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Characters: Area 88
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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
  • Small Secluded World
  • Thirsty Desert: Area 88 is located in the middle of the Asran desert.

     Shin Kazama 
He's a badass once he gets on a fighter.
Japanese Voice Actors: Kaneto Shiozawa (OVA), Takehito Koyasu (TV series)
English Voice Actor: Chris Patton
Favorite Aircraft: F-8 Crusader, F-20 Tigershark

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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Berserk Button: Kanzaki, particularly in the manga and OVA.
  • Bishōnen
  • 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 gives hope to children and comfort to elders, but to "vultures" like them, God gives lead bullets.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Shirtless Scene: Gets a few throughout the manga.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: In the TV series.
  • 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
  • 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.

     Mickey Simon 
Someone has a secret.
Japanese Voice Actor: Kei Tomiyama (OVA), Tomokazu Seki (TV series)
English Voice Actor: John Swasey
Favorite Aircraft: F-14 Tomcat

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
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: He has a more masculine face and athletic build in the TV series than in the manga or OVA.
  • 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.
  • Ambiguously Gay: In the TV series, he's seen reading Playgirl magazine.
  • Badass
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 claimed that wars are rarely started for specific reasons, and that everyone just blames fate in the end.
  • Even Mercenaries Have Standards: He's shocked when he learns that Saki wants to use nuclear weapons against the anti-government forces.
  • 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 series. 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: To Shin.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Second Love: Sela, in the manga.
  • '70s Hair: 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 exorbant 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 occassions, 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 formitable pilot in his own right.

     Greg Gates 
Japanese Voice Actors: Takuzo Kamiyama (OVA), Masaya Takatsuka (TV series)
English Voice Actor: Rob Mungle
Favorite Aircraft: A-10 "Warthog"

A boisterous Danish fighter pilot who serves at Area 88.

  • Accidental Murder: In manga that did not make it stateside, Greg's aircraft crashes in Asran City. While traveling through the city, he finds a frightened Asranian child whose mother was killed in the fighting. The girl accidentally shoots him with her family's gun.
  • Badass Beard
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. He's older and heavier in the TV series than in other adaptations.
  • Big Sleep: In the manga, after being accidentally shot by a frightened Asranian girl, Greg dies peacefully.
    Asranian Girl: "Are you sleeping?"
  • Blood Knight: In the OVA, he can be quite gleeful during aerial combat.
    Greg: I know it's early, but here's a present from Santa Claus!
  • But Not Too White: For a northern European, he has a very tanned face in the OVA and arcade game.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In manga published in Animerica, he does this once after the deaths of several fellow pilots.
  • Feel No Pain: He sterilizes shrapnel wounds with alcohol, for crying out loud. In a manga issue that did not make it stateside, he sterilizes a wound by spreading gunpowder from a bullet onto it, then igniting the gunpowder with a lit cigarette.
  • Hidden Depths: Early in the manga, Greg is shown as a boisterous pilot and occasional Idiot Ball holder. However, he's shown to have a pensive side when he addresses Asranian troops at Area 85, urging the Asranian pilots to let the mercenaries handle the more dangerous missions. He reminds the Asranians that they must stay alive to rebuild Asran after the civil war, whereas mercenaries have no lives to rebuild or homes to return to. He's also shown to have a sensitive side when he grieves over Jensen and Campbell's death.
  • Manly Tears: After the deaths of Jensen and Campbell in the manga.
  • Suddenly Bilingual: Toward the end of the manga, he communicates with a frightened Asranian child, even though he showed no signs of Arabic fluency before.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: In manga that did not make it stateside. Back in Europe, he killed a man who had murdered an innocent refugee woman and child.

Japanese Voice Actors: Iemasa Kayumi (OVA), Chikao Ohtsuka (TV series)
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
  • Cool Old Guy
  • 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
  • Honest John's Dealership

     Kim Abba 
Japanese Voice Actress: Ryō Hirohashi (TV series)
English Voice Actress: Serena Varghese
Favorite Aircraft: Harrier

A young, enthusiastic fighter pilot who serves at Area 88.

  • Bishōnen
  • 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.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Sela in manga issues that did not make it stateside. Also with Kitori in the TV series.

(OAV only)

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.

     Hoover Kippenburg 

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.

  • Badass Baritone: When viewers briefly hear him speak in the 2004 anime, his voice is deep.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He might be more pleasant than some of Area 88's other pilots, but he's still a mercenary. For example, after Saki demands implicit obedience from his best pilots after a Wolf Pack attack devastates Area 88, Hoover is among the pilots trying to manipulate Saki into giving them free equipment and maintenance in exchange for absolute obedience to orders.
  • Demoted to Extra: He receives character development in the manga, but only makes a cameo in the TV series.
  • Eyes Always Shut
  • A Father to His Men: Shin deeply respects him, and he in turn helps Shin make sense of Mario's combat death.
  • Foil: To Mario. His maturity and reserve contrast sharply to Mario's immaturity and cockiness.
  • Hypocrite: Hoover was devastated when he thought his actions led to the accidental deaths of several pilots back in Europe. What does he do to escape his painful past? He becomes a mercenary and kills enemy pilots for a living.
    • He's haunted by the memory of young men under his command who died in a training accident. When Mario dies in combat, however, he's resigned and emotionally unaffected.
  • Killed Off for Real: He dies in combat during an anti-government surge against Area 88.
  • My Greatest Failure: Hoover blames himself for the deaths of several pilots during a training exercise back in Europe.
  • Like Father, Like Son / Lineage Comes from the Father: He comes from a family of prominent German fighter pilots, stretching back to World War I.
  • Psychopomp: After Hoover's death in the manga, he appears in a dream to Shin, beckoning Shin to come with him.
  • The Stoic: He's calm and reserved, even in combat.
  • Unusual Eyebrows: His eyebrows are thin and arched upward.

(Manga only)

A cocky, arrogant Italian pilot at Area 88 who specializes in aerobatics.

     Sela Bernard 
(Manga only)

A former Project 4 mercenary pilot who meets Shin after their jets crash near ancient ruins. She later defects to Area 88.

Vashtal Royal Family

     Saki Vashtal 
Japanese Voice Actors: Taro Shigaki (OVA), Hiroki Takahashi (TV series)
English Voice Actor: Illich Guardiola
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.

  • Cool Shades
  • 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.
  • 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: 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
  • X Marks the Hero: He has an X-shaped scar on his forehead.

     Rishar Vashtal 
(Manga only)

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
  • 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
  • Mixed Ancestry
  • Monochromatic Eyes: 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. Mickey warns him that the Asranian people may call for his death after the war. Rishar says that he would gladly accept such a fate if it brought comfort to those who suffered.

     King Zak 

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: He, Soria, and Rishar usher in a new era for Asran at the end of the manga, after King 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.

     Abdael Vashtal 

An Asranian prince who leads the anti-government forces in Asran's civil war.

  • Archnemesis Dad: To Saki.
  • Badass Mustache
  • 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
  • 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.

(Manga only)

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.

     Kitori Palvanaff 
(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.

     Makoto Shinjou 
(TV Anime Only)

A photographer researching the Asranian civil war and mercenary life at Area 88.

  • Camera Fiend
  • 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
  • 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.

Other Mercenaries

     Gary "Mac" MacBurn 
(Manga only)

An American veteran from Harlem who served alongside Mickey during the Vietnam War. The head of Project 4's forces in Asran under Kanzaki.

     Laurent Bosch 
(Manga only)

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
  • Killed Off for Real: 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.

(Manga only)

An androgynous mercenary who serves under Bosch.

     Escape Killers 
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?"

Other Characters

     Ryoko Tsugumo 
Japanese Voice Actresses: Sakiko Tamagawa (OVA), Satsuki Yukino (TV series)
English Voice Actress: Hilary Haag

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
  • 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.
  • Not So Different: From Kanzaki's late mother.
  • Ojou
  • 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.
  • Satellite Character: To Shin and Taeko.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

     Taeko Yasuda 

The graceful, no-nonsense executive secretary of Yamato Airlines and Ryoko's best friend.

     Satoru Kanzaki 
Japanese Voice Actors: Yoshito Yasuhara (OVA), Hikaru Midorikawa (TV series)
English Voice Actor: Jason Douglas

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.

  • Ambition Is Evil
  • 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 series 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.
  • 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 eventually becomes the head of a dangerous arms network called 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
    • 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.
    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. 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

     Guisseppe Farina 

An Italian arms dealer and mafia don.


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
  • Dark Mistress: To Kanzaki.
  • 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 
(Manga only)

An orphan of mixed Japanese-French ancestry, whose heartbreaking story prompts Ryoko to adopt her.

     Matsunosuke Sawa 
(Manga only)

An employee of Yamato Airlines and Saki's bodyguard during his time in Europe.

     Kanzaki's Mother 
(Manga only)

Kanzaki's mentally unstable mother who committed suicide when Kanzaki was a child.

  • Cute But Psycho: Kanzaki remarks that she was 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
  • 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 
(Manga only)

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.

Arashi No Yoru NiCharacters/ANIMEARIA

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