no intention of wishing to be saved of this supposed "brainwashing" by openly denouncing Zeke's goal as ridiculous and declaring in Zeke's face that he was the one who had been taking advantage of Zeke through crafty manipulation.
- Various military skills: As the best Warrior of the newest incarnation of the Warrior Unit, Zeke possesses great analytical and tactical military insight. His skill is such that he is even allowed to participate in meetings with the Marleyan military high command and when he voices his opinion about the matter of Paradis Island, his opinion is taken into consideration by General Calvi despite Zeke being an Eldian.
- Great fighting ability: Zeke seems to be a very formidable fighter, since he was able to defeat the Armored Titan and inflict him considerable damage without sustaining any visible injury. He is also mentioned as "the strongest Warrior" by Reiner.
- Throwing ability: His throwing ability is second to none, and he creates a visible sonic boom when he throws rocks, effectively throwing them faster than over 700 feet per second. This is most likely a direct result of his baseball skills and training with Tom Xaver, who is the former Beast Titan. He also seems to possess dexterous hands, as he managed to retrieve Mike's vertical maneuvering equipment without damaging him or the equipment.
- Tom Ksaver (as a mindless Titan)
- 100 Eldians (titanized)
- Unknown amount of Eldian captives (titanized)
- Marlowe Freudenberg
- Erwin Smith
- Cavalry and Infantry unit of unnamed nations
- At least 49 unnamed Survey Corps members
- Mid-East Union naval fleet
- 30 Survey Corps soldiers (titanized)
- Marleyan soldiers onboard the airships above Shiganshina
- Falco Grice (titanized)
- Colt Grice
- Dot Pyxis (titanized)
- Nile Dawk (titanized)
- Roeg (titanized)
- Several dozens of Paradis' military (titanized)
- Multiple Eldian restorationists
- Population of a capital at war with Marley
- Mike Zacharias
- Willy Tybur
- Ms. Tybur
- Ragako's inhabitants
- Porco Galliard
- Through actions direct and indirect Zeke is responsible for many of the series main events.
- Turning in the Eldian Restorationists into the Marleyan authorities in the year 832 would result in:
- Most of the Restorationists being turned into Titans, and would later breach Trost District in the year 850 and devour many Garrison and 104th Cadet Corps members.
- Dina being turned into a mindless Titan who would later devour Carla Yeager, Grisha's second wife, after Bertolt breached the Walls in 845 and trigger Eren's desire to kill the Titans. Dina would later devour Hannes in 850 and led to Eren discovering his inherited Founding Titan power, who unwillingly inherited it from Grisha who'd slaughtered the Reiss family to obtain it.
- Eren's very birth as Grisha would inheriting the Attack Titan from the Eldian spy Eren Kruger and reach the Walls to reclaim the Founding Titan where he'd meet Carla.
- Zeke is responsible for the deaths of the citizens of Ragako village by turning them into Titans, including Connie Springer's family, who'd also kill many civilians within Wall Rose until killed by the Survey Corps and Garrison. This resulted in humanity within the Walls learning the origins of the Titans as humans.
- Zeke is also responsible for the near decimation of the Survey Corps in 850 having killed Mike Zacharias, Nanaba, Gelgar, Lynne and Henning during the Clash of the Titans arc, and later killed Erwin Smith, Marlowe Freudenberg, Dirk, Sandra, Gordon, Klaus, Varis and 49 other unnamed Survey Corps members during the Return to Shiganshina arc. This left only 9 members of the Survey Corps alive.
- He's also indirectly responsible for allowing humanity within the Walls to obtain the Female and Colossal Titans as he opt to abandon Annie (still crystallized within the interior) and focus on capturing Eren, and abandoned Bertolt to be devoured by Armin.
- Turning in the Eldian Restorationists into the Marleyan authorities in the year 832 would result in:
- The Beast Titan's appearance resembles several ape-like cryptids, such as the Sasquatch/Bigfoot, Yeti, and Yowie.
- The Beast Titan is the first Titan fully capable of advanced communication, speaking the human language effortlessly. It also shows greater dexterity and fine-motor control, allowing it to remove Mike Zacharius's gear without damaging it.