The main setting of Cold Steel III, Thors Branch Campus is, at its name implies, a branch of Thors Military Academy founded by Prince Olivert and located in Leeves, just west of the capital city of Heimdallr. It was created after the civil war with the intention of accepting students from the new provinces, as well as drop-outs from other schools.
It is headed by former Noble Alliance commander Aurelia Le Guin, whilst Michael Irving of the Railway Military Police serves as Chief Instructor. Professor G. Schmidt also serves as a special advisor. As the main campus's Class VII was replaced with a traditional Class VI, it features a new Class VII, tasked with Special Operations and taught by Rean Schwarzer, Class VIII, tasked with Combat Tactics and taught by Randolph Orlando, and Class IX, tasked with Military Finance and taught by Towa Herschel.
For tropes pertaining to Class VII, see here.
Warning: spoilers relating to events/reveals that happen during the first two Cold Steel games shall be left unmarked. Certain spoilers relating to the third and fourth game however shall remain tagged.
As a whole:
- Big Damn Heroes: In Hajimari, both Main and Branch Campus are the first to arrive in Crossbell to assist the Crossbell police in distracting Reverse Babel's army of soldats.
- Blue Is Heroic: In contrast to students from Thors Main Campus, which now have black and red as the uniform's general color scheme, the students of Branch instead wear two shades of blue.
- Child Soldiers: While the Main Campus students of Rean's batch were also trained to potentially serve as members of the military, and even fought as volunteer crew members of the Courageous during the civil war, they were never outright regularly sent out on actual military missions the way the Branch Campus students are every month. Even the original Class VII, for all the major incidents they got involved in prior to the civil war, only did so because they happened to be at the right place at the right time.
- Cool Train: The Derfflinger, which consists of six cars.
- Humongous Mecha: Part of their curriculum is learning how to pilot Panzer Soldats. By Chapter 3 of Cold Steel III, the school comes to own three Drakkhen II, two Hector Mk.II, two Spiegel S (one belonging to Aurelia), and the Kestrel Beta. Chapter 4 also introduces the Goliath Noa which, thanks to no one else being able to handle it properly, becomes Altina's personal machine* .
- Military Academy: As the name implies. However, compared to the Main Campus which became increasingly militaristic following the graduation of Rean's batch, even removing free days and club activities from its curriculum, the Branch Campus maintains the classic traditions as per Aurelia's commands, maintaining its Mildly Military aesthetic.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Originally with the Panzer Soldats as boys piloted the Blue Drakkhen and girls piloted a Pink Drakkhen during training sessions. This later gets thrown out the window with the arrival of the Spiegel S, an additional Hector Mk.II, Kestrel Beta, and later the Goliath Noa.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Most students who have enrolled at this academy are those who weren't able to enter the main branch - possibly because the higher-ups didn't want them on the same campus as the crown prince for a variety of reasons. Aurelia claims that it's the same for the teachers as well. However, some students like Kurt and Stark could have been in the main campus, but chose the branch campus for their own reasons.
- The Squad: The Branch Campus as a whole fits like this, basically being a small platoon in number when counting both students and the staff members together. Invoked as well because one of the primary purposes of the Branch Campus is to basically act as counter-terrorist unit against threats to the Empire such as Ouroboros.
- Uriah Gambit: Towa fears that the government is sending the branch campus to fight against Ouroboros and jaegers knowing that it's a suicide mission. If the branch campus get slaughtered, that ruins Olivert's plans to maintain his influence. If the branch campus succeeds, that means the government doesn't have to divert as many resources to fighting Ouroboros and the jaegers.
Randolph "Randy" Orlando (Instructor)
After the events of Cold Steel IV, he has left the Branch Campus and returned to Crossbell.
See Class VII.
- Voiced by: Ayana Taketatsu (Japanese)
A trustworthy noble girl from the Nortia Province. She joins the tennis club with Juna and Louise and specializes in the Schleiden-style spearmanship.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She has long blue hair and is generally very composed.
- Ambiguously Bi: At the beginning of Cold Steel III Chapter 2, she says she's got her eye on Cedric, but would later on claim that Alisa is more beautiful than Angelica described; it's also implied she may have had "experience" with Angelica in the past.
- Blade on a Stick: Her weapon of choice, the use of which has made her family famous.
- Blue Blood: The Schleiden family is a pretty well-known noble family, with their spearmanship being almost as famous as the swordsmanship of the Vander and Arseid families.
- Can't Catch Up: A side quest in Cold Steel III reveals that she has started feeling this way around Chapter 3, lamenting how she's still at beginner level even after three months of training while Kurt had been intermediate level since the start of the school year. After Rean spars with her, he gives some words of wisdom about not comparing herself to others and just focusing on improving herself regardless. Words that Jessica takes to heart.
- Expy: Can count as one of Laura. She's a young blue-haired noblewoman from a family renowned for their martial arts. In Jessica's case, her family is renowned for their spearmanship. Unlike Laura however, Jessica can be quite casual and is less prone to making mistakes when it comes to technology.
- Friendly Rivalry: Seems to have one with Juna in the tennis club.
- Promoted to Playable: Although it's just for a short moment, you actually get to control Jessica in sidequest against Rean. Fortunately enough for the players, he actually holds back a lot as Jessica doesn't have any S-Crafts, items, Brave Orders, or other tools that could be useful, save for her artes and crafts. He will still use artes on you, however. She's playable again in Cold Steel IV and she's linked up with Wayne who is also a case of this trope. Rean makes her and Wayne fight against Laura and Duvalie who thankfully also hold back against them.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: She's the blue to Wayne's red due to her more refined fighting style and her crafts having ice properties.
- Voiced by: Ryoko Shiraishi (Japanese)
A tomboyish girl from the Lamare Province. She joins the swimming club with Altina, Wayne, and Stark and uses a large assault rifle.
- Ace Pilot: Can pilot the Courageous II just fine even under heavy fire in Cold Steel IV. She does have experience piloting ships when she was still part of the sea jaegers.
- Ambiguously Brown: Her skin is noticeably darker than the other students.
- Affectionate Nickname: Juna and Maya call her "Leo-nee" in the Japanese script
- Cool Big Sis: She tries to be this to her fellow students, and Juna and Maya actually do seem to think of her as one, going by the Japanese script.
- Guest-Star Party Member: Ends up racing against Shirley of all people in a swimming competition during Cold Steel IV.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: She has green hair.
- Voiced by: Saori Goto (Japanese)
A quiet girl from the Lamare Province. She joins the tea ceremony club with Musse and Kairi and her main weapon is a sniper rifle.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She has short black hair and doesn't emote much.
- Big Eater: She can eat a lot of food that Rean sometimes is taken aback at her.
- But Not Too Foreign: Her mother was of Eastern descent, hence her knowledge and interest in Musse's tea ceremony club.
- Calling the Old Man Out: When confronting her father in a bar in Raquel, he tries to mollify her by saying he hasn't sold any of her mother's things. She becomes PISSED and makes it clear that he should never even think about the idea.
- Child of Two Worlds: Her father is Erebonian and her mother is from Calvard.
- Cold Sniper: She uses a sniper rifle and doesn't show much emotion whether or not she's using it.
- Daddy Issues: She does not have a very high opinion of her father.
- Green-Eyed Monster: When she hears about Sidney and Adas quasi-date at Michelam, she finds herself feeling surprisingly upset at the news.
- Missing Mom: Her's died a few years ago.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Her dad was working for one of the men who instigated the Hamel Incident. He then crossed the Despair Event Horizon for it and has been drinking since.
- Ship Tease: Expresses jealousy at Sidney and Adas date at Mishelam, implying shes been developing feelings for him.
- What Is This Feeling?: She feels upset at hearing about Sidney's progress with Ada, but she doesn't understand why.
- Yaoi Fangirl: Ends up becoming one after borrowing a book from Musse and reading it quickly.
- Voiced by: Daisuke Hirakawa (Japanese)
A boy from Heimdallr who initially wanted to enroll at Thors Main Campus, but due to a mix up, he ended up enrolling at the Thors Branch Campus instead. He joins the swimming club with Altina, Leonora, and Stark and his main weapon is a sword.
- The Comically Serious: There's plenty of humor to be had from how he tries to take himself too seriously.
- Flaming Sword: One of his crafts has him use his sword on fire to slash his enemies.
- Guest-Star Party Member: Is playable for one mini-game where he has to beat Rean in swimming.
- Military Brat: His father is a soldier who was stationed at Garrelia Fortress who thankfully managed to survive its destruction. Emulating his father played a part in Wayne's decision to join Thors.
- Muscles Are Meaningful: He's a firm believer of building up muscles.
- Promoted to Playable: Becomes a playable character in Cold Steel IV, linked alongside Jessica for one fight against Laura and Duvalie.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: He's the red impulsive guy to Jessica's cooler approach girl especially with his crafts having fire properties.
- Two First Names: Both "Wayne" and "Brandon" are fairly common names for men.
- Voiced by: Daisuke Matsubara (Japanese)
An energetic yet "unfortunate" boy from Grenville City near Leeves. He joins the chess club with Kurt and his main weapon is a sniper rifle.
- Book Dumb: He got the lowest exam scores out of the entire Branch Campus during midterms, and ended up on 88th place.
- Butt-Monkey: He doesn't seem to have very good luck.
- Casanova Wannabe: It's noted by the girls that Sidney is in fact good looking, but his personality and hobbies of collecting gravure pictures and trying to pick up girls leaves much to be desired. He's even described as the unfortunate handsome type by Maya.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Not really that smart and hopeless when it comes to girls, but it's stated by Maya, who is considered the best sniper at the branch campus, that he's better than her at sniping "moving" targets. If Sidney applied himself more, he could very well become better than her one day.
- Friendly Sniper: He uses a sniper rifle and is quite personable, especially compared to fellow sniper Maya.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Played for Laughs when it comes to other boys having more luck with girls than him, particularly with Rean. In a conversation with Stark, where the two end up noting Rean's close relationship with so many beautiful women, Sidney even has says this about him:Sidney: I'm burning with jealousy! That damn Chad needs to backflip onto a land mine already!
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Inverted. It's noted by Sidney that he was one of the smartest kids back in his hometown, but the moment he enrolls at Thors Branch Campus, he quickly finds himself at the bottom of the ladder. This is actually causes him some grief for a while until a pep talk from Rean and Maya helps snaps him out of his funk.
- Oblivious to Love: While hes focused entirely on his slight progress in his relationship with Ada, he has no idea Maya also seems to be interested in him.
- Ship Tease: Surprisingly enough, he ends up having some moments with Ada in Cold Steel IV.
- Smart People Play Chess: Inverted, actually, as he's in the chess club and got the lowest exam scores of the entire Branch Campus.
- Voiced by: Shinnosuke Tachibana (Japanese)
A boy from the Sutherland Province obsessed with the outdoors. He joins the cooking club with Tita and Sandy and uses a trident.
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: He loves cooking with insects and monster parts. His dishes tend to smell and taste strongly, but Rean notes that they leave a pleasant aftertaste.
- A Day in the Limelight: An episode in Hajimari focuses on him, even letting him be playable on the field for the duration. It's a cooking competition where he stabs the local wildlife of the monsters at Rock Patio.
- Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Played with: his eyes are pretty creepy, and he can sometimes take others aback, but he's definitely a good guy.
- Nature Lover: He's very much in love with all things in nature and has no problems camping outside.
- Prongs of Poseidon: His weapon is a trident, though it looks a little more like a pitchfork.
- Voiced by: Hiroshi Isobe (Japanese)
A dependable boy from the mining town of Aragon in the Lamare Province. He joins the modern music club with Valerie and Pablo. His main weapon is an orbal cannon.
- The Apprentice: After Mint joins Thors Branch Campus, Gustaf becomes one to her as a craftsman. He acts in her place with the creation and installation of EX Orbs during field exercises.
- Big Fun: Is part of the music club and is a pretty fun guy.
- Eyes Always Shut: Opens them on occasion but most of the time his eyes remain closed.
- Gentle Giant: Easily the largest student at Thors Branch Campus, and also one of the nicest.
- Hand Cannon: His main weapon.
Towa Herschel (Instructor)
See Towa's Group.
See Class VII.
See Estelle's Party.
A girl from Remiferia who does things at her own pace. She joins the tennis club with Juna and Jessica and her main weapon is an orbal gun.
- Blind Mistake: The one time she doesn't have her glasses, she mistook Rean for Randy.
- The Ditz: Can sometimes come across as airheaded, especially without her glasses.
- Friend to All Children: In Cold Steel IV, she's first seen in the game playing with Juna's siblings at Crossbell.
- Meganekko: Usually wears glasses.
- Yaoi Fangirl: Ends up becoming one due to Tatiana's influence after she borrowed her book.
- Voiced by: Yukana (Japanese)
A shy girl from the Kreuzen Province. She joins the literature club with Ash and uses an orbal staff.
- Blue Blood: Comes from a noble family.
- Cute Bookworm: Rather cute and her primary hobbies include reading books.
- Does Not Like Men: Downplayed. It's not that she dislikes men but rather doesn't have much experience in dealing with them due to her sheltered upbringing. Once she spends enough time with Ash and everyone at the Branch Campus this eventually dies down.
- Say My Name: Scream's Ash's name in his side episode in Hajimari as he wasn't really paying attention to whatever she's saying on suggesting on what their club was going to do for the school's first festival.
- Ship Tease: Ends up getting teased with Ash in Cold Steel IV.
- Shrinking Violet: She doesn't seem to have a lot of confidence, so naturally, having Ash as the only other club member was pretty scary for her.
- Yaoi Fangirl: Hinted with her conversation with Musse about a certain book genre. It's also confirmed in a side quest and she then starts spreading it out to her fellow female schoolmates.
- Voiced by: Kotori Koiwai (Japanese)
A friendly girl from Alster Village. She joins the cooking club with Tita and Freddy. Her main weapon is an orbal gun.
- Ascended Fangirl: Starts off as a fan of Class VII for helping out her hometown from jaeger drop outs and ends up becoming a student for one of them.
- Connected All Along: Cold Steel IV reveals that she's Olivert's second cousin on his mother Ariel's side, something both of them only recently discovered.
- Continuity Nod: She thanks Rean for helping out her hometown Alster during the civil war as depicted in Cold Steel II drama CD.
- Country Mouse: Has the demeanor of one thanks to her rural upbringing.
- Green Thumb: She's basically in charge of taking care of the branch campus' vegetable garden.
- Nice Girl: Probably the friendliest girl at the Branch Campus.
- Supreme Chef: Is made the head chef during field exercises with everyone tending to look forward to her meals.
- Voiced by: Kanae Ito (Japanese)
A somewhat aloof girl from North Ambria. She joins the modern music club with Gustav and Pablo. Her main weapon is an orbal gun.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Over her time at Thors Branch Campus, she ends up smiling a bit more. Leonora's happy for her though she will deny it.
- Doomed Hometown: She's from North Ambria.
- Hospital Hottie: Disguises herself as one of the nurses at Saint Ursula in Cold Steel IV.
- The Stoic: She's doesn't tend to be one for idle conversation.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Her lineage goes back all the way from the grand duke who fled from North Ambria when the Salt Pale Incident happened. She's been called as part of the "house of devils" ever since.
- Yuri Fan: Downplayed, but in a conversation with Tatiana, she did like the book she borrowed from Tatiana, but would have preferred it covering "friendships between girls", leading Tatiana to think that Valerie is this trope.
A shy boy from the Lamare Province. He has an obsession with being manly and joins the tea ceremony club with Musse and Maya. His main weapon is an orbal staff.
- Blue Blood: The son of a Baron.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Jessica outright describes him as being cute, and while it never happens in-game, his appearance is effeminate enough that he could likely pass for a girl if one puts him in a skirt.
- Guest-Star Party Member: He's only playable for one sidequest where he has to serve Eastern tea to Rean and he needs guidance.
- Odd Friendship: With Fritz in Cold Steel IV.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Lets out a distinctively feminine yell during the surprise attack in Chapter 1 of Cold Steel III.
- Spot of Tea: Is part of the eastern tea club alongside Musse and Maya.
- Testosterone Poisoning: Invoked and played for laughs as his main focus involves trying to prove himself to be manly.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Part of his obsession with masculinity comes from his desire to emulate his father.
- Voiced by: Takuya Sato (Japanese)
A boy from Jurai who is quite capable in regards to whatever he chooses to do. He joins the swimming club with Altina, Leonora, and Wayne and his main weapon is an assault rifle.
- Connected All Along: It's revealed that he knows Crow as both are from Jurai. The two finally get to meet again in Cold Steel IV.
- Crazy-Prepared: When New Class VII need to find a way to access the Crossbell Marshlands, Stark reveals he managed to prepare them a boat.
- Hero of Another Story: During Hajimari, he is mentioned to be helping Crow dealing with terrorist incidents in Jurai following the Great War. Even after Crow returns to Erebonia to look for C, he sparheads the operations
- Nice Guy: He's quite friendly and reliable.
- The Smart Guy: Is noted to be quite intelligent, so much so that he actually ranked 10th place in the midterm exams for both the main campus and branch campus. As Kurt and Musse were the only other ones to score above him, that also makes Stark the third smartest student at the branch campus as well.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Calls out his childhood friend Crow in Cold Steel IV when Crow talks about his borrowed time in the living.
- Voiced by: Junichi Yanagita (Japanese)
A boy from the Kreuzen Province. He joins the modern music club with Valerie and Gustav and his main weapon is an assault rifle.
- Fiery Redhead: He's the most hot blooded between him, Valerie, and Gustav.
- Funetik Aksent: Just like Becky, his speaks with a Kansai Regional Dialect in Japanese and a Scottish accent in English.
- Rail Enthusiast: Possibly his most defining characteristic. He's a huge fans of trains and goes into a spasm of ecstasy upon seeing the campus's special armored train, the Derfflinger, for the first time. He tries to start a train club at school, but has trouble finding members. He's eventually shot down by Principal Le Guin, who tells him that he can't start a train club because that won't help to grow because he already knows all about trains.
Aurelia Le Guin (Principal)
See The Provincial Army.
Michael Irving (Chief Instructor)
A major in the Railway Military Police serving as the Chief Instructor at Thors Second Branch School. It's revealed that both he and Claire Rieveldt are cousins.
- Adult Fear: In Claire's side episode in Hajimari, he receives a call from his sister when she gets kidnapped in the middle of the night while it was raining. He immediately starts searching for her and contacts Claire to help him out.
- Aloof Big Brother: He and Claire are cousins, with Claire even referring to him as "Nii-san" in the Japanese script. He seems pretty cold with her during their interactions, and she seems to think he hates her, but Rean can see that he's just worried about her.
- Cold Sniper: Much like his cousin, Cold Steel IV shows him using a sniper rifle with little to no expressions on his face.
- FaceHeel Turn: Sides with Thors Main Campus and fights against his former students in Cold Steel IV. It doesn't last long, as he sides back with the heroes after his defeat at Einhel Keep Level X.
- The Gunslinger: Just like Claire, he also uses a standard military gun.
- Majorly Awesome: His official rank.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Thankfully subverted. Despite every other Osborne loyalist taking his side, including the Thors Main Campus students, and everyone else in the RMP including Claire, Michael remains with the rest of the Branch Campus to support Rean and Class VII when they decide to oppose him.
- Nice Hat: Wears a nice beret.
- Nom de Mom: Though born Michael Rieveldt, he took on his mother's family name of Irving after he severed ties with his father after he was executed thanks to instigating the death of Claire's family.
- Underestimating Badassery: In Cold Steel III Chapter 1, he thinks that the Branch Campus, which is comprised of mostly relatively inexperienced students, would be enough to handle whatever Ouroboros threw their way. Almost immediately after this statement however Shirley and Duvalie initiate a surprise attack, and if not for the timely intervention of Laura, Fie, and Elliot, then chances are the students of Branch Campus would have suffered more serious injuries.
- The Rival: He's said to have joined the RMP at the same time as Claire, and he considers her to be his rival at heart. In reality, he's really just concerned with her.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Makes George shut up by making him eat his rockets after his combat shell assaults Towa.
- Sins of Our Fathers: His father ordered Claire's parents and little brother dead by making it look like an accident. He's then taken his mother's surname and tries to take care of Claire in his own way.
- So Proud of You: In Ash's side episode in Hajimari, he says this towards Ash especially since around a year ago, he was the biggest troublemaker of the school and he ends up becoming the most reliable person around.
Michael's younger sister, whom he asked to become instructor for Class IX after Towa was promoted to Head Instructor.
- Nom de Mom: Like her brother, she was born Isara Rieveldt, but took her mother's name with the same reason as Michael.
- Tsundere: She acts dismissive of her cousin Claire, but deep down, she just wants reestablish their old relationship.