Batou (also Batto, Bato) is nominally the second-in-command of Section 9. Little is known about the strange, large foreigner who has been with Motoko Kusanagi for years. He was once American and served in the Special Forces in South America. His amount of cyborg-ization is variable according to the storyline, from his limbs only up to most of his body, second only to the Major herself. Despite the availability of superior eyes, he grew superstitious about his old-style eye replacements, popular with many high-level military operatives. He also retains some residual body-image issues, causing him to continually purchase workout equipment despite the obvious anachronism.
In the two Stand Alone Complex series, Batou’s personality is more like that in the manga version. He is an outgoing joker, but one with a quick temper. Being emotional and not as calm as the Major, Batou shows anger at injustice and cruelty, to the point of seeming downright hotheaded at times. He sometimes shows impatience with Section 9’s rookies, such as Togusa, to the point of rudeness, and jokes with him constantly.
At times, he is also shown to be a voice of reason and concern for the Major, to the point that she admits she can confide in him. Both seasons of the anime, like the movies, hint at some romantic tension between the two, particularly near the end of each Gig. This tension is touched upon, briefly, in the Solid State Society movie, where Batou admits that he’s been covering up any of the Major’s appearances in cases prior to the Puppet Master case.
Batou had served in a military special forces team before entering Section 9. Most of his body is comprised of cybernetic prosthetics. Despite the fact that exercise will do his cybernetic body parts no benefits, Batou lifts weights as a hobby. Based on several of the Stand Alone Complex episodes, Batou seems to have served in the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force at some point before he joined Section 9. It is suggested several times that he held a JGSDF Ranger qualification. His unit was involved in World War IV and was deployed to South America alongside Motoko Kusanagi, where they accidentally stumbled across an American Imperial Navy unit conducting a covert operation codenamed “Project Sunset,” which consisted of soldiers earning the trust of communities and then carrying out war crimes, spreading terror and chaos in the enemy ranks. Batou’s eyes are grey and clearly prosthetic. They are standard cybernetic equipment issued to Ranger Special Forces operatives.