Full name: Thomas Richard Schubaltz [1]
Name's meaning: Thomas means "twin."
Rank: First Lieutenant
Age: ~24 [2]
Height: ~ 6’2” [3]
Known family: Brother Colonel-nee-Major Karl Lichen Schubaltz, [4] Alluded to long line of Schubaltzes, “Child” Beek ::ahem::
Pre-colonization ethnicity: German [5]
Post-colonization nationality: Imperial
Hair color: Light brown/dirty blonde
Eye color: Bright green
Education: Graduated from Vashkuyard Academy
Zoid: Dibison, but has piloted a modified Storm Sworder and a Hammerhead
Knocked unconscious: Three times
Hospitalized: Twice [6]
Spellcheck: Microsoft Word suggests I rename him to "Thomas Richard Schmaltz."


[1] Alternate spellings: Shubaltz, Shubalts, Shoobalts, Schwarz. I chose “Schubaltz” as the correct spelling because ‘Schubaltz’ sounds like a German name, and that’s the proper way to spell his name phonetically. Incidentally, the only one of these names that actually shows up as a real family name is “Schwarz,” which I believe is his last name in the Japanese version. Don’t hold me to that—my source is shaky.
[2] I’m estimating this. I’m guessing that he skipped a grade or two early on due to his intelligence so it’s conceivable that he graduated from college when he was about 20 or 21. That would be four years ago, which would explain why he’s not in Chaotic Century (he was busy in school). Give him a year to rise from Second Lieutenant to First Lieutenant, add in his intelligence, merit, desire to go out in the field, and his development of Beek, and he’s in the perfect position to be in the Guardian Force and appointed the Dibison a year after the war ends. This gives him a decent three years of service before the start of Guardian Force, which seems about right for his experience and naivete.
[3] Again, I’m estimating this. He’s almost a head taller than Van, who looks like he’s in the upper-middle part of five foot. (~5’7”) He’s shorter than Irvine, who’s probably about 6’4”. The spiky hair plays havoc with my ability to estimate heights.
[4] Alternate spellings: Carl, Lichten, Liken, and all alternate Schubaltzes. Some day I will write a statistic without a footnote.
[5] Educated guess based on his and Karl’s names and appearance. (Both Karl and Thomas are common names in Germany, though their origins aren't Germanic.)
[6] Note that only one hospitalization is due to one of the times he was knocked unconscious. I haven't included a hospitalization count for after the battle against Hiltz because I don't even know if he survived.


Why do I love him? Let me count the ways…

Like most Zoids characters, Thomas starts off as a combination of clichés, but quickly develops a surprising amount of depth. He's an outsider, a geek, a scientist, a soldier, a little brother, a hapless romantic, a genius, and generally worthy of being protected.

The Outsider
. Of what I consider to be the five main characters of Guardian Force (Van, Fiona, Irvine, Moonbay, and Thomas), Thomas is the one who is the most unlike the others. He’s a newcomer, so he has to work his way into an already established group of people. More than that, he has to deal with being the only one who isn’t “paired off”—Van and Fiona have a deep, close relationship, and Moonbay and Irvine have always had an unofficial “thing” between them. Thomas is from the Guylos Empire (and proud of it!) whereas the others have previously aligned themselves with the Republic. With the possible exception of Van, he’s also the only one who has an extreme love of home, country, and duty. His lineage and social status also stand in contrast to the others—Van comes from a relatively humble village, Moonbay and Irvine think about making money too much for them to have had a rich childhood, but Thomas has never once mentioned working for the sake of wanting to make money. Physically he stands out; he’s the most pale, his eyes are that unnerving shade of light green, and he’s the only character who doesn’t show copious amounts of skin/wear embarrassingly tight clothing. His speech patterns also isolate him—most of the time he’s more formal than the others, and he has a strange habit of trilling his R’s when he’s trying to make his country/his family name/himself more noble. Then he does that weird laugh of his.

The Little Brother
. Let it be said that I don’t think the writers of the first season intended to give Karl Schubaltz a little brother. That aside, I really like the relationship set up between the two. Karl is probably one of the biggest reasons for Thomas' superiority/inferiority complex. Make no doubt about it—Thomas sincerely believes that most of the time he is the better soldier/strategist/person than whoever it is he is comparing himself to (usually Van or the Bad Guy of the Episode). He really is very talented. Still, it isn’t enough to win Karl’s approval.
. This is mainly because Thomas is working in the wrong direction—it’s not his abilities that make Karl think he’s not a good soldier, it’s his mindset. Try as he might, most of the time Thomas simply doesn’t understand what a soldier is supposed to be. He understands the important parts, such as following one’s duty to the end and prioritizing the citizens’ lives over his own, but things like protocol, rankings, and setting aside personal feelings just elude him. He undermines himself when he’s with Karl because he wants to treat Karl as a brother first and a soldier second, whereas Karl treats Thomas as a soldier first and a brother second. This was the main issue in The Devil’s Maze, in which Thomas put the safety of his brother over the success of the mission. It’s only when Thomas agrees to destroy/disable Karl’s zoid (with Karl in it) that Karl calls him a good soldier.
. Despite his excessive formality, Karl really does care for Thomas. He does the usual big brother thing of laughing at Thomas’ antics. He lets his personal feelings overcome his professionalism when Thomas’ Dibison is downed during a fight with Hiltz, and directly asks him if he’s alive. He’s visibly relieved when Thomas is indeed alive. Irvine gets no such reaction from him. This might seem like I'm stretching, but you have to see Karl's face and realize that he rarely, if ever, lets emotion show. Personally, my favorite moment between Karl and Thomas is when they compliment each other when fighting on the Ultrasaurus, calling each other “Colonel Schubaltz” and “Lieutenant Schubaltz.” It just felt like they really connected. Thomas and Karl meet halfway—Thomas uses Karl’s proper title, and Karl is considerably more friendly and brotherly.
. One thing of interest is the mark on Thomas’ face. As you’ve probably noticed, many Zoids characters have facial tattoos. I had assumed that it was a family thing or a cultural thing, but one thing bugs me. Thomas has a mark. Karl doesn’t. I have my own theories about this, but it’s just something to think about.
. As a final note in this topic, I’d like to point out that although Thomas is Karl’s “Little Brother,” I have compared their heights and, as it turns out, they are exactly the same height. There’s a little fudge factor in there considering Thomas’ poofy hair and Karl’s hat, but I don’t think it’s enough to make much of a difference. “Little” indeed.

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