|This article is about a/an Makai Knight in Garo: Honoo no Kokuin|
Rafael Banderas (ラファエロ・バンデラス Rafaero Banderasu) is a Makai Knight who was closely acquainted with the previous Garo, León Luis' grandfather and Anna and Esmerelda's father, and holds the title of Gaia the Stronghold Knight (堅陣騎士ガイア Kenjin Kishi Gaia).
Rafael was a good friend of the previous Garo and was present at the trial of Mendosa, holding him back with his sword. Once Mendosa's punishment was carried out, the evil priest began his witch hunts years later and his soldiers murdered Rafael's son out of revenge, so that no one would inherit the Gaia armor.
Fifteen years later, Rafael encounters the fleeing Alfonso and reveals to him the truth of his family: that his mother is Anna's sister and he, by extension, is León Luis' cousin by blood. Alfonso begs Rafael to teach him the ways of the Makai Knights in order to protect Valiante from the Horrors and Mendoza, and Rafael agrees after seeing the boy's courage and determination.
In reality, Rafael was dying from an unspecifed illness and wanted an apprentice to pass his armor on to. He began his training by showing the young prince what atrocities the Horrors can commit and how to wield Soul Metal. After training Alfonso in sword fighting, Rafael's condition began to worsen, coughing up blood. He was awakened out of his near-death state by the spirit of Leon's grandfather and proceeded to the Watchdog's Castle. He approached the Watchdog and asked her if there was a powerful Horror that his apprentice could fight. The Watchdog told him of a large Horror terrorizing a highway but warned that his apprentice would possibly die in the battle. Rafael knew of the danger, but wanted to test the young prince's resolve.
After witnessing his student having a moment of doubt during the fight, he encouraged him to keep on fighting and charged at the Horror. While he managed to break most of the Horror's defenses, it used the spiked tendrills in its mouth to impale and partially immobilize him. Before being consumed, he tossed his sword over to Alfonso and told him to stop the Horror no matter what. After it was defeated by Garo and Alfonso as the new Gaia, Rafeal's spirit congratulates Alfonso and gives him one last bit of advice and encouragement before going to the spirit world.
As Gaia, Rafaelo donned heavy purple and gold armor and arms himself with a massive sword. He possesses the ability to set his blade aflame by scraping it along the ground, covering it in green fire. His eyes had an orange color while wearing the armor.