The One 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Character That No One Appreciated Nearly Enough
Of all the Scoobies from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Anya always gets the least love. I get it, of course I do. She's certainly difficult what with the super blunt manner of speech and the whole being an ex-Vengeance Demon thing. And yet, she's also a really wonderful character who grows from being a person who is all about her own personal survival to someone who loses her life in a battle for the greater good. She also truly helps Xander grow into the man he will someday become, thus also aiding the rest of the Scoobies into becoming what they will someday become. Not to mention she provides some pretty stellar comic relief. Anya's got her flaws (don't we all?), but she's also the Buffy the Vampire Slayer character that no one appreciates nearly enough.
We first meet Anya in one of Buffy's most famous episodes, "The Wish," in which she plays a Vengeance Demon named Anyanka who is posing at the school as a normal student in order to grant female students their vengeance-themed wishes. She grants Cordelia's wish for a Buffy-free Sunnydale which leads to some great Willow/Xander doppleganger action. Unfortunately for Anyanka, the necklace she uses to stir up vengeance breaks in the process, everything goes back to normal, and she is trapped as a human named Anya.
As a human, Anya starts making all sorts of interesting decisions — the first of which is to begin a relationship with her first human in thousands of years, Xander Harris. Xander was a guy who couldn't hold down a job, felt that he had very little worth in his evil-fighting friend group, and lived in his parents' basement. Anya pushed him to become better than that, though admittedly this was only because she was tired of living in his parents' basement as well.
She also went on to run the magic shop, which is something the Scoobies desperately needed. Sure, Giles was the man behind the shop, but Anya kept it running. Sure, Anya was mostly in it for the money, but at the same time she realized that helping out in this space was a good way to help her newfound family.
But beyond those specifics, Anya is also a wonderful character because she tells it like it is. Oftentimes, as is the case with many close friend groups, nobody wants to be honest for fear of offending their good buddies. Anya has no such qualms and was willing to drop knowledge bombs wherever she felt like it. Calling Willow out for her magic addiction? No problem. Admitting that it's a sensible idea to run away from Gloria? Done.
But Anya isn't just wonderful for what she did for the Scoobies. It's also awesome to see her grow into a more emotional human over the course of the series. In one Season 5 episode, "The Body," Anya deals with her first death and though, at first, other characters are angry with her for a seeming cold look at said death, she soon proves her feelings are valid. Anya doesn't know how to deal with the many emotions humans deal with — like grief, or love, or even caring much for another human — because she has been a demon for so long. But throughout "The Body" and other episodes in which the Scoobies teach her about life, Anya became a well-rounded character. She simply never got enough love.
So, sure. Anya is a tough one to take sometimes. Her blunt statements make the viewer and the characters onscreen cringe. Sometimes, they even make the gang pretty angry. And yet, she is the sassy comic relief that Buffy needed when Cordelia headed off to Los Angeles to be an actress and private detective on Angel.
Anya has a very specific place on Buffy and gives so much to the show. All the other characters on the show are also wonderful (except for Dawn... boo, Dawn) but generally, it's the most under-appreciated folks who deserve the most appreciation.