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|From the day I was born to the day I died, I never helped anyone! I lived for myself and, in the end, I died for myself. I thought that was obvious.|
Dahlia Hawthorne was a student at Ivy University and ex-girlfriend of Phoenix Wright. Although born into the Fey clan, she had no known spiritual powers. She appeared as a witness in the murders of her stepsister Valerie Hawthorne, her ex-boyfriend Doug Swallow, and her maternal aunt Misty Fey.
Morgan Fey, who was to become the head of the influential Fey clan of spirit mediums, married a wealthy jeweler and had two twin daughters with him: Dahlia and Iris. However, as Morgan's younger sister Misty Fey possessed more spiritual power, she became the head instead, relegating Morgan's bloodline to becoming a politically powerless branch family. Having married Morgan under the belief that she would become the powerful head of the Fey clan, the jeweler divorced from Morgan, taking their daughters with him; Dahlia, however, believed the three were abandoned by Morgan because the twins lacked spiritual power. Her father later remarried another woman, who already had a daughter named Valerie Hawthorne. Finding her twin sister a nuisance, the manipulative Dahlia convinced her father to give Iris away to Hazakura Temple. Unfortunately for the Hawthorne family, being rid of her twin did not satisfy Dahlia, and she began to loathe her father and plotted against him to acquire his riches.
When Dahlia was 14 years old, she pretended to fall in love with her tutor Terry Fawles, with the intention of using him as a tool against her father. With the cooperation of her stepsister Valerie, who had become a police detective, she staged a fake kidnapping plot using Fawles as the "kidnapper" and scapegoat, with the aim of tricking her father out of a diamond worth $2 million by having it be the ransom.
Dusky Bridge was arranged to be the exchange spot; owing to its proximity to Hazakura Temple, Dahlia convinced her twin sister Iris to be an accomplice. During the meeting on the bridge, Valerie and Dahlia began the next part of the plan by betraying Fawles; Valerie shot him in the shoulder, while Dahlia intentionally jumped off the bridge into Eagle River below, taking with her the ransom diamond. Valerie had Fawles arrested and falsely testified that he had murdered Dahlia by pushing her off the bridge, leading to the betrayed man's conviction and a sentence on death row. Iris never showed up to assist Dahlia in her plot, as she was too frightened to help.
Unbeknownst to anyone but the stepsiblings, Valerie had in truth found Dahlia and secretly looked after her. As a policewoman, Valerie was able to forge the documents necessary to create a new identity for her stepsister: that of "Melissa Foster". Since Iris had refused to assist her in the plot, Dahlia viewed her twin as a traitor and backstabber.
Sororicide at Dusky Bridge
- Main article: Turnabout Beginnings
Five years later, when Fawles was being transferred to another prison, his transport broke down and he escaped. He called Valerie and told her to meet him at Dusky Bridge to explain what had happened five years prior during their fake kidnapping plan, as the clueless man had no idea that Dahlia had used and betrayed him. Valerie called Dahlia and told her that she was going to tell the truth about the incident. Fearful of what would result from the meeting, Dahlia stabbed her stepsister at Dusky Bridge, killing her. When Fawles arrived in a stolen car, she hid Valerie's corpse in its trunk, put on her clothes, and then met Fawles at the bridge while posing as Valerie. Soon after this meeting, Fawles was recaptured by the police and put on trial for the murder of Valerie Hawthorne.
During Fawles's trial, Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth prepared Dahlia as a witness using her alias of "Melissa Foster", who had supposedly witnessed the crime from a nearby cliff. However, Mia Fey, the attorney for the defendant (and daughter of Misty Fey), pointed out inconsistencies in her testimony and revealed to the court that "Foster" was none other than Dahlia Hawthorne, the supposed murder victim in the kidnapping five years prior. Close to the end of the trial, Mia was almost able to prove that Dahlia was Valerie's killer, but Fawles refused to cooperate with Mia; instead, Fawles committed suicide as part of a pact that he had made with Dahlia five years prior, where they both promised to drink poison from a bottle necklace if they ever reached a point where they no longer trusted each other. Mia and Edgeworth would later recall that Dahlia left the courtroom with a "demonic smile on her face".
Attempted murder at the District Court
The result of Terry Fawles's trial drove Mia and her co-worker, defense attorney Diego Armando, to investigate Dahlia. Dahlia discovered what was happening and convinced Armando to meet her in the courthouse cafeteria six months after the trial. Fearful that Armando would expose the truth, Dahlia quietly slipped poison into his coffee from her bottle necklace. The poison had been stolen from Doug Swallow, her boyfriend at the time, who was a pharmacology student at Ivy University. Armando subsequently fell into a coma from the poisoning, and Dahlia fled the scene.
Fleeing into the university reading room, she stumbled across fellow Ivy University student Phoenix Wright and gave him the necklace as a "love gift" to dispose of the evidence, thereby evading the authorities. Swallow later found out about the stolen poison and broke up with her.
Due to lingering suspicion surrounding her over the incident, Dahlia planned to kill Wright to retake the only remaining evidence that could link her to the poisoning. Iris, fearful of the path her sister was taking, begged Dahlia to reconsider, managing to convince her not to resort to murder. Instead, Iris took on Dahlia's identity at Ivy University in order to protect her sister in the event of another encounter with law enforcement. She went out with Wright, waiting for an opportunity to reclaim the necklace.
Murder at university
- Main article: Turnabout Memories
|Do. You. Think. You've. Won? Well!? Do you, Mia Fey? Heh... Heh... Heh... Heheh... That's. Just. Fine!|
Eight months after Armando's poisoning, Wright had been showing off the bottle necklace to everyone he met, much to Dahlia's displeasure. Iris having completely failed in her task for all that time, Dahlia suspected that her sibling had actually fallen in love with Wright. Without telling her twin sister, Dahlia took matters into her own hands and went back to Ivy University herself in desperation. She attempted to kill Wright by stealing more of Swallow's poison and using it to poison Wright's cold medicine.
However, before her plan could come to fruition, she found Swallow trying to warn Wright about her and the stolen poison. Wright pushed over Swallow in a mixture of anger and disbelief, then fled the scene. Knowing that Swallow was on to her, Dahlia permanently silenced him by using nearby power cables to fatally electrocute her former boyfriend, and attempted to frame Wright for his murder.
Unfortunately for Dahlia, Mia Fey had finally decided to return to the courtroom for the first time since Terry Fawles's disastrous trial. The rookie defense attorney took on Phoenix Wright's case and relished in being able to finally expose Dahlia as the killer she was. Dahlia was then convicted and sentenced to death, but she swore that she would someday have her revenge against the woman who had defeated her.
Imprisonment & execution
|Yes. I was hanged. It wasn't exactly... pleasant.|
Five years later, Morgan Fey, who had been imprisoned for her involvement in a murder, was transferred to the detention center where Dahlia being held. As Dahlia was on death row and Morgan was her mother, it was relatively easy for the two to speak. Driven by her desire to regain her lost honor by installing Pearl Fey, her daughter from her second marriage, into position to become the next Master of the Kurain Channeling Technique, Morgan initially planned to kill Dahlia, but decided on a different use for her.
Morgan told Dahlia about a plan to lure Pearl and Maya Fey (the latter being Mia's younger sister and heir to the Kurain Channeling Technique) to Hazakura Temple; there, Pearl would blindly follow Morgan's instruction to channel Dahlia, who would then kill Maya and have the blame pinned on Iris, who looked identical to Dahlia. This way, Pearl would become the Master of the Fey clan and Morgan's bloodline would be restored as the main house. Despite disdaining Morgan's greedy desires and not caring about her goals, Dahlia saw it as her own personal satisfaction to take revenge against Mia Fey, as Mia had already died two years previously, and so she agreed to go along with the plan. Soon after this exchange, Dahlia was executed by hanging.
Posthumous revenge plot
- Main article: Bridge to the Turnabout
|You're as foolishly optimistic as ever, aren't you... my darling Feenie? Do you want to know the truth? Ever since we met... I've despised you. Your sniveling naïveté and your pathetic faith in other people.|
One month after Dahlia's execution, Diego Armando, who had recently awoken from his coma and taken on the name of Godot and mantle of prosecutor, learned of Morgan Fey's plot to murder Maya, and contacted both Iris and Morgan's sister Misty Fey in an attempt to stop it. The plan was to have Misty, who arrived at Hazakura Temple under her pen name "Elise Deauxnim", channel Dahlia so that Pearl would be unable to. Godot would then restrain Dahlia and stop her from killing Maya. That night, however, Dahlia attacked Maya at the Inner Temple, which was some distance away from Hazakura Temple proper. Upon seeing Dahlia's silhouette, Godot was overtaken with a desire for revenge, picking up Misty's sword-cane and stabbing Dahlia in her back. Dahlia, in turn, managed to wound Godot before losing consciousness. Misty was killed in the process; Iris was subsequently put on trial for Misty's murder and Phoenix Wright, now a defense attorney, took her case.
After channeling Mia and asking her for advice, Maya locked herself in the Inner Temple's icy Training Hall with a special lock and channeled Dahlia. Having been told by Morgan about her plan, Dahlia assumed that the person channeling her was Pearl, who indeed attempted the channeling but failed. Dahlia, unknowingly in Maya's body, found herself trapped in the Sacred Cavern. She repeatedly tried to undo the lock, but was repeatedly interrupted as she hid in the back of the cave every time someone entered the Training Hall in order to conceal herself.
Upon the discovery of the special lock, Iris was called upon to undo it, as it was believed that she had placed the lock upon the door. After an earthquake shook Eagle Mountain. Dahlia, having figured out how to undo the lock, took the distraction as an opportunity to switch with Iris and lock her inside the training room with five locks. Dahlia, posing as Iris, was taken away from Hazakura Temple, while rescue efforts continued to save Maya, who was believed to be still trapped inside the Sacred Cavern and later found to have disappeared.
Posing as Iris during her trial, Dahlia testified that Maya had killed Misty in self-defense and Iris had covered up Maya's crime to protect the future Master of Kurain. However, Phoenix Wright was soon able to see through "Iris's" attempt to pin the murder on Maya, and revealed her true identity to the court. Believing no punishments can be taken against a dead person, Dahlia ceased pretending to be her sister and testified to the court her plan to kill Maya, which she believed to have succeeded in another way, as Maya had stabbed her (while inside Misty's body) during the fight and then chosen to disappear into the Eagle River out of guilt of committing matricide.
Realizing that it was geographically impossible for Maya to have jumped into the river, Wright deduced that the person channeling Dahlia was actually Maya, who was using her body as a shelter from Dahlia. Enraged by this revelation, Dahlia incredulously doubted how the "stupid" Maya could come up with such a brilliant idea. Mia, channeled by Pearl, appeared and explained that it was her plan to stop Dahlia from wandering free and to prevent Pearl from executing her mother's instructions.
Mia taunted Dahlia, mocking her for her life of constant failures. She remarked that all of Dahlia's plans had failed: Dahlia's past attempts to conceal her crimes had been disastrous and resulted in her execution. Mia told Dahlia that, since the day of her execution, failure would be her punishment for all eternity: Mia would always foil her plans. As Dahlia grew distraught over her failure to kill Maya when she had been so close to her for days, Wright demanded that she leave Maya's body now. As Dahlia did so, her spirit screamed, formed a blue-flamed magatama, and vanished. After the display, the presiding judge suggested that her spirit never be channeled again.
Dahlia knew that her beauty and innocent appearance threw others off her true nature and took full advantage of it. She had the ability to make herself appear serene and innocent; she would even occasionally have small butterflies flock about her and flutter gently. However, this aura of innocence was a façade, and when pressed into a corner, her demeanor could immediately change to a terrifying, almost demonic visage, which even caused the aforementioned butterflies to burst into flames in some cases. In truth, Dahlia looked after and cared about nobody but herself, and even went as far as to state that this had always been the case for her.
Many who have seen Dahlia's true nature, such as Phoenix Wright and Mia Fey, have described her as a demon, and even the judge has suggested that she never be channeled again. Indeed, all of Dahlia's murders and attempted murders were committed to cover up a previous crime or to exact revenge on Mia Fey. She displayed absolutely no remorse or regret for any of the crimes she had committed, and had no qualms about murdering completely innocent people in the interest of self-preservation or revenge.
Of all the people Phoenix Wright has encountered, Dahlia was among the most dangerous: she was personally involved in seven incidents that resulted in the death or near-death of an individual. Two people were personally murdered by Dahlia herself (Valerie Hawthorne and Doug Swallow), one person was manipulated into committing suicide in her name (Terry Fawles), two people were almost murdered by her in order to conceal her crimes (Phoenix Wright and Diego Armando), one person was almost murdered in an act of revenge against another (Maya Fey in order to get revenge against Mia Fey) and one person was murdered while they were channeling Dahlia (Misty Fey).
Dahlia's sister, Iris, would later reveal a tragic side to Dahlia. Iris described Dahlia as being "strong and smart, never complaining about her situation." Tragically, for all her strength and intelligence, Dahlia was never loved by her parents, and unlike Iris never found a surrogate parental figure. The neglect Dahlia suffered at the hands of their parents, according to Iris, is what eventually led Dahlia to harm so many people, as it embittered Dahlia toward their father, leading to the first of her many crimes.
- "Miyanagi" (美柳) is a name meaning "beauty" and "willow", and is meant to evoke a feeling of tranquility. "Chinami" (ちなみ) may come from the phrase "chi mo namida mo nai" ("without blood or tears"), basically meaning "heartless". It also follows Wright's naming convention, as "chinami ni" means "by the way".
- Her Japanese pseudonym, "Satoko Mukui" (無久井里子), literally means "a vengeful foster child".
- The given name "Dahlia" was inspired by the album Dahlia by X Japan. The nickname "Dollie" is a reference to an unofficial fan translation project for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations, which was scrapped after an official localization was announced. In said fan translation, she was named "Dolores Willow", and her nickname was "Dolly".
- The surname "Hawthorne" is a reference to the author Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote Rappaccini's Daughter, a short story in which a man falls in love with a woman who has a strong poison coursing through her veins and can kill anything with a simple touch. Pearl Fey's given name is also a Nathaniel Hawthorne reference, being the name of an illegitimate child in The Scarlet Letter.
- Dahlia's pseudonym given name "Melissa" comes from the Greek word "μέλισσα" (melissa) meaning "honey bee", which in turn comes from "μέλι" (meli) meaning "honey". This could be a reference to her apparently sweet demeanor. Alternatively, it may be a play on "malicious".
- Her pseudonym surname "Foster" mimics her Japanese counterpart's name.
- Her French surname "Plantule" means "seedling".
Dahlia has long red hair that is held back by two braids that are tied together. While alive, she wore a long white dress with pink decals and spaghetti straps, white heels with butterflies on them, a pink scarf around her shoulders, and a white parasol with the same pink decals as her dress. White butterflies would appear and flutter around her gently.
- Since she only appears while alive as a witness, Dahlia's non-spirit sprites are cut off and are not full length, similar to other courtroom-only characters such as Frank Sahwit and Richard Wellington.
- Her appearance, outfit, and the butterflies that circle around her were all designed to give the impression of an "heiress".
- Art director Tatsuro Iwamoto referenced the manga series Cardcaptor Sakura when designing Dahlia.
- Before the shadowy court record profile in Bridge to the Turnabout is revealed as Dahlia, her gender is left as "?". This is despite the profile itself referring to the character as "daughter", "Iris's twin sister", and "her". Her age is also listed as "???", despite being mentioned as Iris's twin and Iris's age already being known.
- Within the in-universe chronology of the first three games in the Ace Attorney series, Dahlia Hawthorne appears as a witness in both the first (Turnabout Beginnings) and last (Bridge to the Turnabout) cases.
- Dahlia is seen wearing gloves in a flashback to shortly after her murder of Doug Swallow, despite them not being part of her usual outfit. This may have been so that her fingerprints would not get on Wright's bottle of Coldkiller X.
- The Art of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney contains an unlabeled animation image showing Dahlia appearing worried or concerned that is different to that featured in-game, indicating that this was changed during development.
- Having committed her first murder at age 19, Dahlia is the youngest culprit in the main series, and the youngest culprit of murder in the entire Ace Attorney series to date. On a similar note, her arrest for her second murder at age 20 makes her the youngest individal in the series to date to be incarcerated for said crime.
- Hsu, Janet (2014-10-31). Ace Attorney Trilogy - Surprising Tidbits You Never Knew! Capcom Unity. Retrieved on 2014-11-02.
- "Dahlia's appearance, outfit, and the butterflies that circle around her all scream "heiress!" She gives such a dainty first impression that people are often taken aback when they get a glimpse of her unfiltered personality."
Hayashi, M. K. et al (Oct. 2009). The Art of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada: UDON Entertainment. Page 118. ISBN-13: 978-1-897376-19-5 / ISBN-10: 1-897376-19-7.
- Ash (2017-02-21). Drunkard Takumi Shū X Final Boss Inaba Atsushi X Adult Men Lover Iwamoto Tatsurō (2005). Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2022-02-05.
- Hayashi, M. K. et al (Oct. 2009). The Art of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada: UDON Entertainment. Page 119. ISBN-13: 978-1-897376-19-5 / ISBN-10: 1-897376-19-7.