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This page is for Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame, the overall main characters of the Touhou franchise.
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    Reimu Hakurei

Shrine Maiden Who Protects Dreams and Tradition
Reimu Hakurei

Shrine Maiden of Paradise
Reimu Hakurei

"I am the shrine maiden of paradise, Reimu Hakurei! I'll protect the Barrier, no matter what! And I'm not gonna let some human die stupidly right in front of me!"

The all-too-familiar shrine maiden of the Hakurei Shrine.

The main protagonist of the Touhou series in general, Reimu is the shrine maiden of the Hakurei Shrine, built on the border of the Great Hakurei Barrier which surrounds Gensokyo. Apart from her traditional miko duties, the Hakurei Shrine Maiden also acts as a sort of sheriff, protecting Gensokyo's native humans by resolving disturbances and "incidents" caused by Youkai. She is the official author of the Spell Card system, a type of Wizard Dueling which allows most such conflicts to end nonlethally, though she does not appear to have been its sole inventor.

Reimu is extremely talented, but hates training and is very lazy. She's a fair, honest person who acts the same way around everyone, regardless of social status and whether they're a friend or enemy. Unfortunately that usually just means she's a cynical jerk to everyone equally. This passive attitude towards monsters doesn't sit well with most of the humans in Gensokyo either, which means her shrine is unpopular and receives few donations.

  • Achievements in Ignorance: Zanmu's plan in Unfinished Dream of All Living Ghost is for Reimu to take on Biten, Enoko, and Chiyari before facing her, but Reimu getting a tip-off from Suika allows her to bypass all of that and face Zanmu directly without any true understanding of what's going on.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Despite all being written by ZUN, each of the official manga often focus on different aspects of Reimu's personality. In Touhou Sangetsusei, she's a laid-back Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass who's often the Straight Man to the Three Fairies' Zany Schemes. In Silent Sinner in Blue, she's "sane" compared to everyone else in Remilia's invasion group. In Wild and Horned Hermit, she's an unintelligent Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist obsessed with get-rich-quick schemes, and in Forbidden Scrollery she's a dedicated Pragmatic Hero who struggles with the weight of her position.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
  • Ambiguously Gay: Some fans believe Reimu's at the very least bisexual because of her flirtatious conversation with Meira in Story of Eastern Wonderland. While that moment could tenuously be interpreted as Reimu mistaking Meira for a man, this is actually pretty unlikely given the full context, especially considering that once Meira clarifies that she is a woman, Reimu's immediate reaction is not to back down, but to make "Meira carries me off" to be her own victory condition.
    Meira: And to make myself perfectly clear, I am a woman!!
    Reimu: So☆ If I win... then
    Yeah, that works for me,
    were there any conditions you wanted to add..?
    Meira: Do you even listen to people talking to you!!?
  • Ambiguous Innocence: Reimu is consistently described as carefree at heart, guileless, and simple in her thinking. She also just plain doesn't see things quite the way everyone else does. It never seems to occur to her that her way of doing things can cause people a lot of unnecessary grief before the resolution, or that what seems straightforward to her might be a mind-bending trick to others, or that her own natural gifts can be an unfair advantage in some things... And as the flip side to her impartial view of others, ZUN says, she's not particularly attached to anyone either; no matter how popular she is, "she's actually alone in her heart."
  • Ancestral Weapon: Reimu's main weapon are the Hakurei Yin-Yang Orbs, which Unconnected Marketeers reveals was originally created by Misumaru.
  • Art Evolution: Reimu's appearance has changed particularly often and dramatically since the start of the series — after all, she's been in all games but two. Most infamous in Mountain of Faith, where an oddly jaundiced skin tone led to the joke that Reimu had become an undead zombie.
  • Badass Normal: While she possesses the powers of channeling gods now, back then in the PC-98 era she had absolutely zero powers and only relied on her giant yin-yang orb (which she used like a soccer ball) and her generic Ofuda; she also had to use her turtle Genji in order to fly. Despite that, she managed to beat, in order of status: A realm-warping human with magical powers, an absurdly powerful evil spiritess who even had Marisa as a henchwoman, the supposedly strongest youkai of all, the angel of death, and a god that creates worlds.
  • Bad Liar: Whenever she tries to lie, it's so painfully, obviously forced that it's practically impossible to not realize it immediately. She is really that incredibly bad of a liar. An excellent example is when she disrupts the meeting in Symposium of Post-Mysticism. She claims it's to protect humans beyond all else, but it does not take long for other elements to slip out—not just her being a Slave to PR, but that she's doing this on behalf of the weaker youkai as well. One can usually see the exact moment she realizes she's been caught in a lie.
  • Barrier Warrior: Only actually seen in the fighting games, but while not at Yukari's level she's pretty good at barrier magic.
  • Being Personal Isn't Professional: It's Reimu's job to exterminate youkai (which she does quite aggressively), but that doesn't mean she dislikes them. She will make half-hearted attempts to stop them from loitering around her shrine, though, as otherwise she would lose the Human Village's trust.
  • Berserk Button: Forbidden Scrollery demonstrates that turning yourself into a youkai is a good way to get yourself exterminated by Reimu. Horrifically literally. She tolerates beings such as magician youkai though, who used to be humans, so presumably what infuriated her was the method of the transformation, or the specific type of youkai. Or alternatively, it could be the fact that it was a human from the village who did this. Like, for instance...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In chapter 25 of Forbidden Scrollery it's revealed that a man from the human village set up an elaborate plan to become a youkai. When Reimu confronts the human-turned-youkai he claims that with his goal accomplished, he intends to live a peaceful life far away from humans, so there's no reason for the "youkai shrine maiden" to pretend to exterminate him. Reimu responds by unflinchingly splitting his head in two with her gohei, killing him, and states that a village human turning into a youkai is "the greatest sin there is".
  • Born Lucky: Reimu is downright notorious for her luck and incredible intuition. It's why her default method of problem-solving seems to be to pick a direction and go, since she'll always manage to end up headed towards the Big Bad eventually.
  • Born Winner: As the Hakurei shrine maiden, she was born with enough raw power to put her head and shoulders above her closest competition despite having never worked for it. In fact, she outright abhors working.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: As noted above. Indeed, fans have noticed that Watatsuki no Yorihime owes her Invincible Villain status to essentially being a version of Reimu who takes everything seriously.
  • Brutal Honesty: The idea of lying often never even comes across Reimu's mind, and she'll bluntly, unabashedly say exactly what she thinks no matter who she's talking to or what the situation. This is in fact one of the major contrasts between her and Marisa - while Marisa will often lie just for the heck of it, Reimu is simply far too honest to even attempt it. Her sheer honesty is one of the reasons that Oni such as Suika and Yuugi take a liking to her, as honesty is a favourable trait to Oni. Parodied in this fan comic.
  • Butt-Monkey: A fair number of manga poke fun at her shrine's lack of visitors, with the bad publicity sometimes coming either from Aya's sketchy journalism or Reimu's own reckless entrepreneurship. Wild and Horned Hermit in its entirety could even be considered a full-blown roast of Reimu's general practices, given how often she makes a fool of herself.
  • Camera Abuse: One of her victory animations in Hopeless Masquerade, Urban Legend in Limbo, and Antinomy of Common Flowers has her throwing a seal at the camera. In Hopeless Masquerade, it reads "No religious solicitation!", while in Urban Legend in Limbo and Antinomy of Common Flowers, it reads "Occult Dispersed!"
  • Canon Immigrant: Reimu's signature attack Fantasy Seal originates from her appearance as a superboss in Magic Pengel; its name is derived from that game's keyword system.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Reimu's values and views of the world are... different from everyone else's, a trait that's frequently brought up both by ZUN and Rinnosuke. This is most often shown by her occasional strange comments and the abnormal conclusions she tends to draw.
  • Colour-Coded Characters: Reimu and Yukari form the "Border team" in Imperishable Night. It's rather convenient that the colors of their outfits correspond to the borders between visible and invisible light.
  • Costume Exaggeration: She wore a realistic Miko outfit in the PC-98 era, but in the Windows era she switched to a more stylized version of a miko's traditional wear.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Her eyes and hair are purple in the PC-98 era.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Almost everyone she defeats tends to end up at her shrine for a wild drinking party. Deconstructed in that Reimu has trouble keeping her new "friends" away, and since officially most of them are enemies of mankind, this leads other humans to distrust her.
  • Demonic Possession: Fell victim to this accidentally by Fujiwara no Mokou in Reisen's story mode, due to the "Perfect Possession" incident.
  • Depending on the Artist:
    • Reimu's hair varies in length and can be either black or brown, while her eyes vary between grey, brown, blue, or red. In the PC-98 games, her hair and eyes were both purple.
    • Her ultimate spell card Fantasy Nature looks different in every appearance, ranging from a Super Mode that grants temporary invincibility + Roboteching attacks (Imperishable Night), to a continuous omnidirectional Magic Missile Storm which must be charged up before use (Scarlet Weather Rhapsody), to a Counter-Attack which traps her opponent inside a barrier that bombards them with Ofuda before exploding (Hopeless Masquerade). Then again, it's less of a technique and more of a state of mind.
  • Depending on the Writer: Her characterization in the manga can fluctuate from series to series, changing how grumpy she is, how tolerant she is of youkai, and how desperate she is to make money.
  • Desperation Attack: In Highly Responsive to Prayers, her bombs can damage bosses when she's out of extra lives.
  • Detect Evil: As shown in Forbidden Scrollery chapter 16, she's able to tell when youkai have been active in an area from their lingering auras.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Reimu's powers seem to be tied to her impressive instincts; some of her most powerful spell cards have her enter a trance where she hands control over to them entirely.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Reimu's Windows appearance first shows up (Alongside Marisa) as the Extra Boss of Shuusou Gyoku's Extra stage; almost a full year before Embodiment of Scarlet Devil came out.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Although some characteristics in Reimu's design aren't consistent, she has purple hair in the PC-98 era. Afterwards, however, she has blackish hair instead.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: As of the Windows canon she's attained the ability to fly and summon gods.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite her notoriously lazy nature, Reimu refuses to abuse Fantasy Nature even though it would make her unstoppable as well as implicitly immortal, treating it as a Dangerous Forbidden Technique and putting a time limit to its use whenever she does perform it. The reason is never given, but it might tie into her ultimate desire to remain relatively normal.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: This little exchange.
    Shou: You're the human who gathered the flying treasure? You look a lot more scrawny than I imagined.
    Reimu: How rude.
    Shou: I'm sorry, you're quite right. I simply thought that if you'd made it this far, maybe you were some sort of ascetic scholar.
  • Face Fault: Has one when talking to Rika in Story of Eastern Wonderland.
  • Famed In-Story: By Unfinished Dream of All Living Ghost Hisami and Zanmu, who normally live in Hell, are aware of Reimu by reputation alone.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Zig-zagged. While she is a youkai exterminator, she'll generally beat down anyone who gets in her way, no matter who or what they are, whether they're human (as Marisa, Sakuya, and Sanae can attest to) or gods (Kanako, Suwako, Hecatia, Okina, Misumaru, and Chimata). And afterwards, she'll sit down and have tea with them without the slightest malevolence whatsoever. Outside of duty, she treats youkai the same way she treats humans, with vague disrespect. ZUN has said that she doesn't particularly care about humans or youkai, and she personally considers everyone the same, neither negatively nor positively. This is supposedly part of why powerful youkai tend to be drawn to her.
    • Wild and Horned Hermit has given a motivation to her "jerkass" behavior. Youkai by definition oppose humanity; and they are opposed by humanity. If they didn't do this, they wouldn't be youkai. (What would happen isn't stated, but it would likely be bad.) Pranks and "youkai extermination", softened by spellcard rules, give some pretense to following this paradigm.
  • Final Boss: She's the last character you fight in the regular final boss's Story Mode of Immaterial and Missing Power, Phantasmagoria of Flower View, Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, Hopeless Masquerade, and Unfinished Dream of All Living Ghost.
  • Flechette Storm: Her main projectile weapons besides her Paper Talismans are long throwing needles. She claims they do less spiritual damage, but have better penetrative power and aren't as affected by wind and rain.
  • Flunky Boss: As the True Final Boss of Hopeless Masquerade. The flunkies being Byakuren and Miko, just to drive the point home how hard it is.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Not shown often, unless you count the whole Defeat Means Friendship routine, but animals seem to really like Reimu. She's been seen feeding wild rabbits by hand, summoning birds with a whistle, and crossing a river without noticing it because fish rose up to form a bridge under her feet.
  • Good is Not Nice: Not nearly as bad as the fans (or Kasen) believe, but when duty calls, she's a bit of a jerk.
  • Guest Fighter: Has made appearances in Seihou, Magic Pengel (as a boss) and Graffiti Kingdom (as a playable character) due to ZUN being involved in their development. She also shows up in the Massive Multiplayer Crossovers Lord Of Vermilion and Nendoroid Generation.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Noted for being equally rude to humans, youkai and gods. She does, however, seem to have a soft spot for children, or at least wants to avoid setting a bad example for them (most notably in her interactions with Kosuzu). And then there's whatever's going on between her and Marisa...
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power:
    • Reimu's ability is the power to float in the sky, which every girl in the series is capable of doing already. Except then you reach Fantasy Nature. ZUN's description: "Supreme Master-Art. With Reimu's ability to float, she floats away from physical reality and becomes invincible. If it wasn't just for play (with time limit), no one could beat her by any method". She can't be hurt, and the only way to win is to wait for her timer to run out while she's free to bombard her opponent at her leisure.
    • One of the laughably mundane "powers" of the Hakurei Yin-Yang Orb—the power to eat sweets and never get fat—is believed to give her the smallest hitbox.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Marisa. Hard to see it in the games, because Reimu and Marisa are mutually exclusive characters, but the two are practically inseparable in the official print works.
  • Hime Cut: As a miko, her traditional haircut is sharply cut bangs with long sideburns. She's depicted with a lot of different hairstyles throughout the series (from shoulder- to waist-length, with or without a ponytail, with or without hair tubes), but the early games and ZUN's art leans towards this more often than not.
  • Holy Burns Evil: The Yin-Yang Orbs. Before Reimu was able to use their powers properly, she exploited this trope by physically kicking them at enemies.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Post PC-98, Reimu is a walking one due to her holy powers. Implied to come with the territory of being the Hakurei Shrine Maiden.
  • Homing Projectile: Her signature ability in most games.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The Yin-Yang Orb in Highly Responsive to Prayers, when it was used as a bludgeoning weapon and not an orbiting Attack Drone. One of her moves in the fighting games gives a nod to this.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal:
    • Played straight in the games, she can fire hundreds if not thousands of ofuda and sealing needles over the course of a given incident and never run out.
    • Averted in Wild and Horned Hermit chapter 27 due to Gameplay and Story Segregation: Reimu's stock of needles is small and they have become bent and rusted from overuse, forcing her to have them repaired.
  • Hyperspace Holmes Hat: A common gag for Reimu in the manga.
  • Idiot Ball: Grabs it in Wild and Horned Hermit, Chapter 35. After running around the entire day investigating the mysterious disappearances and reapparances, she eventually fingers Yukari as the apparent culprit. While the truth is more complicated than that, in-universe she chides herself for not seeing the obvious clues from the start.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: When she breaks up the gathering in Symposium of Post-Mysticism, she brings as evidence of the problematic nature of youkai some newspaper articles. Very few of which suggest anything baleful, no matter how much she fears Aya might have downplayed them—and how can anyone claim Kyouko and Mystia were guilty of anything worse than disturbing the peace? What many of them are is strange. Add in her equivalent of Hair-Trigger Temper whenever an incident manifests, and it's strongly suggested that she (and more than a few other humans) desperately want life to be predictable. She's just ensuring it. Her irritated comment about how the outside world must be barbaric in her B Extra Stage in Double Dealing Character—just from Raiko commenting on how taiko drummers prize unthinking enthusiasm—further seals it in.
    • It probably doesn't help that in traditional Shinto thought, misfortune presupposes impurity of some sort. A world with strange, startling occurrences, or otherwise not placidly predictable, is thus, by definition, defiled by something. The disturbing the peace from Kyouko and Mystia's new band? Chimeric because it jars others' routines.
    • In a way, this serves to further differentiate her from Marisa.
  • Improbable Weapon User: In the fighting games and in Double Dealing Character she can use her gohei as a melee weapon.
  • Intangibility: When using her Last Word from Imperishable Night, Fantasy Nature, she actually temporarily flies away from reality.
  • Irony: And quite a bit of it:
    • Even though Reimu is Gensokyo's main youkai-exterminator, her shrine is often regarded as a "youkai shrine" that is often plagued with youkai, something that often prevents her from getting donations. While this is mostly exaggerated by the human villagers and others, the shrine is home to Shinmyoumaru Sukuna, who tried to start an incident (though it could be argued it was as much for her own protection, and she became friendly as a result of being given food and shelter), Aunn Komano, a komainu-turned-youkai (though she's also friendly), and 4 fairy pranksters: the Three Fairies of Light (who live in a Mongolian Oak directly on the border behind the shrine) and Clownpiece the hell fairy (who lives directly under the shrine). Suika Ibuki, a perpetually drunk oni, also lived with her for a while before moving into Bhava-Agra.
    • While she isn't the type of person one can befriend easily, a combination of Defeat Means Friendship and Opposites Attract make her attractive, in a non-romantic sense, to strong/friendly youkai, particularly those who have served as either the Final Boss or Superboss of a Touhou game. The best examples of this in action are Remilia Scarlet, Touhou's first Windows-era final boss and partly the reason why the Spell Card System was first created, Yukari Yakumo, Reimu's on-and-off mentor/employer and occasional Mysterious Backer, and the aforementioned Three Fairies of Light, who were initially nuisances but after invoking Defeat Means Friendship (by getting instantly destroyed by her) are now on much better terms despite their pranks.
    • Despite being a miko, her powers and way of thinking are far more Taoist than Shinto (coming particularly close to the Taoist ideal of wei wu wei), to the point where she's been compared to a hermit. She possibly acts more Taoist than the actual hermits introduced in Ten Desires, who only achieved their status through Soul Jars (and one of whom has Shinto-based powers). Her use of yin-yang-themed weapons doesn't help.
  • Jack of All Stats: Her attack and speed are just barely adequate, and she has no real glaring flaws, as far as standard gameplay goes. Her attacks are highly flexible and she's good for just about any situation. Reimu A is usually a homing type, and sacrifices power for range and accuracy. Reimu B is usually the forward-focus type, similar to Marisa's gameplay, but not quite as strong; in exchange, her attacks have a wider range, making it easier for her to hit the targets. Finally, she consistently has the smallest hitbox and longest deathbomb period, making her ideal for survival play.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She beats up youkai she suspects of stealing, fights and insults multiple characters solely because they annoyed her, and even fights Byakuren out of sheer annoyance. Also, Kogasa lampshades the "Jerk" part once. However, she does have her nicer moments. Also, Symposium of Post-Mysticism reveals through Miko that despite how she acts, she truly desires a peace that doesn't require violence.
  • Leitmotif: She has a couple, but "Maiden's Capriccio" (and its remix "Maiden's Capriccio ~ Dream Battle") is her most iconic.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In the final story of Urban Legend in Limbo, upon realizing that Sumireko is being used by Lunarians, she discards her usual attitude and becomes really pro-active, going straight after Sumireko with little patience to anyone else getting her way. ZUN even compares it as her overcoming her "final boss" side and showing her true character.
  • Light 'em Up: Her signature attack Fantasy Seal creates large balls of light around her in different colours, which then home in on enemies and explode.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Can pull this off by firings loads of Ofuda.
  • Meaningful Name: "Reimu" can be interpreted to mean "prophetic dream".
  • Miko: She lives and works as one at a traditional Shinto shrine, and in the PC-98 games she wore a traditional miko's outfit (white haori, red hakama). In the Windows games she wears a much more customized and non-standard outfit, though it still keeps the traditional red and white colours. Job-wise, she has all the usual duties a real miko would have (keeping the shrine clean, collecting donations, etc.) while also dealing with incidents.
  • Mood-Swinger:
    • Tends towards this in her off-hours, having a tendency to switch from placid to irritated at the drop of a hat. When she's actually trying to seem professional she can come across as outright Tsundere.
    • According to Reisen in Phantasmagoria of Flower View, people with short wavelengths to their personality are energetic while those with long wavelengths are carefree. She describes Reimu's as alternating between the two extremes, "a voice that matches with no one and clashes with no one".
    • Played for Laughs in a chapter of Wild and Horned Hermit set during the events of Hopeless Masquerade, where a kappa is taking bets on a duel between Reimu and Byakuren. Kasen enthusiastically cheers an embarassed Reimu on... while betting against her.
      Kasen: "Reimu always screws up when she gets cocky.[...]There's no safer bet anywhere."
  • Ms. Vice Girl: Lazy and greedy, but ultimately a good person who's devoted to her job.
    Komachi: "That shrine maiden didn't have any evil thoughts to begin with. [...] Just about all humans have that level of worldly desires. Working hard despite that amount of desire isn't evil, it's innocent. Among the innocent ones, you get people like that shrine maiden."
  • Mythology Gag: In the Fighting Game spin-offs, a portion of Reimu's moveset is taken from Highly Responsive to Prayers.
  • Near-Death Experience: Nearly dies after eating some spoiled leftovers in Wild and Hornet Hermit. Her soul even ends up in Shigan briefly before returning to life.
  • Ninja Log: Reimu's Instant Dimensional Rift skill in Hisoutensoku switches her with a double that explodes into a shower of damaging Ofuda if struck.
  • Not So Invincible After All: While Reimu is considered the strongest human in Gensokyo, she has racked up some losses:
    • In Silent Sinner in Blue, she gets defeated for perhaps the first time in-canon by Watatsuki no Yorihime, who interpreted her presence on the moon as an invasion.
    • She canonically loses to both Yuuma and Flandre in Gouyoku Ibun and Marisa in 100th Black Market
    • She loses to Zanmu in Unfinished Dream of All Living Ghost after she refuses Zanmu's plan and the latter decides to "stop letting her win".
  • Nun Too Holy: While she's a Miko who defers to gods and treats youkai as enemies, she only does so because it's her job; she doesn't discriminate by such things personally. As multiple characters have commented, Reimu's attitude would be great for a hermit (in the Taoist sense) but doesn't really fit a shrine maiden. She also has some gaps in her training, to the point where she didn't know until Double Dealing Character that tsukumogami should receive prayers to becalm them, and she doesn't even know what god she's serving. Part of this may be due to Yukari's influence.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Kosuzu goes missing in the middle of a storm during the "Let's Not Go Out On Purple Days" storyline, Reimu is uncharacteristically serious and starts acting like herself during an Incident. After learning that Kosuzu went missing because she was heading to the Shrine, Reimu asks the gods to help her find Kosuzu, something that Reimu almost never does. More seriously Marisa discovers Reimu as she was about to attack Youkai Mountain by herself, and barely stops Reimu by physically dragging her off as she's readying her weapon to fight Aya.
  • Opposites Attract: Reimu is rather serious by Gensokyo standards and has no tolerance for mischief, yet her closest friends tend to be extra-strength weird, such as the maniacal Marisa, the gregarious Suika, the whimsical Yukari, or the erratic Aya. Topping all of them except Yukari would be Remilia, who swings between serious Noble Demon and childish little girl.
  • Paper Talisman: Her main weapon, usually thrown as Homing Projectiles. Depending on the Artist, the only thing Reimu writes on her ofuda is 大入note  - Marisa suggests that this was intended as some kind of trap, but can't understand why Reimu's ofuda still work when she does this.
  • Parental Abandonment: Despite the importance of her bloodline, it's unknown exactly what happened to the rest of the Hakurei clan, just that Reimu has been living alone for as long as we've seen. In Curiosities of Lotus Asia, Marisa outright says that Reimu is an orphan.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Reimu doesn't get donations, and the Hakurei Shrine is often described as "shabby-looking", though she has no problems providing for herself. Apparently Yukari secretly provides some food donations.
  • Personality Powers:
    • Reimu is rather distant from other humans (both socially and in her level of ability); she fittingly has two powers which make her "untouchable". Her ability to float matches her habit of drifting from one emotion or idea to another without being truly attached to them, while her "treat everyone the same" attitude and concern with maintaining the balance likewise fit her use of yin-yang-themed weapons.
    • Her disposition fittingly manifests as sunny weather in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody. Bright and pure, but easily obscured by anything that passes.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • In contrast to her infamous attitude during incidents, in a chapter of Touhou Sangetsusei she kindly warns a fairy (who resembles Daiyousei) to find shelter before she gets blown away by the upcoming storm. Later on she even allows them to stay near the shrine.
    • During Touhou Bougetsushou when an injured "Earth" rabbit comes by the shrine she takes care of her and even (grumpily) informs Eientei of what happened.
    • Letting Shinmyoumaru stay with her after the events of Double Dealing Character until the Lucky Mallet recharges, and actually treating her quite well.
    • During Symposium of Post-Mysticism she breaks apart the meeting not just because the villagers were asking/nagging her to, but because the weaker youkai were afraid of some of Gensokyo's most powerful political entities all being together in one place.
    • In Lotus Eaters she chooses to let a wayward otter spirit stay in Gensokyo rather than forcibly send it back to the Animal Realm.
  • Portal Cut: Basically how her Occult Last Word seems to work in Urban Legend in Limbo, creating a "gap" in her opponent by slashing them with her gohei.
  • Pre-Final Boss: She's the penultimate boss of Flandre's Gouyoku Ibun scenario if going down the C4 route, making her effectively one for the entire game.
  • Punch-Clock Hero: Reimu tends to only get involved in incidents out of duty, rather than out of an actual desire to help others. While she's not completely selfish, she's also far from an ideal heroine.
  • Purple Is Powerful: She plays this straight in the PC-98 era via being a powerhouse with purple hair and eyes.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Her actual eye colors aren't consistent, even in official works, but they are sometimes drawn red. If you are a Youkai, and you start causing trouble when her eyes have been drawn red, this certainly applies.
  • Resigned to the Call: A bit hypocritical about it though, in that while she'll complain about there being an incident to solve and handle it begrudgingly, she'll get bored if there aren't any incidents for her to resolve.
  • Roundhouse Kick: In the fighting games, her Ascension Kick is a backflipping vertical roundhouse which sends enemies flying upwards. She also has a Hurricane Kick upgrade Divine Arts "Sky-Conquering Wind God Kick".
  • Running Gag: In the manga a common running gag is Reimu's ignorance when it comes to subjects pertaining to the outside world. For instance, in Forbidden Scrollery when Mamizou tells a ghost story about a car with GPS, Reimu imagines a street cart being led by a spirit.
  • Sarashi: It's rarely seen, but she wears wrappings underneath her clothes.
  • Shout-Out: Reimu's infamous Last Word "Fantasy Nature"note  is a homonym to Kenshiro's Musou Tensei of Fist of the North Star. In Hisoutensoku, using said spell card under certain conditions even causes a Fatal KO remix of Reimu's theme, "Mystic Oriental Love Consulation", to override the current music. For bonus points, if the opponent is stupid enough to actually let it activate, only a couple of characters even have the capability of dodging it long enough to avoid instant death without haxing off borders, and only one can counter it. You are already dead indeed!
  • Signature Headgear: She's well known for her large red-and-white bow and her "hair tubes". While her design has gone through several changes over the years and she'll sometimes be drawn without the hair tubes, she's worn the bow since the very first game in the series.
  • Signature Move: Her Spirit Sign "Fantasy Seal" spell card, which has her send homing, multicolored balls of light at any and every opponent. Also "Fantasy Nature" - a Finishing Move which is an expression of Reimu's nature and can't be used by anyone else, though its effect varies heavily between appearances.
  • Slave to PR: Later works have also started to emphasize the pressure she feels from the human village - most humans cannot accept the idea of a shrine maiden associating with youkai, and either don't know or don't care about the times she has protected them in the past. In Forbidden Scrollery it reaches the point where Reimu can't point out a disguised Mamizou even to foil her current scheme, since she'd have to reveal she knows her. Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom reveals that Reimu's "youkai shrine maiden" reputation has even spread to the Moon!
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: In Hopeless Masquerade she can create barriers in midair and kick off them to launch herself at enemies.
  • Superboss: The last extra boss of Shuusou Gyoku, the first game of Touhou's sister series, Seihou. She also shows up in Magic Pengel.
  • Teleport Spam: One of the many applications of her power is to allow her to teleport short distances, often in rapid succsesion. Initially she needed the help of Yukari to pull it of but eventually learned to do it herself.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Subverted, one can think this is the case due to the Spellcard Rules, but they are only in place to maintain Gensokyo's balance in the general sense, not in the individual sense. In fact she is not above "needless" killing, and she will if she finds reason to. The Jinyou from Forbidden Scrollery made the mistake of thinking she was under this rule, and it cost him dearly.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: She's simultaneously the tomboy to Yukari's girly girl, and the girly girl to Marisa's tomboy.
  • True Neutral:invoked In Gensokyo's political climate she is supposed to be of neutral standing. Aya takes advantage of this in Forbidden Scrollery, forcing Reimu's back against a wall and thus allowing the tengu to use Suzunaan as a means to spread their newspapers.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Her portrayals in Wild and Horned Hermit tend to show her as a greedy blowhard whose get-rich-quick schemes tend to blow up in her face.
  • Vague Age: Information provided in print works and the passage of seasons in the games suggest that at least six years have passed between The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and Hisoutensoku, so Reimu should probably be over 20 years old by now — more if the PC-98 games still count. However, official artwork usually depicts her as looking somewhere in her teens. For what it's worth, the publishers of the official comics can get away with showing her drinking alcohol fairly often, so it's plausible that she's "officially" in her twenties.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: Reimu's ultimate technique Fantasy Nature simply turns her natural ability to go with the flow up to eleven for a few minutes, to the point where her projectiles aim themselves and any attack passes through her without harm.
  • Wrap Around:
    • Her entire gimmick for her boss fight in Imperishable Night. For her spell cards, she creates borders around and inside the battlefield to shoot danmaku through. Those shots will eventually reach around to aim at the player character from various directions. Her last spells involve flying off one end of the screen and coming out of the other while shooting at you.
    • Her support power for her A type shot in Subterranean Animism, since Yukari is her partner.
    • Her gimmick in Hopeless Masquerade, where performing a backdash while up against either side of the stage will allow Reimu to move to the opposite corner.
  • Your Size May Vary: Not herself, but her gohei, which is shown to be wildly different lengths across the title screens of several games. In the title screen of EoSD, it's about the size of her hand, while in those of SoEW and WBaWC, it's longer than she is tall.
  • Zigzag Paper Tassel: She wields a gohei (as is typical of miko), which has two of these attached to it.

    Marisa Kirisame

A Being of Magic and Red Dreams
Marisa Kirisame

Ordinary Black Magician
Marisa Kirisame

"Move and I'll shoot!! I messed up. I mean, shoot and I'll move. In a flash."

An ordinary magician living in Gensokyo. She has a mania for collecting things.

A magician who lives in the Forest of Magic, Marisa first appeared as the Stage 4 boss of Story of Eastern Wonderland and became a playable character in every game afterwards, eventually becoming the secondary protagonist of the Touhou series. In the Windows games Marisa is established as Reimu's best friend and Friendly Rival, with the two being inseparable in the manga. In contrast to Reimu, who was strong from the day she was born, Marisa is a completely normal human with no innate supernatural abilities... not that she let that slow her down. Nowadays she takes pride in her status as an "Ordinary Magician" who earned her spot in Gensokyo's list of notables through nothing but persistence and hard work.

Marisa is rude, loud-mouthed, and a notorious liar and thief, but also a very straightforward person. Despite her rough edges, between her and Reimu she's portrayed as the friendlier and more sociable main character, with enough connections in town and elsewhere to always know the latest gossip. She is also more sentimental than Reimu, and tends to worry more actively about the safety of the human village even if she doesn't admit it. Due to the amount of research and experimentation required for her spells, she can be surprisingly knowledgeable about science and magical substances (albeit as a resident of Gensokyo, her understanding of Outside World science tends to be distorted at best).

  • Acquired Poison Immunity:
    • In Wild and Horned Hermit Marisa ignores a sign warning of toxic fumes, since she's been exposed to so many poisonous substances as part of her research. It's implied that she's even become resistant to mercury poisoning in this way.
    • Her response in Chapter 33 when Kasen notes that the false morel Marisa mentions as an excellent magical ingredient is poisonous?:note 
      Marisa: Sure, it's poisonous. Still edible, though.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Touhou 18.5 has Marisa as the sole playable character. It also confirms her as the canonical heroine in Unconnected Marketeers; and gives Marisa her first canonical victory over Reimu.
  • All Witches Have Cats: While she doesn't have a cat, her apron in Wily Beast and Weakest Creature has a small silhouette of one in the corner.
  • Always Second Best: Next to Reimu. In fact, Marisa has admitted several times that she is the second-best in Gensokyo, a fact she seems to, surprisingly, hold pride in. Given that Reimu can and, canonically, has kicked everyone's ass there, Marisa's pride is probably justified.
    • Marisa finally gets a canonical victory over Reimu in 100th Black Market.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Mini-Hakkero, a pocket-sized octagonal magical furnace which Marisa uses for many things... including her Master Spark.
  • Ascended Extra: After her initial appearance as a villainous minion with no real backstory or motivation, she went on to become the second main character of the series.
  • Ass Kicks You: An attack in the fighting games, known as the "Flying Doombutt" for its surprisingly high damage and range. As it makes Marisa immune to projectiles, it has given rise to an obscure meme known as Marisa's Bulletproof Bloomers.
  • Audience Surrogate: In her profile in Strange Creators of Outer World, ZUN explicitly calls her "the player/reader stand-in character" in the series, since her presence allows him to explain things that he couldn't/wouldn't if Reimu were the sole protagonist. He credits this to her straightforward nature, saying it makes her easy to understand but at the same time occasionally makes her "un-Touhou-like".
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • Despite her apparent unconcern for obtaining anything honestly, all of her abilities were gained by either studying the necessary magical texts or inventing them herself. Although considering The Grimoire of Marisa, and the fact that Reimu assumes that she's looking to steal someone's magic when Marisa is trying to exterminate whatever is living in the Three Fairies of Light's house, it's fair to say that she does at least get her inspiration from other people.
    • Doujins and fanvids take this further: one common and recurring storyline is her finding the secret to Alice's dolls, only for it to blow up in an accident. She didn't just steal the spellcards; she's practically remaking them. This justifies how she learned Master Spark from Yuka, and how she got the Non-Directional Laser from Patchouli and used them in later games.
  • Badass Normal: At least by Gensokyo's standards. While yes, she is a powerful magic user - making "normal" a bit of a misnomer - this means very little in the setting, where almost everybody who is anybody is a powerful magical being or has signature magical abilities unique to them. For instance, her fellow main protagonist Reimu has unique powers through her bloodline as a Hakurei Miko, with the very survival of Gensokyo hinging on her existence. She boasts amazing powers without having to work much for them and can phase out of reality to become completely unbeatable by conventional means. Sanae, another recurring playable character, is the child of a deity and something of a living goddess herself. Marisa, meanwhile, is an average human with no special talent, no Chosen One status, no signature skill other than "using magic" (again, in a setting where basically everyone does), nothing to really set her apart - she learned magic solely through hard work and determination and she's proud of it, boldly proclaiming herself to be an "Ordinary Magician".
  • Bad Liar: There are times Marisa lies to someone which doesn't fool them. For instance, she lies to Flandre in Embodiment of the Scarlet Devil that she was Reimu. Flandre clearly didn't fall for it.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: She's very loud and proud of her status as a self-made magician despite being a mere human, but it's something she only achieved after putting in considerable effort. In truth she actually studies day in and day out on how to keep getting stronger, and goes to great lengths to never show how hard she's actually worked to others.
  • Black Magician Girl: Specializes in offensive magic.
  • Blood Knight: Marisa enjoys beating people up a bit too much. Although her true love has always been kleptomania.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Nearly the entire Alice scenario in Subterranean Animism. Oddly enough, however, they're treating the game as an RPG. In The Story of Eastern Wonderland Marisa is aware of how many continues you used, and in the trial version informs Reimu that the game ends on the third stage.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": In Undefined Fantastic Object, Marisa's apron has a noticeable "M" stitched on it.
  • Brutal Honesty: Unless she's trying to cover up The Masquerade, Marisa is actually even more outspoken in her honesty than Reimu is, mythomania not withstanding. According to ZUN himself, this makes Marisa a very bothersome character to write for since her lack of concern for common social etiquette and readiness to just plain say things outright makes her very "un-Touhou like."
  • Camping a Crapper: Invoked with her last word in Urban Legend in Limbo where she slams her opponent to a bathroom stall from where Hanako-san grabs the victim and pulls them in.
  • The Charmer: How she performs her infamous bookthefts from the SDM: She goes there acting like she's doing a friendly visit, and is charismatic enough most of the residents let it slide or actually hide her from Patchouli.
  • Composite Character: Spell attacks and books aren't the only things she's stolen from people. In the transition from PC-98 to Windows, she's picked up Mima's habit of lying and her general personality, Chiyuri's speech patterns and Ellen's 2P costumenote .
  • Consummate Liar: When she's not this, she's either being a Bad Liar or engaging in Blatant Lies. When the judge of the dead tells you that you're going to hell for lying too much and your immediate response is that you've never told a single lie in your life, you just might have a problem.
  • Cool Big Sis: Acts as one to the fairies, as highlighted through Sangetsusei. Ironically, she's actually younger than them by quite a significant amount, but fairies in Touhou's nature as effectively eternal children means Marisa pretty much always takes the role of the more mature one whenever they're hanging out.
  • Curtains Match the Window: In her debut, she has red eyes and red hair. In her other appearances, however, she has blonde hair and yellow eyes instead.
  • Cute Witch: Self-styled as such.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: She's heroic and wears dark-colored clothing.
  • Depending on the Writer: The finer details of her characterization tend to be different in the various manga. Wild and Horned Hermit emphasizes her kinder side, as she's often more affable and cheery, bordering on Genki Girl at times. Forbidden Scrollery, on the other hand, has her lean more into Deadpan Snarker and emphasizes the Jerk with a Heart of Gold side of her.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Compared to Reimu, though games with more than two player characters sometimes have more extreme examples.
  • The Ditherer: It's not always obvious due to her being a Consummate Liar, but Marisa has issues with long-term commitment. This can be seen in things like her running away from home to set up a "magic shop" in the middle of nowhere, her desire to become immortal but reluctance to use any of the methods she knows of, and her half-hearted attempt at invoking Kanako in one of the endings of Mountain of Faith. In Hidden Star in Four Seasons she even admits privately that the idea of becoming Okina's servant sounds interesting, but she doesn't have the courage to give up her current lifestyle.
  • Does Not Like Magic: No, not Marisa herself. Despite this being a setting in which most characters can use magic, her father refuses to keep magic items at his shop and there's implied to be a wedge between them. Marisa considers it a private matter, so the exact details have never been explained.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: For her final attack phase in Shuusou Gyoku.
  • The Dragon: To Mima in Story of Eastern Wonderland, where she stands in Reimu's way before she can face Mima. While Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream is a free-for-all and that naturally includes Marisa fighting Mima, she's implied to still be this, as Mima tells her to train harder in her victory quote. This aspect of her is dropped from Lotus Land Story onwards where she starts operating on her own.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: While some aspects of her design are inconsistent, she has red eyes and red hair in her debut. However, she has yellow eyes and blonde hair elsewhere. This was eventually reversed starting around 100th Black Market, and since then she has had red eyes again in Unfinished Dream of All Living Ghost and later covers of Lotus Eaters.
  • Edible Ammunition: The projectiles in her Stardust Reverie spell card might be some kind of candy (likely konpeitō), as we learn in Silent Sinner in Blue. During the futile series of battles on the moon, Yorihime nonchalantly dodges Marisa's star bits and even takes a bite out of one, noticing their sweet taste.
  • Energy Weapon: Both Master Spark and the mini-ones. Fanon says she copied this from Patchouli.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite her lack of integrity in... literally everything else, Marisa's surprisingly forthright when it comes to her job, only taking payments for a successful work done and refusing otherwise.
  • Evil Redhead: In her original appearance in Story of Eastern Wonderland, she has red hair and serves as Mima's henchwoman. Her hair was changed to blonde in the next game, though.
  • Face Fault: She does a bunch of these in the print works, usually whenever she finds out Reimu's done something silly again. She and Reimu share a few in Forbidden Scrollery.
  • Flying Broomstick: Almost always shown riding her broomstick in the games. Oddly, she uses it for attacking but not for flight in the fighting games (though this was changed in Hopeless Masquerade, where fights take place entirely in mid-air). Word of God states that she rides the broom because she feels it's essential for a magician, in Lotus Eaters Marisa implies that she can't fly without it, since she's shown to be envious of Reimu's ability to effortlessly fly over a crevasse while she has to climb since she left her broom behind; however, this contradicts with Great Fairy Wars, where she does fly without a broom, this being her only aversion of the trope outside of her boss appearances in the PC-98 games (where she either flies atop a big flower, or with illusionary wings).
  • Foil: While she's most obviously one for Reimu, she also has the interesting talent of being the opposite of pretty much anyone she's paired up with. She can even play both The Straight Man And The Wise Guy with equal ease, depending who she's talking to.
  • Four Is Death: If Marisa is a boss in the game, she will always be the fourth boss in the game, and always rather tough. In addition, she is different in nature every time. In Story of Eastern Wonderland, she is also the Penultimate Boss; in Lotus Land Story, she is a normal boss. In Imperishable Night, she is also a midboss, and in Great Fairy Wars, which only has three stages, she is the Extra Boss, making her, again, the 4th boss in the story.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The plot of her A path in Double Dealing Character emphasizes just how powerful her bewitched mini-hakkero is... but the flamethrower is weaker than her alternative shot, and Dark Spark is exactly the same as Master Spark used to be. Particularly egregious because in the same game, not using it makes her shot type the most powerful in the game.
  • Genre Savvy: Sometimes the wrong genre, like the Alice scenario in Subterranean Animism where she treats her adventure in Former Hell like it's an RPG instead of a Bullet Hell game.
    • She doesn't even bother asking more than one question to Yuugi, figuring that as a city NPC, she'll pull a Welcome to Corneria on her.
  • Glass Cannon: She often has high firepower and speed compared to other characters in the Windows danmaku games. Of course, as with any other Touhou character, she'll instantly die if just one bullet touches her hitbox.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Despite her eyes not being green, some works hint that she was (is?) jealous over how Reimu never had to expend any effort to become strong while she had to work hard to even reach her level, and in Antimony of Common Flowers her Dream World self (which states your true feelings) reveals that she secretly resents how Reimu and Yukari are always the ones saving the day and not her.
  • Guest Fighter: Shows up alongside Reimu in Seihou and Nendoroid Generation.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works:
    • Played straight when compared to Reimu, but she's still extremely powerful thanks to her training, quite possibly the next strongest human in all of Gensokyo.
    • In Symposium of Post-Mysticism, Byakuren explains the Six Buddhist Perfections. Marisa dismisses the first two (Generosity and Discipline) but...
      Byakuren: "Forbearance" is to withstand humiliation or pain from others. "Diligence" is the effort exerted to continue training.
      Marisa: Everyone does that, not like you have a choice.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Reimu. While they seem to work alone in the games (or as momentary opponents), in the official print works, it's rare to see one without the other. The Hakurei Shrine is essentially Marisa's second home with how often she sleeps over.
  • Hihi'irokane: According to Curiosities of Lotus Asia, the mini-Hakkero is partially made out of the material.
  • Home-Run Hitter: Her last word in Urban Legend in Limbo has her spin around before smacking her opponent with her broom, sending them flying into a toilet, where several demonic arms grab the victim.
  • I Let You Win: Sort of. She goes easy on Cirno during the extra stage of Fairy Wars, using variant lasers that don't actually kill her, instead chipping away at her motivation gauge. However, multiple times during the battle, she finds that Cirno is stronger than she thought, and so steps up the complexity of her attacks. At the end, she thinks that Cirno might have been a problem even if she was going all out, and the effort from the battle is still enough that she has to go home and lie down afterwards. On the other hand, it's Cirno rather than Marisa who gets a "beaten up" portrait after the fight.
  • Immortality Seeker: On-and-off, since old age is still a fairly distant concern for her. While there are theoretically a few methods open to Marisa, she's yet to find one she likes enough to commit to:
    • The standard route of becoming a youkai magician would mean giving up her humanity. Not only would this affect her personality, Marisa is proud of her underdog status compared to youkai. There is also the way Reimu reacts to Humans-Turned Youkai in Forbidden Scrollery; specifically killing them that means Marisa would certainly have to surpass Reimu before even attempting this; as Reimu would likely try and kill her for such an action.
    • Becoming a Hourai immortal would require the disturbing act of cutting open an existing immortal and eating their liver (possibly against their will). The process is also completely irreversible, meaning that she wouldn't be able to die even if she later wanted to.
    • Becoming a hermit requires devotion to Taoism (and/or a dangerous Soul Jar ritual), and Marisa has little interest in religion.
  • Insistent Terminology: She's not stealing! She's just borrowing stuff until she dies! (Of course, that's not mentioning the fact that she's also looking for a way to be immortal...)
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Subtle example. While she's proud of her Always Second Best status, canon occasionally hints at her insecurities about it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Her motivations in resolving the incidents vary from simply wanting to loot the mansions she visits, to being bribed to solve the incident (Imperishable Night), to just having nothing else to do at the time. In Undefined Fantastic Object, however, she raises the fair point of humans being unprotected from youkai to Byakuren. On the minus side, she's rude, condescending, arrogant, and a notorious thief; on the plus side, she's hardworking, straightforward, and has Chronic Hero Syndrome (although mostly, she solves incidents just to beat Reimu to it).
    • In some of the later games, like Subterranean Animism, Hopeless Masquerade, and Double-Dealing Character (Scenario B), she publicly acts like a jerk that solves incidents for wholly selfish reasons, but in private moments, it is revealed that she does care about the well-being of Gensokyo and its people when she sets out to solve an incident. In her Subterranean Animism Alice scenario, she says she wants to make the incident worse to spite Alice for stringing her along without explanation, but when Satori reads her mind, she reveals that she's actually just as concerned about the incident as Alice. In Hopeless Masquerade, she shows deep concern for the people in town when nobody's looking, but once the cause of the incident shows up, she goes back to being her usual rowdy, snarky self. In Ten Desires, she even downplays her skills and abilities, insisting with a sincere face that she is entirely ordinary, while Seiga insists that she must be someone special to make it as far as she has. Marisa responds by changing her title to "Amazingly Ordinary Magician."
  • Jumped at the Call: In contrast to Reimu, though mostly it's only because she either wants to beat her rival to the punch or she sees some sort of gain to be had from resolving an incident.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: One of her attacks in the fighting games.
  • Kill It with Fire: Adapts that mindset in her A path of Double Dealing Character, due to her possessed hakkero messing with her head.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Marisa is well known for her hoarding and stealing tendencies. In fact, her desire to collect all the ability cards is explicitly stated to be her motivation for getting involved in Unconnected Marketeers and 100th Black Market.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Mild example. Marisa is a lot more physically fit than most spellcasters of the setting, and in the fighting games she has a larger number of physical attacks than fellow magicians Alice and Patchouli. Even in the Bullet Hell games she has some attacks where she tries to ram into her opponent on her broom.
  • Leitmotif: More so than any other character. Marisa has seven themes so far with "Love-Colored Magic" / "Love-Colored Master Spark" being the most recognisable.
  • Lethal Chef: In Wild and Horned Hermit Chapter 34, Marisa decides to cook a meal for Reimu to cheer her up. But unfortunately for Reimu, Marisa's cooking skills are exotic, and her palate even more so due to shameless exploitation of her aforementioned Acquired Poison Immunity. One of her main dishes is a Hemlock Salad (aka the poisonous plant used to kill Socrates), and her other dishes include Fire Belly Newt soup (which is poisonous), and pickled Narcissus (which is also poisonous). Marisa attempts to assuage Reimu's fears by telling her she cooked out all the poison only for Reimu to question how she managed to cook the poison out of a salad. The rest of Marisa's meal was pixelated.
  • Lethal Joke Item: Magic Absorber. Horrible range, low damage, and the only bomb in the series that has a shorter invincibility duration than attack duration. It also turn bullets into Ps, which, combined with Double Dealing Character's gimmick, allows a savvy player to turn it into a perpetual motion machine of lives and bombs.
  • Light 'em Up: Light and heat magic are her specialty. Interestingly, she has a stronger affinity for water; she just isn't particularly interested in using it.
  • Loveable Rogue: She's a compulsive liar, a borderline Blood Knight, and a frequent spell and book thief. Despite this, she still has a large number of friends and acquaintances in Gensokyo, and one of the most good-natured and likable characters in the series.
  • Mad Bomber: Less villainous than usual examples of this trope, but Marisa's personal motto is that Bullet Hell means nothing if it isn't flashy and explosive. She's also a borderline Blood Knight and self-described as "insane."
  • Magic Missile Storm: Perfect Memento in Strict Sense states that while she is quite a powerful magician, she exclusively relies on offensive spells when fighting due to a lack of magical skill in other areas and a desire for extremely powerful and flashy spells above all else. Marisa even agrees with this statement, in her own grimoire Marisa writes that she is unable to create effective slave projectiles (remote controlled danmaku) and as such her slave projectiles merely rotate around her and not much else.
  • Magic Mushroom: Marisa uses phantasmal mushrooms as a common ingredient/fuel source for her magic. The Forest of Magic where she lives is known for being full of them...but even better known for being full of "magic" mushrooms.
  • Magic Wand: Carries one in Undefined Fantastic Object and Story of Eastern Wonderland.
  • Making a Splash: Despite relying mostly on light-based magic, Marisa's best elemental affinity is actually with water. So far, this has only come up in Mountain of Faith (where she can use the water-based shot Cold Inferno) and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody (where her associated weather is Drizzle) while her affinity with water is mentioned by Patchouli in Immaterial and Missing Power and Futo in Antinomy of Common Flowers. Of course, her weather is also just a pun on her name (Kirisame meaning "drizzle").
    • Comes up again in Hidden Star in Four Seasons where Marisa is the representative of Winter, with an ice-themed shot... frozen water.
  • Mana Drain: Her B shot in Double Dealing Character is flavoured as such. Given that the game doesn't have MP, this just results in lots of power items.
  • More Dakka: Everyone's danmaku attacks are like this, but Marisa is notable for constantly looking for ways to get bigger firepower from her magic.
  • Mouthful of Pi: In Mountain of Faith, Marisa gets impatient while travelling across levels and wonders if she could finish reciting pi by the time she got to her intended destination.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • One of the abilities of the mini-Hakkero is to blow cold air, so it can be used like an air conditioner during the summer.
    • She also runs a side business of creating summer fireworks displays using her very flashy and destructive spells if she is paid for it, she even offers refunds if her spells do not go off as planned.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Marisa's Player 2 colour scheme in Phantasmagoria of Flower View is purple like her PC-98 color theme.
    • Also one of her color palettes in Hopeless Masquerade is a reference to her PC-98 color theme.
  • The Napoleon: Very outgoing and energetic, and also unusually short for her age.
  • Ojou Ringlets: Back in the PC-98 days. Ultimately morphed into the side-braid of the Windows games.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Her most common shot type, Illusion Laser, fires straight ahead at high speed and is usually capable of passing through multiple enemies.
  • Opposites Attract: The Brilliant, but Lazy, blunt, dispassionate Reimu, passive and tricky in her fighting style, popular despite her lack of active socialising, associated with sunshine and spring—and then the hard-working, energetic, dishonest, excitable Marisa, who lives by brute force, bothers people everywhere she goes, and is associated with rain. They're competitors and rivals. They're also best friends who spend a lot of time just hanging out.
  • Palette Swap: In Hopeless Masquerade, one of these makes her look like she does in earlier games (that is, her dress is black and white). Another one makes her look like Alice (if she wore a red hat rather than red hairband).
  • Parental Abandonment: It's notable that Marisa is one of the few Touhou characters to have a still-living family; All There in the Manual mentions she has a father who runs a second-hand shop in the human village. It's also notable that she's apparently cut off all contact with him; it's hinted Marisa's father's stance on magic is the reason. In Curiosities of Lotus Asia, when Rinnosuke brings up her father, Marisa responds that she can't hear him, and it's unclear whether she's lying or not.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: She's noted in ZUN's e-mails to be one of the shorter characters, and in Forbidden Scrollery, she's even shorter than Akyuu. Her fighting style based around raw power suffers none because of it.
  • Power Copying:
    • She has stolen several spells from other characters she has fought over time. Even her signature Master Spark was originally held by Yuuka Kazami. The whole point of the Grimoire Of Marisa is her cataloguing the spell cards of everyone she meets, with the stated plan of using them to learn more magic.
    • Then in Ten Desires, her shots have picked up the explosive abilities of Sanae's Cobalt Spread, while Sanae herself ends up with something resembling Marisa's Super Shortwave. A con job rather than theft this time, it would seem.
  • Power Gives You Wings: She sports a demonic pair of wings for her boss attack in Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream, and a pair of angelic ones in Shuusou Gyoku's Extra stage. The latter case has made some question whether she's still human in the timeframe/universe of Seihou.
    • If one looks closely at her wings in Shuusou Gyoku's Extra stage they actually appear to resemble Flandre's.
  • Power of Love: The description of the aforementioned Love Sign: Master Spark includes the instructions "Mutter the spell to the Mini-Hakkero tenderly; aim at someone you don't like; now unleash your annihilation of love!" What exactly that means is still a matter for debate.
  • Power-Up Magnet: Fitting with her Sticky Fingers habits, Marisa often has an expanded hitbox for collecting Power-Up items, and/or a lower Point of Collection (the invisible line above which Power Ups fly towards the player automatically). In Imperishable Night she's the only character who can use the Point of Collection at all times, rather than needing to be focused or at full power.
  • Promoted to Playable: She starts off as the penultimate boss of the second game. Afterwards, however, she's a Player Character in most other games. Granted, she has appeared as a boss in several of her other appearances.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Her bows are purple in Phantasmagoria of Flower View and Ten Desires, she wears purple in the PC-98 era, and she's a powerful magician.
  • Ramming Always Works: Marisa's final spell card, Comet "Blazing Star", consists of her firing a Master Spark backwards and trying to ram her opponent repeatedly.
  • Red Baron: Played with. "The Ordinary Magician" doesn't sound very impressive at first... but carries the implication that instead of having her power handed to her by fate, Marisa learned her magic through sheer willpower and hard work, making her very proud of this title.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Her eyes are red in her debut in Story of Eastern Wonderland and 100th Black Market onward. She's also a powerful fighter, with Genji once even lampshading the "Take Warning" part.
  • Roboteching: In Hopeless Masquerade, her "Nano Spark" makes a sharp turn mid-flight if she is using a Shinto-aligned set.
  • Running Gag: While she isn't aware of it herself, in the manga series various youkai tend to transform into Marisa when trying to trick or outsmart Reimu. This isn't restricted to a single species as Youkai foxes and Tanuki have at one point or another turned into Marisa. This rarely ever works due to how extremely close the two women are, as Reimu usually notices the imposter almost immediately.
  • Secular Hero: While she's experimented with religious methods once or twice, it doesn't carry much deeper meaning for her. In Hopeless Masquerade, a story about representatives of different religions, Marisa is considered the human representative. More implicitly, she is also the moderator of the debates between various priests and deities in Symposium of Post-Mysticism. Her motto in Phantasmagoria of Flower View is "Sturm und Drang".
  • Self-Made Woman: Not in the wealth sense, but Marisa is quite proud of her status as a self-sufficient "Ordinary Magician" who can stand toe-to-toe with Youkai despite not being a Youkai herself, having no innate powers like Reimu does, and being mostly self-taught.
  • The Seven Mysteries: Her occult theme in Urban Legend in Limbo, specifically of the "seven school mysteries" variety.
  • Shoot the Dog: In Forbidden Scrollery Marisa exterminates a kutsutsura not really guilty of anything more than stealing some melons so that it could become a complete youkai. She kills it because it was formed from Kosuzu's lost shoe, and it would've been bad for her reputation for word to get out that she was in any way responsible for a new youkai being created inside the Human Village. This is something she never tells Kosuzu or Reimu about.
  • Shoryuken: Her Miasma Sweep move in the fighting games.
  • Shoto Clone: Her default skill set in the fighting games include a Kamehame Hadoken, a Shoryuken, and a flying horizontal attack, all with the traditional button inputs to use them.
  • Signature Headgear: She's almost never seen without her comically oversized witch's hat, befitting of her Cute Witch motif.
  • Signature Move: Her famous Love Sign "Master Spark", which takes the form of a massive, rainbow-colored laser. In addition to the standard version, she's come up with a number of variants:
  • Sky Surfing: Surfs on her broom for her "Sungrazer" Last Word in Hopeless Masquerade,
  • Smarter Than You Look: Marisa rarely draws attention to how hard she trains/researches, either because she doesn't want the attention or she doesn't want people like Reimu taking pity on her.
  • Spam Attack: Marisa's modus operandi in spellcard duels or youkai extermination is to overwhelm with extreme firepower and not much else, she leaves any technical aspects such as sealing or exorcism to Reimu.
  • Star Power: Marisa loves watching stars and meteor showers, she even has a large observatory built into her house in Forbidden Scrollery, and therefore, most of her spells are themed after space or heavenly bodies.
  • Sticky Fingers: In terms of items and skills. Her presence in both Lotus Land Story and The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil is explicitly due to her searching for new theft victims, and in Imperishable Night she introduces herself to the Eientei staff as a thief, much to Alice's exasperation. She figures that human lifespans are so short compared to those of Youkai, that the Youkai can have their stuff back after she's dead, so they shouldn't mind.
  • Superboss: In both Shuusou Gyoku and Fairy Wars. Granted, in the latter case she's the superboss for Cirno.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: In Forbidden Scrollery chapter 17, she (reluctantly) disguises herself as a boy as part of a plan to catch a youkai that's been controlling the men of the village.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: In the first-gen fighting games, she has a number of attacks involving explosive flasks.
  • Tomboy: Marisa speaks roughly for a girl (while she is notably not a Bokukko, she does use other masculine grammar) and has a fighting style based around brute force.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Much like Reimu, Marisa subverts this. If the situation calls for it, she won't hesitate to use lethal force. In Chapter 13 of Forbidden Scrollery Marisa was able to track down a fledgling youkai that was on the cusp of turning into a Kutsutsura. Because it being born in the Human Village would cause problems for Kosuzu if anyone found out it was born from her lost shoe, Marisa immediately stomps on it, killing it before it could do anything.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Despite her tomboyish traits, her wardrobe seems to consist entirely of frilly dresses (when forced on one occasion to wear male clothing she found it uncomfortable), and she's been shown to Squee at cute things. Her Forbidden Scrollery design also features more prominent eyelashes than Reimu. Her good endings in Lotus Land Story additionally reveal her "best clothes" (according to the illustration) include ribbons, pink, and a dress.
  • Too Fast to Stop: Compared to Reimu, Marisa's high movement speed and large hitbox can lead players to overshoot while dodging and run into another bullet by mistake. However, in skilled hands this makes her superior at grazing, meaning she's usually the better option when going for a high score.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Apart from her affinity for Magic Mushrooms, chapter 33 of Wild and Horned Hermit reveals that mushrooms are her favorite food in general.
  • Trash of the Titans: Her house is a real mess, crammed with everything she has stolen but hasn't yet bothered to sort. Legendary treasures have actually been found in her junk piles, completely unknown to her.
    Marisa: (flying through Eientei) It'd take one hell of a janitor to clean a hall that long.
    Alice: Still easier than cleaning your house, Marisa.
  • True Blue Femininity: Quite downplayed. She sports dark blue in some of her appearances and she's a Tomboy with a Girly Streak.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: By a degree of "unskilled", anyway. Her personal philosophy is that danmaku is all about power, so her basic attacks are usually very dense and unstructured. And when push comes to shove, she will throw all pretense of finesse out the window and just start Master Sparking half the screen and/or trying to ram her opponent, which is borderline breaking the Spell Card rules, as lampshaded by ZUN himself. Ultimately, this is Downplayed as her skill from is all the hard work she put into her magic to be on par with everyone.
  • Useless Useful Spell: The laser shot-type that hits the top of the screen instantly and pierces through enemies has no particularly great uses and is invariably weaker than the game's forward concentration shot-typenote ... except in Undefined Fantastic Object, where there's actually enough things to hit at one time for piercing to be really useful. This is generally to balance the fact that her laser shot-types also tend to have the most powerful bomb(s).
  • Vague Age: Like Reimu, she always seems to be in her mid-teens, regardless of the passage of time.
  • Verbal Tic: Marisa tends to end her sentences with the masculine, informal and assertive "ze" particle.
  • Villainous Breakdown: She loses some of her cool in her debut after Reimu beats her, though she later drops the "Villainous" part.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Love Sign "Master Spark", her signature attack. ZUN's comments on the spell literally translate to "a freaking huge magical laser".
  • Weak, but Skilled: Compared to most of Gensokyo's inhabitants, who rely on innate abilities and rarely improve upon them, while Marisa has none and is constantly seeking new spells. Zig-Zagged in that she mostly just studies ways to blow stuff up with maximum firepower and minimum finesse. Marisa's skill in magic is also somewhat of an inversion, while she does possess very destructive spells she isn't capable of using technically complex danmaku so most of her spells end up being either giant lasers or rudimentary patterns that overwhelm with numbers.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In her ending in Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, Yukari shows up wanting to see the Lunar Capital orb. Marisa proceeds to chew out Yukari for seemingly ignoring both the crack in the barrier and the invasion. Yukari simply states that they weren't worth her attention and that even Gensokyo is capable of change, a remark that leaves Marisa uneasy.
  • Witch Classic: Aside from not having a cat, Marisa is an example in both the modern Windows games and the (completely different appearance-wise) PC-9801 era Marisa with her witch's hat and flying broomstick.
  • Wolverine Publicity:
    • Has been in every Touhou game since her debut in Story of Eastern Wonderland except for Shoot the Bullet... where she appears as the game's logo anyway. Furthermore, she has been the game logo for every ZUN-made Touhou game made in the Windows era except for Double Spoiler and Fairy Wars, even though she does appear in both games.
    • Marisa is a playable character in Sunken Fossil World. Her storyline is also entirely non-canon and is pure Filler; she is literally playable in the game because she is Marisa.
  • Wrong Context Magic: Oddly for the deuteragonist of the entire franchise. The constantly building mythology of the series will explain many sources of magic and faith-gained powers. Marisa is none of these things, or perhaps a little bit of everything. So far, she's the only human magician to have made an appearance, so if others exist, we don't know about them.
  • Why Didn't I Think of That?: This dialogue from Perfect Cherry Blossom:
    Marisa: Well, will you open the door?
    Prismriver Sisters: This door does not open.
    Marisa: Don't you go through it now and then?
    Prismriver Sisters: We just fly over it.
    Marisa: ... Oh.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Is on the receiving end in Antinomy of Common Flowers, being one of the first to fall for the Yorigami sisters's slave-switching strategy, causing her and Koishi to defeat each other.
    • She suffers this in Sunken Fossil World; where the only time she is fought is as the initial boss of Reimu, Murasa, and Yuuma's stories, and canonically loses every matchup. This gets even worse when you add that characters generally seen as rather weak such as Yamame and Kogasa are fought after her. Marisa does claim in Reimu's route that it's an off-day for her, but that doesn't explain her loss in Yumma's route, which occurs some time after.
  • Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness: Has yellow eyes, fitting for her habits of lying and stealing. Averted in her debut and post 100th Black Market media, in which she has red eyes.