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Maribel on the left, Renko on the right

"There's two ways for me to help her: First, I could throw the stuff away and convince her that it was all a dream or a hallucination. That way she won't bring the dream world into this one again; dream and reality stay separate things. And the second... is to convince her that she really was in another world, and awaken her from the dream. That way, she wouldn't die in that dream world without knowing the truth. But if I did that, she might not be able to come back... Which is best for Mary? What should I do? The answer is obvious."
Renko Usami, Changeability of Strange Dream

In addition to the main Touhou Project video game series, and strangely overshadowed by the franchise's own fanfiction, are a number of canon Spin Offs including comics and other print materials. ZUN's Music Collection is a set of instrumental albums consisting of songs from Touhou Project, Seihou and related works (often heavily rearranged), as well as original compositions. Accompanying each album is a short story, with one segment matched to each track.

From the second album on, these stories follow the adventures of Renko Usami and Maribel "Mary" Hearn, a pair of college-age "necromancers" who interact only vaguely with the rest of Touhou's cast and setting - not only do they live in the "normal" Japan outside of Gensokyo, but their stories are set an unspecified amount of time in the future. The Sealing Club, as they call themselves, spend most of their time hunting for the supernatural, with the aid of Renko's ability to tell the time and location from the stars, and Maribel's ability to see boundaries. Over the course of the series Maribel's powers over boundaries grow stronger and stronger, and she is implied to have some connection to Gensokyo's founder Yukari Yakumo (or even be Yukari at a younger age).

Despite their less overtly supernatural setting, the album stories are one of the darkest parts of Touhou lore, with themes of loss, fate, and insanity. Likewise the songs themselves (even the remixes) are often grim and creepy, to the point where ZUN described the first album as "un-healing music".

All volumes are available for purchase on iTunes worldwide, and can be streamed on Spotify as well as YouTube Music with a Premium subscription. However, Dr. Latency's Freak Report was delisted from the US iTunes Store in late 2020 for unknown reasons.

List of tracks and origins by album:

    open/close all folders 

    Vol. 1: Hourai Ningyou ~ Dolls in Pseudo Paradise (2002) 

Translation: Hourai Doll ~ Dolls in Pseudo Paradise

  1. Legend of Hourai (original)
  2. Dichromatic Lotus Butterfly ~ Red and White (Dichromatic Lotus Butterfly ~ Ancients; Reimu Hakurei's theme from Shuusou Gyoku)
  3. Lovely Mound of Cherry Blossoms ~ Japanese Flower (Lovely Mound of Cherry Blossoms ~ Flower of Japan; Yuuka Kazami's theme from Kioh Gyoku)
  4. Shanghai Alice of Meiji 17 (Hong Meiling's theme from Touhou Koumakyou ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil)
  5. Eastern Strange Discourse (Theme of Hell (Level 6-9) from Touhou Reiiden ~ Highly Responsive to Prayers)
  6. Enigmatic Doll (Enigmatic Doll ~ God Knows; Muse's from Kioh Gyoku)
  7. Circus Reverie (Mechanical Circus ~ Reverie; Marie's theme from Shuusou Gyoku)
  8. Forest of Dolls (original)
  9. Witch of Love Potion (From Torte Le Magic)
  10. Reincarnation (Mima's theme from Touhou Yumejikuu ~ Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream)
  11. U.N. Owen Was Her? (Flandre Scarlet's theme from Embodiment of Scarlet Devil)
  12. Eternal Shrine Maiden (Theme of Levels 1-4 and Hell Levels 16-19 from Highly Responsive to Prayers)
  13. The Strange Everyday Life of the Flying Shrine Maiden (original)

    Vol. 2: Rendaino Yakou ~ Ghostly Field Club (2003) 

Translation: Night Trip to Rendaino ~ Ghostly Field Club

  1. Passing on Through the Dendera Fields in the Night (original)
  2. Girls' Secret Sealing Club (original)
  3. Eastern Ghostly Dream ~ Ancient Temple (Stage 5 theme from Touhou Youyoumu ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom)
  4. Ancient Temple of the Netherworld (original)
  5. Illusionary Night ~ Ghostly Eyes (later appeared in Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night)invoked
  6. Merry the Magician (original)
  7. Strange Bird of the Moon, Illusion of the Mysterious Cat (original)
  8. Flower of Past Days ~ Fairy of Flower (Unused track from Perfect Cherry Blossom)
  9. Magical Girl's Crusade (Erich's theme from Shuusou Gyoku)
  10. A Maiden's Illusionary Funeral ~ Necro-Fantasy (Ran Yakumo's theme from Perfect Cherry Blossom)
  11. Eternal Festival of Illusions (original)

    Vol. 3: Yumetagae Kagaku Seiki ~ Changeability of Strange Dream (2004) 

Translation: Changing Dreams in the Age of Science ~ Changeability of Strange Dream

  1. Kid's Festival ~ Innocent Treasures (original)
  2. Dream of Huaxu (original)
  3. Shanghai Teahouse ~ Chinese Tea (Stage 3 theme from Touhou Koumakyou ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil)
  4. Voyage 1969 (Final Stage theme from Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night)
  5. Boys and Girls of the Science Era (original)
  6. Retribution for the Eternal Night ~ Imperishable Night (Stage 4 theme from Imperishable Night)
  7. Night Falls ~ Evening Star (Yukari Yakumo's theme from Touhou Suimusou ~ Immaterial and Missing Power)
  8. Doll Judgment ~ The Girl who Played with People's Shapes (Alice Margatroid's theme from Perfect Cherry Blossom)
  9. Border Between Dreams and Reality (original)
  10. Fantasy Machine ~ Phantom Factory (Illusory Science ~ Doll's Phantom; VIVIT's second theme from Shuusou Gyoku)
  11. Mystical Maple ~ Eternal Dream (Eternal Dream ~ Mystical Maple; Staff Roll theme from Imperishable Night)

    Vol. 4: Bouyu Toukaidou ~ Retrospective 53 minutes (2006) 

Translation: East-West Toukaidou ~ Retrospective 53 minutes

  1. Hiroshige No.36 ~ Neo Super-Express (original)
  2. Blue Sea of 53 Minutes (original)
  3. Flight of the Bamboo Cutter ~ Lunatic Princess (Kaguya Houraisan's theme from Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night)
  4. Higan Retour ~ Riverside View (Komachi Onozuka's theme from Touhou Kaeidzuka ~ Phantasmagoria of Flower View)
  5. Legend of Aokigahara (original)
  6. White Flag of Usa Shrine (Tewi Inaba's theme from Phantasmagoria of Flower View)
  7. Reach for the Moon, Immortal Smoke (Fujiwara no Mokou's theme from Imperishable Night)
  8. Retrospective Kyoto (Photo Theme 4 from Touhou Bunkachou ~ Shoot the Bullet)
  9. Locked Girl ~ The Girl's Secret Room (Patchouli Knowledge's theme from Touhou Koumakyou ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil)
  10. Gensokyo Millennium ~ History of the Moon (Eirin Yagokoro's theme from Imperishable Night)
  11. The Purest Sky and Sea (original)

    Vol. 5: Oozora Majutsu ~ Magical Astronomy (2006) 

Translation: Celestial Wizardry ~ Magical Astronomy

  1. Welcome to the Moon Tour (original)
  2. Greenwich in the Sky (original)
  3. Sleepless Night of the Eastern Country (Photo Theme 3 from Touhou Bunkachou ~ Shoot the Bullet)
  4. The Wheelchair's Future in Space (original)
  5. Demystify Feast (Hakurei Shrine [Feasty Day] theme from Touhou Suimusou ~ Immaterial and Missing Power)
  6. Satellite Café Terrace (original)
  7. G Free (original)
  8. Celestial Wizardry ~ Magical Astronomy (original)
  9. Necrofantasia (Yukari Yakumo's theme from Touhou Youyoumu ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom)
  10. The Far Side of the Moon (original)

    Vol. 5.5: Michi no Hana, Michi no Tabi (2011) 

Translation: Unknown Flower, Mesmerizing Journey

  1. Unknown Flower, Mesmerizing Journey (original)
  2. Bell of Avici ~ Infinite Nightmare (Event Coverage 4 from Double Spoiler ~ Touhou Bunkachou)
  3. Tomorrow Will Be Special, Yesterday Was Not (Extra Stage theme from Touhou Fuujinroku ~ Mountain of Faith)

    Vol. 6: Torifune Iseki ~ Trojan Green Asteroid (2012) 

Translation: Ruins of Torifune ~ Trojan Green Asteroid

  1. Satellite TORIFUNE (original)
  2. Trojan Asteroid Jungle (original)
  3. Desire Drive (Stage 4 theme from Touhou Shinreibyou ~ Ten Desires)
  4. The Fairies' Adventurous Tale (From the bonus CD with volume 3 of Eastern and Little Nature Deity)
  5. Ame-no-Torifune Shrine (original)
  6. UFO Romance in the Night Sky (Extra Stage theme from Touhou Seirensen ~ Undefined Fantastic Object)
  7. Hartmann's Youkai Girl (Koishi Komeiji's theme from Touhou Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism)
  8. The Barrier of Ame-no-Torifune Shrine (original)
  9. Emotional Skyscraper ~ Cosmic Mind (Byakuren Hijiri's theme from Undefined Fantastic Object)
  10. The Gensokyo That Floats in Outer Space (original)

    Vol. 7: Izanagi Busshitsu ~ Neo-traditionalism of Japan. (2012) 

Translation: Izanagi Object ~ Neo-traditionalism of Japan.

  1. Green Sanatorium (original)
  2. Led On by a Cow to Visit Zenkou Temple (original)
  3. Heartfelt Fancy (Stage 4 theme from Touhou Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism)
  4. Eastern Judgement in the Sixtieth Year ~ Fate of Sixty Years (Eiki Shiki, Yamaxanadu's theme from Touhou Kaeidzuka ~ Phantasmagoria of Flower View)
  5. Wind of Agartha (original)
  6. Izanagi Object (original)
  7. Youkai Back Shrine Road (Extra Stage theme from Touhou Shinreibyou ~ Ten Desires)
  8. Unknown X ~ Unfound Adventure (CPU Last Stage/Nuclear Reactor Fusion Core theme from Touhou Hisoutensoku ~ Choudokyuu Ginyoru no Nazo o Oe)
  9. Gathering the Mysterious from All Around Japan (original)
  10. Let's Live in a Lovely Cemetery (Stage 3 theme from Ten Desires)

    Vol. 8: Enseki Hakubutsushi ~ Dr.Latency's Freak Report (2016) 

Translation: Swallowstone Naturalis Historia ~ Dr. Latency's Freak Report

  1. The Childlike Duo's Naturalis Historia (original)
  2. The Frozen Eternal Capital (Stage 4 theme from Touhou Kanjuden ~ Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom)
  3. Dr. Latency's Sleepless Eyes (original)
  4. September Pumpkin (Ringo's theme from Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom)
  5. An Instant that Exceeds Planck's Time (original)
  6. Schrödinger's Bakeneko (original)
  7. The Shining Needle Castle Sinking in the Air (Stage 5 theme from Touhou Kishinjou ~ Double Dealing Character)
  8. The Taboo Membrane Wall (original)
  9. The Sea that Reflects One's Home Planet (Final Stage theme from Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom)
  10. Pure Furies ~ Whereabouts of the Heart (Junko's theme from Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom)
  11. Eternal Transient Reign (Fourth Stage Theme from Danmaku Amanojaku ~ Impossible Spell Card)

    Vol. 9: Kyūyaku Sakaba ~ Dateless Bar "Old Adam" (2016) 

Translation: Old Testament Tavern ~ Dateless Bar "Old Adam"

  1. "Old Adam" Bar (original)
  2. The Darkness Brought In by Swallowstone Naturalis Historia (original)
  3. Reverse Ideology (Seija Kijin's theme from Touhou Kishinjou ~ Double Dealing Character)
  4. Outsider's Cocktail (original)
  5. Omiwa Legend (Mononobe no Futo's theme from Touhou Shinreibyou ~ Ten Desires)
  6. Pandemonic Planet (Hecatia Lapislazuli's theme from Touhou Kanjuden ~ Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom)
  7. Adventurer's Tavern of the Old World (original)
  8. Rural Makai City Esoteria (Stage 5 theme from Touhou Seirensen ~ Undefined Fantastic Object)
  9. The Lost Emotion (Hata no Kokoro's theme from Touhou Shinkirou ~ Hopeless Masquerade)
  10. Hangover of Bedfellows Dreaming Differently (original)

    Vol. 9.5: Nijiiro no Seputentorion (2021) 

Translation: Rainbow-Colored Septentrion

  1. The Wolves of Nanatsuishi Dash to Seize the Clouds (original)
  2. Illusionary White Traveler (Stage 4 theme from Touhou Tenkuushou ~ Hidden Star in Four Seasons)
  3. Where Is That Bustling Marketplace Now ~ Immemorial Marketeers (Chimata Tenkyuu's theme from Touhou Kouryuudou ~ Unconnected Marketeers)

ZUN's Music Collection provides examples of:

    General Tropes 
  • Ambiguous Time Period:
    • It's left unclear when Dolls in Pseudo Paradise takes place relative to the rest of the Touhou series, though it's commonly assumed to be taking place sometime in the past.
    • The Sealing Club's story takes place some amount of time in the future from the rest of the Touhou series, which takes place more or less in the present day, with estimates ranging from several decades to more than a century. It's at least far enough in the future that a unified theory of physics has been achieved, Mt. Fuji has managed to become a World Nature Heritage Site rather than just a cultural one, Nagano is implied to have had its name reverted back to Shinshuu, and the term "e-book" has fallen out of fashion because the vast majority of information is disseminated through cyberspace.
  • Chronological Album Title: The numbers are part of the titles.
  • Concept Album: The songs in most of the albums are accompanied by an original story.
  • Darker and Edgier: These stories are much darker and more cynical than the core series as well as the music having a much moodier tone. Dolls in Pseudo Paradise in particular is perhaps the darkest story ever told in the Touhou series with its gruesome deaths, "Everybody Dies" Ending, and close examination of what often happens to those who get spirited away to Gensokyo.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: ZUN's Music Collection
  • Long-Runners: Dolls in Pseudo Paradise first released in 2002 and new albums have been released for almost 20 years.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: In contrast to the games and most of the manga, the CD stories are much more serious in tone with less comedy and jokes.
  • Work Info Title: The title of the series not only tells you who wrote it, but also that it's a music collection.

    Tropes in Dolls in Pseudo Paradise 
  • A Million Is a Statistic: The last words of the story.
    There are eight less people in this paradise, "Gensokyo", and seven corpses were carried off by youkai. Gensokyo has lost these honest men forever. It's just a change in the population count. Not important news in the least.
  • Appearance Is in the Eye of the Beholder: The Monster Clown appears slightly differently to those who observe it with one describing it as mysterious, another as sinister while yet another described it as beautiful.
  • Cool Gate: The honest men enter Gensokyo through an entrance hidden in a peach tree.
  • Darkness Equals Death: The third honest man dies when he decides to run off into the darkness while everyone else is partying and gets beheaded by the monster clown, while the wisest is backstabbed while sitting in the darkness.
  • Deconstruction: It doesn't shy away from showing how it would be for a group of people who suddenly found themselves in Gensokyou. They are both confused and lost, and one by one start to fall prey to a strange youkai.
  • Downer Ending: Seven of the honest men die in horrible ways. The murderer is revealed to be the surviving one, who became a youkai at some point without realizing it. Horrified, she commits suicide, but as youkai can't die, she only manages to kill what was left of her humanity. The incident is shrugged off as another one in the statistic and not given a second thought after that. And the girl leaves Gensokyo, probably to cause more havoc.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Dolls in Pseudo Paradise was released only a few months after Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, and is extremely weird both compared to the later albums and by Touhou standards in general. Making things weirder, it had a completely different story when it was re-released.
  • "Everyone Dies" Ending: All of the honest men die, seven brutally murdered, and the remaining one loses her humanity.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The revised story for Legend of Hourai mentions Princess Kaguya and the Jeweled Branch of Hourai. Kaguya would later appear in person in the third Windows Touhou Project game Imperishable Night.
    • The revised story for Lovely Mound of Cherry Blossoms ~ Japanese Flower mentions a girl sleeping under a cherry tree and how its petals are soaked in red. It's a clear reference to Yuyuko and the Saigyou Ayakashi from Perfect Cherry Blossom.
  • In the Back: The fifth honest man is killed by getting stabbed in the back with a hot object.
  • Miko: A (presumably) Hakurei shrine maiden shows up, though it's ambiguous whether or not it's Reimu or one of her predecessors that the second honest man observes dancing in the sky.
  • Mind Screw: What exactly was going on in Dolls in Pseudo Paradise? Is the story set in the past or the present, and how many narrators are speaking? Is the girl an existing Touhou character or just a random youkai? Is the first version of the story even still canon? Why is there a clown?
  • Monster Clown: An evil, murderous clown appears without explanation.
  • Nail 'Em: The fate of the sixth honest man was to be nailed to a tree with the last one being pounded through his forehead.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: A literal example in the case of the "honest" men, who have no issue leaving one of their own to die at the hands of a mysterious youkai.
  • Off with His Head!: The first and third honest men die by being beheaded by the monster clown.
  • Out with a Bang: It's implied that the fifth honest man died from being murdered in his sleep after a sexual encounter with "a beautiful pierrot".
  • The Smurfette Principle: The fourth honest person is the only girl of the group. She's also the one behind the murders, having become a youkai without realizing it.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The story is told in first person from several different characters, leading this trope to be pretty much guaranteed. It starts with them referring to themselves as "honest men" when they are heavily implied to be a group of thieves on the run, and it pretty much escalates from there.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The story is basically one long reference to And Then There Were None.

    Tropes in the Sealing Club stories 
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: Retrospective 53 Minutes is set on an underground train where the interior walls are screens, displaying prettified versions of the scenery above ground.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: "Maribel" is just the most popular reading among fans - the transcription of her name in katakana is "maeriiberi", which ZUN just picked as something that sounded generically foreign and difficult to pronounce, rather than trying to match an actual name. When asked directly at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2013, ZUN even admitted that he has no idea what the proper romanization of the name would be.
  • Bad Guy Bar: As a general rule, any old-style bar in Maribel's and Renko's time are both much dirtier and worn down compared to any new-style bar. They also tend to attract all kinds of shady people, "Old Adam" being one such bar.
  • Brain Fever: A possible example in Neo-traditionalism of Japan in the form of Maribel's visions while she was hospitalized.
  • The Cameo: In Maribel's dream-travels in Changeability of Strange Dream she visits what appears to be the Scarlet Devil Mansion, and someone there gives her cookies. Later she finds herself in the Bamboo Forest of the Lost and gets saved from a youkai by Fujiwara no Mokou, but is frightened away by her inhuman eyes.
  • Cats Are Mean: The chimera that attacks Maribel and Renko while they explore the satellite TORIFUNE in Trojan Green Asteroid is described by Renko as something akin to a winged cat.
  • Chuunibyou: The story of Dateless Bar "Old Adam" focuses on chuunibyou as a general theme, in the form of the adults Maribel and Renko meet that are obsessed with the stories about Gensokyo told by the former's pseudonym, Dr. Latency.
  • Crapsack World: While Maribel and Renko's world has many wonders of technology, it is also one where many edible plants are only available as synthetics, and where "children do not smile".
  • Cute Monster Girl:
    • Notably averted in Changeability of Strange Dream. The youkai rabbits in the Bamboo Forest of the Lost are normally presented as cute and harmless, appearing either Little Bit Beastly or as normal rabbits drawn in Super-Deformed style. However, Maribel encounters something in the forest that's considerably less so. Possibly justified by the time period in which she arrived (hundreds of years before the creation of the Great Hakurei Barrier and the resulting shift in youkai behaviour), as a form of Glamour Failure, or simply a type of youkai which hasn't appeared in other media.
    But, oh, what I saw with my own eyes! Nowadays, for extinct species like Japanese wolves or kappas, it is the era when you can see them in 3D CG... Even so, I've never seen such a large creature as the one in front of me.
    It was bigger than a Japanese wolf; a mouse-like black thing. Only its eyes were shining red ...No, was it a rabbit? Its eyes were also red. But eye's position looked odd for a rabbit. It had two eyes directly in the front of its head, like how yours are. Although I guess all humans are mostly like that.
    The size of its face was same as that of human. Or maybe it was a human's face? Yes, a human's face. It was a face. Definitely. Do you know of a beast like a large mouse with a human face?
    • Maribel describes the youkai she encounters in Dr. Latency's Freak Report as humanoid, though not particularly friendly.
  • Dark Reprise: Trojan Green Asteroid contains a particularly moody rendition of Hartmann's Youkai Girl, Koishi Komeiji's Leitmotif.
  • Dystopia:
    • In the future Kyouto in which Maribel and Renko live, while they are able to live relatively comfortably, it's clear that the world is seriously screwed up. As previously mentioned, many edible plants are extinct and food has to be artificially created, and it's made clear that the scenery they view when traveling using the Hiroshige line in Retrospective 53 minutes is fake (it even comes with its own credits sequence). All of this while a fear of the unknown, bordering on paranoia, is deeply ingrained in their society.
    • In Dateless Bar "Old Adam" it's offhandedly mentioned that medicine has become so advanced, and human lifespan so long, that lifespan regulations are being introduced.
  • End of an Age: In the Sealing Club's time, humanity has fully entered "the age of science", with no major mysteries left to uncover. Paradoxically this has led to a new wave of superstition, with everyone either fearing the unknown or craving it.
  • Epic Rocking: Magical Astronomy's cover of Necrofantasia is 6:41 min, and Trojan Green Asteroid's cover of Emotional Skyscraper ~ Cosmic Mind is about 7:41 min.
  • Extinct in the Future: The future world of Maribel Hearn and Renko Usami has had many edible plant species go extinct, forcing them to artificially create some foods.
  • Fictional Document: Swallowstone Naturalis Historia, a book written by Maribel under the name Dr. Latency which describes her many experiences of her dreams connected to Gensokyou.
  • First-Person Perspective: Most of Changeability of Strange Dream is told from Maribel's perspective, save for the last two portions, which are told from Renko's.
  • Foreshadowing: When questioned why she has a photo of the Netherworld, Renko's line in Ghostly Field Club won't make sense until the release of Urban Legend in Limbo 12 years later.
  • Gaia's Lament: Maribel and Renko's world has little to no nature, most food is artificial, and many edible plants have gone extinct.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Maribel comes close to madness as her powers increase and start letting her see into other realities all the time with no way to turn it off. Making things worse, she's convinced that one of these realities is Hell.
    "I already told you, I'm fine. It's just... maybe I feel too fine. Like I'm able to see more than I should."
  • Hollow World: In Neo-traditionalism of Japan Maribel reminisces about the time she visited Yomotsu-Hirasaka, the Shinto land of the dead, located deep within the Earth. Fittingly, the song and segment title for that particular section is "Agartha Wind", after the esoteric city believed to be located within the Earth's core.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: The plot of Dr. Latency's Freak Report is about Renko and Maribel writing a book about the latter's experiences in Gensokyo.
  • Invisible to Normals: In Neo-Traditionalism of Japan, the true forms of the titular Izanagi Objects, such as the spear Ame-no-Sakahoko, are invisible to those without powers such as Maribel's special sight and the willingness to believe in them.
  • Legacy Character: The game Urban Legend in Limbo eventually introduced Sumireko Usami, a psychic high-school student with a similar name to Renkonote  and similar "dream-travelling" abilities to Maribel, who founded the original Sealing Club in 2015 and is widely assumed to be Renko's ancestor.
  • Loss of Identity: A possible fate for Maribel, who Renko believes is slowly becoming more and more like a Youkai.
  • Lost World: Trojan Green Asteroid features TORIFUNE, an ecology research space station that malfunctioned and drifted out of its original orbit to about 380,000 km away from the Earthnote , and which has since transformed into a jungle of mutant plants and animals.
  • Masquerading As the Unseen: In Dateless Bar "Old Adam" Maribel encounters a man claiming to be "Dr. Latency", the anonymous author of Swallowstone Naturalis Historia, but is unable to confront him without revealing that she is Dr. Latency herself. For added Irony, he accuses Maribel of being a fraud when she starts talking about her experiences, claiming she's just repeating the contents of the book.
  • Meaningful Name: Maribel Hearn is named after Lafcadio Hearn, a writer famous for translating stories of Youkai into English. What's more, he went on to marry into a Japanese family and take the name Koizumi Yakumo.
  • Minimalist Cast: Save for Dateless Bar "Old Adam", Maribel and Renko are the only characters who appear in the Sealing Club stories.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Satellite TORIFUNE is inhabited by all sorts of chimeras.
  • Mythical Motifs: Neo-traditionalism of Japan has grapes, a bamboo shoot, and a peach on the cover, referencing Izanagi's escape from Yomi, during which he threw down his hairdress and comb, which transformed into grapes and bamboo shoots respectively to throw off his pursuers, and the peaches he used to fend them off.
  • No-Paper Future: Downplayed in that books still do exist, but Dr. Latency's Freak Report reveals that the vast majority of information is disseminated through cyberspace, so there's no such thing as "e-books", as the term "book" has returned to referring only to bound writings made of paper.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In universe example. The future where Maribel and Renko lives in fears the unknown to an extensive degree. When Maribel caught an unknown virus that was no more dangerous than the common cold, she was kept in quarantine for a very long time despite it passing very quickly. She was diagnosed with delirium seemingly just to keep her there longer.
  • Origins Episode: The series is heavily implied to be one for Yukari Yakumo.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The Sealing Club are "necromancers" how exactly? They also don't seem to do a lot of sealing. Urban Legend in Limbo reveals that it's an occult club. Though, Sumireko, the original club president, mainly used it as an excuse to drive everyone away from it, with the logic that absolutely no one would want to join a club named "The Secret Sealing Club".
  • Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything: Maribel and Renko theorize in Dr. Latency's Freak Report that Gensokyo and other places like it are separated from the Outside World by quantum membranesnote , and that beings like youkai can occasionally access the Outside World by slipping through quantum gaps in a phantom state, such as the youkai cat Maribel encountered at a shrine once.
  • Recurring Riff: In Trojan Green Asteroid, "Ame-no-Torifune Shrine" and "The Barrier of Ame-no-torifune Shrine" share a driving note sequence.
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly: The original story is referenced in Changeability of Strange Dream.
  • Science Fantasy: While the rest of the Touhou series is fantasy with some science in the background, the Sealing Club stories tend to lean more towards science, with Maribel and Renko theorizing scientific causes for supernatural phenomena, but still considering them supernatural rather than Doing In the Wizard.
  • Seeker Archetype: The Sealing Club, who seek to solve all the mysteries of Gensokyo and the other worlds.
  • Shown Their Work: Maribel and Renko theorize that Izanagi and Izanami created Japan about 25 million years ago. Geologically, what would later become Japan did indeed start to separate from the rest of the Asian continent 25 million years ago, though it didn't achieve something resembling its modern configuration until around 20,000 years ago during the Last Glacial Maximum.
  • Standalone Episode: Most of the volumes can be understood independently from one another, save for the separate duos of Trojan Green Asteroid and Neo-traditionalism of Japan, and Dr. Latency's Freak Report and Dateless Bar "Old Adam", which are directly connected.
  • Terraform: Trojan Green Asteroid takes place on a lost space station that was used to test plans to terraform... Earth. Terraforming Mars or Venus is described as "the stuff of science fiction".
  • Theme Naming: The first four Sealing Club CDs are named after books by Lafcadio Hearn:
    • Ghostly Japan —> Ghostly Field Club (ZUN wanted the same feel as the source material);
    • Exotics and Retrospectives —> Retrospective 53 minutes (egregious number of references to paintings, Mount Fuji, and "the beauty of memory");
    • Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things —> Changeability of Strange Dream (youkai horror stories; "kaidan"/"kwaidan" itself literally means "ghost stories" or "weird tales")
    • The Romance of the Milky Way —> Magical Astronomy (a "mirror maiden" travels to the moon and has some fun; the former is the last book by Lafcadio, while the latter is the last CD for almost six years).
  • Time Travel: In Changeability of Strange Dream Maribel is transported to the Bamboo Forest of the Lost. In Perfect Memento in Strict Sense it's revealed that a message she left behind was discovered by Gensokyo natives... hundreds of years ago.
  • Title Drop:
    • During the Necrofantasia segment of Magical Astronomy, Renko describes immortality as a state of being "neither alive nor dead, in the living world and the netherworld at the same time, a Necrofantasia".
    • During the Izanagi Object segment of Neo-Traditionalism of Japannote  when Maribel shows Renko the odd manmade stone she found deep underground, she says "This is what I found at the Izanagi Plate. It's an Izanagi Object.".
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Renko has short hair, tends to wear shirt-hat-tie combos, and is the "scientist" of the pair. Maribel has long hair, tends to wear purple dresses and bonnets, and is the "magician".
  • The Underworld: In Neo-traditionalism of Japan Maribel visits Yomi, the Shinto underworld.
  • Unholy Ground: In the Legend of Aokigahara segment of Retrospective 53 minutes it's implied that in order to assuage fears of angering the gods by tunneling underneath Mt. Fuji, the Tokaido was made to run directly under Aokigahara instead, which makes Maribel feel uncomfortable due to feeling the souls of those who died there.
  • Urban Fantasy: Most of the story takes place outside Gensokyo, in near-future Japan.
  • Walking the Earth: Neo-traditionalism of Japan has the Sealing Club travel across Japan after Maribel gets freed from the sanatorium.
  • Watering Down: In Maribel's and Renko's time there are two types of alcohol, new-style and old-style. Old-style is regular old alcohol, while new-style (which is drunk by the majority of people) contains special enzymes that prevents the drinker from getting too drunk from it, preventing addiction as well as not being as damaging to the body.
  • We Will Have Euthanasia in the Future: Dateless Bar "Old Adam" features Renko and Merry discussing the "lifespan regulations" Japan is introducing in order to reduce the cost of caring for elderly citizens.
  • We Will Have Perfect Health in the Future: Neo-traditionalism of Japan reveals that in the Sealing Club's world most diseases are treatable, hereditary incurable conditions are treated merely as idiosyncrasies, and incurable diseases are more or less "nonexistent." However, due to their society's fear of the unknown, Maribel was held in a sanatorium for an unknown amount of time following the events of Trojan Green Asteroid, all because due to her chimera injury she caught an illness no worse than a common cold.
  • Work Info Title: Retrospective 53 minutes has its length in its title.

Alternative Title(s): ZU Ns Music Collection, Dolls In Pseudo Paradise, Ghostly Field Club, Changeability Of Strange Dream, Retrospective 53 Minutes, Magical Astronomy, Unknown Flower Mesmerizing Journey, Trojan Green Asteroid, Neotraditionalism Of Japan, Dr Latencys Freak Report, Dateless Bar Old Adam