|(Minor) faction(s)||Empire of the Rising Sun|
|Secondary Ability||Arrow Barrage|
|Mod Relevance||Uprising Unit, Lore|
|Country of Origin||Japan|
|Shin Kyudo Monastery, Hokkaido|
|Key Features|| » Traditional Japanese Greatbow|
» Sturdy bracer-gauntlets
» Multifunction binoculars
» Light kimono for optimal mobility
» Battle standard inspires loyalty
The war took a heavy toll on the Empire of the Rising Sun, even in the days when the Empire's ultimate victory seemed certain. Consequently, by the time the Empire's enemies discovered and began exploiting a particular flaw in the Imperial Grand Stratagem, leaders of the island nation could do little to respond. This flaw, of course, was the Empire's overdependence on new, largely untested antiaircraft technology. Exotic dual-form robot weapons and variable base defences proved somewhat less effective against enemy air forces than the Rising Sun's war ministers promised, and the Allied Nations and Soviet Union were relatively quick to punish the Empire for its hubris. Therefore, by the time the first Imperial archer maiden squad was deemed ready for service, popular consensus both inside and outside the Empire's borders held the effort to be utterly in vain. This type of dismissal only intensified after the first Masamune volunteered.
The women in the ranks of the Archer Maidens are no strangers to loss and dejection, and likely all share a disposition of drawing strength from such negative feelings. Even as their male counterparts' seemingly-limitless spirit finally began to falter in the face of military setback after setback, the Archer Maidens' ranks swelled, and the maidens became emboldened to make some sort of difference... even though hopes for the Empire's inevitable victory by then had turned into a palpable sense of imminent defeat. The question is, then, why did the archer maidens choose to take up arms in the twilight of the war?
The simple answer is these women had nothing left to lose. Their fathers, brothers, and friends had gone off to war. And the elite ranks of the Imperial Rocket Angels would not have them, due to restrictions on age, birthright, physical strength, or any number of other factors. According to the archer maidens' collaboratively-written volume, "Code and Conduct of Shin Kyudo", the maidens formed after two female friends rejected from the Rocket Angel ranks returned to the Angels' training headquarters in Hokkaido with their ancestral bows, intending to shoot the Angels' chiefs from the sky. The women on the ground plainly announced their intentions--this was the only way, they said, to make the Angels admit to their pride and their weakness. The Angels' chiefs obliged this duel, and in the ensuing fight, two women died. One held fast to her bow even in death. The other, an Angel, fell far to the ground with a heavy thud.
The surviving archer was cast from the Angels' headquarters, exonerated for acting vengefully but in a manner consistent with the warrior-virtues of the Empire. The woman swore an oath of celibacy, vowing to dedicate the remainder of her life to the defeat of the Empire's enemies while welcoming like-minded women from across the nation to unite under that common cause. Alone, she restored a run-down old temple in a particularly mountainous region of Hokkaido, and soon began accepting many other women like her into what came to be known as Shin Kyudo Monastery. There the women trained for months in the art of the bow, while leading a strictly ascetic lifestyle. It took only another year or so for the remnants of the Imperial Shogunate to formally recognize the group, if only to promote "traditional" values.
Just before the day when the Archer Maidens were supposed to join the offensive military forces, Crown Prince Tatsu changed his opinion dramatically, and the Shogunate had to follow. He ordered the closure of the Shin Kyudo Monastery, with the opinion young girls should not be forced to observe the cruelties of war like he did. Large protests occurred from the Archer Maiden leaders at first, but since it was the prince himself, it was in the end impossible to question his decision. The women went home afterwards, slightly bitter about his decision, but stayed in contact for the day to come when they were needed. They would train at home, and be ready for the call. So far, the call to span their bows for the Empire never came.
Allied Spies in the meanwhile brought intel about the Maidens, alarming the officials about the Empire’s building up of a new division of soldiers. Analysing the gear of the women, they came to the conclusion the Empire features rather skimpy uniforms. This was later considered as one of the most hilarious (and also quite tragic) misinterpretations of the Allied Central Intelligence Network.
Behind the Scenes Edit
The Archer Maiden, as with any Uprising Unit, will not feature in the game.