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Saiko has two thick sections of hair worn in pigtails with uneven fringed bangs, possibly as a result of her laziness. Her kakugan is located in her left eye because of her status as a Quinx, and her face appears rather youthful; Saiko is a bit heavier than the average CCG agent, with notably thick and chubby legs. She is very short, especially for her age. She has light pale blue colored hair. Her right eye is a bright baby blue color while her left eye is bright red.
Six months after the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation, Saiko's hair is shorter.
Saiko is introduced as having a lazy demeanor. She dislikes having to work and prefers having a peaceful, happy-go-lucky and carefree life by playing video games and eating junk food excessively. She can display a childish nature, such as when she sometimes talks in third-person. She also doesn't really try to lose weight but is rather embarrassed of it and humorously covers it with her finger during her introduction. She often oversleeps, which earns her the absence from most missions. Her absence can also be justified by a lack of motivation; it was her mother's decision for Saiko to become an investigator. This can also lead to Saiko being somewhat insecure about her abilities. Throughout the series, we can see that Saiko is in fact very talented in kagune manipulation.
Six months after the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation, she has become diligent in her responsibilities as an Investigator, providing an excellent example to the new quinx, and supports Urie in his duties as the deputy squad leader of the Qs squad.
Saiko is one of two children, with a brother of unspecified age. When they were young, their mother abandoned her husband and took the children to live with her lover. The couple opened a bar together but struggled financially. Because the tuition was cheap, Saiko and her brother were sent to the Academy Junior School rather than a normal school. She frequently slacked off in her classes, playing video games and getting into trouble with her teachers as a result.
As graduation approached, she had no interest in becoming an investigator. Instead, she was among the students that took the Quinx Aptitude Test and determined to be the best candidate. Her mother was offered considerable financial compensation in exchange for consenting to the surgery, pressuring Saiko to become a Quinx against her will.
Mutsuki and Shirazu secretly discussed plans for a "raid", after confirming that Saiko would be home at 9pm. That night, they met with Urie and headed upstairs to their teammate's room. In her room, Saiko was playing a video game when she heard her teammates approaching and attempted to hide under her covers. When she refused to open the door, Ginshi Shirazu and Kuki Urie used their kagune to break the door off its hinges.
They confront her about neglecting her duties, which she justifies by claiming Urie told her to "develop her skills" alone. To convince her to stop slacking off, Urie falsely claims that their superiors have been discussing firing her. Worried that she will be sent back to her abusive mother, Saiko promises to work hard.
In secret, Urie thinks to himself that he intentionally left Saiko out of things while Squad Leader. But now, he plots to use Saiko's laziness to destroy the team from within and discredit Shirazu as a leader.
The next morning, she oversleeps again and the team is unable to wake her up. This causes them to be late to their meeting with Juuzou Suzuya's team. Eventually, Shirazu arrives at the meeting carrying her on his back – shocking everyone, because she is still sound asleep and in her pajamas.
The team is assigned to shadow Nutcracker and listen in on her meeting with an associate. When Shirazu is unable to make out what they are saying, he asks Saiko to listen in. She describes the sounds of a hamburger steak cooking in the kitchen, annoying him to the point he hits her over the head and begins yelling. Saiko ducks behind Mutsuki, begging him to protect her.
Observing them, Urie thinks how trying to keep track of Saiko has left Shirazu exhausted and irritable. He spends every morning in her room, banging on pots and yelling at her to attempt to make her get out of bed. Even so, she rarely wakes up before the afternoon. This stress causes Shirazu to knock over a glass and draw attention to their group, spoiling the mission.
Later, Shirazu and Mutsuki wonder why Sasaki has not taken any action to make Saiko do her job.
During one of the meetings between the two squads, Saiko begins dozing off. She is lectured by first Shirazu, and later Sasaki, for her behavior.
For the undercover operation, she is tasked with dressing up Shirazu and Mutsuki as women. She compliments Mutsuki on his features but teases Shirazu over his appearance. Saiko spends most of the time at the nightclub dancing but warns Sasaki when Mutsuki ends up getting drunk.
As Sasaki worries about the upcoming operation, Saiko approaches him and asks him to clean her ears.
Saiko continues to slack off during training, pretending to be dead rather than join in sparring with the team's mentor. She complains about the harsh exercise, stating that she's going to lose weight.
She next appears at The Chateau with Shirazu, scrounging for something to eat. When Shirazu suggests more training, she begins to tease him since the word sounds similar to the name "Keiko" – suggesting he has a girlfriend. Their argument is interrupted by a visit from Hanbee Abara, who invites them out to lunch. Saiko talks about her progress in Kerbal Space Program. Afterward, Abara asks them to accompany him to the hospital, where he introduces them to a comatose Yukinori Shinohara.
Saiko reluctantly participates in the Auction Raid, stating that she would like to flee immediately and noting her battle power would not be of much help to the team. She silently wishes for Mutsuki to stay safe. During the initial charge, Saiko lags behind the other investigators, avoiding combat.
As the squad heads towards Nutcracker's location, they are attacked by Takizawa. Sasaki orders his squad to retreat and asks Shirazu to take care of Saiko. Saiko and Shirazu along with Naoto Hayashimura locate Nutcracker in the administrative building. Shirazu discovers the trick behind Nutcracker's detached kagune and he forms a plan with Hayashimura and Saiko. After Nutcracker is impaled by her own trap, Saiko activates her kakugan. She is then seen exhausted and panting while Nutcracker lies incapacitated with her left arm torn off. Hayashimura seems shaken having seen Saiko fight and thinks to himself he's not sure who the monster is anymore.
After Nutcracker's defeat, she hears Sasaki's wails of pain as they're blared through the intercom. She turns on the monitors and is horrified by what she sees.
She later arrives at the Administrative Building where Sasaki has been left nearly incapacitated by Takizawa. Afraid, she remains hiding. She's shocked when she sees Sasaki suddenly saved at the last minute by Hinami. During their fight, Saiko continues to hide until Sasaki steps in to fight for Hinami, intending to let go of his identity and allow Centipede to take over. She calls out in tears for her "maman" to not go, which convinces Haise to fight with his own strength instead of giving in.
She watches as Sasaki and Takizawa duke it out until they come to a draw. When Arima arrives and is stopped from killing Hinami by Sasaki, she's nervous about what might happen.
A month has passed since the Auction mopping-up operation and Saiko is helping Sasaki prepare for a Christmas party. She sings while decorating the Christmas tree. That night at the party, she has fun with the others, eating and playing video games. She receives a new video game as a gift from Sasaki.
Spring has arrived and the CCG is holding their awards ceremony where Saiko is promoted from Rank 3 to Rank 2. She enjoys herself at the after party, stuffing her face with all sorts of food.
When the Quinx squad was lured into a trap in an empty parking garage by Kanae and hired Aogiri hitmen, Saiko and Mutsuki are instructed by Sasaki to go aid Urie and Shirazu when two white suits from Aogiri showed up. After encountering Torso midway, Mutsuki fends the ghoul off and tells Saiko to go in hiding, which she complies. After a while, a strange looking ghoul appears in front of Saiko. That ghoul, a member of Aogiri, corners her. The ghoul, while holding her down, starts munching on her right forearm as Saiko writhes in agony. Suddenly, a robed figure arrives and fends off her attacker by using, what seemed to be, a high-speed attack and vanishes as the investigator's comrades arrive at the scene, while she dazedly murmurs out to thank the robed figure.
Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation
Saiko joined the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation along with the rest of her squad. After Sasaki went on ahead in Luna Eclipse, she and the rest of the Quinx followed the Itou Squad. The appearance of Noro led to a battle position where she was requested to assist the frontline; the formation proved no effect, as three investigators are immediately rendered invalid for further battle Saiko utilized her kagune to cut the ghoul in half, but the effect was minimal as Noro quickly regenerated from the injury while Saiko collapsed on the floor panting from her kagune usage.
After Noro decimated most of their joint squad members, Saiko, still worn out from using her kagune, can only watch as Shirazu desperately tried to kill the ghoul. In the aftermath of the battle, she stayed by the injured Shirazu's side along with Urie, crying profusely as her friend slowly passed away.
At Shirazu's grave, Saiko was crying quietly with her hands over her eyes. Akira was seen comforting her, rubbing her back and telling her to let it all out.
After the six months time skip, she was with the new quinx squad, quickly eliminating a ghoul that was associated with the Aogiri Tree. Afterward, she had a brief conversation with the rest of the squad.
Rushima Landing Operation
She, along with the rest of her squad, was assigned to the operation to exterminate the ghouls of Rushima. Their squad was ordered by Matsuri to eliminate the remaining ghouls on the beach. Five days later, Saiko and her squad are still on the island searching for Mutsuki.
Some time later, Saiko accompanied Urie when their squad found Torso's cave. While entering the cave, she expressed discomfort, and Urie asked her to not push herself and keep her distance while following him. After Urie uncovered Torso's body, their squad continued forward to assist Special Class Kousuke Houji against Tatara.
Upon arriving at the scene, Saiko and her squad witnessed the aftermath of Mutsuki's fight with Owl. Later, after seeing Floppy attacking their comrade, Urie intervened. The squad was shocked with Mutsuki's attack on Akira after she defended Seidou, but continued their extermination nonetheless. However, during their fight, Seidou, with the unwilling help of Grave Robber, was able to escape with Akira as his hostage.
The Quinx continued their fight with Amon, gaining the upperhand. Urie and Hsiao weakened Floppy enough for Saiko to deliver a blow with her kagune and pin the one-eyed ghoul to the ground. Stopping the fight, Saiko recognized Amon as the ghoul who saved her from Shikorae during Aogiri's attack on the Quinx, and attempted to gain ownership rights of Floppy. Urie, however, adamantly objected Saiko's request, fearing Floppy's survival would bring more death for his friends, and remotely activated Ginkui on the ghoul's shoulder, seemingly destroying the ghoul. However, it only aggravated Amon further, forcing him to release his kakuja. After Amon incapacitated the rest of the Qs, Saiko brought her giant kagune down on him, pinning down the ghoul. In tears, she asked why Amon has saved her back then, to which he replied he thought it was right, and told her to always consider if what she was doing was the right thing. She then crushed him to the ground.
Post-Rushima Landing Operation
Saiko spoke with Mutsuki and later Urie joined then to ask about their progress in the search for Sasaki. After he left, Mutsuki told him he was born a girl, which Saiko already knew about. She joined Takeomi Kuroiwa for lunch at Oasis, but was exasperated when Koori Ui joined them. When Takeomi proposed to Yoriko Kosaka, she was so shocked that she accidentally spit out her drink in Koori's face.
Saiko is seen fighting the clowns along with the rest of the Quinx squad. Urie had the squad split up, telling Saiko and Hsiao to take care of another area of Tokyo while he and Higemaru helped protect the firefighters. Saiko obeyed the order and told Urie to call her if anything went wrong.
Saiko is contacted by Higemaru about the situation with Urie and Donato Porpora. She, along with Hsiao, immediately rushed to the location. Higemaru faints from his injuries, forcing Saiko to get Hsiao to call a medical team, and proceeded to search for Urie. On the way there, Saiko looked up to see Donato waiting atop a pole. She continued her way into the building where she and Hsiao stumbled upon a framed out crazed Urie. He attacked Saiko with the blade of his kagune but she is luckily saved by Hsiao. She tells Saiko that Urie had framed out and is not coming back. Saiko recalled the time when Urie informed the former Quinx squad of their true purpose: To surpass Kishou Arima in order to stop Haise from going berserk. Saiko asked Urie what happens if one them frames out and loses it. Urie responded that they will suffer the same consequences as Haise would, being exterminated, and that he would not hesitate to end them if that should occur. Saiko snapped out of her flashback, telling Hsiao to engage in battle and announced that the Q's will save Urie instead of dispatching him. With her kakugan activated, she told Urie that she does not want people to die anymore and began to fight.
Saiko assaulted Urie with attacks until she could trap him using a net. Thinking that he could no longer free himself, Saiko tried to enclose Urie in an kagune cage which forced him to break free through sheer strength. In response, Saiko shaped her kagune into huge fists and began to bombard Urie with attacks whilst Hsiao supported. During this attack, Urie managed to break Hsiao's kagune and pierce Saiko's abdomen. Hearing Urie's ramblings, Saiko reached out and hugged Urie instead of fighting, telling him that she loved him. The moment of distraction led to him immediately being injected with Rc suppressants by Hsiao.
Saiko along with the rest of the Q's watched as the remaining clowns and a fake Haise Sasaki were executed during Kichimura Washuu's promotion to chairman. After the CCG rally ended Suzuya and Itou walked into the Chateau to have a meeting with the Quinx concerning the newly appointed Chairman and that the ghoul beheaded was a fake. Overhearing this, Saiko burst into the room and cried tears of joy knowing that Haise was still alive. All the Quinx later celebrated at Takeomi's wedding with the rest of the CCG.
After her ROS treatment was completed, she remained in the TSC and fostered the Quinxes alongside Urie. She became a mascot character as the mom of the chateau. When her real mother was on her deathbed, she took care of her alongside her older brother.
Sasaki has great sympathy for her situation and admits to being too soft on her. Saiko has a very close relationship with him, referring to him affectionately as "Maman" (french for "mother") and treating him as a parental figure. She loves his cooking and cuddles with him at several points showing that the two have a strong familial bond.
After Sasaki left the Q-squad, their current relationship is implied to be distant. They seemingly no longer have the strong familial bond after the six-month time skip. However, Saiko still considers Sasaki a surrogate parent. She still refers to him as "Maman" even after his crimes at Cochlea were broadcasted. After he defected from the CCG, she continued to think about him and missed him dearly.
Shirazu considers her laziness a constant frustration, and their relationship is strained by his efforts to force her to take her job seriously. In return, she likes to tease Shirazu, such as when she calls him a pervert when he becomes nervous in front of Hairu Ihei, and asking if his "jewels" were intact after his fight with Nutcracker. Despite that, they have a good friendship. Tears fell from her eyes when she watched him face Noro alone receiving all manner of injuries and wounds and she was visibly distraught over his death repeatedly calling out his name as Urie held him.
He describes her as an ill-fitting cog in the machine and intentionally kept her from working with the team while Squad Leader. However, once he loses his position, he considers her an ideal tool to use against Shirazu. He manipulates and lies to her, and considers her stupid for not seeing through his bluffs. However, he seems to become more caring towards Saiko as time passes. After the Tsukiyama Raid, she now supports him in leading the Qs squad as his second-in-command. When fighting an out of control Urie, Saiko manages to calm him down enough to allow Hsiao to inject him with a suppressant by hugging him and telling him that she loves him.
The pair grew closer and supported each other in battles throughout the story. Years into the future, they are seen to have created a stable life in the Chateau as heads who lean on each other to guide the new generation of Quinx members.
Mutsuki is often stuck serving as a peacekeeper between Shirazu and Saiko. When Shirazu berates her, she looks to Mutsuki for protection. She appears to care for him, wishing for his safety during the Auction and expressing relief when he is retrieved. When Mutsuki was captured, Saiko and Urie came to his rescue. After the Rushima Operation, she becomes concerned when she smells human blood from Mutsuki. It's uncertain of when, but it seems Saiko already knew about his female biology.
Akira deeply cares for her underling Saiko and looks after her wellbeing, even telling her not to eat too much. During Shirazu's funeral, Akira comforted a crying Saiko, telling her to let it all out. Saiko would often view Akira as a motherly figure.
Saiko and Higemaru are fellow squad members and good friends. She nicknames him "Hige" and likes to play games with him. Higemaru admires Saiko and looks up to her as a superior, catering to her whims.
Hsiao respects Saiko, her deputy squad leader and seems to be highly affectionate towards her. When describing Saiko's good points, Hsiao calls her cute and lovely. Hsiao also acknowledges Saiko's kagune manipulation abilities as a cut above the rest and calls her a natural genius. The two work well together as a duo, managing to control and calm down a berserk Urie.
The two first crossed paths when Amon saved Saiko from Shikorae, though Amon left before Saiko could even know who he was or thank him. When Saiko encountered Amon during the Rushima Landing Operation, she recognized him as her savior from before and even pleaded to have ownership rights over him, wanting to know more about him. However, Saiko threw away her personal feelings towards Amon and crushed him with her kagune when the latter went berserk and overpowered her fellow squad members. Saiko then asked why Amon saved her back then, to which he replied it was the right thing to do. Before being crushed, Amon advised Saiko to always consider if her actions are right or wrong, reducing her to tears.
Itou is one of the first ghoul investigators who was not indifferent towards Saiko and the Quinx. Itou and Saiko were on friendly terms and played video games together on Christmas.
Takeomi treats Saiko as a fellow comrade and is not cold towards her despite her ghoul biology, unlike many other investigators. During the Tsukiyama Family Extermination Operation, Takeomi saves a fear-stricken Saiko from being devoured by Noro's kagune. Takeomi saw Saiko as trustworthy enough to have her be a witness to his marriage proposal to Kosaka.
Though Ui is of higher ranking and her superior, Saiko dislikes him and does not enjoy his company as evidenced during their lunch break with Takeomi. Saiko even calls Ui "Special Class Bowl-cut."
Saiko and Yoriko are good friends and Saiko oftens visits her bakery for some bread, which she think is delicious. Saiko was very happy when Yoriko married Takeomi Kuroiwa and was seen crying at their wedding. Some time after the wedding she was devastated to hear the news that Yoriko was going to be executed soon, she began crying and all of this made Saiko want to save her.
Saiko and Touka aren't seen interacting until the rescue of Ken Kaneki from Dragon. When Saiko is visiting Kaneki, Touka sees the affection that Saiko has for Kaneki. When Saiko gets ROS Touka remains with her when Kaneki goes to destroy the oviduct and the two hold hands when Saiko says she is scared. After six years Saiko is seen giving Touka apples that Mutsuki got for Ichika.
Powers and Abilities
Quinx Physiology: Being a quinx, Saiko has increased physical capabilities and a rinkaku kagune.
- Rinkaku Kagune: Saiko's kagune was initially portrayed as two tentacles resembling a reptilian tail. What she utilizes during the Rosewald Investigation appears as a colossal insectoid structure with additional tentacles protruding from its end, being easily several times bigger than Saiko herself. Saiko is said to have the highest explosive power in the Quinx Squad and her kagune appears strong enough to take huge gouges out of concrete structures. It takes a significant amount of stamina to use, as Saiko has been consistently seen panting on the floor after a single usage, and requires recovery time for each blow and her body is left vulnerable while using it. After the Tsukiyama Operation, she is able to control her kagune more efficently, and for longer periods without any noticeable stamina loss. She can control its shape, either using it as several lashing tentacles or its giant form. Her kagune was able to temporarily subdue Koutarou Amon and later incapacitate his kakuja form.
- Kagune Manipulation: Saiko can easily force her kagune to take on any shape she wishes to duplicate, as Hsaio mentions, it is an ability requiring considerable technique. Several of the forms Saiko has successfully created include a net and two destructive massive arms capable of smashing buildings, as well as multiple arms she may use simultaneously.
Bokusatsu No. 2: Saiko possesses a koukaku quinque shaped like a hammer.
- The name Saiko means "talent, genius, years old, cubic shaku" (才) (sai) and "child" (子) (ko).
- Saiko's surname Yonebayashi means "rice, paddy, USA, metre" (米) (yone) and "forest" (林) (hayashi/bayashi).
- Shirazu states that Saiko had the lowest grades out of their group at the Academy.
- Saiko was ranked fourteenth in the latest character popularity poll.
- Saiko comrades refer to her as a NEET in :re Chapter 8, a term is used for young adults who are "Not in Education, Employment, or Training."
- According to an omake in :re Volume 1, Saiko is a typical otaku with an interest in anime, manga, and video games. She has a twitter that Tooru Mutsuki uses to spy on her.
- Due to Saiko's interests, she references in numerous other series:
- In her room, a poster for the series Himouto! Umaru-chan can be seen.
- She makes reference to the online game Final Fantasy XI while talking in her sleep.
- In Tokyo Ghoul Trump, Saiko is featured as the "Three of Hearts."
- Saiko's first kagune strongly resembles a caterpillar infected with Ophiocordyceps sinensis.
- In an omake, Saiko seems to have some skill in drawing as she drew a picture of a monstrously muscled Urie, making fun of him always going out to train. Shirazu helped tape it onto the wall of Urie's room.
- In the Tokyo Ghoul Flip Calendar, Saiko drew a short comic with Urie becoming extremely muscular like one of her previous drawings on the page for July 17th, and on the page for July 19th he is patting her head while reading it.
- To Haise Sasaki: "I'm dead. Deeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaad!"
- Summarizing the events in the bakery: "Yo! Saiko here! Saiko was working from home just like always, when she suddenly received a text from Kuroiwa bujin inviting her to go out and eat! So she headed there gleefully! But as she arrived, she found out that Special Class Bowl-cut had been invited as well! Although her excitement was slightly dampened by this, as soon as she entered her favorite bakery, her cute little nose was filled with the wafting fragrance of bread and other baked goods, causing her appetite to burst once again! After exchanging pleasantries with a bakery employee, Miss Yoriko, Saiko daintily took her seat. Just as she was about to swallow her first sip of her glass of water, Takeomi suddenly blurted out a marriage proposal! This development was so shocking that Saiko accidentally overreacted and spat out all her water on Special Class Bowl Cut! What will happen to Takeomi... and what will happen to Saiko after all this?! Fired?!".
- To Ching-Li Hsiao and herself: "Saiko doesn't want anyone to die anymore."
- To Kuki Urie: "I'm looking. I've been looking all this time. Because Saiko loves you, Uri."
- "Well... Men say this and that, but... Shove a pair of big tits in their face and they shut up right quick."
- To Hsiao about Urie: "But just like Maman his tendency to take everything on ends up hurting him. That's for turning against Saiko. Sleep."
- To Urie, Hsiao and Touma Higemaru: "I guess I'm out of this joint. I'll become a neet. No, a terrorist."
- "The CCG is a slaughter house! Saiko doesn't want to be a part of it anymore!"
- To Hsiao about Urie: "Nope. The captain returned to his senses on his own. He's a strong person, Uri. He's become strong."