He's a frustrating man. Whenever Baiken sees him Anji Mito is wearing that lopsided smile. He knows how clever he is and how much cleverer he has the potential to become. He wears it on his face, a badge of honor.
His unflagging optimism that the truth, when revealed, will bring an end to mankind's history of endless war making is beyond naïve. Baiken's maimed body is proof of that. Because of That Man, whose esteem Anji so desperately wishes to earn, and the Gears, the reapers born of man's attempt to create gods on Earth, Baiken has one unseeing eye and a stump of shoulder where her arm once was that twitches and spasms under her skin to no effect.
Anji grew up in an internment camp which never came under assault and to which the world's remaining nations donate plentiful food, where the drinking water is always clean and pure and where handing down Japanese traditions in danger of becoming extinct is the greatest aspiration of the elders, mastering those traditions the greatest aspiration of youths.
Baiken spies fatuousness in Anji's graceful dance and elegant but devastating Stopping Fans. With his flawless body and performance moves, claiming his nickname is "Glorious" and piping clichés about spirit, guts and burning blood the sole determination of victory or loss he's an affront to the hard life Baiken has pursued since her early, terrible childhood.
Baiken knows that it's tricks, tactics, hard-learned swordsmanship and doing the unexpected that wins against superior numbers or superior firepower. It's recognizing and compensating for weaknesses by subverting what a warrior is incapable of into things impossible for conventional combatants who have no need to strenuously practice esoteric techniques.
She should hate Anji. Not only for flaunting his easy upbringing but for deliberately standing between her and her ultimate goal of taking revenge on That Man for the death of her family. There's no world in which he's earned the right!
She doesn't hate him.
She doesn't even detest him for the way he wastes words and makes games out of serious matters.
It's difficult for her to explain, even in private with a sake bowl or pipe in hand while contemplating the sunset or night sky no answer comes to her.
Is the hope for a future for the Japanese people embodied in a flamboyant, do-as-he-likes dancer? Baiken sees no future for herself. Her purpose is hopelessly anchored in the sediment of years past. Revenge is her calling. Nothing matters but correcting the wrong of That Man outliving his monster, Justice. The future is for others. For Anji. No morning can Baiken awaken to the rising sun without thinking "Another sunrise without new hope. Tonight the sun will set on a world yet crippled by the scars inflicted by the Holy War."
How can those scars be healed by a man unafflicted by the horrors of modern life?
Baiken's a real beauty. When Anji sees her, there's no other woman on the road, or in the room, or in the world. She's the ghost and Goddess of Japan, wandering a lonely road, forgotten by the world carrying tradition at her waist – both her sake jug and her katana; wounded as their country was wounded. Like her ancestral nation, she's crippled but relentlessly persevering.
She's a good woman; a better woman than she thinks. And her looks! They're beyond belief! She doesn't know it, or if she knows it she doesn't care, sitting like a grandfather deep in his cups, slurring "Ore" like a street thug. When she's drunk on sake and tobacco she sprawls with her bare legs exposed, breasts spilling over her obi, almost indecent. She's nothing like the girls he grew up with in the colony. Anji isn't staggered by her indecency. That's part of Japan, too, drink and tobacco and rough, slurred words in privacy.
Anji's sole ambition toward Baiken is to see her smile. It's personal alongside patriotic. Naturally, he's eager to test his Stopping Fans against her, too. It's her hard-enduring strength against his own strict training regimen which has only in the past couple years been practiced against live opponents!
Regardless of that secondary desire, Anji really wishes is that he could give her what she wants: That Man. If she didn't want the one thing that's impossible for him to sacrifice, he'd give her anything else in his power. It's impossible. Without That Man's tutelage he'll never discover what transgression was so heinous that it robbed the world of humanity and all living things' rightful paradise.
The secret isn't in his hands yet. Why would it be? He hasn't proven himself trustworthy. It's enough right now that That Man holds council with him. At those times, despite his powerful self confidence, even Anji Mito feels young and outclassed. Maybe it's really a secret he can't handle without more experience.
What's shocking to him is that Baiken didn't run him through the first time he told her he'd have to stand between her and her revenge. She even acquiesced! Of course, since he provided her with certain vital information he can't help but think she might have gone from being a provisional ally to thinking she should keep her enemies close. It doesn't matter to him either way. Baiken is beyond a doubt someone worth protecting if the time comes she can't protect herself.
Anji has been busy since he became That Man's fourth servant. He likes to think he's more reliable than the others! Because of that, it's becoming more and more difficult to pursue any normal friendships. He's lucky he didn't really have any, but he's afraid if Baiken confronts the other servants of That Man and ends up in over her head he'll be somewhere remote and unable to assist her.
(He's not sure how much aid he'd be against Raven, but he'd do his best regardless of the odds. At least maybe they'd deter him. I-no misbehaves so often he can't figure out how she's useful!)
It's true he thinks of Baiken a lot, whatever far flung places his new duties take him. She's not the kind of woman he's ever considered pursuing. There's nothing demure or traditional about her at all. She's tougher than a Mega Death class Gear! And yet, when he thinks about his future he thinks about Baiken: about bringing the answers to her, putting her grievances to rest and leading her out of her dark, consuming psychological cycle of revenge.
Maybe hand in hand.