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Manga / Touhou Bougetsushou

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Cover of Cage in Lunatic Runagate
In addition to the main Touhou Project video game series, there are a number of canon Spin Offs including comics and other print materials. Bougetsushou (literally "Ephemeral Moon Vignette") is the second manga entry in the Touhou Project franchise, a sequel to the 8th game Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night (Eiyashou meaning "Eternal Night Vignette") that delves more into the motives and Back Story of that game's Lunarian antagonists. Bougetsushou is notable for being the only piece of Touhou fiction to focus on a single overarching story without any episodic elements.

Long ago, Yukari Yakumo led an army of Youkai to invade the moon and steal its incredible magic and technology. However, that same incredible magic and technology led to them being repelled almost effortlessly. Opinions vary on whether Yukari underestimated the Lunarians' strength, or was merely trying to teach the Youkai some kind of lesson.

Now it seems that Yukari is gathering allies to try it again. But she's not the only one - Remilia Scarlet has declared her plan to build a spaceship and beat Yukari to the punch. Rumors are stirring on the moon that Eirin Yagokoro is planning a rebellion, causing her former pupils to come under suspicion. And for the second time, a panicked Moon Rabbit has fled to Earth.

Touhou Bougetsushou consists of three works, which ran alongside each other in different manga magazines:

  • Silent Sinner in Blue, a manga which contains the bulk of the plot. The first volume of the Tankobon edition also comes with a music CD containing Leitmotifs for some of the characters and scenes.
  • Cage in Lunatic Runagate, a series of illustrated short stories. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character, providing new context and perspectives for earlier events, as well as showing what other people were doing off-scene and providing the true ending to the story.
  • Inaba of the Moon & Inaba of the Earth, a collection of 4koma about daily life at Eientei which rarely interacts with the main story. Inaba is notable for being the only official Touhou work where ZUN merely provided an outline rather than writing it himself, and as a result is generally taken in Broad Strokes by fans.
The exact order that all these fit together can be found on the Touhou wiki.

Touhou Bougetsushou provides examples of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: While the Watatsuki sisters hold an important position in Lunarian society, it's one which brings them in close contact with Earth, and their mentor is currently an infamous criminal. All this adds up to make other Lunarians quick to fear or distrust them.
  • All There in the Manual: Silent Sinner in Blue and Cage in Lunatic Runagate were released concurrently, effectively being a single story that alternated between manga chapters and prose. The manga component, however, is far better known, which often results in this trope for unprepared readers.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: The space route between Gensokyo and the Moon apparently contains normal air and even wind, much to Marisa's confusion.
  • Batman Gambit: Yukari's entire plan revolved around Yuyuko figuring out the plan and acting on her own.
  • Beast in the Maze: In Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth, one chapter has Reisen and Tewi getting lost in the basement of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, which is where the mentally unstable, highly dangerous Flandre happens to be locked up.
  • Break the Haughty: Yukari's ultimate goal was to present Eirin with something that she could not understand, and thus frighten her. Eirin decided to live as a human, after all, and fearing the unknown (that is, youkai) is the duty of all humans in Gensokyo...
  • Brick Joke: Chapter 2 of Inaba of the Moon & Inaba of the Earth has two. In an early strip, Tewi says she tried to predict the weather by kicking her sandal, but ended up launching it far away; after the rain lets up and the girls leave, Rinnosuke finds the sandal outside. In another strip, Tewi reads an article from an Outside World science magazine about the Sunflower space probe (with an Imagine Spot of a giant sunflower flying through space); on the way back to Eientei, they pass a field of sunflowers and Tewi praises them.
  • Butt-Monkey: Udonge in Inaba of the Moon & Inaba of the Earth.
  • Call-Back: In Eastern and Little Nature Deity, the Three Fairies of Light discovered that the flag from the Apollo moon landings had somehow appeared in Gensokyo. Bougetsushou reveals that the flag's sudden absence has contributed to unrest in the Lunar Capital.
  • Cargo Cult: Patchouli's god-powered moon rocket is a crazy tilting contraption made out of wood, but it has three stages just like the Saturn V, and it's launched from a red carpet because launching from a red line on the ground (the equator) takes less energy. This being Gensokyo, it works perfectly.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Yukari training Reimu in channeling gods first causes Watatsuki no Yorihime to come under suspicion on the moon, then "coincidentally" provides Remilia with a way to power her rocket, then assists Reimu in her battle with Yorihime. It returns again in a chapter of Wild and Horned Hermit, where Sanae has Reimu channel the god of metals to assist in the Moriya Shrine's cold fusion experiment.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Kaguya is depicted as this for the first time in Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth. This completely revolutionized her portrayal in fandom, since before this, most doujinshi characterized her as an Ax-Crazy Alpha Bitch, extrapolating from Mokou's opinion of her.
  • Continuity Nod: Chapter 26 of Curiosities of Lotus Asia has Reimu mention that Yukari has suddenly started helping her train, and her suspicion that she's up to something.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: In Imperishable Night, Scarlet Team's Golden Ending has them start making plans to go to the Moon. Silent Sinner in Blue follows up on said plans, implying Scarlet Team as the ones who canonically solved the incident.note 
  • A Day in the Limelight: Each chapter of Cage in Lunatic Runagate other than the epilogue
    • Chapter 1: Eirin Yagokoro
    • Chapter 2: Kaguya Houraisan
    • Chapter 3: The Watatsuki sisters
    • Chapter 4: Fujiwara no Mokou
    • Chapter 5: Yukari Yakumo
    • Chapter 6: Rei'sen
    • Chapter 7: Youmu Konpaku
  • Denser and Wackier: Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth is much less serious than the other works in this series.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: A lesser version occurs in one Inaba strip where Kaguya wants to play guitar and Eirin gives her a pick, saying that playing bare-handed will hurt her fingers. Kaguya remarks that Eirin has really pretty hands, and in the last panel everyone is clustered around a blushing Eirin, cooing over her hands.
  • Dreadful Musician: In Inaba, Kaguya's musical skills are described by Reisen as "sonic weaponry", and even Kaguya admits that "I did take down a bunch of people once". Even worse, she somehow managed to do this while playing air biwa.
  • Evil Knockoff: Gensokyo itself is implied to have been designed using knowledge that Yukari gained during previous invasions of the Lunar Capital.
  • External Retcon: The "Dragon Palace" visited by Urashima Tarou was actually the Lunar Capital; Toyohime just convinced him that he was under the sea to stop people from trying to follow him. The Year Outside, Hour Inside effect was actually the result of him being cryogenically frozen without his knowledge, while the "aging box" was a device invented by Eirin.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Sakuya's article in Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red reveals that around the time of the Imperishable Night incident Remilia tried to travel to the moon by rocket, but failed.
    • In Magical Astronomy Maribel and Renko expressed a desire to see the mythical Lunar Capital, and Maribel came up with an idea for how to travel there by looking at the moon's reflection in the water. In Bougetsushou Yukari is able to reach the moon by turning its reflection on water into a portal, and implies that when she was much younger she once travelled there just to see it.
    • In the last chapter of Cage in Lunatic Runagate, Kaguya claims that in the future, as humans live longer and longer, they will start living and acting more like the Lunarians do. A drunken Marisa retorts that humans wouldn't want to keep going even after their brains have rotted away - if life gets too long, they'll just invent something to shorten it. ZUN's Music Collection (in particular Dateless Bar "Old Adam") shows that they're both quite right.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Reimu seldom if ever uses her new god-channeling skills after the events of the story, and never uses them in combat again. Justified in that Reimu doesn't need their help against most enemies, nor does she like going all-out for no reason. She does use them once more in Wild and Horned Hermit at Sanae's request.
  • Funny Fan Voice: Kaguya speaks into a fan while saying "We are aaaaalieeeeens" in Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth chapter 2.
  • Gambit Pileup: Behind the scenes, most of the plot is driven by the clashing schemes of Eirin and Yukari.
  • Invincible Hero Antagonist: Yorihime is able to completely overwhelm Reimu, Marisa, Sakuya and Remilia in battle, while Toyohime is able to get the better of Yukari. ZUN has even said that the Watatsukis are so powerful that they would only work in a manga, not a game. Subverted in that Yukari's real plan was just to distract them, making their victories meaningless.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Yukari manipulates Remilia into invading the moon with a highly visible rocket, and at the same time prepares to travel there herself through less obvious methods. Eirin is convinced that Remilia's invasion is intended as a cover for Yukari's, and warns the Watatsukis of such... when in fact they're both a cover for Yuyuko to sneak in, who had previously shown no indication of even being involved.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Yes, the Watatsuki sisters stomp on everyone they encounter. Unfortunately, they now owe a significant amount of favors to Eirin for the advance warning, they've been put in a shaky political position, and their awesome victories did absolutely squat to stop Yukari's actual plans.
  • Moon-Landing Hoax: In Silent Sinner in Blue, Sakuya goes to Kourindo to get materials on the space program. Rinnosuke turns out to have plenty, which he says is thanks to all the conspiracy theorists who think the moon landing was faked, causing the idea to become forgotten.
  • The Namesake: The "Silent Sinner in Blue" most likely refers to Yuyuko, being the one who successfully sneaks into the Lunar Capital. Yuyuko generally wears blue clothing, while her "pure" nature as a ghost makes her inconspicuous among the immortal Lunarians, making her "silent", and her mission being to mess with the Lunarians by stealing from them makes her the "sinner".
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: The Lunar Invasion is a repeat of a plan Yukari carried out hundreds of years ago, with a twist. Eirin also considers putting the Earth in a jar again to prevent anyone from getting to the Moon, but decides against it.
  • New Year's Resolution: One series of Inaba strips has the residents of Eientei making these. Reisen resolves to be more assertive, but instantly fails when Eirin resolves to relax more and she can't explain why she's freaking out (see O.O.C. Is Serious Business). Kaguya resolves to exercise, but gives it up after performing a single stretch. Tewi resolves to be nicer to Reisen, but then instantly admits it ain't gonna happen.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: After defeating Reimu the Watatsuki sisters temporarily hold her captive so that she can clear their names... but they're extremely cordial about it and serve her the finest food available.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In Chapter 2 of Inaba of the Moon & Inaba of the Earth, Reisen and Tewi get stuck at Kourindo by a sudden thunderstorm. They decide to hang up a teru teru bōzu, with Tewi volunteering to play the part. When Rinnosuke returns with tea, he sees the girls setting up what looks like a noose.
  • One-Steve Limit: Bougetsushou introduces a second Moon Rabbit called Reisen, whom the Watatsukis named after the first. However, the first Reisen changed the spelling of her name (from phonetic characters to kanji) when she moved to Earth, so to prevent confusion the Earth spelling is usually transliterated as "Reisen" and the lunar spelling as "Rei'sen".
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: One Inaba of the Moon & Inaba of the Earth series starts with Tewi being nice to Reisen and calling her "Big Sister"; Reisen instantly suspects a trick and says she's not gonna fall for it...which makes Tewi burst into tears. She goes to find Eirin, who's turned into a lazy slob while Kaguya is taking charge and ordering the rabbits around. Then she wakes up.
  • Pocket Dimension: The Far Side of the moon is a particularly well-guarded one. Remilia's rocket is only capable of reaching it because it's launched from Gensokyo, which is also a Pocket Dimension of the same type. Even then, it only becomes connected to Earth when the moon is full, and reaching the Lunar Capital itself requires intruders to follow a specific route or find nothing there.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: Each story in Cage in Lunatic Runagate is a P.O.V. Sequel to earlier chapters of Silent Sinner in Blue.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The Watatsukis are supposed to prevent any and all Earthlings from entering the Moon, yet they readily associate with Earthlings in their free time - Toyohime tried to bring Earth rabbits home with her in Inaba of the Moon & Inaba of the Earth, and they once helped hide a human on the Moon for years after determining he wasn't a threat. They are also supposed to track down the criminal Eirin Yagokoro, but secretly view the Capital's treatment of Eirin as unjust and do their best to avoid causing her trouble (in Inaba they even pay her a friendly visit).
  • Rascally Rabbit: Tewi is depicted as this for the first time in Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth. This completely revolutionized her portrayal in fandom, since before this, most doujinshi characterized her as a cute and innocent rabbit girl.
  • Red Shirt: The fairy maids that Remilia takes with her on her lunar expedition fit the classic Star Trek redshirt archetype in that they accompany the main characters onto an alien world and are completely useless when dealing with the native inhabitants. Not surprising, as it was already well established that Remilia's fairy maids are useless at everything.
  • Schrödinger's Canon: The 4Koma manga Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth was written by Toshihira Arata as opposed to series creator ZUN (Who was only loosely involved), and happens to be a gag series, so as a result it occupies an ambiguous place in canon compared to other side works. Most fans take the story in Broad Strokes, though it's been referenced somewhat in later works written by ZUN.
  • Screw You, Elves!: The entire story, and possibly some of its Back Story, is an elaborate attempt by Yukari Yakumo to invoke this trope on the Lunarians.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In Silent Sinner in Blue the protagonists never reach the Lunar Capital, and while Yukari's plan succeeds it turns out to be a petty one intended only to annoy the Lunarians. Cage in Lunatic Runagate changes things a bit by revealing that Yukari's true goal was to deliver a Break the Haughty to Eirin.
  • Similar Squad: Yorihime and Toyohime fill more or less the same roles for the Moon that Reimu and Yukari do for Gensokyo, down to having similar powers and a few shared personality traits.
  • Sky Face: Happens near the beginning of Silent Sinner in Blue, where Reimu and Marisa recall the people they've met in their adventures. There's quite a lot of faces being shown.
  • Space Elves: The Lunarians fill this role.
  • Space Is an Ocean: At least, enough like one that a god of sea voyages is capable of powering a spaceship. For bonus points the seas of the Earth and Moon are spiritually connected, meaning that in certain circumstances it's possible to travel to the Moon by sea. Thematically, the Moon is often referred to as the "Sea" in contrast to the Earth being a "Mountain". Also, since Gensokyo is landlocked, the Moon is the first place where Reimu or Marisa have ever seen the ocean.
  • Start of Darkness: Subverted by Mokou's chapter in Cage in Lunatic Runagate. Mokou describes how her quest for vengeance against Kaguya led her to steal and murder her way to immortality, then come to hate the world that had shunned her and destroy everything in her path... then get bored of all that and stop caring. When she eventually met Kaguya again, she no longer hated her and just used the old feud as an excuse so that both of them could have a friend (or at least a frenemy) who would never grow old and die in front of them.
  • Start My Own: Why Remilia starts building her moon rocket.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: In the Silent Sinner in Blue portions of Bougetsushou the Watatsuki sisters appear mainly as antagonists and representatives of Lunarian civilisation, causing them to come across as Affably Evil. The rest of the story, however, shows that the Watatsukis are unusually friendly towards Earthlings by Lunarian standards, just as the regular Touhou protagonists are unusually friendly towards youkai by human standards.
  • Talking through Technique: Yukari explains her real plan to Yuyuko, and the two agree for Yuyuko to carry out the most important part without letting anyone know that she is involved. How do they do this? Yukari sends Ran, who is not even aware of the real plan, to invite all the most powerful youkai in Gensokyo to take part in the invasion, and Yuyuko answers "No".
  • Too Many Belts: TOKIAME, the illustrator for Cage in Lunatic Runagate, adds multiple belts to almost every character. Reisen in particular stands out. The Watatsuki sisters seem to escape this only by having unusually prominent belts to begin with.
  • Trip to the Moon Plot: Rumors begin spreading that Yukari's gearing for a second invasion of the Moon, and Remilia decides she's gonna get there first and claim the Moon for herself.
  • Troll:
    • Naturally, Tewi trolls Reisen all the time, especially in Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth.
    • Yuyuko steals a 1000-year-old bottle of sake from the Moon in order to piss off the princesses, which is what Yukari wanted her to do, but she also trolls Yukari by not stealing anything more valuable than a bottle of sake. After this, Yukari goes on to troll Eirin by serving her that very same bottle of Lunarian sake, leaving Eirin baffled and frightened about how Yukari could have gotten it.
  • Unreliable Illustrator: In Silent Sinner in Blue the crowd at Remilia's party contains Lily White and Lily Black in the same panel (who are supposed to be the same person), a freakishly tall Chen, and a number of other oddities. Apparently this is also the reason why Yorihime's Disintegrator Ray looks like a paper fan.
    ZUN: I didn't explain the weapons to Aki Eda, so the depiction was super sloppy (lol).
  • The Unreveal: In the last chapter of Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth, we never find out what happened during the second Lunar Exposition because Reisen was drunk the whole time.
  • Unusual Volume Titles: Silent Sinner in Blue is published in three volumes, which would normally be referred to as Upper, Middle and Lower. Instead they are titled as the Upper, Middle and Bottom Volumes to tie in with the story's use of the three Sumiyoshi gods.
  • Villain Protagonist: Most of the returning Touhou cast, since they're deliberately causing an incident for the moon instead of resolving one. Reimu even admits that she has trouble going all-out against Yorihime since normally she'd be standing in Yorihime's position.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": The No Name Given moon rabbit is eventually adopted as the Watatsuki sisters' "pet" and given the name Rei'sen, after their first pet who fled to Earth (now known as Reisen Udongein Inaba).
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Or something like that. In Inaba of the Moon & Inaba of the Earth the first "Inaba" is spelled in katakana, making it resemble a foreign word with the same pronounciation. This reflects how Reisen's name was a foreign name, spelled in katakana, before she changed the spelling when she moved to Earth.

Alternative Title(s): Silent Sinner In Blue, Inaba Of The Moon And Inaba Of The Earth, Cage In Lunatic Runagate, Touhou Bougetsushou Cage In Lunatic Runagate, Touhou Bougetsushou Silent Sinner In Blue, Touhou Bougetsushou Inaba Of The Moon And Inaba Of The Earth