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Touhou Project

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東方Project
Touhou Project
Toho Project, Touhou Series, Project Shrine Maiden
Years active

1996-present

No. of Installments
  • 21 games
Sub-series
Official websites

The Touhou Project (東方Project), or Project Shrine Maiden[1] is a collective term for a series of 2D (with 3D background) vertically-scrolling danmaku shooting games as well as related print works made by sole Team Shanghai Alice member ZUN, with four fighting game spinoffs co-produced with Twilight Frontier, called "danmaku action games." The works of Touhou Project are sometimes called the Touhou Series (東方シリーズ Tōhō shirīzu) for convenience.

The Guinness World Records named the Touhou Project as the "worlds most prolific fan-made shooter series."[2]

Name and Concept

Touhou (東方) means "Eastern" and can refer to some or all of the areas, cultures or histories within East Asia. Historically, the term "the Orient" was widely used to refer to trade goods, artwork, literature, other items or topics related to countries in East Asia such as China, Japan, Korea or Vietnam. According to the Music Room Special in Mystic Square, the naming scheme of 東方OOO originally came from one of the first songs he composed for Highly Responsive to Prayers, called Touhou Kaikidan (東方怪奇談). With some exceptions, the title of games/books/CDs of the Touhou Project are all under the format as shown in the following table:

Format: Japanese main title double byte space double byte wave dash single byte space English subtitle single byte period/full stop
Example: 東方紅魔郷 ' ' '' ' ' the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil '.'

Designation

In the Japanese community – along with the Chinese and Korean communities – the works are usually referred by the main title without the Touhou (e.g. Koumakyou (紅魔郷) for 東方紅魔郷 ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil). For short, they're referred by their third kanji/hanzi/hanja (e.g. ). However for some titles, there are exceptions:

  • Hisoutensoku → 天則 (Tensoku) or 則 (soku)
  • Double Spoiler → DS
  • Fairy Wars → Mostly 大戦争 (Daisensou); if abbreviation is needed, just is used
  • Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red → 書籍文花帖 (Bunkachou)
  • Perfect Memento in Strict Sense → (before SoPm) 求聞 (Gumon), (after SoPm) 史記 (Shiki)
  • The Grimoire of Marisa → グリモア (Gurimoa)
  • Symposium of Post-mysticism → 口授 (Kuju)
  • Curiosities of Lotus Asia → 香霖堂 (Kourindou)
  • Silent Sinner in Blue → 儚月抄 (Bougetsushou)
  • Cage in Lunatic Runagate → 小説抄 (shou)
  • Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth → Most commonly うどんげっしょー (Udon Gesshou)
  • Music CDs are all referred by their full Japanese title, and Sangetsusei are called by "三月精" (Sangetsusei) + volumes.

In the Western community (English, French, Spanish, etc.), they're referred by their English subtitles (e.g. the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil). For short, they're referred via unofficial acronyms of the subtitles (e.g. EoSD). The leading "the" is sometimes omitted in the former, but always in the latter. Works without an English subtitle may be referred by their main title, as with Touhou Hisoutensoku (Soku) and The Grimoire of Marisa (GoM), or by their translated subtitle, as with Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth (IotMaIotE).

Described as "Touhou Series" isn't canon?

While some fans and many people who aren't fans call the Touhou Project as "Touhou Series" (東方シリーズ Tōhō shirīzu), ZUN himself has a tendency to avoid using this term. So quite a lot of (canon-inclined) fans consider it not canon and believe it's an inappropriate term. ZUN has given a reason to this in the after report of Gensou Denshou (幻想伝承). He said that he has been avoiding to use "series", because it's been established to have an image of "commercialism". He also said that Touhou is hard to be considered as a "series" - since system, story and characters are all unrelated per each work and only the worldview is same. But it should be noted that right after he said that he finished his line with: "...Well, it is a series though." making the audience burst out laughing.[3]

Japanese culture

The Touhou Project has a lot of aspects to Japanese culture throughout the series, like mythology, traditions and religion – most notably to the texts, the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki. It usually uses Japanese folklore and some traditions in storylines, and uses religion and mythology in characters. There are even a lot more links to Japanese culture, and they all come together creatively, making the series more traditional than modern itself.

Modern Science

Modern science and technology hold very little aspects in the Touhou Project, but has become quite common in recent material.

Works

PC-98 Games

東方靈異伝 ~ Highly Responsive to Prayers
東方封魔録 ~ Story of Eastern Wonderland
東方夢時空 ~ Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream
東方幻想郷 ~ Lotus Land Story
東方怪綺談 ~ Mystic Square

Windows Games

東方紅魔郷 ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
東方妖々夢 ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom
東方萃夢想 ~ Immaterial and Missing Power
東方永夜抄 ~ Imperishable Night
東方花映塚 ~ Phantasmagoria of Flower View
東方文花帖 ~ Shoot the Bullet
東方風神録 ~ Mountain of Faith
東方緋想天 ~ Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
東方地霊殿 ~ Subterranean Animism
東方星蓮船 ~ Undefined Fantastic Object
東方非想天則 ~ 超弩級ギニョルの謎を追え (Touhou Hisoutensoku)
ダブルスポイラー ~ 東方文花帖 (Double Spoiler)
妖精大戦争 ~ 東方三月精 (Fairy Wars)
東方神霊廟 ~ Ten Desires
東方心綺楼 ~ Hopeless Masquerade
東方輝針城 ~ Double Dealing Character
弾幕アマノジャク ~ Impossible Spell Card
弾幕アマノジャク ゴールドラッシュ (Danmaku Amanojaku Gold Rush)
Urban Legend in Limbo

ZUN's Music Collection

蓬莱人形 ~ Dolls in Pseudo Paradise
蓮台野夜行 ~ Ghostly Field Club
夢違科学世紀 ~ Changeability of Strange Dream
卯酉東海道 ~ Retrospective 53 minutes
大空魔術 ~ Magical Astronomy
未知の花 魅知の旅 (Unknown Flower, Mesmerizing Journey)
鳥船遺跡 ~ Trojan Green Asteroid
伊弉諾物質 ~ Neo-traditionalism of Japan

Akyu's Untouched Score

幺樂団の歴史1 ~ Akyu's Untouched Score vol.1
幺樂団の歴史2 ~ Akyu's Untouched Score vol.2
幺樂団の歴史3 ~ Akyu's Untouched Score vol.3
幺樂団の歴史4 ~ Akyu's Untouched Score vol.4
幺樂団の歴史5 ~ Akyu's Untouched Score vol.5

Danmaku Action Game soundtracks

幻想曲抜萃 東方萃夢想 ORIGINAL SOUND TRACK
全人類ノ天楽録 東方緋想天 ORIGINAL SOUND TRACK
核熱造神ヒソウテンソク 東方非想天則 ORIGINAL SOUND TRACK
暗黒能楽集・心綺楼 東方心綺楼 ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Written Works

東方文花帖 ~ Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red
東方紫香花 ~ Seasonal Dream Vision
東方求聞史紀 ~ Perfect Memento in Strict Sense
The Grimoire of Marisa
東方求聞口授 ~ Symposium of Post-mysticism

Comics

東方香霖堂 ~ Curiosities of Lotus Asia

東方三月精 Series
東方三月精 ~ Eastern and Little Nature Deity
東方三月精 ~ Strange and Bright Nature Deity
東方三月精 ~ Oriental Sacred Place

東方儚月抄 Series
東方儚月抄 ~ Silent Sinner in Blue
東方儚月抄 ~ Cage in Lunatic Runagate
東方儚月抄 ~ 月のイナバと地上の因幡 (Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth)
東方茨歌仙 ~ Wild and Horned Hermit
東方鈴奈庵 ~ Forbidden Scrollery

System

Absence or presence of fundamental controls
HRtP SoEW PoDD LLS MS EoSD PCB IN PoFV StB MoF SA UFO DS FW TD DDC
Player Character selection × × × ×
Weapon choice × × × × × × × × ×
Slow movement × × ×
Shot change during slow movement × × × × × × × × ×
Bomb: Bomb gauge consumption × × × ×
Bomb: Power gauge consumption × × × × × × × × × × × × × × ×
Extend: Points × × × × × × × × × ×
Extend: Special Item Collection × × × × × × × × × ×
Extend: Other × × × × × × × × × × × × × × × ×
Difficulty: Extra × ×
Difficulty: Phantasm × × × × × × × × × × × × × × × ×
Difficulty: Spoiler × × × × × × × × × × × × × × × ×
Continue: recover on-spot × × × × × × × ×
Continue: from beginning of stage × × × × × × × × × × ×
HRtP SoEW PoDD LLS MS EoSD PCB IN PoFV StB MoF SA UFO DS FW TD DDC

Additional Information

  • All of ZUN's print works of the Touhou world include all the characters re/appearing in the Windows series at least once showing that the Windows games have a direct connection to the literature.
  • ZUN announced that the Windows era should be taken as canon towards the Touhouverse and that the PC-98 shouldn't. See Canon page for more information.
  • The game Uwabami Breakers and the Seihou Project series have some relation to the Touhou Project, although they aren't part of it.

References

  1. Officially, "Project Shrine Maiden" is the term for referring the game in English, but the English speaking community regardlessly calls it the "Touhou Project" like the Japanese do.
  2. "Most prolific fan-made shooter series". Guinness World Records. http://web.archive.org/web/20130424041751/http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-8000/most-prolific-fan-made-shooter-series/. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  3. An after report of Gensou Denshou (Japanese).