- “Don’t call me ‘Ghost Anya’. Do I call you ‘corporeal Xander’?”
- “Even I’m not sure if I’m real or some Jiminy Cricket your mind’s making up, to help you in situations like tonight. What I really want is to figure out what I’m here to do, do it, and move on… To whatever comes next. Will you help me with that?”
Soon after the return of magic with the new Seed’s creation, Anya was revealed to have been haunting Xander Harris, literally, although when this started is still unclear. Only Xander was able to see her, and they often discussed about his past relationship with original Anya and her death, without knowing for certain she wasn’t her actual ghost. Even so, Anya showed resentment and blamed him for renouncing her immortality, leaving her at the altar, and getting her killed; while Xander was able to demonstrate he recognized his guilt and that he was sorry.
Wanting to know if she was real and her presence’s purpose, Anya speculated she was meant to help Xander. She was excited with the idea of being a “sidekick”, and indeed helped him in various situations, such as breaking his hypnotic state against Dracula and the sirens, encouraging him to communicate with Dawn, and motivating him from an inert state to help Dowling and Giles. In return, Xander had promised to discover more about Anya’s state and how to free her.
Anya and Xander noticed his cats’ ability to see her and were able to conclude she was indeed a real entity, rather than just a manifestation his mind. Later, while investigating a case of the psychic Lana Pasternak’s demonic possession, said demon remarked that Anya “wasn’t invited”, and attempted to attack her. Xander saved her and the psychic, before regaining full consciousness, revealed that Anya Jenkins’ soul was at rest and the being haunting him was not the real Anya, whether she knew it or not. With the help of his counselor Dr. Mike, he decided to distance from her, prioritizing helping Dawn in another dimension even if Anya wasn’t able to go with him. It was then revealed that she was D’Hoffryn creation as a revenge plan against the Scoobies, who he blamed of having “robbing” her from him.
- “What did you do? What did you do? You took Anyanka from me! I spent centuries molding her in my image! She was like a daughter! I loved her! You seduced her into leaving me, becoming mortal — and then you broke her heart, humiliated her, and got her killed!”
- ―D’Hoffryn, to the Scooby Gang</small>[src].
Resentful of Xander, Anya was turned into a vengeance demon, and granted Buffy Summers a wish that enabled D’Hoffryn to gain power enough to kill her enemies (the Soul Glutton and the Mistress); but also enough to kill her allies on the second formation of the Magic Council. Made corporeal, Anya then followed D’Hoffryn in an attack against the Scooby Gang, alongside a group of other vengeance demons.
During the battle, Buffy pointed that D’Hoffryn only viewed both “original” and “copy” Anya as possessions: he didn’t love neither Anya any more he did Halfrek, having discarded and killed her just to torture Anya herself, and was actually hurt by her independence. Then, at mercy of Anya’s attack, Xander said he was sorry for what he did to both Anyas; despite not regretting giving up their wedding neither distancing from her, he recognized he handed the situations badly, abandoning them when they needed him the most.
Anya then turned against D’Hoffryn, granting Buffy a wish to take away the powers she had given him, which was decisive for the Scoobies’ victory. The move, though, proved to be her sacrifice, as D’Hoffryn was able to set her on fire. At her final moments, Anya declared that D’Hoffryn made her and only him could end her, but in between she made herself real. She told Xander he was a good man, that she forgave her, and the original Anya would forgive him too. Her ashes were placed inside an urn, kept at the living room of Spike and Xander’s shared apartment, with her name and the inscription: “She owned her life”.
As a spirit, Anya was able to wore the same dress and pendant, keeping the fashion style of the original Anya in her last years. Corporeal, she still wore the dress, but replaced her accessory into a vengeance demon pendant with the same appearance of the first symbol of Anyanka.
Her hairstyle remained the same from during the original Anya’s death: dark blond, short, and curly; the constancy a contrast to the original Anya’s hairstyle rapid change during life.
In reflection of the original Anya, she demonstrated her blunt interest for sex and dislike for bunnies, remarking a preference for cats. Curiously, Xander said she was “a lot like Anya. But there’s something not quite right. Things with [her] are easier than they ever were with [original] Anya;” he discarded the change in their maturation, but didn’t clarify the exact difference.
Behind the Scenes
- Despite being called “Ghost Anya” by Xander and in promotional material before her true nature was revealed, Anya technically wasn’t a ghost: she wasn’t the spirit from a dead person, but an artificial spirit based on someone else. In the story, she had also remarked disliking the reductive nickname.
- Joss Whedon planned for Anya’s return in the comics to occur in Buffy Season 9, delayed until Buffy Season 10.
- Anya has compared herself to the character Jiminy Cricket, who also acted like a conscience in the animated movie Pinocchio(1940).