Once again Waifu Wednesday rolls around, and we’re still not out of awesome female characters from Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis to celebrate!
Anna is the youngest character in the main cast, but in many regards she is the most mature — very much a case of “old before her time” in most circumstances, though there are a few very notable exceptions…
Much like the other members of the workshop that forms the main “hub” of Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis, Anna finds herself forcibly “recruited” to join the group not long after her arrival at the academy. As usual, the culprit is perpetual student Flay Gunnar, who immediately sees something in Anna that he thinks would be an asset to “his” workshop. (I use the term “his” loosely, because as anyone who has spent any time with him will know, Flay does very little actual work in the workshop.)
Anna hails from the obligatory “mysterious Eastern” country that most RPGs have in them, and as such has a distinctive mode of dress and an absolutely enormous katana that she carries around with her at all times. Although she doesn’t make a point of talking about it a great deal — except to Vayne as their friendship develops — she is clearly very proud of her heritage, but has a number of questions over whether she should follow in the path that has been set out for her, or attempt to break out and do things her way.
As Vayne discovers over the course of Anna’s Character Quests, this is actually the reason she came to Al-Revis Academy in the first place: she wants to understand for herself whether she is more interested in studying the blade or the practice of alchemy. It is not a question with an easy answer for her; she clearly has passion and talent for both, and effortlessly demonstrates this regularly without making a big fuss about things.
In many regards, Anna would seem to be the perfect student, but she has a few peculiar character flaws that make her rather interesting to spend time with. Probably the most serious of these is her tendency to get lost in thought, assume the worst possible outcome for any given situation is the only possible outcome, and end up acting rather irrationally — violently at times — towards even the people closest to her.
This is a clear symptom of anxiety-related conditions such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder; those dealing with such things often find themselves ruminating on either things that are yet to happen or things that have already happened, and thinking about the worst possible ways that things could go — or could have gone, in the case of past events. And these thoughts have a tendency to escalate.
The first time we see Anna get herself into a situation like this, it stems from a misunderstanding. She mistakes everyone being a little resistant to her exacting standards of cleanliness and tidiness as them ganging up on her — and in her mind this becomes an example of the “freshman bullying” she had heard so much about prior to her arrival at the academy, and this subsequently escalates into her worrying that she is actually going to get seriously hurt by someone. So she panics and overreacts, initially running away and subsequently attacking her friends who are attempting to chase her down and find out exactly what has her so spooked.
Thankfully, this episode is by far the most serious, and is successfully defused by the other members of the workshop. Anna’s subsequent flights of fancy mostly revolve around Vayne; in an attempt to make her feel more welcome, he follows along on her daily sword training exercises, and Anna finds herself surprised what an apparently natural talent he has for the blade. In her mind, this, of course, escalates into her eventually taking him on as a student, and she finds herself blushing at the thought of Vayne, several years her senior, calling her “Master”.
The negative thoughts and worries never quite go away, however; during one particular training session, Vayne and Anna find themselves trapped down a pit in some ruins and, as you might expect, Anna’s imagination starts running in overdrive. This time around, she makes the mistaken assumption that their isolated situation would encourage Vayne to sexually assault her; Vayne, at this point, has shown no obvious indication of being romantically or sexually interested in any of his peers but, as anyone who has dealt with such conditions will know, anxiety doesn’t care about the facts.
To Anna’s credit, by this point in her personal narrative she has grown a certain amount, and has learned that the people around her are people that she can trust and rely on; she actually manages to bring her wayward thoughts somewhat under control — at least enough to be able to cooperate with Vayne on a plan to send a message and get help. Unfortunately, since Vayne is the only one who really seems to at least vaguely understand what’s really up with Anna — he seems to have a certain degree of anxiety himself — a few accidentally insensitive comments from the rest of the party when they show up to rescue the pair run the risk of causing her to relapse. Ultimately, she manages to mostly hold herself together, with only a blurted worry about “never being able to get married” confusing everyone before the episode is over and done with.
Anna is a sympathetic and relatable character; while initially appearing to be bossy and overbearing — quite comic when considering her diminutive stature and considerable age difference with the rest of the cast — she subsequently shows herself to be an individual with plenty of depth about her, a pleasure to be around both during downtime and when out adventuring in the field — and a sensitive exploration of mental health concerns from back in 2007. How about that, then?
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