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Sanae Kochiya

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東風谷 (こちや)  早苗 (さなえ)
Sanae Kochiya
kot͡ɕija sanae (♫)
Sanae Kotiya
Sanae
Sanae as she appeared in Ten Desires.
Newbie Goddess of the Mountain
More Character Titles
Species

Human (not native to Gensokyo), descendant of a goddess, Arahitogami

Abilities

Causing miracles to occur

Occupation

Wind Priestess, Shrine Maiden

Location

Moriya Shrine, was originally from the Outside World

Music Themes
Appearances
Official Games
Print Works
Music CDs

Sanae Kochiya (東風谷 早苗 Kochiya Sanae) is a human, but is also a distant descendant of the goddess Suwako Moriya. Her role at the Moriya Shrine is similar to a shrine maiden, but with her inherited power Sanae has also become a minor deity herself. Originally from the Outside World, Sanae migrated to Gensokyo with the shrine and its two resident goddesses, Kanako Yasaka and Suwako Moriya. As a result, she is rather knowledgeable about the outside world and modern living, although her attempts to explain scientific concepts usually just confuse the locals. Her knowledge on things like the youkai of Gensokyo, on the other hand, seems a bit lacking for a shrine maiden.

General Information

Sanae was first introduced in Mountain of Faith as the stage 5 boss, reappeared as the extra stage of Subterranean Animism and later became a playable character in Undefined Fantastic Object and Ten Desires. She is a secondary character in the comic Wild and Horned Hermit.

Personality

Sanae is confident, energetic and dutiful, sometimes too much so, and tends to get carried away easily or have trouble thinking for herself. She also appears to be something of a geek, making references to popular culture and having knowledge of advanced scientific concepts. As someone who grew up in the Outside World, much of Gensokyo seems strange and novel to her; she finds unusually great fun in exterminating youkai and solving incidents, seeming to view herself as the hero of a fantasy novel or video game. Multiple characters have noted that Sanae's dismissive attitude towards youkai and youkai power makes her too much like a youkai herself.[1] The simple fact that she is adjusting to life in Gensokyo makes her an extremely rare case.

Occupation

Sanae's occupation as a Wind Priestess means to be the priest to worship the god of wind. However, while causing miracles of wind and rain to come about through a secret technique with many secrets, since she herself is treated to the same level as gods, and has become one who gathers faith, she is also a living god. In Mountain of Faith, just in front of Reimu Hakurei, she said about herself, "I guess you could call me something like a Shrine Maiden", indicating that there's a chance that she's different from a Shrine Maiden, but in the works, she is fundamentally treated as a Shrine Maiden the same way Reimu is. Furthermore, since Sanae is a "god" while at the same time being a "human", even if she loses all her faith, she can continue to live as a human.

Abilities

Ability to cause miracles

Sanae is capable of invoking miracles through her godly heritage, and many of her spell cards are themed after miracles of various religions or odd events. It's mainly the manipulation of weather, and also seems to use it in prayers for rain. The "miracles" that she can invoke are not related to good or bad fortune – they are merely events that have a very low chance of occurring. Before invoking a miracle, she needs time to prepare it proportional to how unlikely the miracle is. Simple ones can be invoked with a single word, while the most complex can take days.

Abilities as a shrine maiden

Sanae is a shrine maiden, but of a different type to Reimu Hakurei. Like Reimu she is capable of summoning gods, granting her some of their powers; while she relies on this ability much more than Reimu, she is only capable of summoning her patrons: Kanako Yasaka and Suwako Moriya.

Character Design

Sanae, as illustrated in Symposium of Post-mysticism

Name and Origin

Her full name is Sanae kochiya (東風谷 早苗). Sanae (早苗) can mean "rice seedling" or "early seedling", and Kochiya (東風谷) "eastern wind valley". The same "east" () appears in Touhou (東方), and the same "wind" () in the title of Mountain of Faith (風神録).

Unusual amongst Touhou characters, both are real names used in modern Japan. Presumably Sanae's name is derived from the real world person "Sanae Moriya" (守矢早苗), the 78th head of the Moriya family which claims descent from the god Moreya (洩矢神 Moreyashin, "Moreya" is an archaic pronunciation of "Moriya"). This family were supposed to succeed one of the priests of the Suwa Grand Shrine, Jin Choukan (神長官, "God Director").

Design

In her first appearance in Mountain of Faith she wears a blue and white outfit similar to a shrine maiden's, with the blue areas covered in light blue polka dots and stripes. She has long light green hair, and yellow eyes (green in Undefined Fantastic Object and Ten Desires, blue in Touhou Hisoutensoku portraits). Wears a snake-shaped hair accessory wrapped around her hair on one side, and a hair clip shaped like a frog's head (both probably meant to represent Kanako Yasaka and Suwako Moriya). She carries a gohei with straight paper decorations as opposed to the typical gohei.

In Ten Desires her hair color is slightly paler, and she wears a shorter skirt with maroon-colored boots instead of aquamarine-colored shoes.

Story

Mountain of Faith

When humans on the Outside World began losing their faith in her and Kanako Yasaka, the shrine's actual deity, Kanako decided to move the shrine to Gensokyo where at least youkai might have faith in them. During the events of Mountain of Faith Sanae tried threatening the Hakurei Shrine in order to establish the Moriya Shrine as the dominant one, not realizing how powerful humans like Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame were. In response to the threats Sanae was defeated by the heroine followed shortly after by Kanako and Suwako Moriya's defeat. However, the residents of the Moriya Shrine have since come to an understanding with their new neighbors and live in peace with the other residents of Youkai Mountain.

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Subterranean Animism

Following the extra scenario as the player heads through the Moriya Shrine to look for the two goddesses, Sanae appears as the midboss of the stage. She believes that the traditional greetings in Gensokyo is by attacking with danmaku because you can't be trapped by common sense. She attacts the heroine with three spell cards, but it defeated. Specifically on Reimu/Suika's scenario, she returns stating that Kanako was creating a kappa industrial revolution by using the old Remains of Blazing Hell. She was unaware of the incident that occurred in the game, making Reimu not happy.

Undefined Fantastic Object

In each scenario of Undefined Fantastic Object, Sanae is ordered with a different task. Depending on this, her secondary bullet will become a snake or a frog.

Kanako Yasaka's task is to to train her own abilities by hunting Youkai.

Suwako Moriya's task is to to find the Treasure Ship.

Ten Desires

Sanae notices the strange spirit at the Moriya Shrine in Ten Desires and knows what they are: divine spirits, born from humans due to powerful fears, desires and feelings. She takes the opportunity to gather the divine spirits, as it is the same as gathering faith from humans. She can't, however, figure out why all these divine spirits have appeared in the first place.

Spin-offs

Touhou Hisoutensoku

In Touhou Hisoutensoku, thinking that a gigantic robot appeared in Gensokyo, Sanae is in pursuit of the giant figure, when she stumbles into a giant pit to the nuclear reactor run by Utsuho Reiuji and learns that Suwako Moriya is responsible for creating the "robot" figure, Hisoutensoku.

Double Spoiler

In Double Spoiler, Sanae appeared as an Extra stage target, where she uses a few spell cards and had Aya Shameimaru and Hatate Himekaidou take photos of her and her danmaku.

Hopeless Masquerade
Sanae in HM

Sanae made a background cameo appearance in Hopeless Masquerade on the Genbu Ravine and Youkai Tanuki Forest stage. She is seen standing next to Suwako Moriya waving her onusa.

Impossible Spell Card

After apparently reading the newspaper by the tengu about a mischief-making amanojaku, she becomes one of the many strong youkai and humans to try and stop Seija Kijin. She uses spell cards that are considered impossible to dodge.

Relationships

Suwako Moriya & Kanako Yasaka

Sanae serves as the shrine maiden of Kanako Yasaka and Suwako Moriya, and moved with them to Gensokyo. Sanae is also Suwako's distant descendant. During the events of Mountain of Faith, Kanako sends Sanae out to collect faith. Much like Yukari Yakumo's use of Ran and Chen, Sanae can summon Kanako and Suwako in her spell and skill cards in Touhou Hisoutensoku.

Reimu Hakurei

Sanae appears to have a friendly relationship with Reimu Hakurei, as she has been seen visiting the Hakurei Shrine on numerous occasions, both in the Prologue of Undefined Fantastic Object and in Wild and Horned Hermit; Sanae is even tasked with minding the shrine while Reimu is training with Kasen Ibaraki.

Marisa Kirisame

Sanae frequently meets Marisa on her visits to the Hakurei Shrine, and they seem reasonably friendly.

Byakuren Hijiri

Gallery

Spell Cards

Additional Information

Sanae's sigil as seen in The Grimoire of Marisa.
  • Sanae seems to have a relatively low alcohol tolerance compared to other characters. In one of the endings of Mountain of Faith, she gets extremely nervous when informed of the constant drinking parties the tengu will hold, with the narrator commenting she'll just have to put up with it, and in Wild and Horned Hermit chapter 19, she's constantly distressed about being made to drink.
  • In Mountain of Faith, her spell card Sea Opening "The Day the Sea Split" is extremely similar to Alice Margatroid's second attack in Mystic Square's Extra Stage.
  • One of Sanae's Spell Cards in Touhou Hisoutensoku strongly resembles Shin Akuma's "Misogi" from Capcom vs. SNK.
  • In her last stage of Touhou Hisoutensoku, despite the fact that Sanae is fighting against Suwako Moriya, Sanae can still use skills summoning Suwako to her aid (e.g. Using Summon Earth's God: Metal Ring), to attack Suwako.
  • In Touhou Hisoutensoku Sanae's character portrait shows her having blue eyes, but her sprite has yellow eyes.
  • Also in Touhou Hisoutensoku, Sanae has alternate colors that resemble Rumia's, Fujiwara no Mokou's and Mystia Lorelei's outfits. Conversely, one of Reimu's alternate colors resembles Sanae.
  • Sanae appears in a promotional flyer wearing a school uniform.
  • When in Wild and Horned Hermit a conversation occurred about a "electric rat", a thought bubble showed up with a censored Pikachu from Pokémon.
  • Sanae's absences in Hopeless Masquerade and Double Dealing Character were not anticipated by fans, in spite of her many appearances in previous games and manga: Undefined Fantastic Object, Touhou Hisoutensoku, Ten Desires and Wild and Horned Hermit. ZUN directly stated that he hasn't include the Moriya Shrine cast in recent games without reason.[2] However, there'd be explanatory descriptions about the absences through official works:
  • Sanae complains that Kanako Yasaka (or possibly them) not taking action in those two incidents in Wild and Horned Hermit chapter 19. Kanako replies kindly that she must calm down, and in another scene, tells her the settlement of negotiation with the tengu about the installation of an aerial tramway; she remarks that she or they've been always busy for completing it. Along with Sanae also knowing the negotiation has been very long, it should be implied that Kanako stopped Sanae from taking action on the incidents for some reason: for example, because Kanako wanted to concentrate her mind on the negotiation, because Kanako couldn't find it worth doing to take action in the incidents, or something else.
    • To add the reason of her absence of Double Dealing Character, Marisa points out to Sanae, in Wild and Horned Hermit chapter 19, that Sanae hasn't used her tool regularly; in other words, it isn't so well-used as to build its own ego and to get in rampage.
  • Her sigil resembles the Star of David from Judaism.

Fandom

  • Since the release of Undefined Fantastic Object and Touhou Hisoutensoku, Sanae's popular image has shifted from soft spoken and demure to markedly eccentric with her knowledge of robots, anime and enthusiasm for aliens.
    • Mountain of Faith hinted at this eccentric streak long before Undefined Fantastic Object came out, but since this happened only in the endings it remained relatively obscure.
  • Sanae's appearance in Subterranean Animism was unexpected by many. Due to that, the fact that she says "You can't let yourself be held back by common sense in Gensokyo, right!?", and her "Miracle Fruit" spell card sounding cute and girly while all of her other spell cards from Mountain of Faith sound much more stoic has earned her the nickname of "Fruits (lol)" (フルーツ(笑)), based on the "Sweets (lol)" (スイーツ(笑)) label, referring to airheaded girls who follow fads without really understanding them. In other words, Sanae is seen as kind of a ditz.
  • Another nickname among the Japanese fans is "絶対許早苗 (Zettai Yuru-Sanae), a pun of ""絶対許さない" (Zettai Yurusanai lit. "absolutely unforgiving"). This is due to her aggressiveness towards youkai, particularly Kogasa Tatara. The nickname is usually combined with a picture of her smug expression from Undefined Fantastic Object against a yellow-and-red-striped background (the Flag of Macedonia), which is a parody of a famous meme of Futaba Channel, "Maji-resu", a serious reply to a troll/joke post.
  • Some fans have diagnosed Sanae as suffering from Chuunibyou.
  • Since Sanae is originally from the Outside World, some fans draw her in a schoolgirl uniform.
  • Since Sanae's outfit is similar to Reimu's, fans often refer to her as "Player 2 Reimu" or "2P Reimu", a character who, just like in most computer games, will take over Reimu's position if Reimu (as Player 1) is knocked out.
    • It makes it more fun that there is a alternate palette of Reimu that resembles Sanae's outfit.
    • With Reimu's red outfit and Sanae's green hair, there are even running gags equating the two shrine maidens with Mario and Luigi.
Her pose in Undefined Fantastic Object.
  • "Sanae is a good girl" has surfaced as a meme, in the English speaking community, as a result of page 29 from one of Happy Flame Time's comics, entitled Cold Wind but Warm Winter.
  • Some Western Touhou fans have noticed that when Sanae moves horizontally in Undefined Fantastic Object, her pose resembles Superman.
  • Because of Sanae's appearances in numerous titles, many fans in the west have drawn parallels with her to Aya Shameimaru and refer to her as ZUN's "other girlfriend". In addition, since Sanae is often seen as somewhat ditzy and large-chested, as well as the fact that she is strongly associated with both the miko and schoolgirl fetishes, various Japanese fans (including a number of doujin artists) also portray her in a similarly lascivious manner.
    • The backlash is very slight but longer lasting compared to with Aya, mostly from people who are annoyed at the lack of Sakuya and those that are increasingly annoyed at how the Moriya Shrine is gaining plot relevance. This has some people mockingly joke that Sanae will become the new main character.
      • The revelation that Sanae is not playable in both Hopeless Masquerade and Double Dealing Character has raised a few questions from fans, particularly as fans were expecting her in the former due to its religion-based plot.
    • Undefined Fantastic Object and Touhou Hisoutensoku have made Sanae rather popular though the true extent is hard to tell as she's been placed below the top 10 in recent popularity contests.

Official Profiles

Official Sources

References

  1. Double Spoiler Hatate's comment: Youkai Extermination "Bewitching Power Spoiler"
  2. ZUN's AWA Q&A Panel
  3. "登場人物 [Character]" (in Japanese). Tasogare Frontier. http://www.tasofro.net/touhou123/chara.html. 
  4. "キャラクター紹介 [Character Introduction]" (in Japanese). Ichijinsha. June 2011. http://www.ichijinsha.co.jp/special/toho_ibarakasen/.