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Shou Toramaru

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寅丸 (とらまる)   (しょう)
Shou Toramaru
toɽamaɽɯ ɕoː (♫)
Syou Toramaru
Shou Toramaru
Disciple of Vaiśravaṇa
More Character Titles
Species

Youkai of stories about tigers, Avatar of Bishamonten

Abilities

Gathering treasures

Age

At least 1000 years

Occupation

Disciple of Bishamonten

Location

Myouren Temple

Music Themes
Appearances
Official Games
Print Works

Shou Toramaru (寅丸 星 Toramaru Shou) is a disciple of the god Bishamonten. Along with Minamitsu Murasa and the other youkai aboard the Palanquin Ship, she seeks to revive Byakuren Hijiri after she had been sealed away in Makai by humans.

General Information

Shou is a tiger youkai lives at the Myouren Temple as the avatar of Bishamonten. Technically, though she is Byakuren's disciple as a high-ranking priest, the fact that she is Bishamonten's avatar essentially means that she is worshiped by Byakuren. As she attracts wealth, she is one of the only things that draws any humans to the predominantly youkai-inhabited temple in the first place. It has been said that she resembles statues of Bishamonten, though she doesn't look like him at all.

Personality

In public, Shou remains gentle, composed, and dignified. However, when around closer friends, she has been known to show more emotion. She has apparently even flown into a rage a few times. She is also a heavy drinker, though the Buddhist faith prohibits that.

Ability

Gathering treasures

Shou's ability allows her to gather treasures. After she has gathered precious gems, she can use their radiance in combination with the Jeweled Pagoda to fire lasers that can reduce anything to ashes. Moreover, if she fires those lasers at the ground, more gems will be created. Anyway, most of Shou's power comes from this pagoda alone, and she doesn't have much in the way of physical ability.

Occupation

Shou spends her time as a high-ranking priest at the Myouren Temple. Her actual duties are unknown, but as the avatar of Bishamonten, those at the temple worship her.

Possessions

Shou carries Bishamonten's Pagoda, which manifests her ability to bring about wealth. She also carries a long spear, but it's mostly for decorative purposes. She uses it to appear more dignified, and also as a walking stick.

Backstory

Shou was born as a "tiger youkai", not from an actual tiger (which are not native to Japan), but from the fear created by stories about tigers that had spread there. As such, her existence originally depended on the people of Japan remaining ignorant about what real tigers were like.

While Byakuren was still a famous monk in the outside world, she scouted Shou to become a disciple of the god Bishamonten (whom the monk currently worshipped) because she was a youkai, in order for Byakuren to gain the trust of the youkai living on the mountain. Shou, meanwhile, hid the fact that she was a youkai from humans. Bishamonten also assigned Shou a servant, a mouse youkai named Nazrin, not only to assist her but also to keep an eye on her. As the years passed, Shou proved herself a more-than-worthy disciple, and Nazrin's role solidified as her subject. Having a more solid identity as Bishamonten's avatar also prevented Shou from fading away.

After Byakuren was sealed away, Shou couldn't do much - if she had tried to do something, the fact that she was a youkai would have been revealed - so she continued serving Bishamonten. However, hundreds of years later, she, Murasa, Ichirin, and Nazrin appeared above-ground in Gensokyo, where they vowed to rescue Byakuren at all costs.

Character Design

ThGKShou.png

Origin

Her appearance seems to be based upon that of Bishamonten, the Japanese equivalent of Vaisravana, who is often depicted holding a spear and a small pagoda. This is derived from the fact that Chougosonshi Temple (朝護孫子寺), which keeps the e-maki of Myouren's tales (Shigisan Engi Emaki), enshrines Bishamonten. Originally the tiger had few symbolic ties to Bishamonten, but became more relevant in the Asuka period when the main Buddhist faction, Prince Shōtoku and the Soga clan, were able to subdue the anti-Buddhist Mononobe clan because Bishamonten appeared to support them on the hour of the tiger on the day of the tiger in the year of the tiger (寅の年、寅の日、寅の刻) of the Chinese zodiac. Now, many tigers can be seen at Chougosonshi Temple. Their website also shows how they raise them.

She may have been inspired by one of Vaisravana's frequent companions in artistic depictions and sutras, an unidentified man wearing a tiger skin. She may also have been inspired by his usual mount, a Snowlion, but as Snowlions are more similar to dogs than to tigers, this seems unlikely.

Name

Toramaru (寅丸) can be literally translated as "tiger circle". However, the word "maru" is also used to end the names of ships in Japan, which is fitting, considering one of the main aspects of Undefined Fantastic Object is the "treasure ship". Shou () means "star", which is also fitting considering the extraterrestrial implications given by the game's title.

Shou's name was misspelled as "虎丸 星" in the music comments.

Design

Shou has orange-yellow hair with black stripes in it and golden yellow eyes. She wears a lotus-shaped ornament on her head, has a giant cloth circle attached to her back, and carries a giant spear in her left hand and the jeweled pagoda of Bishamonten in her right. She wears a burgundy/orange/white dress with a tiger pattern around the abdomen along with white, frilly pants under her dress and black shoes on her feet.

Story

Undefined Fantastic Object

In Undefined Fantastic Object, she is a member of the group looking around for the two treasures needed in order to revive Byakuren: the fragments of the Tobikura, and the pagoda of Bishamonten. She sends Nazrin to find the latter. After the palanquin ship enters Makai, she encounters the heroine; with the two needed treasures now together, she could proceed with Byakuren's revival. For one reason or another, however, she is attacked and beaten by the heroine, who then opts to unseal Byakuren either out of curiosity or real concern.

Relationships

Byakuren Hijiri

Shou is on good terms with Byakuren, and felt extremely bad that her role kept her from going to rescue the monk. After appearing in Gensokyo, she created a plan to unseal her. The two now share a complex relationship - Shou is Byakuren's disciple, but because she is Bishamonten's avatar, she's also worshiped by her.

Nazrin, Minamitsu Murasa, Ichirin Kumoi & Bishamonten

Nazrin is essentially Shou's underling. The fact that they've been together for hundreds of years shows trust in her servant to not tell Murasa or Ichirin that she had lost the pagoda, which most likely would have been embarrassing, being the prodigious disciple of Bishamonten.

Spell Cards

Additional Information

  • Shou's ability is listed as "gathering treasures", but ironically she herself did not gather any of the needed treasure to unseal Byakuren; instead, Nazrin found the pagoda, and the heroine found the fragments of Tobikura. The only real reference to this ability is in her final spell card in Double Spoiler.
  • Shou also possesses a mandala, a symbolic object of Buddhism, according to Double Spoiler.
  • In her official profile, as well as in her dialogue, Shou is characterized as very honest and straightforward.
  • Shou's BGM description lists her name as 虎丸星 instead of 寅丸星. 虎 "tora" can refer to tigers, felines of the "panthera tigris" species, or colloquially, a "drunk person". "tora" can be used to refer the tiger as a sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which carries with it the additional meanings of a period of time from 3AM to 5AM, the direction East by Northeast, or January. This discrepancy is generally thought of as a typo on ZUN's part, though the alternate meaning of "drunk person" raises some questions...

Fandom

  • Some fans have compared her and Nazrin's relationship to Ran Yakumo and Chen's, as all four of them are animal youkai, and Nazrin comes back much more powerful as Shou's midboss, much like how Chen comes back more powerful as Ran's midboss.
  • Due to the fact she lost the pagoda long ago, fanwork portray her as a very distracted and/or forgetful person, frequently losing things she has or forgetting where they are, sometimes to Nazrin's great annoyance.
    • There are various other gags involving the pagoda, from it shooting beams to it exploding for no good reason.
  • Some fans have speculated Shou involves a reference to Fatty from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, whose stand "Harvest" (which bears patterns similar to Shou's tiger stripes) gathered things at his request. The most notable case of this was lottery tickets, one of which was a winner—i.e., a treasure.
  • When Shou was first introduced, her name (Shou is usually masculine, while -maru is masculine when used in a given name) and outfit, combined with being an avatar of a male god, led some fans to mistake her for male.
  • Despite numerous fanworks applying "darker and edgier" interpretations to the rest of Myouren Temple, Shou is almost never depicted villainously.

Official Profiles

Official Sources