Flandre attempts to open some snacks.

I've been spending some time the past few days researching the whole Touhou business.

Touhou is one of those things which is unavoidable if you delve deeply enough into Anime Stuff On The Internet. I'd meant to sit down and seriously research it sooner or later (mostly hoping that someone would write up an informative Let's Play of the series), but I kept putting it off due to the sheer volume of what I'd need to know.

Playing the games myself is out of the question: I'm simply not good at them, and the gameplay itself is not fun enough for me to die countless times just to get good at it. There comes a point where frustration outweighs any potential reward.

"So play on Easy mode," I am told.

"It's challenging for me even on Easy-" I begin.

"Oh, by the way," they interrupt, "Easy mode is only for kids, so never play on Easy mode."

If you say so.

Still, since it's all over the Internet, or at least the anime corner of it, I've picked up bits and pieces of the canon, although this is apparently a special case in that there is very little true canon, much like mainstream superhero comics, and the appeal is based on fanon. Getting fans to agree on something is eventually a futile effort, so it's not like I can pin down more than the broad strokes. The games themselves, I am told, are merely the basic jumping-off point, and it is possible (again, so I am told) to enjoy the setting without playing the games.

And as my experiences with just about everything else has proven, now that I'm older (if no wiser), I've gotten tired of dealing with fandom. The source often brings me joy, but being involved in the actual fandom implies having to tolerate other people. For a fanbase as large and varied as Touhou, the chances of aggravation and frustration is high. (In fact, for a time I had to try to ignore Touhou until I cooled off, since one particularly rabid fan also had such an abrasive personality, often regarding Touhou itself, that my general policy of never judging a series by its proponents was sorely tested.) I'm reluctant to declare, with confidence, that Such And Such is my favourite aspect, because I'm sure someone will drop in with "but you see, that character is less awesome than this one" and then I have to wonder why I bother. I'm getting too old for fandom debates.

But researching Touhou had always been on the list of Things To Get Around To, and recently, I got around to it.

With such a large number of characters in so short a time, it seems that my primary means of learning about characters is based on their theme songs, and how catchy they are. Suwako Moriya, Flandre Scarlet, and Cirno are in the lead, thanks to their famous remixes, and Cirno is fascinating to consider as the resident Overconfident Idiot, made more tolerable in that she's portrayed as exactly that. (I don't know enough about Suwako.) Flandre is just scary; I know she's been portrayed as cute in quite a few fanworks, but to me it's the sort of cute that only barely tints the vicious insanity. The best illustration I've seen of this is her appearance in the famous Bad Apple video. Every time I rewatch that grin, chills.

After that is a whole mess of catchy tunes, more or less on equal footing, and below that are the… not so catchy tunes, for characters I don't especially care about. Of course, my criteria for "catchy" often conflicts with others', since I'm not really a huge fan of Obvious Electronica or Noisy Metal.

Apart from theme tunes, character-wise I'm still waiting to see if the initial enthusiasm will last, but I have to say that Marisa and Reisen appear to be in the running. The common thread, so to speak, is in their outfits. Reisen is a standard schoolgirl-esque outfit plus bunny ears, which makes it possible to be created in City of Heroes; in fact, I know for a fact that someone has already done so.

As for main characters, mikos do nothing for me, but I covet Marisa's hat.

10 Responses to “Touhou – Easy Mode Mockery”
  1. Shance says:

    At least the way you write this post is not on easy mode. I think I need to congratulate you on that.

  2. DKellis says:



  3. AkuT says:

    One of the things that drew me into the whole universe of it all, is the storytelling aspect.

    ZUN has a way with sharing fictitious tales that I find really captivating. I was drawn in not with plot twists, but with the way that ZUN spins great yarns. At times, he takes on the view point of a character in this fictitious realm, and at times fleshing the story out as a narrator. Whichever, the highlighting and explanations (whether they be plausible or outright wrong) of patterns/trends/events in either the illusionary world or the observed external world, is just delightful. Even when the explanations given by the characters are obviously wrong, I can still find wisdom and insights upon further analysis. (I'm the sort who enjoys depth in my stories. I know, I'm weird. Most of fandom enjoys the circle jerking and memes, while I like dissecting character dialogues, and reading manuals and OMGliterature. ¯|(。_ ゜)/¯)

    I do find the whole fanon thing mostly quite silly, though. Sure, stereotyping characters based on a single trait may be amusing and fun as an inside joke; arguing the validity of one fanon characteristic over another is just silly. The truly inspiring side of fanon is where fans try to integrate their little tales of everyday happenings or character backgrounds with whatever canon information is out there, such that their fictitious accounts do not conflict with the official word, yet give possible interpretations or glimpses into their lives.

    Which then brings me to how I admire the fact that ZUN has essentially created a fictitious zone (like Middle-Earth), peppered it with tidbits of information here and there, and still allowed fandom to join in on the storytelling.

    For the record, I enjoy the storytelling bit, not the coming-up-with-stories part.

    And then there's also the awesome music :V

  4. TheBigN says:

    The good thing I think about Touhou fandom is that you can get into all sorts of different things. And you don't have to associate with other people to enjoy that which you like. And since there are fans of every character here, it's hard either to feel annoyed by everything, or to not share your experiences in liking so-and-so character with some other fans as well.

    This is one of my favorite links on how one could see the Touhou fandom spread from the beginning. And this is my own experiences on it.

  5. Valence says:

    Without the gigantic fandom, I wouldn't have liked Touhou as much as I do now.

  6. Mike says:

    I've… been recently exposed to the Touhou metafandom and have been wondering wtf it was all about as well. Thanks for doing some initial research into the subject beyond just Wikipedia (which doesn't really explain it well at all).

  7. Balorn says:

    I've never played any of the Touhou games either, but I like the music, characters, etc.

    If you aren't already reading it, I suggest Life of Maid. Not exactly canon, but it's cute.

  8. AkuT says:

    lol @
    1. Post something about Touhou.
    2. Receive comments!
    3. ???
    4. Profit, become blogging superstar, and receive thousands of hits and comments a day.


    @ Balorn
    I've read that before, and I'd have to say that Danbooru is amazingly adept at making my time disappear.

  9. Leo says:

    Like you, I'll never try to finish any Touhou. I play games in order to have some fun, what simply doesn't happen when the thing is so difficult it makes me want to throw my controller out of the window.

  10. ou wen says:

    Without the touhou fandom,I wouldn't like touhou. Its the fans that makes things interesting. Without them I'd be thinking,"oh,this touhou thing is just some impossible shooting game.LAME." but sometimes fandom can be very confusing, I keep wondering whether remilia's this mature or that childish. If you cant deal with the fans leave touhou alone,nothings going to change whether you like or hate the fandom.