The “Ackerbond”, Mikasa and the Guidebook Interviews
Thank you @ningen-suki, @fuku-shuu, @yusenki and @suniuz for making the new Guidebook translations available to us. I feel like we’ve gotten a backstage pass into Isayama’s thinking. And as a person who spends a lot of time trying to decipher what he’s thinking, the interviews are a gift.
This thing with the Ackermans and their bond is especially fascinating to me. It’s something we’d long speculated about, so it’s nice to have clarification.
In chapter 65 of the manga we learned that the Ackerman clan traditionally served the king. They were “the royal government’s sword and shield” (source). Now, from the interviews, we have confirmation that when an Ackerman meets their special person, their “Liege”, it can trigger an instinctive desire to work with and protect that person. Certain Ackermans can unleash great power in that person’s behalf.
But when Isayama concepted the whole Ackerbond, he may not have been thinking about the real world implications, he may have only been thinking ‘how cool to have this powerful bloodline of knights who bond with their Liege!’.
In the case of Levi and Kenny, it made sense. They were adult men with life experience who made a choice to follow the person they deemed higher than themselves. But what happens when a traumatized 9 year old child makes that same lifelong commitment to another person? How do you develop that person as an individual while still respecting that bond? That’s the corner Isayama has painted himself into. That’s the conundrum he’s facing.
Thinking about this from an in-story perspective, the pre-wall Ackermans probably had measures in place to prevent “ackerbonds” from forming until the child reached a certain stage of development, but with the bloodline decimated and scattered, no such safeguards were in place.
In describing Mikasa’s bonding experience, Isayama said:
“When [her parents] were killed, the world she had believed in utterly crumbled, and Mikasa was awakened under those circumstances - losing all of her innocence in the process. At that time Eren allowed her to discover renewed value again, like that of a newborn bird’s first glimpse at a grown one - it was that kind of admiration and trust. Thus, she swore to follow Eren. However, Eren was actually even more childish than Mikasa.” (source: fuku-shuu).
Isayama now realizes the issues with this. He is considering a separation so Mikasa can develop individually, but knows that is something canon Mikasa wouldn’t want. Nor may the readers.
“I think it is pitiful if Mikasa’s life is only about staying together with Eren. However to Mikasa, it is a wonderful thing to be with Eren forever. Combining what I’ve said, if I were to draw the separation of Eren and Mikasa, I feel like my portrayal likely won’t be satisfactory for readers.” (source: @suniuz )
I want Mikasa to grow as a person. One of my chief complaints with this series has been my frustration with her lack of development.
I love “eremika” as well. And I don’t think anything will permanently shake their bond. Eren has promised “I will wrap this scarf around you again and again forever”, and Mikasa has said she would live to remember him.
But a temporary separation could be a healthy and interesting development for both of them. So I’m very interested to see what route Isayama takes.
For one: touch-starved!Derek. I love fics that deal with touch-starved people. Secondly, this is a dark fic with a happy ending (as in, it’s an emotional rollercoaster) and I legitimately cried when I first read. This one holds a special place in my heart
Another character study! But this time it’s of Stiles and his low self-esteem. This fic is very special to me because it reminds me of myself and I relate to this so much that I cry every time I read it
Anyone who follows me probably knows I have a giant weakness for bottom!Derek with a praise kink and this hits that just right. It’s very in character and the fact that Stiles was so accomodating gives me hope for the rest of humanity
This is the kind of fic that makes me want to be better. Everything about this is writing goals to me, the plot line, the writing style, the general feeling of hopelessness and melancholy it gives off. It’s absolutely perfect
What do you mean by saying they may separate? What is Isayama implying? :0
Isayama made some vague and confusing statements about Eren and Mikasa in his Guidebook interview. I said I wasn’t going to meta this. Oh well. Here’s my thoughts;
Confusing Statement #1
“Mikasa’s growth probably involves separation from Eren. By separation, I mean she might be able to return to that ordinary girl that she used to be in childhood.”
This one I understand. Unlike Kenny and Levi who found their Liege as adults, Mikasa became bound to Eren as a very young child. I can see where this is a bit of a problem. Protecting Eren, being close to him, has been her #1 priority since she was 9 years old. Isayama may be saying she needs to grow as a person apart from him. This may involve a natural evolution like we are already seeing. Already she’s less clingy, more trusting. But maybe more needs to happen for Mikasa to find her balance.
Ultimately, Levi was able to let Erwin go. Would Mikasa ever be able to do that? I know I’ve reblogged this image three times, but I think Hange’s words have special meaning for Mikasa. Someday Mikasa will lose Eren. She needs to face that reality.
Confusing Statement #2
“I think it is pitiful if Mikasa’s life is only about staying together with Eren. However to Mikasa, it is a wonderful thing to be with Eren forever. Combining what I’ve said, if I were to draw the separation of Eren and Mikasa, I feel like my portrayal likely won’t be satisfactory for readers.”
I agree that it’s pitiful if Mikasa’s life is only about being with Eren. She’s more than that. She’s her own person. She needs to develop independently.
I guess it’s like that adage “if you love someone set them free”. It would be ideal for them to separate, grow a little and get to know themselves as individuals. At that point, they’d be in a better position to decide if they should be together forever.
最後に使わなかったのは100%私情 “Levi’s desire to inject Erwin seemed borderline duty/personal. In terms of priority, Erwin is the obvious choice. Deciding not to inject him in the end was 100% Levi’s selfishness.”
先の展開が怖 “Come to think of it, EMA haven’t sacrificed anything the way the narrative requires everyone to do. Armin sacrificed his humanity in a way, Erwin sacrificed his own life, Levi sacrificed his liege. Only those who make sacrifices are the ones who can achieve anything in the end. Isayama said he’s not going to allow EMA to stay friends anyway. I’m getting scared of future developments.”
Manufactured in Liège c.~1900 - no serial number. 5,75mm Velodog five-round cylinder, double action, folding trigger, no loading gate but a sliding cylinder axle. It’s somewhat uncommon to find a Velodog with an exposed hammer, as these guns were used as pocket revolvers by cyclist to fend off various toothy animals and as such were built not to snag on anything.
‘Your hands are the first things I will have them take, for hitting him. I’ll make them leave your eyes though, so you can watch me spit down on your grave. I’m not your hostage anymore, Jelco. I’m your liege. Deny me again, and I will use the full strength of Land Simms to step on you like the sycophantic bug you are’.
I think it's pretty normal that people think Levi will die or that he will take his own life. He believe in peace after death and in heaven, he doesn't have his liege anymore..
I admit I believed Levi would keep living after Erwin’s death once, but that definitely changed when this chapter and Isayama’s ANSWERS came out. Re-thinking about the moment Levi and Mikasa reached their respective ackerpower climax, I realized something.
Mikasa was ready to die. She didn’t regain her strenght and will to live/fight out of nowhere. It happened only and exclusively because Eren, her “liege”, told her to. “Live!”, “Fight!” were a sort of “command”, definitely a promise in Mikasa’s pov and are the exact equivalent of Levi’s vow to Erwin, “I’ll kill the beast titan”. When Kenny’s “service” to Uri and his goal to see what Uri saw/reunite with Uri were shattered through Rod, the reaction was this one:
Kenny’s character, previously defined by self entertainment and rampage, became the embodyment of tiredness and took a sudden diversion towards death.
Isayama explicitly said that an Ackerman’s bond with their “liege” is the source of their strenght. Erwin was Levi’s battery. “He’s getting weaker” is not the same as “He’s got weak”. Japanese fans collectively agree about the strange wording and its ominous meaning. Unless Levi suddenly got weak for something that sounds like “he simply had to be weak for Mikasa to easily overpower him”, the reason should be clear.
I am highly curious about the billdip relationship in your gem universe AU. Like how did they meet and why are they still together in this one.
Bill is Yellow Diamond! However, he is in the role of White Diamond in the Diamond Authority, with Kryptos and Pyronica as Blue and Pink respectively. White Diamond is what the diamonds all together should, technically, fuse into. Pink Diamond is still alive; it’s a bit complicated to go into how I follow the three-diamonds thing and still keep to the canon.
Dipper is a moonstone and part of Bill’s personal entourage. Moonstone’s are decorative foot soldiers–ranked a tiny bit higher than a Ruby because they’re meant to be a sort of mix between Pearls and lesser quartzes. They’re designed to show off the wealth and status of their liege by being lovely gems mass-produced, perfect and shiny, and their ability to fight fairly well makes them expensive, but they’re still considered decoration same as Pearls. Just a little higher class. Sunstones, conversely, are decorative healers. Dipper was taken into Bill’s court and Bill was impressed by his devotion, which was beyond the norm, as well as his fighting skills, which was also beyond the norm. Bill made Dipper part of his personal group of bodyguards/servants, and told Dipper to learn to die for him.
Well, Dipper wound up falling in love with him much the same way Pearl fell in love with Rose. Bill found his personality amusing, liked his jokes, and kept him nearby at all times, and Dipper became even more devoted to his Diamond than Jasper to hers. Bill caught on and thought it was amusing, and liked to play Dipper’s emotions.
Then Rose shattered him.
Dipper joined the Crystal Gems specifically to guard Bill’s tomb (the temple in Serious Steven) and so they wouldn’t kill him, and also because Mabel was with them. He respects Steven and agrees with the rebellion’s ideals but he will NEVER forgive Rose Quartz for shattering Yellow Diamond (he is well aware she isn’t Steven and does not hold Steven to a single standard he led Rose to, which is why Steven feels so much more comfortable being vulnerable with Dipper, because he doesn’t resent him for Rose being gone or think he needs to be Rose.
Steven, Dipper and Mabel together actually wind up bringing Bill back by accident, but his gem is still fractured and only because he’s an immensely powerful Diamond has he not broken into pieces. A couple things happen that result in him realizing it’s better to cast his lot with the Crystal Gems rather than Homeworld, but his plot is still to back stab the Gems and take back his throne up until Dipper starts to change his mind to things, and a few events open his eyes to the things he’s done wrong–and he starts to actually fall in love with Dipper.
Manufactured by Charles Ph. Clément in Liège, Belgium c.1907-1908 - serial number 2896. 6,35mm/.25ACP 6-round magazine, blowback semi automatic, vulcanite grip. An overall of the M1903 pistol, the M1907 was smaller, simpler, and used a more reliable round than its predecessor. It was however discontinued almost immediately as its successor the M1908 came out.
Clement M1903 pistol showing its 5mm Clement 8-rounds magazine.
Manufactured by Liégeois armourer Charles Ph. Clément c.1903-1908 in Belgium - serial number 7733. 5x18mm Clément - originally
Charola y Anitua
- 8-rounds removable box magazine, blowback semi-automatic. An early semi-automatic pistol, similar to the FN Browning 1900 in some ways. Its descendant the M1907 will do away with the Clement cartridge and adopt the .25ACP and .32ACP rounds.
The 5mm Clement cartridge was a Mauser pistol copy much like the Charola y Anitua pistol, but was not well stabilized in flight. As such it tumbled a lot, but this somehow didn’t impair the pistol’s sales.