This isn’t my observation, but something spotted by Laxxus 07 on youtube, regarding an interesting aspect to Michael in Sen no Kiseki III’s information.
This observation lies mostly in Trails of Cold Steel and Trails of Cold Steel II, but it does gain a tag for Trails in the Sky FC due to a particular novel series in the game.
We’ll start from the comment, which can be found on this video.
Why do I have the feeling that Toval and Michael are the same person? Same VA, same hair color and both helped Olivert stop the war in western Erebonia (in MIchael’s Introduction)?
Ryzell on the Falcom Discord described this observation perfectly by saying fridge logic. It’s one of those ideas that, at first glance, seems real silly, but then you think about it, and the more you think about it, the more interesting it becomes, and way more plausible, at that. As a result, I’ve decided I’d like to expand on it, especially after discussing it both on my stream tonight and a bit on the Falcom Discord.
First, we’re going to tackle the similarities:
First and foremost, if you look at the two characters side by side. With one notable exception (eye color), they look very similar to each other. There’s no getting past this aspect of the situation. Their appearances are actually shockingly similar when put side by side, no less. I think the largest oddity is eye color, but that may not be as difficult to change as you’d imagine from a time and place where military students learn to pilot mechs.
Both characters are voiced by Tomokazu Sugita. Tomokazu Sugita is a pretty big voice actor, and while Falcom has doubled up on voice actors in the past, Sugita is very well known, so doubling up on his part is actually a little surprising and odd. And while we’ve had incidents of characters voiced by the same voice actor, and an iconic one at that.
One such example is Takeshi Kusao being the voice actor behind both Dan Russell and Nielsen. However, neither of these characters have been a playable character in the party, nor are they both major players in a single arc.
We also know for a fact that Michael has, reportedly, fought alongside Olivert in western Erebonia during the civil war. Does that sound familiar? Because this is one of the similarities pointed out by the commenter on youtube: that Toval was there with Olivert, as well.
Age? Not that different either. Toval was born in S.1177, while Michael was reportedly born in S.1178. Ages are close enough, especially without specific birth days.
Another interesting thought is that in the Sen no Kiseki III screenshots, we’ve seen Michael talking to a (once unidentified) figure, explaining that he would be seeing about getting said figure in touch with Prince Olivert. A few weeks later, after a new series of character announcements, it became possible to deduce that character would be Agate Crosner.
Michael would make an especially reliable contact for Agate, if both characters have connections to the Bracers Guild. …and if Michael is Toval, then that would definitely be the case.
Assuming another identity? Not a problem at all for Toval. In the Carnelia book series, the character Toby is based on him. It’s assumed that while it is embellished, the main aspects of the Carnelia story is based on the truth, especially after the bonding scenes that Toval has with Rean in Cold Steel II. When considering this, look at the final paragraph of the first book:
And though to my delight, my wallet had become increasingly laden with a bounty of monetary rewards, I had routinely changed my alias as a precautionary measure. So much in fact, that these false names had built up into quite a list over the last few years. I had been known as Phil, the frivolous, Rooney, the trickster, and even Kris, the coward. However, Micht had always called me by one name: Toby. This was the identity I had used for my initial job, and the one I liked above all the others.
Considering this, it’s probably not that out of hand for Toval to take up a new persona if needed.
Additionally, if it’s a major task to build up the false identity, Toval does have a friend in a high place that could probably get him setup and running with it. In fact, a thought added to this by Guan plays off of my theory of Ein hiding in the provincial army — which means that she’d have connections to Aurelia, and she’d be able to have recommended ‘Michael’ to her.
[Guan’s addendum: Ein may have also played a larger role, as usual, by proposing a plan to Aurelia. The plan, aimed to ultimately undermine Osborne, would involve her withdrawing from the Imperial Army, have ‘Michael’ recommended and appointed as the commissioned officer to keep an eye on Aurelia at Thors Campus Reeves. If Michael really is Toval, that would mean there is no internal pressure among the staff of the campus to plot a counter-attack on Osborne.]
The primary issue I see with this is Michael’s role with the Railway Military Police in Erebonia, and his rank being similar to Claire’s. It’s difficult to imagine this kind of background and involvement with Claire, herself, as she’s an Ironblood. If Michael actually is Toval, and he’s in Thor’s II as an infiltrator on Olivert’s request, then it’ll be near impossible to cover that role, as Claire would be able to know her colleagues. Also in on this is that Michael has supposedly been assigned to keep an eye on Aurelia.
And I also want to address another major oddity regarding Michael on the Sen no Kiseki III website. Whereas every single character has a last name listed. Even Aurelia, while she doesn’t have it in roman lettering, it’s still there in the katakana. Michael, on the other hand, does not. All that his pagae says, in fact, is ‘Major Michael.’ We do know of a last name, thanks to an interview with Kondo in Dengeki PlayStation, but this is all we have with it. None of the official site or other official documents state anything about ‘Michael Irving’ outside of said interview.
Regardless, there are a lot of holes in this observation still, and any one thing can throw this all out of whack. However, I’m sure that there are also a lot more things that I haven’t even mentioned in this. If you think you can find things to completely destroy, or even add to it, feel free to add it into the comments. This is very much just an observation, but with a lot of odd patterns backing it.
So I want to end this with a hearty thank you to Laxxus for this crazy idea. I had way too much fun batting this one around, and the more I sit and think about it, the more crazy, yet plausible it feels!