Area 88/Characters

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Area 88 Itself

Area 88 Pilots and Staff

Shin Kazama

Japanese Voice Actors: Kaneto Shiozawa (OVA), Takehito Koyasu (TV series)
English Voice Actor: Chris Patton
Favorite Aircraft: F-8 Crusader, F-20 Tigershark


  • The Ace
  • Ace Pilot
  • Action Survivor: Shin became a mercenary against his will and was forced to hone his skills to survive the Asran civil war.
  • Adaptation Dye Job: He has blond hair in the manga and TV series, but brown hair in the OVA.
  • Adventures in Coma Land: In the manga, Shin is rendered unconscious after his jet crashes. While dreaming, he sees Hoover's spirit beckoning him, but Shin cannot follow Hoover because he can't move his legs. Shin wakes up in the infirmary of Farina's land carrier.
  • Angst: In the early parts of the manga and OVA, Shin is disgusted at being a killer and reluctant to identify as a mercenary. As the story progresses, the horrors of war change him.
  • Badass
  • Berserk Button: Kanzaki, particularly in the manga and OVA.
  • Bishonen
  • 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.
  • Easy Amnesia: In the end of the manga, where head trauma causes him to forget everything surrounding Area88.
  • Dissonant Laughter: In the last issue of the manga, Shin is so emotionally overwhelmed by the deaths of Saki, Mickey, and Sela that he starts laughing hysterically. His laughter makes Kim extremely uncomfortable. He returns to his senses when Kanzaki contacts him.
  • Dissonant Serenity: In the OVA, when confronted by three Paris thugs, Shin just smiles. He remains calm as he snatches a knife from one of the thugs and hurls it into a robber's shoulder. The thugs are completely unnerved.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The TV series hints that he does this privately. In the manga, he drinks heavily to cope with his war trauma after leaving Area 88 and returning to Paris.
  • 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.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: With Mickey in the OVA and manga.
  • Highly-Conspicuous Uniform: He wears a bright orange flightsuit in the OVA, a blue flightsuit in the TV series, and a red flightsuit in the arcade game. In the desert, he'd stick out like a sore thumb.
  • Kubrick Stare: He gives one to Saki during a bout of temporary psychosis in the manga.
  • Kuudere: In the TV series.
  • Parental Abandonment
  • Peek-a-Bangs
  • Real Men Get Shot: Several times in the manga.
  • Reluctant Warrior
  • 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
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He abandons Ryoko in the OVA, and breaks her heart several times in manga issues that did not make it stateside.
    • In all continuities, Shin refrained from contacting the Tsugumos while at Area 88. Since he knew how dangerous Kanzaki was, it was irresponsible of him not to warn the Tsugumos about Kanzaki.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: In the OVA series, where he forgoes a chance at reuniting with Ryoko in order to go back to Area88.
Someone has a secret.

Mickey Simon

Japanese Voice Actor: Kei Tomiyama (OVA), Tomokazu Seki (TV series)
English Voice Actor: John Swasey
Favorite Aircraft: F-14 Tomcat


  • Ace Pilot
  • 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.
  • Badass
  • Battle Couple: With Sela in latter issues of the manga that did not make it stateside.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: In the manga, Mickey becomes an executive at his father's company after the Vietnam war. He was initially stressed out, although whether this was due to inexperience or untreated war trauma is unclear.
  • Beta Couple: With Sela.
  • Character Exaggeration: He's bolder and angrier in the TV series than in other adaptations.
  • Consummate Professional: For a soldier of fortune, Mickey has a strong professional code. In the manga, he is loyal to his fellow pilots and politely turns down Rishar's offer to join the anti-government forces.
  • The Cynic: He's very cynical about war and peace in the manga. In a conversation with Shin, he explains that Switzerland, a militarily neutral country, was at one time a source of mercenary troops. In a conversation with Rishar, he claimed that wars are rarely started for specific reasons, and that everyone just blames fate in the end.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: In the TV series. He punches Makoto Shinjou for taking photographs of an injured pilot in the first episode.
  • Highly-Conspicuous Uniform: He wears a purplish-blue flightsuit in the TV series and an indigo flightsuit in the OVA and arcade game. Needless to say, in the desert he would NOT blend in.
  • The Lancer: To Shin.
  • Last Kiss: In the manga, Sela kisses him before they're both killed in an explosion.
  • Lightning Bruiser: In the manga, when Shin violently lashes out in the throes of temporary psychosis, Mickey quickly dodges Shin's punch and floors Shin with one blow.
  • Manly Tears: After Nguyen's death in manga that did not make it stateside.
  • Messenger: In the manga, Mickey is briefly captured by anti-government forces, but Rishar sends him back to Area 88 with a message for Saki.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: In the manga, Mickey is shot down and wakes up in an anti-government base infirmary. He bumped his head during the crash, and is VERY unhappy about his headache.

Mickey: WHO'S RUNNING AN ELECTRIC SHAVER INSIDE MY SKULL!?

  • Muscles Are Meaningless: In the manga, Mickey is surprisingly strong for a slender man. When Shin lashes out due to temporary psychosis, Mickey floors him with one punch. In a later issue of the manga that did not make it stateside, Mickey does it again. Angered by Shin's return to Area 88, Mickey punches Shin, who immediately falls to the floor. Of course, Shin might just be a Glass Cannon.
    • In the manga, Shin and Mickey are taken captive aboard Farina's land carrier. Shin's legs were broken during a jet crash, so Mickey carriers Shin atop his shoulders at length, seemingly without difficulty or discomfort.
  • The One That Got Away: Tracy.
  • Phenotype Stereotype
  • 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.
    • He also has a more masculine face and athletic build in the TV series than he does in the manga or OVA.
  • Returning War Vet: After the Vietnam war.
  • Seventies Hair: Pompadour.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Mickey served in the Vietnam war and had great difficulty acclimating to civilian life afterwards.
  • Shirtless Scene: Gets a few of these in the manga. Hot damn.
  • Taking the Bullet: Toward the end of the manga, Mac shoots at Sela during aerial combat. Mickey flies between the two, and his jet takes the bullets intended for Sela's aircraft.
  • There Are No Therapists: After the Vietnam War, he never got help for his war trauma, making it difficult for him to adjust to civilian life. Not helped by the fact that everyone around him (except Tracy) was oblivious to his trauma.
  • Together in Death: With Sela near the end of the manga.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Shin in the manga. He has come between Shin and death on multiple occassions, both in aerial combat and on the ground. When the Enforcers threatened Shin, Mickey was by Shin's side, ready to defend him. When Shin was shot down by Farina's land carrier, Mickey immediately flew out to look for Shin, getting shot down and taken captive in the process.
  • Wing Man: To Shin and Saki, but he's a formitable pilot in his own right.

Greg Gates

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


  • Accidental Murder: In manga that did not make it stateside, Greg's aircraft crashes in Asran City. While traveling through the city, he finds a frightened Asranian child whose mother was killed in the fighting. The girl accidentally shoots him with her family's gun.
  • Badass Beard
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. He's older and heavier in the TV series than in other adaptations.
  • Big Sleep: In the manga, after being accidentally shot by a frightened Asranian girl, Greg dies peacefully.

Asranian Girl: "Are you sleeping?"

  • But Not Too White: For a northern European, he has a very tanned face in the OVA and arcade game.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Drowning My Sorrows: He does this once in the manga after the deaths of several fellow pilots.
  • Feel No Pain: He sterilizes shrapnel wounds with alcohol, for crying out loud.
  • Hidden Depths: Early in the manga, Greg is shown as a boisterous pilot and occassional 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 Eric and Campbell's death.
  • Manly Tears: After the deaths of Eric and Campbell in the manga.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: In manga that did not make it stateside. Back in Europe, he and Eric killed a man who had murdered an innocent woman and child.


McCoy

Japanese Voice Actors: Iemasa Kayumi (OVA), Chikao Ohtsuka (TV series)
English Voice Actor: Andy McAvin


  • 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: He has a large nose and cares only about money, thereby fitting the stereotype.
  • Arms Dealer
  • Cool Old Guy
  • A Grandfather to His Men
  • Honest John's Dealership


Kim

Japanese Voice Actress: Ryo Hirohashi (TV series)
English Voice Actress: Serena Varghese
Favorite Aircraft: Harrier


  • Bishonen
  • Child Soldier: In the manga, he is sixteen years old when he arrives at Area 88.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Although Kim is a young man, he is voiced by women in the Japanese and English versions of the TV series.
  • Never Bareheaded: 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.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Sela in manga issues that did not make it stateside.


Jess

(OAV only)



Nguyen Van Chom


Hoover Kippenburg



Mario

(Manga only)



Sela Bernard

(Manga only)


Vashtal Royal Family

Saki Vashtal

Japanese Voice Actors: Taro Shigaki (OVA), Hiroki Takahashi (TV series)
English Voice Actor: Illich Guardiola
Favorite Aircraft: Kfir


  • Badass Long Hair
  • 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.
  • Halfbreed: Averted. Saki is the son of an Asranian prince and his Greek wife, Soria, who was loved by the Asranian people. Saki has suffered no stigma in Asran because of his mixed heritage.
  • Momma's Boy: He has loving memories of his mother, Soria.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: In the manga, Saki defends the Asranian monarchy, even though its decisions have left the Asranian people poor and uneducated.
  • 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 hard. 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.
  • 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: In the manga.
  • Vetinari Job Security: During a conversation with Mickey in the manga, Saki says that the Asranian people are not ready for democracy, and that the Vashtal royal family must look after the people like a parent.
  • Warrior Prince
  • X Marks the Hero


Rishar Vashtal

(Manga only)


  • Bishonen
  • Defector From Decadence: Rishar is an Asranian prince who wants to eradicate the Asranian monarchy and bring democracy to the country.
  • Hair of Gold
  • Left for Dead: 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
  • Monochromatic Eyes: No visible sclera.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Rishar is all too aware of this. He grieves for the Asranian people because the war has brought they enormous suffering.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something
  • Thicker Than Water: He speaks warmly of his brother Saki, even though they're on opposite sides of the civil war.
  • Unexpected Successor: At the end of the manga, Rishar, Soria, and King Zak are left to transition Asran from a monarchy to a modern republic.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Rishar genuinely wants to empower the Asranian people by replacing the monarchy with a democracy. Mickey warns him that the Asranian people may call for his death after the war. Rishar says that he would gladly accept such a fate if it brought comfort to those who suffered.


King Zak


  • Cool Uncle: In the manga, Zak was a father figure to Saki in his youth.
  • Gonk: In the manga. He's drawn realistically in the OVA, however.
  • Government in Exile: At the end of the OVA, he is forced to flee Asran.
  • King on His Deathbed: Zak received the kingship from his dying father, much to his brother Abdael's chagrin.
  • Noble Fugitive: At the end of the OVA.


Abdael Vashtal


  • Archnemesis Dad: To Saki.
  • Badass Mustache
  • Functional Addict: In the manga, Abdael is a drug addict. Played straight at first, then subverted at the end of the manga, when Abdael stumbles through Asran City in a drug-induced haze.
  • Lean and Mean
  • Love Makes You Evil: See Monster Sob Story below.
  • Monster Sob Story: In the manga, his wife Soria was near death due to her blood cancer after giving birth to Rishar. He arranged for Soria to be put in cryogenic suspension until treatment could be discovered, hiding her cryogenic chamber under her tomb. Toward the end of the manga, we learn that Abdael wanted to take control of Asran so that he could develop its medical technology through foreign capital, hopefully allowing for Soria's cure to be developed.
  • Offing the Offspring: He tries to have Saki assassinated.


Soria

(Manga only)


  • 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
  • Hot Mom
  • 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.

Other Characters

Ryoko Tsugumo

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


  • 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.
  • 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 Josephine, a French-Japanese orphan.
  • Love Makes You Dumb
  • Love Martyr: In the manga and OVA, Ryoko is willing to endure much hardship to release Shin from servitude. Too bad he breaks her heart.
  • Loving a Shadow: Her love for Shin can be interpreted as this in the manga and OVA.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She gets a nude scene in the OVA and several nude scenes in the manga.
  • Ojou
  • Pimped-Out Dress: She's wearing a stunning wedding dress in the last episode of the TV series.
  • Satellite Character
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In the manga and OVA, Ryoko seems to think she's in a romance story instead of a war story. She places great faith in the power of love, oblivious to why Shin would be at Area 88 in the first place and how war might have affected him.
  • You Gotta Have Lavender Hair
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Played straight in the TV series.
    • Deconstructed in the manga. Her love and loyalty to Shin make her an easy target for Kanzaki's manipulation.
    • In the manga, she lacks the maturity and wisdom of the traditional Yamato Nadeshiko, making her a possible subversion of this trope as well.


Taeko Yasuda



Satoru Kanzaki

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


  • Ambition Is Evil
  • Beard of Evil: He grows a beard in later issues of the manga that didn't make it stateside.
  • Beneath the Mask: In the manga and OVA, Ryoko learns what kind of person Kanzaki truly is when he takes over Yamato Airlines through underhanded means and later proposes a Scarpia Ultimatum.
    • In the manga's Kanzaki's private thoughts give readers a glipse into his true nature. For example, after a Yamato plane crashes into Tokyo Bay, Kanzaki visits the victims' grieving family members in a temple. He puts on the appearance of a concerned and humbled company president, but his thoughts show his true ruthlessness.

Kanzaki: I will realize my ambition by stepping on the bodies of the fallen.

  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: In the manga, he betrays Shin, the Tsugumos, Farina and Mac.
  • 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.
  • Evil Former Friend: To Shin.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: In the manga and OVA, Kanzaki starts as a Yamato Airlines pilot but later takes over the company through shifty stock deals with a rival company. In manga issues that did not make it stateside, he eventually becomes the head of a dangerous arms network called Project 4.
  • General Failure: In the manga and OVA, after taking over Yamato Airlines, a Yamato plane crashes due to inferior parts that Kanzaki bought from Farina's company. The resulting financial and public relations nightmare was a serious blow to the airline.
    • In manga issues that did not make it stateside, Kanzaki eventually becomes the leader of an arms network called Project 4, which tries to take over Asran through Prince Abdael, Saki's father. It fails when anti-government forces thwart them.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: His motivation for many of the things he does.
  • Jerkass
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In the manga. Kanzaki tells Ryoko that her fixation on an absentee Shin is reminiscent of his mother's fixation on his estranged father, which ended in his mother's suicide. Confirmed later in the manga when Ryoko tries to kill herself after Shin breaks her heart over the phone.
  • 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
  • Neutral Evil: In the manga and OVA.
  • Parental Abandonment / Dark and Troubled Past: His mother committed suicide after his father abandoned her. She drove her car off an embankment with little Kanzaki inside. Kanzaki survived, but the first thing he saw when he emerged from the wreck was his dead mother's body.
  • Pride
  • Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids: In the manga, when Kanzaki delivers a scarpia ultimatum to Ryoko, he tells her that he doesn't believe in love. Later in the manga, he also mocks the idea of love when Shin abandons Ryoko to return to Area 88.
  • The Sociopath
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: His voice and appearance are much less ominous in the TV series than in the OVA. In the TV series, he comes across as reserved and completely normal, which makes his villainy all the more frightening.
  • Villainous Crush: On Ryoko. At first, Kanzaki wants a relationship with Ryoko in order to rise up in the Yamato Airlines hierarchy. This is why he proposes a marriage of convenience to her in the TV series. In the manga and OVA, however, his sexual attraction to her is also rooted in sadism, as demonstrated by his Scarpia Ultimatum proposal.
    • In the manga, Kanzaki confesses that Ryoko looks like his mother. Hoooooo-boy.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the manga, he arranges for Julianna to murder Farina.


Guisseppe Farina



Julianna


  • Babies Ever After: Julianna gives birth to Kanzaki's son at the end of the manga.
  • Blondes Are Evil
  • Dark Mistress: To Kanzaki.
  • The Dragon: To Farina, and later Kanzaki.
  • Heel Face Turn: In manga issues that did not make it stateside, Julianna abandons Kanzaki and Project 4 after she discovers Soria (Saki's mother) in a cryogenic chamber.
    • She also confides in Taeko about Soria and Project 4.
  • Karma Houdini
  • 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.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: In the last issue of the manga, she names her baby Satoru, after his late father Satoru Kanzaki.


Mac

(Manga only)


  • Anti-Villain
  • Badass Beard
  • The Dragon: To Kanzaki as part of Project 4.
  • Foil: To Mickey. Mac's life of hardship and heartbreak contrasts sharply to Mickey's former life of wealth.
  • Heartbroken Badass: In manga that did not make it stateside, Mickey is horrified when Mac tells him about his wife and daughter.