Dahlia Hawthorne
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Dahlia Hawthorne
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. She appeared as a witness in the murders of her stepsister Valerie Hawthorne, her ex-boyfriend Doug Swallow, and her aunt Misty Fey.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Morgan Fey, who was to become the head of the Fey clan, married a wealthy jeweler and had two twin daughters with him: Dahlia and Iris. However, Misty Fey, Morgan's younger sister, had more spiritual power than Morgan did, and she became the head instead, making Morgan's bloodline a powerless branch family. Having married Morgan under the pretense that she would become the powerful head of the Fey clan, the jeweler divorced from Morgan, taking their daughters with him. He later remarried to a different woman who already had a daughter named Valerie Hawthorne. Finding her twin sister a nuisance, Dahlia convinced her father to give Iris away to the Hazakura Temple. As Dahlia stayed with the Hawthornes, she began to loathe her father and plotted against him for his money and jewels.

Kidnapping plot[edit | edit source]

The staged kidnapping at Dusky Bridge.

When Dahlia was 14 years old, she pretended to fall in love with her tutor Terry Fawles in order to use him to exact revenge against her father. With Valerie's cooperation, she staged a fake kidnapping using Fawles as the supposed kidnapper so that she could get her hands on one of her father's rare jewels. At Dusky Bridge near Hazakura Temple, Valerie and Dahlia betrayed Fawles: Valerie shot Fawles in the arm, while Dahlia intentionally jumped off Dusky Bridge into Eagle River, the river below the bridge, taking with her the ransom diamond valued at two million dollars. Fawles was convicted for Dahlia's "murder" after Valerie falsely testified that he had murdered Dahlia, and was sentenced to death row. This kidnapping plot marked the beginning of Dahlia's life of crime.

First murder[edit | edit source]

Main article: Turnabout Beginnings

Valerie's corpse.

Meeting Fawles while disguised as Valerie.

Five years later, when Fawles was being transferred to another prison, his transport broke down and he escaped. He called Valerie Hawthorne and told her to meet him at Dusky Bridge to explain what had happened five years prior during their fake kidnapping plan. 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 Valerie at Dusky Bridge, killing her. When Fawles arrived by a stolen car, she hid Valerie's corpse in the trunk of the car and then met Fawles at the bridge, posing as Valerie. Soon after this meeting, Fawles was arrested, and was put on trial for the murder of Valerie Hawthorne.

During Fawles' trial, Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth prepared Dahlia as a witness named Melissa Foster, who had supposedly witnessed the crime from a nearby cliff. However, Mia Fey, the attorney for the defendant, pointed out inconsistencies in her testimony and revealed to the court that she was none other than Dahlia Hawthorne, the supposed murder victim of the kidnapping five years prior. Close to the end of the trial, Mia was almost able to prove that Dahlia was the killer of Valerie, but Fawles refused to cooperate with Fey; instead, Fawles committed suicide out 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 arrived to a time where they could no longer trust each other. Fey and Edgeworth would later recall that Dahlia left the courtroom with a "demonic smile on her face".

Attempted murder[edit | edit source]

The result of the trial of Terry Fawles drove Fey and her co-worker, defense attorney Diego Armando, to investigate Dahlia. Dahlia discovered that she was being investigated and convinced Armando to meet her in the courthouse cafeteria six months later. 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 was put into a coma from the poisoning, and Dahlia fled the scene.

Dahlia giving Phoenix the bottle necklace.

Minutes later, in the reading room, she stumbled across fellow Ivy University student Phoenix Wright and gave him the necklace as a "love gift" to evade the authorities. Swallow later found out about the stolen poison and broke up with her. 

Due to lingering suspicion surrounding her over this incident, Dahlia planned to kill Wright to retake the only remaining evidence that could link her to the poisoning. Iris, fearful for her sister and the path she was taking, begged Dahlia not to go so far, and convinced her not to resort to murder. Instead, Iris lived Dahlia's life at Ivy University in order to protect Dahlia in the event of another encounter with law enforcement.

Second murder[edit | edit source]

Main article: Turnabout Memories
Dahlia Hawthorne
Do. You. Think. You've. Won? Well!? Do you, Mia Fey? Heh... Heh... Heh... Heheh... That's. Just. Fine!

Eight months went by and the bottle necklace was not returned to Dahlia. Having failed in the task for all that time, Dahlia suspected that Iris 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.

Pretending to mourn Doug Swallow.

However, before her plan could come to fruition, she found Swallow trying to warn Wright about her and the stolen poison. Wright pushed Swallow in a mixture of anger and disbelief, then left the scene. Knowing that Swallow was on to her, Dahlia then permanently silenced Swallow by using 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' 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.

Prison and execution[edit | edit source]

Dahlia Hawthorne
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 was. Morgan told Dahlia about a plan to lure her youngest daughter, Pearl Fey, and Mia's younger sister, Maya Fey, to Hazakura Temple; there, Pearl would channel Dahlia, who would kill Maya, so that Pearl would become the master of the Fey family. Despite not caring about Morgan's goals, Dahlia saw the chance to kill Maya as the only way she could still have her 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.

Summoning[edit | edit source]

Main article: Bridge to the Turnabout
Dahlia Hawthorne
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.

Just before being stabbed by Godot.

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 Mia Fey's sister 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 the pen name "Elise Deauxnim", channel Dahlia so that Pearl would not be able to. Godot would then restrain Dahlia and stop her from killing Maya. However, Dahlia attacked Maya at the Inner Temple, which was some distance away from Hazakura Temple. Upon seeing Dahlia's silhouette, Godot was overtaken with a desire for revenge. He picked up Misty's sword-cane and stabbed Dahlia, which killed Misty. Before losing consciousness, Dahlia did manage to wound Godot. Iris was put on trial for Misty's murder and Phoenix Wright, now a defense attorney, took her case.

After channeling and asking her sister Mia for help, Maya used her sister's advice and locked herself in the Inner Temple's icy Training Hall and channeled Dahlia to prevent Pearl from being able to channeling her; if Pearl channeled Dahlia instead of Maya, the consequences would have been dire. Dahlia, in Maya's body, found herself trapped in the Sacred Cavern by a lock. Dahlia 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 upon the Training Hall door in the Inner Temple, Iris was called upon to undo the lock on the training room, as it was believed that she had placed the lock upon the door. In reality, the lock had been placed upon the door by Maya. After an earthquake shook Eagle Mountain. Dahlia, having figured out how to undo the lock that trapped her in the Sacred Cavern, took the distraction as an opportunity to switch with Iris and to lock Iris inside the training room, using five locks to trap her. Dahlia, posing as Iris, was taken away from Hazakura Temple, while rescue efforts continued to save Maya from the Sacred Cavern (although in actuality, Maya was outside the cavern and being possessed by Dahlia.)

Dahlia's spirit leaving Maya.

During Iris' trial, Dahlia, posing as Iris, claimed that Maya had killed Misty and then committed suicide out of guilt of murdering her own mother by throwing herself off Dusky Bridge. However, Phoenix Wright was soon able to deduce why "Iris" was trying to pin the murder on Maya, and revealed the true identity of "Iris" to the court. Her identity revealed, Dahlia ceased pretending to be her sister, and testified her account of the murder of Misty Fey, convinced that the disappearance of Maya Fey was the result of suicide from the guilt of murdering her mother.

Pointing out the inconsistencies of her testimony, Phoenix Wright gave Dahlia an unexpected revelation: she was being channeled by none other than the person whom she had sought to murder, Maya Fey. Having been told by Morgan Fey that she was to be channeled by her half-sister Pearl Fey, Dahlia had assumed that the person channeling her was Pearl, and never considered that it could have been someone else. Enraged by this revelation, Dahlia asked Wright how Maya could have conceived of the plan. Immediately after this, Mia was channeled by Pearl, and she explained that it was her plan: Maya had channeled Mia and asked her for help.

Mia went on further and taunted Dahlia, mocking her for her life of constant failure. She remarked that all of Dahlia's plans had failed: Dahlia's attempts to cover up her crimes all went disastrous and resulted in her execution. Mia told Dahlia that failure would be her punishment for all eternity: Mia would always foil her plans, and Dahlia would only know failure forever. As Dahlia grew distraught over her failure to kill Maya when she had been so close to her for days, Wright demanded her to leave Maya's body. Her spirit screamed and then was snuffed out like flames. The judge suggested that her spirit never be channeled again.

Personality[edit | edit source]

It's true then... The loveliest rose can hide the cruelest thorn...


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 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 for self-preservation.

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 committed 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 and Iris' parents, and unlike Iris would never find a surrogate parental figure. The neglect Dahlia suffered at the hands of their parents, according to Iris, is what eventually led Dahlia to a life of crime, as it embittered Dahlia toward her father, and is why she committed her first of many crimes.

Name[edit | edit source]

  • "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 the fan translation, she was named Dolores Willow, and her nickname was Dolly.[1]
  • The surname "Hawthorne" is a reference to famous 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 Hawthorne reference.[1]
  • Dahlia's fake 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".

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Dahlia has brown eyes and long red hair that is held back by two braids that are tied together. While alive, she wears a long white dress with pink decals and spaghetti straps, white heels with butterflies on them, a pink stole around her shoulders, and a white parasol with the same pink decals as her dress. She is also able to summon white butterflies that flutter around her gently.

Development[edit | edit source]

  • 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".[2]
  • 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.
  • She was planned to have a different sweating animation according to The Art of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney similarly to Desirée DeLite's artwork in the same book.
  • Having committed her first murder at age 19, Dahlia is the youngest culprit in the main series, and the youngest culprit of a murder in the entire Ace Attorney series.
  • She is one of 2 characters to be culprits in 2 episodes in a single game, with the other being Kristoph Gavin.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Hsu, Janet (2014-10-31). Ace Attorney Trilogy - Surprising Tidbits You Never Knew! Capcom Unity. Retrieved on 2014-11-02.
  2. (2009). "The Art of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney". UDON. ISBN 1-897376-19-7.
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