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Hong Meiling

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(ホン) (メイ) (リン)
Hong Meiling
xʊ̜ŋ˧˥ meɪ̯˨˩˨liŋ˧˥ (♫)
Hong Meirin, Hoan Meirin
Hong Meiling
Hong Meiling in Touhou Hisoutensoku
Chinese Girl
More Character Titles
Species

Youkai

Abilities

Usage of Qi

Occupation

Gatekeeper and Gardener of the Scarlet Devil Mansion

Location

Scarlet Devil Mansion

Music Themes
Appearances
Official Games
Print Works

Hong Meiling (紅 美鈴 Hon Meirin) is a youkai, though it isn't currently known which specific category she actually belongs to. She's the gatekeeper of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She is known for her mastery of the martial arts, part of which can be seen from her movement which is performed with Shin-Kyaku (a move in Chinese martial arts).

General Information

Meiling first appeared as the third stage boss and midboss of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil with the boss theme "Shanghai Alice of Meiji 17" and later was a target on Stage 5 of Shoot the Bullet. After, she became one of the three protagonists of Touhou Hisoutensoku with an arrangement of her stage theme "Shanghai Teahouse ~ Chinese Tea" from Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. Additionally, Meiling became a playable character in Immaterial and Missing Power through a downloadable patch, although she wasn't given a a scenario.

Meiling is a proud Chinese-style martial arts master and a humanoid youkai.

Personality

Meiling is very laid-back, which sometimes gets her into trouble. and taking naps while on the job. She isn't outwardly aggressive towards other humans unless they are trying to trespass on Scarlet Devil Mansion property, where she'll have conversations to bypassers, though it seems the only trespassers are strong enough to defeat her in the first place.

Many of her lines in Touhou Hisoutensoku indicate that Meiling has boastful pride in China. "You're all not there yet! You're all children compared to 4000 years of history!" The script also reveals that she seems to spend a lot of time reading manga written by the tengu, compares Yuyuko Saigyouji to a Jiang Shi, and notes that Tenshi Hinanawi and the Celestial read Chinese works. (Many of Tenshi's win quotes in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody come from Chinese classics.) This is how Chinese characters in Japanese manga and anime are almost always depicted: a pervasive stereotype of the alleged common traits and pride of Chinese people.

Ability

Meiling's mastery of Tai Chi Chuan is her main ability in combat, but other than that, she has no youkai-like ability. She is described as being well-rounded, with no particular weak point, which is likely why she was hired to watch the gate of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

Usage of Qi

This Qi () is not an ability to skillfully be kind and considerate of others – this Qi is not the same as how it is used in the word "kikubari" (気配り) meaning "attentiveness or consideration for others". Rather, it is the kind of Qi that pertains to auras, the Qi of martial arts. It's an ability to see and discern the shapes of energies and auras within the body. It is the exact same Qi that is used frequently in other works outside the Touhou Project, but this could be a coincidence. Her danmaku as well as her flight is probably due to this ability.

Occupation

Meiling works as a gatekeeper and a gardener at the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She evel at time act as the doorkeeper for when there's a party at the mansion. She is skilled in martial arts, and while she isn't very powerful among youkai, she has no weak points. She also performs Tai Chi Chuan daily, and has a nap at noon.

Character Basis

Meiling's depiction in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense

Name

Her full name is Hong Meiling (紅 美鈴 Hon Meirin). The character for Hong () literally means "Scarlet" in Japanese and "Red" in Chinese. Meiling (美鈴) means "Beautiful Bell". The latter part of her name, Meiling, is at least a common Chinese name. These characters can be read in Japanese as "Kurenai Misuzu", and you'll sometimes see her name mispronounced or miswritten that way. Using English name order, her name would actually be "Meiling Hong", which is used normally by Chinese diaspora or immigrants into Western countries.

Hong () is "kou" in the on reading, "Hóng" in standard Chinese, and "Hhong" in Shanghaiese. It could possibly refer to the Red Guards (紅衛兵, Pinyin: Hóng Wèibīng), a youth movement of the cultural revolution of China. This is reinforced by her clothing. The word "guard" also has the meaning of "gatekeeper" as well. Thus, it could indicate a pun, where "guard of the family name Hong = Red Guard." "Hong" also appears in the title of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil (東方魔郷). However, the name of the game in its developmental stages was 東方茶館, thus indicating that it has a strong relation to the of black tea (紅茶).

Additionally, her first name could also stand for , a type of dragon, since it has the same on reading as as well as the same pronunciation in standard Chinese and Shanghaiese.

Her name was spelled by ZUN as in Immaterial and Missing Power and the corrected version of Sangetsusei as Hong Meirin. Her name became Hoan Meirin in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense. Though in pinyin, it would be "Meiling"; there is not a single source within the Touhou Project itself that states that it is spelled in this manner. Additionally, Meiling says "Geez, please remember my name~" in a win quote in Immaterial and Missing Power while ZUN didn't know how to answer the question "Is Chugoku's name forgotten?"[1]

Design

Meiling has aqua-colored eyes and long, scarlet hair that symbolizes both her name and the place that she's guarding. Her green beret and dress resemble traditional Chinese clothing. Her beret has a gold star on the front with the Traditional Chinese character "" that is read and pronounced as "lóng" in standard Chinese and means dragon. Wears white pants in her fighting game sprites.

Story

Games

Embodiment of Scarlet Devil

During the events of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, she bravely fought against the intruding heroines while trying to divert their path away from the Scarlet Devil Mansion, but ultimately failed. She ends up leading the player character to the mansion against her will.

Immaterial and Missing Power

She was playable in Immaterial and Missing Power but didn't have a scenario.

Touhou Hisoutensoku

In Touhou Hisoutensoku, she saw a roaming giant that she was certain was an incarnation of a God of Calamity, "Taisui Xingjun". However, those she warned didn't realize the seriousness of the dangerous situation they were facing. Thus it was up to Meiling alone to defend the Scarlet Devil Mansion and all of Gensokyo from this destructive deity. After defeating some pseudo-characters sent as assassins, she defeats a Giant Catfish and faces Taisui himself until realizing it was all a dream.

Literature

Meiling at a loss regarding the "crop circle" in Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red.
Patchouli revealing to Meiling that she is the one behind the crop circle.
Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red

One day, a mysterious crop circle appears in the gardens of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, causing widespread speculation, rumors and gossip around the Mansion.

Meiling, who was responsible for taking care of the garden, claims not to be the culprit, but admits that she's been tasked by Remilia to restore the garden to its original state now that her mistress has become bored with the crop circle pattern. During her interview with Aya Shameimaru, she notes she is quite worried, as she has no idea how to change the flowers back. Questioned about the crop circle's origins, Meiling vehemently denies falling asleep, so Aya goes on to talk about aliens...

The culprit revealed at the end is Patchouli Knowledge.

Touhou Bougetsushou

During the party to celebrate the completion of Remilia's Moon rocket in Silent Sinner in Blue, Meiling was briefly shown guarding the gates of the Scarlet Devil Mansion as invitees walked by. Expanded on in Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth, Meiling was in charge of vetting invitations. She gave a speech about how she would not let anyone through without the proper invites, but the residents of Eientei simply walked past her while she was giving it. Meiling managed to get them to show her their invites, but got bombarded by so many invites from so many rabbits that a whole slew of people (the Eientei group included) got by. Inside the mansion, the group ran into Sakuya Izayoi, causing Reisen Udongein Inaba to remember how powerful Sakuya was and think about how her job of managing the entire Scarlet Devil Mansion put her on a whole new level compared to that gate guard.

About two months later, in an unrelated incident, Eirin Yagokoro infiltrated the Scarlet Devil Mansion and met Patchouli Knowledge in the library. Patchouli wondered what happened to the gate guard, to which Eirin commented that she played tough, but all it took to get past her was a "light greeting".

Wild and Horned Hermit

In Chapter 16 of Wild and Horned Hermit, it appears that because Remilia Scarlet and Sakuya Izayoi were both drinking from the Ibaraki Box of a Hundred Medicines at a flowering viewing, they were violently teasing Meiling.

Relationships

Meiling has at least communicated to the entire cast of Touhou Hisoutensoku and may be on friendly terms with anyone who walks nearby the gates of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

Residents of the Scarlet Devil Mansion

Remilia Scarlet is Meiling's mistress. Being the type of person Remilia is, she tends to tease all her subordinates, and Meiling is no exception. She does get mad at her sometimes if things don't go her way, but the two are generally on friendly terms, and in Touhou Hisoutensoku it's suggested that Remilia reads some of the same manga Meiling does.

Sakuya is a fellow employee of Meiling. Meiling's win quote against Sakuya Izayoi in Touhou Hisoutensoku implies a friendly, if somewhat formal, relationship between the two of them (rather than the comically abusive relationship often depicted in fan works). Meiling also tells Sakuya that she always goes easy on her, so they do likely spar often. If it were a formal match, she would (and could) very easily take the Chief Maid down - or so she claims. Sakuya is shown to care for Meiling, though is strict about her not slacking off.

Patchouli Knowledge is the friend of her mistress, and sometimes berates her for not thinking enough and spending too much time reading senseless comics.

It's unknown if Meiling has any authority over the fairy maids in the mansion. Certainly, some fairies come to help her out in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, but Perfect Memento in Strict Sense seems to imply they just join in Meiling's battles on a whim, and most instead usually point and laugh.

Flandre Scarlet is Remilia's younger sister. It's unknown what kind of relationship Meiling and Flandre have, however.

Minor Relationships

Taisui Xingjun and the giant catfish

Taisui Xingjun is Meiling's sworn enemy and the Giant Catfish is the avatar of Taisui Xingjun. They both only appeared in her dream while she was reading a manga, so any realistic communications with them is so far not shown.

Gallery

Spell Cards

Additional Information

  • Meiling is the only playable character (through a downloadable patch) in Immaterial and Missing Power to not have a scenario. She is almost universally considered a bottom tier character in the game as well, despite the fact that she has some of the most impressive combos in the game, as shown here. Whether this was by accident or if Twilight Frontier was making fun of her is unknown.
  • If Meiling loses to Youmu in Touhou Hisoutensoku, Youmu will ask if Meiling shouldn't just use a weapon, namely a green dragon blade. This can be a source of confusion, since many would imagine the legendary Green Dragon Crescent Blade wielded by the famous Chinese general Guan Yu, but women seldom use pole arms in Chinese martial arts. In Japan, the term has become a common misnomer for the liuyedao and other Chinese sabers. As Youmu admits she has only heard about them in stories, the use of her local, incorrect term is likely intentional.
  • One of her Skill Cards in Touhou Hisoutensoku resembles Krizalid's Typhoon/Tuhon Rage from KOF '99, 2000, and 2002: Unlimited Match.
  • Meiling looks very similar to Orange.
  • Meiling is one of the few characters to not make a cameo appearance in Hopeless Masquerade. The reason is currently unknown.

Fandom

Meiling is amongst one of the popular characters in the Touhou Project. She's shown typically as a Chinese character that has a tendency to be portrayed as a joke character that chronically naps, often earning herself as knife in the head from Sakuya (if not out of breast envy) as well as additional poor treatment from the rest of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

China

She is more widely known as "China" (中国 Chuugoku), the one whose real name is never remembered. In fanworks, she doesn't take that well which leads her being shunned or defensive of her name. Many Meiling fans don't take it that well either. It is known that in 2ch, there was a debate on how to read Meiling's name. One side said "Hong Meiling", and the other said "Kurenai Misuzu". The debate ended (sort of) when a user said "Why don't we just call her 'China', as her clothing seems to identify her the most." As a result, even after ZUN said "Hong Meiling" is the correct pronunciation in the Meiji University talkshow "Dawn of Touhou," people kept on calling Meiling "China". However, due to the emergence of other memes, this one has become less frequent – many traces of it still remain, though.

Meiling's nickname is further ingrained into the minds of fans by her clothing, and also by the name of her stage BGM, "Shanghai Teahouse ~ Chinese Tea". Her stage theme tends to be more frequently remixed by fans than her boss theme, "Shanghai Alice of Meiji 17", to the point where "Chinese Tea" became her theme in Touhou Hisoutensoku.

Being lazy

She is commonly referred to as the "lazy guardian" of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, though whether this stems from her actual personality or from the nickname "China" is unknown. Many Japanese people complain about the reliability and quality of products manufactured in China. There are many fanfics that depict an enraged Sakuya behind a sleeping Meiling in front of the gates to the Mansion. The implication is that she has the "Chinese" quality of Reliable China (信頼の中国 Shinrai no Chuugoku), with much intended sarcasm.

Sakuya relation

Her relationship with Sakuya seems to be a popular topic for fan work, including comics, music and games. One running gag involves her being stabbed by Sakuya's knives, often in the head. A reference to this was made in Wild and Horned Hermit, but only with Sakuya holding knifes with the look that she wants to stab her. This is however usually due to her inability to keep unwanted visitors, mostly Marisa Kirisame, out of the mansion. In canon, Meiling doesn't appear to be chastised for failing to keep Marisa out (canonically, she is known to be rather versatile at her job and the witch is the only known person whom she can't stop from intruding, though Marisa tends to come in via a friendly visit).

It is also common for fan works to depict Meiling caring for Sakuya when the latter was a child. This scenario is somewhat plausible due to Meiling being a youkai and Sakuya being human, making it likely that Meiling is several decades older than Sakuya. Additionally, they both have the distinction of being the only characters in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil to have braided sideburns with ribbons. This fact supports that setting.

Flandre relation

In fanworks, Meiling seems to be some sort of big sister or playmate to Flandre (rather than Remilia). In comedy works, it can be to throw Meiling in the way of more danger. In serious ones, her laid back approach to her job and uncontrollably friendly nature as well as her seeming toughness make her a natural choice for reaching out to an otherwise isolated Flandre. Many fan works depict the two going out of their way to help each other on numerous occasions.She is also seen as a big sister figure for other younger characters such as Cirno.

Species

Her race remains unconfirmed, but she's commonly associated with dragons due to her many shared motifs with them, such as her use of rainbows, hat, and name, and possible inspiration by the Chinese Hong. This is most prevalent during depictions of her theoretical EX mode in which she often adopts dragon characteristics. Though some use the term "Ex-Meiling" to refer to Meiling getting serious, often showing considerable amounts of power/durability and hiding it for various reasons.

Miscellaneous
  • Seki/Red Shine has started a trend of Meiling assuming the form for a fluffy panda, which is shown to be very friendly to most people. This form is not helpless as it has been seen jumping out of a pitfall of Tewi's to considerable heights. A few other artists have copied the trend.
  • A popular Flash animation called "My Name is Hong Meiling" spawned the meme "Sakuya-san, Sakuya-san, cleaning stop! Room cleaning stop!" (after which she gets stabbed in the forehead with a knife).
  • In the MUGEN community, Meiling is known for her "Chuugoku Satsu" attack, an obvious parody of both her nickname "Chuugoku" (China), and the signature attack "Shun Goku Satsu" (Instant Hell Murder) of Akuma from Street Fighter.
  • Due to her comedic scenario in Touhou Hisoutensoku and the nature of one of her battles (with a rather simplified background image), fans have made numerous jokes regarding drug experimentation on Meiling's part.
  • In some fan works, Meiling is known to say "JAOOOO" (じゃおおおお), a war-cry attributed to her. This cry originated from the 2nd Touhou M-1 Grand Prix (Comiket 73).
  • Despite her sometimes joke status in fanon, Meiling is often considered a difficult boss fight in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil on Lunatic if not Hard as well.
  • Meiling is sometimes compared to Chun-Li from Street Fighter on notable traits.

Official Profiles

Official Sources

References

  1. Meiji University talkshow "Dawn of Touhou"
  2. 2.0 2.1 "登場人物 [Character]" (in Japanese). Tasogare Frontier. http://www.tasofro.net/touhou123/chara.html. Retrieved August 31, 2011.