A long time ago, in the summer of 2022, when the cast of playable characters from Genshin Impact‘s then yet-to-be-released region of Sumeru leaked, I took one look at the line-up and committed right then and there to pulling just one – Dehya, whose name, rarity, Elemental type, weapon type, skills, and abilities were all unknown to me at the time. She was just a “tall female” character with what looked like cat-ears protruding from her head (we now know that’s just how her hair bunches up in the back), but I knew from the moment I saw her that I would burn through all my hard-earned Primogems for her.
For me, it came down to the fact that Dehya was the first (and for a while the only) character from Sumeru that we knew for sure had brown skin…although brown, in this case, is arguably only relative to the other characters from the region, who have an even more blindingly pale complexion than those from Mondstadt (the region of Teyvat inspired by Renaissance-era Germany). I am sure this came as no surprise to many, but I had not long been playing Genshin Impact at the time of those leaks and when I had inquired as to why there were only two dark-skinned characters in the entire game, I had been assured by other players that “in Sumeru, there will be diversity!”, so I was deeply disappointed to realize that HoYoverse wasn’t even being subtle about their egregious colorism, the use of orientalist stereotypes in their designs, and the general appropriation of SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African) cultures in their worldbuilding. To this day, they have not officially addressed any of these issues, and that is in no small part due to a fandom that aggressively suppressed the backlash with harassment and abuse.
As a result, I have only pulled for a single five-star character from Sumeru – Cyno, who I ought to clarify is probably only brown-skinned by Genshin Impact‘s very low standards. He’s lighter even than Dehya. In my pursuit of Cyno, I successfully obtained several copies of Candace, currently the darkest-skinned of the three non-white playable characters from Sumeru and – by a total coincidence, I’m sure – the only one that’s a common four-star unit obtainable for free through the permanent Standard Banner, immediately making her less desirable to the majority of Genshin‘s player-base due to her lower base stats. But even Candace is light in comparison to Xinyan, a four-star character from Liyue who released near the start of the game (who just so happens to be my Main DPS and the only character I’ve ascended to Level 90).
Well, now the first drip-marketing for Dehya is finally here, and – despite her already being light-skinned, as I mentioned earlier – HoYoverse felt the need to brighten her official artwork to the point where she essentially appears white, although we know for a fact that her in-game character model has a significantly darker skin-tone. I can’t say I’m surprised, because they’ve done this before with Genshin Impact and their other games, but I will never not be disappointed when they attempt to advertise their few brown-skinned characters as lighter-skinned than they are in the hopes that players will be more incentivized to pull for them.
I will not be going over Dehya’s leaked kit and playstyle in detail at this time, as that information is currently subject-to-change anyway. If you’ve played the Sumeru Archon Quest, you already know she wears a Pyro Vision on her belt, and carries a claymore. That’s pretty much all I can say, but I can tell you that the leaks are out there if you want to get a clearer idea of the role Dehya plays for her party and start farming the Ascension Materials she’ll need (not all of which, I will warn you, are yet available to us). If you’ve seen the leaks, I urge you to at least be considerate in the comments below for those who haven’t and don’t wish to be spoiled.
As for Dehya’s role in the story of Genshin Impact, I don’t expect her to have that much lore significance, but that’s not an issue for me. I honestly appreciate that there are smaller-scale character stories woven throughout Genshin Impact that keep us firmly grounded in the human drama unfolding across Teyvat even as the conflict between the gods becomes cosmic in scope. I only hope that Dehya’s Story Quest brings back the fan-favorite NPC Dunyarzad Homayani, Dehya’s employer and closest confidante (and the other half of Dehyarzad, the most popular fan-pairing involving Dehya). Those two had terrific chemistry in all their scenes together, and I need more of their adventures now that Dunyarzad is presumably recovering from the effects of Eleazar and itching to explore the world.
The four-star character set to be released alongside Dehya in Version 3.5 is Mika, a cartographer from Mondstadt whom I’m sure I will obtain several times over despite the visceral loathing I have for his bland design and grating personality (if you don’t recall, we were introduced to Mika in Version 3.1 during a limited-time event, and he was so awe-struck in the protagonist’s presence that he basically hid behind Kaeya the entire time…mind you, this boy is a fully-fledged Knight of Favonius and a member of Grandmaster Varka’s expedition to Snezhnaya who apparently interacted with the high-ranking Fatui Harbinger Capitano). Again, his kit is out there if you want to take a look, but you’ll probably get him through the Standard Banner eventually, whether you want him or not.
So how are we feeling about the drip-marketing for Dehya, and which of these two characters do you intend to add to your team in Version 3.5? Share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!