- "...it's not a problem"
- ―Sousuke Sagara
Sousuke is a teenager of medium height with somewhat tan skin and brown hair and eyes. He usually wears his school uniform which in the winter consists of black blazer and pants while his summer uniform is a white buttoned t-shirt and the same black pants. His hair has bangs that lead towards the right of his face and he is always shown with a serious face. He has an x shaped scar on the lower left part of his chin. He has a lean muscular build. He is considered somewhat handsome by many, however his unusual upbringing, ignorance of fashion, lack of common sense or social awareness, and his frequent use of military weapons in everyday life and paranoia that lead to the destruction of multiple buildings and objects leads him to being unpopular with girls.
Due to his upbringing in a war torn regions of the world, he is fairly inept in normal society. Raised as a dog of war from the time he was a small child, he has been surrounded by turmoil, bombs, fighting, and death for as long as he can remember, leading to his current paranoid and militaristic approach to everything and everyday life. The smallest detail out of place can lead him to blow up buildings or objects that look suspicious. He is also prone to attacking people and threatening them with guns and uses his weapons without regard to the damage he causes to the objects or people nearby. His paranoia goes to the point he can't trust himself or his feelings with others and is always on edge. Because of his busy schedule, he is sometimes sleep depraved which further worsens his condition. However, at heart he is a goodhearted person willing to help those close to him. He always has the best interests at heart when he helps someone but sometimes goes about it the wrong way. Over time, he learns and develops his common sense with the help of Chidori while growing to understand human emotions and relations, which he never got to as he lived in a war infested area where the rule was kill or be killed. Because of this, he only saw people as either his allies or his enemies and even the allies he is with prior to his enrollment in Jindai Municipal High School, while close to him, are still not as emotionally connected to him though he was close to his adoptive father. This emotional detachment brought on by his militaristic upbringing leads him to not understand normal social behavior and even the romantic situations he ends up in as he becomes entangled in a love triangle between him, Tessa, and Chidori and is unsure of his situation and how to handle it.
He is very hard working and will try his best at whatever he sets out, especially if it is for a friend. He is very helpful as shown when he helped an old woman he met pick out a toy for her grandson's birthday and when . He is protective of his friends as well. While socially inept and bad with romance, he is shown to be a gentleman at times, as shown by the fact that he set up numerous traps to ensure that his male friends wouldn't peek at his female friends during their trip to the hot spring and didn't take advantage of Tessa who was half asleep when she was hugging him half naked and making awkward, bold advances on him. The person he seems most comfortable with and most vulnerable to is Chidori, as he had allowed her to cut his hair without worrying unlike the last time he tried to get a haircut where he became paranoid by the fact that he was restrained to a chair and he put scissors near him. He even managed to fall asleep near her, aware she wouldn't do anything to harm him. The two care a great deal for each other. As seen when Gauron tells him Chidori dies repeatedly and Sousuke gets mad then kills him.
Before being assigned to guard Chidori at Jindai High School, Souske rarely experienced strong emotions and was unfamiliar with feeling or showing emotions for the most part. He virtually never laughed or smiled, felt longing for deep interpersonal relationships, and did not know how to cry. After his assignment to Chidori, however, he slowly started to change as he gained new kinds of experiences and relationships, namely, those that did not involve death, killing, following orders, and mere aimless day to day survival, jumping from one battlefield to the next. As he started developing a sense of life outside of following orders and fighting to the death, he began taking relationships to new levels and started to express his feelings. For example, his relationship with Weber and Mao evolved from simply co-workers to friends. He was also able to form a friendship with his commanding officer, Teletha Testarossa, on a basis that went beyond military matters. He was able to defy orders for the sake of Chidori, whom he cherished. During the final battle at Merida Island, he was able to suppress his lifelong soldier's instinct to survive and was not able to kill Andrey Kalinin, the man he considered his father. Finally, he was able to come to love and long for Chidori and cry at the prospect of dying without being able to see her again.
Sousuke Sagara is approximately sixteen to seventeen years old. A sergeant within the paramilitary counter-terrorist force, Mithril , he serves as a member of the SRT (Special Response Team) of the Western Pacific Battle Group "Tuatha de Danaan" and is assigned to the assault submarine of the same name. His commander is Captain Teletha Tessa Testarossa . His call sign is Urzu-7 and his ID number is B-3128. Serious and dedicated, he operates as team pointman as an Arm Slave specialist. Sousuke's ethnicity, nationality and date of birth are somewhat of a mystery. Within the novel universe he is of Japanese descent. Contrarily, in the manga, he is Afghan; having been born in Afghanistan and then, after a set of events, returned there and was raised there by General Majhid, a man he was meant to assassinate. In the anime, he is from Helmajistan, which is a fictional country that is meant to represent Afghanistan. His exact date of birth is also unknown, but assumed to be, and placed in his records as, July 7, 1984.
It is also important to note his name, as it is spelled on the helmet by Kalinin and is the name he goes by now, is not the name that was printed on the inside of his shirt as a child in the original Japanese content. The words printed there were 'Sousuke Sangal', which is the name of a place, not a person, making Japanese fans wonder if it is moreso the name of the place he and his mother were headed, or came from, and not his name. He has dark brown hair and dark grey eyes, as well as a small, visible cross-shaped scar on the left side of his chin. He is literate and fluent in English, Japanese and Persian. He can also speak some Russian as well as several local Afghan languages and dialects fluently. As a child, he was raised as a Muslim and soldier in Afghanistan, but, as a teenager, he does not follow strict interpretations of Sharia law like the people who raised him. This is because of his subterfuge, and not necessarily because of his belief system. In the 6th book, he is shown worrying more about Ramadan than Christmas, but his consideration is depicted on a partial combat basis ("It was a time when Soviet soldiers would lower their guard").
In his daily life, Sousuke is depicted as quite secularist. He is shown eating pork and his refusal of alcohol is made purely off of the fact that he clearly shows a genuine distaste for it [The Second Raid]. He is capable of reciting the Qur'an from memory, probably due to his childhood in a Muslim country, but finds classical Japanese literature, poetry and history extremely difficult to comprehend. In addition to being a capable Arm Slave pilot, Sousuke is a specialist in Arm Slave operations and maintenance, improvised explosives, small arms, survival training, anti-armor combat, trap setting and camouflage. Additionally, he is proficient in logistics, demolitions, breach and forced entry, covert intrusion, and hand to hand combat. His background and experience as a guerrilla fighter, and later a mercenary soldier has made him much more sensitive and knowledgeable about tactics and methods more commonly used by guerrillas than government trained regulars.
While Sousuke is an excellent soldier, his military career is the only life he has ever known. He has no social skills and sees nearly every situation in a military light. This causes many problems for Kaname Chidori, the woman he is assigned to protect. Even in school he carries a gun with him, although it is loaded with non-lethal rounds. He is known to say as an axiom "a peaceful solution is always best". However, to him this simply means a solution where no one is physically injured, at least not cripplingly or lethally so. He once says this axiom after threatening someone by firing a gun next to their head. His total lack of experience with normal life outside of the military gives him no readily available "civil" concepts about life, like entertainment or anything recreational, and tends to horribly misinterpret the actions of people around him. This is shown throughout the main series when Sousuke is guarding Chidori at Jindai High, and Fumoffu! focuses mainly on this aspect, for example, unable to comprehend that the term "real life fight" in a martial arts context is significantly different to those in battlefields. This part of his personality is indeed one of the main sources of the series' humor.
As a teenage guerilla and trained operative, Sousuke has been known by many various identities, such as Sousuke Seagal, Isegar Sousuke, and during his time in Afghanistan (Helmajistan in the anime), Kashim. Two characters refer to him as Kashim, one being Gauron and the other Zaid, a former comrade from his Afghan days.
Sousuke Sagara was a child when he was saved from a crashed Boeing 747 jetliner in the North Pacific by then Spetznaz officer, Andrey Kalinin, but both his parents died. His mother was shown to die before his eyes, telling him to "live. Fight." This incident is later the source of some of his nightmares, and is one of the few aspects of his mother that he is shown to remember. His age at this time was approximately 2 or 3 years old. The Soviet nuclear submarine's rescue action was unauthorized, and later officially denied. Officially there was no Soviet involvement, and thus no rescue operation and no other survivors. Kalinin's efforts to locate living relatives of the child also failed, as no record of a passenger named "Sagara" existed. It remains unknown if Sagara is the maiden name of Sousuke's mother, or the name written upon the child's clothing is the child's real name. According to the Full Metal Panic! anime's first season, his birthday is 07/07/1984.
From there, Sousuke was taken into the Soviet state child care system as an orphan. He was later taken into a KGB training program for child soldiers. At (approximately) age 8, Sousuke was trained as an assassin and deployed into Afghanistan (Helmajistan in the anime) to assassinate a local leader of the local resistance army. He failed to assassinate his target, and instead was adopted by the man he was sent to kill, General Majhid, who named him Kashim. He became part of the resistance army, fighting against the invading Soviet forces. He learned the use of small arms and basic survival techniques during this time as a guerrilla fighter. It was during this time that Sousuke first met Gauron. At the time, Gauron was a mercenary AS instructor at a nearby camp, and they were neither enemies nor allies. Although their meeting at the time seemed inconsequential, it is later revealed to have served as an important event that spurred Gauron's obsession with Sousuke, whom he deemed an "Assassin Saint."
Raised as a guerrilla fighter, Sousuke became a skilled AS pilot and soldier. During this time, the Soviet offensive grew in magnitude with the fresh success of the new Arm Slaves. In the early stages of the war, Kalinin's forces capture Sousuke. Sousuke and Kalinin are reunited for the first time, eventually leading to Kalinin's decision to desert the Soviet army. Kalinin gives specialized Spetznaz training to Sousuke, from which Sousuke learns Japanese and some Russian.
Following the defeat against the Soviet army, Sousuke becomes a mercenary, eventually escaping the country with Kalinin. However, they were separated afterwards in Cambodia. Sousuke has since been involved with most of the wars in the Middle East, collectively called the Fifth Middle East War. He built a solid reputation as a soldier during this period, gaining a group of friends. He spent five years as a soldier for hire, further building his combat and survival skills.
Sousuke was eventually scouted and invited to become a private military contractor for the military junta corporation known as Mithril. While showing unspectacular skills at the training camp, his actions in the line of fire with an Rk-92 Savage convinced Melissa Mao to include him in the elite SRT unit. It is at Mithril that he is reunited for the second time with Kalinin, this time his commanding officer. As an SRT member he is trained to operate the M9 Gernsback Arm Slave, serving as pointman.
Full Metal Panic! (LN: Vol 1 ~ 3 )
School Trip Hijack Arc
The story of Full Metal Panic! follows Sousuke's active duty with Mithril. In the Siberian tundra, an extraction operation of personnel from a secured research facility was detected and attacked by a mixed force of a Hind Gunship Helicopter and Rk-92 Savages. Sousuke’s performance in an M-9E was directly responsible for securing the survivor for extraction, as this was seen as the first episode of the anime.
Later on, he was assigned to protect Chidori Kaname and went to her school as a student. The two soon became at odd with each other following the weird acts done by Sousuke to protect Kaname from things he thought was dangerous. But after seeing how Sousuke was willing to jump out of a train to follow her, Kaname finally accepted Sousuke.
On Jindai High's school trip, the KGB organization assisted by Gauron hijacked the airplanes the students were in and captured Kaname. While waiting for reinforcement to arrive, Sousuke freed Kaname from the on going experiment to extract her knowledge. This act then made Kaname suspicious of him and forced him to tell her the truth. On their attempt to escape, Sousuke and Kaname were attacked by Gauron and his AS but later was saved by Kurz who landed on an M9.
After the retrat of Mithril's force, Kaname, Sousuke, and Kurz tried desperately to hide from the enemies. There, he had a fight with Kaname after insisting to make her the first priority, ignoring his own safety. But soon after, the two made up when Kaname calmed Sousuke by saying she 'trusts him'. Soon after, the unit ARX-7 Arbalest was deployed and landed close to them and Sousuke became the first person to operate it without even knowing its capability of using Black technology including Lambda Driver.
But through Kaname's hints and advices (which she gained through her whispered ability), Sousuke finally managed to activated Arbalest's Lambda Driver and defeated Gauron and his silver AS.
After being rescued by Mithril, Kaname awoke in a hospital, thinking that since Sousuke's mission is fulfilled, he will leave her. But Sousuke appeared along with their classmates to visit Kaname, claiming that he is an insurance that will stay to protect Kaname for a little while. The two then resumed their normal(?) lives at school.
A21 Terrorist Arc
Sousuke and Kaname resumed their everyday lives like usual. Meanwhile, a boy named Kugayama Takuma arrived at the airport and attacked the airport's officer due to what seemed to be an anxiety attack. In another hand, MIthril's team had lost a group of terrorist called A21 group.
When Teletha and Kalinin was visiting a facility to see the boy, Kugayama Takuma, the facility went under attack and Kalinin was badly injured. She then fled the scene along with Kugayama Takuma and took refuge at Sousuke's place. For a little while after talking to Takuma, Sousuke had a small panic attack as Kaname came over and finally met Tessa.
While Kalinin was captured by Kugayama Seina, Tessa and Sousuke was trying to take out a transmitter out of Takuma's body which Kaname stopped by suggesting them to use a microwave instead. Aware of the danger that might happen to them, Sousuke, Tessa, and Kaname took Takuma away to hide inside Jindai High. In there, Takuma tricked them into revealing their location by using a cell phone to contact his peers. In the middle of their conversation and Takuma's attempt to reveal their location, Tessa told them about her far superior older brother.
On their way to the toilet, both Tessa and Kaname was taken by members of A21 and held hostage as an exchange to free Takuma. Despite Sousuke's effort to freem them both, the two were taken to A21's base as hostages.
As the first person to operate it, Sousuke becomes the only Mithril pilot able to use the ARX-7 Arbalest. This increases his importance within the organization from a mere sergeant to the only soldier who can pilot an Arm Slave equipped with a Lambda Driver. His current mission to protect Chidori forces him to cope with an unfamiliar and peaceful lifestyle, forcing many awkward and comical situations. His over-protectiveness usually annoys Chidori to no end but later in the story, they grow fond of each other and express their feelings for each other.
Initially, Sousuke was confused with the Lambda Driver-equipped ARX-7 Arbalest and its quirky A.I., nicknamed "AL". Because of its unreliability in the field and his own internal conflicts, he came to despise the AS. However, Sousuke later resolved his own issues and came to accept the Arbalest and put up with Al. Since then, he has been able to utilize the Lambda Driver at will by concentrating. However, this could not save him from the power of the Belial arm slave piloted by Leonard Testarossa and the Arbalest has since been destroyed. Following the kidnapping of Kaname Chidori and the destruction of Mithril, he has become very unstable and will stop at nothing to rescue Chidori.
In the novel, Continuing On My Own, Sousuke tells Chidori that he likes her, but he's afraid because he fears the gulf that exists between them, since she is a Whispered. At the end of the novel, Chidori is kidnapped by Leonard Testarossa, and Sousuke embarks on a mission to save her. In the novel, Get Together and Make My Day, Sousuke fails to rescue Chidori, but manages to speak with her over a radio as she is being taken away on a helicopter. In this conversation they finally express their feelings of love towards each other. Sousuke promises to save her no matter what and Chidori promises to wait "for years, even hundreds of years" for Sousuke - they both promise to kiss the moment they are reunited.
In the most recent novel, Approaching Nick of Time, he travels to a top secret base in the USSR, codenamed Yamsk 11, with Tessa to uncover more information about the Whispered's origins. Leonard and Kaname also go to the same facility, where her mind is taken over by a personality named Sophia, who appears to be a "Whisperer" who imparts the Black Technology knowledge to the Whispereds. Under Sophia's control Chidori, Sousuke, and Tessa are shown an illusion of Chidori shooting and killing the other two. Leonard and Sophia/Kaname return to Merida Island, where Amalgam has built a device to utilize a final ability of the Whispereds.
- The name Sousuke means "religion, sect, denomination, main point, origin, essence" (宗) (sou) and "forerunner, herald" (介) (suke).
- Sousuke's surname Sagara means "phase, aspect, countenance" (相) (saga) and "good, virtuous, respectable" (良) (ra).
- In Episode 1: The Man I Sort of Like is a Seargent, Sousuke was given a magazine with the character Lina Inverse from the Slayers series on the cover prior to attending Kaname Chidori's high school.
- In Chapter 36, it is shown that Sousuke is a lightweight drinker getting drunk to the point of being weakened after taking part of sake in a shrine during New Years.
- Sousuke is in many ways similar to Mobile Suit Gundam 00's protagonist, Setsuna F.Seiei, and is often thought to be the main inspiration for the latter.