Personality & Character
Aina is Ginias' sister and a daughter of the Zeonic noble family Sahalin. She is an ace pilot, but she shows concern for her soldiers' lives. Sahalin family friend Captain Norris Packard acts as a surrogate father for the young Aina at the base looking out for her. Although she's technically only a test pilot for most of the series, only Ginias outranks her at the Zeon base. She also looks up to Norris Packard as a father figure.
Aina and Shiro Amada work together to be rescued after their short battle in which Shiro in a RB-79K Ball Type K takes on Aina and her MS-06RD-4 Zaku High Mobility Test Type amidst a debris field. They both manage to escape the destruction of their craft before they are completely annihilated, ending up in a wrecked Federation warship. Their first run in once inside the ship is a hostile one but Shiro, after shooting a hole in her space suit, realizes that they must work together if they are to survive. During their coordinated attempt to return to their respective sides, Aina and Shiro form a bond, which is shown by Aina giving Shiro her personal pocket watch because Shiro's watch has been smashed. He keeps the watch for most of the series after forgetting to give it back to Aina as they part ways.
Apsalus TrialsAfter returning to her brother's base on Earth, Aina begins test piloting the massive Apsalus I Mobile Armor, created by her engineering genius brother Ginias Sahalin. Unknowingly Aina and Shiro's 08th MS Team have a couple of run ins. On the second encounter during the 08th MS Team's attempt to capture the Apsalus II, Shiro latches onto the mobile armor as it attempts to escape, prompting Aina to inform him that such an action will likely result in both their deaths. To his surprise Shiro realizes the voice is that of Aina's and he makes contact with her high above a mountain range, with his mobile suit still attached to the Apsalus II. Eventually this whole process sends the two off course and crashing into the mountains during a snowstorm. During their descent, Shiro proclaims his love for Aina as he is on the verge of possible death. Shiro, however, luckily manages to halt the Apsalus's fall. During their time spent in this canyon, both begin to show their affection for one another, but at the same time are forced to deal with the conflictions of their respective sides, ultimately keeping them apart. Shiro returns Aina her watch and both are consequently rescued by their own parties. To Aina's dismay, Ginias is aware of her relationship, thanks to a recon photo taken right before her rescue, as well as her more feminine ways of dress and demeanor of a woman in love. Shiro himself has to face a military inquiry that accuses him of being a traitor in the light of his relationship with Aina, further putting a strain on his beliefs. He makes it a priority to save Zeon lives, instead of taking them from then forward.
Final Confrontation with Earth Federation
During the final Federation assault on the Zeon base at the end of the series, Aina takes off in the completed Apsalus III with her brother in a failed attempt to cover a Zeon med-evac transport's escape during a temporary cease fire. Ginias botches her plan by firing during the launch, resulting in the Federation shooting down the transport during its escape in retaliation. Aina, in her own process of retribution, is caught off guard by Shiro's abrupt appearance in his heavily damaged Ez8 Gundam. She takes heed to him and attempts to convince Ginias to surrender, but her brother's sheer conviction to destroy Jaburo and the Federation prompts him to shoot her instead. As she falls out of the cockpit, Shiro catches her with his mobile suit. As Aina snaps out of unconsciousness, she and Shiro discover that her watch had actually stopped the bullet from penetrating into her chest. In order to end the conflict once and for all, the two decide that their only remaining option is to kill Ginias and destroy the Apsalus together with Ez8. They manage to crush the cockpit of the Apsalus III as it fires one last devastating particle cannon shot, destroying the Federal Forces mobile battleship and seemingly killing both Aina and Shiro in the process.
It is later revealed that both had indeed survived and that Shiro had lost his lower left leg during the effort. She and Shiro escape to the mountains and start a life together in a small log cabin, free from the obligations of war that had been forced upon them. When Kiki and Michel find them (in Episode 12), Aina is pregnant with Shiro's child.
Notes & Trivia
- Aina Sahalin's Japanese voice actor, Kikuko Inoue, is famous for her work in various animated Gundam series, including Arleen Nazon and Death Deity in Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO 2: The Gravity Front, Caridad Yamato in Gundam SEED/Gundam SEED Destiny , as well as Carta Issue in Mobile Suit Gundam IRON-BLOODED ORPHANS.
- Aina's surname, along with Ginias, is derived from and is occasionally romanized as Sakhalin, which is the name of a Russian island in between Siberian coast and Japan.
- Aina is a Finnish name, meaning "always".
- Aina has, technically, piloted both the RX-79[G] Ground Combat Gundam and the Ez8 though in both cases she is just manipulating one of the arms.
- Aina has appeared in a number of Super Robot Wars and SD Gundam G Generation games, usually either joining the heroes on her own free will or being convinced by Shiro. She usually joins the heroes either with the Apsalus II or the test Zaku.