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Ho Yay / Touhou Project

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While the Touhou Project fandom generally operates under the Everyone Is Gay format, the games themselves (and especially the supplementary material) don't exactly dispel the notions. In fact, canon almost seems to wink at it while daring everyone to ignore the dozens of moments that keep popping up:

  • Reimu gets this a lot. Although treated warily at best by most humans, amongst youkai, she's absurdly popular. They're almost instinctively drawn to her, despite Reimu not feeling strongly one way or the other about youkai even though hunting youkai is her job, which is implied to be why they're drawn to her. They almost always want to gather at her shrine for drinks and revelry; Remilia in particular goes periodically to the shrine just for taking tea, and nearly every member of the main cast joined after Reimu defeated them.
    • She isn't shunned by all humans, though. She and fellow outcast Marisa share a bond so strong, it was one of the few things to survive the shift from PC-98 to Windows, Bromance at the very least. In the official print works especially, they're practically inseparable, eating together, dancing together, shopping together, taking walks together, cuddling and sharing headwear together, sleeping over together, holding hands while running through the snow, blushing as they glance at each other while they read together, sitting in each other's arms with their heads against each other, and investigating together. Many chapters of Wild and Horned Hermit and Forbidden Scrollery either start or end with them laughing and bonding over a meal that, to all appearances, makes them look like a married couple. The entire prologue of Silent Sinner in Blue is a lunch date between the two. Official examples of Reimu and Marisa sharing intimate moments together are becoming so frequent, it's hard to ignore.
      • On the cover of Lotus Land Story, Marisa is sleeping with her head in Reimu's lap while Reimu looks at her and smiles. Additionally, in Marisa's good endings of the same game, they get dressed in their best clothes and go on what looks like an awkward date.
      • In Reimu/Yukari's route in Imperishable Night, after fighting the pair once, Marisa says, "That last attack was for Yukari. This one's for you!" — before unleashing Love Storm "Starlight Typhoon".
      • "What happened to the romantic you from yesterday in the snow?"
      • While investigating a Vengeful Spirit, Reimu and Marisa stumble upon what appears to be a lovers' rendezvous. As the lovers hold hands, heart-shaped cherry blossom petals flutter all around them. Reimu and Marisa blush brightly and look away from each other, laughing about the apparent misunderstanding, and as Reimu nudges Marisa, one of the heart-shaped petals bops Marisa on the head. It then turns out Marisa was right about the Vengeful Spirit, but they were too distracted and it gets away.
      • Reimu can be a harsh slave-driver when people in her charge aren't working as hard as they could, once even yelling at Sanae for stopping to chat with a person that Reimu was also chatting with. With Marisa, though, Reimu constantly apologizes for bothering her with work, sometimes even offering to do it alone if Marisa doesn't feel like helping. She extends this kindness to Marisa and no one else.
      • In many instances of their competitiveness, in the mangas and versus modes of the fighting games and phantasmagorias, Reimu and Marisa often declare that the loser has to cook dinner tonight. In one game, Reimu even asks Marisa if she's doing anything later, and if Marisa wins the next fight, she gives her response.
      • In Curiosities of Lotus Asia, Patchouli says that since Marisa's magical affinity is Water, and Reimu's is The Forest, they make poor rivals but have exceptional compatibility as partners.
      • In the versus mode of Antinomy of Common Flowers, Reimu has some heartwarming dialog with Marisa if she's paired up with her. She laments that she almost didn't get to pair up with her during the incident proper, and she tells Marisa that she believes the two of them would be the best pair ever if they kept on practicing.
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    • Mima was pretty much obsessed with Reimu; her first major action was to wreck the Hakurei shrine so Reimu would fight her, and she later declared herself the god of the shrine seemingly just to keep hanging around her.
    • In Story of Eastern Wonderland, Reimu mistakes Meira's challenge for a marriage proposal. Not only does she accept on the spot, she flirts aggressively. She gets annoyed and doubles down when Meira tries to clarify things.
    Meira: I am Meira. I have come to make [the power of] Hakurei mine.
    Reimu: Whoa, whoa this is all so sudden...not that I mind, though! (winks)
    • In Marisa's route against Flandre in the EoSD Extra Stage, she makes a comment about hooking up Flandre with Reimu.
    • Yukari teases Reimu relentlessly and is frequently obstinate and unhelpful, but also gives Reimu important guidance, like clues to who the current incident culprit is. She trains Reimu to use her powers more effectively, alternating between Trickster Mentor and outright flirting.
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    • Reimu has a weird trend of youkai basically barging into the shrine and becoming her roommates. Suika lived with her for a while until she moved to Bhava-agra, Orin wanted to be her pet, and though Shinmyoumaru's stay at the shrine was largely a prison sentence, they still bonded quickly, like Shin making a kimono for Reimu (which was way too small, so Reimu wore it as a headdress).
    • Reimu is known for being equally irreverent and brutally frank with everyone she knows—human, youkai, or goddess. The only exception to this rule is the little bookworm Kosuzu, for whom she even has a pet name!
  • The always unclear and widely speculated relationship between Marisa and Mima tends to vary from master and servant, to mother and daughter, to even something romantic. Marisa's profile in Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream states that she longs for Mima and refers to her with the extremely respectful honorific -sama (making Mima the only person in the entire series toward whom Marisa is ever polite and respectful).
  • Some of the pre-battle dialogue with bosses can sound pretty flirty, such as this from The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil (Patchouli's presumably talking about literally eating Marisa—Patchy is a youkai—but it can certainly be taken the other way):
    Marisa: I have enough. Of plenty of things.
    Patchouli: Then I'll dig in.
    Marisa: I'm really delicious.
  • Patchouli has been living in Remilia's mansion for at least 100 years, serving no particular purpose other than being Remilia's closest friend. They are the only two characters in the series to call each other by nicknames—Remilia calls Patchouli "Pache" (sometimes romanized as "Patchy"), and Patchouli calls Remilia "Remi". Also, in a Forbidden Scrollery 4koma, Remilia calls for her chupacabra (which she is calling "chupa" at the time), and Patchouli comes and holds her hand instead.
  • Sakuya is unwaveringly, inexplicably subservient to Remilia, to the extent that "Sakuya" is not even her original name; it was given to her by Remilia. There is absolutely no explanation for why a powerful, capable human has devoted herself entirely to a petulant, selfish brat of a vampire, with several characters wondering how either of them can trust each other. Remilia implies and Akyuu speculates that Sakuya's been the Scarlet Mansion's head maid for a long time.
  • Sakuya is quite friendly with Marisa despite the latter's tendency to break into the Scarlet Devil Mansion. The normally dutiful maid does a good job of stopping other intruders, but she's surprisingly lax when it comes to Marisa, especially considering that Remilia, Patchouli and Meiling would much rather keep the witch out. In Marisa's endings to Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and Phantasmagoria of Flower View, Sakuya goes so far as to help her sneak in and serve meals to her.
  • Youmu exhibits a devotion to Yuyuko similar to what Sakuya exhibits toward Remilia, constantly acquiescing to the whims of a millennium-old child but never shirking her duty. She was even willing to steal the essence of spring from Gensokyo and plunge it into eternal winter simply because Yuyuko told her to.
  • Yuyuko and Yukari have been close friends for more than a millennium, even before Yuyuko died. In the present, they understand each other better than anyone else, the only ones who don't balk at each other's weirdness. Yuyuko's Perfect Cherry Blossom profile heavily hints it was Yukari who ensured that she would continue existing as a Cute Ghost Girl, never resurrecting or crossing into an afterlife.
    "My that she will never again reincarnate, and never again suffer pain..."
  • Ever since Marisa and Alice met (again?note ) in Perfect Cherry Blossom, they have formed a bizarre partnership unique in Gensokyo, based not on greater power or authority but lots and lots of snark. They spend almost the entirety of both Imperishable Night and Subterranean Animism arguing Like an Old Married Couple, often ignoring the boss just to trade snipes. And yet, they still hold a large amount of affection for each other; Alice is abrasive and rude toward everyone, but displays a rare sentimental side with Marisa, while Marisa herself, though very much a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk, is far more respectful toward Alice than she is to anyone since Mima. They even share a bed in one of IN's Bad Ends.
  • Eirin made an immortality potion—forbidden by law and punishable by exile—just because Kaguya asked her to. When sent to retrieve Kaguya from Earth once the latter's exile was deemed over, Eirin instead betrayed and killed her entourage, exiling herself from her home and her position as "Brain of the Moon" so she could be with Kaguya. She even hides most of her power so that Kaguya isn't offended by a subordinate with more power than her, something completely unprecedented in Touhou. This is even more significant since ZUN stated in Symposium of Post-Mysticism that Eirin is one of the ultra-powerful gods of the Moon.
  • Mokou harbors a literally eternal hatred towards Kaguya for an "offense" made against her father centuries ago. Combined with Kaguya viewing their "rivalry" with amusement more than anything else, this makes Mokou seem more like a gigantic Tsundere. The semi-canonical Inaba of the Moon and Earth only seems to confirm what a Tsundere Mokou is, though as a Gag Series, it naturally plays fast and loose with characterisation to begin with.
  • Mokou has been living as a hermit and vagrant for centuries, isolating herself from others because she can't bear to see them die while she never changes...except for Keine, who is literally Mokou's only friend and even tries to protect her. Mokou knows what will happen, but can't quite bring herself to avoid Keine as she does with everyone else.
  • Kanako and Suwako first met when Kanako declared war on Suwako's followers and won. Since then, they've been living together for about half a millennium, and they raised Sanae together. Not bad for two people who started as enemies. In addition, for worthwhile context, Kanako's character is apparently based off the actual Shinto goddess Princess Yasakatome, who lives in the Suwa Taisha shrine with another deity: her husband.
  • Byakuren and almost the entire cast of Undefined Fantastic Object, all literally worshipful of and intensely loyal towards Youkai Jesus. Murasa, Shou, and Ichirin all had their lives transformed by Byakuren in the past, and in gratitude worked together to unseal her. This trait is carried on into later games; Byakuren's sheer magnetism has caused her to accumulate by far the largest Cast Herd in the entire series note , all devoted to her.
  • Sanae B's Extra Stage in UFO: Sanae actively refuses to believe that Nue could be a youkai and drags her off to get photos taken together. That's bad enough, but Sanae B is not fond of youkai...
  • Soga no Tojiko is based off of Tojiko no Iratsume. Toyosatomimi no Miko is a genderbent Prince Shoutoku. Historically, Tojiko no Iratsume and Prince Shoutoku were married.
  • Forbidden Scrollery has Kosuzu being Mamizou's human guise, practically crushing hard over the tanuki-pretending-to-be-human and squeeing over the interesting books and recommendations she gets.
    • Kosuzu seems to really admire Reimu.
    • Kosuzu is very close to Akyuu, enough for Akyuu to show her hidden cynical side and engage in banter even Reimu never gets to partake in.
  • Sumireko's first encounter with Mokou in Urban Legend in Limbo starts off with each wanting to take down the other's pride a notch and ends with an almost heartfelt goodbye as Mokou vanishes from the Outside World while Sumireko watches wistfully. (Regrettably, their reunion in Gensokyo is anything but romantic...)
  • In Antinomy of Common Flowers, Tenshi ends up becoming close with the Poverty Goddess Shion at the end of her route, because as a Celestial, she is immune to Shion's bad luck and poverty powers. The fandom, doing what it does best, immediately declared them the best new couple of 2018, and set about to shipping them.
    • Right as Antinomy started to fade from recent memory, Wild and Horned Hermit Chapter 45 came out, where the plot focuses on Tenshi and Shion from start to finish. There was so much strongly implied romance happening between them that the fandom declared them an official couple, and that "everybody is gay" was now canon.
      • The cover features Shion swooning at Tenshi as she strikes a pose.
      • Shion tells Tenshi she would love to try Celestial cuisine someday, and Tenshi, normally a solid wall of smugness and overconfidence, stutters, sweats, and is visibly flustered as she agrees to do it someday. Kasen almost seems to have noticed... but the reason for her reaction is quickly switched on us.
      • Shion is shy, but she trusts Tenshi, and hides behind her when others approach.
      • By the end of the chapter, it's explained that Shion causes everything she's involved in to go awry, and she's likely terrified of people abandoning her over it. Tenshi staggers away with a hangover, and Shion reaches out as if begging Tenshi not to go. Tenshi grabs her shoulder, and a look of dread washes over Shion's face, as though she's expecting abuse. Instead, Tenshi pulls her in close and smiles. The next and last shot we see is of Shion's bowl surrounded by fluttering cherry blossoms.
  • Yumemi in Marisa's ending of Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream. Yumemi upholds her promise to grant any one wish within her power after her defeat but before Marisa can even say what her wish is, Yumemi jumps to her own conclusion and agrees to "become hers for just a little while". Marisa turns this "wish" down to which Yumemi only responds with a seemingly disappointed "...".
  • According to Wild and Horned Hermit artist Aya Azuma, when ZUN commissions a new chapter, he describes every expression on every character in every scene in great detail, and he is apparently very strict about straying too far from his guidelines, so even the manga moments come from ZUN himself.

Alternative Title(s): Touhou


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