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Dr. Franken Von Volger (also spelt Von Vogler or Von Folger) is an important character in the animated OVA Giant Robo: The Night The Earth Stood Still. He was a brilliant scientist and theologian who was among Dr. Shizuma's team of experts working to develop the renewable energy source that would become known as the Shizuma Drive. Though he was possibly the greatest scientific mind of his time, Von Volger's name would be slandered and vilified following the Tragedy of Bashtarle, a catastrophe that resulted in the loss of one third of the Earth's population. Von Volger himself died not long after this disaster, but during the OVA the Experts of Justice are led to believe that may still be alive and working with the evil organisation known as Big Fire.

Japanese Voice: Koichi Chiba

English Voice (Manga dub): Tom Fahn

English Voice (NYAV dub): Zachary Alexander

History

Ten years prior to the events of the OVA, Franken Von Volger and his two children, Emmanuel and Falmelle, lived in the valley of Bashtarle, Belgium. There, Von Volger worked among a team of brilliant theologians attempting to solve the problem of mankind's need for energy by developing a non-pollutant and recyclable power source. After much trial and error, the Belgium Team were on the verge of producing the perfect energy source, but Von Volger was concerned about a minor variable in the design of the prototype drives and feared that severe consequences would result from its use. Shizuma, leader of the project, refused to heed Von Volger's warnings and he and the others went ahead with their experiment, activating the prototypes after connecting them with the Bashtarle reactor. This triggered a catastrophic meltdown, leading to the destruction of Bashtarle and the surrounding cities.

Dr. Shizuma and his colleagues evacuated Bashtarle before the meltdown but Von Volger stayed behind to try and stabilise the reaction. He only survived after his son Emmanuel used his power of teleportation to take them both to a safe distance. Stricken with guilt and despair, Von Volger and his son returned to the ruins of Bashtarle following the destruction, living in self-imposed exile. Over the following days, he sank deeper into despair and would not speak nor eat, becoming malnourished and dishevelled. One day, Emmanuel came home holding a completed Shizuma Drive which was now in production and being distributed across the world. Franken snapped, crying out in anguish and shutting himself inside the remains of his old laboratory. Locked outside, Emmanuel had no idea what his father was up to or if he was even still alive.

Days later, the lab door opened and Emmanuel found his father lying on the floor, terribly malnourished and near death. Beside him were the three original Shizuma Drive samples which Franken told Emmanuel to take and use to "stop Shizuma". He then died in his son's arms.

Legacy

Following the Tragedy of Bashtarle, the name of Von Volger was slandered and crucified by society after Dr. Shizuma had told the media that Franken was responsible for the disaster. After cremating his father's body, Emmanuel started down a path of vengeance against Shizuma and all of humanity, determined to destroy the Shizuma Drive and bring the world to a standstill. To that end, he approached the terrorist group Big Fire and used their resources to build the Eye of Volger, a massive orb-shaped mecha capable of shutting down all Shizuma Drives forever.

However, Emmanuel had misinterpreted his father's scant last words. Franken held no malice toward Shizuma or the world; he knew that the Shizuma Drive's design contained a fatal flaw and wanted to correct that flaw before it brought disaster. Shizuma's completed drive produced an undetectable toxic by-product that built up in the Earth's atmosphere over time as the drives were recycled. This by-product would eventually eradicate all oxygen in the atmosphere, rendering the Earth uninhabitable. In his last days, Franken modified the Shizuma prototypes so that when used together would release an energy wave that would neutralise the toxic flaw of the common Shizuma Drives worldwide. He had left behind a recording of this plan attached to the samples, hoping that Emmanuel would carry out his last wish and save humanity from the brink of annihilation. Unfortunately, Emmanuel did not discover this message until he had already brought the world to near-total ruin with the Eye of Volger.

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