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The pilot of Fighting Thunder.
- Voiced by: Xander Mobus (English), Kanehira Yamamoto (Japanese)
- Addressing the Player: He and Eshiria do this with the player, referring to him as "Raiden".
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite his affinity for coffee even at inappropriate times, Max is a competent and responsible soldier and captain.
- The Captain: Of the Airborne Aircraft Carrier, the Bellwether.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has shades of this, especially if it involves one of his constant banters with Eshiria.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Why he orders Raiden to raid and destroy the SHIFT facility. Even if the illegal research conducted by SHIFT gave birth to the legendary fighter and its Airborne Aircraft Carrier, Crystals are still not something to tamper with.
- Expy: Resembles Stacker Pentecost from Pacific Rim.
- Punny Name / Meaningful Name: His last name is the same as the American coffee brand, Maxwell House. Guess what he likes to drink even more than fulfilling mission duty?
- Skewed Priorities: Cares more about having his coffee than mission duty.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Enjoys having a coffee break. A Funny Moment when that's what he gets in the end.
- War Is Hell: Hates war and doesn't understand why he even enlisted.
- Voiced by: Rina Hoshino (English), Ayaka Imamura (Japanese)
- Addressing the Player: Does this with the player alongside Max, who refer to the player as "Raiden".
- Meganekko: She wears glasses with large round lenses.
- Mission Control: Eshiria provides the player with mission orders under Maxwell's guidance.
- Only Sane Woman: Can't deal with the various characters.
- What the Hell, Player?: She won't hesitate to call out the player if he or she misses out on a few enemies.
- Voiced by: Sarah Williams (English), Rika Kinugawa (Japanese)
- Anti-Villain: She is a pirate for hire and hates the military for good reason.
- Big Damn Heroes: In Stage 8-C, she takes over command of the Bellwether after Max becomes injured and directs the rest of Fighting Thunder to defend the aircraft carrier. She stands firm, even when they are getting routed by the Crystals. She later orders the Bellwether to land in order to remove any attack threats from below, holding down a desperate defensive stand until Raiden completes its mission.
- The Dragon: To Campbell, before eventually joining you after her ship is contaminated by the Crystals.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Learns this the hard way when the crystals she stole contaminate her ship, requiring the player to destroy the turret and bail her out.
- HeelFace Turn: Offered to board the Bellwether after her main ship gets contaminated by the Crystals.
- Leitmotif: Its Name Valbarossa.
- Pirate Girl: She is a pirate, of course.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Was hired to steal crystals from the Bellwether.
- Samus Is a Girl: Succeeded the previous Valbaross, who was a guy. Nobody knew until she revealed herself.
Walter Erick Campbell
- Voiced by: Erik Kimerer (English), Kenichi Inoue (Japanese)
- Big Bad Ensemble: The main human antagonist.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Despite his antagonism, the Crystals are clearly a much bigger threat.
- Blatant Lies: In Stage 6, upon entering the SHIFT facility, his first lines are that there are no alien weapons.
- Combining Mecha: Rides one called Messiah, during his escape from a Traintop Battle. Subverted that it only combines with an add-on mecha to power it up, and other Messiahs do not combine each other.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Campbell gains very little respect from the known cast, despite being the one behind the Fighting Thunder. Not only is he treated like a standard technician, but he's accused at times of violating the Montevideo agreement. The last of which is true and when the VCD find out, they destroy the SHIFT facility.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Defies this trope. Continued research resulted in creating the titular fighter that saves humanity.
- Hate Sink: Aside from being the main human antagonist, he's also detested by Max and Eshiria. And later, after Raiden destroys most of the SHIFT facility, he sends out mobile weapons to spite Raiden and Max.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He ends up being defeated by the technology he and SHIFT created.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Says the Montevideo agreement that bans research on the Crystals is pointless and for good reason. It hindered the development of the Fighting Thunders.
- The Mean Brit: Just look at him. His very facial expression screams absolute contempt towards anyone he doesn't like.
- The Extremist Was Right: It's no surprise to those who know the short back story of the Raiden series. SHIFT's research on the Crystals allowed them to create the Raiden, which is key to saving humanity.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He was responsible for Valbarossa's ship being contaminated by the Crystals, but he stands by adamantly his stance on Crystal research for the future of humanity. He constantly reminds Maxwell that it was his organization's research that made the Raiden fighters and the Bellwether possible.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: His fate is left unknown and depends on the ending.
- Voiced by: Laura Post (English), Amano Mami (Japanese)
- Big Good: Considering she works for the council and that Max answers to her, she definitely qualifies.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: When Helga is first introduced, she is rather heavy-handed towards Max regarding his decision to issue a distress call towards a port in Stage 3. In Stage 7, when she orders Fighting Thunder to travel to the Crystals' homeworld, both Max and Eshiria are understandably shocked and apprehensive about this mission. Helga apologizes for making this tough call and even sympathizes with Max's intense dislike for "lousy missions." This assuages Max and Eshiria's worries, with them vowing to see the mission through, even if it sends them to another part of the universe. The defrosting is complete in the Golden Ending, where Helga is celebrating and smiling with the rest of the world. Helga is not cold because she chooses to be. With the threat on the existence of humanity and Earth imminent, she has no choice but to focus on saving all of existence over the feelings of a few individuals.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: In Stage 3, she asks Max why he issued an SOS call towards a French port. While he could not answer initially, Max's hunch was right, as the port was overrun by enemies.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Her last name is spelled three different ways in-game: "Lindenbaum" in the art gallery, "Lintverm" in the Stage 3-S dialogue, and "Lindwurm" in the Stage 4-S dialogue.
The Crystals (MAJOR SPOILERS)
- Helga: Simply said, the information that comes into contact with crystals is being leaked to all the contaminated weapons.Max: I see. So they are making it as unclear as possible as to where they're heading.Helga: That's correct.
- Artifact of Doom: The Crystals themselves are these.
- Big Bad: The primary antagonists of the Raiden series.
- Blob Monster: Somewhat played with. They first appear to be simply crystalline entities with intelligence to boot, but the Golden Ending implies they melt into liquids after defeat, forming into rivers in their planets.
- Bootstrapped Leitmotif: A slow version of the main chorus of the stage 1 theme, "Unknown Pollution", plays as part of the theme of the final stage, "Crystal of Abyss", when the Raiden enters a cave full of blue crystals.
- Gaia's Vengeance: According to Eshiria's findings in one ending, this is the real purpose of the Crystals. After annihilating the current inhabitants and rendering the planet inhospitable through pollution, they then clean out the pollution to make it habitable again.
- Hive Mind: It was soon revealed the Crystals can instantly transmit information from one of their members to all others, including the machinery the Crystals had contaminated. This explains why they were drawn to the locations that Max directed Fighting Thunder towards, as they were locations the shipment of the cave crystals traveled through.
- Hive Queen: Divine Rampart, the True Final Boss that directs all of the actions of the Crystals, from their military operations to their activation to cleanse the planets they infest.
- It Can Think: The Crystals appear to be non-living at first. As Max investigates samples of the crystals from the cave, he begins to theorize that the Crystals are an intelligent lifeform able to communicate with one another. Each of Max's additional theories are proven correct, including the Crystals being able to upgrade machinery they contaminate and making organized military operations. It was realized that the Crystals' intelligence is so profound that parallels have been drawn between them and Carl Jung's psychological system of the collective unconscious.
- Starfish Aliens: The invading aliens throughout the series are actual crystals.
- You Will Be Assimilated: This appears to be the Crystals' goal, since most of them are contaminating Earth's machinery and using it against them.