Characters / Lighter Than Heir

The character page for Lighter Than Heir. Be warned that because many characters are more than they appear, spoilers abound.

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Trainees from Steinbech Military Camp

     Zeppelin Von Schultheiss
"What happens today will determine where my future lies!"

Self centered and conceited, Zeppelin's the story's "protagonist" who wants to claim her father's title as her country's greatest hero. Be afraid.

  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Possibly with Hertz. Unless they really do just hate each other.
    Schultz: I give them two weeks.
    Klein: What, until they make out?
    Schultz: Until they kill each other.
  • Berserk Button: Don't compare her to her father.
  • Bi the Way: If her dream sequence on the ship is indicative of anything
  • Blood Knight: Would rather prefer to fight than calmly solve her problems.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Possibly heading in this direction.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After a reporter accused her of starting the war.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.:
    • At times, either due to emotional trauma or shellshock from fighting.
    • Not to mention from discovering her father's vivisected corpse.
  • It's All About Me: Has a big ego at first. Gradually grows out of this as the series progresses. Gradually.
  • It's All My Fault: See "Drowning My Sorrows" above. Hertz of all people is the one who has to reassure her that the war isn't her fault.
  • Jerkass: By far the biggest one we've seen in the series. At least on the Steinbech side. She's growing out of it. Gradually.
  • Karma Houdini: It's exceedingly rare for her to face real consequences for any of her selfish actions, ranging from frequent acts of insubordination against her superiors, to outright attacking comrades for minor slights. At one point she directly sabotages Hertz's efforts at stopping an enemy because she wanted to be the one to finish the fight, and this action directly leads to said enemy escaping. Even she starts to wonder how she hasn't been court martialed. It's at least partially implied, however, that the reason for this treatment is due to her Volant abilities.
  • Nonuniform Uniform: Often modifies her uniform when required to wear one. She justifies this with Loophole Abuse, and it even gets lampshaded at one point.
  • Police Brutality: While guarding the Steinbech-Zamora border.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: She holds bigoted attitudes towards the Zamorans after a Zamoran spy tried to strangle her to death.
    Zeppelin (singing): "Send the Zamos home, don't let those jerk butts roam, cleaning out the street, it can be so sweet!"
  • Power Fist: Gets a pair of giant robot gauntlets to keep her in action after she breaks her hands in a fight. Despite being made of scrap, they're surprisingly dextrous. And plenty potent when when used as a flying bludgeon, of course.
  • Sanity Slippage: After someone tried to strangle her in training camp, she became increasingly paranoid and tried to avoid sleeping whenever possible (said sleep deprivation only worsening the problem). Fortunately the paranoia subsides once the killer is identified and chased off.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Due to having a war hero for a father, she sees herself as someone more capable for a job than others.
  • Ultimate Job Security: As she once admitted herself, she would most likely have been kicked out of the military long ago if it wasn't for her being a volant.
  • Walk on Water: Volants are capable of this due to being buoyant enough not to sink.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Hertz was about to finish off Grunwald, she attacks him, causing the gun to drop and fire its last round, letting Grunwald escape. She's almost kicked out of the military for this.

     Emmerich Hertz
"Oh, for god's sake..."

Cold and introverted, Hertz is one of Zeppelin's "comrades" she first meets in boot camp, who surprisingly hates her already. What's his problem?

  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Possibly with Zeppelin. Unless they really do just hate each other, of course.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Grunwald is about to finish off both Austerlitz and Zeppelin. Cue Hertz firing a shot in his arm with a gun he repaired.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Due to the Von Schultheiss reputation it's hinted that Hertz was viewed as a disappointment. It's also eventually revealed that he grew up in Zamora, and that a Zamoran Mad Scientist experimented on him at some point before the comic to try and turn him into a Volant - possibly even at his own mother's urging.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has a sarcastic sense of humor. This is especially evident when he's around Roth.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Good at repairing guns. Very important since it's what helps him catch Grunwald off guard.
  • Irrational Hatred: For much of the story he hates Zeppelin because her reputation caused Zamoran scientists to experiment on him in the hopes of making more volants. Later on he realizes that it isn't her fault and becomes less hostile (and in some cases even sympathetic) towards her.
  • The Leader: An impromptu one after the Volant attack. Later he's officially promoted to leader of the squad.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy / Ignore the Fanservice: On page 54.
  • Not So Stoic: When speaking with Zeppelin. At first because his dislike of her made him angry, but later because he began to feel genuine sympathy for her.
  • Prematurely Grey-Haired: He has grey hair and was experimented upon as a child.
  • The Stoic: The most calm of the group.
  • Stoic Spectacles: He wears glasses and is usually stoic.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Afraid of heights. Played for laughs in training camp, then seriously when having to climb the radio tower.

     Fritz Roth
"You can't just hold someone up with just any pistol! You gotta ensure it has the best shot!"

Without a proper family or home, Roth is a slick talking con-man who figured joining the military would be an improvement over a life on the streets.

  • Berserk Button: Don't make Fleischer cry.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Gradually, but best exemplified when he didn't take well to Zeppelin's berating of Fleischer.
  • Con Man: His back story. He plays Schultz for his cigars and rum and wins - subverted because he didn't really do anything; Schultz is just a terrible card player.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Was living on the streets for a period of time. In his flash back he's depicted being ganged up by two men and beaten. He also had to replace his jaw with a titanium one after the real one got damaged beyond repair.
  • Hot-Blooded: When Zeppelin criticizes the others in the squad for joining for personal reasons, Roth immediately starts a fist-fight.
  • Jerkass: He uses Mathis's inexperience with gambling to seize care package, looks at a naked picture of Mathis's girlfriend (which was included in the care package) and shows it to the rest of the group (and later tells her that Mathis showed them the picture ... fortunately for Mathis she wasn't angry about this).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He cares greatly for Fleischer.
  • Made of Iron: Sort of; he has a prosthetic jaw made out of titanium. He also survived his face being repeatedly bashed in with a rifle butt by a Zamorian Soldier despite a medic predicting that he would die of the injury.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Here, where he reacts to his finger getting shot off in a training accident. Justified in that he's been through worse.

     Ria Klein
"Now, it's been a while but we talked on the bus! Ria Klein? I was the model!"

Originally a fashion model, Klein's been molded into quite a fine soldier, while still retaining her sweet and caring attitude.

  • Cold Sniper: after some character development, she goes from a soft-hearted girl playing at soldiers to a dead-eyed killing machine. She laughs again for the first time on Schweinefleisch, having begun to come to terms with how she's changed.
  • Ditzy Genius: Acknowledged in universe as flightly and a bit absentminded but a great marksman.
  • It Gets Easier: She breaks down after her first kill, even though it was to save a teammate. The next time we see her in combat, she calmly snipes multiple enemies in a row.
  • The Heart: Starts out as the least hostile member of the group. When Roth kicks Zeppelin out of the group, Klein's the only one who objects.
  • The Pollyanna: Starts out as a Perpetual Smiler who tries to keep everyone in good spirits. A combination of Zep's rejection toward teamwork and her first kill in battle result in her going dark for quite a while.

     Ada Fleischer
"Oh my gosh! So flippin' stellar!"

A rabid fangirl and lover for all things stellar, Fleischer mostly joined the military to be around her idol, Zeppelin. Hopefully she has her own special talents.

  • Bi the Way: Dating Roemer, but seems pretty into Roth.
  • Ditzy Genius: A bit clumsy and accident prone, but is capable of creating and piloting a mech suit.
  • Doomed Hometown: Port Stal, her hometown, was exterminated by the Zamoran Navy. Her family are the only known survivors.
  • Homemade Inventions: When the Steiner Military started to utilize Humongous Mecha, she was so impressed she made a smaller verson of one out of scrap metal. It accidentally maimed someone.
  • Its Pronounced Tropay: In the cast page it states Fleischer is pronounced "FLYSH-er".
  • Wham Line: And here's the encore!
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Port Stahl, her hometown, was exterminated by the Zamorian Navy.

     Mathis Schultz
"We got really close, but you can't live on happiness alone."

Schultz is a former actor, and since joining the military, has become a nervous wreck. He joined the military to provide for him and his girlfriend. At least, that what she was before he ran off without consulting her first.

  • Big Damn Kiss: Winds up on the receiving end of one from Ria, after they'd narrowly escaped peril. Given that providing for his girlfriend is the entire reason he joined the military, he's none too pleased about it and insists that they act like the whole thing never happened.
  • Butt-Monkey: The most high strung of the group, he picked on by the rest of the group the most often.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Constantly complaining about how insane most of the exploits of the group are.
  • Literal Metaphor: On page 238 he complains that Zeppelin is going to give him an ulcer. A few pages earlier, on page 227, he is seen taking antacid pills.
  • Lovable Coward: He is regularly panicking about the dangerous situations they find themselves in, but is not afraid enough to endanger the rest of the group. After Zeppelin's attempt to slap him calm fails, the rest of the group just opts to lie to him to make the situation seem less dire.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Played for Laughs on page 236, when Schultz reports Zeppelin for police brutality.
    Zeppelin: "Son of a ..."
    Major Hohenhut: "Same goes for you Schultz!
    Schultz: "What?!"
    Major Hohenhut: "You sold out your own steiner comrade, traitor! Down on the ground!"
  • Starving Artist: An actor who joined the military because he wanted to provide for his girlfriend and couldn't do so on an actor's budget.
  • The Stool Pigeon: See Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves above.

     Gus Eisenhauer 
Kinda awkward and out of place, Eisenhauer only joined the military for the "pretty clothes."
  • Drama Queen: The first and often most vocal person to complain about the latest round of trouble, whether it be too much blood for his liking or having to crawl through sewage.
  • The Medic

Other Steinbech Characters

     Volker Austerlitz 
Sergeant Major Austerlitz is the soldiers' sadistic, energetic, hot headed drill sergeant. What's a sergeant major doing being a drill sergeant?

  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Regularly abuses his trainees both verbally and physically. He considers two casualties (implied fatal, at least a serious injury) out of the latest batch of recruits to be better than usual. His response to Zeppelin and Emmerich getting into a fight is to physically cuff them both together at the wrist for over a month. The cuffs weren't taken off for any reason until they were freed, so by the time they were, their wrists had been marked raw with rashes all over.
  • Lennon Specs: Rarely seen without his ruby-tinted glasses. He claims he can see fine without 'em, so being a Sgt. Major, he seems to wear them just because they look cool.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: He does not pull any punches when it comes to making his trainees' lives hell, and his attitude isn't much better when he takes the battlefield. That said, it's just part of the job to him, and he's perfectly capable of being much more soft-spoken and considerate when the situation calls for it.
  • Sergeant Rock: Eventually takes this role as his trainees grow into full soldiers, and beyond.

     General Maria Eckstein

"Steinbech will not falter in the face of this unwarranted aggression. Stand firm. Stand together. And we will prevail."

The general of Steinbech's armed forces, Eckstein is a no-nonsense woman devoted to the safety and security of her country. In her past she ran special ops with Hemmel Von Schultheiss.

  • Fantastic Racism: Her distaste for Zamorans was worrying even before the war began. The moment she takes power she orders everyone of Zamoran blood arrested just on suspicion of being a spy.
  • Four-Star Badass: Her qualifications aside, her response to an assault on her base is to immediately man an AA gun and open fire.
  • Friendly Sniper: During her active duty days she favored a scoped rifle, but she was just as jovial as the rest of her squad.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Personally conducts the questioning of a Zamoran General she had taken prisoner, beating him bloody and even impaling his shoulder with a knife when he refuses to talk.
  • Just the First Citizen: Takes the title of Sovereign General after the assassination of the prime minister.

     Avery Roemer 
Tenacious and confident, but also a tad too impulsive, Roemer approaches conflict head on with very little thought. First introduced accompanying Sgt. Major Austerlitz into Zamora.

  • An Arm and a Leg: Loses an arm in Martino when she fell from a great height onto a building spike. On the plus side it broke her fall enough that she otherwise survived.
  • Genki Girl: Very chipper and in-the-moment, even in battle. She complains about her missing arm and how it still hurts despite being gone, but she's just as quick to list the upsides. Like the possibility that she now gets to look super cool with the mecha replacement.
  • Its Pronounced Tropay: "RAY-mer", according to the cast page.

     Trudy Dahl

A veteran Steinbech soldier.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Arguably the tallest character in the comic, built like a Greek statue, and strong enough to subdue a pair of wild boars with her bare hands. And then carry them over her shoulders back to camp.
  • Expy: Bears a strong physical resemblence to Zarya, but little else besides.
  • Made of Iron: Holy damn, Roth has nothing on this girl. She survives getting caught in a bomb detonation that leveled the base around her, and not only that, but she's healed from her injuries sufficiently that she was ready to return to duty within days.
  • Not So Above It All: Generally serious and task-oriented, but she's quick to fire off a (TERRIBLE) pun in response to her soldiers' griping when first introduced.
  • Sergeant Rock: Her actual rank is unclear, but when in the field, she's good at taking charge. To say nothing of how well she can hold herself in a fight.

     Madeline Adler 


Zamoran Characters

     Prime Minister Rosario Medina 
Leader of Zamora, and a visionary who's driven to both protect her country and see it restored to greatness.

     Kurt Grunwald A.K.A. Kurt Bosque 
An artist who joined the Steinbech military after his inheritance dried up. Quiet and nonexistant. "Kind of a lameass," according to Roth.

  • Breaking Speech: Pretty good at giving these. Even if his intent isn't to completely demoralize his foe, he can still keep them busy and confused long enough to gain the upper hand.
  • Covert Pervert: When he finds the naked picture of Schultz's girlfriend, he smiles and keeps it for himself.
  • Flight: He's a Volant, just like Zeppelin, but he's an early, successful example of the Volant induction program in Zamora.
  • Glass Cannon: Can dish it out thanks to good proficiency with his Volant abilities, but can't take it. He goes from smugly boasting about his victory, to screaming and bawling from a gunshot wound in about 0.2 seconds flat.
  • Mercy Kill: Claims that his attempted strangulation of Zeppelin was this, as he knew Steinbech would just try to manipulate and exploit her Volant nature for its own sick gains and wanted to free her from that fate. Jury's out on how much of this was sincere.
  • The Mole: Was a spy for Zamora all along, sent to infiltrate the academy and sabotage their latest efforts of recruitment.
  • Psycho Smirk: Once his cover is blown, he tends to show this a lot when he thinks he has the upper hand.
  • We Can Rule Together: He asks Zeppelin to defect to Zamora, claiming that she'll gain more respect and glory there than she ever could in Steinbech. She rejects his offer.

     Marilyn Villalobos 
Top researcher in Zamora's top-secret science division.