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Aya Shameimaru

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射命丸 (しゃめいまる)   (あや)
Aya Shameimaru
ɕameːmaɽɯ aja (♫)
Aya Syameimaru
Aya Shameimaru
Aya Shameimaru in Double Spoiler
Traditional Reporter of Fantasy
More Character Titles
Species

Crow Tengu

Abilities

Manipulation of wind

Age

Over 1000 years

Occupation

Newspaper writer, reporter.

Location

Youkai Mountain

Music Themes
Appearances
Official Games
Print Works
Miscellaneous Works

Aya Shameimaru (射命丸 文 Shameimaru Aya) is Gensokyo's resident reporter, known for writing "slightly" exaggerated news articles about anything that happens in Gensokyo. She's very strong and is probably stronger than she shows since she sometimes "accidentally wins" battles while only meaning to cover a news story.

General Information

Occupation

Aya runs the Bunbunmaru Newspaper, which is viewed by most people and youkai in Gensokyo as a mildly popular gossip or tabloid paper. She has a shameless reporting style, tends to exaggerate events, and expresses her own personal opinions in her articles. As a result, many don't want to see themselves in her newspaper, and she is on less than good terms with some of the other characters. Still, she does have ethics, and is more interested in pursuing the truth (sometimes to a fault) than ruining other peoples' reputation for the sake of it.

Her depiction in Strange and Bright Nature Deity and Curiosities of Lotus Asia suggest that her newspaper isn't well received, and she is willing to jokingly trick Reimu into believing in a fictional type of ghost to boost its popularity.

Character Design

Origin

ZUN once commented that the gaming concept of Shoot the Bullet was around since the same time he created Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. Since such a game required a camera-using character, Aya was created specifically to fit that purpose.

Name

Aya's appearance in Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red

The characters for Shameimaru (射命丸) literally mean, in sequence, "to shoot (an arrow)" (or "to shine into/onto"), "command, decree, order" or "life" (or "hit/target" in the word meichuu (命中)), and "circle" (common name ending, usually seen in names of crafts and swords or similar weapons, and is also a very common suffix for the names of ships). Aya () means "text, sentence, literature", and it's also the first character of "Bunkachou". The name Shameimaru is derived from Sha-Mail (Shamēru → Shameimaru), which is text messages with photos, very appropriate for a fast-traveling journalist who takes pictures.

Aya owns the Bunkachou (文花帖), a tengu notebook gathering innumerable photographs and handwritten notes. Bun ( - can also be pronounced as "aya") means "sentence, text", ka () means "flower, blossom" (or "pretty, cute thing" in a figurative sense) and chou () means "notebook": therefore Bunkachou literally means "notebook of flowering sentences"- her record of interesting observations for Bunbunmaru Newspaper articles and pictures of beautiful danmaku or cute girls living in Gensokyo.

Design

Aya has red eyes and semi-long black hair. She wears a white blouse, black short skirt, and a tokin. From Phantasmagoria of Flower View to Scarlet Weather Rhapsody she can be seen holding a hauchiwa fan. In Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red, Phantasmagoria of Flower View, and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, Aya is shown holding a notebook and being accompanied by a crow. She was depicted with black wings for the first and only time in Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red.

In Double Spoiler, Aya now carries a camera and wears an orange armband reading 「取材中」 (Shuzaichuu: "collecting material/the scoop"). She is also notably depicted with pointed ears, compared to the normal-looking ears that were visible in her Mountain of Faith portrait.

Story

Phantasmagoria of Flower View

During the events of Phantasmagoria of Flower View she sets out to cover what promises to be an interesting news story, apparently having had completely forgotten that the exact same event had occurred 60 years ago. Even though she was alive and around during the previous flower incident, perhaps her memory is clouded by the thousands of facts and rumors she hears every day.

Shoot the Bullet

Aya photographs various Touhou Bosses for reasons only she knows.

Mountain of Faith

When Aya was sent by the other Tengu to see who the intruder on Youkai Mountain was during Mountain of Faith she was surprised to see it was the heroine. Although Aya doesn't want to fight the heroine, she prioritizes her bosses' orders. She decides to "go easy" on the heroine and leads her to the new shrine, believing that the heroine could get rid of a large nuisance to the Tengu.

Scarlet Weather Rhapsody

During the events of Scarlet Weather Rhapsody she goes around doing her job, and after an encounter with Reimu and Marisa she decides to infiltrate the Scarlet Devil Mansion to report on the Scarlet Devil and write an article about her. Remilia mentions something about the weather incident, and Aya goes back to the Youkai Mountain. There she meets an infuriated Reimu complaining about an earthquake destroying her shrine. In spite of the situation, Aya defeats her as an intruder.

Double Spoiler

She competes with Hatate Himekaidou for the best newspaper.

Relationships

Momiji Inubashiri

Fellow tengu of Youkai Mountain. Whenever she meets her they get in a fight, so they don't get along very well.

Tenma

Chief tengu of Youkai Mountain.

Hatate Himekaidou

Fellow tengu and rival of Youkai Mountain.

Reimu Hakurei

Ally and potential source of interesting new articles.

Minor Relationships

Aya has presumably met most of the Windows-era characters at least once for Bunbunmaru News material.

Spell Cards

Additional Information

Aya rough sketch by ZUN alongside Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red
  • Aya is the first character in the series to originally appear in an artbook, then later in a game.
  • A silhouette of Aya occupies the front of Shoot the Bullet's jewel case.
  • In Mountain of Faith, Aya is the first stage 4 boss in a Windows game not to have some sort of gimmick/variation based on the playable character (i.e. Patchouli's different spell cards in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, Reimu or Marisa in Imperishable Night, etc.).
  • In Touhou Hisoutensoku, she has a palette that resembles Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier.
  • She is the only character introduced in Phantasmagoria of Flower View to return in a later main game, which is Mountain of Faith.
  • Aya has appeared, even as far as mention or reference, in every game in the second generation of the Windows era up until Ten Desires, from Mountain of Faith to Fairy Wars.

Fandom

  • Due to Aya including photos of various characters in her news articles, some fan comics portray her as having a habit of taking embarrassing or risqué photos as well. Thus she is sometimes a joke character who's shown as a pervert.
  • Although Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red described Aya having black wings, you cannot see them in the artwork of Shoot the Bullet and Phantasmagoria of Flower View. This led to confusion in many fan works, as many artists took liberties on this subject. Various theories have been made regarding the wings, and the most commonly accepted explanation is that Aya can magically hide her wings when they are in the way.
  • In both Mountain of Faith story modes, Aya was seen to say "Ayayayaya" (あやややや) which has become her catchphrase.
  • Because ZUN has been seen wearing this, he has been compared to Aya due to the similarity of their clothes. Aya has also been referred to as "ZUN's girlfriend" because of her recurring appearance in the games.
  • Some works of fan art depict her alongside a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird high-altitude, trisonic photo-reconnaissance airplane. Both are black birds, carry cameras, and are known for their speed.
  • There was a rather nasty western fan uproar over Aya appearing in Mountain of Faith, with various insulting remarks made against her. The reasons for this were: general fan outrage at the changes made in the game (Reimu and Marisa only, no master Spark), Aya getting her own game (Shoot the Bullet), choosing to ignore the underlying facts behind it (The concept predates Aya's creation and was a quick project to go with Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red).
    • These days the incident is seen in a negative light and fan opinion of Aya is higher compared to then.

Official Profiles

Official Sources