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Kaguya Houraisan

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蓬莱山 (ほうらいさん)  輝夜 (かぐや)
Kaguya Houraisan
hoːɽaisaɴ kagɯja (♫)
Kaguya Houraisan
Kaguya Houraisan in Imperishable Night
Eternal Princess
More Character Titles
Species

Lunarian (not native to Gensokyo)

Abilities

Manipulation of eternity and the instantaneous

Age

Currently ageless, but has existed for at least 1300 years. Stated by ZUN (in a drunken state) to be hundreds of millions of years old.

Occupation

Unknown, currently in hiding, formerly a moon princess.

Location

Eientei, was originally from the Moon

Relationships
Music Themes
Appearances
Official Games
Print Works

Kaguya Houraisan (蓬莱山 輝夜 Houraisan Kaguya) was once a princess of the Lunarians, a race of people living on the Moon.

Backstory

She was exiled to Earth over a thousand years ago for the crime of using the forbidden Hourai Elixir to make herself immortal. Arriving on Earth one day, she was found by a bamboo cutter and dwelt among the humans she had once despised. Though the Lunarians looked upon humans with contempt, Kaguya came to love her new home. Tales of her unearthly beauty led men from all across the land to seek her hand in marriage, Fujiwara no Mokou's father being one of them, but none could successfully complete her trial of the Five Impossible Requests.

The first was to bring her the stone begging bowl of the Buddha from India. The second was to retrieve a jeweled branch from the island of Mount Hourai. The third was to seek the legendary robe of the fire-rat of China. The fourth was to retrieve a colored jewel from a dragon's neck. The final task was to find the legendary Cowry treasure of the swallows. These potent treasures were eventually revealed to already be in Kaguya's possession in the final stage of Imperishable Night.

After years of exile, powerful emissaries arrived from the Moon; Kaguya had been forgiven of her crime and it had been decided that she should return. Kaguya, however, had grown to love life on Earth and had no desire to return to the lunar capital permanently. Enlisting the help of her friend Eirin, Kaguya escaped from the emissaries and fled to Gensokyo. Taking refuge in an ancient manor called Eientei hidden deep within a secluded bamboo forest, the two Lunarians began a new exile. After several centuries of isolation, she was eventually reunited with Mokou, who had also used the Hourai Elixir to become immortal, and the two continued their feud, murdering each other on a nearly daily basis.

Character Basis

Name

Her first name "輝夜" Kaguya, means "shining night", "sparkling night", or "radiant night". "蓬莱山" Houraisan refers to "Mount Hourai". And indeed, to not only be able to find the location and survive the impossible perils of ascending Mount Hourai (a legendary place filled with powerful youkai, mountain men, and other supernatural beings of every kind), but to also be able to enjoy a beautiful evening there, likely with some traditional Moon Viewing, would be to experience a truly otherworldly beauty: a shining night on Mount Hourai.

Design

  • Dark brown eyes, very long black hair in a hime cut style. Wears a pink shirt with many white bows, and a long, dark burgundy skirt decorated in yellow with bamboo and flower shapes. Her 5 Impossible Requests are seen floating around her, probably waiting for her order to engage in a Spell Card attack.

Story

Imperishable Night

During the events of Imperishable Night, Kaguya had been hidden in a secret pathway along with the true moon by Eirin to ensure any Lunarians sent to recover Reisen would not discover her. The heroines of Imperishable Night, however, did discover her, and challenged her to return the full moon to Gensokyo. After being defeated, Kaguya unleashed her powers of eternity in an all-out bid to break the spell of the imperishable night cast by the heroines. Finally she relented and the true moon was recovered.

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She now spends her days living in Eientei in a carefree manner, sometimes holding exhibitions of Lunarian treasures there for the rest of Gensokyo to admire. Her long isolation has made her lonely, and she enjoys telling stories to any guests she might receive.

Relationships

Spell Cards

Additional Information

  • Kaguya, and the whole of Imperishable Night, is inspired by the Japanese legend of the Moon Princess, also known as the The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, sometimes called the legend of "Kaguya-hime" (Princess Kaguya).
  • Mount Hourai (Penglai in Chinese) is the name of a legendary mountain that floats above the sea. Its inhabitants were said to possess, among other treasures, the elixir of immortality. It was also the destination of one of Kaguya-hime's impossible tasks.
  • A silhouette of Kaguya occupies the front of Imperishable Night's jewel case.
  • Also in Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth, she is depicted as a terrible cook, and as innocent and naive.
  • Kaguya and Mokou fight to the death every chance they get.
  • However, in Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth, Kaguya and Mokou's relationship seems much more casual instead—though that might be due to the carefree attitude of the author...
  • Kaguya is also the name of a Japanese lunar-orbiting probe launched in September 2007 as part of Project SELENE to map the moon's surface. At the time of the launch, fanart depicting Kaguya being "sent back to the moon" aboard the satellite, usually against her will, was popular (one tribute video even superimposed her theme music over footage of the launch of the rocket). The same probe was later intentionally sent crashing into the moon, giving way to a new surge of fanart. (Example)
  • Kaguya has a larger spellcard arsenal than either Remilia or Yuyuko and attacks confidently and without hesitation in the actual game. In addition, considering she was scrapped from Touhou Hisoutensoku for being overpowered, Kaguya being weaker than other bosses might not necessarily be true. Indeed, if one takes the Final A route in Imperishable Night, it is actually Kaguya who aids Eirin for Eirin's final spell card.
  • It can be conjectured that Mokou and Kaguya's rivalry symbolizes for the cycle of the Sun and the Moon: Kaguya, the Lunar Princess, and Mokou, who uses as an in-game avatar a fire bird that strongly resembles a phoenix.
  • Kaguya was planned to debut as a playable character in Hisoutensoku, but was scrapped from the lineup due to time constraints. ZUN stated in an interview that her moveset as initially designed would have been overpowered and unbalanced the game and there was not enough time to properly balance her strength against the other characters (coincidentally, the same issue was encountered with Mokou, who was also intended to be playable in the game).

Fandom

  • Contrast Kaguya's name with Sakuya Izayoi, a character speculated to have unrevealed connections to the moon and to lunarians, whose name means "blossoming night" (Sakuya) and the "full moon on the sixteenth night of each lunar month" (Izayoi). They also both possess powers of time control. However, it should be remembered that Sakuya's current name is not the name given to her at birth — it was given to her by Remilia Scarlet.
  • Because she has spent a thousand years hiding inside Eientei, Kaguya is often depicted in fanworks as a recluse or even a hikikomori who shuns outside interaction (which is not entirely accurate). In humorous works, she is often portrayed as being a NEET, or unemployed geek, who sits at home and surfs the Internet all day.
    • NEET Kaguya renditions sometimes have a trollish/unpleasant personality.
    • Some suspect this may be a case of artists projecting their desires on to a character.
  • In contrast to above, her portrayal in Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth shows her as a sheltered person who wants to explore the world outside of Eientei and generally a pleasant (if naive) person.
    • And her canon personality is very sociable and nice.
  • Popular nicknames for Kaguya among her fans in Japan are "Teruyo," which is a deliberate mispronunciation of the kanji in her name, and 「ぐや」 ("guya") which is an unusual abbreviation of her first name, ommiting "ka."
  • Kaguya's appearance closely resembles that of Hazuki, the cat-ear-wearing vampire girl from the anime Moon Phase. Because of this, Kaguya is often depicted with cat ears, either real or fake, on her head, even occasionally uttering lines from the anime's opening song, "Neko Mimi Mode". The cat-and-mouse dynamic between her and Mokou adds another layer to this depiction.
  • In more serious doujin works, Kaguya is often depicted as having been driven insane or mentally unhinged as a consequence of her long life and inability to die permanently. However, in official works, namely Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth and Cage in Lunatic Runagate, she is described as having a more cheerful and pleasant, if somewhat ditzy, personality, who likes to tease Reisen just like all the cast of Eientei.
  • Since she is generally acknowledged to be easier than Remilia, Yuyuko and sometimes even her servant Eirin, Kaguya is thought rather weak for a final boss (although most bosses in Imperishable Night are considered easier than those in earlier games, and continues are not allowed against Kaguya, unlike the previous two). As a result, fanworks often depict her as being completely helpless and dependent on Eirin to survive, and her theme song's climactic passage has had the words "Eirin, Eirin, tasukete Eirin!" (Eirin, Eirin, help me Eirin!) set to it by the fans.

Official Profile

Official Sources