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Area 88 Pilots and Staff
Area 88 Itself
An air force base controlled by Asran pro-monarchy forces, housing Asran's foreign legion.
- Abandoned Area: In manga issues that did not make it stateside, Area 88 is temporarily abandoned. After Farina's nuclear weapon goes off near Area 88, the pilots and staff are relocated to a mountain base. Later in the manga, however, it is reoccupied.
- Crapsack World: It's a military base with a high casualty rate at the front line of a civil war. Shin, who is bound to Area 88 through involuntary servitude, feels this especially.
- Setting as a Character: Area 88 looms large over the mercenary characters. In the manga and OVA, several characters speak of Area 88 as if it were an entity.
- Small Secluded World: Area 88 is isolated from the outside world, and thus little information seeps in or out.
- Thirsty Desert: Area 88 is located in the middle of the Asran desert.
He's a badass once he gets on a fighter.
A young man trained as a commercial pilot by Yamato Airlines. His dreams of becoming a commercial pilot are crushed when his "friend" Kanzaki tricks him into signing a three-year mercenary contract with the Asran air force.
- The Ace / Ace Pilot: He's the most formidable fighter pilot at Area 88.
- Action Survivor: Shin became a mercenary against his will and was forced to hone his skills to survive the Asran civil war.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: He has blond hair in the manga and TV series, but brown hair in the OVA.
- Adventures in Comaland: In the manga, Shin is rendered unconscious after his jet crashes. While dreaming, he sees Hoover's spirit beckoning him, but Shin cannot follow Hoover because he can't move his legs. Shin wakes up in the infirmary of Farina's land carrier.
- Ambiguous Disorder: In all continuities, he's depressed due to his involuntary servitude at Area 88.
- In the OVA, his melancholy is so powerful that has a crying jag in private. Later in the OVA, he finds himself emotionally numb, even after traumatic events such as Jess' mercy kill.
- In the manga, he suffers from a brief psychotic episode and has to be confined to a cell until he recovers. Throughout the manga, he's prone to angry (albeit justified) outbursts, such as when he slams his fists down on a box due to being unable to help with Area 88's defense (as his legs were broken).
- In the 2004 TV anime, Shin speaks only when necessary and has a blunted affect. He's socially awkward, as seen in flashbacks from his student pilot days with Kanzaki and Ryoko. Moreover, he's aloof and standoffish with the other pilots at Area 88, and is only slightly less so with friends such as Kim and Mickey.
- Angst: In the early parts of the manga and OVA, Shin is disgusted at being a killer and reluctant to identify as a mercenary. As the story progresses, the horrors of war change him.
- Arrested for Heroism: In the OVA, he stops a robbery by throwing a knife into the robber's sholder. He spends a night in a Paris jail for his trouble.
- Badass: He's Area 88's number one pilot because of his combat skills, focus, and tenacity. During his deployment alongside Laurent Bosch in the manga, he also demonstrated combat skill on the ground. Finally, his encounter with Paris thugs in the OVA also shows that he's fearless and skilled with knives.
- Berserk Button: Kanzaki, particularly in the manga and OVA.
- Bishōnen: He's youthful and handsome.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Although in later manga issue that did not make it stateside he meets relatives he didn't know he had: Hachibei Kaionji, his grandfather, and Misuzu, his cousin.
- Cosmic Plaything: He especially felt like this in the OVA, when he accidentally retuned to Area 88 after his aircraft was shot down. He'd spent days trying to hike away from the base. In a conversation with McCoy in the manga, he darkly remarked that God has nothing to give them but bullets.
McCoy: I wonder what God is thinking. I don't know anymore.
Shin: It's easy. God gives hope to people, courage to men, love to women, future to children, and comfort to old people. And to vultures like us, God gives lead bullets.
- Depending on the Writer: In the manga and OVA, Shin is sociable and develops warm relationships with others at Area 88. In the TV anime, he speaks only when necessary and is aloof from the other pilots, only developing shallow ties to Mickey and Kim.
- Determinator: In the manga and OVA, he is fiercly determined to leave Area 88 alive. He survives multiple jet crashes, bullet wounds, and being stranded in the desert, all so that he can return to Japan. Subverted when he leaves Area 88, then decides to return.
- Dissonant Laughter / Laughing Mad: In the penultimate issue of the manga, Shin is so emotionally overwhelmed by the deaths of Saki, Mickey, and Sela that he starts laughing hysterically. His laughter makes Kim extremely uncomfortable. He returns to his senses when Kanzaki contacts him.
- Dissonant Serenity: In the OVA, when confronted by three Paris thugs, Shin just smiles. He remains calm as he snatches a knife from one of the thugs and hurls it into a robber's shoulder. The thugs are completely unnerved.
- Drowning My Sorrows: The TV series hints that he does this privately. In the manga, he drinks heavily to cope with his war trauma after leaving Area 88 and returning to Paris.
- Easily Forgiven: In the manga, he menaces a civilian plane, strikes Saki, and attacks Mickey during a brief psychotic episode. His actions would be grounds for a court martial in any other military, but he's released from a holding cell at Area 88 without charges once his psychosis subsides. Mickey and Saki quickly forgive him, even though the blow he dealt to Saki's head damaged Saki's eyesight and would later require Saki to seed medical attention abroad. To boot, Ryoko isn't troubled by the fact that her boyfriend shot at the civilian plane she and her friends were on.
- Easy Amnesia: In the end of the manga, where head trauma causes him to forget everything surrounding Area 88 and hit the relationship reset button with Ryoko.
- Glass Cannon: In the manga, Shin deals a nasty blow to Saki's head while in the throes of temporary psychosis. However, Mickey floors Shin with one punch. In manga issues that did not make it stateside, Mickey punched Shin again after Shin returned to Area 88. One punch from Mickey sent Shin to the floor.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Mickey in the OVA and manga. The two often spend time together, confront crises together, and demonstrate great concern and loyalty toward each other.
- Subverted when Shin returns to Area 88 in manga issues that didn't make it stateside. Mickey's first reaction upon seeing Shin back at Area 88 is to punch his old friend in the face. Afterwards, they spend less time together than they did earlier in the manga.
- Highly Conspicuous Uniform: He wears a bright orange flightsuit in the OVA, a blue flightsuit in the TV series, and a red flightsuit in the arcade game. In the desert, he'd stick out like a sore thumb.
- I Just Want To Be Free: Shin desperately wants to be free from his involuntary servitude in Asran's foreign legion.
- Kubrick Stare: He gives one to Saki during a bout of temporary psychosis in the manga.
- Meaningful Name: Shin means "true" in Japanese, while Kazama derives from kaze, meaning "wind". Thus, his name roughly translates "the true wind", an appropriate name for a pilot.
- My Girl Back Home: Ryoko.
- Parental Abandonment: Shin is an orphan who was raised at a Catholic orphanage. In later issues of the manga that did not make it stateside, we learn that Kanzaki's mother was responsible for his parents' deaths.
- Peeka Bangs: He sports HUGE bangs, which usually cover one eye.
- Real Men Get Shot: Several times in the manga.
- Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: In manga issues that did not make it stateside, Shin leaves Ryoko before their wedding to stop Kanzaki and Project 4 back in Asran. After an aerial duel with Kanzaki, Shin has amnesia and cannot remember the events of the previous few years. His amnesia serves as a relationship reset button with Ryoko, who reunited with him.
- Reluctant Warrior: He finds war senseless and ugly and only serves at Area 88 because Kanzaki tricked him into signing a mercenary contract.
- Secretly Wealthy: In the manga, while Shin is serving as a mercenary in Bambara, Nadato Balla Homme gives him access to a Swiss Bank account before his death. This makes Shin very wealthy, and he uses his wealth to quietly undermine Project 4.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: In the manga and OVA, Shin is emotionally scarred from his time at Area 88.
- Shirtless Scene: Gets a few throughout the manga.
- Took a Level in Badass: In the OVA. In a flashback, an Asranian recruiter throws Shin to the floor in a Paris bar. Later in the OVA, however, Shin not only unnerves a trio of thugs, but stops a robbery by throwing a knife into a robber's shoulder.
- Trauma Conga Line: He's betrayed by his best friend, cheated out of a bright future with Yamato Airlines, compelled to serve as a mercenary in a war that disgusts him, kept thousands of miles away from his girlfriend, and forced to cope with the deaths of friends while at Area 88.
- What the Hell, Hero?: In manga issues that did not make it stateside, Shin returns to Area 88 after briefly living in Paris and Tokyo. Mickey, who had observed Shin's angst during his first mercenary deployment, is so angry that he punches Shin in the face.
- Shin also abandons Ryoko in the OVA and manga. In manga issues that did not make it stateside, Sela even questions him about it when he returned to Area 88.
- You Can't Go Home Again: In the OVA series, where he forgoes a chance at reuniting with Ryoko in order to go back to Area88.
Someone has a secret.
A former U.S. navy pilot and a Vietnam War veteran who became a mercenary pilot at Area 88 because he had trouble adjusting to civilian life.
- Ace Pilot: Second only to Shin at Area 88. He honed his combat skills as a Navy pilot in the Vietnam War.
- Affably Evil: Even though he's a mercenary who has no moral qualms about killing for pay or taking part in an ugly war, he's very friendly and talkative.
- Ambiguous Disorder: After returning home from the Vietnam War, Mickey was emotionally numb and disconnected from the world around him. In the manga, his startle reflex was heightened, such as when he looked up in alarm as a plane passed overhead while in New York. In the 2004 TV series, he has serious anger issues, illustrated by his violence toward Makoto Shinjou and his angry response to Kim's question during dinner. His symptoms are consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), even though he's never diagnosed with PTSD.
- Ambiguously Gay: In the TV series, he's seen reading Playgirl magazine.
- Awesome but Impractical: Mickey quickly discovers that his F-14 Tomcat, while formidable in combat, is a ridiculously expensive gas hog. In the OVA, he's shocked when McCoy hands him an exorbitant maintenance bill for his F-14. In the TV anime, when Area 88 is running dangerously low on fuel, Saki and Roundel exclude him from a high-stakes mission because his F-14 uses too much fuel.
- Badass: He's one of the most formidable fighter pilots at Area 88. In addition to being a skilled fighter pilot, he's devastating when he uses physical attacks. Twice in the manga, he floors Shin with one punch. In the 2004 TV anime, one punch from Mickey sends Makoto Shinjou flying.
- Battle Couple: With Sela in latter issues of the manga that did not make it stateside.
- Beleaguered Bureaucrat: In the manga, Mickey becomes an executive at his father's company after the Vietnam war. He was initially stressed out, although whether this was due to inexperience or untreated war trauma is unclear.
- Beta Couple: With Sela.
- Broken Ace: Despite his skill as a fighter pilot and his friendly exterior, Mickey is a broken man. The Vietnam War left him with PTSD, which prevented him from leading a happy life back in New York. Convinced that he could not live without war, he abandoned a life of privilege to fight at Area 88.
- Character Exaggeration: He's bolder and angrier in the TV series than in other adaptations.
- Consummate Professional: For a soldier of fortune, Mickey has a strong professional code. In the manga, he is loyal to his fellow pilots and politely turns down Rishar's offer to join the anti-government forces.
Rishar: Will you fight for me?
Rishar: What's so funny, Mick?
Mickey: Don't underestimate me. I'm a professional soldier! We have our own strict code of conduct, like all professionals, and we have contracts, contracts that can't be broken, no matter what.
- The Cynic: He's very cynical about war and peace in the manga. In a conversation with Shin, he explains that Switzerland, a militarily neutral country, was at one time a source of mercenary troops. In a conversation with Rishar, he claims that leaders attribute wars to fate because they are unable to articulate real reasons for starting wars.
Mickey: If you look into their origins, you find that most wars aren't begin for specific reasons. You're always left wondering if there couldn't have been a better solution. Then, in the end, you decide it was just fate. That's the excuse everyone uses.
- Depending on the Artist: He has a more masculine face and athletic build in the TV series than in the manga or OVA.
- Depending on the Writer: In the manga and OVA, Mickey is cheerful and friendly without being overbearing, and his angst is mostly internalized. In the 2004 TV anime, he's loud, overbearing, and has serious anger issues.
- Drink Order: In a flashback, he and his father drink martinis to celebrate his return home from Vietnam.
- Even Mercenaries Have Standards: He's shocked when he learns that Saki wants to use nuclear weapons against the anti-government forces in the manga.
- Easily Forgiven: In the manga, after Shin is incarcerated in a holding cell during his psychosis, Mickey warns Saki not to execute Shin, lest Saki experience an "accident" during combat. Saki has little reaction to a pilot under his command threatening his life, and Mickey would remain his trusted comrade for the remainder of the manga.
- Forceful Kiss: Used for comedic effect in manga that did not make it stateside. McCoy secures a new F-14 Tomcat for Mickey after his previous F-14 was shot down. Mickey is so overjoyed that he grabs McCoy and tries to kiss him. McCoy is not amused.
- He also did this to Sela to show his feelings for her, with ambivalent results. A gentler kiss between the two later in the manga went much better.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: In the TV anime. He punches Makoto Shinjou for taking photographs of an injured pilot in the first episode. He also barks at Kim during dinner after Shin had been shot down.
- Highly Conspicuous Uniform: He wears a purplish-blue flightsuit in the TV series and an indigo flightsuit in the OVA and arcade game. Needless to say, in the desert he would NOT blend in.
- The Lancer: He's Shin's best friend and wingman, and his gregarious temperament is in sharp contrast to Shin's melancholy personality.
- Last Kiss: In the manga, Sela kisses him before they're both killed in an explosion.
- Manly Tears: After Nguyen's death in manga that did not make it stateside.
- Messenger: In the manga, Mickey is briefly captured by anti-government forces, but Rishar sends him back to Area 88 with a message for Saki.
- Minor Injury Overreaction: In the manga, Mickey is shot down and wakes up in an anti-government base infirmary. He bumped his head during the crash, and is VERY unhappy about his headache.
Mickey: WHO'S RUNNING AN ELECTRIC SHAVER INSIDE MY SKULL!?
- Muscles Are Meaningless: In the manga, Mickey is surprisingly strong for a slender man. When Shin lashes out due to temporary psychosis, Mickey floors him with one punch. In a later issue of the manga that did not make it stateside, Mickey does it again. Angered by Shin's return to Area 88, Mickey punches Shin, who immediately falls to the floor. Of course, Shin might just be a Glass Cannon.
- In the manga, Shin and Mickey are taken captive aboard Farina's land carrier. Shin's legs were broken during a jet crash, so Mickey carriers Shin atop his shoulders at length, seemingly without difficulty or discomfort.
- The One That Got Away: Tracy. He and Tracy broke off their engagement when Mickey decided that he could not live a civilian life.
- Phenotype Stereotype: A tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed American.
- Progressively Prettier: Compare the way he looks in the very first issue of the manga to the way he looks a few issues later. He's noticeably more youthful-looking.
- Returning War Vet: After the Vietnam war, he returns to civilian life back in New York.
- Second Love: Sela, in the manga.
- '70s Hair: He styles his hair into a pompadour.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Mickey served in the Vietnam war and had difficulty acclimating to civilian life afterwards.
- Shirtless Scene: Gets a few of these in the manga. Hot damn.
- Shockingly Expensive Bill: In the OVA, Mickey is stunned when McCoy hands him an exorbitant maintenance bill for his F-14. McCoy reminds him that an F-14 is expensive to maintain.
- Stepford Smiler: Type A with shades of type C. He veils his war trauma, cynicism, and regret with a friendly exterior.
- Taking the Bullet: Toward the end of the manga, Mac shoots at Sela during aerial combat. Mickey flies between the two, and his jet takes the bullets intended for Sela's aircraft.
- There Are No Therapists: After the Vietnam War, he never got help for his war trauma, making it difficult for him to adjust to civilian life. Not helped by the fact that everyone around him (except Tracy) was oblivious to his trauma.
- Together in Death: With Sela near the end of the manga.
- Undying Loyalty: To Shin in the manga. He has come between Shin and death on multiple occasions, both in aerial combat and on the ground. When the Enforcers threatened Shin, Mickey was by Shin's side, ready to defend him. When Shin was shot down by Farina's land carrier, Mickey immediately flew out to look for Shin, getting shot down and taken captive in the process.
- Wingman: To Shin and Saki, but he's a formidable pilot in his own right.
English Voice Actor: Rob Mungle
A boisterous Danish fighter pilot who serves at Area 88.
English Voice Actor: Andy McAvin
An elderly arms dealer who secures arms and supplies for Area 88, sometimes through dubious means.
- Affably Evil: He's an arms dealer who uses underhanded tactics to get his hands on wares. He cares only about money, indifferent to the moral implications of his work. In the OVA, he also sold defective Sidewinders to Boris and tried to sell them to Shin. In spite of this, he's friendly and grandfatherly to the pilots, especially Shin. The manga and OVA show him bringing Shin a case of ramen noodles after a business trip and gathering information on Kanzaki for him.
- Ambiguously Jewish / Greedy Jew: He has a large nose and cares only about money, thereby fitting the stereotype. Although, given the name, he may be a Scotsman.
- Arms Dealer: He sells fighter jets, weapons, and sundries to Area 88.
- Characterization Marches On: Early in the manga and OVA, he's indifferent to the safety of his customers, such as when he sells defective Sidewinders to Boris. As the manga progresses, he shows concern for the pilots and shares his melancholy thoughts about their deaths.
- Cool Old Guy: He's a friendly (if amoral) old man with a sense of humor.
- Easily Forgiven: When McCoy sells defective Sidewinders, neither Boris nor Shin report him to their superiors, even though his actions endangered Boris. The incident is quickly forgotten, and Shin never brings it up again.
- Evil Old Folks: Despite being a jovial old man, McCoy is still an amoral arms dealer profiting from a bloody civil war.
- A Grandfather to His Men: As his character became more fleshed out, he shows genuine warmth for the pilots at Area 88.
- Honest John's Dealership: He sells merchandise to make the maximum profit possible. Early in the series, he even sold defective sidewinders.
- Knowledge Broker: McCoy serves as this to Shin in all continuities. In the manga and OVA, he provides Shin with information about Kanzaki and Yamato Airlines. In the TV anime, he provides Shin with tidbits about Makoto Shinjou's real mission in exchange for money.
- Manly Tears: In manga that didn't make it stateside, he's on the verge of tears when Shin signs a new mercenary contract at Area 88.
- The Scrounger: He tracks down elite fighter jets, as well as other supplies, for Area 88. In the manga, he brags that he can get someone the Kremlin if they have enough money.
Japanese Voice Actor: Masashi Hirose (OVA); Haramaki Koji (TV anime)
A veteran of the British Royal Navy, an instructor for pilots in Asran's foreign legion, and Saki's second-in-command.
- The Alcoholic: In manga that didn't make it stateside, Sela notes that Roundel is fond of alcohol.
- Badass Grandpa: Even in his autumn years, Roundel is a skilled fighter pilot.
- The Consigliere: To Saki.
- Eyepatch of Power: He wears an eyepatch over one eye, although it doesn't affect his performance in aerial combat.
- Eyes Always Shut
- The Mentor: In the OVA and manga that didn't make it stateside, Roundel is an instructor for new fighter pilots.
- Number Two: To Saki in the TV anime.
English Voice Actress: Serena Varghese
A young, enthusiastic fighter pilot who serves at Area 88.
- Bishōnen: One of the most youthful and androgynous-looking male characters in the series.
- Child Soldier: In the manga, he is sixteen years old when he arrives at Area 88.
- Cross-Dressing Voices: Although Kim is a young man, he is voiced by women in the Japanese and English versions of the TV series.
- Never Bare Headed: Well, rarely bare-headed. He wears a turban in the TV series and a beret in the manga, at least when not wearing his flight helmet during combat.
- The Reveal: In manga issues that did not make it stateside, it's revealed that he's a son of the Bambara presidential family.
- Sudden Principled Stand: In manga that did not make it stateside, Kim is very unhappy after Nguyen shoots an enemy pilot who ejected. Toward the end of the manga, he also prevents Saki from shooting a disoriented Abdael, arguing that Abdael is still Saki's parent.
- They Really Do Love Each Other: Despite their mutual teasing, Kim and Sela do care about each other. Near the end of the manga, Sela hugs Kim when he returns safely from Asran City. She kisses him on the cheek before leaving for her last mission before her death. Judging from the look on his face, Kim was deeply affected by the kiss.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Strawberry jam, in the manga.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Sela in manga issues that did not make it stateside. Also with Kitori in the TV series.
An Area 88 fighter pilot who is blinded during aerial combat. He panics, shooting recklessly at friend and foe alike. Shin is forced to perform a mercy kill
on him to protect the rest of the squadron.
Nguyen Van Chom
A sadistic, unstable Vietnamese fighter pilot who briefly serves at Area 88.
- Ace Pilot: In the Vietnam War and at Area 88.
- Badass Mustache: He's a skilled fighter pilot with a mustache.
- Blood Knight: He delights in battle. In the OVA, he even admits to Shin that he loves bloodshed and can't get enough of it.
- Freudian Excuse: Thanks to the strife in Vietnam, he was surrounded by blood and violence his entire life. Nguyen was born immediately after his mother was killed by bombs. In the manga, his birth is shown in a flashback in which two horrified Vietnamese women take him from his mangled mother's remains.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has a conspicuous scar on his face.
- Jerkass: In the OVA, he repeatedly taunts Shin over Jess' Mercy Kill.
- Karmic Death: In the OVA, he shoots an enemy pilot who had ejected from his jet. Nguyen dies the same way.
- Orgasmic Combat: In a combat scene from the OVA, he gets way too excited right before shooting an enemy pilot who had ejected.
- Sadist: He takes great pleasure in shooting an enemy pilot who ejected from his jet. In the OVA, he also takes every opportunity to taunt Shin about killing Jess.
- Sink the Lifeboats: In the manga and OVA, he likes to shoot enemy pilots who have ejected from their jets.
- The Sociopath: He delights in war with no concern for human life or suffering.
- Token Evil Teammate: Even by the standards of Area 88, Nguyen is sadistic and callous.
Japanese Voice Actor: Takahiro Fujimoto (TV series)
A former major in the West German air force, descended from a long line of ace fighter pilots. He serves at Area 88 to escape a tragic past.
A cocky, arrogant Italian pilot at Area 88 and a former member of the Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team.
- Ace Pilot: Deconstructed. Mario is an ace aerobatic pilot, not a seasoned fighter pilot. His aerobatic skills serve him well in his first dogfights, but as other pilots repeatedly point out, aerobatic skill is not the same as combat skill. Greg tries in vain to explain this to Mario.
Greg: You're better at flying and stunts. But it's a different story in combat. It's not a matter of being good or bad, it's all a matter of survival.
Mario: I came back alive!
Greg: You came back alive today. But you never know about tomorrow ... If you get killed, you lose everything.
- Even though Mario rises to the rank of #1 pilot at Area 88, his achievement is short-lived. His overweening pride and lack of familiarity with combat techniques gets him killed. Hoover points this out after Mario's death.
Hoover: Skill in combat is very different from aerobatic skill. Moreover, ordinary combat skill isn't enough here. On an aerobatic team, no matter how difficult their stunts may be, they don't have other people trying to kill them.
- Alas, Poor Villain: When Mario dies trying to execute an outer loop, Shin mourns for him, wondering what kind of life Mario left behind in Italy.
- Ascended Fanboy: He adored fighter pilots and jets as a child, eventually growing up to be an aerobatic pilot.
- Attention Whore: He takes every opportunity to draw attention to himself and his skill while at Area 88.
- Bishōnen: He's youthful, with a thick head of black hair and large, shiny eyes.
- Blood Knight: He's very eager to engage in combat, which causes the other pilots some consternation.
Mario: I came here to be a real fighter pilot.
Randy: Say what? Weren't you a fighter pilot in the aerobatic team? You must've been using a Fiat G9, that light agile fighter.
Mario: That's not a real fighter. It's just a jet plane. I want to be in real combat!
Other pilots: He wants to be in real combat instead of make-believe? What a fruitcake!
- Encyclopaedic Knowledge: Of famous European fighter pilots. Upon meeting Hoover, he immediately knows who Hoover is and recites details about fighter pilots in Hoover's lineage.
Mario: You must be Hoover Kippenburg, ex-major of the West German air force. Adolph Kippenburg, your father, shot down 130 planes with his Messerschmidt during World War II. And your grandfather, Karl von Kippenburg, was one of the Blue Maxes during World War I. You've got one impressive family background.
Hoover: How do you know all that? Were you a genealogist in Rome?
Mario: No, I've adored fighter pilots since I was a kid. I know most of the famous fighter pilots in Europe.
- Foil: To Shin. Mario sees war as something exciting, whereas Shin knows that war is anything but. Mario willingly came to Area 88, while Shin was tricked into becoming a mercenary.
- Also to Hoover. Mario, despite all his bragging, is an inexperienced combatant who believes himself to be more skilled than he actually is, while Hoover is a seasoned aerial leader who doesn't trumpet his skill. Mario fights as an individual, while Hoover shines when leading a formation with other pilots.
- Glory Seeker: He comes to Area 88 to become a "real" pilot and show off his skill.
- Ignored Epiphany: He's nearly shot down during his first dogfight, and he's so shaken afterwards that his teeth are chattering. Unfortunately, his brush with death does nothing to dent his arrogance and recklessness, and he fails to realize how inexperienced he truly is.
- Jerkass: He's a skilled aerobatic pilot, and he never lets anyone forget it.
- He "introduces" himself to Shin and Mickey by cutting them off and landing ahead of them on the runway, which nearly causes a mid-air collision. When a furious Mickey confronts Mario, Mario replies that if they couldn't avoid his aerial maneuver, they didn't deserve to be at Area 88.
- Karmic Death: After bragging endlessly about his aerobatic skill, Mario dies performing an outer loop for which his aerobatic training did not prepare him.
- Man Child: He acts like a hot-headed, macho teenager who craves approval from others.
- Monochromatic Eyes: His eyes have no visible sclera.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Mario stands uncomfortably close to Hoover when they meet for the first time.
- Pride: His undoing.
- Reality Ensues: During his last combat mission, he forgets that elaborate aerial maneuvers can be extremely punishing on a pilot's body. While executing an outer loop, he's overwhelmed by the G-force and crashes to his death.
- Smug Snake: He's deeply convinced of his superiority as a pilot. However, his inexperience in combat nearly cost him his life in his first dogfight, and he only survives due to Shin's help. After a few combat successes, he's unbearably smug with the other pilots, only to die in combat shortly thereafter.
- Team Prima Donna: He brags endlessly of his aerobatic skill and does everything possible to attract attention to himself.
A former Project 4 mercenary pilot who meets Shin after their jets crash near ancient ruins. She later defects to Area 88.
- Action Girl: She serves as a fighter pilot for Project 4, then Area 88.
- After-Action Patch-Up: After sustaining a minor leg injury during combat, we see her in the infirmary in a medical gown with a bandage on her thigh. Mickey comes to visit her, and they share a romantic moment.
- Battle Couple: With Mickey.
- Beta Couple: With Mickey.
- Characterization Marches On: When she's first introduced, she's brazenly seductive and a little unstable. Over time, she evolves into a more mature and complex character.
- Dead Hat Shot: After an explosion kills Mickey and Sela, Sela's helmet is thrown across the runway. Kim picks up the helmet, and the look on his face is heartbreaking.
- Expy: Kitori from the TV series bears a remarkable resemblance to Sela, and she plays a similar role as the squadette and Kim's best friend.
- Flirting Under Fire: She and Mickey do this back and forth from their jets.
- Haunted Heroine: In manga that did not make it stateside, Sela and Kim stake out an abandoned Area 88. While there, Sela sees a vision of scores of dead pilots.
- Heel-Face Turn: Sela is introduced as a Project 4 mercenary pilot, but she later defects to Area 88.
- Last Kiss: She kisses Mickey before they're both killed in an explosion.
- Like an Old Married Couple: She and Kim bicker and tease each other constantly.
- Like Brother and Sister: She and Kim are often seen together but are not romantically involved.
- Like Father Like Daughter: She's a pilot like her late father.
- Ms. Fanservice: She gets a nude scene in the manga.
- The Squadette: She is one of the few female fighter pilots to serve at Area 88.
- The Tease: She often play-flirts with Kim, which he finds annoying.
- They Really Do Love Each Other: Despite their mutual teasing, Kim and Sela do care about each other. Near the end of the manga, Sela hugs Kim when he returns safely from Asran City. She kisses him on the cheek before leaving for her last mission before her death.
- Together in Death: With Mickey
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Kim. They bicker and tease each other constantly, but their friendship is solid.
A Russian pilot who serves at Area 88.
- Character Death: He's hit with a bullet during the "Fang" mission and crashes his jet.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: The deaths of his fellow soldiers have traumatized him.
- Survivor Guilt: He's haunted by memories of his fallen friends. He sleeps with his bedroom light on so that he doesn't see their faces in the darkness.
An assassin sent to Area 88 on Farina's orders to kill Shin.
- Assassin Outclassin': Charlie tries to kill Shin during aerial combat, but Shin kills him in self-defense.
- Exposition: In the manga, he tells Shin about the background of the Asranian civil war and the origin of Saki's X-shaped scar.
- Meaningful Name: In Vietnam, American soldiers referred to enemy troops as "Charlie". This Charlie is very much Shin's enemy.
- Professional Killer: Farina deploys him to Area 88 to assassinate Shin, after Kanzaki puts a hit out on Shin via Farina.
- Punch Clock Villain: He harbors no ill will toward Shin and is quite friendly toward him.
- Red Baron: The other pilots nicknamed him "Invulnerable Charlie" (or "Charlie the Phoenix", depending on the translation).
- '70s Hair: He has a pageboy haircut.
- Unfriendly Fire: He tries to kill Shin in aerial combat.
A mercenary pilot at Area 88. He's briefly stationed at Area 85 along with Shin, Greg, Jensen, and Malraux.
- Artificial Limbs: He has a prosthetic leg and a hook hand.
- Handicapped Badass: Losing his leg and hand have not impacted his combat skill.
- Character Death: He dies in combat against Farina's land carrier.
- Gallows Humor: In the OVA, he jokes that the mercenaries will be hanged if they lose the war. He jokingly puts his hook hand under another pilot's chin to simulate a noose.
- Hook Hand
- Senseless Sacrifice: During a battle against Farina's land carrier in the manga, it becomes clear that Campbell, Jensen, and Greg aren't even denting the carrier. To inflict damage on the carrier, Campbell flies his aircraft toward an open drone launching bay, planning to eject before his jet crashes. He fails to eject in time, dying in the crash. To boot, the jet crashes after the drone bay closes, making Campbell's sacrifice futile.
A mercenary pilot at Area 88. He's briefly stationed at Area 85 along with Shin, Greg, Campbell, and Malraux.
- Character Death: He dies in combat against Farina's land carrier.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: While stationed at Area 85, he gets in a fight with one of the Asranian pilots who resents the mercenaries' presence.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: A few insults from an Asranian pilot are enough to send him into a rage.
- Lack of Empathy: He's stunned that an Asranian pilot is "crying like a baby" after the death of a fellow soldier. Malraux reminds him that the Asranians are fighting for their country and their people, while the mercenaries are merely fighting for money.
Benson and Randy
Two mercenaries who serve at Area 88.
- Bald of Awesome: Randy is bald.
- Cool Shades: Randy is never seen without them, even at night.
- Deadpan Snarker: Benson has his moments, such as when the two meet Mario for the first time.
Randy: One of the good things about this place is that nobody asks you why you're here. So we won't even ask you.
Benson: Well, I will! Are you here because the law wants your ass, or some angry husband's after you?
- Enraged By Idiocy: In the manga, they're furious at Greg for destroying Gold's documents and pummel him.
- Eyepatch of Power: Benson has one, but it doesn't seem to affect his ability to pilot aircraft.
- Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder: In the OVA, Benson has no illusions about the role of the Area 88 mercenary pilots.
Benson: So we get fragged to protect the royal flyboys.
- Those Two Guys: In the manga, they're usually seen together, offering commentary on whatever situation is occurring.
Vashtal Royal Family
Favorite Aircraft: Kfir
An Asranian prince who commands the Area 88 mercenaries on behalf of the Asranian royal family. Son of Soria and Abdael, nephew of King Zak, and brother of Rishal.
- The Alleged Boss: Closest to type 3. While not incompetent, Saki is not an outstanding leader and generally lacks the ability to motivate people to go out of their way to do things for him. The pilots follow orders mostly because it's what they're paid to do. And they can refuse his orders if they can afford the $5000 dock to their pay. In an emergency situation, after the Wolfpack decimated all of the planes at the base, Saki was manipulated into a bargain where he offered to pay prize money, fuel, weapons, and repairs on the ten handpicked pilots that would fly the replacement planes sent by HQ.
- Cool Shades: He wears aviator sunglasses almost all the time in the TV anime. In the manga, Saki has to wear sunglasses at all times to protect his eyes after his eye surgery.
- Cultured Badass: He was educated in London and is multilingual.
- Democracy Is Flawed: He does not think the Asranian people are ready for democracy yet because of the country's poverty and insufficient education system.
- Informed Attribute: In the manga, Saki is nominally Muslim. When Mickey is summoned to the command center after opening a bottle of champagne, he incorrectly assumes that Saki is unhappy about the alcohol because of his religion. However, in a flashback, Saki promises to take Rishar to a London pub when Rishar is older, showing that Saki has no problem with consuming alcohol.
- Mixed Ancestry: Saki is the son of an Asranian prince and his Greek wife, Soria, who was loved by the Asranian people. Saki has suffered no stigma in Asran because of his mixed heritage.
- Momma's Boy: He has loving memories of his mother, Soria.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: In the manga, Saki defends the Asranian monarchy, even though its decisions have left the Asranian people poor and uneducated.
- My Greatest Failure: The manga discusses the origin of his X-shaped scar. During the early years of Asran's civil war, Saki was reluctant to engage his father's aerial forces in battle, which cost him the lives of his entire squadron. Saki was so devastated that he cut an X-shaped scar into his own forehead in front of King Zak as a mark of shame.
- No Place for Me There / Driven to Suicide: At the end of the manga, Saki admits that the Asranian people will not accept him after his role in the civil war. After Abdael's death, Saki carries Abdael's body into Soria's tomb and shoots himself.
- Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Subverted in the manga, Saki is so determined to defeat the anti-government forces that he is willing to use nuclear weapons.
- Personal Horror: In the manga, Saki is slowly losing his eyesight due to an injury.
- Revenge Before Reason: He participates in the civil war that is tearing his homeland apart partially out of hatred for his father, Prince Abdael.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: He comes across as a cold, methodical military man, but he shows great warmth to those he loves, such as Rishar. He can also be very friendly and gracious with old friends.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: In the manga, when he slices an X-shaped wound into his forehead.
- Thicker Than Water: He deeply cares for his brother Rishar, even though they're on opposite sides of the civil war.
- Trauma Conga Line: The manga explores this in detail. He loses his mother at a young age, he nearly loses his brother, his homeland has been engulfed by a civil war started by his father, one of his most trusted soldiers (Shin) attacks him in a fit of lunacy, and said attack leaves him with eye damage that is slowly robbing him of his eyesight. Then at the end of the manga when he learns that the civil war was futile, he kills himself.
- Vetinari Job Security: Saki thinks the Vashtal royal family has this. During a conversation with Mickey in the manga, Saki says that the Asranian people are not ready for democracy, and that the Vashtal royal family must look after the people like a parent.
- Warrior Prince: He's an Asranian prince who also serves as a commander and fighter pilot at Area 88.
- X Marks the Hero: He has an X-shaped scar on his forehead.
An Asranian prince who serves the anti-government side of Asran's civil war. Son of Soria and Abdael, nephew of King Zak, and brother of Saki.
- Bishōnen: He's an androgynous young man with long hair and shiny eyes.
- Defector from Decadence: Rishar is an Asranian prince who wants to eradicate the Asranian monarchy and bring democracy to the country.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: At the end of the manga, Rishar, Soria, and King Zak usher in a new era for Asran, after witnessing years of civil war.
- Left for Dead: In the Animerica manga, Rishar is severely injured after he tries to sabotage Farina's land carrier. The land carrier crew dumps his unconscious body in the desert, where McCoy discovers him and takes him back to Area 88.
- Like Mother Like Son: Rishar resembles Soria, down to the long blond hair. Saki remarks that Rishar is much more like their mother than their father.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: He has long blond hair and a youthful appearance.
- Mixed Ancestry: He's the son of Abdael (Asranian) and Soria (Greek).
- Monochromatic Eyes: His eyes have no visible sclera.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Rishar is all too aware of this. He grieves for the Asranian people because the war has brought they enormous suffering.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something
- Thicker Than Water: He speaks warmly of his brother Saki, even though they're on opposite sides of the civil war.
- Unexpected Successor: At the end of the manga, Rishar, Soria, and King Zak are left to transition Asran from a monarchy to a modern republic.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Rishar genuinely wants to empower the Asranian people by replacing the monarchy with a democracy.
Rishar: Out nation will have no future unless we reform it! The unique nature of this country may disappear by introducing another culture, by bringing sweeping change, but the people shouldn't have to endure hardship and poverty just to retain their heritage! The future cannot be sacrificed for the past!
- Mickey warns him that the Asranian people may call for his execution after the war. Rishar is not afraid of this possible outcome.
Mickey: Changing to a democracy is fine, but when the new system is completed, what will you do if the people in this country decide you should be killed?
Rishar: I will obey the will of the people. This has gone on too long. It would be easy to give my life if it brought comfort to those who have died.
The monarch who rules Asran. He fights a civil war against anti-government forces led by his brother, Abdael.
- Cool Uncle: In the manga, Zak was a father figure to Saki in his youth.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: King Zak, Soria, and Rishar usher in a new era for Asran at the end of the manga, after Zak has struggled to hold the country together during years of civil war.
- Gonk: In the manga. He's drawn realistically in the OVA, however.
- Government in Exile: At the end of the OVA, he is forced to flee Asran.
- King on His Deathbed: Zak received the kingship from his dying father, much to his brother Abdael's chagrin.
- Noble Fugitive: At the end of the OVA.
An Asranian prince who leads the anti-government forces in Asran's civil war.
- Archnemesis Dad: To Saki. The father and son fight on opposite sides of Asran's civil war and are determined to kill each other.
- Batman Gambit: Kanzaki manipulates him with one. In manga that didn't make it stateside, Kanzaki secretly arranged for Julianna and Project 4 to set fire to Soria's tomb. Kanzaki told Abdael that King Zak's forces desecrated the tomb, enraging Abdael and convincing him to collaborate with Project 4.
- Functional Addict: In the manga, Abdael is a drug addict. Played straight at first, then subverted at the end of the manga, when Abdael stumbles through Asran City in a drug-induced haze.
- Lean and Mean: He's tall and extremely thin.
- Love Makes You Evil: See Monster Sob Story below.
- Monster Sob Story: In the manga, his wife Soria was near death due to her blood cancer after giving birth to Rishar. He arranged for Soria to be put in cryogenic suspension until treatment could be discovered, hiding her cryogenic chamber under her tomb. Toward the end of the manga, we learn that Abdael wanted to take control of Asran so that he could develop its medical technology through foreign capital, hopefully allowing for Soria's cure to be developed.
- Offing the Offspring: He tries to have Saki assassinated.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: Implied. Abdael is noticeably absent from flashbacks of Saki's youth, suggesting that he didn't play a big role in Saki's upbringing.
Abdael's beloved Greek wife, mother to Saki and Rishal. She reportedly died giving birth to Rishal.
- Death by Childbirth: In a heartbreaking childhood flashback, Saki weeps after Soria dies giving birth to Rishar. Neither Saki nor Rishar realize that she is not dead, just cryogenically preserved.
- Easy Amnesia: After being revived from cryogenic suspension, Soria does not initially remember who she is.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Soria is a blonde who embodies beauty, grace, maternal tenderness, and love for her adopted country, Asran.
- Human Popsicle: Soria suffered from blood cancer, which left her near death after the birth of Rishar. Her husband, Prince Abdael, put her in cryogenic suspension until a cure could be found. The public was told she died in childbirth.
- Unexpected Successor: At the end of the manga, Soria, Rishar, and King Zak are left to transition Asran from a monarchy into a modern republic.
- Villainous Rescue: Julianna, working on behalf of Project 4, discovers Soria's cryogenic chamber hidden underneath her tomb. Julianna makes it appear that the tomb has been burned, then takes Soria's chamber out of Asran and has her revived.
(TV anime only)
King Zak's daughter and a fighter pilot in the Asranian air force.
Goh "Rocky" Mutsuki
A foreign photojournalist on assignment in Asran.
- Artificial Limbs: After ramming a jeep into oncoming anti-government vehicles back in Asran, Rocky lost an eye and an arm. His lost arm was replaced with a prosthetic.
- Bare-Handed Blade Block: In the manga, he does this when a Bedoin chieftain swings a sword at him.
- Chekhov's Gun: A photograph he took at Area 88 is later published in a magazine. When Ryoko sees the photo, she realizes that Shin is still alive and sets off to find him.
- Intrepid Reporter
- Handicapped Badass: In the manga, he rescues Taeko from a car that sunk into Tokyo Bay.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In the manga, after anti-government forces massacred a Bedoin tribe he had befriended, Rocky flies into a rage. He drives a jeep head-on into anti-government vehicles, losing an eye and an arm in the process.
(TV Anime Only)
A photographer researching the Asranian civil war and mercenary life at Area 88.
- Camera Fiend: He makes a nuisance of himself by photographing every aspect of life at Area 88, including an injured pilot.
- Expy: Of Rocky from the manga and OVA.
- Heel-Face Turn: Kanzaki sent Shinjou to Area 88 to photograph Shin's death. Instead, Shinjou returns to Japan and secretly tells Ryoko that Shin is still alive.
- Intrepid Reporter: He tells Area 88 that he performs this role.
- The Mole: Unbeknownst to anyone, he was sent to Area 88 by Kanzaki to confirm Shin's death.
- Mysterious Informant: He tells Ryoko that Shin is still alive on the day she is supposed to marry Kanzaki.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: He's on the receiving end of one after the Area 88 pilots discover why he's really in Asran.
Gary "Mac" MacBurn
An American veteran from Harlem who served alongside Mickey during the Vietnam War. The head of Project 4's forces in Asran under Kanzaki.
- Ace Pilot: He served as a U.S. navy pilot during the Vietnan War and later joined the Blue Angels.
- Anti-Villain: He works for the villainous Project 4, but he's shown to be a noble character. For example, he's also a loving father who works as a mercenary in order to pay for his daughter's medical treatment. He spares Sela's life when she defects, and shares painful details of his life with Mickey when they meet outside of combat.
- Badass Beard: He's a badass pilot with a chin curtain.
- The Dragon: To Kanzaki as part of Project 4.
- Drowning My Sorrows: When he learns of his daughter's death, he drinks to cope with his grief.
- Drugs Are Bad: His wife Jennifer died from drug use. Their daughter Miriam was born with health problems because of this.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He has a daughter back in the U.S.
- Foil: To Mickey. Mac's life of hardship and heartbreak contrasts sharply to Mickey's former life of wealth.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He went from a poor young man in Harlem to a high-ranking soldier in the world's most dangerous arms network.
- Heartbroken Badass: Mac is a widower who serves as a mercenary in order to raise money for his daughter Miriam's medical treatment. Near the end of the manga, Mac learns that his daughter has died in the hospital.
- Wrong Side of the Tracks: He grew up in poverty in Harlem.
A French mercenary leader who recruits Shin for an escorting mission in the African nation of Bambara.
- Big Bad Friend: He was actually sent to kill the presidential family.
- Carpet of Virility: His arms and chest are very hairy, compared to those of other male characters.
- Character Death: Shin stabs him to protect Layla and Rohde.
- Private Military Contractors: He and his fellow mercenaries are hired to escort the president's family out of Bambara after a coup.
- Toxic Friend Influence: In manga issues that did not make it stateside, after Shin leaves Area 88 and takes up residence in France, Bosch spends time with him. Shin is having difficulty coping with civilian life, and Bosch convinces him to work as a mercenary again.
An androgynous mercenary who serves under Bosch.
- Code Name: Error.
- Crossdresser: He dons a dress and convincingly passes for a woman while escorting Lydia and Layla.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Even compared to the series' bishonen, Error is very androgynous. This allows him to pass for a woman during his deployment.
- Friendly Sniper: He's very protective of Layla and Rohde, expressing romantic feelings for Layla.
- Gun Nut: He's first introduced while practicing with his rifle in Bosch's basement.
Manga and OVA
- Affably Evil: After a miserable setback, Shin throws his helmet down in anger. One of the Escape Killers picks it up and hands it back to him saying "This protects your head. You should treat it with more respect, Mr. Kazama". Shin snatches his helmet, telling them to mind their own buisness. Unphased, the three pilots look on as Shin angrily walks away in frustration, knowing that they have found their "mark". They know what he'll probably try to do later.
- Bald Black Leader Guy: Averted, since this is The Seventies. In the OVA, The leader is the short guy with the biggest afro.
- Bounty Hunter: Essentially what these guys are. They are called in to hunt down deserters.
- Foreshadowing: Saki is giving a bit of Exposition in which he outlines the only three ways to leave Area 88, the third being "deserting". At the mention of this word, the three pilots (whom we are not yet privy to their purpose), overhear that word and noticeably look up from their own private conversation.
- Leitmotif: When the three pilots arrive and it is revealed that they are Black, a kind of "funk" style music plays as they exit their planes.
- Scary Black Man: Suprisingly averted: None of the three Escape Killers look physically intimidating. But the leader does have a somewhat sinister looking face that suggests cunning. It's also worth mentioning that he is the shortest of the three.
- You Will Not Evade Me: "No one in the Middle East has ever made it past us. Care to try your luck?"
A wealthy young woman who was romantically involved with Shin before his disappearance. Daughter of the president of Yamato Airlines.
- Dad the Veteran: Her father was a Japanese fighter pilot in World War II.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: After much struggle and heartache, she finally gets Shin at the end of the manga. His amnesia provided a relationship reset button.
- Friend to All Children: In the TV series, she donates to an orphanage and is shown happily playing with the children.
- In the manga, she adopts Josie, a French-Japanese orphan.
- Hime Cut
- Jerkass Ball: For some reason, she speaks harshly of Kanzaki's mother right after Kanzaki told her about his mother's suicide in the manga.
Ryoko: I feel bad about saying this, but I think your mother must have been a very weak person. To end up like that, I mean. Even if I were in her situation and lost my man. As long as I had the memory of the love I shared, I'm sure I would be able to handle it.
- Love Makes You Dumb: She is consumed by her love for Shin and her determination to find him, which leads her to make questionable decisions, such as failing to ask herself why Shin might be at Area 88 in the first place, accepting Kanzaki's scarpia ultimatum, and repeatedly uniting with Shin after he breaks her heart.
- Love Martyr: In the manga and OVA, Ryoko is willing to endure much hardship to release Shin from servitude. Too bad he breaks her heart.
- Loving a Shadow: Her love for Shin can be interpreted as this in the manga and OVA.
- Ms. Fanservice: She gets a nude scene in the OVA and several nude scenes in the manga.
- My Girl Back Home: For Shin. She pines for him in Japan and France while he serves in Asran.
- Not So Different: From Kanzaki's late mother. Like Kanzaki's mother, she is obsessed with her absentee lover, and she attempts suicide when he breaks her heart.
- Ojou: She's a gracious young woman from a wealthy family.
- Parental Substitute: To Josie in the manga.
- Pimped-Out Dress: She's wearing a stunning Fairytale Wedding Dress in the last episode of the TV series.
- Runaway Bride: At the end of the TV series. She was about to marry Kanzaki, until Shinjou secretly told her that Shin was still alive.
- Spurned Into Suicide: In manga that did not make it stateside, Ryoko cuts her wrist after Shin breaks her heart over the phone. Taeko discovers her and gets her medical attention in time to save her life.
- Thinks Like a Romance Novel: She puts Shin on a pedestal and is consumed by her love for him, convinced that life will be fine when they are reunited.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: In the manga and OVA, she has very idealistic ideas about love, which she takes to the point of Honor Before Reason. Less so in the TV series.
- Woman-Child: In the manga and OVA, she's emotional, immature, and prone to acts of poor judgment. Averted in the TV anime.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: In the manga and OVA, Ryoko seems to think she's in a romance story instead of a war story. She places great faith in the power of love, oblivious to why Shin would be at Area 88 in the first place and how war might have affected him.
- You Gotta Have Lavender Hair
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Played straight in the TV series.
- Deconstructed in the manga. Her love and loyalty to Shin make her an easy target for Kanzaki's manipulation.
- In the manga, she lacks the maturity and wisdom of the traditional Yamato Nadeshiko, making her a possible subversion of this trope as well.
The graceful, no-nonsense executive secretary of Yamato Airlines and Ryoko's best friend.
- Christmas Cake: In the manga, she's very self-conscious about being unmarried at age 28. The fact that other characters nag her about it doesn't help.
- Demoted to Extra: Although she had a prominent role in the manga plot, she's far less prominent in the OVA and TV series.
- Foil / The Lancer: To Ryoko. She's mature, independent, and confident, in contrast to the immature and emotion-driven Ryoko.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ryoko. She are Ryoko are close friends whose loyalty to each other is boundless.
- Mega Nekko: She's a smart, attractive woman with glasses.
- My Rule-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: In the manga and OVA, she has Kanzaki arrested for tax evasion.
- Sexy Secretary: She serves as the executive secretary at Yamato Airlines.
- She Knows Too Much: In the manga, when Taeko uncovers Kanzaki's underhanded dealings, Kanzaki and Julianna try to have her killed.
- The Smart Gal: In the manga, she has considerable intelligence and savvy, which helps her unravel Kanzaki's schemes. She is also the first person to deduce that Kanzaki had something to do with Shin's disappearance.
- The Social Expert: In the manga, she's skilled at reading people, such as when she draws details from Kanzaki's meeting with a rival airline representative. She also sees through Kanzaki's friendly fascade and realizes how dangerous he is far before Ryoko does.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: She's tough and assertive in public, but kind and sensitive with those she loves, such as Ryoko and Josie.
A ruthless, power-hungry man who grew up with Shin at the same Catholic orphanage. He gets Shin out of the way by tricking him into signing a three-year contract with the Asranian air force, then sets out to take over Yamato Airlines. In the manga, he becomes the leader of a global arms network called Project 4 and interferes with the civil war in Asran.
- Ambition Is Evil: His lust for power drives him to commit heinous acts, such as tricking Shin into signing a mercenary contract, seizing control of Yamato Airlines, entering into a business agreement with Farina, arranging murders with Julianna, and heading the Project 4 arms network.
- Batman Gambit: In manga that didn't make it stateside, he secretly arranges for Juliana and Project 4 to set fire to Soria's tomb in Asran City. He then tells Abdael that King Zak's forces desecrated the tomb, enraging Abdael and convincing him to collaborate with Project 4.
- Beard of Evil: He grows a beard in later issues of the manga that didn't make it stateside.
- Beneath the Mask: In the manga and OVA, Ryoko learns what kind of person Kanzaki truly is when he takes over Yamato Airlines through underhanded means and later proposes a Scarpia Ultimatum.
- In the manga's Kanzaki's private thoughts give readers a glipse into his true nature. For example, after a Yamato plane crashes into Tokyo Bay, Kanzaki visits the victims' grieving family members in a temple. He puts on the appearance of a concerned and humbled company president, but his thoughts show his true ruthlessness.
Kanzaki: I will realize my ambition by stepping on the bodies of the fallen.
- Big Bad: Later in the manga as the head of Project 4.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: In the manga, he betrays Shin, the Tsugumos, and Farina.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Well, dead man's son impersonation. In the Animerica manga, after Julianna murders Farina, Kanzaki takes on the false identity of Farina's son to evade the authorities and inherit Farina's wealth. He was known as Satoru Farina for much of the manga.
- Devil in Plain Sight: In the manga, Taeko suspects that Kanzaki is involved in dubious activity long before Ryoko and Mr. Tsugumo do.
- Didn't See That Coming: In the manga, Kanzaki never anticipated that both King Zak's forces and the anti-government forces would turn on Project 4.
- In the manga, Kanzaki arranged for Soria's tomb to be burned, thinking that the desecration would anger Abdael into attacking King Zak's forces more aggressively. He didn't realize that Soria was still alive in a cryogenic chamber underneath the tomb, and Julianna never told him.
- Duel to the Death: In the final issue of the manga, Shin kills Kanzaki in an aerial duel.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He loved his late mother, and her suicide deeply traumatized him. He remarks to Ryoko that his mother was a beautiful woman.
- Possibly subverted by his mommy issues, a result of his mother trying to take him with her when she committed suicide.
- Kanzaki's love for his late mother might be more than filial. He tells Ryoko that she resembles his mother, then proposes a scarpia ultimatum to Ryoko several pages later. Paging Dr. Freud!
- Evil Former Friend: To Shin. He and Shin grew up together in the same orphanage and were close friends, until he tricked Shin into signing a mercenary contract.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: In the manga and OVA, Kanzaki starts as a Yamato Airlines pilot but later takes over the company through shifty stock deals with a rival company. In manga issues that did not make it stateside, he exerts immense power as the head of Project 4.
- General Failure: In the manga and OVA, after taking over Yamato Airlines, a Yamato plane crashes due to inferior parts that Kanzaki bought from Farina's company. The resulting financial and public relations nightmare was a serious blow to the airline.
- In manga issues that did not make it stateside, Kanzaki eventually becomes the leader of an arms network called Project 4, which tries to take over Asran through an alliance with Prince Abdael, Saki's father. It fails when anti-government forces thwart them.
- Green-Eyed Monster: His motivation for many of the things he does.
- Jerkass: When not hiding behind his civilized mask, he's petty, cruel, and smug.
- Jerkass Has a Point: In the manga. Kanzaki tells Ryoko that her fixation on an absentee Shin is reminiscent of his mother's fixation on his estranged father, which ended in his mother's suicide. Confirmed later in the manga when Ryoko tries to kill herself after Shin breaks her heart over the phone.
I feel bad about saying this, but I think your mother must have been a very weak person. To end up like that, I mean. Even if I were in her situation and lost my man. As long as I had the memory of the love I shared, I'm sure I would be able to handle it. And I would never involve a small child in my problems.
Kanzaki: It's easy to have such an idealistic attitude. But, would your attitude hold up if you were really faced with the same kind of situation? ... Shin has been missing a long time. And you don't know whether he's alive or dead. Yet, you still love him. In retrospect, is your situation any different?
- In the manga, he also criticizes Ryoko for having Josie with her during a jaunt to the Middle East. Given that Ryoko adopted Josie on a whim at a young age (Ryoko was only 20 at the time), he had a point, although his motive was mainly to take a swipe at Ryoko.
- Karmic Death: Kanzaki tricked Shin into signing a mercenary contract. At the end of the manga, Shin kills Kanzaki in his capacity as a mercenary fighter pilot.
- Manipulative Bastard: He deceives and manipulates everyone around him in his ongoing quest for power.
- Parental Abandonment / Dark and Troubled Past: His mother committed suicide after his father abandoned her. She drove her car off an embankment with little Kanzaki inside. Kanzaki survived, but the first thing he saw when he emerged from the wreck was his dead mother's body.
- Pride: His undoing. In the OVA, he's so confident in his newfound power as head of Yamato Airlines that he makes mistakes and trusts the wrong people. He's blindsided when his allies from a rival airline abandon him after a Yamato Airlines plane crashes in Tokyo Bay. In the manga, he's so confident in Project 4's influence that he fails to anticipate Asran's pro-monarchy and anti-government forces setting aside their differences to oust Project 4.
- Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids!: In the manga, when Kanzaki delivers a scarpia ultimatum to Ryoko, he tells her that he doesn't believe in love.
Kanzaki: You just told me you can endure anything, didn't you? I'm the kind of person who doesn't believe all that true love nonsense. If you say you can endure anything for love, I want you to prove it.
- Later in the manga, he also mocks the idea of love when Shin abandons Ryoko to return to Area 88.
- The Sociopath: He is ruthless in his quest for power, with no consideration for morality or human life.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: His voice and appearance are much less ominous in the TV series than in the OVA. In the TV series, he comes across as reserved and completely normal, which makes his villainy all the more frightening.
- Villainous Crush: On Ryoko. At first, Kanzaki wants a relationship with Ryoko in order to rise up in the Yamato Airlines hierarchy. This is why he proposes a marriage of convenience to her in the TV series. In the manga and OVA, however, his sexual attraction to her is also rooted in sadism, as demonstrated by his Scarpia Ultimatum proposal.
- In the manga, Kanzaki confesses that Ryoko looks like his mother. Hoooooooo boy.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the Animerica manga, he arranges for Julianna to murder Farina.
An Italian arms dealer and mafia don.
- Affably Evil: He is gracious with guests and captives alike.
- Arms Dealer: In addition to running a legitimate company, he sells illegal arms worldwide. In the manga, his crowning achievement is a mobile land carrier, which he offers to sell to Asran's anti-government forces.
- The Don: He's a powerful don in the Italian mafia.
- Evil Cripple: He is confined to a wheelchair.
- Evil Old Folks: He's an elderly man who engages in evil activities, such as selling arms, arranging assassinations, introducing a nuclear-armed land carrier to Asran, and playing deadly games with Shin, Mickey, and Rishar.
- A Glass of Chianti: He's fond of wine.
- Monochromatic Eyes: His eyes are completely white with no irises or pupils.
- Mutilation Interrogation: In the manga, Mickey's jet is shot down by Farina's land carrier. As a captive, Farina and his henchmen threaten to cut Mickey's face into a Glasgow Grin if he doesn't provide information on Area 88. Fortunately, it was only a bluff.
- Tampering with Food and Drink: His assistant Julianna kills him by giving him poisoned wine.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Kanzaki arranged for Julianna to murder him in the Animerica manga.
Farina's secretary, Kanzaki's lover, and later a member of the Project 4 arms network.
- Babies Ever After: Julianna gives birth to Kanzaki's son at the end of the manga.
- Blondes Are Evil: She's a blonde woman with no qualms about working for a mafia don, arranging executions, sleeping with Kanzaki, or joining Project 4.
- Dark Mistress: To Kanzaki. She's an evil woman who serves as both lover and dragon to an equally evil man.
- The Dragon: To Farina, and later Kanzaki.
- Heel-Face Turn: In manga issues that did not make it stateside, Julianna abandons Kanzaki and Project 4 after she discovers Soria (Saki's mother) in a cryogenic chamber. She also confides in Taeko about Soria and Project 4.
- Karma Houdini: She's never held accountable for her crimes.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: In the manga, when Taeko uncovers the truth about Kanzaki's underhanded dealings, Julianna oversees her attempted assassination. She and her thugs kidnap Taeko, inject her with a small amount of alcohol, and send her car into Tokyo Bay to make it look like a drunk driving accident. Fortunately, Rocky rescues Taeko from drowning.
- Morning Sickness: In the manga, nausea is one of the first signs that she is pregnant.
- Poison Is Evil: On Kanzaki's prompting, she kills Farina by poisoning his wine in the Animerica manga.
- Someone to Remember Him By: In the last issue of the manga, she names her baby Satoru, after his late father Satoru Kanzaki.
Josephine "Josie" Durant
An orphan of mixed Japanese-French ancestry, whose heartbreaking story prompts Ryoko to adopt her.
- Chekhov's Skill: The lip-reading skill she learned from her late mother. She uses it to determine that Shin is shouting "Ryoko" when he flies near a commercial plane which she and Ryoko are on board. She also uses it at a Swiss hospital to determine that a man on the telephone is discussing a plot on Saki's life.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Her lip reading skills serve as an important plot device on two occasions.
- Crash-Into Hello: With Sawa.
- Half-Breed Discrimination: After her parents' deaths, her Japanese grandparents refused to take her in because they disapproved of her parents' marriage.
- Heartwarming Orphan: She's a sweet, energetic little girl who finds a home with Ryoko after losing her parents.
- Mixed Ancestry: Josie is of mixed Japanese and French descent.
- Satellite Character: To Ryoko and Taeko.
An employee of Yamato Airlines and Saki's bodyguard during his time in Europe.
- Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: On two occassions, he protects Saki with his sword against gun-wielding opponents.
- Bald of Awesome: He a formidable swordsman with a bald head.
- Cool Shades: Never seen without them.
- Crash-Into Hello: Josie accidentally runs into him, and his unusual appearance startles her.
- Dogged Nice Guy: He proposes to Taeko shortly after meeting her, earning him a slap in the face. Later, he travels to Switzerland to meet up with her, bringing him into contact with Saki.
- Love Hurts: His unrequited infatuation with Taeko brings him only sorrow.
- Took a Level in Badass: He's skilled with a katana and serves as Saki's bodyguard during Saki's medical visit to Europe.
Kanzaki's mentally unstable mother who committed suicide when Kanzaki was a child.
- Cute But Psycho: She tried to kill her own son in a murder-suicide attempt, but Kanzaki remembers her as a beautiful woman.
- Like Mother Like Son: Both she and her son are unhinged, and both die trying to take someone else with them. Kanzaki's mother tried to take Kanzaki with her when she committed suicide, and Kanzaki tried to take Shin with him during an aerial duel.
- Murder-Suicide: What she tries to do with her young son. She also successfully killed Shin's parents before her suicide.
- Not So Different: From Ryoko. Both women are obsessed with absentee lovers. Also, both women attempt suicide when spurned by their loves. Kanzaki's mother was successful, while Ryoko was not in issues that did not make it stateside.
- Posthumous Character: She's long dead when the story begins.
- Small Role, Big Impact: By killing Shin's parents and herself, she set the stage for Shin and Kanzaki bonding at the same orphanage ... and the rest is history. Her dark history with the Kazamas and her suicide also triggered Kanzaki's start of darkness.
- Spurned Into Suicide: She commit suicide after Kanzaki's father abandoned her. She drove her car off a cliff while Kanzaki was sleeping inside. Kanzaki survived the crash, but she was killed.
The Balla Homme Family
The ruling family of the African nation of Bambara.
- The Coup: Nadato Balla Homme loses power due to a coup and his forced to flee Bambara with his wife Lydia and his children Layla and Rodhe.
- Orphan's Ordeal: After Nadato and Lydia are killed, Layla and Rodhe struggle to make it out of Bambara safely alongside Shin and Error.
- The Reveal: Kim Abba is one of their sons.
- Swiss Bank Account: Before his death, Nadato gives Shin the access card for a Swiss bank account worth millions of dollars.
- Qurac: Their home country, Bambara.
- Small Role, Big Impact: President Nadato Balla Homme only appear for a few issues. However, the Swiss bank account he bequeaths to Shin makes Shin very wealthy. Shin will later use this wealth to combat Project 4 behind the scenes.