Saito (Ghost in the Shell)

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Ghost in the Shell character
Saito of Section 9, as portrayed in the anime series
First appearanceGhost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Created byMasamune Shirow
Voiced byJapanese
Tōru Ōkawa (most media)
Nobuyuki Hiyama (1997 video game)
Takuro Nakakuni (Arise, The New Movie)
Dave Wittenberg (most media)
Brian Drummond (S.A.C. OVAs)
Marcus Stimac (Arise, The New Movie)
Portrayed byRyūnosuke Matsumara (stage play)[1]
Yutaka Izumihara (2017 film)
AffiliationsPublic Security Section 9
Red Bianco private military (formerly)
United States Navy SEALs (formerly)

Saito (Japanese: サイトー, Hepburn: Saitō) is a fictional character from the anime series Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C.. Section 9's resident tactical sniper is an exceptional crack-shot with very few cyberized implants. He can handle any automatic firearm with deadly accuracy and precision.[2][2] His left eye was replaced with the "Hawkeye satellite-connected ocular system", a prosthetic eye that interfaces with satellites to allow for shots of incredible accuracy.[3] He is also valued for his ability to think like enemy snipers;[4] on two separate occasions his ability at determining sniping locations impacted Section 9's actions.[5]

He also appears in the manga, but has no major role with his Hawkeye on his right eye instead of his left in the English version of the manga due to it being reversed.[6] Saito has a video game appearance in the Stand Alone Complex PSP game as a main character alongside Motoko, Batou and Togusa,[7] using his position as Section 9 sniper.[8]

He is voiced by Tōru Ōkawa in the Japanese version[9] and by Dave Wittenberg in the English version.[10]

Conception and creation[edit]

Saito's specialized cybernetic eye, the Hawkeye

Saito had been mentioned by Motoko and Batou when they are talking to Togusa that he had no cyber implants on him. Saito only has his Hawkeye and left arm as artificial prosthetic with the rest of his body being natural,[11] being needed for his sniper duties.[2] His Hawkeye is not foolproof as it can be hacked by another party[3] as proven when a rogue HAW-206 multi-ped think tank vehicle overwrites his Hawkeye use in order to confuse him.[12]

He is also not patient with his teammates for most of the time when Saito is in Section 9-mandated operations with them, although he can be patient and cunning thanks to his mercenary combat experience in the field.[11] Saito does not try to hide that he hates grunt work, but does so as he is a part of Section 9.[13]


Saito was an ex-United States Navy SEALs who quit and became a mercenary.[14] Saito worked as a freelancer for Red Bianco, a private military corporation, before Section 9 recruited him.


Red Bianco was hired by the Mexican government to free Mexico from foreign occupation during World War IV; Saito fought against United Nations peacekeepers.[15] He lost his left eye and arm during a skirmish with Motoko Kusanagi in the heavily damaged city of Monterrey at Museo del Obispado or Escuela Industrial Alvaro Obregón.

After successfully picking off several of Motoko's men with his excellent sniper tactics, she cornered him in a tense showdown. Motoko bluffed Saito into thinking that, even though it was theoretically a hopeless contest between full human and full cyborg, she had not yet downloaded mid-range marksmanship software, and thus Saito was lured out, thinking he might have a chance to get a shot in at her. Saito's bullet grazed the Major's cheek, and her bullet traveled down the scope of his rifle, sending glass shards into his left eye; before Saito could reload, she was on top of him and stabbed a large combat knife through his left hand.[15]

When a Tachikoma uncovered his cards after leaving a poker game between Section 9 and plainclothed officers, it whispered to the other officers that Saito could have been telling the truth after all, alluding that he was really attacked by Motoko Kusanagi in Mexico in his mercenary days.[16]


In 2nd GIG, Saito would later recount the life debt owed to Motoko for sparing his life; the Major's following order to work for her was the first order he ever took from her.[17]

In the film Solid State Society, Saito was missing through most of the movie because he was in Africa and later because his left arm was shot by another sniper; naturally, his shot was more accurate, severely wounding his target.

It was also revealed that Saito may have had more cyberizations done to him according to the conversation he had with Batou in the elevator, he may have had a better heart or lungs.


Character designer Hajime Shimomura had commented that Saito was not difficult to do, although he said he had drawing ideas based on someone who would wear "a bleached cotton cloth wrapped around his chest and wears a loincloth."[18]



Saito appears in Ghost in the Shell (2017). Though he's appeared in all of the source material, Yutaka Izumihara found himself leaning more toward the way the Stand Alone Complex anime series depicted the character versus the most recent series, Arise.[19]

"Saito’s character is slightly different in Arise, and then the first three TV series. Saito was much cooler in the TV series, and then in Arise he’s a bit more like Deerhunter, Christopher Walken kind of guy. A bit crazy for the war and the fighting," he explained. "I prefer to be more the TV series one. I understand the Deerhunter one because a lot of people coming from the war, and then somehow they hate war and killing the people, but somehow they miss [it]. I understand why the ex-soldier, why they became missing things."


Saito was featured with a yellow Tachikoma model known as a Tachiyellow released by Yamato Toys.[20]

Critical reception[edit]

Anime has said that Saito's presence in the episode "Poker Face" is intriguing since he did not confirm if he really encountered Motoko Kusanagi during his mercenary days, keeping his past hidden from his fellow officers.[21]


  1. ^ "Ghost in the Shell Arise Stage Play's Motoko Previewed in Costume". Anime News Network. August 24, 2015. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Official Log 1, page 26.
  3. ^ a b Official Log, page 34.
  4. ^ Official Log 1 DVD, Investigation File.
  5. ^ Ghost In the Shell: SAC Season 1
  6. ^ "Ghost in the Shell - Characters". Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  7. ^ "Pre-E3 2005: Ghost In The Shell S.A.C." IGN. 2005-05-12. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  8. ^ "Ghost in the Shell Interview". IGN. 2005-09-14. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  9. ^ "Official Tōru Ōkawa Resume" (in Japanese). Mausu Promotion. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  10. ^ "Official Dave Wittenberg Resume". Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  11. ^ a b "Unofficial Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Page". Archived from the original on 2009-09-08. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  12. ^ Official Log DVD, Arms File.
  13. ^ Batou: "So what are you saying? Having Saito do the dirty work for them makes it fine? You're not bothered at all?"
    Saito: "Batou! It's okay. I'm used to it." (Bandai, English) - "Natural Enemy – NATURAL ENEMY". Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Season 2. Episode 4. 2004-02-07. Animax.
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b "Beware the Left Eye – POKER FACE". Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG. Season 2. Episode 14. 2004-07-03. Animax.
  16. ^ Tachikoma: (After picking up nine of spades card) "His last card was the nine of spades. Mr. Saito won! He got a straight flush!"
    Officer: "No kidding... I'll be damned."
    Tachikoma: "So does this mean that maybe his story was true too?" (Bandai, English) - "Beware the Left Eye – POKER FACE". Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG. Season 2. Episode 14. 2004-07-03. Animax.
  17. ^ Major: "You're pretty good with that rifle, you bastard. From now on, I want you working for me. Saito: "That's right. The Major's poker face had me fooled from the very beginning. So by that point, how could I refuse her? I didn't have any right to. Besides, that was the first order the Major ever gave me." (Bandai, English) - "Beware the Left Eye – POKER FACE". Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG. Season 2. Episode 14. 2004-07-03. Animax.
  18. ^ Official Log, page 86.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "GitS - Stand Alone Complex - Tachiyellow (Metal Finish)". Yamato Toy USA. Archived from the original on 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  21. ^ "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig #4". 2006-09-16. Retrieved 2009-07-22.