A rookie ensign newly assigned to the 08th Team, Shiro is idealistic but inexperienced. Doing his best to do what he thinks is right, his perceptions of what the right thing to do is shifts over the course of the series.
Badass: In his first appearance he attacks a Zaku with a Ball. And wins. While his leadership skills need some work, his piloting skill is present from day one.
In the Battle in 3 Dimensions short (released as part of the Blu-ray memorial box set) one Zeon pilot flat out calls him an ace after he hits a target from a supposedly impossible distance while under cannon fire.
Badass Normal: He spent his life growing up in a space colony, and is a ace mobile suit pilot, but, there have been no confirmed reports of him being a newtype, put simply, in a series where the best pilots have levels getting close to ESP, Shiro here uses pure skill and determination to win the war.
The Leader: Type III, thought it takes him a while to grow into the role.
Leeroy Jenkins: In his first battle on Earth, he rushes out to engage a team of Zakus, even though he hasn't gotten accustomed to fighting in Earth's gravity yet (and Karen doubting his abilities just spurs him on even harder,) resulting in him getting incapacitated and spending a whole day out of contact with his team.
Reluctant Warrior —> Technical Pacifist: Progresses from an eager officer, to someone who really resents the war, to someone who tries his hardest to not even kill his enemies. Though he makes one huge exception towards the end.
Skilled, but Naive: A competent officer and a good pilot, but totally unprepared for the realities of the war.
Took a Level in Badass: At first, he has trouble fighting in Earth's gravity. Not so much in the final battle.
MCPO Karen Joshua
Voiced by:Mami Koyama (Japanese) and Debra Jean Rogers (English)
The 08th Team's most experienced pilot, she's the de facto leader prior to Shiro's arrival. With a cynical attitude and a no-nonsense demeanor, she's a capable soldier who gets the job done with a minimum of drama.
Corporal Punishment: Beats the crap out of Sanders, tosses wrenches at Eledore, and generally reacts to anything approaching insubordination with violence, as part of established Federation (and general Gundam franchise) practice.
An experienced pilot, he's rescued by Shiro during a mission gone bad in Episode 1, and ends up joining the 08th MS Team at the same time as Shiro does. Haunted by his previous experience in the war, it takes him some time to adjust to life in the 08th Team.
Ambiguously Brown: Dark skin, dreads...there's a pretty good chance he's supposed to be black.
The Big Guy: He's an experienced MS pilot, and his loyalty to Shiro is unquestionable, yet his anxieties about his new team keep him from assuming a command position, and he largely serves as their muscle.
The 08th Team's resident sensor tech, he accompianies the team into battle in the hovertruck, providing battlefield intel rather than fighting directly. He tends to be more interested in his fledgling music career than in being a good soldier, which tends to put him at odds with Karen. His frequent flirting probably doesn't help, either.
Bridge Bunny: Well, the closest thing the 08th Team's got, anyway.
Voiced by:Hiro Yuki (Japanese) and Tony Ricci (English)
A replacement sent to the 08th MS Team along with Shiro, Michel ends up working primarily as Eledore's goffer. Somewhat timid, he spends much of his time writing to his girlfriend. Not a particularly effective soldier, and he knows it painfully.
Abusive Parents: Implied when Sanders (the oldest and most fatherly of the group) punches him in the desert and Michel flinches after seeing his belt buckle.
Voiced by: Yuzuru Fujimoto (Japanese) and Alfred Thor (English)
The commanding officer of the Kojima Batallion, and thus the 08th MS Team's immediate superior. Somewhat out of favor with the high command, he spends most of his time trying to keep things running rather than leading on the battlefield.
The Brigadier: Kojima is as reasonable as he can be under the circumstances.
The Dog Bites Back: After being fed up with how Ryer behaves, especially in regards to how Rob, Sally, and Mike died, he just leaves Ryer, with the latter offering him an office in Jaburo, only to refuse, because he doesn't like air-conditioned environments.
Number Two: Reduced to this status after Ryer arrives.
Supply officer for the Kojima Batallion. A fairly laid back old man who always carries a flask carrying liquor. He started a romantic relationship with a woman in a local town, and has something of an antagonistic relationship with Karen Joshua.
Kojima's superior, Ryer shows up late in the series, during the Federation's offensive against Ginias. Determined to destroy Zeon's base irrespective of the cost, he considers the men under him resources rather than human beings; expendable as long as it gets the job done.
Bad Boss: Paranoid, ruthless, and convinced his men are expendable.
Big Bad Wannabe: Ginias Sahalin is the show's Big Bad from start to finish, of that there is no question. Still, as antagonists go, Ryer constitutes a damn fine back-up team, and if Ginias were replaced with a generic Zeon admiral, would likely qualify for Big Bad status himself, despite being on the same side as the protagonists.
The Captain: Addressed as such, which is strange. Unless he's a naval captain (which doesn't appear to be the case) he should be considerably outranked by Lieutenant-Colonel Kojima.
Token Evil Teammate: Unfortunately, he's the one in charge. He manages to make the Federation as a whole look very bad.
Tyrant Takes the Helm: A particularly dark version, given that the changes he makes result in far higher casualties. Also a variation, since the former authority figure (Kojima) is still present, but emasculated.
We Have Reserves: Will gladly throw away his men's lives if it means defeating Zeon.
With Us or Against Us: Displays this attitude towards anyone who has the slightest doubts, most notably Shiro.
Cmdr. Alice Miller
Voiced by: Gara Takashima (Japanese) and Lynn Fischer (English)
The eponymous viewpoint protagonist of the movie compilation Miller's Report, Alice is a high-ranking intelligence officer assigned with investigating Shiro's activities between his disappearance and apparent association with the enemy.
Deuteragonist: Of the series, particularly of the movie compilation named after her.
Voiced by:Kikuko Inoue (Japanese) and Emilie Brown (English)
A Zeon test pilot and younger sister to Ginias, one of its most brilliant scientists, Aina encounters Shiro in Episode 1. When the resulting battle leaves them both stranded in space, they work together in order to get rescued. Her repeated encounters with Shiro shape the overall course of the story, gradually leading both of them to question their roles in the war.
Action Girl: She's the pilot of Zeon's new superweapon and very good at it.
Anti-Villain: She works for Zeon and has lunatic older brother. Otherwise there's nothing really villainous about her.
Yamato Nadeshiko: Subtly hinted, but she clearly demonstrates the virtues of the trope towards both Ginias and Shiro. Her being a test pilot also plays into the martial aspect of this trope, demonstrating duty to family.
The head of the Apsalus project, Ginias is part nobleman, part scientist, and part military commander. Suffering from Soap Opera Disease, he's prone to neglecting his health, forcing Aina to watch out for him instead. Possessed of a fragile psyche and an obsessive personality to begin with, he doesn't adjust well to the events taking place over the course of the series.
Aloof Big Brother: Towards Aina, becoming more distant as development of the Apsalus progresses.
Ax-Crazy: Once he completely loses his mind, he starts killing his superiors and all his underlings in the Apsalus project so he can have it all to himself to go on a rampage with.
Badass Bookworm: Becomes one when he loses his mind and climbs into the Apsalus III.
Big Bad: Of the series, though not the war itself (that award goes to Gihren Zabi who heads up Zeon and commissioned his project).
Lean and Mean: Opens up episode 11 looking about as well fed as a whippet with an eating disorder, presumably because his obsession with completing the Apsalus has long since taken priority over silly things like eating and taking his meds.
Soap Opera Disease: While the condition is never mentioned by name, it's generally held by fanon to be Wilson's Disease, a condition of abnormal copper metabolism that often presents with liver disease, neurological damage, and schizophrenia-like symptoms.
A soldier with ties to the Sahalin family, he is protective of Aina specifically. Tangling with the 08th Team on several occasions, the man is a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.
Anti-Villain: He's an honorable man whose primary concern is protecting Aina and Ginias.
Ace Pilot: Norris is by far the most skilled pilot in the OVA. The Gihren's Greed series puts his statistics around the same level as Ramba Ral, South Burning, and Yazan Gable, making him one of the best Oldtype pilots.
Heroic Sacrifice: Upon learning he's fighting Aina's lover, he opts to throw himself on Shiro's sword and open fire on his real target. He completes his mission and secures victory. And all it costs him is his life.
Voiced by: Kyonosuke Kami (Japanese) and Daran Norris (English)
A Zeon commander roughly equivalent to Ginias in rank, he's an actual battlefield commander as opposed to Ginias' R&D type. Thrown into conflict with Ginias when he becomes a threat to the Apsalus project by retreating to Ginias' base late in the series.
A civilian girl living in the area where the show takes place, she is a member of the local guerilla forces that oppose both the Earth Federation and Zeon. Initially antagonistic, she eventually warms up to Shiro when it becomes clear that he actually cares about the wellbeing of the locals. She eventually invites herself onto the team, tagging along even when they range far from her home village.
Action Girl: She's as much of one as she can be when dealing with mobile suits on foot.