Saito (サイトー Saitō?) is a fictional character from the anime series, Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C.. Among the members of Section 9, he is regarded as one of the least cyberized. He can handle any automatic firearm with deadly accuracy and precision, but his primary role is as the unit's tactical sniper. His left eye was replaced with the "Hawkeye", a prosthetic eye that interfaces with satellites to allow for shots of incredible accuracy. He is also valued for his ability to think like enemy snipers; on two separate occasions his ability at determining sniping locations impacted Section 9's actions.
Saito, although he has not been seen on a lot of occasions, has also appeared in the film Ghost in the Shell for a split second with both his eyes present. He also appears in the manga, but has no major role with his Hawkeye on his right eye instead of his left. Saito has a video game appearance in the Stand Alone Complex PSP game as a main character alongside Motoko, Batou and Togusa, using his position as Section 9 sniper.
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, being needed for his sniper duties. His Hawkeye is not foolproof as it can be hacked by another party as proven when a rogue HAW-206 multi-ped think tank vehicle overwrites his Hawkeye use in order to confuse him.
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. Saito does not try to hide that he hates grunt work, but does so as he is a part of Section 9.
Before Saito was recruited to serve in Section 9, he fought against American Imperial Army soldiers and various UN forces as a freelancer hired by various anti-occupation guerrillas during World War IV in South America, starting in Mexico when he joined up with Red Bianco, a unit made up of foreigners that wanted to free Mexico and the rest of South America from foreign occupation. He lost his left eye and arm after engaging American, British and Japanese UN peacekeepers, who were coincidentally led by Motoko Kusanagi, in the destroyed city of Monterrey. 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.
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 South America in his mercenary days.
In 2nd GIG, Saito would later recount that the Major's following order to not move at all was the first order he ever took from her.
In 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."
Anime Vision 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.
- Official Log 1, page 26.
- Official Log, page 34.
- Official Log 1 DVD, Investigation File.
- This happened in SAC 1st Season and in the Solid State Society movie
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- Official Log DVD, Arms File.
- 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. Animax. 2004-02-07. No. 4, season 2.
- "Beware the Left Eye – POKER FACE". Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG. Animax. 2004-07-03. No. 14, season 2.
- 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. Animax. 2004-07-03. No. 14, season 2.
- 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. Animax. 2004-07-03. No. 14, season 2.
- Official Log, page 86.
- "GitS - Stand Alone Complex - Tachiyellow (Metal Finish)". Yamato Toy USA. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig #4". 2006-09-16. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- Shirow, Masamume & Kodansha (2003). Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Official Log 1. Kodansha. ISBN 1-59409-571-X.