Sakuya Izayoi in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
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Sakuya Izayoi (十六夜 咲夜 Izayoi Sakuya) is the Chief Maid who serves Remilia Scarlet, the head of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She first appeared as the fifth stage boss of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and afterwards several times as a playable character.
Sakuya is the only human living in the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She essentially takes the position of managing the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She uses humble speech to her mistress Remilia Scarlet and friend Patchouli Knowledge, and uses less formal speech to other people.
Her height is "high."[* 1] The color of her eyes changes with each work. As for her age, ZUN directly stated that "she plays the role of a human maid about 10~20 years old" and "perhaps she is a character in her early teens, and in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, according to Hieda no Akyuu, "she claims to be in her late teens".
She possesses an ability to manipulate time, so she is able to stop time. Furthermore, it also seems like she is able to change the speed of the flow of time. However, as it is difficult to reverse events that have already occurred, and since she is not able to return broken things to how they were originally even if she reversed time, in reality, it is not possible to reverse time. However, she is able to do things to the extent of moving things back to where they were originally. She is also able to tamper with space, which is very closely related to time.
She possesses a great amount of silver throwing knives and is skilled at handling them, and with only her ability to manipulate time, she is skilled in conjuring knives from nowhere. According to ZUN, it seems like her throwing knife arm and her cooking arm are comparable, and therefore is skilled at cooking.
She was not born in Gensokyo, and the name "Sakuya Izayoi" was given to her by Remilia Scarlet. In Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, Akyuu guessed that she might have originally been a vampire hunter. She claims to be in her teens, but acts with the mannerisms of someone who has lived more than a hundred years.
At the time of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, she merely worked at the Scarlet Devil Mansion in return for food. Continuing in Imperishable Night, she did not worry at all about the clothing, food or housing and felt satisfied. Meanwhile, she is utterly devoted to her mistress.
As the head maid, she oversees all the fairy maids as the only human maid. The other maids have many perks to their jobs and rarely choose to leave (even though they are not paid or given vacations); however, they are nearly useless and most of the work is done by Sakuya alone, which would be impossible if she didn't stop or slow time. She shops at the Human Village, but she is cold toward other humans and has no friends there. However, ever since Remilia Scarlet was beaten by the heroine of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, Sakuya has begun opening herself up more.
ZUN has stated in ZUN's e-mails that Sakuya is not her real name and that she is not from Gensokyo. According to her profile in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, her power to control time distanced her from humans, and she eventually gave up trying to be friendly with them.
It is unknown how she came to work for the Scarlet Devil Mansion.
Her full name is Sakuya Izayoi (十六夜 咲夜). The characters for Izayoi (十六夜) literally means "Sixteenth night" (the night just after that of the full moon), and Sakuya (咲夜) literally means "Flowering night". The Japanese word for "last night" (昨夜) can also read as Sakuya, which would point towards the night of the full moon. The word for "night of the new moon" (朔夜) can also read as Sakuya, which is possibly related to the ability to manipulate time. The word Izayoi has come to mean "sixteenth night" from the expression "izayou tsuki" (いざよう月), where "izayou" means "not to progress/proceed forward at all", which might have a deep connection to her ability as well.
Sakuya was first seen in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. In this game, she was seen with bright red eyes, silver hair worn in long braids on both sides of her face with green bows at the ends and a white maid headband. She wears a pink/white and dark blue French maid's outfit with an apron, short sleeves and a green ribbon. She is also seen carrying three knives and the phrase "Red Magic" appears to be embroidered on her left sleeve.
Later in Perfect Cherry Blossom, when choosing a player, Sakuya appears to have grey eyes, blue colored long sleeves and a red scarf. She also has red shoes and two knives, one blue and one red. However, her appearance in-game shows her having blue eyes. She's wearing such clothing because it was effectively winter during the game.
Her appearances in Immaterial and Missing Power, Imperishable Night and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody are very similar. Sakuya is seen with grey eyes and once again wearing short sleeves. She appears to the have a thin black ribbon on the maids outfit. However in Imperishable Night she holds a knife and an old stopwatch, where as in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, she has three knives and a plate with cups and a teapot on it.
In Phantasmagoria of Flower View, she has dark blue eyes and long sleeves. The Roman numerals for I (1) through XII (12) line the bottom of her apron.
She is taller than Reimu Hakurei and Alice Margatroid but about the same height as Yukari Yakumo and Hong Meiling. Also, many things about her suggest she may be much older; possibly even hundreds of years old.
Her alternative outfit in Immaterial and Missing Power and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody is mainly light blue with a white apron and her hair is light green. In Phantasmagoria of Flower View, her outfit is mainly dark red instead of dark blue.
- Embodiment of the Scarlet Devil
During Embodiment of Scarlet Devil Sakuya attempts to prevent the heroine from reaching her mistress to whom she is very loyal to, but fails.
Sakuya is cleaning when Reimu interrupts her and demands Sakuya to bring her to her mistress. Sakuya refuses to put Remilia in danger and faces against Reimu.
Sakuya is cleaning when Marisa comes in and muses at Sakuya's maid position. Sakuya deadpans about Marisa's magician class and after a rather amusing discussion on Marisa "application", the ruse is uncovered and they fight.
- Perfect Cherry Blossom
Later, during Perfect Cherry Blossom, Sakuya is able to show more of her true character, even if her main reason for trying to solve the problem is that the delayed Spring will affect her too.
Sakuya wants no distractions and to quickly find the culprit, unfortunately for her, she gets into a full fledged adventure!
- Immaterial and Missing Power
Sakuya realizes the air is charged with some strange power and investigates on what could it be.
- Imperishable Night
Remilia gets fed up at Sakuya's inability to catch her subtle hints to fix the Moon. Sakuya faithfully follows her disgruntled mistress into the night...
- Phantasmagoria of Flower View
Sakuya wanders about but this time more for her inquiring nature rather than actually solving the incident.
- Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
During the events of Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, she is initially commanded by Remilia Scarlet to find possible suspects behind the strange weather. After Remilia grows tired of "questioning" suspects, she orders Sakuya to personally find and deal with the culprit. After doing so, Sakuya tells Reimu where to find the culprit, and latter helps to rebuild the Hakurei Shrine after it is destroyed for the second time.
- Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red
- Main article: Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red/Sakuya
The article reports of Sakuya sneaking into Marisa Kirisame's house and stealing various objects with the intent of building a rocketship to travel to the moon. Sakuya explains her odd behavior by claiming she is only carrying out Remilia's request.In the interview, Aya Shameimaru asks to speak to Remilia to find out why she wanted those items, but in stalling Sakuya, she is late in delivering tea to Patchouli Knowledge, who arrives to see what the hold-up is. Patchouli explains that they were going to use the items for a magic spell which would send them to the moon, but it ultimately proved useless in the end. The interview ends with Sakuya inviting Aya to join them for tea-time.
Sakuya serves Remilia Scarlet as the Head Maid without question, a servitude in which no one knows why either trust each other so much. She follows Remilia's requests even when she knows it won't work, such as catching Lily White to restore Spring in Strange and Bright Nature Deity, as requested by her mistress. When Remilia playfully criticizes Sakuya for her failure to catch spring, she takes it in good stride and doesn't disagree. She will also do things for Remilia which she won't even ask, like accompanying her in Imperishable Night and Immaterial and Missing Power (or trying to, in the latter case), or putting on a sleight-of-hand magic show for Remilia without warning in Curiosities of Lotus Asia. On occasion, she's more a babysitter than a maid. She chastises Remilia in her Scarlet Weather Rhapsody and Immaterial and Missing Power victory quotes for sneaking out food or playing around too much.
Hong Meiling, a fellow employee who she constantly pesters about her work productivity as shown in Immaterial and Missing Power and Touhou Hisoutensoku victory quotes. Meiling seems easily frightened when Sakuya shows even a slight bit of anger as shown in Strange and Bright Nature Deity. However, in Meiling's Touhou Hisoutensoku ending, when Meiling is found sleeping on the job, Sakuya takes Meiling inside because she is worried Meiling will get heatstroke.
She also serves Patchouli Knowledge since she rarely leaves her room. Sakuya has the highest authority as chief maid, yet Patchouli's rank is noticeably higher within the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Sakuya may also be serving her because Patchouli is Remilia's friend, though she does care for Patchouli personally. In Silent Sinner in Blue, she takes a private moment to watch and smile at Patchouli, who's blissfully unaware as she's researching a new magical breakthrough.
She is simply a fellow employee of the Scarlet Devil Mansion and presumably nothing more.
On top of serving Remilia, she presumably serves her younger sister, Flandre Scarlet who is usually not allowed out of Scarlet Devil Mansion due to her emotional instability. However, this is not stated, implied, or depicted in any official work. Someone prepares Flandre's food, which are humans prepared in the shape of pastries and other pleasant things, but it is never stated to be Sakuya.
As the head maid, Sakuya has precedence over all the other fairy maids of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She is familiar with every each one and notices any abnormality such as the Three Fairies of Light dressing up as three of the maids. Due to the poor work productivity of the fairies, Sakuya presumably does most of the work. An advertisement in Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red states Sakuya interviews for recruiting, so she may have interviewed the majority (if not every) of fairy maids herself.
Despite her tendency to "borrow" books from the library, Sakuya has shown on a few occasions (mainly endings) to be quite friendly with Marisa, going so far as to serve her snacks and tea and hiding her from Patchouli. This may explain Patchouli's low "catness" rating in IaMP.
From the events of Imperishable Night, Sakuya is one of the few people who know that Eirin and Kaguya Houraisan are from the moon, and presumably keeping it a secret. Eirin's profile states Eirin is surprised to see Sakuya, but only Eirin knows why. Sakuya has not shown any abnormal interactions or familiarity with Eirin that could hint at what this is (she was suspicious of Eirin during the rocket party in Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth, but so was everyone who knew Eirin was from the moon).
Also, ZUN said that "if I talk about the relation between these two, then the games would all be reduced to one, so I left it out". On how this will be portrayed in future works is uncertain.
As a playable character in several games, Sakuya has met a large number of characters. Generally, she treats everyone with professional politeness fitting of a perfect and elegant maid, but youkai that get in her way while she is resolving incidents are coldly exterminated. Particular minor relationships of note are below.
Sakuya met them in an omake in Eastern and Little Nature Deity, where she stops their prank by throwing some knives at them. In Strange and Bright Nature Deity, at the mansion, she saw through their maid disguises but didn't say a word and let them stay. She eventually kicked them out (according to the fairies' conversation) or frightened them out by telling them if they don't work, they don't eat. Sakuya was smiling, so she may have been speaking as-a-matter-of-factly.[ ] Later, when they're spying on Sakuya and others at the Hakurei Shrine, she sees them, revealing she can see through their abilities to hide themselves even though Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame cannot. She cheerfully invites them to join, but this only scares them into running away, which disappoints her.
Ever since Perfect Cherry Blossom, Alice attacks Sakuya whenever either visit each other's house, and for no good reason. Sakuya says she's attacking in Immaterial and Missing Power to release stress. In Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, she says it's to punish Alice for intruding even after Alice has already left. In both cases, Alice thought it was a poor reason. In comparison, Marisa Kirisame and Youmu Konpaku don't even get into trouble when caught intruding in the mansion (in fact, they usually get tea, instead) .
Sakuya has trouble understanding why Cirno finds freezing frogs or flowers fun in Phantasmagoria of Flower View, but at least came to understand fairies' recklessness from watching Cirno fight in Touhou Hisoutensoku. Cirno does not want to be a fairy maid.
- Sakuya claims she's in her late-teens, but Hieda no Akyu says Sakuya's refined manner and the level of her ability seems like that of a human that's been living for hundreds of years. According to a quote from Remilia Scarlet and Sakuya's ending in Imperishable Night (Good Ending #3), Sakuya has been working at the Scarlet Devil Mansion for so long, Remilia doesn't feel it fitting to call her human. With a comment like that, it seems safe enough to assume she has been at the Scarlet Devil Mansion for an extremely long time.
- Hieda no Akyuu believes Sakuya has managed to live so long while still looking like a teenager by manipulating time. It's true that Sakuya can increase the speed at which something ages, such as making bamboo flowers bloom instantly in Marisa's A ending of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, even though this would normally take sixty years. It seems safe enough to assume she can decelerate aging for a specific object, too.
- Despite helping rebuild the Hakurei Shrine later in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, Sakuya casually ignores Reimu Hakurei's donation requests for shrine upkeep in Immaterial and Missing Power, saying she doesn't believe in gods anyway.
- Sakuya's involvement in the human cruisine of the Scarlet Devil Mansion is unknown. All official details regarding this topic can be interpreted both ways. In other words, there exists neither confirmation nor denial that Sakuya prepares humans. The following are clues throughout official works:
- The Scarlet Devil Mansion has humans to eat. While Sakuya has never been shown preparing humans, it is stated that all other maids in the mansion are practically useless and Sakuya is the one who do all the works. This heavily implies that she is involved in cooking as well since it's one of the biggest duties in a household.
- Flandre Scarlet confesses to Marisa Kirisame in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil that she has no idea who prepares her human food, but doesn't think it's Remilia. Her profile confirms the pastries she eats are made from humans, but doesn't say who prepares the pastries.
- Music comments in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil by ZUN state that Remilia's tea is blood.
- In Strange and Bright Nature Deity, Sakuya asked Remilia if she thought her latest (not humans) tea tasted like blood.
- Sakuya's ending in Immaterial and Missing Power mentions that tea time is usually "red tea".
- Eiki Shiki, Yamaxanadu lectures that Sakuya's sin is coldness towards humans, and Sakuya answered with "That would be because the only thing I touch humans with would be my cold steel." This particular conversation confirmed two things: a) Sakuya generally doesn't try to be friends with humans, and b) when she comes into contact with them, blades would be involved. The second piece of information could mean her knives in danmaku battles with Reimu and Maria, or that she does cut humans during meal preparation.
- In Wild and Horned Hermit Chapter 11, Sakuya comments at the flower viewing party, "It's been a while since I've seen such seedy-looking food. I usually see steaks dripping with blood."
- Sakuya is constantly seeking out new varieties of tea flavors for Remilia to try, as shown in several official works. For example, she mentions in Phantasmagoria of Flower View that with so many flowers around, she can make as much tea and as many pastries as she wants. (Flowers have often been used to provide flavoring for tea, especially in the past, and are still the basis of jasmine tea.)
- In the games, it is shown Sakuya has the ability to make knives appear mysteriously when time is stopped, but in her artwork in The Grimoire of Marisa, she is shown placing the knives physically.
- Her alternate outfit in Immaterial and Missing Power and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody is a homage to Ruukoto, the first maid of the Touhou Project. In Touhou Hisoutensoku more alternate outfits were added, including a Shinku palette and a Dio Brando palette.
- There's a theory that the reason why Sakuya works for Remilia Scarlet is because Remilia manipulated fate on Sakuya. Even Hieda no Akyuu believes this theory. However, another possibility is that maybe she is acting as a treacherous insider, for when she sees an opening.
- As the head maid, メイド長 (maid-chou. lit. "maid-boss") is the common title used to address her among fans. Another common nickname is さっきゅん (Sakkyun).
- In fanworks, Sakuya is sometimes seen with nosebleeds in the presence of Remilia Scarlet or Flandre Scarlet.
- In some fan-produced works, Sakuya is depicted with puppy ears and a tail. This is commonly called 犬咲夜 or いぬさくや (inusakuya, lit. "Dog Sakuya"), which is probably a reflection of various characters referring to her as Remilia's dog.
- There's a recurring joke with fans that Sakuya pads her chest to make them look bigger than they are and goes to great lengths on hiding this secret, even from Remilia herself. The origin of this was due to Sakuya's portraits in Immaterial and Missing Power, which showed her with larger breasts than those seen on ZUN-made portraits. Thus, ＰＡＤ長 (PAD-cho) has become a popular phrase that is frequently seen with メイド長 (Meido-cho), but fans tend to be careful when they use it as there is another common joke where Sakuya stabs anyone who says this phrase (or even simply saying "PAD"), which is coincidentally similar to the infamous Candlejack meme. There are many people hating that phrase.
- Some art has Sakuya as curvy though and without the severe complex.
- Sakuya may be a homage to Dio Brando, the main villain of the manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, a vampire who is known for stopping time and being skilled at throwing knives. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has been referenced several times in the official games. Related to the theory that Sakuya may have committed devilish homicide before, one of Dio's former subordinates was Jack the Ripper.
- Yumiya shows a dysfunctional relationship between them, with Sakuya being his daughter.
- Some fanworks compare her to Youmu Konpaku due to several similarities, as not only for their white hair, they both have red eyes shifting to blue in later artworks, both having bladed weapons, and being Stage 5 bosses, as well as undying loyalty to their masters and play homage to Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Both are also somewhat ambidextrous, with most works (such as Touhou Hisoutensoku) possibly showing Youmu Konpaku to left-handed, while Sakuya may be right-handed (though in games like Sky Arena Youmu is right-handed). Both characters also share an interesting dialogue towards Hong Meiling when they defeat her in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody or Touhou Hisoutensoku.
- Also, Sakuya's alternate Dio palette may be considered to be gold instead of yellow, which coincidentally corresponds well with Youmu's silver palette. Thus the two can also be seen in a "gold&silver" manner.
- A common fanon scenario is Marisa baring in sparks a blazing with Meiling being asleep (or failing to stop her) and Sakuya trying to stop her (to no avail), ending with Sakuya stabbing Meiling in the head. This plays out still today despite canon debunking the whole scenario entirely.
- Since the announcement of Undefined Fantastic Object and of Sanae Kochiya as the only new playable character (along with Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame), jokes and fanart of Sakuya shows her being venomously jealous of Sanae's newfound popularity and prominence commenced. With Ten Desires and Youmu Konpaku being the heroine there, jokes range from Sakuya in despair to some depictions of her proud of Youmu (Thanks to the Onee-sama trait Sakuya has with Youmu in fandom).
- Beforehand, a small amount of fanworks have portrayed Sakuya, Youmu and Reisen Udongein Inaba to be all jealous of Sanae.
- This ignores the fact that the three characters are pretty indifferent to incidents that do not affect their Masters and/or homes.
- Beforehand, a small amount of fanworks have portrayed Sakuya, Youmu and Reisen Udongein Inaba to be all jealous of Sanae.
- Page in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense related Sakuya Izayoi
- 『三月精 第2部』「上海アリス通信 三精版 第5号」（『月刊コンプエース』Vol.7 p.275。実質的には「第6号」なのだが誤植で「第5号」になっている。単行本未収録）
- ZUN's answer to a fan's inquiry in an e-mail. These e-mails have been published by the inquirer, and can be confirmed within "game_1522.lzh" in the 旧うpろだ観測 of the fansite "Coolier." The date of the file is 2 March 2004.
- インターネットラジオ「萎えラジDNA コミケット72直前スペシャル」（2007年8月11日放送）でのZUNの発言
- 「幻想掲示板」2003年3月29日の投稿（「まよひがねっと」によるアーカイブ） at the Wayback Machine (archived September 9, 2005)
- 「幻想掲示板」2002年10月27日の投稿（「まよひがねっと」によるアーカイブ） at the Wayback Machine (archived April 8, 2005)
- Perfect Memento in Strict Sense
- Cage in Lunatic Runagate Chapter 7
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