The character development of Manah in Drakengard. It astonishes me. In the first game, she is a sadistic priestess who has helped bring the entire world to its knees, while killing off Caim's beloved sister. It is hard to feel sorry for her, even knowing that she's had a tragic background, never knowing her mother's love. When Caim grants her mercy in the first ending, it's not really from forgiveness, but as a way for her to suffer over her crimes in life. But hey, that deep possessed manly voice is that of Cosmo (Fairly OddParents): "Hiya Timmy!"
In the second game, she's a young adult. Having rallied followers to her rebellion against the Union, she tries to free people from tyranny -- unconsciously regretting her past misdeeds, even while her actions unknowingly set forth the world's destruction once again. Nowe graces her with initial hostility, before she shows him sympathy as he is outcasted from his own knighthood, and he finds a renewed meaning in his life through helping her. Her poise and leadership are winning qualities in a person, moreso than her magical affinity.
But there's more to Manah than what Nowe knows. A part of her shies away when Nowe asks what she fights for, her tears luring in his heart. A wizened Caim tries to reclaim her, and an inexplicable fear erupts. Then later, as the world's illusory peace is shattered, her repressed memories eventually break through, revealing the deranged priestess that she'd suppressed.
Nowe dives into her psyche. He finds her younger self, still traumatized under the influence of the Gods, and in a feat which any PTSD victim would appreciate, he selflessly defeats her demons.
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In their last moments..
"I wish I could be a saviour," Nowe goes. "I wish I could save you."
She tenderly kisses him. "You already have, Nowe. This is goodbye."