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This is for theories about the girls of the sixth Touhou game.

Rumia

Rumia is Satan sealed in the form of a young blonde
Her name is alternately spelled Lumia, cognate to Latin lumen, just like the name Lucifer. Her usual "the saint was crucified" pose could be construed as a sort of deliberate blasphemy. Oh, and her darkness-manipulating ability seems perfectly appropriate for the Prince of Darkness. She may also be one of the more evil characters in a world of White-and-Grey Morality, as she's one of only a handful of youkai who explicitly expresses an interest in eating humans.
  • Um, doesn't "lumen" mean light in Latin? Because that would mean that "Lumia" is either a victim of Nonindicative Name, or she may of had the power to control darkness and light at one time, which she could combine into one force and become enough of a threat to Gensokyo, that the Hakurei Miko of that time (and possibly Yukari as well) had to seal away that portion of her powers, leaving only a weakened version of her power over darkness afterwards.
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Rumia is from Poland.
Rumia was a youkai who was born in the (real) town of Rumia, Poland during the 1920s. When Nazi Germany took over Poland in 1939, Rumia was sent to a concentration camp, where she attempted to escape using her powers. However, her escape failed and the Nazis, having learned of her powers, moved her to a secret research facility so that she could be experimented on and brainwashed. Fortunately, Yukari gapped Rumia into Gensokyo to prevent the outsiders from learning of the youkai. Yukari then sealed Rumia's memories into a ribbon. The only thing Rumia can remember of her former life was the name of the town she was born in and the image of 'the saint being crucified on the cross'.
  • Touching her ribbon causes her to experience painful memories from being trapped in a concentration camp, which as without any psychological help or even knowing what she is flashbacking through is absolutely horrifying to her. She COULD be made to touch her ribbon, it would just be a prospect too horrifying for her to consider willingly to the point her body subconsciously resists the experience.
  • Thanks for the historical lesson there. I also was convinced there was a town of Dali before I learned there actually was.

Rumia's true identity as a youkai
All youkai have some kind of human origin. Some are simply superstitions made real, some are beings born from people's attempts to explain the world around them and some are creatures born from people's fear of the unknown. Rumia embodies one of the most basic fears of all: The fear of the dark, or rather, the fear of the unknown that hides in the darknote ... As many of us know, the dark is something a lot of children fear and, in her sealed state, Rumia embodies the childishness of being afraid of the dark: She's a very childish monster; a blond little girl far too mentally undeveloped to be able to catch anything. As long as you're smart enough to run away from her, you're safe. She's, to be frank, the kind of monster a child's mind could think up... On the other hand there's a much deeper reason why humans are afraid of the dark, and that fear is different from the childish fear described above. That fear harkens back to the days before humanity even lived in houses. That fear is there to remind us that in the darkness is where the predators lurk. The darkness is to where your loved ones go and then never return. EX-Rumia embodies the Primal Fear of the dark that's ingrained into our very genes. She embodies Darkness = Death. This also makes her a, if not the, progenitor youkai as she embodies the nameless fear mankind felt for the unknown things in the dark before we gave it names such as "Boogiemen", "Vampires" or, indeed, "Youkai"...

To expand/play with the previous theory: Rumia is the Alpha youkai, and the Dark Messiah who will bring about the new Dark Age of Gensokyo.
I abide by a theory which seems to make sense with incorporating EX Rumia into canon, which is that EX Rumia was somewhat of the leader and master of all savage youkai. Back in the dark days when man-eating youkais were legion and mankind covered as night fell across the land, Rumia's screech used to strike fear in the hearts of every and all beings, as it ushered the arrival of a formidable hunter, the perfect killing machine - the perfect Youkai.
The sealing of EX Rumia, reducing her to her diminutive state nowadays, paved the path for the Gensokyo we know today, a relatively peaceful place where man-eating youkais are rare and nonlethal duels are the rule. Rumia likes to assume a "crucified" position for she is the Anti-Martyr, the Dark Messiah of Youkais. Should EX Rumia be unsealed and left unchecked, Gensokyo would return to its primal state - a vicious bloodbathed country, where youkai oppress mankind and EX Rumia is the ultimate butcher...

Cirno & Daiyousei

Cirno is in fact absurdly powerful
Cirno's power is defined as "Manipulation of Cold." She mainly uses it to make ice.
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But who's to say that's the only use of such a power. If she can manipulate Cold, then she can make things colder... or less colder, AKA heating things up by taking away the "cold" in it. She could also instantly reduce something to Absolute Zero. This destroying it in an instant. Or perhaps taking away so much cold that it burst into flame or even melts or just vaporizes. Sadly, Cirno's not smart enough to use her power in such creative ways.
  • Kind of supported by the fact that Shikieiki judges Cirno to be a menace and thinks that she's a fairy with "a little" too much power.
  • The theory's also been put around that Cirno's ability to manipulate cold is just the only bit she's managed to understand of her true ability, the ability to manipulate matter at the atomic level, at which point she pretty much becomes Dr. Manhattan.
  • There's a fanfic (called "The Last Stand of Cirno the Valiant") about Cirno training to get stronger, getting closer to that point, but then the rest of the cast descended on her like a bomb. How would you feel when it looks like you'll be upstaged by a "weak ice fairy". On the bright side, she takes out Yuuka, who just lost the last bit of sanity she had.
    Yuuka: (After raping Cirno with her hand) You lose.
    Cirno: (After impaling Yuka on an ice spike out of thin air) You lose more.
  • Alternately, Cirno was once truly one of the strongest youkai in Gensokyo in the distant past. Due to various events, she was sealed into her current state, and will never give up stating that she's the strongest, as she refuses to accept her current status and sink into despair at being depowered into being merely the strongest fairy.
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    • She was sealed along with Rumia, obviously.
      • A doujinshi along almost these exact lines: Cirno and Rumia were once among the mightiest of youkai, but both lost much of their powers and mental faculties fighting in Yukari's disastrous Lunar Invasion.
      • That doujinshi (Three Dark Times) also claimed that Yukari, Cirno and Rumia were the only three participants in the Lunar invasion, which doesn't seem too credible. Then again, this is fanon.
  • If she combines this power with Utsuho? Their combined ability will produce cold fusion.
  • Cirno has seraphim wings, 6 wings usually mean quite a lot of power.
    • Does that makes her the reincarnation of Sariel considering the Good Makai route ending in HRtP?
    • Actually I had a theory kinda similar to that in that fairies are an infant form of Angels. Due to their nature, most of them never get anywhere. But eventually there is one that is bound to appear and try to gather power and become stronger. And once the power reaches a critical point, they evolve to their true self. And I also think it involves a drastic change in personality.
  • This troper has another take on Cirno's power. According to me, Cirno DOES have the power to make something drop to Absolute Zero, thus killing anyone instantly, just like the original poster theorised. According to me, she IS able to use it. However, just like every other being in Gensokyo, she's forced to abide the Spellcard rule! Her skill in Danmaku is weaker than her skill at properly manipulating cold, and that misleads everyone into thinking she's weak. Her power is on par with the most powerful beings in Gensokyo, but just like them she can't use it, for such is the rule. If Marisa ever fought Cirno without Cirno playing by the danmaku rules, Marisa would freeze instantly, and then Cirno would make her shatter to pieces and laugh.
  • Further evidence, especially of the spellcard thing: Cirno has appeared five times. First two times she was one of the wimpiest bosses in the game. In her fourth appearance she's tied for third and fourth boss, though she's fighting against Aya at the peak of her author favoritism so nothing short of Yukari stands a chance. But in her third and fifth appearances, she appears as a playable character. In PoFV she's still an "early" boss but is capable of beating up a bunch of A-listers if you follow a non-canon story path, but in Hisoutensoku she's on the same level as, and has a storyline where she beats up Marisa, Alice, Utsuho, Sanae, and Hong Meiling. Looking at China, she was a pushover in EoSD too but can hold her own in Hisoutensoku as well; it has been stated in canon that she's good at martial arts but not at spellcard battles. Why this leveling of the playing field for those two? Because in IAMP, SWR and Hisoutensoku the characters are no longer following the spellcard system, but a hybrid of the spellcard system and real fighting. So Cirno and Hong Meiling get to stop playing their solely weakest suits and get massive boosts in power... which only makes sense if Cirno also had a great deal of power which she was unable to use in spellcard battles but can draw upon in SWR. If she was allowed to fight without spellcards altogether, she would probably be able to take anyone. And now there is Fairy Wars in which she is the only playable character...
    • Addendum: Meiling was a joke character in IAMP because she was out of practice—after all, it'd been a while since anyone in Gensokyo had fought with anything except spellcards and there's no reason to keep training at martial arts if it looks like you'll never get to use that again but desperately need to get better at spellcards. After IAMP it became clear that there was definitely still a chance of getting to use her martial arts again, so she started training again, so by Hisoutensoku she's at least not intentionally weaker than the rest of the cast. Also, in EoSD Cirno was significanlty weaker than China, but in Hisoutensoku they're on par and in fact Cirno's tentatively ranked higher than her. China's as much in her element in Hisoutensoku as we can ever expect to see her, but Cirno's still probably not—fairies aren't exactly known for their physical strength, and even though it's not (entirely) spellcards they're restricting themselves to formalized offensive spells of a sot rather than directly applying their powers to making the other person dead as fast as possible.
      • Also, don't forget that the entire cast of fighting games (And so Hisoutensoku) is composed of very high ranked characters.
  • Cirno should be able to use Ice-nine, no?
  • Cirno doesn't "Manipulate Cold". That's Letty. Cirno's ability is "Manipulation of Cold AIR", according to Letty's interview.
    • Aya's material is not to be considered as very reliable. Nor are Letty's words, seeing as she is clearly annoyed by Cirno. Cirno and Letty have the same power, though one could consider Letty's to be greater, seeing as she is a youkai of winter (it is canon that she is not giving her best during that battle) and Cirno is a mere fairy. Cirno's power is clearly stated to be cold, and she can conjure up ice, which does not fit into "manipulation of cold air". She DOES however seem to control cold air among others, as evidenced by her Cold Tornado spellcard in 12.3.
  • Maybe she just has permanent brain freeze.

Cirno utilizes some form of Thermosynthesis
It's mentioned that the air around Cirno is always cold. Since "cold" is merely the abscence of heat, she logically could be "creating cold" by absorbing heat. If the absorbed heat then becomes fuel for her magic powers, this could explain Cirno's power fluctuations. The colder the air around her is already, the weaker she becomes, as there's less heat to absorb to fuel her power. She's at her weakest in Perfect Cherry Blossom, when it's deep winter (despite the fact that it shouldn't be). In Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, she's at the Misty Lake, which is probably chilled by her own power, what with her living there and all, and due to the high specific heat of water, once it's chilled, it will tend to stay chilled for a while, chilling the air around it (Which would create the namesake mist!). All this chilling... chills things a bit, keeping Cirno relatively weak (but not as much as in PCB). Now we get to Phantasmogoria of Flower View and Unthinkable Natural Law, where she's a playable character. Here, Cirno leaves the Misty Lake and roams around in warmer climes... and suddenly, she's on par with typical player characters like Reimu and company. And when she gets dumped in a Nuclear Furnace, she can go toe-to-toe with resident Nuke-Girl Utusho. It's pretty apparent that Cirno's power follows a general pattern of being inversely proportional to the temperature of the area around her.
  • Then why was her reaction to Okuu to run away screaming? Not to mention that she was complaining about the heat.
    • Well, just because the heat boosts her preformance, doesn't mean it wouldn't be uncomfortable, and a walking atomic bomb would probably be frightening regardless of how powerful you are, especially if you have a childish brain that's not so good at logic. Alternativley, Cirno may be unaware of this detail of her power, for as we all know, she's not all that bright, and she has probably been living in the cold environs of Misty Lake for most of her life. I'ts perfectly reasonable that she's clueless to the fact that heat makes her stronger.
    • Actually, it says in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense that she's actually weak to fire and objects that are too hot to touch, although that could just mean that she can feel pain from being burned, just as a human does, if not worse. In other words, unless she actually makes a conscious attempt to siphon off the energy from the flame, she'll end up hurting herself instead.
  • Cirno also gains power in her game by freezing bullets, and grazing, both of which can be construed as ways to leech energy off enemy attacks.
  • Okuu even noted that there's been a significant drop in the temperature of the Reactor core, in other words, Cirno just being there was enough to notably cool down a nuclear reactor. Either she's overeacting or Cirno somehow gained a massive power boost there.
  • This troper once saw a comic (Danbooru, NSFW ads) showing Cirno using Icicle Fall ~Lunatic~ (yes, it doesn't exist, just go with it). It created a giant iceberg in the shape of an icicle. Cirno then commented that she was scared of her own spell card.
    • Another comic has her creating Perfect Freeze ~ Phantasm, which forces Yuuka Kazami to pull out Master Spark... which fails to dent the iceberg. Yuuka is further forced to pull out Double Master Spark and reveal a shameful secret to stop it.

Cirno is farsighted.
Why else would she have a huge blind spot right in front of her when she casts Icicle Fall ~Easy~?
  • This troper always thought that that was her first spellcard ever, and, being rather childish, she always leads with it despite it being her weakest spellcard.
  • This troper has read a good theory on Youtube: Cirno uses this spellcard not because she's stupid, but because she's actually smart and expects, perfectly rationally, that no opponent would be idiotic enough to go and stand in front of her face. When she finds out she's wrong, it's too late...

Touhou was imagined by all the British queens...
And Hitler, as he descended from a long lineage of them. Most of the setting reminds of some British/European cultural references. The Japanese folklore characters might have been added by Queen Victoria, and greater part of their cultural references was added by Hitler, that was in the same side as the Japanese in WW2, so, knowing a bit more about them. Elizabeth II herself just updated most of the mythos and reimagined the characters more moe than before, as she probably is secretly an anime fan. Unless William and/or Harry manage to declare their queen descendence, like Hitler, the Touhouverse might perish, as it needs the queen royalty to survive. It seems rather crazy, but sorta works.

Cirno is the forger of the Idiot Ball.
Cirno used to be one of the smartest beings in any dimension. So smart she was, that she discovered the secret of stupidity. All excited by the revelation, she created a powerful weapon using her newfound knowledge... a simple crystal orb emitting a strong mind flaying aura that immediately drops the IQ of anyone to come in contact with it. It would be called the Idiot Ball...
Sadly, the creation of the Ball did not come without a price... prolonged contact irreversibly ruined the genius Cirno's mind, turning her into what she is now. The secret of stupidity was sadly lost along with Cirno's intellect.
  • Then how did Mermaid Man get his paws on it?
    • Baka Cirno froze the idiot ball in question (Or just one) into the iceberg that later defrosted over Bikini Bottom. Cirno had no control over it (Barring smart!Cirno having precalculated it and left herself some extremely clear instructions loaded with the secret of intelligence) crashlanding somewhere near Shady Shoals or the Mermalair proper. Mermaid Man picks it up, kaboom, Cirno's most devastating weapon is in reach of some dangerous idiots, although giving it to superheroes might have been a last ditch intelligence recall.

Revenge wasn't the only reason Cirno started the war with the fairies
It was mainly to test her newly developed bullet freezing powers on weaker opponents, once she was confident it was awesome she went for the true targets of her revenge, that infernal Miko and Witch who think just becauses beat her X amount of times they're stronger! The very fact her first action after beating the fairys is going to fight Marisa in the extra stage supports this.
  • She's been able to freeze enemy bullets since PoFV.
    • Well way to kill my fun. I suppose I could argue those are more like Bombs than the Freeze near infinitly she has in 12.8.
    • Ah, but there's some evidence in Fairy Wars that suggests it may actually be taking place before Phantasmagoria of Flower View.
      • Cirno doesn't meet the Three Fairies until after MoF. Assuming that SaBND's chronology is linear, anyway.

Cirno is evolving from a fairy into a youkai that is quite a bit more powerful — and we've already seen an example of what kind.
From Shikieiki's talk with her in PoFV, Cirno may develop into something more than a fairy, and this appears to be happening as of Fairy Wars. But what is she becoming?

Now, from EaLND/SaBND/OSP (the Three Fairies manga), we know that fairies are nature spirits, embodying aspects of nature and reinforcing the proper growth and development of plants and natural places. They seem, in fact, to be lesser versions of gods (though in Shinto, the lines between gods, mere spirits, and youkai are pretty fuzzy to start with). Gods have the ability to divide themselves infinitely, manifesting in different places with full power.

Which brings us to this: we already know a character who embodies an aspect of nature, enhances and expands plant growth, and can divide herself into multiple bodies, and is thus the template for the power level Cirno is attaining: Kazami Yuuka.

  • In other words, Cirno will one day become as powerful as Yuuka? Wouldn't that herald the coming of the Second Ice Age that's said to occur if we mess around with nature too much? Hm...
  • The corollary of this WMG is to settle the mystery over what kind of youkai Yuuka is; she is an Ascended Fairy.
  • Either that, or a God with the manipulation of ice.
    • Which would pit her and Suwako as gods that actually hate each other, and if Cirno's power over ice becomes as such that it can overpower Kanako, then Suwako may be the only one who can stop her...
  • There's a doujin you might want to take a look at.

Every snowflake in Gensokyo is a miniature Cirno, or other ice fairy.
Cirno's just so big and strong because she's Sariel's reincarnation. She's got 6 wings, has ice powers, isn't that smart, may be able to melt and reform, and has fan-popularity like numerousness. Why not?

Cirno's religion is Baha'i
Everyone was just insulting every aspect of her during Cirno's Perfect Math Class.

Cirno's power will increase and she will become able to create, instead of just regular ice, ice-nine.
Cirno is the ⑨ isn't she?

Cirno's personality
Why is Cirno the way she is? Maybe she realised that as a fairy, she's basically stuck in a child's mind for all of eternity, and that's her way to cope. Some children try to mask insecurities by making claims similar to hers, after all.

The full extent of Cirno's powers...
...Lies not in mere manipulation of coldness, but of energy itself. Cold is a lack of energy, which suggests that she either has control over energy, or the ability to drain and/or dampen energy. If the former, quantum mechanics may or may not be able to expand it into control of matter as well; if the latter, she may or may not be able to use the drained energy to empower her magic. If nothing else, then it by definitionnote  already extends to being able to stop motion as well; she merely has to learn to consciously apply this to large-scale objects, instead of subconsciously applying it to particles.

In short, cold manipulation automatically includes the ability to stop an object's motion, and can easily be expanded to cover either dampening energy and/or complete control over energy (and maybe matter as well), with liberal application of Technobabble. The only real limit is purely intellectual; as she's stuck with the mind of a child, she likely hasn't realised the implications of "cold manipulation", and probably doesn't even know that heat is a form of energy.

That, or Cirno smash puny physics with glacier mallet.

Daiyousei isn't just a great fairy. She's actually The Great Fairy.
As in not a sub-class of fairy, but the leader of all fairies in Gensokyo. Her name is unknown because if you name her, you can control her. Then, anyone who controls her would be the master of Gensokyo's most populous race and disrupt the delicate balance of power. Her shyness is an act designed to prevent this by misleading anyone from attempting such a power grab.
  • And Cirno is her unwitting bodyguard. She was only the midboss in Eo SD because she was surprised and Cirno is slightly stronger for trying.
  • Her going DIE-yousei in Fairy Wars and fighting Cirno was for training purposes of both of them. Since Cirno was much more likely to actually attack someone (The entire rest of the game), Daiyousei served as the defending spellcard-caster whilst Cirno did the player-character act.
    • Her midboss appearance in the EX stage was a surprise training with Lily to stop Cirno from dealing with Marisa for her own sake, but Cirno won.

Meiling

Hong Meiling is actually a human, not a youkai.
Although she's repeatedly described as a youkai, it's never been clear what sort of youkai she would be, and indeed, she seems more like Gensokyo's human population... except for the implication that she eats people. It's possible that she's just a cannibal, and people have assumed that she's a youkai because eating people is something they do — although not very often anymore. Following the Literary Agent Hypothesis, this faulty assumption would have trickled down to ZUN, who would repeat it.
  • Remember when she described herself as "just a normal person" in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil...
  • There's been some evidence that she's a Hong, or rainbow-dragon. While it's not exactly confirmed, the fact that her fighting style uses rainbows and her Chinese origin gives some evidence in favor that she is a Hong.
    • So what you're saying is Meiling is totally a dragon, right?
    • *points at WMG below* Maybe she swam up a river like a certain species of carp and became a hong because magic?

Okay, two theories on Meiling:

#1: Meiling does not actually sleep on the job.
She's actually in a state of hypersensitivity, in which she can discern threats more easily. The reason she lets Marisa through is because she doesn't feel that Marisa is going to be an actual threat to the mansion. And she doesn't regard Sakuya as a threat because Sakuya is a resident of the mansion and therefore belongs there. Sakuya only perceives that China is asleep and therefore gets pissed off about it.
After all, why would Remi want a useless guard? She obviously sees something in Meiling.

#2: Sakuya never liked Meiling and gave her a form of brain damage.
All as an excuse to whale on her. One knight, while China was asleep, Sakuya sneaks up on her and stabs her in the head. Meiling gets screwed up by this and is never right again. She starts constantly falling asleep while doing her job, and who constantly checks up on her? Sakuya. This means that Sakuya gets to mistreat Meiling for failing to do her duties, and she enjoys it all too much.

Here's one more:

Patchouli has bribed or otherwise induced Meiling to let Marisa through.
Because she's tsundere for Marisa. Duh.

Remilia has bribed or otherwise induced Meiling to let Marisa through.
Because she secretly thinks Flan needs more friends. Or more practice in subduing prey without utterly annihilating it.

Remilia hired Meiling for no other reason but to be a butt monkey.
First, SDM doesn't really need any protection, there are enough competent fighters in SDM (including the fairies) and nobody is bothered enough to attack SDM anyway. Second, if SDM really needed protection, Meiling's level of power hardly does a thing, both Sakuya and Patchouli can fend off invaders far more easily than Meiling. If Remilia really wanted to have the gate well defended, surely she can pick someone with a higher level of competence. Third, Meiling is a melee fighter, or martial artist, which means she is a lot more "durable". Remilia and Sakuya must be pretty bored by themselves, and Patchouli never ever comes out, so they need someone else other than the fairies to "play" with, and Meiling seems perfect for that role, more so than a gate guard.
  • Hong is there to dispatch any riff-raff that attempt to enter the mansion, something she is easily capable of doing (though she is hardly a planet-crushing menance, it is often forgotten Hong is still a capable fighter). It wouldn't make sense to bother either Sakuya or Patchouli with such things, as they both have more important duties Remilia wouldn't want them shirking. It is just that in Gensoukyou nearly everyone is a capable fighter, Reimu and Marisa among the best, and Hong is constantly Overshadowed by Awesome, which is what has turned her into a joke. Besides, Sakuya and Patchouli are too serious and obsessive to bother abusing the guard, though I wouldn't put it past Remilia.

Meiling is a really sucky Chinese dragon.
This would explain Meiling's magic, her penchant for guarding things, and how exactly she is a youkai. Dragons often take the shape of humans, so it stands to reason that in Gensokyo, where even spiders are lolis, a dragon would simply stay in human form (though more likely forced to stay that way).

Meiling is the creator of Gensoukyou.
Think about it. "Team Shanghai Alice". Meiling's theme song is "Shanghai Alice of Meiji 17". What if Meiling is the "Shanghai Alice" of the title? Maribel may be a character created by Meiling and everything that she dreams is actually created by Meiling's imagination, which all the girls being avatars of people she know, and, of course, our lazy gatekeeper being an Author Avatar.
  • PC-98 was her old fantasies before moving on to present, with Eo SD being a justification.
  • [s]Then why did she bring the entire Scarlet Devil Mansion along? I can understand Remilia (Or Flan) ordering Sakuya to move the SDM to Meiling's place, but other than that, an ultra-botched Patchouli ritual, or Remilia ordering Sakuya to move it to Gensokyo when the gate was moments from being overrun by crazy villagers rather than risk Meiling's death and Flandre destroying everything in the area, but otherwise no idea.[/s]Wrong WMG.

Besides, dragons are hard to draw.

Hong Meiling is a member of The Triads
Supporting this:
  • Her name is Hong Meiling, and she is a gatekeeper. An alternate reading for hong is the character 洪, and "gate" is men (either 門 (kanji) or 门 (simplified Chinese)). Combine the two, and you have "Hongmen," the name of an influential Chinese secret society sometimes also called "Chinese Freemasonry" and with alleged ties to the Triads.
  • She is extremely proficient in martial arts. According to legend, the Triads were founded as a resistance movement by the Five Elders of Shaolin after their monastery was destroyed by the Qing Emperor.
  • In the Hisoutensoku fighting game, one of the other characters seems to think that the Green Dragon Crescent Blade, the legendary spear of Guan Yu, would make a fitting weapon for her. Guan Yu is highly revered by both the Triads and the Hongmen.

Rumia and Meiling are acquaintances.
It explains why Meiling made a comeback to a comment Reimu made to Rumia, because Rumia actually popped by and told Meiling about the incoming miko. It also explains why Meiling attacks you as a midboss then a boss rather quickly: She knew you were coming.

Meiling is relatively strong.
However, with Remilia giving her double duty as 24/7 gatekeeper and first gardener of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She has to be constantly alert both at the gardens and the gate, which leaves her little time to rest. So instead she naps whenever she is able to (she's a light sleeper anyway) and can only very rarely fight at full strength.

Meiling's reputation for sleeping on the job is Reimu's fault
During the actual game Meiling is never actually caught sleeping. She proactively attacks you before you even get to the mansion and attacks you again at what is probably the front gate. Assuming Remilia did the vampire thing of being active mainly at night, Meiling's job would be to keep out intruders during the day when her mistress was most vulnerable. She would then sleep at night. After Reimu beat Remilia, Remilia starts taking an interest in things outside the mansion and becomes more active during the day. In both of Reimu's endings, Remilia goes to bug her at the shrine during daytime. With her mistress spending more time awake during the day, Meiling would have to stand guard at night as well as through the day; to guard her mistress while she slept and to guard the mansion when Remilia and sometimes Sakuya were absent. Meiling probably had to switch to that sleep system where you nap throughout the day to make up for not being able to get eight straight hours.
  • Going along with this, her story mode in Unthinkable Natural Law where she sleeps through her entire scenario and dreams about fighting a giant catfish might be her crashing from not getting enough sleep and all the REM sleep she missed giving her some really messed up dreams.

Meiling is physically strong and a skilled martial artist, but inept at magic and danmaku.
Meaning that she's more handicapped than most Gensokyo residents by the spellcard rules.

Patchouli & Koakuma

Patchouli Knowledge doesn't bother fighting Reimu and Marisa at full strength.
Seriously, Gensokyo has a Gameboy. They MUST have some sort of vitamin supplement. Also, Patchy's reasoning is rather nonsensical.
  • I won't argue the existence of such things, but remember, Patchouli's a borderline Hikikomori. She wouldn't ask Koa to get them, Sakuya probably wouldn't volunteer since she needs to be at the Mistresses' beck and call, and the Scarlets themselves don't go outside very much themselves.
    • Sakuya can bend space-time at will. I doubt getting vitamin pills would be very hard.

Patchouli doesn't have asthma; it's the drain of having Koakuma as a familiar.
Devils (Horny or otherwise) are more mana gluttons than shikigami. Patchy can maintain it indefinitely, but it gives her a more delicate constitution.
  • She keeps it up because she's grown to like Kaokuma (or is dependant on her; for Darker and Edgier AUs) and it's a symbol of status.

Koakuma is a third Scarlet sister
While Remilia locked Flandre into a basement, she made Koakuma assist Patchy in the library to keep her occupied. This way she could rule the mansion alone, while keeping her sisters below her in the SDM hierarchy. Koakuma is usually portrayed as someone overly obedient and oblivious to her master's intentions. Maybe she realizes that she's a Scarlet, but prefers to stay in the background? Maybe she doesn't know at all, by her memory being wiped out somehow, or she has a very short memory span (like Dory from Finding Nemo).

Patchouli is an Aspie
Everyone who has some basic Knowledge about Asperger's symptoms would've noticed it in her by now; her Hikikomori lifestyle, her complete devotion to gathering knowledge rather than social interaction, her formal, monotone speech, expertizing in only a few specific subjects (witchcraft) and only talking about their interests (read her SWR quotes), not showing emotions, and only wearing pajama's all day.

"Koakuma" does not refer to a single entity
The Scarlet Devil Mansion's library is large enough for an entire Touhou stage to take place inside it. We're never actually told how fast the characters are flying, but it does appear to be fast. On top of that, it contains enough books to keep Patchouli-who is quite literally a superhuman bookworm-occupied and with no reason to leave for over a century. No matter what you say, a library like that is going to be huge. Do you suppose it's at all easy for one person to maintain a library like that, even if they are a demon? "Koakuma" refers not to a single character but rather an entire class of them, a template for the familiars Patchy summons. This also helps explain why she just pops up out of nowhere, vanishes without a shred of story and, from what I can tell, just blows up after being defeated rather than flying off. All other stage 4 midbosses in the Windows series go on to act as bosses-with the exception of Lily White, but she is a (admittedly powerful) fairy-and even then she reappears in Touhou 9. She's certainly more powerful than the Mooks populating the stage, but not quite boss material-the rest of the SDM crew probably just see them in the same way-and Patchy, beiing Patchy, probably made no effort to stop them being expendable, seeing as she can just summon more-although she might have taken a liking to a particular one. (Do correct me if I'm wrong about the stage 4 midboss thing-I've pretty much only played PCB and IN.)

Worth mentioning I concocted this WMG after seeing this picture.

  • When ZUN acknowledged the terms "Koakuma" and "Daiyousei" he stated that they refer to a specific sub-class of youkai, and made no statement regarding the names of the particular individuals that appeared in EoSD, so this WMG is entirely plausible.

    • Koakuma army. YES.

Patchouli really can speak multiple incantations at once, using even more magic.
Marisa was right. It does explain how even on a rather sickly day she can fire complicated and quite strong multiple-element spells, since presumably the chanting voices are secondary and magical in origin and are not affected as much by her illness.

Patchouli Knowledge is not an elemental witch, but a Warlock/Demonologist
Justifies both her demonic assistant Koakuma, and what she's doing inside a Vampire's mansion (people dealing with demons have always been outcasted from society, Gensokyo is probably no exception, and merely living on her own as an outcast was not an option for her, due to her poor health, and the fact that she could get lynched. So Patchouli naturally went for those who could accept her as she is, who happened to be Vampires.)

Sakuya

Sakuya is a Lunarian.
Her themesong is called "Lunar Clock ~ Luna Dial." Kaguya, a Lunarian, has the ability "manipulation of eternity", which is quite similar in effect to Sakuya's "manipulation of time." Also note that according to Eirin's profile, Eirin was "surprised" to see Sakuya during the events of Imperishable Night, and she doesn't seem to be concerned with her own mortality when Remilia brings up the subject after defeating Mokou — Lunarians are already immortal; nor does she seem concerned about the madness-inducing moonbeams, since presumably Lunarians are already immune (Marisa is "insane to begin with", it isn't mentioned in the Border Team's scenario, and Youmu does feel the effects).
  • Alternatively, Sakuya is Eirin. Due to an accident involving the Luna Dial, Eirin accidentally created a younger, amnesiac temporal double of herself, whom she quietly shipped to Earth's future (i.e. contemporary times) to avoid ... political problems. And then she made the Elixir for Kaguya and got actually exiled to Earth, oh well.
    • Or, Sakuya was created using Kaguya and Eirin's DNA. This explains all of the above, without the discrepancies included.
    • This editor still prefers the "Sakuya is Shirou, Eirin is Archer" theory in this case.
      • This editor feels "Eirin shot the arrow that gave Sakuya her time manipulation. Making Sakuya Dio Brando and Eirin Enya Geil" is a much more plausible explanation anyday.
      • Yeah... I'm not sure the "Sakuya is to Eirin as Jin is to Hakumen" Theory makes much sense. Unless Eirin pads or Sakuya's bust size is real.
      • They're both washboards if we go by ZUN's art.
  • Another possibility; it is mentioned that the Lunarians used Earth as a prison/place of exile, which strongly implies that Kaguya and Eirin are not the first or only Lunarians to end up on Earth. So here's what I think: either Sakuya is such an exiled Lunarian, or one of her parents was. Especially the latter possibility would explain why Sakuya is commonly considered human in spite of having time-space manipulating powers that are far beyond what even modern human technology is capable of, and it would also neatly explain why she is in possession of a Luna Dial (which might even be some kind of secret or forbidden technology, and the fact that she, or her parent, acquired one could very well be the reason he/she got exiled to Earth in the first place).
  • Yet another possibility; she's Chang'e who managed to get away from the moon. And the Chang'e the Lunarians think they have? A paradoxical body double created by her time powers.

Sakuya is a close relative of Youmu.
Both Sakuya and Youmu have pale gray/white hair (most likely a recesive gene). Sakuya has time magic which could have been used to train Youmu to become super fast. Sakuya may have been the "oddball" of the family and not been able to learn swordsmanship or the family was divided into certain weapon sections. It is not clarified what Sakuya's real name is, so her last name could indeed be Konpaku. Maybe she was a vampire hunter and when defeated by Remilia she was hit in the head and had severe amnesia, never remembering her previous life. Youmu may have been young at this time so she didn't remember Sakuya causing the battle in PCB. Although Sakuya is estimated to be 16-20 years old she could be the half ghost half human hybrid like other members of the family. So judging on appearance doesn't work here because Youmu and Sakuya both appear to young, but Youmu is at most 60 years old. Youmu and Sakuya first appeared with red eyes (another recesive gene in the real world). Also, sorry if this was long.
  • Alright, so where's Sakuya's "Myon"? Surely you're not forgetting the most important distinguishing feature of a half-ghost.
    • The "myon" might have wandered off when Sakuya forgot about being a Konpaku.
    • Sakuya's myon may actively be following around either Flandre or Remilia at any given time any major events happen in Gensokyo near Reimu, Marisa, or the view of anyone paying attention, or it could be supervising the maids in such a way that it is never seen onscreen. In ANY media. Or hanging around the gardens and gate supervising Meiling, or even just hiding in the library or basement, both of which are of gigantic proportions.

Touhou players don't play with pads because Sakuya will knife them.
It's not that they won't use pads, it's more like they can't.

Sakuya is a Dhampyr
This would explain why she has both blue and red eyes. Blue eyes is when she is her "normal" mode. Red eyes is when she is using her more "vampiric" aspect, and thus fields a generally more powerful arsenal. Plus it may explain her young apperance, yet, if you go by Akyu's account, her behavior seems to be of someone far older than she appears. And if Sakuya is a Dhampyr, Remilia would have all the more reason to keep her around.
  • Plus if you want to go the Sakuya-was-a-former-vampire-hunter route, note what is frequently a Dhampyr's employment in that entry.
  • Clever, but there's one small problem - she can go 100% human in IN, while half-ghost Youmu can only go 50%.
    • That could simply be the result of rounding up from 99.~5%. She'd need to have as little as .2% vampire genes to be considered a Dhampyr.
  • If so, she must be Dio Brando's illegitimate daughter.
    • And considering that Dio is a massive asshole in JoJo canon, this gives Sakuya all the motivation she needs to be a vampire hunter.

Sakuya is a former werewolf.
In exchange for working at the Scarlet Devil Mansion, Remilia found a cure for her (although her powers are still linked to the moon). That's why she's often compared to a dog, and why Eirin is so surprised to see her in Sakuya's IN story mode.

Prior to working for Remilia, Sakuya was a murderer
Time freezing and space manipulation would make it very easy to clean up after oneself; by targeting out-of-the-way places, she could avoid attention from anybody powerful. On one occasion, by pure bad luck, she picked a house full of vampires and got smacked around by a rather irate Remi. Remilia saw the potential for easy meals and offered Sakuya job looking after the SDM instead of turning her over to Reimu/whoever handles homicides in Gensokyo/chowing down herself; when she accepted, Remilia picked a pseudonym so nobody could pin anything on her.

This explains Sakuya's fascination with knives and skill at concealing them, as well as the Serial Killer theme to a lot of her spellcards. It also might explain why an alleged human is comfortable making blood-based foods for her mistresses - she enjoys it, and perhaps even partakes herself.

  • A very interesting theory, and a highly recognized one, as far as I know.
  • And if the Lunarian theory is true and she is much older than she looks then maybee there is a chance she is THE Jack the Ripper. Since Jack the Ripper mysteriously dissapeared and Yukari having a habit of spiriting away people she finds interesting. A renowned serial killer would have been irresistable to her. The barrier was erected 1884 and the last known murder of Jack the Ripper happened 1889 witch means Gensokyou existed before Jack dissapeared.
  • Wouldn't something that significant be mentioned by Shikieki in Sakuya's path of Phantasmagoria of Flower View? All she really says to Sakuya is "you're too cold to other humans".
    • That might just be an intentional understatement. Eiki is trying to ward the living off their paths in that game, not actually pass judgment. It would be hard to be ambiguous if being an unrepentant murderer is sending them straight to hell.

Sakuya really DOESN'T wear pads. She just used her powers to create that effect.
Here's a bit of Fridge Brilliance. The controversy over Sakuya's pads all started because she had a practically flat chest in one game, but a larger one in the subsequent game. But keep in mind that Sakuya has the ability to manipulate time. She's even demonstrated the ability to accelerate time when she caused bamboo flowers to bloom instantly, when normally they would've taken 60 years to do so. Thus, she could've simply accelerated time on her chest to cause her breasts to grow.
  • That's a recipe for saggy, wrinkled breasts. Watch Slayers to find out more.
  • Sakuya REDUCES timerate around her chest. That way she has both rudimentary emergency armor, and her breasts won't sag.

Sakuya attacked Gensokyo in retaliation for Yukari's invasion.
An epileptic branch of the Sakuya is a Lunarian theory, taking from the Sakuya was originally a murderer one too. Basically, Sakuya heard the legends of the invasion by Yukari and, knowing that no one had gotten revenge, decided to do it herself. She was only stopped by Remilia, who she agreed to serve from then on.

Sakuya is Momiji.
Well, she's often referred to as dog-like, and fandom even gives her wolf ears and tail, and from there it's not too far till you have Momiji. Plus, Sakuya was not present for any of the Moriya Conspiracy arc save for Touhou 10.5, which may have taken place before 10 as no Touhou 10 characters appear (same as with Touhou 7.5, although in that game's case it was more like Touhou 8.5) and Momiji appears solely within that arc.

Sakuya's power is not stopping time.
I belive that the time stopping comes from the Luna Dial, her actual power is something else entierly.
  • Perhaps her ability is manipulation of spacetime plus required secondary powers and whatever and the Luna Dial is just a backup or something she uses to bring others into her timestop? We know from Hisoutensoku that a mysterious pocketwatch (probably the luna dial in question) from Sakuya can be used to stop time, but it doesn't let you attack, only move. Both of Sakuya's full timestop cards (including the one throwing the luna dial at the enemy) allow her to attack freely. The Luna Dial version lacks Required Secondary Powers and maybe some tertiary not-essential-but-nice-to-have-powers like being able to affect things besides the bare minimum air to move around, which Sakuya has on her own timestops. ZUN and Patchouli's theorization that Sakuya can play with space as well as time is probably right. Her real power is said spacetime manipulation plus some unknown powers and the Luna Dial is just an accessory that gives her even better timestops and maybe lunarian characteristics like purity-to-the-point-of-almost-no-aging (she acts like someone with centuries of refined service and looks in her twenties at latest, with no signs of aging from aging-during-timestops that might nearly double her physical age with cleaning work or sneaking naps during timestops, etc.) and being able to beat up anyone who isn't too far ahead of her in narrative importance or sheer power.
  • My guess is that her real power is something achingly similar to Unlimited Blade Works. I also guess that the whole space time stuff is just to hide the true nature of her power. As to why she would want to hide it despite the time stop appearing much more powerful I have no idea.
  • Sakuya's power has never been "stopping time". It's always been "Manipulation of Time" which is much, much, much wider in scope and potential. As far as canon sources go, the "Luna Dial" doesn't exist. It's just the name of her theme song. She does have a pocket watch but there does not seem to be anything special about it, though the later fighting games use it a couple times as a reference to the fan theory. According to her profiles and notes from ZUN her time powers are "a rare ability that humans can posses but which cannot be taught". Given that Sakuya and Remilia are walking Dio Brando references (with lots of other references to JoJo in canon works) then it's possible that Sakuya's ability is supposed to be a Stand. A really, really broken Stand considering it's basically most/all of the villain Stands in one. If Sakuya were the only Stand-user in Gensokyo then there may not be another character that can see her Stand helping her, or the ones who can see it aren't playable, or Sakuya is just that careful and only projects the Stand during time stop.

Sakuya's lifespan is because she's also magician.
Everyone is just confused because she doesn't actually use magic very much, preferring her time powers and knives.

Sakuya is from Makai.
ZUN compared Yuki and Mai to Sakuya in species when asked about the survival of the former two after Mystic Square. Since Yuki and Mai are magicians created by Shinki, that presumably would mean Sakuya is a Shinki-brand makaian too.

Sakuya is a Darth Vader Clone.
Mysterious past? Check.Possibly a Fallen Hero? Check.Magic Knight? Check.The Dragon? Check.Physically weaker, less combative, more magical master? Check.Anti-Villain with complex/conflicting motives? Check.Bladed weapon? Check.There are even parallels that aren't in the trope description, like being renamed and dressed in humiliating clothes by her mistress and turning good once her mistress is defeated.From here on out, it's easy to guess that there are even more parallels. You're welcome to put your own ideas in bullet points here.

In the Touhou universe, maid is a species and profession, like magician.
ZUN referred to maids as mythical creatures. Maids are a type of youkai, presumably one that like regular maids are paid to clean houses and be a servant. Sakuya is one of these, and has youkai longevity, thus explaining the lack of clarity about her actual age and origins.

Remilia

Speculation on the Touhou Vampire
Inspiration thanks to the names of two of Youmu’s spell cards; Deva Realm Sword "Displeasure of the Seven Sins" and Deva God Sword "Components of Konpaku". The information in both their translation notes boils down to:

1. In Taoism, the most basic properties of the soul are made up by seven “hakus” –as in Kon PAKU.

2. These seven “hakus” are balanced by three “kons”, and together the kons and hakus make up the soul.

3. The body loses its three kons just before it dies, and during that time only the hakus remain. The person becomes unstable during this time due to a lack of the reason and balance that the kons provide.

4. Despite being despised, the seven hakus or “Seven Sins” are important base components of the soul and no one could live without them.

Now my lovely long idea…

Vampires drain a person’s three kons from their blood to retain their own balance, as they themselves lost their original Kons when they became vampires. They have nothing but their strengthening hakus left in their body, which grant immense physical abilities, but which will override their sense of self if not balanced by kons. Therefore, a vampire who fails to drink human blood regularly and replenish their kons will become an uncontrollable and blood thirsty killer. Or maybe just plain insane.

So strong is a vampire’s haku that they will eventually convert any kons into hakus as well, and the stronger the hakus the quicker the conversion.

Changing someone into a vampire can be accomplished by a vampire draining a human of their blood and kons, and then replacing both with a certain amount of their own hakus. The amount depends on the mental strength of the victim as well as the strength of the vampire; too many hakus in a weak person will turn them into mindless ghouls incapable of making room for any balancing kons, but still thirsting for them; while taking too many hakus out of a vampire will reduce or overrun their ability to move their body, usually only momentary, but sometimes permanently, thus making hunting and personal protection impossible and opening that vampire to attack.

Vampire conversion has the dual purposes of allowing vampire reproduction and temporarily reducing the potency of the vampire’s haku, thereby decreasing the need to acquire and balance it with human kons and so also acting as a stress reliever for the powerful vampire who is forced to drink copious amounts of blood so as to keep their hakus and mental abilities balanced.

-It's assumed that because many of their existences are on the verge of dissipating, it makes it difficult for them to act under sunlight.-Perfect Memento, The Embodiments of Spirit 気質の具現 : Phantoms 幽霊

-Although both "Kon" (魂) and "Paku" (魄) are "soul", their elements are different. "Kon" stands for a mental soul, which is separated from a body as soon as human dies and ascends to Heaven; "Paku" is a physical soul, which remains in the body a few days and goes back to the Earth. In this case, "Kon" is Youmu's phantom half, and "Paku" is the human half.- funfacts from Konpaku Youmu’s Profile Page at the Touhou wik

In light of the above, phantoms are pure ‘kon’, but the kon that can be born in plants, animals and humans rather than the kon that can only be born or reincarnated into a human. All kon is basically same besides that, thus why ghosts (the soul or ‘kon’ of a human who cannot or does not want to realize that they are dead) and phantoms (which are also ‘kon’ and may be spawned from a dead body, or simply born as a free floating spirit) are often mistaken for each other.

A kon without a body to shelter and nurture it will be quicker to dissipate then a kon housed in a body of some sort, this is due to their very precarious form of existence.

In this way, a vampire’s kon (which, while it might be housed in a body, is still under constant attack from the vampire’s leech-like haku) will be weakened when exposed to direct sun light, and thus the vampire thirst and need for balance will increase and their ability to fully control their bodies shall weaken.

Because the vampire is a kind of youkai, it is most affected by spiritual attacks, and because vampires rely on a very delicate balance of kon and haku, any spiritual attacks have a tendency to harm them more than they would other youkai. Hence the vampire’s long list of odd weaknesses, in most cases it is the faith humans put into these odd talismans or ideas that harms the vampire, not the items or ideas themselves. The humans make it real.

Water, especially clear running water, is considered by many cultures to be a purifying substance, so vampires cannot go out in the rain and have great trouble crossing rivers. (Some phantoms and ghosts might have similar reluctance in regards to rivers, most likely due to them unconsciously ‘seeing’ the similarities between a normal river and the Sanzu river, which is path to the Yama and also the representation of forgetting one’s time in life.)

Sunlight is often connected to human safety, life, and the death of the night and all devils that dwell in it, making a vampire’s original weakness to it even stronger.

Other cultural items, such as roasted beans, sardine heads, and broken holly branches, gain their power from that culture’s belief in them, thus what harms a vampire in England may be of no consequence to a vampire of Japan or Africa.

  • This is easily the best wild guess on this page. Wow.

  • Add-on guess: Remilia's haku are less violent, or she spent most of them on making Flandre a vampire (Or Flan spent relatively few converting Remi), which is why they are said to have a relatively low thirst and do not need to feed off every last human in Gensokyo very fast despite Flandre's overt power level. Flandre's haku are mostly raw power and are completely out of balance with the few kon she has drastically weakened by avoiding mass destruction by hordes of flan-haku, which would make her extremely thirsty whenever she as much as touches sunlight.

The Scarlet Sisters are Danes.
  • Factoid 1: The Order of the Elephant is headed by the Queen of Denmark. Included among Knights of the Elephant are the Emperor and Empress of Japan and their sons.
  • Factoid 2: Norse paganism was largely practiced in the Scandanavian region, which includes Denmark. Among notable items within Norse paganism are Gungnir and Laevatein.
  • Factoid 3: The Flag of Denmark is a white cross on a red background.

Remilia Scarlet isn't lying when she says she's a descendant of Vlad Tepes.
Remilia has been alive for nearly 500 years. It is entirely possible she was born in Europe and later moved to Japan. During said time in Europe, she met Patchouli, which would explain Patchouli's relatively western magic.note  During this trip is when she met Meiling as she passed through China. When she met Sakuya is unknown.
  • But ZUN flat out says she's lying.
    • Alternatively, she was turned by some vampire whose vampires converting trace back to Vlad Tepes Dracul, instead of being physically descended from him. Or vice versa, depending on which way ZUN specifically stated.
      • Actually, that's a pretty good explanation.

Remilia can just fate that Gensokyo will never disappear.
Since Remilia has the power to control fate, why doesn't she just fate that Gensokyo will be around forever?

Remilia hid the sun in the mist...
...Because she wanted an excuse to meet the shrine maiden she'd heard so much about, and since she couldn't leave, an incident like this would be win-win: either it would attract Reimu, or she'd be able to go out and meet her if it didn't. If she'd thought of using a parasol earlier, the game wouldn't have happened.
  • I knew I wasn't the only fan of Reimu x Remilia.

Remilia's charisma is actually sexual attractiveness.
It would explain both why Sakuya serves her so loyally despite her own obviously greater competence and why she and Reimu have such fun conversations without ever wanting to kill the other. It would also mean that Remilia's "charisma break" is no charisma break at all.

Flandre

Flandre's wings are mineral crystals.
And her wingspan is BONE. There really IS a volcano in the Scarlet Devil Basement, and Remilia tossed Flandre in there for her 495-year sentence. At one point, Flandre's wings were dipped in lava, but her raw epicness or something kept the bone itself from being burnt up. A shell of cracked igneous rocks usually coat the bone itself to prevent it from looking scarier than it needs to be. The lower bones forming the wing proper were coated in mineral crystals: The coloring matching is because magic, Gensokyo's mineral composition, and pure luck.

Flandre's crazy because...
She can hear her music. All. The. Time. And you thought the Master had it bad.

Flandre became the successor to God.
It would explain both her strong popularity among the fans and her complete absence from official works ever since her first appearance. Also, she became a first boss in a fan work as Karnov did in Bad Dudes.

Alternative Title(s): The Embodiment Of Scarlet Devil, Embodiment Of Scarlet Devil

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