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Trivia / Touhou Project

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  • Approval of God: ZUN allows and even encourages fan-made works, be they fanarts, fanfictions, fangames, etc. as long as they stay as fan-made products made for fun and not as a method for slander or other kinds of personal attack.
  • Ascended Fanon: Quite a lot of it, though all Touhou ascended fanon is usually coincidence, as ZUN has said he doesn't look at fan games because he doesn't want to plagiarize, unintentionally or on purpose. As a result, it is quite ambiguous as to what is Ascended Fanon and what is the fans guessing right.
    • Much like with Daiyousei and Koakuma receiving fan-names, Momiji makes a cameo appearance in one panel of Oriental Sacred Place Chapter 1, looking exactly the way fanon imagines her, with wolf ears and detached sleeves, though some recent official art showed her apparently without wolf ears. The artist for Strange and Bright Nature Deity and Oriental Sacred Place was a Touhou fan doing doujinshi long before being recruited for the official project.
    • Though Daiyousei never got official art from ZUN, she has a probable cameo in one chapter of Strange and Bright Nature Deity looking and acting very much the way fan art tends to portray her, with the distinctive side ponytail. However, her Fairy Wars sprite, being based on the EoSD one, lacks it.
    • In addition to the fan-given name, Koakuma had a cameo appearance in Inaba of the Moon & Inaba of the Earth with two pairs of black wings, one on her head and one on her back, just as depicted in fan art.
    • Because of her connection with history, her home in the human village, and a comment by Remilia, Keine was frequently cast as a teacher to other characters in fan works after Imperishable Night. Later official works made this canon (though it debunked the idea of her teaching any youkai characters, since she said she only wants to teach humans).
    • Apparently things like this were even happening in the PC-98 days, since ZUN hangs a lampshade on it in the manual for Embodiment of Scarlet Devil.
      Unintentionally, [Reimu] is a shrine maiden. Or rather, she is a shrine maiden only because the Touhou series has become the "Shrine Maiden Shooting Game" series. It feels like the cart has been placed before the horse to me.
    • Hopeless Masquerade has made quite a few fanon ideas canon, such as Marisa surfing on her broom, Mamizou smoking a pipe and Koishi having Empty Eyes.
    • Chapter 21 of Wild and Horned Hermit depicts Sakuya wearing a pinstripe coat and lacy headdress, making her look almost exactly like she does in Koumajou Densetsu.
    • Characters calling their attacks was a relatively common thing in fanworks. This was finally made canon in Antinomy of Common Flowers, where Jo'on and Shion do it before their boss fights.
    • Reimu showing her armpits was a popular meme in the fandom for years because her official artwork could've been taken either way on it. Fast forward to Wily Beast and Weakest Creature, where her artwork shows one of her sleeves being a good length away from the holes on her top. So yes, Reimu does indeed show her armpits.
    • The term "1cc" was made official in Wily Beast and Weakest Creature. It's used in the achievements that are unlocked by beating a scenario without continuing.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: The loading screen quote at the top of the Main page is often misquoted as "wait warmly" instead of "watch warmly".
  • Bury Your Art: ZUN discontinued the PC-98 era games in 2002, shortly after the release of Touhou Koumakyou ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, which acted as a vague Continuity Reboot for the franchise. Exactly why he did so was never explained outside a brief mention of not wanting to return to 16-bit graphics in Akyu's Untouched Score Vol. 3. Nonetheless, the PC-98 titles were never re-released and he has actively taken down fans' attempts to Keep Circulating the Tapes.
  • Denial of Digital Distribution: ZUN has always allowed a lot of fan works, but in the past, his guidelines specifically prohibited sale of fan works via sites primarily oriented for overseas customers (this includes stuff like iTunes and the App Store). Many creators didn't even use Japan-only download sites. This started to change in the late 2010s: After Hidden Star in Four Seasons was released on Steam in late 2017, ZUN also started allowing Touhou fan games to use Steam as long as they follow his not-that-strict guidelines. About a year later, a label that publishes Touhou Fan Music on iTunes and YouTube Music appeared. Their releases are available internationally, though they're delayed, you can't stream them, many circles are still absent, and most of the ones who are there haven't made their full discographies available. By 2021, however, many circles became available on Spotify— along with all CDs and Windows music produced by ZUN himself.
  • Follow the Leader:
    • Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream was made shortly after Twinkle Star Sprites.
    • Seihou was rather obviously inspired by Touhou.
    • Len'en Project was created by JynX, who is also known for their PC-98 remakes.
    • Bullet Heaven, a sort of 'westernized' Touhou game note  — the achievements have shoutouts to Imperishable Night and Ten Desires.
    • Project Nite Festival combines the bomb-power system from Mountain of Faith with a gameplay similar to Imperishable Night, custom characters and spellcards.
  • Hey, It's That Sound!: "Windows XP Balloon.wav" can be heard around the two minute mark in "Interdimensional Voyage of a Ghostly Passenger Ship", by complete accident.
  • Killer App: The early games have prompted a lot of Western fans to get into PC-98 emulation or collecting physical PC-98 systems.
  • Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.": While Touhou itself never had an official English release until 2015, Reimu Hakurei appears in Magic Pengel and Graffiti Kingdom, which have.
  • Meaningful Release Date:
    • The English patch for Yousei Daisensou was released on September 9. The game stars Cirno, who has a memetic association with the number 9.
    • The Steam release for Impossible Spell Card came out on April Fools' Day.
  • The Merch: A good amount, considering it's a doujin series. It includes, but is not limited to: doujinshi, costumes, mouse pads, jewelry, plushes, and high-quality figures, including Figmas.
  • No Export for You: ZUN expressed he is not willing to sell to western audiences. Supposedly, this is mostly due to shipping costs and the potential for cultural misunderstanding. (Ran's swastika spellcards were cited as an example.)
    • It seems some people believe that he doesn't want people selling it via "downloads aimed at overseas buyers", either, according to the official Touhou Project Guidelines. However, this is due to a mistranslation; the original guidelines are clearly labelled as applying to fanworks based on the Touhou series, and state that such works shouldn't be sold via the App Store, Android Market, Xbox Live or downloads aimed at overseas buyers. Of course, this isn't happening.
    • Obviously, this hasn't stopped fans from legally importing or downloading the game. Unfortunately, the games are stupidly expensive thanks to import costs and shady dealers who like to mark up prices ($30 for one game is considered fair); it's no wonder 99% of the western fandom simply pirates the games.
    • ZUN changed his mind over time; at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2013, he said he was interested in bringing the franchise to the US, and specifically mentioned that he liked Steam as a possible avenue for distribution. However, he said the biggest issue was that someone else would have to do the translation, and he really preferred being able to handle the games from start to finish. In March 2014, he officially announced his intention to digitally distribute the games for an international audience.
    • On May 7th, 2015, Double Dealing Character was released in the West on Playism, bringing the cycle to a close.
    • As for the manga, Yen Press licensed an English translation of Forbidden Scrollery, which began release in November 2017 (sadly, the CD that was originally included with volume 6 was omitted). Along with physical copies, the scanlation is also available digitally on various storefronts.
    • On November 3, 2017, ZUN announced that Hidden Star in Four Seasons and Antinomy of Common Flowers would be released on Steam. HSiFS came out a couple of weeks later, with AoCF following in 2018. Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, Impossible Spell Card, Double Dealing Character, Ten Desires, Fairy Wars, Double Spoiler and Wily Beast and Weakest Creature came to Steam in 2019.
    • As for the music CDs, those were only available in Japan for a long time as well. However, in October of 2018 a Japanese company called "Ban Dai"note  started offering a free service called "Touhou Doujin Music Distribution" so doujin circles could finally release thier albums worldwide on iTunes and YouTube Music, albeit with some restrictionsnote . Not only did the soundtrack CDs and ZUN's Music Collection get this treatment, but a good number of well-known doujin artists got in on this as well.
  • No Adaptations Allowed: ZUN has turned away multiple investors seeking to make an official Anime adaptation of the project or translate it into other languages, largely because he would lack control over such a project, and doesn't like retreading old ground in general. He is, however, very supportive of Fanime and Fan Translations as long as their unofficial nature is obvious. Due to Touhou's nature as a niche format within a niche medium, it gets a lot of its fame from Pop-Cultural Osmosis; something as mainstream as an anime would run a real risk of displacing the original in the public consciousness.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • In Urban Legend in Limbo, several music doujin groups, including the likes of Crow's Claw and dBu music among others, ended up doing official remixes of classic Touhou tracks for use in the game.
    • Several doujin mangaka such as Makoto Hirasaka and Aki Eda ended up making illustrations for Touhou spin-off manga.
  • Reclusive Artist: While ZUN himself is seen fairly often, the manga illustrators appear to prefer to stay out of the spotlight. For instance, all we really know about Moe Harukawa, the illustrator for Forbidden Scrollery, is that according to ZUN she's fairly young and highly skilled, and also attends university.
  • Referenced by...: Märchen Forest: Mylne and the Forest Gift has a mushroom-themed quiz with this question:
    When you say "mushroom", what Touhou character comes to mind?
    A1. Marisa Kirisame
    A2. Alice Margatroid
    A3. Reimu Hakurei
  • Sleeper Hit: Even the fandom is baffled at how a simple shooting game series got so popular.
  • Throw It In: Windows XP's balloon sound snuck its way into the recording for UFO's Stage 4 theme.
  • Trolling Creator: When SOPM came out, a lot of the profiles subverted the moe treatment many characters got (Nitori is not a shy kappa, she's a racist asshole; Hina is not someone you want to be near), and in the interviews following after, ZUN claimed Kisume - another shy youkai - is a Serial Killer who decapitates people and throws skulls at others. In case anyone doubted what SOPM had to say about Nitori, her dialogue in Hopeless Masquerade is extremely different from her dialogue in Mountain of Faith (and even Subterranean Animism, where she encourages the player to beat up their opponents), which consists of insulting her opponents and openly bragging about being a scammer. The only person she isn't mean to who isn't a customer is Marisa, her old comrade, and even then it's pretty neutral.
    • Though the Kisume remark was made loosely (likely as a joke, not definitive Word of God), and while SOPM's articles written by Akyuu might be questionable, Hopeless Masquerade supports some of it.
    • ZUN did this a bit earlier with sinking the popular fanon ship of Aya and Momiji in Aya's notes for Double Spoiler: Momiji really dislikes Aya. Not that this has stopped fanon. Result: Momiji is Tsundere to Aya...
    • Mokou's popular portrayal of being a vengeful, tsundere rageaholic obsessed with Kaguya was upended in Cage in Lunatic Runagate, where Mokou admits she actually forgot about Kaguya until recently and only fights with her out of boredom. She's also much less angry - more like an apathetic, quiet slacker who hangs around in the forest. Though her chapter does show the notion of Kaguya leaving is greatly upsetting.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Byakuren wasn't the original intended final boss of UFO; her brother Myouren was the planned final boss instead. However, ZUN didn't want players to beat up an old man, and having a lone male in an overwhelmingly female cast would have been too jarring, so Myouren was relegated to Byakuren's backstory.
    • Similarly, Word of God states that Kasen was considered for the position of Extra Stage Boss of Ten Desires. Fans have, of course, made their own version of what could have been. Kasen eventually became playable in Urban Legend in Limbo instead.
    • Mokou, alongside her rival Kaguya, was considered for the playable roster of Touhou Hisoutensoku, but was scrapped due to balancing issues. However, Mokou eventually made her proper debut in a fighting game in Urban Legend in Limbo, almost six years later.
    • EoSD was originally going to have three characters with the third, Rin Satsuki, being an original character. She holds the distinction of never having appeared in any Touhou related media at all.
    • In PCB, Yukari was originally going to have more distinct attacks when compared to Ran but it was scrapped due to time constraint.
    • According to ZUN in his interview in Volume 4 of Strange Creators of Outer World, he originally wanted to have Okina Matara debut in a wheelchair but found it too difficult to implement, opting to just have her sit in a chair during her Stage 6 boss fight. The idea eventually made it into canon in Visionary Fairies in Shrine.
    • Immaterial and Missing Power was originally going to include SC-88Pro-compatible MIDIs like the games that came before it. However, they could not fit on the 700 MB CDs the game was burned on. This is also the reason why the game's soundtrack is formatted in OGG instead of the usual WAV.
    • Like with Immaterial and Missing Power above, Phantasmagoria of Flower View was going to have an SC-88Pro MIDI soundtrack. However, only the songs up to White Flag of Usa Shrine were ever finished, and can only be accessed in the demo. Interestingly, the option for it is still there in the final game, though it's disabled with a message reading "MIDI isn't yet currently supported". This implies that the MIDI soundtrack was actually going to be finished at some point, but of course, that never happened.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Touhou Wiki.

  • ZUN had been thinking of making a team-up game (which later became Imperishable Night) before the Windows games even came out. EoSD was originally supposed to be the team-up game, but ZUN felt it would be odd to have sets of previously unintroduced characters be playable. EoSD and PCB were then made to introduce the player to several sets of new characters in preparation for IN.
  • Shoot The Bullet was a game he'd had an idea for since the time of EoSD, but it wasn't until Aya came along that he could really make it — that, and a collection of otherwise impossible-to-beat spell cards.
  • When Embodiment of Scarlet Devil introduced the spell card system, it became the first shooting game ever to give an official name to one of its bullet patterns. (Naturally, some patterns are given names by the fans. Touhou itself has "Gengetsu Rape Time", after all.)
  • Nonstandard boss fights:
    • Alice in Perfect Cherry Blossom appears twice as a mid-boss (the first after only a single wave of fairies) before the full boss fight later on.
      • Seiran in Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom follows the same trend.
    • Mystia in Imperishable Night starts her boss fight immediately after losing as a mid-boss.
      • Nemuno Sakata in Hidden Star in Four Seasons follows the same trend.
    • Kanako's stage in Mountain of Faith has no mid-boss at all.
      • Miko's stage in Ten Desires follows the same trend.
      • Junko's stage in Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom also has no mid-boss and instead opts for a bullet rain endurance with the duration of a mid-boss fight.
      • Okina's stage in Hidden Star in Four Seasons also follows the same trend, having some great fairies serving as the midboss portion.
    • Yuugi in Subterranean Animism stays on the screen after mid-boss fight and continues shooting at you.
    • Nue, the extra stage boss in Undefined Fantastic Object, appears as the mid-boss in Stages 4 and 6, but in the form of a ball of light.
      • Rin, the Stage 5 boss in Subterranean Animism, is a mid-boss in Stage 4 (twice), Stage 5, and Stage 6. She's infamous for her persistence.
    • Soga no Tojiko, the stage 5 mid-boss in Ten Desires, has no hitbox.
    • Clownpiece, the stage 5 boss in Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, appears in the middle of the stage only to say a few sentences (and create a flashy effect that does nothing) before retreating until her boss fight.
    • Kurumi in Lotus Land Story is the only PC-98 character to act as her own mid-boss. The Windows games made this the standard.
    • Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame in both Lotus Land Story and Imperishable Night are the only instances where you fight another playable character (in that game) as a boss, not counting the fighting games.
    • Okina in Hidden Star in Four Seasons serves as both the final boss and extra boss.
    • Misumaru's stage in Unconnected Marketeers only has a giant floating yin-yang orb for a mid-boss.