Van Flyheight (Bang Freiheit in the Japanese version) is a fictional character from Zoids: Chaotic Century and Zoids: Guardian Force. In both series, he is the main protagonist.
Van was born and raised in the Wind Colony village. It is shown that he has a sister named Maria and a father named Dan Flyheight. It is never said what happened to his mother. He and his sister became orphaned after their father was killed defending the Wind Colony and an Organoid (which later turns out to beShadow) from the ImperialArmy. At the beginning of the series, Van is seen being chased by a bandit piloting a Guysak into an old ruin. Inside, he finds two capsules. Upon opening one, he finds a Organoid. While hostile at first, Van is able to win him over, and names him Zeke. When the Guysak attacks, Zeke pushes it away, and takes Van to a Shield Liger. Much to Van's surprise, Zeke brings the Zoid back to life, and Van is able to fight off the bandits. Zeke then brings Van back to the ruin, and helps him open the second capsule, which contains a girl. Van decides to take the girl back to his village. On the way back to the village, Van trys to talk to the girl. While she is not able to remember anything, she does say the word Fiona. As such, she is given the name Fiona. While at the village, the bandits return and kidnap Van's sister. Van decides to go after her, and is able to defeat the bandits. Afterwords, Van decides to leave with Fiona and Zeke, knowing that if he stays, his village will be attacked again.
On their adventure, the group meets Irvine a mercenary. He gives them food, and directs them to a old military base. At the base, Van's group is attacked by a white Gordos with an injured leg. After escaping the Gordos, Fiona becomes separated from the group. She then finds an ancient pillar, and remembers the "Zoid Eve". She tells this to Van, and Van decides to help her find it, hoping her memory will be restored. The two are then attacked by Irvine, who is trying to steal Zeke. After a quick skirmish, in which the Gordos is hurt, Van is able to defeat Irvine.
After defeating Irvine, the group runs across a transporter, Moonbay. After being forced to become Moonbay's bodyguard, and Irvine joining the party, Van's group becomes involved in the battle between the Helic Republicand Guylos Empire. Van would also become rivials with Guylos top ace pilot, Raven. During the defence of New Helic City, Van makes a new ally with Dr. D, and is able to beat Raven's Zaber Fang.
After the defence of New Helic City, Van's group heads to the Gurrill ruins. At the ruins, the group has a run in with sleeper Rev Raptors. After the battle, the group finds out the ruins have been excavated, but do find one fragment left. Fiona touches this, and remembers two word, "Death Saurer". With this let down, the group leaves, but soon come across a boy, none other then prince Rudolph. The group also finds out that Raven has a new Zoid, the Geno Saurer. Raven is able to destroy Van's Shield Liger, but Fiona and Zeke fuse with it, tranforming it into the Blade Liger. Once the group arrives at the Guylos captial, Van and Fiona meet Prozen, who uses a Death Saurer to take over the Guylos Empire. While he and Fiona head off to the Guylos captial, they run into Raven and his Geno Saurer. With a kiss from Fiona, Van is able to beat Raven and Prozen and his Death Saurer. After Prozen is defeated, Van and Fiona head out, still looking for the Zoid Eve.
Two years after the fall of the Death Saurer, Van is a Lieutenant in the Republican army. One day, Van finds out Colonel Krueger is retiring. While Van doesn't like this idea, Krueger says it's for the best, and tells Van to take some time off. Van then decides to take a trip back home. After visiting his father’s grave, Van meets Hiltz, though Van is unaware of who he is. While Van and Zeke vist the ruin by Van's village, they happen across a destroyedGustav. While looking around the wreckage, the two run into some old friends; Fiona and Dr. D. After fighting off a Stealth Viper, Van becomes a member of the Guardian Force, and leaves with Fiona, still on the quest for the Zoids Eve.
After a fight with a Gunsniper, Van and Fiona meet up with another Ancient Zoidian, Reese. Reese kidnaps Fiona, and attacks Van with a Double Sworder, Van is able to fight her off, and save Fiona. Soon after, Van is assigned to meet up with Schubaltz. Van and Fiona believe they are to meet Karl Schubaltz, but find out it's Karl's younger brother, Thomas Richard Schubaltz. While Thomas acts hostile to Van at first (due to the fact he sees Van as a rivial for Fiona), the two would become friends.
Van meets some of his old friends as well, such as Irvine, Moonbay, and Dr. D. Van would also meet Raven again, who survived the last encounter with Van. Raven also has a new Zoid as well, the Geno Breaker. Van's group would also learn that Hiltz is the mastermind behind all the recent attacks, and would resolve to fight him. Hiltz responds to this with Death Stinger. The Death Stinger begins to destroy the Helic Republic, and Van is told to head to the Ultrasaurus. When Van's party arrives at the Ultrasaurus, they learn it needs some time to power up, so Van and Irvine decide to fight off Hiltz's Helcats and the Death Stinger, giving time for the Ultrasaurus power up and escape. Although it's a near suicidal mission, the two accept it regardless.
Van and Irvine fight off the Helcats, and are saved from the Death Stinger's Charged Particle Cannon byRosso and Viola, who are piloting Storm Sworders. When Van arrives on the Ultrasaurus, he is greeted by Fiona, who hugs him and states her happiness of Van being safe. Van also learns about the Gravity Cannon, and the final battle against Hiltz. During a battle with Hiltz, Fiona is kidnapped, and taken to the Zoids Eve. Van heads off to save her, but arrives to late, as Hiltz has already activated the Death Saurer. After stopping Fiona and Zeke from destroying the Zoids Eve, Van teams up with Raven to take on the Death Saurer. Van comes up with the idea of firing himself from the Gravity Cannon, and is able to defeat Hiltz and the Death Saurer
As the series ends, Van has lived his dream of becoming the greatest Zoid pilot on Zi. He then leaves with Fiona and Zeke, in search of new adventures.
In the manga version of Chaotic Century, Van appears as a young, zest-filled boy who dreams of following his father's footsteps to become a great Zoid pilot (much like the anime). He ends up getting chased by a rogue Guysak (which has no pilot, unlike the anime) and takes cover in an old ruin, where he uncovers two mysterious pods. From the first, larger pod, Zeke is born, and quickly becomes Van's best friend. Fiona emerges from the second pod, which Van ends up taking back to his home village. However, Raven strikes, using his Organoid, Shadow, to infect a Zaber Fang with a virus that causes it to rampage and attack the town. With Fiona's help, Van and Zeke defeat the Sabre Tiger, and then set out on an adventure together. As the story progresses, Van meets more characters who are familiar to the anime (Moonbay, Irvine, Herman, Schubaltz) as well as some who are exclusive to the manga (Melissa-Sue, Lulu, Hanna, etc.) His encounters begin to differ from his ventures in the anime, with certain details becoming much more crucial in later volumes.
Near the start of the series, Van first wins over the trust of a Shield Liger named Caesar (who was told by his previous owner to become the partner of a human who would cry tears for a Zoid). The two became a strong team, able to overcome any obstacles thrown in their path. When they travel to the lake city of Porto, Raven appears again with his new Geno Saurer and attacks the colony, which proves a little too much for Caesar to handle. However, Fiona uses her power to connect Caesar to Wendeen, Porto's energy-producing Zoid, which results in the Shield Liger's evolution into a Blade Liger. Using their new strength, Van, Caesar, and Zeke finally drive Raven away. Later on in the series, Caesar would become badly wounded by the Death Stinger, and have his Core transplanted into a proto-type Liger Zero. Van was then able to defeat the Death Stinger and rescue Kirsche Hartriegel. Before Van's final battle against Raven and the Berserk Fury Shadow Edge, Caesar would undergo another transformation, becoming Liger Zero Caesar The King, a Liger similar to the Zero, but fashioned with a pair of laser blades that resemble the Blade Liger's. Van would be triumphant in this fight, able to reason with Raven and cure him of his hatred for Zoids.
At the start of the series, Van is shown to be immature and headstrong. He acts out on emotion, and gets upset if he loses a battle. He does tend to think he is the "hero", and gets mad if he is not included in things (such as when he found out Zeke and Fiona fused with the Shield Liger). His stomach can also have an effect on his actions, such as in one episode because he was forced to skip breakfast, he had a food hallucination, and out of an impulsive action, caused Fiona and Irvine to get separated from the group and lost breifly. As the series progresses, Van matures, which many of the characters point out in Guardian Force.
His over all personality is a open one. He can be called cheerful, and somewhat care-free, though he is later called on to save the world. He is shown to care deeply about his friends, and will go out of his way to protect them from harm, and becomes quite upset if any of them are hurt. Van has shown himself to be intelligent and perceptive, being able to analyze his opponents' movements rather quickly and come-up with an effective counter strategy.
It is shown that his favorite food is papaya.
In the Anime, Van is shown with a typical face with black eyes that either have wide pupils or no pupils at all. He has black hair, which is in a spikey style. He also has a ponytail. He has a red rectangle mark on the left side of his face. Van's voice stays the same throught the series. In Chaotic Century, he has a typical build of people around his age, and is shown to be somewhat athletic. In Guardian Force, Van is taller then before (being around a average height) and is much more muscular.
Van's most common outfit in Chaotic Century is a one-peice tan colored suit. He wears a grey shirt with brown trim and two olive colored straps the one-peice. The shirt has two yellow strips on the left side of chest, and a red belt. Van does wear what appears to be gloves/wrist guards, which are brown in the center with a grey trim. The gloves do expose the fingers, with one peice covering half the ring finger.
For shoes, Van wears black boots, with what appears to be a wide metal trim.
Van's first outfit in Guardian Force is a standard Helic suit.
His second outfit is a one-peice dark tan suit that covers the body. He wears a blue shirt with brown trim over it. He also has a brown belt.
Van's third outfit is the one he appears in the most.
The suit is a two-piece with a pants part and shirt part. The shirt consist of two colors. The center of it is a grey/blue, with red around the neck and shoulders, there is a grey/blue square on each arm part as well. The shirt also has two yellow/orange color ovals on each shoulders. The pants part has two colors, grey/blue and brown. The center of the pants is grey/blue, with brown surrounding the rest. A loose set of brown fabric with a white trim surrounds the pants, giving the looks of a skirt. The outfit parts connect at the center of the body. While the back is covered, the outfit opens up in the center, exposing Van's abdomen.
The new outfit also comes with gloves, that cover most of the hand, but leaves half the fingers exposed. For footwear, Van is seen wearing the same boots.
Ability as a Zoid Pilot
Despite never piloting a Zoid, Van does fairly well the first time he pilots a Zoid. His victories, however, are due mostly to Zeke. As the series moves on, Van is able to defeat opponents without Zeke's help. Van does have a fast pace fighting style. Given the Zoids he has, Van Is a effective close range fighter, and relies on his Ligers fangs and Blades to defeat opponents. Due to a modification, Van's Blade Liger can attach either a sniper rifle or a gatling gun to the blades, allowing Van to fight at either medium to long range, though he will normally activate his shield and charge at an enemy. Van does act hot headed or emonotial in battle. He can be seen gloating over any win he has, and gets upset if his friends are hurt in battle. If his friends are in danger, Van will often acted rash, and only think protecting them, and not focus on defeating his opponents.
Because of Vans fast pace fighting style, he did begin to think that his Blade Liger was sluggish. Doctor D. explained that it was not the Liger that was sluggish, but Vans ability as a pilot has improved so much that Van needed a newer Zoid to keep up with him, or upgrade the Liger with a new booster system. It turns out that Van didn't need any of these, as Zeke had a new ability that help the Liger keep up with Van
Van's Zoid of choice was the Shield Liger. After it was destroyed, Van gets a new Zoid, the Blade Liger. Van uses the Blade Liger for the rest of Chaotic Century and Guardian Force, He does pilot a Pteras, and is one of the few character to not be shot down in one.
It is emphasized greatly in the manga that Van has a kind heart, and cares deeply for the well-being of all Zoids. Like in the anime, he starts out as a somewhat skilled pilot. He earns the trust of Caesar, a Shield Liger, who used to guard the tomb of Moonbay's brother; the two work together throughout the series to defeat a number of enemies. More often than not, Zeke fuses with Caesar to help Van, providing an extra boost of strength.
Unlike the anime, Van often fuses with Zeke in order to take on enemies. This teamwork is first introduced in the first volume; Zeke opens up a compartment in his chest and uses special tubes to bind Van to himself. While fused, Van and Zeke possess incredible power, able to defeat a Guysak in a single assault, with consisted of Zeke ramming into the larger Zoid, sending it reeling away.
Although Van comes off a childish at times in the manga, he proves himself to be a great Zoid pilot as the series progresses, impressing his friends and enemies. He is able to figure the enemy's weakness and attack accordingly, using Caesar's abilities and his own strategizing to become victorious. Throughout the series, he deploys Caesar's shield in a number of different ways, including using it to guard a large aquatic Zoid from stray underwater explosives, and propel Caesar foreword while submerged underwater. In later volumes, Van is able to match Zoids that are far faster or more powerful than Caesar with awesome potential—this includes his battle against the Death Stinger, and a 2-on-1 showdown between Caesar (who had since become a Liger Zero) and a Liger Zero Jager along with a Liger Zero Schneider.
Fiona: When Van first found Fiona, he was confused by her odd behavior, and annoying antics; such as her eating all of his food, dumping his water on the account of it "smelling funny", and constantly trying ban him from getting into Zoid battles. Regardless, Van grows close to Fiona and the two develop a close friendship with a deep bond. Van is shown to go out of his way in order to protect Fiona, regardless if it may harm or even get him killed in the process. Most notably when he launches himself at the Death Saurer at the end of Guardian Force so Fiona and Zeke would not have to sacrifice themselves. Through all of his actions, its hinted that Van has developed romantic feelings for Fiona.
Zeke: While Zeke was hostile to Van during their first meeting, he was able to win over the Organoid. Zeke is absolutely loyal to Van, and in turn Van mentions that Zeke is his best friend. Much like Fiona, Van will go out of his way to protect Zeke from harm, and in turn it's shown that Zeke is able keep Van's Blade Liger up-to-speed with Van's very growing fast paced fighting styles.
Irvine: In their first meeting, Irvine and Van were hostile to each other. After more encounters with Irvine, the two pilots became good friends. While Irvine does get annoyed with Van when he acts childish or immature, he was the one that reminds everyone that Van has grown-up and is not a little kid. While still a bit condescending on Van, Irvine knows very well of Van's true potential.
Moonbay: While Moonbay did force Van to become her bodyguard, the two have a good friendship. Although She does doubt his piloting ability at first, she grows to see the potential in Van and is supportive of him. Regardless, she'll still call him a kid from time to time and will belittle him if she isn't the first one thanked for any work done on the Blade Liger.
Thomas: Their first meeting turned out to be an unfriendly start as Thomas had mistaken Van for Hiltz and quickly arrested him. After the mix up, Van shares good friendship with Thomas even if the two see one another as "lazy". Thomas views Van as a rival for Fiona, though Van seems unaware of this or Thomas's feeling for Fiona.
Raven: Van and Raven are bitter rivals and the two normally meet in combat. Raven has tried to kill Van on many occasions, although always unsuccessfully. In addition, this rivalry was able to snap Raven out of a trance he was in during the second season of the series. By the ending of the series, Van and Raven would work together to take down Hiltz and appear to be at least friendlier to one another.
Herman: Van and Herman are also seen teaming up throughout the series. Herman sees Van as highly-potential Zoid pilot, with Van supporting Herman's leadership.
Krueger: Krueger has been a mentor to Van since he joined the Republican Army. Van knows that Krueger was a good friend of his father, and the person who saved his life. When he sees Van and Herman together, it reminds him about him and Dan together. And it was Krueger that told Van to give full support to Herman's leadership.
Rudolph: Rudolph thinks highly of Van and looks up to as both a mentor and a friend. Van not only taught Rudolph how to properly pilot a Zoid, but also risks his life to protect him on several occasions. The two are often seen chatting informally, despite Rudolph being a prince.
Dr. D: When Van first met Dr. D, he actually forgets his name only to say "Dr. C" and "Dr. G". As the series moved on, Van gave Dr. D a new nickname, "Gramps". Van frequently becomes annoyed by Dr. D's rather irksome manners, though both see the other as a friend. Van seems to always be grateful for Dr. D's advice and his spectacular inventions (when they don't backfire, that is).
Maria: Maria is Van's older sister. Van cares for his sister and respects her, and Maria is shown to act as something of a motherly figure toward him. It is likely that after their father, Dan Flyheight, was killed, Maria helped to raise her brother.
Fiona: Van first encounters Fiona in person in the second volume—she quickly transfers her own energy to him so that he can continue fighting Raven, who had begun to attack Van's village using a Sabre Tiger. The two soon set off on an adventure together, eventually able to learn about Zoid Eve from a special Zoid named Horai. Like the anime, he and Fiona form a close bond. Fiona aids Van through his battles, lending her strange powers to him, making him stronger.
Zeke: Zeke becomes fast friends with Van. During their first encounter, the two merge and take out a Guysak that attacked them in the old ruins where they first met. Both trust each other, and work as a team to defeat foes. In the manga, Van frequently merges with Zeke (via the Organoid opening a compartment in his chest and absorbing Van) to battle.
Caesar: The Shield Liger, Caesar, first appears as a vicious Zoid, chasing away and attacking anyone who wanders into the vicinity of his pilot's grave (as he was told to protect it). However, Van is able to win over his trust, becoming Caesar's new owner. Through the entire series, Caesar would serve as Van's partner, remaining loyal to him. As the story progresses, Caesar undergoes metamorphosis—first into a Blade Liger, then to a Liger Zero, and finally, Liger Zero Ceasar The King.
Irvine: Van and Irvine get off to a bad start; they immediately begin arguing and fighting when they first meet. Despite this, the two later become close allies. Irvine is seen aiding Van in battle, as well as keeping him in check.
Moonbay: Moonbay and Van are friendly towards the other, though they don't interact too often. Van helps Moonbay recover an old treasure of her deceased brother, which she appears very grateful for. During a visit to Moonbay's family, Van acquires a new set of clothes (resembling his attire in the anime somewhat) that he wears for the rest of the series.
Raven: Like in the anime, Raven and Van become rivals immediately—Van can't stand Raven for hating Zoids and wanting to destroy them, and is bitter over the fact that Raven mercilessly attacked his home village. Throughout the series, the two battle a number of times, with Van always becoming victorious in the end. At the series' end, Van is able to stand up to Raven one final time, able to cure him of his hatred for Zoids. The two seem to be on good terms after this event.
- Unpainted minifigures and pilot figures of Van were released with certain Zoid sets. These sets included the NJR Blade Liger, Leon Blade Liger, Forest and Fight Blade Liger, special edition Shield Liger, and Moonbay's Gustav.
- A second pilot figure (pre-painted, and in his "Guardian Force form") was released with the HMM Van Blade Liger.
- A third pilot figure, this time in made in a "chibi" style, and in his "Chaotic Century form" is set for release with the D-Style Blade Liger
- A fourth pilot figure, painted and in Van's "Chaotic Century form" is set for release with the new HMM Shield Liger.
- In Chaotic Century, Van's favorite food is said to be papayas. However, there is no mention of this in Guardian Force.
- Van's eyes have somewhat inconsistent colors among different media: in the Japanese version of the manga, they are blue-grey in tankobon 1 while they are red in the succeeding volumes; in the anime, they are black.