Sousuke’s heritage is something of a mystery. He was rescued from the wreckage of a downed plane at a young age by Russian military officer Andrei Kalinin. Unable to track down any of Sousuke’s extended family, Kalinin was forced to place young Sousuke in the care of the KGB. There, Sousuke was trained in their child soldier program and was deployed to Afghanistan. Somewhere along the line, Sousuke took on the name Kassim and after several years in service was reunited with Kalinin, who took him under his wing. The two, along with Sousuke’s comrade in arms Kurz Weber, was scouted out by Mythril, an independent, secret mercenary organization. Now Sousuke works as an expert in Arm Slaves while protecting Kaname Chidori, a Japanese high school girl who holds secret knowledge beyond the capabilities of current science.
There’s only one thing in the world that Sousuke understands: combat. This is something of a double-edged sword for those around him. There is no one anyone could feel safer than with Sousuke in a time of crisis. His understanding of tactical warfare is second to none, allowing Sousuke to think on his feet and calmly assess each new situation as they come. Of course, the downside to all this is Sousuke lacks any social tact. Unfortunately, this means he’s unable to fully integrate into civilian life. For example, Sousuke has a tendency to overreact to minor things. Such as a barber approaching his head with scissors, or capturing women with a net when challenged to “bring women to the park”.
This contrast between his military history and his new life with Kaname is a source of conflict for poor Sousuke. Since he grew up constantly in fear of his life, Sousuke was never given the option to experience anything but the military. When he finally assigned to guard Kaname, he was given a taste of what peace is like. Now Sousuke isn’t sure if he wants to resume a combat position, as he’s perfectly happy spending his time with Kaname. Unfortunately, though, this causes a rift within himself. He can never fully understand civilian life, but simultaneously, he does not want to go back to a combat position. Worse yet, he’s insecure over his violent past. He’s unsure how to ease Kaname into understanding that he’s murdered hundreds of combatants just because he was under orders.
Kaname Chidori is the most important person in Sousuke’s life. They share a very love-hate relationship, though Sousuke is a bit oblivious to that. In spite of Sousuke’s guard duties, he causes more stress to Kaname than he ever realizes. He’s more like an untrained dog that was thrust upon Kaname that she was pressured into caring for. She practically has to beat Sousuke to keep him under control. But, in spite of all that, Kaname admits to Sousuke that she only feels safe when Sousuke is around. She grew up fairly isolated from people herself and secretly finds the company nice. Meanwhile, getting to know Kaname has served as a valuable experience to Sousuke. Due to her, he’s been able to understand what exactly it is he’s been fighting for.
Beyond Kaname, Sousuke has a working relationship with several different members of Mythril. Unfortunately, though, he has to be careful about flaunting his relationship with Kaname too much in front of the captain of his branch of Mythril, Teletha Testarosa. Despite the power dynamic, Tessa crushes on Sousuke hard and desperately vies for his attention. However, she is willing to lay down the law with him, as seen in Second Raid when she’s forced to recall Sousuke in spite of his protests. Otherwise, Kurz Weber is about as close of a friend that Sousuke can claim, as the two worked together for years as brothers in arms. He also helps out Sousuke along with their CO Mao in understanding civilian life, as they at least had fairly normal lives before their careers with Mythril.
Sousuke’s overly stoic nature is what allows Full Metal Panic to deft shift between drama and comedy. It’s a funny gag to build an entire spinoff series in Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, but also takes his character arc seriously enough to build the story around. While other characters can be fun, Sousuke is who defines Full Metal Panic as a franchise. He’s just that much of a dominant force of personality.
Join us next Monday, when we’ll be taking a look at Chidori Kaname!
Find out what’s next for Sousuke is going next in Full Metal Panic: Invisible Victory!