Why is Levi so much stronger than Mikasa if they're both Ackermans? I'm really confused because Kenny was just as strong as him, right?
Disclaimer: Considering most of Shingeki no Kyojin takes place in a span of 2-3 months after the 104th’s graduation, that’s where this answer takes place!
Thanks for the ask! Anything any of us have to say about this is really just speculation, but I’ll try to put my two cents into this by taking in a few factors.
What I believe separates their strength lies in experience.
Levi’s never had the luxury of living in an environment where he hasn’t needed to defend himself. From childhood, he’s had to fight off thugs and build up his skills simply to survive. Even though he’s in his early thirties, the only time he hasn’t needed to defend himself was before his mother died, which is was when he was very little.
Not to discredit Mikasa, but she’s lived an arguably simple life when compared to Levi in the sense that she’s had a childhood where she hasn’t needed to exercise her powers. Aside from killing that slave trader, her biggest opponents were neighborhood bullies she fended off for the sake of her cinnamon friends. If there was ever a fight that was truly dangerous (e.t. life and death), she had the option to (literally) pick up her friends and leave.
As for Levi, his only choice was to engage in dangerous situations. Whether it was swiping food from crates or starting a massacre on his opponents, he was forced into these scenarios, thus being given the opportunity to exercise his skills.
And who did he learn these skills from? Well, none other than Kenny Ackerman, the mass murderer. And though Mikasa’s military training is outstanding, at the end of the day, it’s all standard. It’s been suggested she learned more than just standard military training, but we’ll leave that alone considering it doesn’t make much of a difference when comparing to someone being trained by a professional serial killer.
It’s also extremely important to note that Mikasa’s only a single stat behind Levi in both combat and initiative! To be a fifteen year old girl coming straight out of graduation with a sole stat behind Humanity’s Strongest Soldier is pretty damn astonishing. Even if we don’t know what the gap is between those stats, it’s really impressive when we compare it to the other soldiers.
That brings me to my next (but lesser) point. Mikasa is fifteen years old. To expect a fifteen year old girl to be as experienced and skillful as a man in his early thirties is utterly unrealistic, even for Shingeki no Kyojin. She was only twelve three years ago!
So to practically become the right-hand man of Humanity’s Strongest not long after graduating the top of her class is just one of many beautifully perfect demonstrations of how much potential this girl really has.
Mikasa’s realized the effectiveness of Levi’s spinning technique, which shows she’s a good learner. She even looks a little surprised at herself!
If both Levi and Mikasa were to hypothetically live ‘till the end of story, I’ve no doubt she’d catch up to him. I say both of them because if Levi passes down his techniques to her, she’d improve her own skills and techniques at a quicker pace than she would if she were independent. And since Levi already holds high appraisal for her skills, it’d only be beneficial that they’d train together. Mikasa needs a challenge and Levi needs someone close enough to his skill to teach for his own training. Since Mikasa’s a quick-learner, she’d easily make the perfect candidate.
In summary, my perspective is that Levi’s stronger than Mikasa due to age and experience. He’s had more chances than her to practice on his skills and put them to the test in various, unusual scenarios. Mikasa grew up in an environment where she had to learn techniques at the pace of other soldiers, despite her strength and ability to learn quickly.
But I have absolutely no doubt they’ve done some hardcore Ackertraining sessions together between the time-skip in the Uprising Arc. There’s absolutely no reason why they wouldn’t have! :)
Thank you for the question, it was really fun to answer! ^-^
PS: About the Kenny part of your question, it’s been stated that Levi would win between the two of them. I’m pretty sure age has something to do with that.
Rewatched the "went to Jared" moment, and, wow, I was blown away by Jared's expressions. I didn't notice it at first cause I got too caught up with Jensen's comment, but after observing Jared's look, the almost nostalgic smile? Covering his eyes and the little shake of his head, it reveals so much to me. Kind of heart wrenching, I'm so glad they've got each other. Thank you for your blog and all the gifs you use replying us, I cherish them all, such masterpiece!! Have a glorious weekend :))
Hello, dear anon!
Flattery will get you everywhere with me! Just joking, of course, but thank you for the kind words. I had to make gifs of the moment you mentioned in Jared’s point of view, and whoa…
Jared: *You’re such a fool but I love you anyway*
He does look extremely fond and quite embarrassed as well. Do you think Jensen might’ve gone to Jared for Jared? ;) It’s clear from Jared’s face that he’s probably remembering a particularly sweet moment. Or is that just me overanalyzing?
Thank you so much for bringing this in, sweet anon! I honestly hadn’t paid attention to his reaction either. I hope you have a very pleasant weekend ahead of you.
Probably the longest post I'll ever make. And it's about SU :)
Wow. How did I not see this before
- 90% pathetic
- 10% pitiful
=Lar- I mean- hey wait. Ronaldo?
Since they were kids, Ronaldo never minded being an outsider- a weird kid- if it meant discovering something amazing or being apart of something extraordinary.
Lars cared about how others perceived him. Not only that, he wanted people to see him the way he thought he wanted to be seen. In other words, he didn’t mind being the goofy kid, as long as he wasn’t the weird one.
So how big of a moment was the one where Lars and Ronaldo abandoned their friendship?
HUGE. It’s literally shaped who they are. Why else was it so important to show that moment, and then 4 seasons later with Lars and Ronaldo being featured in favorably more episodes that other beach city citizens still continue the SAAAME REPETITIVE GROSS BEHAVIOR?
I think it’s to make a point.
Some people are mean. Some are rude and angry, passive aggressive and just overly negative. But a lot of these things don’t necessarily make people “bad” people. A lot of these traits stem from something. Usually from a place of pain. The reason for that pain never seems relevant when we are faced with people who seem to constantly being negative or rude.
And that’s probably why most people hate Lars and Ronaldo to a point where any character development goes under appreciated because it’s so small, or, because they go back to doing it again.
The thing is, for Lars and Ronaldo, this path started in childhood- the most impressionable years of their lives, of anyone’s lives. The things we experience as kids, no mater how insignificant those things seem later in life, shaped who we are.
For Lars, the fact that Ronaldo invalidated the way he felt about being embarrassed hurt him. His friend, someone he trusted to be himself around, to be honest about his feelings “Oh, come on. Ronnie, you know I can’t let people see me like that.” At some point he had made it clear to Ronaldo he was really uncomfortable with being embarrassed, especially over something he wasn’t actually all that interested in. For a kid like lars, admitting something like that would be difficult.
For Ronaldo, he’s never made it a secrete how important the paranormal was him. It’s his passion, his life. He believed with all his being that the picture he took would be life changing. Who could make fun of him if he had proof? That proof was everything to him, and his friend, probably his only friend, willfully destroyed it -which to him was destroying his young life’s work- for something as petty as caring about others opinion. To him, this was far more important. Or at least that’s what he pretends, because it’s obvious he cares what Lars thinks when Lars yells at him “you wouldn’t say that if you knew what everyone says about you!”
This divide literally carved their paths.
This kind of betrayal of a friend, and then never really be able to keep Friends up to teenage years, really defined them as the people they are.
Lars could never really trust anyone with how he really felt. If his best friend could do that to him, then anyone could betray his trust and dump him as a friend. Constantly being aware of your every action in front of others, afraid of embarrassing yourself or being perceived differently than who your pretending to be, weighs heavy on emotion and mental states. For some, they become people pleasers. Always trying to do the right thing and make everyone happy, even inviting this entire persona in front of family in friends of being happy so they won’t worry about them. For others, it’s the opposite. They create this image that they don’t care about things or are extreme confidant or that expressing emotions are beneath them, though they tend to be quick to anger. This is only a shield, pushing aggression out so not to let bad feelings in. Feelings of inadequacy, disapproval from others, feeling disliked or excluded are all examples of feelings Lars tends to try to reject by lashing out. He cannot accept the being the real him will be enough for the people he wants to like him because he does not like himself. In fact Lars has probably spent so much time as a child to a teenager trying to be someone he’s not, he doesn’t really know who he is. People who experience this tend to have a hard time unlearning their responses to things they interpret as negative. Old habits die hard has never been more true because this is how the brain works. Not all children raised by kind and positive parents become kind and positive, just like kids raised by hateful parents don’t always grow up hateful. There’s always more at work below the surface, but once you start developing a type of behavior, without some sort of intervention to stop that course it basically becomes a natural response. This is why people who can’t take criticism usually turn aggressive. It’s a developed response. One that’s really hard to break. Just like anxiety, anger takes a life of its own. I believe this all holds true for Lars
Ronaldo. The path he took was one where he never wanted to look back, he took the “ betrayal ” in a similar stance as Lars, but with much less anger, and a little more desperation. His best friend turned his back on him, and no one else takes him seriously, so what does he do? He has no interest in becoming friends with anyone, and doesn’t care what others think of him, only “the bigger picture”. As long as he’s in that bigger picture. In the eyes of child Ronaldo, the only way he can prove he was right and Lars was wrong, is if he finds “the truth” and is acknowledged for it. Since nothing is in his way, he’s free to follow leads and dedicate all his time to his pursuit. But this also leave little room for him to grow socially. He has no interest in collaborating his findings with anyone who won’t agree with him, so it ends up not actually being about the truth but rather proving his work was important, and in turn, he was important. Ronaldo felt that Lars thought other people who were not his friend were essentially more important than he was. This would drive him for years to prove that he was, in fact, important. Years of believing this is the only way to prove his self-worth drove Ronaldo to be socially and a little emotionally detached from others. Everything he says feels rehearsed. As if he things he’s in his own movie. Which is common, but especially for people who believe they are the only person actually living. Making everything they believe fact, and everyone else who believes otherwise are ignorant, naive, or opinionated. Which is actually really hard for people like this to grasp. In Ronaldo’s case, his dad seems to belittle him for his interests, which probably only fueled the fire, and then Peedee encourages it… also not good. But in reality, this is how people usually seem to handle others (who are frequently in their lives), like co workers or family, who are consistently condescending and self-important. They ignore it. Encourage it. Humor it. Or avoid it. And those who call you out on it are only met with aggressive protests.
The truth is, aggressive, dismissive and selectively ignorant behavior, once developed, is incredible difficult to break. Any behavior, once developed, is difficult to break. Circumstance, to me, defines everything.
Some think that means making excuses for others poor behaviors, but this isn’t the case. It’s only a step in solving the problems left behind by those behaviors.
This is why cognitive behavioral therapy exists! Once you identify WHY something happens you can work on HOW to do something about it. A person can be called out for being an asshole time and time again but it never seems to change anything. But once an individual understands what moments shaped that behavior, they can address it. It becomes real. And they can work on it. Up until that point they probably won’t even realize they are the ones with the problem. As seen with Ronaldo and Lars.
That is until the New Lars and Rocknaldo.
For Lars we’ve seen a little bit of development here and there, but never actually seems to change. That’s probably because people with behavioral issues like Lars, take a long time to break out of those rituals. This is actually a very accurate betrayal of someone who is an ass, but is confronted with the fact they are an ass, and actually seem to be somewhat remorseful. He wasn’t quite there yet. The New Lars was the “big moment” where Lars realizes he is his own problem, and everything he blamed others on up to that point was probably his own fault, not because he’s actually an unlikable person, but because he made himself that way.
And Ronaldo’s I’d say is pretty accurate too. I mean, it took him THREE weeks to get over Steven calling him out. He didn’t lash out- he passed out but even if he didn’t, he probably would have just cried and have vocalized his self-pity loud enough for everyone to hear, and then go stare into the distance in “angst”. It’s not the first time Ronaldo has gotten criticism, but this time it got to him. And he understood. Because Steven was able to put it in a way that Ronaldo couldn’t deny the facts. He was forced to answer to himself.
Although a lot of people thing these to arcs dragged on way too long, I appreciate them for what they are. In many ways I can identify with both Lars and Ronaldo. I experienced a lot of these observations I’ve discussed both first hand and personally. Which is why I’m so interested in their mentality and the “psychology” of two fictional characters. Whether it was intentional of rebecca sugar to write them quite as complex as I’ve described, I’m not really sure. I could be placing my own narrative by accident, but, because it’s rebecca sugar and Steven universe and there are tons of people like Lars and Ronaldo out there, I’m going to guess it was intentional. And I’m fairly certain we are supposed to dislike both Lars and Ronaldo just so we can see that the reasons we dislike them originally came from a place of innocence and sadness. And probably even loneliness, (which I just realized I meant to include in all this and totally spaced).
Again, sorry I’m a terrible writer. But I love just getting my thoughts out there. Even if I only get 1 like :)
i’m so fascinated by emerald city’s characterization of the wizard as a man driven by this false sense of victim hood, esp within the realm of stem.
like he sees his female boss not giving him extra attention or letting him lead a project and takes it completely personally. he calls jane unkind when as an audience we’ve almost exclusively seen kindness and leadership from her. like all of his freaking issues stem (haha) from thinking he has unrecognized talent and is consistently treated unfairly. karen extends him more courtesy than she needs to and for this he’s completely in unrequited love with her (all his interactions with her reek of him thinking he’s a Nice Guy™).
and the show doesn’t back away from the consequences of his attitude going unchecked. it begins at a point when his mentality has been pushed to an extreme, and starts us in the middle of his honestly horrific persecution of the female driven realm of magic. he commits mass murder directed exclusively towards women who have skills and knowledge that he isn’t privy to, and, to a additional extent, because he can’t control them. like obviously the show is also drawing on science vs. magic as classic theme/dichotomy, but that’s why the scenes with the other kansas scientists are so telling it’s like no, he’s like this around female scientists not just female witches. now that we know a teensy bit more about jane’s history, it seems like he created a niche for her very similar to the cardinal witches. he knows that he needs her and probably understands that she’s more capable and powerful than him, but has put her in such a situation that he can use her skills when necessary, but only on his terms.
and just all this horror stems from jane and karen and that project, and his perceived slight and believing that he isn’t appreciated and included enough. and i can’t help but think about that birb tweet “i am uncomfortable when we are not about me” and just the real villain all along was fragile masculinity in the world of stem.
The artist- especially this one- is a contrarian, and rather perverse -
Instead of first person, prefers to voice themselves in person the third
No matter the topic, no matter how weird-
It’s simply amusing to their mental ear
They find it quite droll that you find it absurd
And by they, naturally it’s inferred it’s the author themselves who’s [un?]disturbed
That anyone should care to the point of being perturbed
Just what voice one may use or how self to self refers…
How Absurd To Self-refer In Narrative Voice Of Person Third…