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The Touhou Character Alternate Interpretation Compendium

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Feb 12th 2010 at 2:24:49 PM

And now, to finish the Touhou Takeover of the entire fora.

Touhou. Yes. It is the universe of dreams for any boy or girl. Verily, the tropers were smitten by its memetic prowess, drawn in by the rich variety in seedlings, small kernels filled with ultimate potential of some sort. Verily, any emotional writer's fingers would tingle and eyes would water, tears of blood would be cried at the sight of the beauty of such an open world of horizons that stretch out beyond one's imagination.

Follow me, my dear tropers, and knock thyselves out.

So what exactly is the deal here, now? Simply put, Touhou is a universe full of characters that are only sketchily defined in canon, so fanon does the major work in characterization. Of course, fanon follows trends, produces different kinds of works, consists of thousands of people with different worldviews, ideas and motivations... In all this chaos, there are so many clusters where people have played the same idea in a thousand different ways, while other territories are practically uncharted.

What we're gonna attempt here is to collect all the information we can about all the characters the franchise has to offer, and make sense of it all. This will serve a whole bunch of purposes! Having all our collective ideas and knowledge of these characters in one place will make it easier for newcomers to get an idea of what's going on. It will also help us get an understanding of how everyone sees the various personalities. Writers might find inspiration. Fans might find find some work that really shaped someone's views. And finally, discussion is funtimes!

One thing I have to clarify is that I absolutely don't intend for us to create some sort of „official“ fanon, which would go against the very spirit of the whole thing. Rather than that, I want to incite some dialogue to explore these characters even further, to try to combine some ideas that didn't seem to fit, to perhaps find a common ground for all the different variations on a character, to give ideas, and find ways to develop those characters that need it without completely making stuff up or basing relationships on a shared article of clothing.

There are two important ideas that really proved important while fervently discussing characters with my dear friend. First of all, a simple but effective rule: A list of traits doesn't make a personality, but a connection of traits does. It's one thing to say that a character has a trait. It's a whole different thing to say why they have this trait, or how this trait relates to other facets of their personality, and how this connection came to be. By extension: A flat character is based around a single trait and has only traits that fit with them. Seeming contradictions make a character interesting and give them depth, because there inevitably needs to be an explanation for this contrast.

Well then! We will be going through the characters one by one! Or rather, two by two. In order to ensure a decent treatment of all characters, we're going to have to treat them all individually. However, there are some characters who are better treated together... But even more than that, we are dealing with two different motivations here. On the one hand, we have popular characters with all sorts of material and interpretations, while on the other hand, we have characters desperately in need of discussion. To distinguish between these, I've tried to divide them into different tiers (Character Sheet) [discussed characters were erased]:











Yes, Pokemon names. Point is! The Uber tier holds the really big names that are used everywhere. Originally just the main characters, I included a few more that are insanely popular and widely used. The OU tier is for other big names. These characters are those that nobody should have trouble thinking of good stuff for. They might have a whole lot of different interpretations just due to the sheer volume of people having worked with them. Below that starts the UU tier, for less well-known characters that lack extensive treatment in the fanon. The UU tier is still fairly popular, though. The NU tier is for those that really stand in the background and some fans might not even know anything about. These are more apt to have conflicting interpretations simply because there's so little to actually go by in canon. And then... there's the NFE tier for characters from the old games that nobody cares about anymore. Hooray!

To keep the discussion going, we'll be going through these in a bit of a pattern. The first two tiers of popular characters will be started with a discussion of Reimu, which might last a few days. In the middle of that, I'll initiate discussion about a character from one of the lower tiers, which will continue for a few days, too, while the previous one is being finished and the next popular one started. So there'll always be discussion going on!

This thread's not just for the hardcore fans! Even if you're not that interested in Touhou in particular, perhaps the discussion could be of interest to anyone who likes to think about characterization. Just to clarify things, here's some of the things you can do in this thread:

  • Discuss the currently discussed characters! I'll immediately post a first sketch for Reimu after this initial post. You don't have to keep any sort of form while discussing, I will try to compile everything to the best of my ability when a discussion is over. Finished profiles will be linked to in this post when they're done, for easy access.
  • Link to stuff! That's part of the discussion of course. Just please keep in mind to keep it relevant. This thread would get unbearable if it was flooded with every picture, song or video people find really awesome (that's what the general thread is for anyway). So please just link to stuff that you really think catches the spirit of a character as you see them, or just provides an interesting perspective in general!
  • Wish for the next character! I'll collect votes for characters and bring those up next that are in demand. I might do something like deciding that the Prismriver Sisters or Cirno and Daiyousei or other such connected characters have to be dealt with simultaneously, though.
  • Just discuss? I guess now would be a good time to apologize for making everything seem so rigid! The thing is that I realize that just asking for some conversation will result in chaos and nothing productive, and it would die down soon, so I'm imposing some rules and acting as a sort of moderator. Not in the sense of actually controlling behavior, but rather, well, doing the dirty work. It's not like you'll get shouted at for not contributing to the discussion or anything, though! And it's always possible to go back and discuss an already finished profile, or to criticize the way I categorized a character, or whatever else comes up!

Well then!


PC-98 Characters:
Orange! Yumemi Okazaki and Chiyuri Kitashirakawa
Shinki, Elly, Rika, Genji
Highly Responsive to Prayers
Story of Eastern Wonderland
Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream
Lotus Land Story
Mystic Square

Windows Game Characters

Aki sisters, Shizuha and Minoriko

Alice Margatroid, (de facto discussion start)

Aya Shameimaru

Byakuren Hijiri




Eirin Yagokoro

Flandre Scarlet

Fujiwara no Mokou

Giant Catish

Hatate Himekaido

Hina Kagiyama

Hong Meiling

Ichirin Kumoi and Unzan

Iku Nagae

Kaguya Houraisan

Kanako Yasaka

Keine Kamishirasawa


Koakuma, (start)

Koishi Komeiji, (de facto discussion start)

Kogasa Tatara

Komachi Onozuka

Letty Whiterock

Lily White

Marisa Kirisame, (start)

Medicine Melancholy

Minamitsu Murasa, Captain

Momiji Inubashiri

Mystia Lorelei


Nitori Kawashiro

Nue Houjuu

Parsee Mizuhashi, (start)

Patchouli Knowledge

Lunasa, Merlin and Lyrica Prismriver

Ran Yakumo

Reimu Hakurei, (start)

Reisen Udongein Inaba, (de facto discussion start)

Remilia Scarlet

Rin Kaenbyou


Sakuya Izayoi, (de facto discussion start)

Sanae Kochiya

Satori Komeiji

Shikieiki Yamaxanadu

Shou Toramaru

Suika Ibuki, (de facto discussion start)

Suwako Moriya

Tenshi Hinanai

Tewi Inaba

Utsuho Reiuji, (premature picspam)

Wriggle Nightbug

Yamame Kurodani

Youmu Konpaku

Yukari Yakumo, (de facto discussion start)

Yuugi Hoshiguma

Yuuka Kazami

Yuyuko Saigyouji

Other Characters:

Hieda no Akyu

Three Mischievous Fairies

Maribel Han

Renko Usami

Rinnosuke Morichika


Watatsuki no Yorihime and Watatsuki no Toyohime

Girls work hard now and are preparing. Please watch warmly until it is ready.

edited 4th Dec '10 8:48:52 AM by Fawriel

Feb 12th 2010 at 2:25:29 PM

Reimu Hakurei

Appearance: (Here goes images [and possibly voice samples] of the character that at least one troper thought really portrayed them really well, not in terms of image quality, but expressiveness of the personality. Basically, that which just feels right.)

Traits: (not necessarily in trope form, but if it works...)


  • Marisa (partner in crime, potential lover, rival...)
  • Suika (lives at her place apparently, potential lover...)
  • Remilia (tea-time partner, potential lover...)
  • Rinnosuke (friend.)
  • just about anyone really

Tentative write-up: Reimu, the main character, differs very greatly in her depiction even within the same works, including perhaps the canon. She is rarely depicted as very friendly, but even if you discount her apparently canon depiction at other times as a Friend to All Living Things who could cross a river without noticing because the fish were rising up to form a bridge, you cannot deny that she doesn't hold grudges at least. Combined with her laziness in contrast to her readiness to go gung-ho as soon as trouble is afoot, perhaps Reimu is simply someone who wants to live in peace, and will be quick to punish anyone who isn't willing to give her that peace. Given the kind of world she lives in, the fact that she won't get many chances to really sit back and relax could account for her perpetually bad temper...

Personally, my favorite portrayal of her is a small series of 4koma by Morino Hon. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5.) I think it very nicely combines the sweetness of her personality along with her well-known cynical and aggressive side that you reaaally don't want to cross.

Similar characters: (this could have various purposes, like finding similar kinds of characters for the sake of bouncing them off of one another, or to distinguish them, or to find relationships – they don't even have to be from the same franchise for the first purpose!)

  • Komachi: comrade in lazy-assness
  • Sanae: rival, possibly more idealistic counterpart?

Well, that's all I can think of right now. Admittedly, Reimu isn't one of my favorites, so I don't know all that much about her. Perhaps this could change! Obviously, this is just a rough draft. I'm open for criticism on the layout or anything else, besides the stuff I'm obviously gonna add for the finished profile.

Oh yeah, by the way. I posted this in the Anime forum because I figured that it fits here better when it's solely about the characters and the way they are treated primarily in fanworks and such, and that this forum would be more advantageous to this particular endeavor.

So, let's get crackin'! What is your Reimu?

edited 12th Feb '10 2:26:41 PM by Fawriel

Feb 12th 2010 at 2:30:29 PM

Reimu, the main character

Fixed it for you.

Anyway. This thread is relevant to my interests. Hmm, Reimu. She's not one of my huge favorites, either, but okay. I see her apparent short-temperedness and Jerkass tendencies as a result of chronic overwork (IE, dealing with incidents and wild youkai, maintaining the border, all on a very tight budget) but I feel like she's a decent, hardworking gal in spite of all the stress. After all, any incidents she resolves usually end in a big tea party... after she has dealt with the offender or resolved the misunderstanding, of course!

Feb 12th 2010 at 2:33:59 PM

Why is this in Animu and Mango? D:

I only know Cirno and Yukari. Cirno for obvious reasons and Yukari because she's so ridiculously powerful (according to fanon anyway).

Feb 12th 2010 at 2:34:50 PM

Overwork! Now that's a new one. It does actually make sense...

... And Jesus Christ Zudak! I already edited that mistake like a second after posting! So that means you... opened the thread in like one second after posting. You MADMAN!

@Smokie: I know, I know. I posted the reason in the second post, actually, but yeah, I figured it'd be more fitting to discuss it here if it's just about the characters.

edited 12th Feb '10 2:36:02 PM by Fawriel

Feb 12th 2010 at 2:40:32 PM

Heh heh heh. Who the hell do you think I am?

Anyway. Cirno's childishness and naivete are canon, but the fanon has flanderized those traits to ridiculous levels.

Yukari's power isn't fanon, either, she's immensely old, older than Gensokyo itself, and has a power level to match. Because of her age, she's referred to in fanon as the "old hag" of Gensokyo.

Lemurian from Touhou fanboy attic Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Feb 12th 2010 at 2:43:08 PM

I think Reimu just wants peace between the inhabitants in Gensokyo, so that everyone can live happily together. She's kinda strict on keeping that peace though, and can get irritatated when there's one problem after another. She also tries to fill the role of the Miko as a person people can turn to when in trouble, but she's not picky on the finer details of Mikohood.

Mikohood is totally a word.

Join us in our quest to play all RPG video games! Moving on to disc 2 of Grandia!
Clarste One Winged Egret Relationship Status: Non-Canon
One Winged Egret
Feb 12th 2010 at 2:55:38 PM

Fanon does tend to exaggerate Yukari's Power Levels. Because of her vaguely defined metaphysical powers and her role as the guardian of Gensokyo, a lot of fans treat her as omnipotent. Canonically though, she's not, although it's still not clear what exactly her limitations are. For example, she seems to treat the residents of the Lunar Capital as a Worthy Opponent of some kind, and relies on trickery rather than brute force metaphysics when dealing with them.

As for Reimu, she's kind of boring really. Her primary feature seems to be Brilliant, but Lazy, but she does seem to have enough sense of duty to try to resolve the "incidents" every time they occur, despite complaining all the way. I've never felt that she was particular kind though. She appears to like to resort to violence quickly, probably because she's Genre Savvy and realizes that they're going to end up fighting anyway, so why waste time talking first?

Because she's the main character, and therefore always wins, she's sort of a Boring Invincible Hero. This is reinforced by Zun's description of her Last Word spell in IN, where he claims that she'd be unbeatable if it weren't for the spellcard rules (since she can phase out of reality while attacking). I've seen one doujin (Koumakyou Variant, by Flip Flops) that played this straight and had her be a merciless invincible Badass, but frankly that was even more boring.

edited 12th Feb '10 2:56:25 PM by Clarste

Feb 12th 2010 at 2:58:03 PM

So, anyone got any good Reimu material? Anything that made a particular impression on you? I'd like to see more about Reimu that makes her as interesting as that little series I linked.

Also, vote for some lower-tier characters! I think I'm gonna start with those first thing in the morning... For now, though, I need some sleep. ^^;

Feb 12th 2010 at 2:58:48 PM


edited 12th Feb '10 2:58:59 PM by Zudak

StarkMaximum I missed this avatar. from someplace funny i dunno
I missed this avatar.
Feb 12th 2010 at 3:08:33 PM

For people who say that she's boring, that's what we're kind of trying to fix, getting together to find more traits to flesh her out.

I'm glad to read Lemurian's and Zudak's interpretations, because I've always favored Reimu's Friend to All Living Things interpretation and tend to just ignore her Jerkass interpretation. However, I have considered that possibly her Jerkass may simply come from a bit of a pessimistic outlook on life. Since Reimu's been in just about every game, I imagine she's had to deal with a lot of issues in Gensokyo, and to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if she was just absolutely tired of it all, to the point where she just felt it was an inevitability. Possibly she just tends to see the worst in people, preferring to be pleasantly surprised when they turn out to be good rather than disappointed when they do bad things. Although, given that every game ends with a tea party with the final bosses, Reimu strikes me as a very good listener, and probably is known for being someone you can come to with your problems just to have someone to listen to anything you have to say. Reimu doesn't judge.

Sorry if this seemed random and unconnected, I did kind of just wake up.

Feb 12th 2010 at 3:36:48 PM

I just realized what this thread still lacks.


If I had to ship Reimu with someone... It'd probably be Sanae. If you accept Sanae's idealist interpretation along with Reimu's cynical one, it makes for an interesting dynamic! And they had kind of a cute scene in the memetically popular Cold Wind but Warm Winter, which also establishes Sanae as a "good girl", for that matter.

StarkMaximum I missed this avatar. from someplace funny i dunno
I missed this avatar.
Feb 12th 2010 at 3:39:52 PM


I do love Reimu/Sanae, and it might be either my favorite or second-favorite pairing with her, with Reimu/Komachi taking the spot it vacates either way. Like I've said to you before, Fawrie, I just love the mental image of Reimu and Komachi just sitting around Hakurei Shrine, talking about whatever comes to mind, and doing absolutely nothing together.

Lemurian from Touhou fanboy attic Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Feb 12th 2010 at 3:43:03 PM

I dunno, I prefer the idea of Reimu/Marisa, with the all the adventures they've had together. Yukari/Reimu (with Yukari as the pushy Seme), Remilia/Reimu (Remilia finally finding a friend which is strong enough to stand against her in battle) and Suika/Reimu (because of Suika being a Pretty Freeloader at the shrine) are also interesting options. Reimu/Sanae with the dynamics you mentioned makes a cute couple, though...

EDIT: Hmmm, Reimu/Komachi...never considered that one before. It sounds pretty nice...

edited 12th Feb '10 3:43:59 PM by Lemurian

Join us in our quest to play all RPG video games! Moving on to disc 2 of Grandia!
StarkMaximum I missed this avatar. from someplace funny i dunno
I missed this avatar.
Feb 12th 2010 at 3:44:36 PM

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about Reimu/Suika, because Suika's always adorable. And we're not trying to find like, one set "relationship" to give to Reimu, we're just mentioning different shipping ideas we have and getting other viewpoints.

Lemurian from Touhou fanboy attic Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Feb 12th 2010 at 3:48:18 PM

...a weird pairing just entered my head. Badass!Reimu/Kanako, in a kind of Foe Yay. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes. The connection is already there, with Reimu being a Miko and Kanako a goddess.

edited 12th Feb '10 3:48:46 PM by Lemurian

Join us in our quest to play all RPG video games! Moving on to disc 2 of Grandia!
Feb 12th 2010 at 3:50:28 PM

Eh, I don't really ship, but I do have some pretty strong opinions concerning some popular ships, namely Alice -> Marisa and Marisa x Anyone.

I think I ranted a bit in some other thread about Alice, so I'll keep it brief. This idea of her as a Tsudere Marisa-stalker was popularized by IOSYS but has no basis in canon at all. Alice is happy on her own, that's why she went off to live in the Forest of Magic all by herself, is so she could study without being interrupted by anyone! I get the feeling she tolerates Marisa out of professional courtesy, maybe even admires her a little, but there's no way someone with a style as analytical and logical as Alice (to the point where if her strategy fails, she'll accept defeat rather than resort to brute force!) would ever care too much for someone like Marisa, who is very much of the "the bigger the laser, the better" school of thought.

Now, as for Marisa herself, I get really strong asexual vibes from her. She cares about loot and power, not people... if there's anyone she could be said to be in love with, it's herself. I wouldn't say she's a psychopath or anything, she's just a little kooky, and has a selfish streak a mile wide. Now, I do see her possibly wanting to have some kind of student, who she could possibly come to see as a daughter, to teach all her magic to, and she'd love her, in a way, but she'd also be concerned about immortalizing herself in that way. Basically, she'd be trying to mould that student into another Marisa.

edited 12th Feb '10 3:53:54 PM by Zudak

StarkMaximum I missed this avatar. from someplace funny i dunno
I missed this avatar.
Feb 12th 2010 at 3:52:39 PM

Oh man we got some serious opinions in this thread. I'm absolutely excited to hear what you have to say, Zudak, but when it comes to those two I'd wait for when they actually come up in the thread so we can focus rather than having the conversation go in multiple directions at once.

FurikoMaru Reverse the Curse from The Arrogant Wasteland Relationship Status: He makes me feel like I have a heart
Reverse the Curse
Feb 12th 2010 at 3:54:31 PM

I thought that all Touhou characterization was fanon.

edited 12th Feb '10 3:54:43 PM by FurikoMaru

A True Lady's Quest - A Jojo is You!
StarkMaximum I missed this avatar. from someplace funny i dunno
I missed this avatar.
Feb 12th 2010 at 3:56:35 PM

It is, and that's what this is. We're just trying to make sense of all of it.

Feb 12th 2010 at 3:57:07 PM

^^^Oh yeah, we were talking about Reimu... sorry. Oh, let me say one more thing about Marisa - although she wants her legacy to live forever, I don't see her having any desire to become immortal in the literal sense.

As for Reimu, if we're going to be sticking with the idea that "everyone in Gensokyo is gay," I think she'd be attracted to someone with a relaxed and carefree nature. Perhaps Suika, since she lives at the shrine sometimes and helps Reimu with her mikoly duties. Perhaps Yuyuko. Perhaps... Kogasa?

edited 12th Feb '10 3:57:20 PM by Zudak

Lemurian from Touhou fanboy attic Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Feb 12th 2010 at 3:57:31 PM

I agree with Stark. Please, one character at a time! Your arguments against a Reimu/Marisa-shipping are of course relevant.

^^^ Well...yes and no. There is enough characterization in the official works to have a full character. But there is more than enough room in the descriptions for fans to start making their own theories.

Reimu/Yuyuko...I dunno. Reimu's pretty attached to the Shrine and Yuyuko can't really leave the Hakugyokuro for long...

edited 12th Feb '10 3:59:27 PM by Lemurian

Join us in our quest to play all RPG video games! Moving on to disc 2 of Grandia!
Feb 12th 2010 at 4:00:49 PM

^True. I guess most people ship her with Youmu, anyway. Although I personally don't get the feeling that their relationship is like that...

Speaking of cool theories, I like the idea that Sakuya is a Lunarian. Her magic watch is called the Luna Dial! It all makes sense! wild mass guess, sorry. Back on topic!

edited 12th Feb '10 4:02:22 PM by Zudak

Lemurian from Touhou fanboy attic Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Feb 12th 2010 at 4:06:02 PM

...can we allow adding theories to previously discussed characters even if we've moved on? 'Cuz I'm getting really tired and it wouldn't be fair for someone to miss out just because they were asleep/away.

Throwing another one out there: Reimu/Mima. Mima's been theorized to be haunting the Hakurei Shrine after all, and they've got quite a bit of history together.

edited 12th Feb '10 4:06:40 PM by Lemurian

Join us in our quest to play all RPG video games! Moving on to disc 2 of Grandia!
Feb 12th 2010 at 4:07:22 PM

I don't really know all that much about Mima, aside from the fact that she taught Marisa magic and is the originator of the Master Spark technique.

I don't see why that would be a problem. It must be kinda late where you are, huh? Hooray for weekends and getting to sleep in!

edited 12th Feb '10 4:08:19 PM by Zudak

Total posts: 5,312

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