- "So you think you'd be better off dead, huh? How bout putting up a little more resistance? I plan to, otherwise, I'm dead"
- ―Kaname Chidori
Kaname Chidori (千鳥 かなめ Chidori Kaname) is the female protagonist of the series. She is often described as "The kind of girl everyone looks up to".
Kaname has long dark blue hair that is tied in a red bow and brown eyes. She wears a female uniform which is a short/long sleeved blouse, a green skirt, red chest ribbon, black socks and pink shoes with white laces and highlights.
Due to her upbringing as the child of a UN official, Chidori spend a deal of her formative years in Japan and The United States this has resulted in a very out going personality that is sometimes considered too American for Japan and too Japanese for America. This resulted in her suffering from bullying in both nations. The resulting personality is one that wishes to instill an image of confidence and order, yet she is also short tempered and quick to lash out as that image is meant to hid her own sense of vulnerability, Loneliness and insecurity. However her fellow students at Jindai Municipal High School appear to have accepted her and welcomed her, viewing her as a someone every one respects but no one wants to date. This is turned about however with the appearance of Sousuke Sagara a new transfer student to whom she feels drawn. She is however, a tsundere as her affections to him often involving “corrections” in the form of violent outbursts when he creates misunderstandings. His lack of normal social behavior results in a unique romantic situations she ends up in as she becomes entangled in a love triangle between Sousuke, Teletha Testarossa and herself, and is unsure of her situation or how to handle it. Finding that her own insecurities stand as a barrier to be overcome as much as his own unfamiliarity with affection.
In the light novels, it is mentioned that Shunya Chidori (Kaname's father) and Ayame Chidori (Kaname's younger sister) live in New York, United States and Shizu Chidori (Kaname's late mother) died of cancer roughly 4 years before the start of the series. Shortly after that, Kaname ran away from home but she returned the next day. Kaname's relationship with her late mother and Ayame is apparently friendly, but she is more tense towards her father, who works for the United Nations as its environmental High Commissioner.
Her late mother's family also seems to have strained relations with the Chidori family, at least until her grandfather from that side makes amends. Because of her sensitive past, she developed a tough-lady attitude, which has helped her deal with her past and survive several life-threatening situations. In the novel A Dancing Very Merry Christmas and in the Full Metal Panic! Anime Mission fan book, it is also revealed that she shares her birthday with Teletha Testarossa on December 24, 1984 (Christmas Eve).
Chidori lives alone in her own apartment across from the complex which Sousuke Sagara lives in. She takes on multiple part-time jobs and sometimes invites friends to join her, which often ends with a catastrophe because of Sousuke. She began attending Jindai Municipal High School at the age of 15 and is currently in her second year. She leads a normal lifestyle and is the class representative and vice president. She is quite popular at school. However, after Sousuke is transferred to her class, her life is turned upside down and she becomes involved in various Mithril operations.
Chidori's bravery and determination came to a head in the climax of the novel Continuing on My Own. Following Sousuke's defeat by the hands of Leonard Testarossa, Kaname gives herself up to Leonard and Amalgam to save his life. As she is picked up by the Belial's giant hand, she whispers something to Sousuke before being whisked off. After being taken by Leonard, she is imprisoned by Amalgam at an island villa. In the novel Come Make My Day, Sousuke arrives at the island in order to save her, but is unable to do so as she is taken away in a helicopter.
In the most recent novel, Semaru Nick of Time, the origin of the Whispered is revealed to be caused by an accident during a Soviet experiment using an Omni-Sphere that occurred on December 24, 1984, when all the Whispered were born. Leonard takes Chidori back to the Omni-Sphere after recovering from wounds in Come Make My Day. She is then forced to resonate with Sophia, a key Whispered, who overtakes Chidori's personality. Under Sophia's control, Chidori is shown the illusion of shooting and killing Tessa and Sousuke, and then leaves with Leonard for Merida Island, where Amalgam has built a machine to utilize the final ability of the Whispered. While under Sophia's control, she enters the machine and has an internal conflict with Sophia. Sophia tells her she can save her mother and do many things but Chidori refuses and states that she chose the reality she already lives in. She's saved and then goes back to the high school and she reunites with Sousuke and they confess their love and kiss in front of the whole Jindai High School.
- The name Kaname means "pivot, cornerstone, keystone" (かなめ).
- Kaname's surname Chidori means "thousand" (千) (chi) and "bird" (鳥) (tori/dori).
- It can also mean "plover" (a type of short-billed bird that lives in the tundra, mountains or grasslands).