As Trails of Cold Steel continues to consume every ounce of free time that I have, it’s time to talk about the other lady that has me questioning things as I progress closer and closer to the climax of the final game in the Cold Steel arc — Emma Millstein.
In a previous article for Waifu Wednesday, I spoke about how I think that Sara Valestein has been my favourite girl throughout each of the games, but there has always been a dark horse contender that continuously grabbed my attention.
Unlike a lot of the characters in Cold Steel, a lot of what Emma is about focuses and centres on protagonist Rean. Where characters like Sara, Alisa, and Laura have their own Rean-less mini arcs, Emma’s story is much closer to our main man. And while Emma didn’t really turn my head in the first two games, her bonding events throughout the fourth game have genuinely caught me off guard with how much she shows her commitment to Rean in a more “show, don’t tell” kind of way.
Before we dive into just why we love Emma so much, remember to check out all of our other pieces focusing on all things regarding the waifu and husbando subculture! Check out the waifus here and the husbandos here!
Who is Emma Millstein?
Emma is one of the main characters in the Cold Steel arc of the Trails subseries of the massive Legend of Heroes franchise by Nihon Falcom. Upon first meeting Emma, she seems to be a stereotypical quiet girl who is more into books than she is into going out, but we soon find out that Emma has a lot of interesting things going on that quickly turn her into one of the most interesting characters in the series.
During a war that happened 200 years prior to the game, a man known as Dreichels brought an end to the fighting by becoming the Awakener of a Divine Knight. These are huge humanoid sentient machines that only respond to their partners. While the knights slumber as they await their awakener’s arrival, witches from an ancient clan watch over them and guide them to their awakeners. As it turns out, Emma is a wandering witch of the Hexen clan — a clan of magic wielders whose history and duty go hand-in-hand with that of the Divine Knights and their Awakeners.
As a witch and disciple of the legendary witch Roselia, Emma has been gifted with a familiar in the form of the cat Celine. During the first game, Rean comes into contact with Celine numerous times before learning about who she is and how she is connected to Emma. After the events of the first game, Rean and Emma become more connected as their roles play out throughout the story.
Why we love Emma Millstein
Throughout the first game I would describe Emma as being a very inoffensive character who takes her time to grow and open up, but as she does she quickly becomes more and more interesting as a member of Class VII. Emma is quiet but committed to her friends and does a lot behind the scenes to help keep them safe, and while this may be considered part of her role as a witch, her feelings are genuine.
Similar to the way that Rean suffers from coming to terms with where he belongs, Emma suffers in believing she is vastly inferior to her sister and fellow witch Vita Clotilde. Through her time with Class VII and their reassurance of her worth, Emma comes out of her shell and learns to have confidence in herself and her abilities as a powerful member of the Hexen Clan.
The parts I love most about Emma come in the final game of the Cold Steel series, and it’s in the form of the game’s bonding events. At the time in which this game is set, Emma has become a truly incredible witch whose powers feel like second nature to her now. This is made all the more evident during her bonding events in which she risks her life to help Rean in his current situation — I don’t want to spoil it but it was this event and the one following that really started to get me questioning things regarding Emma.
Why you’ll Love Emma Millstein
Honestly, Emma has a lot going for her and she is a really strong player in the race for Rean’s affection. If you’re a lover of the bespectacled beauty then you will no doubt love her, and if you want to get a bit more degenerate about it, Emma is without a doubt one of the most powerful characters in the game when it comes to the female assets department.
I mentioned it at the beginning of this piece, but I really like that Emma’s events slightly differ from a lot of the other characters in the game in the way that her feelings, while obvious, are never explicitly said through the words “I love/like you”. She operates in a very “show, don’t tell” kind of way, and it’s a really wonderful way for the character to show her feelings for the person she cares for most.
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