In Defense of Anise Tatlin (Tales of the Abyss)
Be warned; spoilers abound! Also tl;dr
Let me start off this defense by reminding everyone that Anise is thirteen years old. At that age, it’s hard to be completely rational all the time. Plus, it’s easy for thirteen-year-olds to be annoying; it’s their special skill.
Let’s move on to the fact that she’s constantly searching for a rich man to marry.
Anise grew up around poverty and debt. At a young age, her father was scammed for a lot of money, so now she and her parents have to work for the Order of Lorelei for no pay. Her parents are still constantly being scammed out of money, and Anise is shown visibly worrying about this fact the first time we see her mother in Daath.
Anise is trying to find a way out of debt. The solution she sees is to marry into money. It may not be the most logical solution, but it seems like something someone her age would come up with, which makes her more realistic. She’s at the age where a girl would start thinking of things such as relationships. As the game goes on and she undergoes character development, she gives up this goal in order to pursue a dream of her own: to become the first female Fon Master.
Some people like to complain that she’s overpowered as well. Well, it’s not really her that’s fighting; it’s her fontech doll, Tokunaga. If it were her that was fighting, she’d be overpowered in an instant. She also makes up for having a lot of strike artes by not having a lot of long range fonic artes, and she goes down rather quickly on higher difficulty levels; basically, she’s a bit of a glass cannon.
Now, let’s deal with the elephant in the room: her betrayal of the party.
Let’s remember that Anise is a small thirteen-year-old girl. When Grand Maestro Mohs, second only to Fon Master Ion in power in the Order of Lorelei and also the one keeping her parents out of debt, approached her and told her to be his spy, what was she supposed to say? She had no choice. If she refused his request, he could have used his power to do something awful to her family.
When Mohs outright kidnapped her parents, what choice did she have but to go along with his plans? She couldn’t have told the party anything; Mohs would have doubtless found out.
She was also afraid of what would come from the party finding out. Over the months she spent traveling the world with them, she came to see them as her friends, probably the only friends she had in the entire world besides Ion.
She saw how they reacted to Luke’s accidental destruction of Akzeriuth. Each and every one of them turned their backs on him. Anise was most likely convinced that the same would happen to her if they found out she had been Mohs’ spy the whole time. Her especially angry reaction to that was most likely a defense mechanism to hide her fear of being found out.
A lot of people also like to complain that she was easily forgiven for her actions. But Anise fully accepted the responsibility for what she had done. She expected the same treatment as Luke and was genuinely surprised when the party still wanted to be by her side for her later duel with Arietta.
It was painfully obvious to the rest of the party that Anise had no choice but to betray them. Mohs would have made her life even worse if she had refused his order. Plus, it was obvious that Anise was in a lot of emotional pain over what she had done. She had not only betrayed the only friends she had, but accidentally killed the one that meant the most to her. No one would do this willingly, and the party realized that.
The fact that Anise manages to get past all that shows her character growth. She aspires to atone for her mistakes by reforming the Order of Lorelei.
Anise is a girl who grew up in bad circumstances, who is put in a situation beyond her control. I will defend her endlessly because she is one of my favorite characters.