I’ve been wanting to write this out for awhile, so here goes.
This character right here is Samuel Rodrigues. He’s a Japanese/Brazilian born PoC who usually goes by the names Minuano or Jetstream Sam in game. He’s also a fascinatingly well written character, and is possibly the best example of the anti-villain trope I’ve ever seen.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Sam was born to a Japanese expat in Brazil well before the events of Metal Gear started spiraling off our timeline. We know nothing of his mother, but we know his father ran a Dojo teaching a sword style that preached violence as the ultimate answer. Unfortunately for Sam, his father was killed by one of his pupils, and he was forced to live on the streets to survive.
It was here he took his father lessons to heart, and built his own twisted morality. Living on the streets was tough for Sam, but he not only survived, he thrived. He became a mercenary, selling his skills out to the highest bidders, as murder and violence became all he knew. He learned that the world was broken, and if you wanted to change something, you needed to be powerful. He accepted violence as a means to an end.
At some point, he had enough of killing for money, and decided to take his beliefs to heart. He started a one man vigilante war on the favelas, in an attempt to clear out the gangs, and protect the people. He found and killed his fathers murderer. He cleared out multiple drug cartels singlehandidly, and in the process became Minuano, a hero to the people of Brazil.
However that wasn’t enough for him, and he decided to take on World Marshal, the largest PMC in the world. He didn’t like how they owned the police, how they were above the law, and how their owners were so willing to send soldiers to their deaths from the safety of an office. He assaulted their HQ itself, ascending the tower to reach the final goal, Senator Armstrong, the leader of World Marshal.
And he was easily crushed by him.
Suddenly everything Sam knew was gone. Every part of him was dedicated to his belief that might makes right. That if you applied enough force to a problem, you could fix it. His ideals, his beliefs, his justice, all of it was tied to this. And he lost. Not just a fight, but who he was, and what he hoped to accomplish.
This soulcrushing despair drove him to join World Marshal/the Desperados, and assist them in their Operation Tecumseh. For the next two years he helped them, although he disagreed with several of their plans. Because he wasn’t Minuano anymore, now he was Jetstream Sam. And who was he to argue, he was a warrior, a grunt, a soldier, not a leader.
All that changed when he met Raiden. Suddenly he met someone who could match him in combat, at least for a short while. But even more infuriatingly, Raiden was claiming to be fighting for the same things Minuano once did. His sword wasn’t a weapon, it was a tool of justice. He wanted to protect the weak, and did so through violence. Seeing him forced Sam to painfully remember everything he had lost over the last two years.
Despite the injuries he sustained in their first fight, Raiden didn’t stay down for long. He declared war on World Marshal, Desperados, and more importantly Sam. He hunted their organization down into the very nooks and crannies, and slaughtered all those who stood in his way. He led a one man assault on Denver itself, killing most of the Desperado leadership as he slaughtered his way into World Marshal HQ.
Throughout all this, Sam watched him. He called Raiden out on his bullshit, pointing out the cyborg police officers and PMC troops Raiden was so willingly slicing up didn’t actually have a choice in their employment. That they weren’t so different then the children Raiden was trying to save. But he also started to doubt himself, and what he had become. The sunk cost fallacy he built up over the years fell apart, and he was forced to admit that maybe he was wrong.
And so he decided to fight one last duel. Jetstream Sam vs Raiden in a fight to the death. If he won, he’d view the last two years as his true path, and go ahead with Operation Tecumseh. But if he lost, well, suddenly he’d be Minuano again, fighting for justice, alongside a man who stood a chance at finishing his war.
Because you see, a theme of the game was that a warrior doesn’t speak with words, he speaks with his weapon. Sam even acknowledges this before he fights Raiden. And what other message could Armstrong take from Raiden fighting him with Sam’s sword then a resignation, and that Minuano was back, this time being the hero he always wanted to be.
Thanks to this post and finishing the Jetstream Sam DLC, I became part of the Sam-dom.