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Caerula Sanguis

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Caerula Sanguis (カエルラ・サングウィス Kaerura Sanguwisu?) (Latin for "blue blood") is the last surviving Type-V mutant, a human who was infected by a retrovirus known as the V-virus and gained vampire-like characteristics such as eternal youth. She was originally born as Vilma Fachiri (ヴィルマ・ファキーリ Vu~iruma Fakīri?) and adopted several aliases during her long life.

Although first introduced as the Chairman of the Stellar Nursery Society, Caerula has a much longer history going back more than 700 years. This parallels the creation of the current world within which the series is set, but was not revealed until Last Order. As one reviewer notes, "in a very real sense Caerula's story is also the foundation of the present...her actions in the past played an instrumental role in bringing about the state of affairs that exists in Alita's current time."[1]

As a result of abilities that Caerula developed as a Type-V mutant, she is a formidable martial artist able to fully contend with cyborg opponents such as Alita, even though she is still fully flesh and blood. Caerula is a major supporting character in Last Order and was the protagonist of her own flashback arc spanning two volumes.

AppearanceEdit

Caerula, like all the members of the Stellar Nursery Society is one of several Last Order characters adapted from fan submissions that were solicited by Yukito Kishiro from his readers. She was based on a design called “Blue” by tfng[2], and the color blue is a recurring theme in the various aliases she has adopted.

A beautiful woman with a shapely figure who is of average height, Caerula stands about a head taller than Alita. She has shoulder-length blonde hair and has a chin-length fringe that usually obscures the right half of her face. On the cover of volume 4 of the Gunnm: Last Order New Edition she is depicted as having dark blonde hair and light yellow eyes.

Caerula is shown in a variety of outfits. Her current attire as Chairman of the SNS is a dark outfit consisting of a long coat with a high collar, a long blouse that separates at the waist, and form-fitting pants. This outfit conceals her pair of jian, Earthlight and Moonlight, as well as dozens of piau in one of her sleeves that she can instantly launch at an opponent. Despite its appearance, this outfit does not impair Caerula's fighting ability, as she wore it during the Guntroll’s Round 1 match during the Tenth Zenith of Things Tournament. It is depicted as being black with muted yellow trim on the Gunnm: Last Order New Edition cover.

In her previous life, Vilma favored cheongsams as formal wear after relocating to the Far East. She was depicted wearing a sleeveless one with a tiara when she fought Victor Byron in ES 32 in Hong Kong, and later wore a long-sleeved dark cheongsam when she met with Arthur Farrell in ES 191. During the period of wandering with the survivors members of The Society, she wore a long black coat trimmed with white fur and a high black pillbox-type hat. The combat outfit that she adopted when fighting against Arthur Farrell’s opponents in Star City consisted of a bandana, goggles, a face mask, white blouse that she wore loosely, fingerless gloves, loose pants, and shoes. She wore a single jian in a scabbard on her back. During her time as a freelance mercenary known as "Blue Widow", she wore a dark colored space suit that had scabbards for dual jian on her back.

GalleryEdit

PersonalityEdit

After becoming a Type-V mutant and relocating to Hong Kong, Vilma maintained a highly independent, proud, and cold demeanor, not forming any attachments with anyone and regarding men as prey and playthings. She maintained this independence by refusing to permit The Society to extend its influence into Asia by killing their envoys and assassins. Her attitude changed after she met Victor Byron in ES 32 in Hong Kong and was unable to defeat him as a result of his acquired ability to increase the durability of his skin to withstand damage. Tasting defeat for the first time, Vilma fell in love for the very first and last time, eventually becoming Victor's wife. Prior this she had neither been in love with nor loved anyone else. Following his death and her existence as the sole Cognate left, she was able to continue on and did not return to her former personality. Aga Mbadi appears to be the only other person with whom Vilma developed a friendship with after Victor's death, and she once saved his life years ago. However the relationship between the two later changed to the point that they are now enemies who wish to kill each other.

Vilma's attitude towards humans evolved over time. As a result of the impact winter, she came to share Victor's philosophy that humans were meant to be preyed on by the Cognate. However because her experiences differed from his, her distrust and resentment towards humans were not as ingrained. She came to believe from from her rescue and treatment by Keiran and John Farrell that barring coexistence between humans and the Cognate, both species would eventually die out, with the Cognate continuing Victor's plan of moving from place to place and wiping out the human populations they came across, depopulating the Earth until only the Cognate would be left, leaving them to starve to death. Despite Keiran's betrayal of her and attempt to kill Victor and the other members of the Cognate in ES 69, Victor's own betrayal of her by appearing to go along with her proposal in order to show her human treachery hurt her more. This resolve to attempt to coexist was rekindled after meeting John Farrell again and his grandson Arthur years later in ES 126. Vilma became a believer after seeing Merlin, a device based on research by Keiran prior to the Catastrophe in ES 55 that could predict the future that had been revived, and Arthur's conviction to raise humanity from its current state and rediscover outer space. However, she realized that Victor stood in the way of this becoming a reality, and so decided to side with the humans and fight him to the death. Her belief in Arthur led her to protect him for more than ten years by battling his enemies, regardless of the morality of either side.

Some time after reviving in ES 173, Caerula assumed the leadership of the Stellar Nursery Society and became committed to the organization's goal of saving children unwanted and made superfluous by Methuselyzation.

RelationshipsEdit

Vilma was impressed when Alita defeated Qu Tsang, immediately recognising that she had used high level Panzer Kunst techniques to do so. As it had been centuries since she had last seen the fabled martial art in action, she was anxious to pit her skills and against Alita's, although from her vast combat experience she had little to fear. However when Vilma's ultimate technique, the Eight Block Death Gate Array, failed to kill Alita, their shared past which had occurred within the context of the Camranh Tragedy came to light.

Despite their initial confrontation, Vilma's defeat at Victor's hands unlocked a side of her that had withered, and the two formed a close and intense relationship that lasted for nearly a century. Because she had gotten used to treating men, both humans and her own kind as toys or prey, she had developed a very cold exterior which was only melted by Victor, who taught her how to love. Following the Geo Catastrophe she shared his vision of the Type-V mutants as being destined to succeed and eventually wipe out the humans. However her experiences with both John and Kieran Farrell began to change her perspective, although it took years for her to eventually come around.

AbilitiesEdit

Type-V mutant: As a Type-V mutant, Caerula has gained the following abilities, making her appearance as a flesh and blood human deceiving:

  • Heightened senses: Caerula can "see neural pulse flow", nullifying any speed advantage a more cyberized opponent may have over her[3]. This is further enhanced by an acquired capability to ascertain the presence and trajectory of everything in her immediate environment during a fight, from the presence of her enemies, bullet trajectories, and minute details such as "the mice scurrying to take cover"[4]. She can also sense the presence of NEW ORDER soldiers around her even with their stealth function activated.
  • Healing factor: As a result of being very long lived, Caerula acquired the ability to regenerate lost limbs over time and revive her from catastrophic injuries that appear to be fatal, such as her dismemberment and disembowelment during her fight with Victor Byron in ES 126 and her "death" during her fight with Alita in ES 591. Her healing factor is aided by the consumption of fresh human blood and she can completely suck an adult male dry, leaving him a desiccated corpse in seconds.
  • Immortality: Caerula's immortality has allowed her to amass an unprecedented 700 years of combat experience, enabling her to anticipate any possible situation and predict how her opponent will react.
BAALO06 50 Alita vs. Caerula

Caerula and Alita fight each other in Round 1 of the Tenth ZOTT in Phase 33.

Kung Fu: Caerula is a highly skilled martial artist, a student of "48 schools and 125 divisions" of kung fu[5]. She was a formidable fighter second only to Victor Byron because of his skin hardening ability, and following his death, her only rivals appear to be Alita with her Panzer Kunst and Aga Mbadi with his Kalarippayattu although she purposely avoided a deathblow to Alita and Aga Mbadi was precarious at the idea of a confrontation with her. Caerula fights with dual jian, but is also extremely skilled in hand to hand combat. Her long history of combat experience enables her to anticipate and counter her opponents while taking into account the surroundings and all possibilities. She developed a tactic known as the Eight Block Death Gate Array, a series of maneuvers designed to drive an opponent into an untenable position from which they can be killed in a final blow, which Mbadi acknowledges as inescapable once it has been executed[6].

HistoryEdit

BAALO09 87 Victor vs. Vilma

Vilma concedes in her fight against Victor in Hong Kong in ES 32 in a flashback in Phase 52.

Caerula was originally born in 1808 as Vilma Fachiri in Transylvania. She became a Type-V mutant at an undisclosed time, after which she left her homeland and relocated to the Far East, where she eventually settled in Hong Kong and studied kung fu. By ES 32 she was a Triad member able to maintain a high degree of independence as a result of her abilities as a Type-V mutant. Having rebuffed all attempts by The Society, the secret Cognate organization, to win her over or kill her in its bid to expand its control into Asia, Vilma met her match when she encountered Victor Byron, a powerful Cognate in his own right. Agreeing to accede to his demands if he could withstand ten of her attacks, Victor sustained nine, winning Vilma over and enabling The Society to extend its influence. The two eventually married. Thirteen years later however in ES 55, an event known as the Geo Catastophe occurred when a giant asteroid impacted Japan and wiped out human civilization as well as The Society, causing a prolonged impact winter.

Impact winterEdit

BAALO08 55 John Farrell finds Vilma Fachiri

Vilma is found by John in ES 69 in a flashback in Phase 45.

Vilma survived with Victor and three other Type-V mutants, Jacco, Morse, and Zapolska. These last members of The Society spent years wandering the Earth from one place to another, preying on isolated pockets of humans and wiping them out before moving on. By this time, Victor and Vilma had been presumably married. In ES 69, she was nearly killed after falling off a cliff during an encounter with mutant humans, but was rescued and sheltered by John Farrell and his father Keiran. The experience changed Vilma’s outlook on coexisting with humans, which had been previously based on Victor’s belief that humans were sheep and the Cognate the wolves who preyed on them. Although she tried to mediate between Victor and Kieran in attempt to coexist, the latter sprang a trap in an attempt to kill the other Cognate members while sparing her. Only Zapolska ended up dying after Victor promised to spare Keiran and John, leading Vilma to release them from Keiran’s trap. The other members of the Farrells’ shelter community however were killed in their place.

Following 50 additional years of wandering, the Cognate ended up in the former St. Louis, Missouri. Here Vilma encountered John Farrell’s grandson Arthur, who challenged the Cognate by single-handedly killing Morse. She also met an ailing John Farrell himself again before he died. Shortly after, she had to defend Arthur and herself from Jacco, who suspected treachery on her part and tried to kill her. Managing to kill Jacco, she stayed overnight in Arthur’s home shelter, the Bradley Shelter, where she met his fiancée Haruka and saw Merlin, a project that Arthur’s great-grandfather Keiran had worked on before the impact winter in ES 55 and had in fact predicted the meteorite impact. Vilma’s failure to return however, cast doubt in Victor’s mind and he targeted Haruka the next day, trying to turn her into a Type-V mutant, but she died of blood loss and the shock to her system.

BAALO09 159 Arthur shoots Vilma

Arthur shoots Vilma in ES 126 in a flashback in Phase 54.

Believing by now in Arthur’s conviction, Vilma confronted Victor and attempted to kill him as he stood in the way of realizing it. This led to a prolonged and deadly fight between the two, which resulted in Victor utilizing his full transformation to combat against Vilma’s devastating attacks, as well as the destruction of the Gateway Arch itself. Vilma's right arm was dismembered and she was disemboweled, but the sudden outbreak of sunlight as predicted by Merlin renewed her determination and she managed to finish Victor off with a final blow. After receiving his dying injunction to continue living, Vilma was shot by Arthur and fell into the newly melted Mississippi River which had been previously frozen over, falling into a coma.

Post impact winterEdit

Vilma did not die as she was saved from drowning by Arthur’s friend Radha on his orders. Radha treated her wounds and hid her in a crypt near Star City, the future site of the Scrapyard. During her 47 year hibernation she acquired a regenerative ability as a result of undergoing another state of “Altered Shock”, the Cognate term for the traumatic process a human must undergo and survive before they become a Type-V mutant that was triggered by her near-death experience. This ability resulted in the regrowth of her dismembered arm and healing of all her wounds.

BAALO09 165 Vilma revives

Vilma revives in ES 173 in Phase 54

In ES 173, Vilma emerged from stasis after grave robbers discovered her and were subsequently killed. She soon reencountered Radha, by now a grandfather, who took her to Star City. The world had by now changed, with the climate becoming warmer. Vilma also saw Arthur again. He had become the leader of Star City, which was founded in an attempt to launch humans into outer space. After witnessing a failed assassination attempt on him, she vowed to watch over and protect Arthur from other would-be assassins. She assumed the alias Qing-ji ("Blue Princess") and lived in an orphanage run by one of Radha’s granddaughters, Susheela. While she was primarily occupied with combating Arthur's enemies, Vilma also established herself as a martial arts instructor, training several students who would later go on to found their own martial arts schools. During the widespread riots that erupted across Star City in ES 191 and plunged it into a state of civil war after the deaths caused by human experiments to research space travel and living in space were revealed to the public, she rescued a baby Tiger Sauer, the future founder of Panzer Kunst on Mars. Vilma later met Arthur face to face for the first time in years in space. She was given Fata Morgana, the means of unlocking and destroying the central computer Melchizedek and charged by Arthur with carrying out the “last order” when she saw fit.[7]. Vilma held on to Fata Morgana for the next 400 years and at one point disguised it as one of her earrings. This was why Ping Wu was unable to find Fata Morgana after 100 years of searching in Robo-Asyl.

BAALO05 46 Vilma saves Mbadi

Vilma saves Aga Mbadi at an unspecified time and place in a flashback in Phase 26.

Vilma's subsequent history following her receipt of the last order has been hinted at. Two hundred years before the current events in Last Order, she was a freelance mercenary known as the “Blue Widow” who fought and captured Yoko after she had carried out Operation Maulwurf, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 500,000 people. This subsequently resulted in the formation of LADDER and the destruction of Grünthal by the united powers of the Solar System. Yoko was sentenced to death by burning up on atmospheric reentry to Earth, where she was discovered years later in the Scrapyard dump heap by Daisuke Ido in ES 577.[8] At some point Vilma was a comrade and friend of Aga Mbadi and saved his life. The two eventually had a falling out and became enemies. At some point after this she assumed the alias Caerula Sanguis and became the chairman of the Stellar Nursery Society (SNS), a small faction that operates within the main asteroid belt that is committed to rescuing children who have been rendered redundant as a result of the Methuselization or immortality made possible by technology that was released to the public by Ping Wu more than a hundred years before the events of the main Last Order storyline.

PlotEdit

The SNS enters the Zenith of Things Tournament (ZOTT) as the Guntroll team after their base on Szeged is destroyed by the Jupiter System Union and they are unable to gain asylum from other asteroid nations. Caerula however enters them as a team not with the aim of winning the commonwealth prize and gaining status as an independent nation, but to secure the immunity which is guaranteed all ZOTT participants. The Guntroll is the first team that Alita's Space Angels team comprised of herself, Sechs, and Elf and Zwölf faces in competition during Round 1 of the ZOTT. Prior to the match, Caerula personally confronted Aga Mbadi for the first time in years, but was unable to fight him due to the presence of New Order soldiers serving as his security detail.

BAALO06 91 Cerula gives Alita the Fata Morgana

Caerula gives Alita the Fata Morgana during the ZOTT in Phase 34.

Caerula takes the field as the final Guntroll fighter after Qu Tsang is defeated by Alita in order to give the Stellar Nursery Society enough time to escape to Mars, where they have been granted asylum by the Mars Kingdom Parliament. The fight between Alita and Caerula is a close one, which Alita only wins because Caerula diverts one of her swords from killing her at the last second, sensing that Alita has a "destiny beyond knowing" from the sword[9]. After being stabbed by Alita, Caerula gives her her earring which contains Fata Morgana. It appears initially that Careula has been killed, but when Mbadi later visits the participants’ morgue, he finds Caerula’s body gone and the desiccated body of the attendant in its place. The event however, does not surprise him, as he is the only one who knows Caerula better than anyone else. A simulated personality of Caerula generated by Merlin that Alita later encounters when she dives into Melchizedek reveals that she has decided to entrust Fata Morgana to her because she recognizes her as an outsider who has never been easy with the world that she lives in. Caerula does not make a further appearance until prior to the start of the ZOTT Finals between the Space Angels and the Space Karate Forces, which reveals that she is one of the many spectators who Alita has met who will follow the match.

After the finals end in the Space Angels' victory, Caerula ambushes Mbadi as he tries to escape and kills him.

TriviaEdit

Caerula is the first female character other than Alita to be featured on the volume covers. She has appeared on three Last Order covers and is featured on two of them.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Battle Angel Alita: Last Order GN 9 review by Theron Martin.
  2. Haunted Angel, page 214.
  3. Kishiro, Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Vol. 6, page 53
  4. Kishiro, Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Vol. 9, page 183
  5. Kishiro, Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Vol. 9, page 124
  6. Kishiro, Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Vol. 6, page 64
  7. Kishiro, Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Vol. 9, Angel's Duty, pages 200-201
  8. Gunnm LO History timeline.
  9. Phase 34
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