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Characters that appear in ICO.

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The Player Character of the story. Ico was a boy born with horns, which is considered a curse in his land. He was brought to the castle by three masked men and forced into a coffin to presumably die. After they leave, however, a tremor caused by the castle's many aged moving parts dislodges Ico's coffin from the wall, breaking it open and starting his quest
  • Badass Normal: He's just a kid with no magical powers, but he manages to complete all the puzzles of the castle and defeat the Queen.
  • Bigger Stick: Ico doesn't power up, he just finds better things to smack monsters with.
  • First Blood: Ico loses one of his horns at the start of his final battle with the Queen, resulting in a gout of red blood spurting from his head. He loses the other at the conclusion of the fight.
  • Horned Humanoid: Ico has two horns and they are a bad omen.
  • Human Sacrifice: Ico is intended to be one before he escapes, and he guesses Yorda was as well when they meet.

The Deuteragonist of the story. A mysterious girl locked in a steel cage, Ico frees her and the two seek to escape.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Unusual for a Distressed Damsel or an Escort Mission game, Yorda hints at puzzle advancement by pointing to the place or object of interest and saying Ico's name (though this was left out of the original NTSC version). It varies depending on the location-level: On the windmill, she walks right to the place that you can climb and points at it, while in the cemetery she points at the cube on high grounds that you need so both Yorda and Ico can pass the gate. Furthermore, Yorda sometimes walks around and looks for a way before she points to the object/area of interest, giving the impression that she's helping you look for a way out. In some occasions (like the first level that introduced the stick-lighting mechanic) if you call to her while she's away, Yorda will face (even run) at the direction of where you need to go instead of trying to get to you. Just as how Yorda trusts Ico to navigate her around the castle, you can trust Yorda to find what you need to advance the navigation. It's the biggest reason as to why their bond is as endearing as the fans remember it to be.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Downplayed, but visible.
    • Though not as bad as many other examples of lackluster AI, Yorda needs to be led by the hand very often in the original NTSC release, otherwise she will tend to just stand still — even if shadow monsters are actively approaching.
    • Another case happens in other versions: sometimes, when going down a long ladder, just before touching the ground, she will stop and go back up, for no reason. Especially annoying because you have to wait for her to arrive at the top and to come down again; and she's painfully slow when climbing ladders.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Has a short, scruffy haircut.
  • Broken Bird: It is implied that this is the reason why Yorda is so passive during the game; it's not because she's weak, it's because she's broken. The Queen has emotionally abused her all of her life, convincing her that she will die in the outside world.
  • Damsel in Distress: Yorda is one of the purest examples of this trope in the medium: utterly defenseless and requiring Ico to protect her at every turn, then rescue her from the Queen.
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: Both Ico and Yorda speak in some sort of Conlang, but only Ico's dialogue has proper subtitles. Yorda's speech is rendered into what looks like hieroglyphs to emphasize that whatever language she's speaking, it's completely alien to Ico. (In non-NTSC versions of the game, Yorda's speech is rendered in English subtitles in New Game+.)
  • The Millstone: Can't really defend herself from foes, and if she is captured by the shadow creatures, it's an automatic game over.
  • Mysterious Waif: Not a lot is known about her past, and she has strange powers that she herself cannot control.
  • One Head Taller: Yorda is noticeably taller than Ico.
  • Power Incontinence: Has no real control of her powers, which only activate when close to certain pathways. After she opens the front door, she becomes visibly weaker, and has barely enough energy to walk, causing them to both be seperated.
  • Rei Ayanami Expy: Downplayed, but its there. Her mysterious origins, her pale skin, her short hair, and stoic attitude does show some semblance to Rei.

    The Queen
The main antagonist of the story, she opposes Ico and Yorda's escape and sends her minions after them.

    The Shadow Creatures
  • Artificial Brilliance: Do not let their mook status fool you, they are very cunning foes:
    • They come at you from multiple directions and dimensions, flying around to get a better shot or flattening to shadow to wait for an opening.
    • They work together, smacking you in the back while you're focused on another target or blocking your way as you chase after Yorda.
    • They use tactics, dragging Yorda to the farthest portal so you have to fight them all to get to her, or waiting until your back is turned to come at you.
    • They are relentless, always pursuing their prey.
    • They will attempt to knock you over the edge if they get a good hit in, resulting in a game over.
  • Living Shadow: Have many attributes common to them, including phasing through walls, being made of darkness, and changing forms.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: heavily implied to be the soul of other horned chldren sacrificed in the same way as Ico. Had that tremor not freed him, he would have been the same way.

    The Masked Men 
Three men wearing masks, one wears long black robes, and the other two are armored knights with horned helmets.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: The soldiers all but admit they view Ico's sacrifice as, at best, a grim necessity, as they clearly don't hold any particular grudge against Ico and one of them even asks him not to be angry with them for doing what they believed needed to be done.
  • Villain of Another Story: Very little is seen or known about them, as they only show up in the prologue to entomb Ico.

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