|“||She's the world's number one, no, the universe's number one sister!||”|
'Apricot Sakuraba' (アプリコット・桜葉 Apurikotto Sakuraba), simplified to Rico, is the first member of the Rune Angel Troupe and pilots the Cross Caliber. She is the younger sister of Milfeulle Sakuraba, who she admires immensely. She suffers from a pathological reflex toward males and gains an immense surge of strength to frequently throw them over her shoulder. She is the counterpart to her sister in both character and role in combat.
In lieu of her adoration for her older sister, Rico wears nearly the same exact variation/modifications of her sister's skirt, only with the main color being orange to match her hair. Rico's personal uniform consists of a two separate pieces with a regular jacket and a sleeveless top with a black lower portion and white upper portion with a small, red tie. Rico's hair reaches her neck and she ties her hair into two small pigtails adorned with pink ribbons. On certain occasions, Rico will not utilize her ribbons and her hair will become straight and collectively reach her back. In the final ending, Rico adopts Milfie's hairstyle and inherits her sister's personal hair ornaments.
Early in her childhood, Rico begged for her mother to take her to see an idol concert but was separated from her when a fire broke out during the performance. Rico was forcibly stuck inside a room filled with other attendees, most of them male and the collective panicking frightened her. The darkened room and mass of people thrashing around with the young Rico being between everyone caused her to develop her fear of males.
After the events of Eternal Lovers, a Chrono Gate was discovered near Juno and ABSOLUTE was accessed by the Angel Wing and the Elsior. With the technological assets still preserved and with Milfie having the uncanny ability to operate the Master Core, the age of discovery repeated itself as the Transbaal Empire sought to find other civilizations in the outlying Chrono Gates that led to other dimensions. Apricot most likely joined military service to follow in her sister's footsteps and was chosen as the pilot of the Cross Caliber when it was discovered in NEUE, becoming the first member of the new Rune Angel Wing followed by Lily and Nano after they were trained by Forte.
Rico is introduced as one of the three Rune Angel Wing members present on the Luxiole during Kazuya's arrival. In Rico's case, she is met immediately after Kazuya and Forte arrived in the ship's Hangar and she introduces him to Nano and Kahlua soon afterwards. Like her sister before her, Rico guides Kazuya around the Luxiole in the first chapter to acquaint him with the ship's personnel and facilities.
Rico's chapter follows afterwards in Chapter 2 where Rico discovers the reason as to how Kazuya is able to regularly interact with her while any other male would usually get sent flying. Apparently Kazuya's proficiency and time spent in baking has latched a similar smell Rico associated with her sister, who was a great cook herself, and resulted in his lucky break of only being lightly shoved. When an emergency transmission from Milfie inside ABSOLUTE is cut off, Rico fears the worst for her sister and her performance in combat drops substantially. Tact hands Kazuya the Telepathic Fur, an item that allows Kazuya to gauge the mood levels of the Angel Wing and assigns him the key duty of maintaining the Angel Wing's mental health from now on. His first duty was to bring Rico out of her worries and while his first attempt is unheeded, Kazuya is successful on his second try when he convinces her that Milfie's immense luck will ensure her safety until they find out what's going on. When the Luxiole stops by the Department Ship, Kazuya could potentially join Rico in shopping for some hairpins where she explained how she got the ones she currently wore.
After the decisive battle at Seldar, the Angel Wing are given a short vacation while the Luxiole and the planet itself recuperated to prepare for the fight against Verel. Tact calls Kazuya to his office and his expertise in knowing the power of an Angel in love has him hand Kazuya a specialty pass for two on the resort planet of Hokkori and bids the youth to sort out his feelings and choose someone to take with him. If Kazuya spent time nurturing his relationship with Rico, she will be one of the three girls to ask him if they could accompany him. On the resort, Rico and Kazuya happily spend time together relaxing and their mutual attraction grows. When Kazuya leaves to get drinks, a group of beach-goers approach Rico and inevitably, one of them gets thrown. Kazuya arrives to see this and goes out into sea to rescue the poor soul but the rest of the beach-goers end up getting throw afterwards and lands on him, knocking Kazuya out. When Kazuya wakes up, he finds Rico next to him where she explains that she was able to pull him out to safety but more importantly, she had to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation, and inadvertently take his first kiss. The rest of their vacation goes along without notable trouble and when the duo return to the Luxiole, Kazuya resolves to help Rico overcome her reflex and rallies the other male members onboard to assist his endeavor. A painful training session goes underway, with it being made a little less gruesome thanks to Mordent and Nano's treatment, and concludes with Rico being able to resist throwing male personnel when she makes contact, but only limited to handshaking. Soon after this however, Kazuya finds Rico studiously avoiding him and he ponders if he did anything wrong. Rico's avoidance of him and seeing her interact regularly with males has Lunti joking around that Rico only was close to him because he was the only male she could normally interact with and now that she has more accessibility, Kazuya was not needed.
Midway through the journey to the Chrono Gate, Tact deploys the Angel Wing to clear out the scouting forces in their proximity. Coco reports some troubling performance issues regarding the team and identifies something wrong with Rico and Kazuya. Anise also happens to notice the pair's problem and Tact walks in to find the problematic duo gone and consults Anise on what just happened. Later, Tact calls Kazuya and Rico to his office where he assigns them to take a shuttle back to Seldar to pick up Forte who was just assigned to help their offensive against Verel. Tact hopes that they will be forced to iron out their issues before any bigger problems might come to them. Rico and Kazuya share a very silent trip to Seldar but the large-scale battle that previously took place near the planet coated the area with debris. Conditions worsen as the debris compromise and engines and the duo are forced to abandon ship with the shuttle nearing detonation. Kazuya quickly realizes that the resulting explosion will send the debris outward towards them and maneuvers himself between Rico and the explosion. As Kazuya feared, the explosion sends the debris flying and he is able to shield Rico from harm. A number of shards pierce through his suit and Kazuya starts coughing blood and his conscious starts to dim. Rico seals the suit puncture but Kazuya remains in critical condition. Believing that he is about to die, he admits his feelings for her before blacking out. Kazuya regains consciousness much later and finds himself in the Infirmary where Mordent welcomes him back and calls Rico down as he prepares to excuse himself. Rico arrives in the Infirmary and addresses three contentions, the first being gratitude as he completely shield her from harm. Second, she apologizes for not making her intentions clear when she was avoiding him. Third, Rico gets angry as she heard from Lunti about what Kazuya thought at how she may have lost interest in him and corrects him that she isn't that sort of person. Rico asks if there is anything at all she can do for him, and continues to insist despite Kazuya's assurances that he's fine. Finally, Kazuya half-jokingly asks her to lie down with him and to his surprise, she shyly agrees. While lying side-by-side, Rico asks Kazuya if he remembered what he said as he was blacking out before admitting her own feelings for him. Rico admits to wanting to correct Kazuya's first kiss and the two share a quick kiss before Nano bursts in to check on Kazuya, causing the two to attempt to leap apart.
With the problem alleviated, Kazuya and Rico's strong emotion for each other proves successful in artificially activating the Chrono Gate to return to ABSOLUTE and confront Verel near the Central Globe. The Luxiole and Rune Angel Wing struggle to fight against his mass-produced fleet but are soon joined by the reunited Moon Angel Wing and the Elsior. The Dual Chrono Break Cannon destroys the Shadow Moon and Verel is defeated by the combined strength of the Angel Wing. In the epilogue, Kazuya demonstrates his cooking talent to Milfie, who teases Rico by offering to feed Kazuya some food much to the anger of Lunti who was standing right behind them cooking.
Six months after the fight against Verel, Kazuya and Rico continue their relationship with little problems but both are put to work in the wake of the fight against the Arms Alliance's forces. Coupling with that, problems arise within the ranks of the Luxiole as well. Tact puts Coco in charge of the Luxiole but the glaring presence of the new Chief Operator, Tapio, makes everyone uneasy while a surprising addition to the Angel Wing is made by the second male member, Roselle Mateus.
With Princess Natsume under their custody, the Luxiole enters combat against the Three Marquis across three separate challenges on three separate planets that culminates on one last showdown at Seldar. Unlike her teammates however, Rico's contribution to the team's adversities come after the fight against the Three Marquis and after the the route conflict.
During downtime, Kazuya and Rico planned to spend time together on the department ship but before it arrived, work gets in their way. Roselle's involvement with this work along with the duo made the difference in skill between Kazuya and Roselle extremely pronounced. Kazuya's insecurities get the better of him and he is convinced in winning Rico back in their upcoming date at the department ship, even though in truth, Rico never doubted her feelings for him. During Kazuya's preparations, Roselle took the initiative and asked Rico to consider his feelings for her as well and requested that she give him an answer if she would accept him over Kazuya. On the day of the date, Kazuya makes a fool of himself by acting completely differently in an attempt to impress her and only ends up discouraging her. Kazuya receives a pep-talk from Mordent and Lunti and gains the proper viewpoint to sort out his intentions clearly. During that time, Rico calls Roselle to the park to give him her answer until Kazuya interrupts the conversation and asks Roselle for some time alone with her. Roselle begrudgingly agrees and gives the two five minutes before he returns and Kazuya lets out his fears that Rico was falling for Roselle. Rico gets angry at how he ever doubted her feelings for him and she explains that she called Roselle to the park to turn down his confession. Rico and Kazuya make clear of their feelings for each other and they find an annoyed Roselle outside waiting for them. Upon seeing the two exit together, Roselle figures out what happened inside and leaves the two.
Inside the Infinite Corridor, Parfait puts the Luxiole through a test where multiple blackholes form near the ship. Tapio's direct control of the Luxiole assisted by Noa prove inefficient and Rico's correction in one of Noa's logistics has Noa dragging Rico to the Hangar while Kazuya followed. Rico is put inside her Emblem Frame and Noa merges the H.A.L.O System and the Val-Fasq V-Chip, allowing Tapio to ascertain safer locations while Rico moved the Luxiole. Rico's keen observation apparently correlated to the immense strength she gained when throwing males, a sort of trait that allowed her petite frame to support her immense strength. The burden however becomes too strong to bear and in any other route except her's, Rico will lose conscious soon after. In her route however, Kazuya goes to her side to support her as they made it to safety.
Three months after the initial encounter with the Will, Rico along with the rest of the Luxiole's crew attend the 5th anniversary of Eden's liberation from the Val-Fasq on Juno before the the Luxiole is sent out to Val-Rundal to fight off the beginning of the Will invasion. With the sacrifice of the Elsior and its Emblem Frames, the Rune Angel Wing are sent back to NEUE to defend it against the Will fleets while Tact and the Elsior's crew assisted the war effort from the Central Globe. From there, Rico learns the pasts of her teammates.
After defending the Val-Fasq homeworld, the Luxiole sets course for Transbaal while its administration thought of how to proceed with the encroaching invasion. During that time, Lunti's accidental contact with Rico's shoulder has her throw the former in Kazuya's direction which knocked the two out. Kazuya experienced his first out-of-body experience while Rico panicked at how she might have killed him as he showed no brain activity when he was unconscious. When he awoke with no problems, Rico was intent on curing herself of her reflex and shared how she developed her fear of physical male interaction. A fire broke out during a concert she went to with her mother and she was quickly separated with her by the crowd's panicking. Eventually, she was stuck in a cramped room with the concert-goers with the lights off, the water sprinklers still on, and the constant thrashing of the panicking crowd for a few hours caused her to develop her fear. With the Luxiole already heading toward Transbaal, Anise proposed that they confront her fears directly. The particular idol concert accident occurred in one of the buildings owned by the Blancmanche Company and the crew gained permission to sort out Rico's problems before they were to mobilize again.
The team arrive inside the event hall and while they expected Rico to have some adverse effect being there, she is unfazed. The team attempts to reenact the thrashing Rico experienced and Natsume suggests that they bring more people. The male crews of both the Elsior and Luxiole assist in trying to help Rico and Mordent inspires the heavily injured team to try one last time and they attempt to fully recreate the events of the incident. The lights are turned off, the sprinklers are forcibly activated, and the accurate attempt has Rico blacking out. Rico awakens by the sound of Milfie's voice and the rest of the Moon Angel Wing appear to have arrived shortly after the fire alarms went off. Rico wonders why she finds Milfie's voice so recognizable in her memories and the latter explains that it was her that took her to the concert on the day of accident. Milfie always wondered why Rico wouldn't stop calling her "mom" that day and Rico begins to remember clearly what happened that day and also how she received her hairpins from Milfie. While her problems were not completely sorted out, Rico's clarity on her memories gives her control of her immense strength but she still remains with her hazardous reflex.
After the encounter with Sorbet, the Angel Wing are given some time off and Kazuya and Rico avoid an accident with Cookie when Rico throws Mordent to collide with Kazuya so that he wouldn't make contact with the nanomachine infant. Afterwards, the two wonder on what they should do to spend time together. As Kazuya and Rico walk around the ship chatting, Nano overhears something involving "marriage", Anise overhears "proposal", Lily hears "wedding dress", Tequila hears "matchmaking", and Natsume overhears a "ring" and all of them individually suspect something but abandons the thought. Coco calls the duo to her office to let them know that Harcourt has allowed them to set foot on Sprite. On the planet they spend time together walking by the beach and at night they watch a ceremonial dance by the native fairies.
Upon their return, the team is immediately briefed by Noa that they will have to make room for the new replacement half of the Luxiole and deal with the derelict one. Kazuya and Rico deploy to scuttle the ship while the rest of the crew piece together their misheard words and come to the conclusion that somehow, without them noticing, Kazuya and Rico got engaged. The duo's return are met with congratulatory clamor by the ship's regular crew of their marriage and the duo deny the claims that they have gone that far in their relationship. The mad dash to correct this assumption leads them to the Convenience Store, the Tea Lounge, and the Piroti to confront the rest of the Angel Wing who shared this news. Kazuya's iron-willed intent to correct the notion however gives Rico the slight impression that he doesn't want to get married down the line. Ignoring the Angel Wing's congratulations, Kazuya mouths off on how he is not married to Rico and the latter becomes angered by his constant disapproval of the idea. Lunti breaks through the Piroti doors to yell at his old friend if the news is true and Kazuya is forced to convince Lunti otherwise. Kazuya asks Rico to confirm their status as being unwed and the latter loses her temper and punches Kazuya and sends him across the room. While the mass misunderstanding is clarified, Kazuya tries to apologize to Rico but is unable to approach her in her room. At this point in time, Herea, in the body of Roselle, targeted her and whisked her away.
|“||Please think more highly of yourself, you're an important member of the team...and the single-most important person to me...||”|
Rico is characterized by her level-headed thinking and unbiased generosity, the latter being one of the traits she she shares with her sister. Likewise, Rico's immense adoration for her sister is reflected through a similar uniform and hairstyle. Unlike her sister though, Rico does not share a passion for cooking and is exceptionally well-versed in organization and planning. While nowhere near as clumsy as Milfie, Rico has her own case of accident-prone mistakes but only in times of nervousness or embarrassment. These positive traits of her intelligence and kindness usually makes her the first person a fellow Rune Angel Wing would consult in times of trouble and/or romantic crisis. On her part, she is the most sympathetic and active in attempting to repair any relationship issues for others.
Putting her skills to use, Rico is rarely ever found in her room as she busied herself around the ship. Rico's main duty other than combat had her in the Storage Room to keep stock of supplies. This also had her well acquainted with the other crew-members as her quick learning allowed her to directly assist in many of the jobs she came to help with. This included being well versed in maintaining her Emblem Frame and also helping in the Engine Room. Even not when not helping crew-members in their stations, she was willing to help to just about anyone in their troubles.
Rico's comedic elements comes from her extreme displays of strength when she comes into contact with males. While Rico's kindness was not discriminant, any male (with the sole exception of Kazuya) that made contact with her would be sent flying over her shoulder. This caused her to be naturally very apologetic and extremely cautious around males to make sure she didn't hurt anybody. A secondary element came from her adoration of her sister where Rico initially was very dependent of her but eventually came to be more self-reliant on her own strengths.
Kazuya and Rico share a balanced relationship style compared to the myriad of other distinct couples the former could end up with. The two both respect and love each other and both are equally flustered when one compliments the other. Rico's dynamic in falling in love with Kazuya is not as complex as the others and is genuinely a soft-spoken friendship that eventually evolved into stronger feelings. Of course, being the only male to be able to regularly interact with her factored into it but if the route conflict in MK was any example, Rico loved her meek and hard working partner over someone who could be viewed as superior than him. In that particular instance, Rico made sure that Kazuya's efforts were never ignored and always vouched for his hard work. If Rico was the one Kazuya chose, she developed feelings for him early on, similarly to her sister with Tact. With that said, Rico's love for Kazuya exceeds her love for her sister, the one person she truly adored. When Kazuya joked about how he hoped to be better in Rico's eyes, she herself stated that she already loved him more than her sister, a statement that made Kazuya simultaneously really happy and flustered beyond belief.
The anime characteristics of Rico play off on the extremes of her character, like most of the other characters, making her most utilized utility of gaining superhuman strength to brute force (with the same male-touch-activated cause as the games) through the Rune Angel Wing's antics. The anime version does not differentiate her too much from Milfeulle's mannerisms as Rico is clumsy and generally not all that bright compared to her intelligence in the games. Instead of being seen as a voice of reason or voice of intelligence, she is mostly seen as a liability.
- Apricot's name comes from the fruit apricot.
- Her personal communications recognition code is: RACASS0711アプリコット・桜庭.
- Apricot and Roselle are the only members of the Rune Angel Wing from EDEN.