Touhou Bougetsushou

MONONOBE_NO_FUTO

Hold, and go no further! Thou willst hear me!

The following article pertains to manga and a novella that are part of the Touhou Project video game series. If you’re unfamiliar with it, you should read my Touhou Project Primer first. It’s best to play the games before taking in anything else.

Silent Sinner in Blue.

 

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If you think this looks stupid, just wait: it is actually stupider.

So if you read that warning up there you’ll notice this article is a review of more than one manga AND a book. They are:

Touhou Bougetsushou (東方儚月抄, lit. “Touhou Ephemeral Moon Vignette”)

And that’s the order I’ll be discussing them in.

Touhou is a rather old franchise independently forged by the man called ZUN that is mainly a bullet hell game series, but also a lot of side material and manga. I’ve reviewed all of the official manga except the ones I’ll be talking about today. First thing’s first: Touhou Bougetsushou is deep Touhou — every part of it is. This isn’t a selection of things anyone can read and enjoy; if you don’t know about Touhou — and VERY SPECIFIC parts of it, and a lot of such parts — there’s just nothing here for you. My writeup will still be spoiler-free but this is basically a recommendation for Touhou fans, not non-fans. If you don’t know Touhou canon up to and somewhat after Mountain of Faith you’re not ready for this piece of the fiction. Although it is based from Imperishable Night, it doesn’t take place around then but instead years after. So, unlike other Touhou manga you can’t just pick it up without knowing what you’re in for (because those manga follow no specific storyline), you need a knowledge base.

So with that out of the way: what is this, and why is it three things? Touhou Bougetsushou is the banner title for three works released from 2007-2009. Silent Sinner in Blue and Cage in Lunatic Runagate (by the way, runagate is basically another word for deserter) are basically the same thing and need one another to make full sense…or as much sense as one can glean from them. Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth is a gag manga not by ZUN but with his blessing. It shares the banner title so it’s here.

As a part of the fiction, Bougetsushou was pretty much always sold negatively to me by the person who encouraged me to get into Touhou — specifically, Silent Sinner in Blue was the source of many complaints. Well, my tastes and his often align so certainly, I had problems with everything I’m recommending today! Still, sure, all of it is worth reading…but only to Touhou fans.

Now let’s start with Silent Sinner in Blue, one of ZUN’s first manga (his first were the Three Fairies manga) and an experimental attempt to take the plot driving “incident” concept from the games and base a manga around it. By the way the artist of this one is Aki Eda (秋★枝), who authored Wizard’s Soul (though that would be years later). SSiB is a somewhat serious work although Touhou is a largely goofy series. It’s about schemes, basically. What I liked about it was its nonsense, what I didn’t like was how it…handled things, I guess. Let’s get into it.

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Alright so basically the whole manga is about legendary gap hag Yukari Yakumo trying to invade the moon. She failed once and is trying again now that new moon people have come to live in Gensokyo, the setting of Touhou. Moon people are called Lunarians, and basically every Earthling character in Touhou fucking hates Lunarians. I, too, hate Lunarias. Yukari seems to hate them because they’re douchey and have no respect for life (literally) below them. Her grudge has lasted a really, really long time.

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The first part of her plan is bothering Reimu Hakurei, the notoriously lazy shrine maiden protagonist of Touhou, to have her learn how to summon gods. But I won’t outline all her steps since that’s kind of the “appeal” of the manga I guess. Anyway eventually the resident vampire, Remilia Scarlet gets interested in invading the moon herself, and gets her magician librarian friend Patchouli Knowledge to start building a rocket. See, all these names, and there are only more ways a newcomer will be confused.

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Half of the miniseries is dedicated to figuring out how to make a ramshackle magical rocket boat and then firing it at the moon. The other half is what hullabaloo happens ON the moon. That’s it.

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Oh sure there are MANY details I COULD talk about. But why? There’s the plot. Other stuff happens and resident sociopath Eirin Yagokoro is recruited to a cause. Whatever!

So mostly, this marks kind of a first in that I don’t really like Silent Sinner in Blue. I liked parts of it, and I didn’t hate it, so I figured that was enough to qualify it for something I could talk about. Honestly I don’t think there’s much worth in talking about the plot details of coincidences and “coincidences” and twists and turns despite those all being in the START of the miniseries. It’s just too much.

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I think My main issue with Silent Sinner in Blue, aside from Aki Eda’s art (which was less refined here and just mostly too sameface) was that it was serious. Forbidden Scrollery is also serious but in a very different way. SSiB attempts this sort of “dark and edgy” feel with characters lookin’ weirdly evil sometimes or doing things such as what’s pictured above (attempted murder! Actually illegal in Gensokyo nowadays) and I would just sit there reading with my cheek in my palm, unfazed. It’s just weird seeing as the series as a whole, while actually quite bitter and dark in the background, hardly brings any severity to the forefront. If it does (or if we’re going from SSiB‘s perspective, if it will) it does so pretty well. This is all clumsy and amateurish and ill-fitting.

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During much of the second half we’re also treated to many battles against a Lunarian, further cementing one’s dislike of those people (myself included). She’s basically just an undefeatable perfect type, or a kid who doesn’t know how to play fight and simply counters all moves with an asspull (in her case she pulls gods from there). It’s irritating, and much of what the Lunarians say is irritating. They have a problem with how things live and die on Earth so they moved to the moon and became an advanced society that couldn’t die, but also technically don’t “live”. They’re very rude, honestly. While they’re actually pretty much right about most of what they say about Earth, they’re just really cunty about it. It is not without cause that they are colloquially known by many fans of the franchise as “moonbitches” (again, myself included).

Anyway the fights are also not very lovely to look at and that they’re one-sided makes them unfun. It is amusing how Reimu notes she expects to lose not because Lunarians are powerful, but because in this case she’s playing the “bad guy” role as an invader, and in her worldview villains always lose. Otherwise, Reimu is the defacto hero and while heroes may sometimes lose, Reimu never does.

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So on that note let’s talk about what I liked about this miniseries.

There are things, it’s just that a lot of those things are “I’m a fan of this, so I liked it”.  Basically I liked every appearance of Remilia, Patchouli, and of course Yuyuko and Youmu. I mostly liked Reimu and Marisa’s appearances as well, though maybe it’s because of Aki Eda’s art style here they generally didn’t feel as relaxed and closeknit as they do in other parts of the franchise. Reimu does pull some hilarious stuff off though (she’s very brazen, and she does well as a villain). I’ll return to characters later, however, because my absolute favorite thing about SSiB is how…out of its mind it is.

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Right.

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Yep.

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Nothing to argue with there.

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Yeah, man.

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This is fine.

Basically, Patchouli who does everything by the book decides to figure out how to go to the moon through outside world “magic” (she considers science to be magic, not out of ignorance, but just because she’s weird). However, she doesn’t actually approach the building of the rocket like a real world engineer, but instead takes “concepts” of rockets and rocket building and extrapolates broadly from those ideas, making decisions like “the rocket needs three stages” not because of…whatever the reason is we do staged rockets, but because rockets “need” three stages — you just can’t get to the moon if you don’t, so our rocket will have stages. Furthermore she mixes magic, religion, and whatever else will maybe work to get from ground to moon, including naming the rocket and project appropriately because if it’s poorly named it won’t be blessed with a safe journey.

Many off the wall ideas come from this and most characters accept them because 1) “well fuck it, I don’t know” and 2) “It’s Gensokyo so it’ll work”, and it does. Gensokyo literally lacks “common sense” due to how its weird barrier hides it from reality, so nonsense actually works, but the process is all hilarious and weird.

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Patchouli is one of my big favorite 2hus and thankfully she’s in this a lot, being her (that is: odd, largely distant/absorbed in books, surprisingly friendly, fluffy cute). When things aren’t being needlessly dramatic the characters are mostly on point here. You’ll notice Reisen is in my #1 position on that sort linked there, and she does appear in this miniseries, CiLR, and Inaba, but at this “point” in the Touhou series overall she hasn’t grown enough as a character for me to think particularly much of her. More on that later. Remilia also features prominently and she’s just great all around. If you don’t like Remilia Scarlet you probably haven’t closely examined her character. While she’s bratty and “nobility”, she’s one of Touhou’s all around kindest and most caring characters (RARE), and she is indeed truly adorable.

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My other highlights from this manga are the Hakugyokurou pair Yuyuko Saigyouji and Youmu Konpaku. It’s no exaggeration to say that whenever either of these characters have a speaking role in this franchise, I enjoy it.

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Stupid question, the answer is always yes.

Yuyuko is a ghost, Youmu is a half…phantom (which is not a ghost, but explaining how in Touhou context is a mindscrew). They have a job I won’t explain, but basically they’re often like a comedy duo more than anything. Yuyuko is at once really airheaded and actually all-knowing, except she does almost nothing with her wisdom and knowledge. Youmu is mostly serious, but is often described as a dork. Some people seem to think this is a “meme”. It is not. She’s a dork. She basically tries to play cool or be out of her element often and is the fool for it. Other characters often make fun of her because she’s that ridiculous. It’s just delightful, she’s just so earnest, there’s so much to like about her.

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Also her unwavering devotion to her gluttonous master is endlessly charming.

Youmu, and some other characters, are focused on more strongly in the supplemental work Cage in Lunatic Runagate. I’ll be ending my thoughts on Silent Sinner in Blue here and moving on to CiLR about now. All in all SSiB is basically a barely-essential Touhou reading manga. It doesn’t offer a lot of entertainment value or extra details about the setting. It has a very Gensokyoan ending to Yukari’s master plan, though, and I did really like that, especially how it’s tied up in CiLR. Honestly CiLR helps a lot, although…

Eh, let’s just talk about it.

Silent Sinner in Blue
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Cage in Lunatic Runagate.

 

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Moon rabbits and shit.

Bearing one of the more baffling titles in the Touhou franchise, Cage in Lunatic Runagate is a novella comprised mostly of first person-narrated chapters (only the last is third person) that take place around the events of Silent Sinner in Blue. It’s written by ZUN with illustrations from TOKIAME. If SSiB requires a Touhou fan to get anything out of it, CiLR requires one even more desperately. There’s really no grounding. This is not like the other manga series where the protagonist is a new character with limited perspective on Gensokyo as it is, and so there’s some way for anyone to get some enjoyment out of it, this is 100% supplemental material for fans. For the most part I think of it in a better light than I do SSiB, but it’s not like I have no problems with the book. Here’s a helpful chart that summarizes my impressions.

CiLR chart

So basically we have a book that’s half good, by my opinion. Let’s discuss it a little.

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This is not the cover, this is. This is the cover page for chapter 1, however I 1) don’t have a higher resolution image of the book cover and 2) don’t particularly like it, as it’s not representative of the novel at all. Kaguya’s barely in the book.

There isn’t really a plot to this book, but it’s basically further elaborating on the moving parts behind the moon invasion business in Silent Sinner in Blue. It contains a lot of scientific rambling (ZUN likes this) and forays into legend, with some flashbacks and such. Most of the novel consists of conversations between characters, and a lot of those characters are cryptic types. The book opens with a chapter told from the perspective of Eirin Yagokoro, who I really don’t like (and this book doesn’t help). Eirin is very strange and doesn’t seem to care about much of anything aside from Princess Kaguya, who is her ward. She’s an immortal, like Kaguya, and was exiled after deliberately leaving when she made the elixir of immortality that Kaguya drank. Eirin is very cold and matter of fact and murderous. She is a very unpleasant character. Later in the novella another character say’s she’s the kindest among them, and I think this character simply hasn’t come to terms with how little Eirin gives a shit about everything.

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She’s very smart and a scheming type. Her chapter, like all the moonbitch chapters, made me sleep often when trying to read it. Very boring stuff, folks.

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Toyohime (left) and Yorihime (right), the Wakatsuki sisters.

Kaguya’s chapter was mildly interesting at points because there isn’t a lot of canon Kaguya in the franchise, so seeing her thoughts about things was nice. Toyohime’s chapter was a chore. I can’t care about Lunarians, it’s just impossible. Not the snooty ones. Anyway Toyohime is one of two sisters and she’s the kind of airheaded but secretly serious older sister, while Yorihime is the younger, more responsible but also kind of tsundere imouto. That reminds me that in this novella we learn that Yorihime is shtupping Toyohime’s son. They’re married and everything. Technically these Wakatsuki sisters are royalty (princesses) so I guess incest is par for the course, but every time I read dialogue from Yorihime or see her somewhere I keep thinking, “dude, your husband is your nephew“.

So it’s a bit of a slog just starting CiLR, but after this things mostly get better.

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The next chapter is about Fujiwara no Mokou and Fujiwara no Mokou is friggin’ awesome. This chapter is not a showcase of why Mokou is awesome, though — quite the opposite, actually. Mokou is Kaguya’s mortal enemy who hates her because Mokou’s dad fell for her and Kaguya, rather than just reject him, did what she did to all her suitors: sent him on an impossible quest. The humiliation really burned Mokou, and along with the torment of eventually becoming immortal (not Kaguya’s “fault”, but technically Mokou couldn’t have become immortal without Kaguya) Mokou decided to bear a murderous grudge against the mooninite princess.

Mokou’s chapter explains how she became an immortal and what she’s done for the past 1300 years or so. It is one of the very very few pieces of genuine tragedy in the Touhou series, and it’s not exactly sympathetic. As we learn immediately, Mokou killed a man to get the elixir of immortality, however doing so is one of her greatest regrets and sinful burdens. Not because she suffered for becoming an immortal, but because the man she killed was genuinely a very good person who helped Mokou a lot and even saved her life. Her story is a very well written, twisted account of the folly of man and the awful machinations of uncaring old gods. It’s about being gripped with blind vice and greed and about suffering, and longing for redemption. I rated it “beautiful” in my chart because it really is. Mokou’s uncommon immortal dilemma is also nice. She doesn’t mourn the loss of relationships around her, but instead secrets herself away from scorn, literally becomes insane, and even becomes so wrathful that she wordlessly murders whoever happens to come across her for 300 years. She only settled down in the last 300-400 years, partly because she found Kaguya again and could kill her every day, partly because she found a friend in another character, Keine Kamishirasawa.

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The chapter comes to an end after Mokou has realized she shares something special with Kaguya beyond animosity, and that she would be torn apart if Kaguya were to disappear. It ends really subtly but really powerfully, and it made me pull out the ending theme to Nier: Automata, “Weight of the World”, as it was incredibly thematically fitting. Great story. Almost worth reading if you don’t even know much about Touhou.

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It was also nice seeing how Mokou used to look pre-immortality.

The next chapter is about Yukari’s bullshit. I don’t particularly like Yukari exactly for things such as what we see in this chapter. She’s very esoteric and nonsensical. That’s the whole chapter. Fuckin’ A. Moving on.

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The next chapter was a pleasant surprise. It’s about a moon rabbit named Rei’sen, or at least that’s how translators have decided to render レイセン to avoid confusion with another character named Reisen. Technically Reisen’s name is spelled with kanji, but originally, the two Reisens had the same exact name due to having the same owners. And that right there, “owners”, is important.

I ended up liking Rei’sen more than I expected I ever would after reading this chapter. She’s introduced in SSiB as an AWOL rabbit who escaped mochi/medicine-pounding duties on the moon but in doing so got wrapped up in the schemes of greater powers and eventually back on the moon under new masters and now a soldier. She is introduced with the start of the manga, but she isn’t a big focus of that miniseries. She’s not, like, a new favorite of mine or anything, but she did solidify my opinion that I like all the moon rabbits in Touhou.

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In Touhou, there are two kinds of rabbits: Moon Rabbits and Earth Rabbits. Earth Rabbits are youkai most like other beast youkai in the franchise: they’re evolved versions of normal rabbits, however in this setting they’re all led by this character named Tewi Inaba. I’ll get to her when we’re on the next and final manga. Moon Rabbits are aliens and to this date we don’t know where they came from or how or anything. My headcanon is that they’re moon natives, which makes the Lunarians the absurd invaders who came into they’re native lands and made the natives their slaves. Because that’s what rabbits are to Lunarians: dumb slaves. Tools, really. The common moon rabbit is literally oppressed and not free.

However moon rabbits are kind of weird. They have an innate camaraderie with all their brethren and can telepathically pseudo communicate with one another using their large ears over pretty much any distance. They’re almost all lazy and cowardly and they almost all love singing, dancing, rumor-spreading, and playing around (making them a lot like earth rabbits), however they’re somehow awfully human. They all have unique personalities unlike the earth rabbits (who are all kind of the same and all under the thrall of one Tewi Inaba). Even if one of their own betrays them by going to Earth or attacking them, the betrayer and betrayed will still get along on the grounds that their lives suck, so they understand why someone would leave. They gripe about not being free, but fear fleeing due to the punishments they’d face, and at the end of the day they’ll forever remain close-knit, no matter the distance, though they don’t really seem to consciously realize this bond they have.

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So we have Rei’sen, a very common moon rabbit. She spends the chapter having very relatable fears, problems, and regrets. She fled from the moon because she thought, as a slave, she was being underutilized pounding mochi, but now as a soldier with her life literally on the line at all times she really misses her happy and innocent life. She chats with her new soldier buddies on the same wavelength as they amusingly comment on the protagonists of SSiB fighting with Yorihime (saying they want to fight despite hiding when the protagonists first showed up, and likely not wanting to fight at all), she keeps her comments to herself, and she worries a lot. Eventually she’s tasked with writing a letter to Eirin about the situation and events (in SSiB, she took Eirin’s letter to the Wakatsuki sisters) and her writing it is very sweet and innocent. She bids thanks to Reimu who took care of her when she collapsed after fleeing the moon (despite Reimu thinking she was a youkai, which she ordinarily exterminates on sight), and later considers bidding Eirin to treat Reisen with care (which, having the FULL context of Touhou at my disposal all the way to recent events, rather moved me). Rei’sen’s chapter was charming and re-contextualized moon rabbit relations for me, giving me more reason to like the downtrodden punks. Also more reason to scorn Lunarians after Toyohime read Rei’sen’s letter and made fun of it for being unrefined (and rabbits having “no knowledge”).

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Each chapter of CiLR ends with something like this: a little object related the the chapter.

The next chapter is about Youmu and it is a riot…if you like Youmu.

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It’s about Youmu trying to comprehend her incomprehensible elders. The gardener of the Netherworld doesn’t understand her mistress, Yuyuko Saigyouji, nor her mistress’s old friend Yukari Yakumo, so she spends the chapter recalling how she spent the last half year trying to understand and failing spectacularly. If you like Youmu for all the reasons you should, all those reasons are here for you. She tails people poorly, fails stealth missions, openly “spies” and then says “uh, nothing” when people ask why she’s taking notes or muttering to herself. Just, wonderful Youmu overload as she investigates the rocket the devil is building. A+ stuff.

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Have I mentioned I love TOKIAME’s art style? It’s just so unique and lovely.

The final chapter is basically an epilogue to really put a bow on any leftover details from SSiB. It’s fun, there’s a lot of good stuff like Reimu being Reimu on the moon, Remilia being unreasonable, Yuyuko being hungry, and finally Yukari being goddamn glorious to finish it all off. It does well to pull everything together and leaves me with a very positive opinion of the book overall, even with my poor opinions of the start. See, I wrote a lot about it, that’s because I really liked it.

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I don’t have any major complaints unlike with Silent Sinner in Blue, so Cage in Lunagate Runagate definitely gets a thumbs up from me. For Touhou fans. Seriously this is just nonsense if you don’t know your Touhou.

I’ll now move on to the last “part” of Touhou Bougetsushou: Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth. Not much to say about it, honestly.

Cage in Lunatic Runagate
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Inaba of the Moon

and Inaba of the Earth


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That about says it all, doesn’t it.

Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth (月のイナバと地上の因幡, Tsuki no Inaba to Chijou no Inaba) is a yonkoma gag manga by Arata Toshihira (あらたとしひら) that was essentially granted “part of the franchise” status by ZUN (really, it has almost nothing to do with the other two parts of Touhou Bougetsushou). It’s generally considered “semi-canon”, and my personal interpretation of it is “generally, canon in spirit, but not in letter”. It’s a gag manga, a lot that happens in it simply makes no sense in the context of Touhou. To be honest it feels like a pretty typical doujin 4-koma collection, this one just happens to be “official”. It’s not bad. It’s fine. It is what it is and I don’t really have much to add beyond that.

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The series stars Reisen Udongein Inaba, my favorite character in Touhou, not that it matters since she still hasn’t obtainted the character development at this point in history which has made her my favorite. Later she becomes just amazing, but for now she is Reisen Udongein Inaba: AWOL moon rabbit who abandoned her duties to escape to the moon during the last Lunar War, where she was found by fugitives Eirin Yagokoro and Kaguya Houraisan. They took her in, and she became Eirin’s apprentice of sorts. This happened about 40 years ago from when the manga takes place. In this manga she’s basically the straight man who’s subject to abuse and pranks. The series centers around Eientei in the Bamboo Forest of the Lost, where Kaguya and the rest live, and the three of them plus one are the main characters of this work (many other characters appear for jokes and such).

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Tewi fucking Inaba.

In this manga, and generally in Touhou canon, Tewi is a prankster. She’s an earth rabbit who is probably one of the oldest characters in the series (so she doesn’t listen to Reisen, or anyone), as well as probably being the legendary White Hare of Inaba. She proposed a deal with Eirin long before Reisen showed up to keep Eientei hidden in the forest, where she is master, in exchange for knowledge being gifted to her and her kin.

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Now let’s stop here, because I have to talk about how among the few genuinely evil characters in Touhou, Tewi is one of the worst offenders.

I am not joking or exagerrating, there is legitimately nothing funny about why I call her evil. Sure she’s a prankster but that’s not what makes her evil. At this point in the canon the most you could call her out on would be how all earth rabbits are subservient to her, and her evil does have something to do with that.

Essentially, for whatever reason Tewi knows all youkai rabbits. If one is born she knows about it, and it goes under her thrall. She is able to command every single one and not a one falls out of line. Certainly they’re all happy, but getting there is the legitimately fucked up and sickening part. Without spoiling anything, as this is revealed in Wild and Horned Hermit, youkai such as beasts (in this case rabbits) are often born through pain, suffering, neglect, grudge, and death. Youkai are bad things, and they often have bad origins. Tewi is a profiter, and she deliberately profits off of some fucked up shit. That’s all I’ll say about that. She’s enormously selfish and self-interested, and her only allies are those of her race. She is really, really horrible. Tewi is a dreadful person. She is not cute and lovable, as she often comes across here.

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She can be pretty funny here, though.

Anyway that’s really all I have to say about Inaba. If you want a Touhou related slice of life manga to read, this one exists and you can read it. It has a lot of reference humor, though it’s pretty decent for reference humor.

Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth
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…Phew. I’m done. That’s all of it. Touhou Bougetsushou is overall okay, but not amazing like the manga I have previously reviewed within the Touhou canon. I’m glad I got it out of the way and read, at least. But man, Inaba really is a lot like a doujin… Speaking of doujin, maybe I’ll recommend a non-H one tomorrow. Something to show how good a Touhou comic can be. I’ll see you then. Until the next review (sorry this one was late!), thanks for reading!

…oh right I usually end with some music

Later y’all.

Touhou Project manga
Touhou Suzunaan ~ Forbidden Scrollery.
Touhou SangetsuseiThree Fairies
Touhou Ibarakasen ~ Wild and Horned Hermit.

Touhou Project doujinshi
Vector Spectacle

24 thoughts on “Touhou Bougetsushou

  1. Ahh, the infamous Silent Sinner in Blue. This was such a weird read back in the day. Difficult, even – not least thanks to the sheer unpleasantness of the Watatsuki sisters – but I couldn’t bring myself to hate it, even if I could easily see how others could. The silliness of the ending made it a little easier for me to swallow, though.

    That said, I somehow missed at the time that Lunatic Runagate was connected with SSiB besides having a common link via IN. I feel silly about it nowadays, since things seen cannot be unseen and all that…anyway, I gotta agree that Mokou is an amazing character, with the chapter here about her being a huge reason why. I’ll have to read it again with that NieR: Automata music playing in the background.

    Fun little factoid: Mokou was the first 2hu I “officially” noticed while watching somebody else play IN almost a decade ago, and I was blown away by her spell cards, and her boss fight in general. So she, and IN in general, inevitably found themselves holding a place close to my heart. Mokou in particular is probably my 3rd favorite 2hu in the series, after Raiko and Mamizou (obviously), though I should probably do up a list of my own. Someday.

    As for Tewi, well…if you take a certain Touhou doujin from a certain (non-H!) doujinshi/artist, crop one page out of context and read Tewi’s speech bubbles with a Joe Pesci impression, I’d say you have her character in a shellnut:

    Anyway, fine read as always! Hope you have an awesome New Year!

    • The ending is *very* silly. I do love that.

      Mokou is way up there for me though it’s largely because of ULiL in my case. She’s just sooooo coooool. Really cool! I love her laid back look and personality belying an unstoppable firey rage. But man, as she looked at Youkai mountain in her chapter, that Nier music was PERFECT.

      At a glance, that’s Zounose isn’t it? That is fairly true, she’s definitely mindful of her rabbits. My big beef with her is basically 100% chapter 31 of WaHH (“Who Spared the Rabbits?”), in which we learn how she…recruits, let’s call it.

      And thank you! I hope you have a splendid New Year as well.

  2. Yep, it’s Zounose. It’s one of the outtakes from Nostalgia a la carte. I’m a pretty big fan of his stuff; granted, it often gets grim – like, Dolls in Pseudo Paradise grim – but I think that’s fine, since rarely do those aspects ever go TOO far, and either way it still manages to capture the mystique of Gensokyo and its residents, the art is nothing short of beautiful, and the interpretations of the characters (particularly Suwako, the Myouren Temple residents, and even the underground youkai to a lesser extend) can be quite fascinating.

    That is, of course, assuming it isn’t one of the more lighthearted works like Nostalgia a la carte is, in which case it can get pretty damn hilarious.

    As for Tewi, aye, her appearance in WaHH 31 threw me for a loop. In some ways I’m kind of amazed that Kasen more or less walked out without much of a fight (she even bought a rabbit! Talk about a sucker.), but I guess supernatural luck will do that for you. Still. When it comes to characters who genuinely corrupt and scummy the same way a mafia boss may be, methinks Tewi’s got that embodied down pat.

    And yup! Mokou had a lot of cool interactions in ULiL, and she was fun to play as too. There was some great juxtaposition between her and Futo with their fiery abilities and personalities, and a little bit with Sumireko too. Really looking forward to playing her again once AoCF comes out on Steam–from what I understand, she and Mamizou may be teaming up for the latter’s route. I never saw much reason for either of them to interact, so I don’t know how true it is or it would come to be if so, but if it is, it’ll be interesting to see. Definitely curious to see what sort of teammate she’d have for her route, too (Lord, it sounds like I’m talking about a VN, lol).

    • I’ve read a few of Zounose’s doujins and they’ve all been pretty good. He does have a great interpretation of Suwako. I actually like Suwako a lot myself because, while fans often portray her as cutesy frog goddess, she’s not a frog goddess but instead one of earth and curses. Pretty freaky.

      I’d kinda always disliked how Tewi was clearly a woman out for herself and would thus lie through her teeth to get on everyone’s good side, but that WaHH chapter cemented her as despicable and deplorable in my eyes. It really is surprising Kasen didn’t do something. I guess Tewi managed to convince her/Kasen didn’t want to screw with Gensokyo’s “ecosystem”. In any case, what a shit.

      She WAS fun to play as. Speaking of Futo was my favorite to play as. Very silly. AoCF is really intriguing to me exactly because of the routes so I totally get it. I’d also heard Mokou and Mamizou would be a team which is not what I was expecting (I was expecting Tenshi, actually). I wouldn’t imagine Mokou to pal around with youkai at all, but I guess Mamizou is closer with humans at least. I got the game myself but I’m holding off on playing it (THAT’S HARD) because my Japanese isn’t good enough to get through the story. It’s getting an official translation through Steam, I hear. I just hope the official translators aren’t NISA or something. They’re not great.

      • Yeah, it was actually a Suwako-focused doujin of Zounose’s that I first read (Kami Yasumi,) and ended up being blown away by. Ikaregami was also surprisingly interesting, and it throws Junko in the mix there with her. And…while Shitei is focused instead on Miko and Seiga, I’d be remiss to not give it an honorable mention for giving the Crown Prince by far one of the most amazingly three-dimensional, vulnerable, yet still epic depictions out there.

        Tewi always did sort of rub me the wrong way. At first I assumed it was because of her trollish nature (as funny as it could be at times), but…yeah, no. That’s actually just a faint glimmer of light in a very, very dark, rabbit-shaped cesspit of evil.

        Hey, here’s to a fellow Futo main! Everything about her is silly, and it’s great–the intro poses, the attacks, and especially Harukawa-sensei’s artwork for her. It’ll be a blast to user her again, plate-smashing and all. As for Tenshi, my guess is she’d team up with Miko on the assumption that the latter would treat the former the same way she treated Youmu and Kasen, rather respectfully–maybe even in a Celestial’s case, with borderline worship? Not that I have any way of proving it, though I’m looking forward to reading their dialogue exchanges regardless. For Mokou, from what I understand the events of ULiL actually helped her come out of her shell a little, and I think she’s visited the Mausoleum at least once through Futo’s invitation.

        I actually don’t know much about the official translation’s details myself, save that Tasofro is the one collecting the people. So probably not NISA is my guess, though sadly Clarste confirmed over their Tumblr they won’t be doing the translation either. That said, I also worry about how online connectivity will work, since it was a pain in the ass to try and connect with anyone for a match in ULiL. I think the game wanted you to host your own lobby or something? Reminded me a lot of how the original copies of Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and other OLD old-school Bioware/Infinity Engine games would work before the internet grew more sophisticated. Gives me a headache. XD

        • The Crown Prince deserves no less.

          I KNOW right? Futo’s fantastic. And I dunno about giving any respect to Tenshi, she doesn’t DESERVE any. She’s a brat. As for Mokou indeed she’s a little better. In the PS4 version of ULiL it also sounds like Kaguya, at least, is willing to put aside their feud. Random: Mokou calls Reisen “Reisen-chan”. Honorifics are pretty rare in this series and hearing that from Mokou of all people threw me for a loop.

          Right, while I got into Touhou a bit too late for ULiL I’ve always heard connectivity was troublesome in the fighters. It’d be nice if, now that Tasofro’s doing this through steam, they’ve also got a better plan for matching online. Personally, I’ve NEVER been good at setting that kind of thing up and always thought it too much of a hassle.

  3. Tenshi’s definitely a brat, yeah. It’s not so much she really deserves the respect–she probably won’t even get it at all–but it could be the start of a “broken pedestal” moment for Miko, since if I recall Celestials are kind of related to the hermits she hold in high esteem. Just speculating on my end, though. And huh, I knew Mokou had no real beef with the rabbits, but hearing her give an honorific to another character is indeed something else. Maybe Forbidden Scrollery unintentionally set off trend of characters getting a little friendlier with each other?

    And…yeeepp. That’s the thing about technology–we love it to bits. It’s just a shame it doesn’t seem to reciprocate the sentiment much. Anyway, I think I recall hearing the PS4 version of ULiL having much better luck with online matchmaking, so that’s encouraging at least.

    …On a side note, for your Tewi screencap above, I’m just now realizing I missed the easy “It’s because they breed like rabbits” joke. I am dumb like Cirno. Oh well.

    • Come to think of it, yeah, Miko does aspire to BE a Celestial at least. Technically Kasen too, so I imagine all of them will talk. Forbidden Scrollery served a lot of development for Reisen, at least, interestingly enough. You can actually observe how she’s opening up from how her human disguise becomes less and less elaborate as she becomes more used to living on Earth.

      And that is reassuring.

      And hey, well, they do. That’s part of the plan! Still funny though

  4. gantifandor says:

    I hope I’ll git gud and actually play the games one of these days. Or at least go through all the material like the Music Collections.
    Also, looking at your list, seems like you have something against the buddhists lol

  5. waterpolpetta says:

    ehy terrenceswiff! Hello! I wanted to say a few things, first off i really enjoyed immensely all of your touhou reviews! You have a fantastic sense of analysis that i enjoy incredibly a lot! Keep up with the hard work, it’s really showing!
    After that, i wanted to discuss a small bit about tewi. I read that you don’t like her, you and the other person that commented, and it really got me thinking! I understand why most of the community doesn’t like her, she is a liar, she’s quite annoying (even if funny) when she pranks people, and she is a quite cruel person for how she recruits new youkai rabbits. But that’s what makes her in my opinion such an interesting evil-oriented character. She has motivations and hidden objectives, and she is a villain which is not a villain at the same time. She is a creative villain, like all the other ones in touhou, like the lunarians and seija and seiga. they have interesting positions that defies normal cliqués for villains, and i really like it. And tewi is less evil than them, since she kinda have to do what she does for recruiting new youkai and her behaviours might even be a common strategy for how youkai recruits more members of their species.
    Anyway, that aside, what i REALLY like about her is an implication that SSiB and CiLR leave to us. Her idol, lord daikoku, is imprisoned. and she doesn’t know that. And he is imprisoned by the hands of the lunarians, the very people she works for. And.. she doesn’t know that.
    Really, this alone makes her such a possibly great character for a future plot twist that really makes her a great and diverse character for me. And this just keep getting more interesting from the LoLK ending where tewi says she is looking for any lunarian weaknesses.
    The same things also happens with the moriya shrine, since supposedly there is sealed away the god takeminakata (that is supposedly kanako’s in-legend husband) which could also lead to great plot twists or at least possibly great fanwork. That i doubt anyone ever used as far as i know.
    …oh woah, this turned out longer than i thought. Sorry about that.

    Mmhh, other things i want to add…
    i loved your love for the lunar rabbits, the characters (youmu and yuyuko especially) and your hate for the lunarians, which i agree with and i understand and share, but also i see how interesting villains they are with their ideology of purity. Did you read Hecatia’s opinion about them in her interview with aya? I loved that so much.
    Oh, yeah, last thing! what are your opinions about the tales of renko and maribel and the story of dolls in pseudo paradise?
    Sorry again for this long comment, and have a good day!

    • Seija’s not evil! She’s a jerk, but her motives aren’t “evil”, more like horribly rude. Seiga is pretty awful but I think her most awful acts are to corpses… Tewi is, in my opinion, possibly the worst. She does not need to make any more youkai rabbits, you know. She wants more so she can use them to her own ends. Youkai can occur naturally, and she has a lot of rabbits, she just forcibly starts a process to churn them out. Nevermind that you could also count this as slavery of her own kind, it includes torturing/starving her own kind until death, possibly having her own kind killed, and then enslaving them AGAIN once they’re reborn since Tewi controls all earth rabbits. Sir, this is pure evil. You can truss it up it up with her pranks and her con artist-like charisma, but what she does is THOROUGHLY horrible. None of it makes her a bad character, but I definitely feel like the depths of her selfishness are too much for me to appreciate her AS a character. Terrible person, no matter what her goals are. She is just a villain, not really any other way to put it.

      No problem, also.

      I did read Heca’s opinions, because I like Hecatia a lot. As for the sealing club, this is another part of Touhou canon I have yet to really go into. I know about them only through summary, basically, and need to actually read it. I’ve read Dolls in Pseudo Paradise, though. It’s fucked up.

      • waterpolpetta says:

        oh sorry, when i said evil for seija it wasn’t meant to say “evil” per se, but more… an antagonistic position towards gensokyo ( it’s in her nature to make messes so that can’t really be helped unless she goes training with byakuren like joon did)
        for seiga… eh, i still think she’s pretty messed up, even if we do not know the actual stuff she did like with tewi (aside for probably poisoning yoshika in the first place as zun seem to imply) and after all, seiga’s line of thought is pretty much the lunarians’, as zun explained in an interview how closely similar lunarians and hermits are, but just for the fun of not respecting others. So this really puts her on the lunarian level of superiority for me. And i can see that in her behaviour, she is totally like the older sister of the moonbitches.
        and yeah, i totally agree with you on tewi don’t worry (i wonder how the actual earth rabbits think of this, they seem so jolly all the time, they don’t exactly look like slaves… but also they do… it’s weird)
        anyway, i simply wanted to draw attention towards lord daikoku and takeminakata for possible tewi or moriya shrine evolutions in the plot. I really feel like they could be great for potential ground breaking scenarios, so i wanted to discuss them a little. Tewi is still a jerk and a piece of shit. but a possible interesting piece of shit in the future.

        I see!
        oohh interesting! i really like those stories, i hope you’ll like them too!
        and yeah, DiPP is great. It’s such an interesting and well made agathachirstie inspired story, it really shows how good of an author zun is. Also, alice backstory~

        • Pretty sure that was some random youkai rather than Alice, fitting the idea of “this is Gensokyo on any old day, and what happens in it”.

          Eh, I don’t see them as that similar beyond both living “apart” from society at large. Seiga is a selfish, wicked person, but she’s also willing to get caught up in stuff and generally doesn’t look down on others. She’ll even try to help people she sees potential in (Miko, Reimu) just because she likes training those with potential. Sure, generally, her selfishness means she doesn’t care about others, but what Lunarians don’t care about is Earth at large (and moon rabbits); they do care about one another, at least.

  6. waterpolpetta says:

    well, it’s not confirmed, but the amount of stuff that correlates to alice is so absurdely high that it really is another similar case like the “yukari is maribel” practically canon theory at this point.

    the similarities was mostly that. The way they live and they usually only care for themselves.
    lunarians (and celestials) are obviously on a higher scale. Even if seiga does stuff morally wrong which doesn’t make her all that great either.

    • For one thing Alice was a human until shortly before PCB so, can’t be her. For another, Alice is nice and not the kind of person to attack humans unless provoked. Finally there isn’t near the same amount of evidence/teasing as there is for Hearn/Yakumo (for which there is a mountain and heavy suggestions from ZUN himself). They’re both blond and one of them left Gensokyo (Alice entered Gensokyo, possibly from Makai)… That’s it. I will admit I’m staunch on this, mainly because I try not to accept theory as canonical, at least unless there’s heavy implication toward it. I’ve always seen people figuring the DiPP youkai was Alice as shortsighted. Think about how many blonds exist in the land of fantasy.

      As for Lunarians, while they’re jerks and I do dislike them all except Sagume, the one cool Lunarian, it really probably should be stressed that in most cases they’re absolutely right about what they say, it’s just how they say it and what they do about it that’s pretty unlikable. They’re right about Earth being impure, mortals being daft, rabbits being dumb, and everyone being inferior to them. It all checks out, but they’re megacunts. To compare them and heck even Seiga to another “privileged, powerful, very selfish” character Taishi-sama himself, Toyosatomimi no Miko thinks of herself as superior to most, and is, but she’s also full of personality and charisma and, at least in my case, I find it hard to do anything but like her. There’s a kind of plodding disdain and misery to how Lunarian’s act… At least the hermits live it up, I suppose. Even Seiga has some charm, despite being awful.

      • waterpolpetta says:

        of course, theories are still theories, but, trust me, there really is a lot of hints about alice being that girl, and the 3 proofs you mentioned for not being the case actually still point to her (especially those 3 you mentioned)! Would you like me to explain them a bit better the tons of reasons why a lot of people, me imcluded, believe so? I hope i’m not being too much of a bother for discussing so much😅

        I absolutely agree! the hermit group isn’t one of the best groups for nothing, after all! Seiga included~
        and yeah, the fact that the lunarians are annoying, yet from a neutral perspective tecnically correct for how they think, is what makes them such creative antagonists.
        And the elements in common and the differences between them, earth and heavenly gods, celestials and hermits just renders the world of touhou more concrete, cohesive and believable~

        • Nah, I already know and already think none of it is substantial or even evidence in the first place. S’fine.

          Overall I find it quite cool that the series is one without good or evil, but more like nuisance versus peace, where “peace” still includes naturalized violence and terror.

  7. waterpolpetta says:

    if you say that it just makes me think more that you don’t know part of these reasons 😂
    for example how the girl from dipp is from a western country from a quite recent time, proved by her mentioning that in the prologue and how the 7 men have foreign outfits and dances and they drink coffee which is a relatively recent drink in japan, and alice is the only one whose spell cards mention cities of the outside world and her theme song says she’s from bucarest. also, she became a youkai recently, but not before pcb specifically. She was a youkai already in ms. her name is also western, and her surname is from a character of agatha christie. And the girl at the end of dipp “goes towards the exit to paradise” so she exited gensokyo… which isn’t possible unless she just went to other places connected to gensokyo like makai.
    the thing about being nice to humans is not really something that goes against this story, because the girl in dipp says the reason why she is killing the 7 men, because she found the honest life the 7 men decided to have after their life of crime boring and dull.
    it’s not that the girl herself is crazy or something just for the sake of an horror story (just like the original agatha christie story)
    and, then again, we know alice has apparently nightmares that strong that force her to use eirin’s dream pills to sleep well.
    and also, probably the more actual clear proof is in the house where alice is living. unless there is another one, the western house where dipp takes place and where alice lives are the same. And that isn’t enough to show that alice is that girl, of course. BUT in a paragraph of dipp we get a great piece of information. someone (probably a human from the human village) says that there IS a girl living in the house in the forest that almost never comes out. Until one day, when a young girl was seen that looked like the daughter of the woman of the house because she looked just like her when she was young. which just means that the woman didn’t age anymore and still looks like when she was young. and since this information is in dipp, this young woman HAS to be the girl from the story.
    But that means that alice really is the one that is being mentioned here, since she is the one living in the western house now, who is also cordial enough for humans to mistake her for another human.

    ….there are even more proofs, but i’m pretty sure i’ll annoy you if i go on.

    And yeah. Touhou doesn’t have villains. I ADORE that. And also the “heroes” are flawed and not really heroes per se.

      • waterpolpetta says:

        ? What do you mean? 😂 shouldn’t logic be used to see how the things connect and click together? Literally the same was applied to the maribel and yukari’s case before zun gave it away in an even more apparent manner. in dipp we have other facts that lead to a logical conclusion, just like what happens in the very story and in the agatha chirstie this story is inspired from.

        lemme add some more details. We get even more information over this mystery from IN. Mokou has 2 spellcards whose names and descriptions reference DiPP. One talks about the honest men’s death, and in the other (hourai doll, i think) the description is an actual dialogue spoken by somebody who recognize a person met in the past and now this person decides to attack with all they have since this person is immortal (aka mokou). This makes sense only if this somebody talking is one of the 4 teams of IN, and this someone must has some kind of connections to DiPP. and would you look at that, not only alice is part of the teams, BUT she even says in her dialogue against mokou that she has been looking for the hourai elixir for a long time!!

        i understand your point of view with not liking stuff that isn’t been explicitly told us by zun, but when so many details (most of which i didn’t even mentioned) line up, it feels less like a mere coincidence and more like something else.

        • Speculation is putting together circumstance from random smatterings and “coincidences” (that’s being kind) which have no explicit connections, evidence is ZUN telling the audience there is a connection, or making it clear through works that there are hints multiple times, possible.

          The point of Dolls in Pseudo Paradise is that it’s a tale of Gensokyo on an ordinary day, as eventually observed by the only known character: Hakurei Reimu. The reason behind everything seen in it isn’t to fuel speculation, otherwise Alice would be on the cover rather than the random blond girl that’s there instead. Of course it’s random because if it wasn’t the story would lose its purpose. This is something that happens to humans every day in Gensokyo by random youkai. Reimu observes it and doesn’t care. To miss that point is kind of astounding, honestly.

          Now, I already told you to not dump random speculation here. The last thing I want is obsessive headcanon deluded by blinders and bias to be under an article for discussion of a canon work. Please cut it out, I’ve heard it all before and am honestly irritated you assumed I haven’t. There’s a reason I tried to just cut this off politely without getting into it; it’s because I’ve seen it all before and don’t care.

  8. waterpolpetta says:

    😅 alrighty sorry

    Mmmh, then… setting the fanon thing out of the way…
    what do you think the mysterious passages of the second version of the story and mokou’s spell cards descriptions mean? Do you have any idea? 😮

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