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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.
  • Ace Custom: Area 88's pilots get to buy their own fighters, weapons and equipment, so naturally their best aces, like Shin or Mickey, can take on the most dangerous missions, get better payment and afford to buy the best fighters. Otherwise, most of the unnamed pilots at the base are flying average models like the F-4 Phantom, A-4 Skyhawk, or the Kfir.
  • 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.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The merc pilots in Area 88 are this as they care a good deal about each other. In the OVA, when Shin tried to defect at night and was threatened by the Escapee Killers, Mickey, Greg, Campbell and others stopped the Killers from harming Shin (and Saki himself, who knew that Shin was trying to escape nonetheless, turned a blind eye to the incident). Even Nguyen Van Chom, the resident Jerkass among the pilots and who used to tease Shin about killing Jess, takes his time to say goodbye to Shin after learning that the latter is finally paying his debt and leaving the airbase for good.
  • 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.

     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.

  • Ace Custom: His fighter jets of choice are all painted in a gaudy blue-and-white scheme, and emblazoned with his trademark flaming unicorn head emblem. Also most of them are very unusual models (at least among Area 88 pilots, who fly mostly Kfirs or Phantoms), specially the F-20 Tigershark, which in real life never got into production, making it a Super Prototype of sorts.
  • 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. Kaoru Shintani's official art depicts him with every shade of hair imaginable, from off-white to dark brown.
  • 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 shoulder. He spends a night in a Paris jail for his trouble.
  • 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 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.
  • Dripping Disturbance: In an issue of the manga that didn't make it stateside, after he leaves Area 88 and takes up residence in Paris, Shin can't sleep due to a dripping faucet in his apartment. Furious, he sits up in bed and screams at the faucet. This is a decidedly non-comical example, since it is intended to show Shin's psychological disintegration due to war trauma.
  • 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.
  • Iconic Nose Art: His flaming unicorn on his F-20. It even appears in Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War!
  • I Just Want to Be Free: Shin desperately wants to be free from his involuntary servitude in Asran's foreign legion.
  • Jerkass Ball: In the manga, he leers at Saki's bodyguards behaves rudely when they won't talk to him or allow him to enter Saki's office.
  • Kubrick Stare: He gives one to Saki during a bout of temporary psychosis in the manga.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Plot Armor: Shin survives injuries and dangerous situations that logically should have killed him. Then again, if Shin were killed off, there would be no story.
  • 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 Area 88.

     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: Second only to Shin at Area 88. He honed his combat skills as a Navy pilot in the Vietnam War.
  • Ace Custom: He flies an F-100 Super Sabre, and later an F-14 Tomcat. Interestingly, both fighters were involved in the Vietnam War at some point (the F-14 was just being fielded at the war's end, and provided fighter escort for the American withdrawal from Saigon).
  • 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. His Pet the Dog moments in the manga and OVA help to make him sympathetic.
  • 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. Subverted in the manga — despite ample Ho Yay, Mickey only shows romantic interest in women.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Beneath the Mask: In the manga and OVA, Mickey presents a friendly, upbeat exterior to others. From time to time, the mask slips, allowing viewers to see the cynicism, regret, and despair underneath.
  • 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. In a manga issue that didn't make it stateside, Mickey admits that part of him is already dead.
    Mickey: I already died, long ago, only there was no grave until now.
  • Butt-Monkey: If someone in the manga or OVA is suffering an amusing misfortune, it's usually Mickey. In the OVA, he looks horrified when McCoy hands him a shockingly expensive bill for F-14 maintenance. In the manga, Farina threatens to cut Mickey's mouth as wide as his face after Mickey makes a smart-alec comment, which gets a hilariously alarmed expression from Mickey. When Shin and Mickey reunite on board Farina's land carrier, Shin grasps Mickey's broken hands in relief, causing Mickey to shout in pain. When Area 88 is trying to stop Farina's Grand Slam weapon, Mickey ejects from his grounded aircraft, face-plants in the sand, and spends the next few moments spitting sand out of his mouth. Later in the manga, Mickey displays very submissive body language when Sela shouts at him in the infirmary scene.
  • 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?
    (Mickey laughs)
    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 don'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.
  • 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.
    • Even though he is a soldier of fortune, Mickey still values his fellow soldiers and resents Saki for taking the pilots for granted. In the manga and OVA, Mickey is stunned when he learns that Shin has been working without sleep and angrily criticizes Saki for not intervening. In another scene, Mickey calls Saki a "cold bastard" when Saki expresses indifference over combat casualties.
    • And then of course there's his Consummate Professional standards. No betrayal for him.
  • 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.
  • Guyliner: His eyelashes are pronounced in the 2004 TV anime.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass Ball: He and Shin are rude to Saki's bodyguards in the manga.
  • 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.
  • Military Academy: In one of Mac's flashbacks in the manga, Mickey received his education at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
  • 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.
  • Mr. Fanservice: In the manga, he gets several shirtless scenes.
  • 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.
  • No Indoor Voice: In the English dub of the 2004 TV anime, he often speaks loudly. Case in point, during his flashback with Patrick Reed being extremely hesitant to shoot down a pilot:
    Patrick: (sweating and hyperventilating) There's a person in that thing!
  • The One That Got Away: Tracy. He and Tracy broke off their engagement when Mickey decided that he could not live a civilian life.
  • Only Sane Man: In the manga, Mickey tries to be a voice of reason to others.
    • During his meeting with Rishar, he tries to give the idealistic Rishar a dose of reality by reminding him of how many people have been killed by Asran's civil war. When Rishar waxes poetic about the will of the Asranian people, Mickey warns Rishar that the people may call for Rishar's execution after the war.
    • Mickey tries (and fails) to convince Saki that Rishar's peace conference proposal was genuine. He also talks at length with Saki about Asran's poverty, but Saki is unwilling to consider selling Asranian oil. Later, Mickey reacts with understandable horror when Saki proposes using nuclear weapons against the anti-government forces.
    • In a manga issue published in Animerica, he flies after a distraught Greg following the deaths of Jensen and Campbell and tries to talk him down, seeing as Greg has flown off into a war zone.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: A tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed American.
  • Precious Photo: In the 2004 anime, a flashback shows that he kept two photos taped to his cockpit console in Vietnam: one of Tracy, and the other of himself and his parents when he was a little boy.
  • 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: Primarily of the depressed type, with shades of the unstable type. 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.
  • The Vietnam Vet: He served as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, which took a heavy psychological toll on him.
  • Wingman: To Shin and Saki, but he's a formidable 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.
  • Ace Custom: He uses an A-4 Skyhawk, but later moves onto the more specialized A-10 Thunderbolt II attacker.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. He's older and heavier in the TV series than in other adaptations.
  • Affably Evil: He has no moral qualms about fighting in a bloody civil war, and as the OVA demonstrates, he delights in combat. However, he genuinely cares about his fellow pilots. In the OVA, he's part of the honor guard that escorts Shin to the Asranian border. In the manga, he grieves over the deaths of his fellow pilots, and is kind to an orphaned child he meets in Asran City. Averted in the TV anime, in which he has far fewer redeeming qualities.
  • Beardness Protection Program: In flashbacks, Greg has a clean-shaven face. His beard grew after he left Europe and came to Area 88.
  • 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.
  • Call-Back: While stationed at Area 85, Greg reminds the Asranian troops that they must stay alive in order to rebuild Asran after the war. Near the end of the manga, a pro-monarchy soldier remembers Greg's words about rebuilding Asran.
  • Cool Plane: In manga issues that didn't make it stateside, he purchases an A-10 Thunderbolt, a state of the art aircraft at the time.
  • Depending on the Writer: In the manga and OVA, he's a boisterous soldier who cares about his brothers in arms and recognizes the importance of rebuilding Asran. In the TV anime, he has far less empathy for others — he's part of the mob that happily brutalizes Makoto Shinjou near the end, and he's not very conscious of Kitori's boundaries.
  • 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.
  • Heroic BSoD: He experiences one in the manga after the deaths of Jensen and Campbell.
  • 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, as well as when he tries to help an orphaned Asranian child near the end of the manga.
  • Made of Iron: Throughout the manga, he survives shrapnel wounds, bullet wounds, and blood loss from Wolfpack's "Bloody Screw" aerial attack without making much fuss.
  • Manly Tears: After the deaths of Jensen and Campbell in the manga.
  • Prince Charming Wannabe: In the TV anime, he's one of the men trying unsuccesfully to woo Kitori. When he tries to carry his "goddess" from her jet after she completes a high-stakes mission, Kitori twists his arm behind his back.
  • Smarter Than You Look: In the manga, he's shown to be clever. For example, he neutralizes the effects of Wolfpack's Bloody Screw attack by tearing the hose of his G-suit. After the catastrophic attack on Farina's land carrier, he realizes that ordinary aircraft won't be effective against the carrier and immediately orders an A-10 Thunderbolt from McCoy.
  • 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, he came to Area 88 because of this. 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. It should be noted that Scotsmen also have a history of being arms dealers and overall thrifty.
  • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: McCoy has kind-hearted moments when he's not committing dubious acts for profit.
    • In the manga and OVA, he gives Shin free ramen after returning from an overseas trip, telling Shin that he's a good customer.
    • In the manga, McCoy rides in the ambulance with an injured Shin and urges Shin not to move too much.
  • 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. This may explain why most of the aircraft and equipment that the mercenaries use seem to be a lot cheaper than they would be in the real world.
  • Slimeball: Most of his actions are motivated by his lust for profit. Underneath his friendly exterior is a man who's willing to use deception, manipulation, and even blackmail to get information or profit.

Japanese Voice Actor: Masashi Hirose (OVA); Haramaki Koji (TV anime)
English Voice Actor: Marty Fleck

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.
  • 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.
  • Old Soldier: Even in his autumn years, Roundel is a skilled fighter pilot.

     Kim Abba 
Japanese Voice Actress: Ryō Hirohashi (TV series)
English Voice Actress: Serena Varghese
Favorite Aircraft: AV-8B Harrier II

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 Soldiers: 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.

Japanese Voice Actor: Ikuya Sawaki

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.

  • Career-Ending Injury: And how!
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Instead of simply exploding in a fireball, he is unlucky enough to get blinded by gunfire from an enemy pilot, and later gets shot in an arm as well. Having failed to eject due to a faulty ejection seat and only able to hear other fighters buzzing around him through his holed canopy, he goes into a panic and starts to fly erratically, wildly shooting his guns at friend and foe alike, forcing Shin to shoot him down for good. And he gets shot through his head.
  • Eye Scream: He's blinded during a dogfight.
  • Mercy Kill: Done to him by Shin.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Much like Boris before him, he's an average pilot who exists only to die in a rather tragic fashion, and thus illustrate the terrible ordeals and grisly fate of mercenary pilots.

     Nguyen Van Chom 
Japanese Voice Actor: Chikao Ohtsuka
English Voice Actor: H.K. Khang
A sadistic, unstable Vietnamese fighter pilot who briefly serves at Area 88.

  • Ace Custom: He flies an F-105D Thunderchief. The manga version has it painted in the standard USAF Vietnam camo with yellow bands striped in black, like a tiger, across its fuselage and wings. The OVA version of his Thunderchief is even more colorful, eschewing the USAF Vietnam camo for a pure flat black/yellow-striped-in-black scheme, which is far more eye-catching.
  • Ace Pilot: In the Vietnam War and at Area 88.
  • 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.
  • Foil: To Charlie in the OVA. Both men antagonize Shin in different ways; Charlie acts polite and friendly towards Shin off battle, but is actually looking for the opportunity to kill Shin in battle, whereas Nguyen often harasses Shin with contempt about "shooting allies" (in reference to Shin's Mercy Kill of Jess), but he never makes any attempt on Shin's life and during actual combat they both stay loyal, never backstabbing each other; in fact, Nguyen later has a Pet the Dog moment with Shin, as explained in the trope entry below.
  • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: For all of his Jerkass attitude towards Shin, when Nguyen learns that the Japanese pilot is finally leaving Area 88 and going back home, he takes a pause to say goodbye to him, much to the latter's surprise. They part ways in rather good terms.
  • 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.

     Hoover Kippenburg 

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.

  • Ace Pilot: Shin observes that Hoover is a better aerial leader than Saki, and that he must have been a fine commander in the West German air force.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: He has blond hair in the manga, wheat-colored hair when he appears in the background of the OVA, and grey hair in the Area 88: Etranger 1995 video game.
  • 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.
  • Blue Blood: Implied. Hoover's grandfather was named Karl von Kippenburg. The nobiliary particle von indicates that he descended from nobility. In real life, after the abolition of monarchies in Germany and Austria, the nobility in those countries lost their privileges, which might explain why Hoover's father had no von in his surname.
  • Character Death: He dies in combat during an anti-government surge against Area 88.
  • Demoted to Extra: He receives character development in the manga, but only appears in the background of the OVA and only makes a cameo in the TV series.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: After receiving ample character development, Hoover unceremoniously dies off-screen during battle.
  • Eyes Always Shut: In the manga, his eyes are two dark slits. Averted in the SNES game Area 88/UN Squadron — he's depicted in the background of the character select screen with open eyes.
  • A Father to His Men: Shin deeply respects him, and he in turn helps Shin make sense of Mario's combat death. He also gently reminds Mario not to be reckless in combat.
    Hoover: It's a man's fate to die eventually. Just don't be so hasty to go, son.
  • Field Promotion: During the Wolfpack crisis, Saki temporarily puts Hoover in command of Area 88's aerial forces.
  • Foil: To Mario. His maturity and reserve contrast sharply to Mario's immaturity and cockiness.
  • Glory Days: He went from being a NATO aerial commanded who trained pilots over Mont Blanc to a mercenary working in a third world backwater.
  • Heroic Lineage: As revealed by Mario.
    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.
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: Subverted. Hoover has long sideburns that fall past his face, but he's one of the most level-headed pilots at Area 88.
  • Informed Attribute: After Hoover's death, Shin remembers him as a "steel ace" and a tactical genius. However, readers really don't get to see examples of Hoover's tactical skill.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: On the two occasions after his death when he appears in Shin's dreams, he's wearing his flight suit and gear.
  • Like Father, Like Son / Lineage Comes from the Father: He comes from a family of famous German fighter pilots, stretching back to World War I. When he and Mario meet for the first time, Mario surprises him by reciting famous details about the Kippenburg lineage.
  • Majorly Awesome: An ex-major in the West German air force and a former NATO air commander.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: When Shin sees Hoover in his dreams, are they just reflective of Shin's grief over Hoover's death, or is Hoover actually communicating with Shin from beyond the grave?
  • Moral Myopia: 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.
  • My Greatest Failure: Hoover blames himself for the deaths of several pilots during a training exercise back in Europe.
  • Psychopomp: After Hoover's death in the manga, he appears in a dream to Shin, beckoning Shin to come with him. Shin hesitates, and Hoover moves on in the darkness.
  • '70s Hair: He has long hair that almost touches his shoulders, and long sideburns to boot.
  • The Stoic: He's calm and reserved most of the time.
  • Spell My Name with an S: "Hoover" is an English name, not a German one. Because the letters "B" and "V" are interchangeable in Japanese, it's possible that "Hoover" is a mistransliteration of "Huber", a common German name.
  • Spirit Advisor: Played with. In manga that didn't make it stateside, after Shin returns to Japan and takes up residence with Ryoko, Hoover appears to him in a dream.
  • Survivor Guilt: He's wracked with guilt after the NATO pilots under his command died during a training accident back in Europe.
  • Unusual Eyebrows: His eyebrows are thin and heavily arched.

     Mario Bandini 
(Manga only)

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!
  • Didn't Think This Through: 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.
  • Easily Forgiven: He nearly causes a mid-air collision, ignores a direct order from Hoover to stay at Area 88 during a Wolfpack raid, and nearly gets Hoover, Mickey, and Shin killed when he joins their aerial battle uninvited. He's never disciplined for his insubordination or dangerous behavior.
  • 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.
  • Manchild: 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.
  • 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.

     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.

  • 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.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Kim, her best friend.
  • 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.

Japanese Voice Actor: Tesshō Genda
English Voice Actor: B.H. O'Neill (CPM dub), Mike Kleinhenz (ADV dub)

A British pilot who serves at Area 88.

  • Character Death: He's hit with a bullet during the "Fang" mission and crashes his jet.
  • Hope Spot / Secretly Dying: In the "Fang" mission, after successfully breaching the enemy airbase's defenses and bombing it along with Shin, both Boris' plane and he himself are fatally shot, though Shin and Mickey don't notice this. On the way back, Boris takes a while to chat with the others a bit before finally revealing to them that he has been hit and won't return alive.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Boris thanks Shin and Mickey, regarding them as true friends for "facing death" alongside him, before dying.
  • 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.

Japanese Voice Actor: Makio Inoue
English Voice Actor: George Manley

A former mercenary pilot turned assassin, sent to Area 88 on Farina's orders to kill Shin.

  • Ace Custom: His fighter jet of choice is a white F-16 with the undersides painted in black.
  • Affably Evil: He's friendly and disarming, and he seems to genuinely like Shin. He also insists on trying to kill Shin in the air instead of doing so "in the dark" on the ground.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Charlie tries to kill Shin during aerial combat, but Shin kills him in self-defense.
  • Consummate Professional: After Shin defeats him in aerial combat, Charlie refuses to reveal who hired him. He takes the secret to his grave.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: How Charlie meets his end in the OVA. After a failed initial missile attack, which is dodged by Shin, Charlie switches to his fighter's gun to shoot Shin down. While he succeeds in hitting Shin's F-5E, he also notices Shin does not eject, and therefore gives chase to his target. Fortunately for Shin, and unfortunately for Charlie, Shin's plane startles a flock of birds near a river, the birds flee into Charlie's path, and one of them smashes into his cockpit. Charlie, either distraught by the sudden occurrence, or with his own plane's engine damaged from ingesting some birds, loses control of his F-16 and crashes into the river in a fiery explosion. Truth in Television, as many a plane has went down after colliding with birds in mid-flight.
  • Evil Former Friend: Subverted. He was an old friend of Mickey's, but is evil only towards Shin, with whom he was never acquainted.
  • 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.
  • Noble Demon: Charlie adheres to a code of conduct. For example, he tries to kill Shin honorably in combat, even though he admits that it would have been easier to kill Shin quietly on the ground.
    • Averted in the OVA however, where Charlie simply picks his moment and uses the confusion from the battle with the Wolfpack squadron to attack Shin from behind. Only after Shin manages to dodge his first missile attack does he compliment Shin, revealing himself and his intention to kill him (though he still refuses to tell Shin who had sent him).
  • Professional Killer: Farina deploys him to Area 88 to assassinate Shin, after Kanzaki puts a hit out on Shin via Farina. He tells Shin the usual Nothing Personal Stock Phrase when telling him he's there actually to kill him.
  • 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).
  • Remember the New Guy?: In the OVA, Mickey introduces Charlie to Shin as "Charlie the Phoenix", Area 88's former top ace pilot and Mickey's old friend in days before Shin arrived, who was successful enough to survive and earn his way back home.
  • '70s Hair: He has a pageboy haircut.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Of sorts. He (re)joins Area 88 pretending to be unadjusted to civilian life after serving a long time as a soldier, just like Mickey, but actually he's there just to kill Shin.
  • Traitor Shot: Gets a few ones in the OVA, most notably when he meets Shin; he lets out an obviously wicked scowl and Psycho Smirk.
  • Unfriendly Fire: He tries to kill Shin in aerial combat.

Japanese Voice Actor: Hōchū Ōtsuka
English Voice Actor: Eric Chase

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. In the OVA, he dies in the final battle, when he fails to shake an enemy missile off his tail and his plane explodes without him ejecting.
  • 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: Which is ultimately his undoing in the OVA. During the final battle, he is targeted by enemy missiles, which he fails to shake off his fighter's tail. Desperately, he tries to eject, but his hook hand gets stuck gripping the control stick, preventing him from pulling both ejection levers, and the enemy missiles make his plane explode with him still inside it.
  • 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.

Manga only

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 fist-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 
Manga only

Two mercenaries who serve at Area 88.

  • Characterization Marches On: Benson is depicted as childish and selfish in the first issue of the manga. Several issues later, he's a lot more subdued.
  • 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

     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.

  • 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.
  • Hidden Depths: In the OVA, he first comes off as a cold-hearted, callous boss after being informed by Mickey that only he and Shin came back alive from the Fang mission. However, Saki later shows that he knows exactly why Shin is serving at Area 88 against his will and does his best to reassure Shin that he will survive the war and return safely to Japan, before telling Shin why he himself is fighting in the Asran civil war, and later on, when Shin attempts to defect and is threatened by the Escapee Killers, Saki tells Shin to shut up and deliberately ignores the incident (rather than have Shin face court-martial and death). Saki also expresses utmost confidence on both Shin and Mickey's abilities, calling them the best aces in the area.
  • 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.
  • Majored in Western Hypocrisy: Saki was educated in London. In spite of this (or because of it), Saki is very suspicious of western powers seeking to take advantage of Asran's civil war. He also opposes Asran selling its oil rights to foreign powers, even though it could drastically improve the standard of living of the Asranian people.
  • 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.

     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: 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.
  • 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.

     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: 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.
  • Never Bare Headed: He is always depicted with a keffiyeh on his head.
  • 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. 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.
  • Driven to Villainy: 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.
  • Drugs Are Bad: In the manga, Abdael is a drug addict. At the end of the manga, Abdael stumbles through Asran City in a drug-induced haze before Saki catches up with him.
  • The Exile: For the first half of the manga, Abdael lives in exile in Sweden. He returns to Asran in manga issues that didn't make it stateside.
  • Irony:
    • In manga issues that didn't make it stateside, Julianna arranges for an unconscious Soria to receive medical treatment, which cures Soria's blood cancer. If Abdael has simply waited for the world's medical technology to catch up, he could have cured his wife without plunging Aslan into civil war.
    • Abdael loved Soria so much that he placed her in a cryogenic chamber until a cure for her blood cancer could be found. He started Aslan's civil war so that he could gain control of the country, sell its petroleum, use the oil revenue to develop Aslan's medical technology, and find a cure for Soria's cancer. In the process, he devastated the country that Soria loved, tried to kill her eldest son, and allowed himself to become a horrible man who would have disgusted Soria.
  • Lean and Mean: He's tall and extremely thin.
  • Love Makes You Evil: See Monster Sob Story below.
  • Never Bare Headed: He is always depicted with a keffiyeh on his head.
  • 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)
Japanese Voice Actress: Sanae Kobayashi
English Voice Actress: Nancy Novotny

King Zak's daughter and a fighter pilot in the Asranian air force.


     Goh "Rocky" Mutsuki 
Japanese Voice Actor: Shūsei Nakamura
English Voice Actor: David Stuart (CPM dub), Jay Hickman (ADV dub)
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)
Japanese Voice Actor: Shin-ichiro Miki
English Voice Actor: John Gremillion

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.

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.

  • 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.
  • Broken Pedestal: Mac admits to Mickey that he envied him when they attended the Naval Academy together. Mac is less than pleased to learn that Mickey has become a mercenary in Asran.
  • 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.

     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: 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.

(Manga only)

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' Bishōnen, 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.

     Escape Killers 
Japanese Voice Actors: Shigeru Chiba (#1), Ryouichi Tanaka (#2), Tomohiro Nishumura (#3)
  • Ace Custom: They pilot British English Electric Lightnings with a distinctive gray and yellow nose scheme.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Patrick Reed 
2004 Anime

  • Composite Character: Like Mac from the manga, Patrick Reed is an American Navy pilot from Mickey's past who is fighting as a mercenary on the opposite side of a foreign war. Like Jess in the OVA, Reed becomes panick-stricken during a battle.
  • Precious Photo: Back in Vietnam, he taped a photo of his home in the midwest to his cockpit console.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Mickey trained him in the U.S. Navy, and now Patrick Reed is his opponent.

    Unnamed Sniper 
2004 Anime

  • The Faceless: Viewers don't get to see the sniper's face.
  • Properly Paranoid: At first, pilots and staff at Area 88 can't tell where the sniper's bullets are coming from, leading to a looming sense of paranoia on base.
  • Villainous Virtues: The sniper exhibits cunning, focus, devotion to the job at hand, and almost inhuman patience.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Played straight in the TV series. In the manga, she lacks the maturity and wisdom of the traditional Yamato Nadeshiko, making her a downplaying of this trope.

     Taeko Yasuda 
Japanese Voice Actress: Yoshiko Sakakibara (OVA), Wakana Yamazaki (TV series)
English Voice Actress: Luci Christian
The graceful, no-nonsense executive secretary of Yamato Airlines and Ryoko's best friend.

  • 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.
  • My Rule Fu Is Stronger than Yours: In the manga and OVA, she has Kanzaki arrested for tax evasion.
  • Old Maid: 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.
  • 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.

     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. 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.
  • 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.
    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: 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.

     Guisseppe Farina 
Japanese Voice Actor: Joji Yanami
English Voice Actor: Marty Fleck
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.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She cannot bring herself to kill Soria. She arranges for Soria's cryogenic chamber to be transported outside of Asran before burning down Soria's tomb.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Satellite Character: To Ryoko and Taeko.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Josie disappears from the manga for a long time after meeting Saki in Switzerland. In later manga issues that didn't make it stateside, Josie reappears as a teenage girl and looks completely different.

     Matsunosuke Sawa 
(Manga only)

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.
  • 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 Mother 
(Manga only)

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.
  • 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 
(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.