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Marionette Owl

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This article is about a non-canonical topic in the Metal Gear series.

Marionette Owl was a member of Black Chamber who, due to a genetic mutation, was born with night vision on par with that of an owl. As a result, he was skilled in nocturnal combat and was a master of the silent kill, however, because his eyes shimmered in the dark like a cat's, he wore tinted goggles. He always carried a pair of Japanese Bunraku dolls, named Osan (オサン?) and Koharu (コハル?), which he compulsively took apart and put back together during any free time he had. In truth, the marionettes were crafted from the severed limbs of victims he murdered as a serial killer known to the media as "The Spectre Killer." He slayed numerous women and was featured on the Most Wanted list until he was cornered by the FBI, at which point Black Arts Viper recruited him into Black Chamber.


The man who would later be known as Marionette Owl had a friend named Laura. However, at the age of 12,  Laura was murdered by a serial killer, and he found her dismembered remains strewn about a field. The events of this death haunted him, giving him nightmares reliving the event for the rest of his life. 

Eventually, the traumatic incident caused Owl to snap, and he soon became a stalker and serial killer himself, to cope with the pain and madness. As such, despite genuinely loving his targets who were all female, his traumatic memories forced him to kill them despite this, or rather, because of this. Their remains were then used to create his Bunraku dolls, Osan and Koharu (Koharu's name was mistakenly pronounced 'Kohal'). He eventually killed enough people to become wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and adopt the name of the Spectre Killer, or simply Spectre. He eventually ended up cornered by the FBI, although the leader of Black Chamber, Black Arts Viper, prevented his arrest in exchange for allowing him to join his unit to redeem himself.

Marionette Owl accepted Viper's offer, and used his skills as an assassin in Black Chamber to satiate his madness. However, he relapsed after Black Chamber was caught in an ambush by FOXHOUND shortly after quelling a terrorist hijacking of Metal Gear in South America, where only he and four other members survived. He also noted that Viper, who had lost his arm in the ambush, rarely used his prosthetics so he could remind himself of FOXHOUND's betrayal via the stump, and stated that Viper's madness "surpassed even his own." He then participated in mercenary work alongside three of the surviving members of the unit, biding his time  to exact revenge on the person responsible, revealed to be a person only known as "Anonymous." At an unknown point, he also managed to wipe out an entire unit in Eastern Europe single-handedly in a night-time ambush.

In 2002, they eventually gained their opportunity upon discovering GANDER's development. They aided the Gindra Liberation Front in hijacking GANDER while en route to South America. Eventually, he encountered Solid Snake in the barracks area, shortly after GANDER's railgun was charging, blacking out the barracks in the process, and blocked Snake's escape route. Citing his ability to see in the dark without need of machines, he then informed Snake of his intention of killing Snake in the darkness. He also expresses interest in Snake's clavicles and femurs, citing that he intends to supply them for Koharu.

After being defeated by Solid Snake, he revealed his tragic past to Snake. He accepted death as a release from his tormented memories and witnessed a vision of Laura, but in his final moments cried out, "No! No! Please, you can't!" Snake replied that it "[looked] like the gates of Heaven [were] closed to him."

Personality and traits

Because of his traumatic past, he often killed females that he cared for. He seemed to be very aware of his madness. He only targets females to be killed, however, making clear at one point to Jimmy Harks that he only spared him because he wasn't a girl. He constantly wore sunglasses even in the dark, because of a disadvantageous side effect of his natural nightvision: His eyes shine in the dark like a cat or owl, thus giving his position away otherwise. 

Behind the scenes

Marionette Owl (マリオネット・アウル Marionetto Auru?) appears in Metal Gear: Ghost Babel as an antagonist to Solid Snake, and is fought by the player during a boss battle. Depending on whether Snake has the night vision or thermal goggles equipped, the cutscenes relating to Marionette Owl will appear slightly different. With the thermal goggles, Owl will appear as a red silhouette, whereas the night vision goggles will reveal his appearance in full.

According to an official Japanese strategy guide, Marionette Owl was designed as a unique, handsome-looking young man that would appeal to the demographic of Game Boy users. He's also the only character who's nationality is not revealed in the game's official website.

Owl's marionettes may have served as an inspiration for Screaming Mantis.


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