Characters and Plot
Innocent Sweetheart, Pilot of the ANIMa-05-HA Beautiful Lilith
VA: Juliet Cesario (Belldandy, Oh My Goddess! dub)
"Optimism isn't childish. Optimism is hard work, optimism is mature. Despair
is childish, and I'm not a child anymore."
The first of the player characters, Sara Smith, is the youngest of the new crop of ANIMa Pilots, having turned 14 last February 13th. She's an artist and a tomboy, and is relentlessly cheerful in a calculated act of defiance against the despair-wielding Nightmares. Not to say it's an act; Sara is a true innocent, not because she doesn't understand the costs of the war but in spite of them. Sara is truly grateful for the chance to aid the war effort, the power to do good and save lives and maybe come off as a hero in the vein or Sailor Moon or Lucy Pevensie in the process: Yuuki would add 'Asuka on Prozac' to that list.
As Sara, you will pilot the psychic mecha called the 'ANIMa-04-HA Beautiful Valkyrie," made of and powered by your relationships to the rest of the Resistance. The Hover Assault ANIMa 'Beautiful Valkyrie,' is an implacable advancing wall of trust; a knightly tank in white iPod armor, wrapped around a huge hover-turbine resembling a hoop skirt and armed with a combination of high-tech, starfire-slinging magical girl wands and utterly serious chivalrous weaponry. Joshua to her is the Starlight Sword, a rapier hilt that emits a glowing purple blade of pure heat.
Sara's personality is not set in stone at the beginning of the game. She has three 'modes' of expression at game start; the Sensitive, Practical and Valiant stances, inspired by the dialog wheels in Alpha Protocol and the morality of Ultima; they're also similar to the way Paragon and Renegade choices work in Mass Effect. To all the anime geeks out there, it's the difference between Usagi/Serena Tsukino (Sailor Moon)
, Nanoha (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha)
and Asuka (Evangelion)
; the impulses that make her a normal girl, a soldier, and a warrior princess, respectively. In theory they aren't mutually exclusive, but maxing out more than one is unlikely and going for all three is deeply problematic. I will include notes about what stances each partner warms up to, in general.
Joshua Castellano Preston
Replacing the image.
VA: To be determined
"Forget fair fights. San Fran taught me that you have a fifty-fifty chance of losing a fair fight. You gotta cheat! Always bring a gun to a knife fight!"
The second player avatar, Joshua is a 15 year old boy that has survived life in the crumbling ruins of San Francisco for seven long years after the Bliss first hit, losing both his mother Maria to the Bliss and his father, Colonel Preston, to his mission. As Joshua, you will pilot the psychic mecha called the 'ANIMa-06-WS Gawain," which like Sara's mech is made of weaponized love. Unlike the Valkyrie, the Walker Scout Gawain is for recon in force - low to the ground, built for speed and power over armor, and armed with a wide array of ranged weaponry that reflects his initial distance from the other members of the Resistance. Sara grants him the Seraphim Thrusters, a jetpack that lets him jump to incredible heights and even fly on downy trails of fire.
Joshua also changes to reflect his use of the Sensitive, Practical and Valiant stances - although for him, it's the difference between Shinji (Evangelion)
, Setsuna (Gundam 00)
and Shimon (Gurren Lagaan)
. These are the impulses that make him a normal child, a soldier or a shining knight, respectively. While not mutually exclusive, it's inevitable that one or two will be his strongest suit...
Potential Romantic Partners
Meredith Odetta Baker
(Liked the old image? It's here.)
Comforting Anchor, Quartermaster
"There are times where it seems that there is far too much empty void in the universe, but consider this: the sheer statistical improbability that two motes of dust could ever meet, and spark, and fuse to release light and warmth shows us that if there are any stars at all,
then light and life is winning."
Meredith Baker, while not the first of the Anchors, is the most decorated and skilled one in the Resistance. While she can be manipulative - she has a habit of 'leading the target' in conversation and making someone think a topic of discussion was their idea, not hers - Meredith genuinely wants to help the Resistance, heal her Pilots and the world, and is a comforting presence in the blasted and burned wasteland that is the Wake, post-Bliss. She prides herself on her intelligence: indeed, her childhood heroes growing up were Odetta Holmes (the source of her middle name), chemist Bessie Coleman and Madame and Monsieur Curie, and on the fictional front Hermione Granger and the illustrious Missus Sparkle from My Little Pony.
Meredith is skilled at defensive operations and damage control in ANIMa combat, blunting the blows of enemy telepathic assaults capitalizing on pilot Trauma, and is always willing to lend her ear and a jar of sweet sun tea to the ends of helping a Pilot recover from the tremendous mental stresses of combat. As Joshua's primary Anchor, she forms the chassis of his Gawain, and additionally gives it two plasma-punch daggers called the Bee Stings. To Sara she gifts a pair of Heatsink Fins in the shape of a Valkyrie's winged helm, to wick away radiation, the Bliss, and energy weaponry without harming her.
Meredith is a Practical, no-nonsense girl of great intelligence with a Sensitive streak miles wide.
Carefree Hedonist, Resistance Herald and Courier, Ladies Man, Best Friend or Best Rival
VA: Alfonso 'Oni' Aliomar
"Love is my weapon! But failing that, lust makes a nice holdout, and I can even use how pissed you get at me in a pinch."
An Oakland native (by way of Hurricane Katrina rampaging through his parents restaurant in New Orleans), Keenan Caine describes himself as a smooth talker and a ladies man. He makes Piloting, negotiation and flirting look easy, and has a way with girls that captured Yukiko's heart, Mulan's lusts, Sara's private fantasies - and Anna's wrath. He survived the gang wars that wracked the Bay Area post-Bliss by acting as a neutral courier or herald, too valuable because
of his neutrality for any gang to risk making a move for him. Now, he's the herald of the Resistance, the man you need to talk to if you need dross or diamonds from San Francisco or the secure the allegiance of a gang.
Don't let his carefree hedonism fool you, though - the affections of Yuuki and the attentions of Mulan grant him supremely powerful artillery pieces for the ANIMa - 04 - AC - Chevalier d'Samedi, a herald of death to the Nightmares in the form of a centaur; fitting for someone who grew up on bedtime stories starring voodoo cheval.
His devil-may-care attitude is no mask - but neither is his utter seriousness in combat. Pray you don't earn his rivalry: this is someone who you want with your back when he starts raining support fire from the Met Tet Array. He grants Sara a pair of Quantum Braid Blasters, short-range energy scatterguns for getting up close and personal with Nightmares; she gives him long range homing Heartseeker Missiles in return. Joshua gives him access to his only short-ranged weapon, a Plasma Lance, while he gets medium-range seeking Sidewinder Missiles from Keenan.
Keenan is Sensitive off the job and mercilessly Practical at all other times.
Experienced Anchor, Mechanic, Chaplain
VA: Jonathan Fortin
"It is an Alien Numina Inversion Machine; that much is accurate. But I didn't originally call it that. I called it the Anima Weapon - and to this day I still believe that it calls upon the souls of those we love."
Derek Smith considers the ANIMa to be a miracle, a gift from God that invokes the souls of a Pilot's allies to fight an enemy that may as well be demonic. He may even be correct. Derek is a mechanic by training, a Jungian in philosophy and a Christian in practice, devoted to the defense of his sister and to all of the vanishingly rare innocents in the post-Bliss world. He would much rather his sister not fight on the front lines, but Derek will be damned
if he won't help her fight in the strongest armor that can be forged from trust.
He's always willing to lend out a copy of Ender's Game or The Screwtape Letters to Joshua, and he's going to want him in his camp if he takes an interest in his sister. It's also possible for Joshua to reciprocate Derek's interest in him -
with a little help from Sara! To Sara, he grants the Tesla Bident, a magical girl's spear and staff that crackles with intense power and shoots deadly pulses of ionized plasma like lightning bolts. His gift to Joshua in battle is the Clover Shield, a four-paned wrist-mounted shield of force that draws on Derek's sanity and faith to repel the insanity and despair that fuels a Nightmare assault.
Derek Smith is a consummate Idealist and a Sensitive softie. Nothing matters to him but the chance at a bright and blessed future, for his sister if not for him.
Savvy Anchor, Resistance Librarian and IT Technician, Dispenser of Good Romantic Advice, and Last Keeper Of Teh Internets
VA: Rebecca Mooney
"Sure, go ahead, do the tsundere routine with Meredith. 'It's not like you're doing it for her, anyway.' Or... you could grow some gonadal tissue and actually tell her how much you like her, which I'll admit has the minor problem that it might actually work
and leave you with a girlfriend. Jesus Christ... why the hell did I sign up to be the NERV staff psychologist?"
Given her parents' background working for the San Francisco-based media giant Viz, Yuuki Takahashi can be forgiven for pointing out she has "no relation to Rumiko-sama, more's the pity." The self-proclaimed Keeper of The Archives is an accomplished Anchor for two reasons: firstly, because she's doesn't let her breakup with Keenan Caine get between them as friends and colleagues; second, because the interpersonal drama and psychedelic war dreams of the Resistance are just like her Japanese mangas, as far as she's concerned. And if you got that last reference, you might have just earned her friendship forever. It's lonely being the biggest nerd in the Resistance, after all.
Apparently, reading a lot of good romance stories makes you a good person to go to when someone needs advice on a romance; Yuuki is relationship savvy and genre savvy both. If you can endure her reference-dense, metatextual asides and remind her to speak in English, then there's no one else in the Resistance as able or cheerfully willing to help Joshua juggle his relationships. She'd also be willing to do the same for Sara, but, well. She has a bit of a soft spot for Sara, a bit of bias in that she'd be more than willing to offer herself up as a girlfriend for her. Assuming Sara isn't straight, of course.
Yuuki is a Sensitive and Idealistic and a romantic, albeit one that's a bit on the H side. You COULD blame Keenan for that, but you'd be wrong.
Eager Young Soldier, Childhood Friend of Joshua, Pilot of the ANIMa-07-SW Ixitli Ocelotl
"What am I becoming? I've never had dreams like this before, never enjoyed killing before, never wanted
anyone or anything as much as I have ever wanted before that
mission. I'm scared of myself and what I want... Madre de Dios, I'm scared."
Gabriel was once a friend of Joshua's, before the Bliss. Now, though, although she would still consider Joshua a friend, she's not the same person. The Bliss changed her, made her quieter, a little weird and very
feral. She doesn't begin the game in Joshua's Resistance, but as the last surviving Pilot of her own creche in the Mission District. Her callsign there was Gatita,
or Kitten, to reflect a brutal style of bushwhacking that's anything but cute. She misses the days when she was called by her name - Gabriel - and when she wasn't confused by a wealth of new feelings, sensations, and bizzare dreams.
Gabriel doesn't begin the game allied to your Resistance, but she's not hard to recruit if you know where to look. Her ANIMa unit, rechristened the ANIMa-07 -SW Ixitli Ocelotl by Joshua's Resistance, has a Deep Stealth Array that allows her to snipe or strike from ambush, with obsidian-black, razor sharp claws and a host of other short-ranged weapons at blinding speed. Joshua grants her an ionic revolver, the Colt Dragoon of blaster weaponry; Her gift to him is the Black Maquihuitl, an energy sawblade capable of ripping through the most powerful illusions. Sara gets Meguey Thorn rockets that fire as fast as Gabriel's speech from her; in return, Gabriel receives a throwing staff that sling bolts of flame like blazing hearts.
Gabriel is Sensitive above all else, absorbed in her own confusing world, trying to make sense of her own feelings and impulses.
Image coming soon!
Kind Anchor, Hermano Practical del Gabriel Invierno, and Soft-Spoken Teen
VA: Jennifer Pillow-Taylor
"Gabriel is Gabriel. I'm not worried when she gets like this unless it doesn't pass for a week. Give her time."
More info coming soon!
Seasoned Veteran, Pilot of the ANIMa-00-VF Phoenix Dragon Sage, Former Ganglord, Mother
VA: Erica 'Unwoman' Mulkey
"Just so long as you have no presumptions that you're a hero, or my friend, I think we'll get along fine, Preston. Just remember that I've seen better than you break before worse things than you can possibly imagine. Don't fuck up."
Major Anna Lin is not the girl she once was. She lead a gang, once, and has the scars and tattoos to prove it; she joined to to protect the mostly Chinese orphans there from their worst instincts, and left when it became clear that it wasn't happening. She joined the Resistance as their first test Pilot, got knocked up by one of her teammates, and got knocked down - repeatedly. She's now on the cusp between youth and old age, speed and treachery, life and death - or Bliss. Anna Lin is still fighting for the sake of her boy Archer, bloodied but far from broken.
She's the Wing Commander of the Resistance, the only one with the rank of Major and the de-facto boss of Sara and Joshua. Her ANIMa unit, the 00 - VF - Phoenix Dragon Sage, is capable of transforming from between a jet, a VTOL gunboat, and a walker, and is armed with a variety of supremely powerful weapons such as the Singular Void Reactor and the Sunshattering Crossbow, that last made of love for her little boy Archer. To her, Joshua is the Gold-Bound Psychic Cudgel, a rod or hilt that can form any melee weapon and some ranged ones out of a shaped plasma field, defaulting to a quarterstaff. She grants Joshua the use of the Lu Bu Tactical Helm, an advanced set of head-mounted sensors including a rangefinding laser that can increase it's focus and power temporarily to become a cutting beam. Sara gets a pair of mothlike Tesseract Wings from Anna, that let her flash-step in a line of sight; Anna gets some of her laserlike focus as a PDF antimissile weapon in return.
Anna Lin is Practical. Fuck-ups need not apply to her wing, let alone another shot at her bruised and bleeding heart.
Other Major Characters
Colonel James P. Preston
Authority Figure, Joshua's Father, and Strategic Leader of the Resistance
"As much as I would like my son back, I don't need
a son: I need a Pilot.
Can we work together on that basis, at least, for now, boy?"
Colonel Jim Preston is the supreme commander of what remains of the United States Marine Corps, the Treasure Island ANIMa corps. It is thanks to him that the Resistance exists; thanks to him that Anna Lin is a Major, the Pilots are Lieutenants, and the Anchors are Specialist-Captains. He named the ANIMa. And he will not sleep, not one second, not if that gives him his singular chance to save the human race - and wreak his revenge on the alien monstrosities that he named the Nightmares for the Bliss of Maria Castellano Preston. That his son survived to join him... well, it complicates things. Still, he counts that as a blessing, even if he can never show it.
Comparisons to the manipulative, villainous chessmaster Gendou Ikari are probably inevitable with this complex and very broken man, but there's one thing the USMC Colonel named James Paul Preston has that Gendou didn't: A conscience. Colonel Preston knows that he is no longer the man who fathered Joshua Preston. That he's no longer the man who fell in love with Maria Esperanza Castellano during that Marine op to Colombia. That he's no longer the man who took a job tutoring snot-nosed punks who preferred Job Corps to jail time, helping them get Guard Cards and a chance at redemption. No. That man could sleep
at night. Jim can't afford that luxury, anymore, thanks to the Bliss - even if his deeds and the amphetamenes wouldn't keep him up late anyway, forcing him to contemplate if he did the right thing. Colonel Preston is very, very tired; tired of the expedient decisions he's made for the sake of the Resistance.
Joshua's personal ethics matter little to him. He can earn the Colonel's respect in battle - assuming Joshua even wants that, now.
Image coming soon!
Tempestuous Anchor, Gaming Slacker, and Sara's Other Brother
"Hey asshole, if I can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality then why the fuck would I prefer the fantasy? The real world sucks, look out the window! I'm gonna do all I can, but when I can't - then I'm going to play at something I know
I can win."
Had Luiz been fortunate enough to grow up in today's society, he would likely be your average gamer kid. In fact, he would be very much your average gamer kid. He was friends with Sara while they were in school together before the Bliss, and now they're almost like brother and sister. He's got a thing for Sara's brother, Derek, and has taken it on himself to moderate between Sarah and Derek because of it - by offering to become her anchor on Derek's behalf, for example.
While normally a joking and relaxed person who 'only causes drama for the act three payoff' in his words, Luiz has a terrible habit of retreating in to his "den" and absorbing himself in videogames and cynicism. Anger and bad feelings roll off his back like water off a duck's feathers, but the state of the world makes him angry... and rightly so.
As Sara's Anchor, she grants her the Valkyrie's chassis, along with the punishing thrust of its skirt-mounted Anti-Gravity Booster (think about the name for a second). To Joshua, he gives the ultimate nerdy joke weapon - the almighty* Harpoon and Tow Cable.
*Might not guaranteed. No refunds.
More to come soon!
Laura Mulan Porter
Survivor, Gangster, Daft Riot Girl and self-described 'Fun Time Had By All'
"You could call me a troubleshooter, gwailo,
in that I find trouble and shoot it."
What can you say about this daft punkette? Mulan's the sort of girl who will gladly lift her shirt to show off her crouching tiger tattoos, but break your wrist if you try to lay a finger on her without warning; the sort of girl that sleeps with Keenan if and only if he reserves his romantic attentions for Yukiko - or really, for anyone but herself.
Mulan drinks and swears like the soldier she considers herself, in a calculated act of intimidation designed to keep everyone put off by appearances at bay. Unfortunately for her, it works; Mulan has few friends and brags that she has even fewer living enemies. Who knows if that last part is true?
Once Anna's lieutenant in the gangs, and still often called her lapdog, Mule - Laura by birth, may God have mercy on you if you call her by that name - now handles the enemies of the Resistance that rely on a more personal
scale of response than fifty feet tall walking tanks made of solidified emotional energy. When that happens, she switches her hip flask for the classic molotov cocktail - "Gasoline, with a twist" as she puts it - and heads out with Keenan to negotiate with the gangs from a position of superior force.
What could she be other than Practical? Well, Sensitive actually, but don't you DARE tell nobody.
More to come! Feel free to start posting and speculating now.