Buffy Character: Chao-Ahn | Kristy Wu

Portrayed by Kristy Wu, Chao-Ahn is a character from the hit television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003).

When the Slayer line was threatened by the villainous First Evil, Chao-Ahn was a Potential Slayer. Thankfully, she was able to flee before being attacked by the minions of the First Evil, known as the Bringers. For her protection, Chao-Ahn was taken to Sunnydale to live with the Scooby Gang. 

Biography

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Little is known about Chao-Ahn’s narrative before she arrived in Sunnydale. It is not even known where she is from. Having been found in Shanghai, one can assume that this is where she is from. 

To kill the Slayer, the First Evil sought to remove all Potential slayers. When a Slayer dies, one Potential Slayer is chosen to take her place. 

As a Potential Slayer, this meant that Chao-Ahn was a target. Luckily, Rupert Giles met Chao-Ahn in Shanghai, allowing her to flee before the Bringers could kill her. Though Giles saved her, he was unable to communicate with Chao-Ahn.

This was because she spoke Cantonese, a language that Giles could not understand. 

To keep her safe, Giles brought Chao-Ahn to Sunnydale. There, she lived with the legitimate Vampire Slayer (Buffy Summers), her friends known as the Scooby Gang, and the rest of the Potential Slayers. 

Unable to communicate with her, Giles gave Chao-Ahn a lecture about the situation using drawings. He drew illustrations of the ancient Vampires, known as Turok-Hans, murdering the helpless Potential Slayers.

Understandably, this terrified Chao-Ahn. Giles continued to be unable to communicate with Chao-Ahn, offering her cow’s milk even though she was seemingly lactose intolerant. 

Later, Chao-Ahn was seen training with the other Potential Slayers. This session was led by Kennedy, a fellow Potential. Clearly, Chao-Ahn was considered one of the more skilled Potential Slayers, as she was included in the mission to infiltrate Caleb’s vineyard.

Though this mission went awry and several Potentials were killed, Chao-Ahn was able to make it out alive. 

Chao-Ahn was further able to prove herself by participating in the Battle of the Hellmouth. During this battle, the Scooby Gang enacted their plan to defeat the First Evil. 

Along with the other Potentials, Chao-Ahn fought the Turok-Han and the Bringers. In the middle of this fight, Willow Rosenberg performed a spell that activated all the Potential Slayers.

This meant that they had all the skills and powers of the Slayer. Chao-Ahn was among the Potentials activated, meaning that she benefited from these abilities. 

Surviving the battle, Chao-Ahn fled Sunnydale alongside the Scooby Gang and the Slayers. They were able to make it out of the town before it was destroyed. With the First Evil defeated, the Slayers looked toward a brighter future. 

Personality Traits

Because she is a fairly minor character, not much of Chao-Ahn’s personality is shown. She seems to be somewhat quiet, though this could be a result of the language barrier that is continuously shown. 

Chao-Ahn’s ability to communicate with other characters is used for comedic effect in the show. However, some fans have since considered this somewhat offensive. It uses the language barrier for comedy, potentially implying that she is expected to assimilate into western culture.

One of course should remember that this show was created at a different time. Nonetheless, this does not excuse the potentially problematic nature of this joke. 

She also seems to be a brave individual, joining dangerous missions despite having minimal training. Chao-Ahn’s bravery is further shown by the fact that she moved to a different country and lived with complete strangers. 

Appearance

Chao-Ahn is a young woman with long, dark hair. When training, she wore her hair in a ponytail. She often wears quite dark clothes. Chao-Ahn’s training outfit was also black. 

Power/ Abilities

Originally, Chao-Ahn seemingly did not possess any special skills or abilities. When she moved to Sunnydale, she was trained by Kennedy. She must have demonstrated some fighting prowess, as she was selected to participate in some important missions.

As a potential slayer, she likely had some special skills that simply were not shown. For example, she may have been stronger than others.  

After Willow completed her activation spell, Chao-Ahn became significantly stronger. She then possessed the powers of the Slayer. This includes superhuman strength, enhanced agility, fighting skills, heightened durability, accelerated healing, and prophetic dreams. 

Relationships

As a background character, Chao-Ahn developed few noteworthy relationships, aside from:

Rupert Giles

Having met Chao-Ahn in Shanghai, Giles essentially saved her from being attacked by the Bringers. He acted as her Watcher, attempting to inform her about the threats that they faced. Unfortunately, though he is a skilled Watcher, he was ineffective with Chao-Ahn. 

This was due to their inability to communicate. For example, he accidentally terrified Chao-Ahn with the morbid drawing of the Turok-Han. Instead, she interprets these drawings as a threat. 

Furthermore, Giles and other characters give her milk, despite the fact that she has a bad reaction to it. This is because she is lactose intolerant, though the other characters are unaware of this. 

The Potential Slayers

Despite her inability to understand them, Chao-Ahn seemed to get on with the other Potential Slayers. She participated in many crucial battles with them. She was one of the seven surviving Potentials, having become a fully powered Slayer by the conclusion of the series.

Among the other survivors were Kennedy and Vi. 

The First Evil

Having sought to kill her, the First Evil has an antagonistic relationship with Chao-Ahn. The First Evil sent Caleb, the Bringers, and Turok-Han to kill her. Luckily, Chao-Ahn managed to survive, escaping Sunnydale before it was ruined. 

Willow Rosenberg

Willow and Chao-Ahn are not shown to have any major interaction. However, Chao-Ahn owes Willow her Slayer powers. Having performed a spell of activation, Willow gave her and the other Potential Slayers the full powers of the Slayer. 

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Appearances

Because her story is heavily linked to the Season 7 story arc, Chao-Ahn does not appear until this season. She makes her debut in “First Date”, the fourteenth episode of the season. After this, Chao-Ahn appears in most of the remaining episodes. The only episodes that she does not appear in are “Storyteller” and “Lies My Parents Told Me.” 

This is a full list of the episodes in which she appears in chronological order:

  • First Date (Season 7, Episode 14)
  • Get it Done (Season 7, Episode 15)
  • Dirty Girls (Season 7, Episode 18)
  • Empty Places (Season 7, Episode 19)
  • Touched (Season 7, Episode 20)
  • End of Days (Season 7, Episode 21)
  • Chosen (Season 7, Episode 22)

Kristy Wu’s Chao-Ahn appears in seven episodes overall. As this was the last season that aired, Chao-Ahn does not appear in future episodes. 

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Marianne LeBlanc
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