kenny ackerman

Kenny Ackerman Guide: Kenny the Ripper Attack on Titan Explained

One thing that Attack on Titan has no short of in the slightest is villains. Countless evil people (and titans) are at the crux of the conflict in the harsh fantasy world. Of the villains that exist in Attack on Titan, one of the deadliest is none other than Kenny Ackerman. In this Kenny Ackerman guide, find out about this evil serial killer who is quite close to home.

Kenny Ackerman is a notable villain because, unlike some of the others that happen in the manga and anime series, he has a tight past with one of the main characters in Attack on Titan.

This gives him a more emotional and personal approach, even if his arc in the series isn’t for that long. If you’re ready to learn more about Kenny the Ripper and everything about him, take a look at our Kenny Ackerman guide.

Bottom Line Up Front

Kenny Ackerman is one of the many villains in Attack on Titan. He is mainly only present during the Royal Government Arc where he is one of the core enemies that the Survey Corps have to take on.

Spoiler alert, Kenny Ackerman is also the uncle of Levi Ackerman. He raised Levi for a time before abandoning him. Kenny is also known as Kenny the Ripper, a serial killer who took out many instrumental figures in society. Kenny’s central role in the series is being an antagonistic figure trying to kidnap Eren and Historia.

Kenny Ackerman Overview

Kenny Ackerman
Image from Fandom

You have likely heard of the real-life serial killer, Jack the Ripper, right? Well, it turns out that Attack on Titan has its own version of the infamous real-life villain with Kenny Ackerman. He is one of the fascinating characters in the series since he is far different from most of the other villains.

Everyone else in Attack on Titan is either a prominent political or instrumental figure, or a titan enemy that the main characters have to take on. On the other hand, Kenny Ackerman is a secret serial killer who has his own agenda when it comes to everything.

This makes him much more of a personal enemy for the heroes in Attack on Titan compared to some of the other enemies, especially during the government storyline in the manga and anime. It doesn’t help that he is quite close to a few of the main characters in the Survey Corps, either.

Kenny Ackerman may only be present mainly in a single story arc in the Attack on Titan series, but he leaves an indelible mark on the storyline. In fact, without his presence, there is at least one central plot point that would have never happened, which would have likely changed the entire outcome of the Attack on Titan story. Let’s take a look at all of this and more.


Kenny Ackerman Appearance

Appearance-wise, Kenny Ackerman has a relatively simplistic design choice. Despite being the uncle of a particular other character in the series, Kenny doesn’t look all that much like that specific person. Instead, he seems like a standard grizzled old man with a light beard that covers the side and bottom of his face.

In a way, Kenny Ackerman reminds me a lot of Eren’s father, despite there being no familial relation. He has mostly short-cut hair that goes down to his nape in the back but is rather messy. He wears a suit of armor over his typical pants and a white long-sleeve shirt. This suit is similar to the titan-killing gear that the Survey Corps use.

Lastly, there is the signature hat that Kenny Ackerman wears on his head. This hat adds a bit of stylish flair to the otherwise unassuming but mean-looking middle-aged man.

Key Moments in the Attack on Titan Series

Attack on Titan is a massive manga and anime series, so thankfully, going over Kenny Ackerman’s storyline won’t spoil everything in the series. However, there are a couple of critical points that will be spoiled if you check the next couple of sections.

For one, I will go right ahead and spoil the identity of who Kenny is related to, though this isn’t that big of a deal in reality. In addition, his storyline spoils almost the entirety of an arc in the series and the events that his decisions affect during that time.

If you aren’t caught up with the anime or manga at this time, this is your warning to turn away now, as there will be some major spoilers from now on. Now, let’s take a look.

Kenny the Ripper and Levi

Kenny the Ripper and Levi Attack on Titan Series
Image from Fandom

I have recommended it before on our site, and I am recommending it again: read the manga version or watch the three-part OVA series that follows the origins of Levi Ackerman. It is during this story that you meet Kenny Ackerman for the first time and get to know him on a deeper level.

Plus, you better understand the relationship between Levi and Kenny. Prior to the events of the main series, Kenny Ackerman is a man growing up in the hidden Underground region of the Attack on Titan world. It is here that he takes care of his sister and watches out for her.

Over time, he learns about the world and becomes an infamous serial killer known as Kenny the Ripper. He goes around the Attack on Titan world, massacring hundreds of victims who are in his way. For the most part, it seems that these victims are from the government or military.

He kills well over 100 of them, primarily by slitting their throats, much like the real ripper serial killer. Eventually, though, he tires of this way of life and retires from being a serial killer. He returns to the Underground only to find that his sister is no longer alive.

Kenny Ackerman tries to redeem himself by taking in her newly orphaned son, Levi Ackerman. Oddly enough, Kenny never tells Levi that he is his uncle. Instead, he raises him in the Underground for several years before abandoning him in favor of working a new job.

This leaves Levi to fend for himself, and the two never see each other again for many years until Levi is well into his adulthood and a crucial leader in the Survey Corps.

Kidnapping Eren and Historia

Kidnapping Eren And Historia

During the Royal Government Arc of the Attack on Titan series, Kenny Ackerman finally makes his debut in the core story. It has been likely decades since he has last seen his nephew, but they run into one another again as Kenny the Ripper is on the job to kidnap Eren and Historia.

He infiltrates the Survey Corps and tries to kidnap the two, leading to a drawn-out fight with his nephew. Their reuniting is not a happy one, as the two are trying to take each other out. Levi doesn’t even have the chance to figure out what happened with his uncle as Kenny eventually gets away.

Later on, Kenny is instrumental in succeeding in his goal of kidnapping both Eren Jaeger and Historia Reiss from the Survey Corps. The ultimate goal of Kenny’s mission is to take the Founder’s Titan powers and bring them to the government officials who are in charge of everything.

In the middle of the grand meeting with the kidnapped Eren and Historia with her family, a titan transformation happens, and the entire place comes crumbling down. As a result, everyone dies except for Eren, Historia, and Kenny, who is able to escape the aftermath of the chaos.

Despite surviving the fight, he is heavily wounded to the point of near death. He finds himself a tree to lie against as he begins to draw his final breath. Levi is able to see him at this moment, as Kenny has one of the titan serum vials in his possession.

Kenny could turn himself into a titan with the serum and allow himself to live, despite his mortal wounds. However, he doesn’t use this opportunity to save himself. Instead, he takes this time to tell Levi the truth about who he is and how he is his real blood uncle.

Kenny Passes Away
Image from Fandom

The two make their peace with one another, and at the end of his life, Kenny Ackerman hands the titan serum injection to Levi. They say their goodbyes, and Kenny the Ripper passes away there. But his move in not using the titan serum on himself is a game-changing moment in the story.

Levi getting this serum, instead, allows him to use the vial later to save a certain person’s life in the main story. That person even becomes a major titan figure and plays a massive part in the final segment of the Attack on Titan storyline. It is uncertain how the entire world would be different if Kenny Ackerman hadn’t made that choice.

Special Abilities

There are a couple of special abilities that Kenny Ackerman has. Both of these have to do with his status as Kenny the Ripper. The first is his knack for killing which has allowed him to be such an influential serial killer. In addition, there is also his ability to survive at all costs that have served him so well in his missions.

A Knack for Killing

A Knack For Killing
Image from Fandom

First off, there is the expertise that Kenny Ackerman has for killing people. The readers and viewers don’t have the opportunity to see Kenny take out any titans much, but it seems he has a knack for using the gear that the Survey Corps use to eliminate them.

As such, it is possible that he is also great at killing titans if he had tried to. That said, there is no doubt that he is one of the best serial killers in the world. He is able to infiltrate, sneak around, and use whatever it takes to get to his target and take them out.

This is why he is so infamous, with hundreds of targets that he has eliminated in the past. This even carries over to his ability to kidnap Eren and Historia in the story. His expertise in stealth and infiltration serves him well in killing and kidnapping people.

Survival Techniques

Kenny Survival Techniques
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The other primary unique ability that Kenny Ackerman has is his survival technique. There are few survivors out there that are as impressive or skilled as he is. Despite being a middle-aged man in the Attack on Titan series, he is consistently able to retreat, escape, and win in his fights.

Before he even showed up in the series, though, he did the same for many years as Kenny the Ripper. He had no problem surviving every mission and target that he went after. He was able to take them out with ease and stay long enough to tell the tale and earn his reward.

He did this hundreds of times with an unbelievable amount of success. This even happens in Attack on Titan, where he is able to escape or win every fight that he is seen in, including with his own nephew. He is even one of the only survivors to make it out of the collapse when the meeting happens with the kidnapped Eren and Historia.

He could have survived further after the fact, but the only reason that he doesn’t is that he chooses to. Without a doubt, he is one of the best survivors in the entire Attack on Titan universe.

Anime Voice Actor

Kenny Ackerman Anime Voice Actor
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If you happen to watch the Attack on Titan anime rather than read the manga or, in addition to it, you will hear one of two voices for Kenny Ackerman. I recommend you do it as the AoT anime is quite excellent and arguably better than the manga at sometimes conveying complex parts.

That said, the two voices for Kenny will depend on if you watch the English dub or the original Japanese version. I have said it before, and I will repeat it: avoid the English dub of this anime if you can unless you need it. It is lackluster, even for an English dub.

That said, the voice of Kenny in this series isn’t that bad. Phil Parson, an underrated English voice actor, voices him. He doesn’t have a ton of iconic roles, but some of the ones I recommend are Nappa from Dragon Ball Z, Klaus from Blood Blockade Battlefront, and Yomo from Tokyo Ghoul.

On the other hand, the Japanese voice of Kenny Ackerman is Kazuhiro Yamaji. You can hear Kazuhiro in some of his iconic roles, including Henry (the elegant guy) in Spy x Family, Hit in Dragon Ball Super, and Darth Maul in the Japanese version of most Star Wars series and movies.

Key Relationships

Kenny Ackerman Mum
Image from Fandom

Only a few key relationships that Kenny Ackerman has are shown in the Attack on Titan series. Most of them are offscreen, such as the case with his sister, also known as Levi’s mom. That said, he has a minor relationship with both Eren and Historia.

He is both of their enemies in the Attack on Titan manga and anime series, going after them for a mission he is tasked with. He antagonizes both of these main characters. That said, it does seem like he at least somewhat tried to be friendly in his engagements with them, despite being on opposite sides of the fight.

However, the primary relationship for Kenny Ackerman is with his nephew, Levi. He is a deadbeat uncle, abandoning the young boy and not doing much to help him after the fact. Even when he shows up in the main story, he is an enemy of Levi’s. Though he tries to be good to him in the end, Kenny and Levi’s relationship is as problematic as it gets with family.


Question: Who is Kenny Ackerman to Levi?

Answer: Kenny Ackerman is Levi’s uncle in Attack on Titan. However, Levi doesn’t know this for most of his life and simply assumes that Kenny is his deadbeat parental figure who abandoned him. Thankfully, he finds out the truth before it is too late.

Question: Is Kenny related to Mikasa?

Answer: It is, technically, never confirmed, but Kenny Ackerman is likely related to Mikasa. After all, Kenny is Levi’s uncle, and we already know that Levi and Mikasa are related to one another, potentially as cousins. However, this matters little in the overall scheme of things for Mikasa’s story.

Question: Did Kenny Ackerman become a titan?

Answer: No, Kenny Ackerman didn’t become a titan in the end. This is a spoiler, but he decided to give the titan serum to his nephew, Levi and chose to die instead of trying to survive once more.

Find Out More About the Ackerman Family

Kenny Ackerman is a disgrace to the Ackerman family. He takes the immense power and talent that he has and uses it almost entirely for evil. That is why he is seen murdering people as Kenny the Ripper in the past. When, in reality, he could have been using his power for good.

If you want to see some Attack on Titan characters who use their talent to save the world, look no further than the other members of the Ackerman family who are related to Kenny. I recommend learning more about Levi Ackerman, Kenny’s nephew and one of the greatest titan killers in Attack on Titan.

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