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Vampires (吸血鬼 kyūketsuki, lit. "blood-sucking oni") are creatures from Western folklore that drink the blood of humans to survive. They possess a number of powerful abilities, including super-strength, super-speed, summoning demons, transforming into a swarm of bats, and regeneration. They also have a lot of weaknesses, including sunlight (which is why vampires are usually active at night) and flowing water (such as rain or a river). Similar but unrelated beings can be found in Asian folklore, such as the Jiang Shi.
Although vampires have been portrayed to have enormous power (maybe), at any rate, they've got a great number of weaknesses. The following are weaknesses that vampires have been confirmed to mention about themselves in Touhou Project. Also, since the word vampire (吸血鬼) seem to have the Kanji oni (鬼) in them, whatever weaknesses oni have, vampires also have them in a similar way. It should be noted that a lot of different works with a fictional universe take different approaches as to what weaknesses a vampire's got.
- Turning into ashes or vaporising upon sunlight
- Provided, it is not like how DIO from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure would crumble away on the spot from exposure to sunlight, nor is it like the legends where vampires burn up. It's more to the extent of the skin flaking off gradually. Also, vampires seem to be quite composed when it's not direct sunlight, and therefore they are able to go outside under the shadow of a parasol. Furthermore, when they are burned up due to sunlight, they're able to absorb the residue, and thus become essentially immortal.
- Skin burning upon touching roasted soybeans
- This is a weakness that vampires share with oni. However, it seems fine if it's not roasted soybeans.
- Inability to cross flowing water
- Since on a rainy day, where the sky and the earth all becomes "flowing water", vampires cannot physically go outside. On clear days, only in certain places there's flowing water, and what this means in the end for rivers etc. is uncertain. The popular theory is that it wouldn't be possible to swim and cross over, but it would be no problem to go on a boat or fly over.
- The reason why vampires in general have a weakness to crosses is because the legends of vampires today have originally taken form in an area that is deeply rooted in Christianity, and it's because in those legends, vampires come about when a human's blood is sucked by another vampire. In short, if a pious Christian becomes a vampire like this, and if they succumb to their instincts and perform the action of sucking blood, each time they look at the cross, they will remember the depth of the sin, meaning that they'll then feel a guilty conscience.
- To the very end, since it's a guilty conscience, even if you just show them the cross, they'll be startled, and the effect is that they will lose their fighting spirit. However, in the case of a silver cross, there is also a theory as for why it would take effect regardless of faith and piety. (See also the Silver Weapons section).
- Since flames contain purification power, it is said that the damage dealt to vampires by burning with flames cannot be recovered. Before considering how flames could have purification power, they also have the ability to inflict more or less damage physically.
- Since garlic has high nutritional value, it is said they have an effect on all kinds of illnesses, it is considered that they have an ability to dispel evil spirits. Furthermore since they have a strong odor, they are said to be able to make devils unable to come close (although gods also seem not to be able to come close).
- Silver Weapons
- The reason silver stakes or bullets are said to have an effect on vampires is because silver is chemically reactive to arsenic and sulfur, changing its colour and its properties, and silver ions have a strong disinfectant effect against bacteria. In the time of the origins of the legends of vampires, since ions and bacteria have not been elucidated, it was suspicious that they would have a disinfectant effect, and so in order for nobles to avoid assassination, it was common sense to unify weapons with silver. Furthermore, since a major accessory attached to the body was the cross, it was common to make them out of silver as a poisonous distinguishing accessory. From details like this, silver has thus become considered to have the power to drive away impure things, and thus they've been considered a weakness of the representative of impure things, vampires.
- Inability to go into houses uninvited
- This is according to Christianity, that "devils do not come close to places where they are not welcome". Although they are not able to evade doors for which consent cannot be gained, if you successfully invite them even just once, it will thereon be a free pass to the house. There are also vampires who do petty-minded great effort in disguising and deceiving target humans to get a "yes" out of them.
- Death upon a stake through the heart or death upon beheading
- If a human does this kind of thing to an ordinary living thing, then without omission they'll die, but since vampires neither age nor die, it's said that there aren't many measures to annihilate them. It's useless if the stake isn't white ash, and although there are various theories saying that any kind of tree is okay, but it seems to be generally agreed upon that iron and glass stakes are no good.
- Concerning the parts related to this weakness as well as the part related to silver, it has been a legend passed on that has existed much further back into the past than the "Count Dracula" that has formed our present image of vampires, going back to around the 4th century.
- Inability to get close to sardine heads
- This is also a weakness of oni.
- Inability to get close to broken holly branches
- Same as previous.
Vampires in Touhou
Vampires in Gensokyo are a young but powerful youkai species, considered to be a type of devil. They possess a far broader range of abilities than most youkai, including oni-level strength and tengu-level speed, but also have a far broader range of weaknesses. Vampires in Gensokyo show no paticular aversion to the Christian cross, though they can still be harmed by spiritual attacks like any youkai; they do, however, show a vulnerability to roasted soybeans, presumably a result of being identified with oni. While sunlight has the power to destroy them, they can survive brief exposures, and even travel around at day as long as they remain in the shade.
Remilia and Flandre Scarlet are the only members of the vampire species in Gensokyo, to the point where most characters simply refer to Remilia as "the vampire" instead of by name. There exists a contract between vampires and other youkai where the vampires pledge not to attack the humans of Gensokyo, in exchange for receiving humans to feed on; being a devil's contract, it is unbreakable. An unnamed vampire (who may or may not have been Remilia) was the primary instigator of the incident that led to the creation of this contract and eventually the spell card rules.
Additionally, the PC-98 comes into play because Kurumi is also a vampire. Thus, if linking the PC-98 canon with the Windows canon, then there are in fact three vampires in Gensokyo and Hieda no Akyuu would be incorrect saying that the scarlet sisters are the only two.
Since all of the above said on the "A Vampire's Weakness" section was what vampires mentioned about themselves, it's uncertain if some of these statements are actually true in the Touhou Project. However, the weaknesses to sunlight and water are certain. In Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red, Patchouli Knowledge put forth the consideration that "perhaps these weaknesses are for the sake of camouflaging their other big weaknesses." Moreover, Remilia Scarlet likes fermented soybeans, because they're not roasted. She also dislikes Patchouli's Setsubon festivals because merely picking up the roasted soybeans burns her, and she forbids anyone from throwing any at her. It's unknown if this is because of a shared weakness to roast soybeans, or if the soybeans were simply too hot.
With regards to weaknesses, in reality, whatever damage is inflicted, by their aforementioned regeneration ability, they are simply able to return back to how they were originally, and thus in order to do vampire extermination, but it doesn't inflict a fatal wound on their first try, then there's no meaning. Thus, the cases where they don't become weaknesses are not few.
Additionally, in Touhou Project, the general weaknesses of vampires have become as following:
- Whether or not it is because of the nature of the effect, or if it is for some other reason, Remilia seems to be strong to Crosses. Also, Flandre Scarlet used crosses in her spell cards, and Aya Shameimaru wonders if they are immune to crosses in Shoot the Bullet.
- In relation to flames, when Remilia touched the rocket when not been told to in Silent Sinner in Blue, her wrist was set ablaze and burnt to black by Patchouli's spell, but was able to recover in an instant without worry. Before considering how flames could have purification power, they've also got the ability to inflict more or less damage physically, but it doesn't seem that in the Touhou Project; it isn't possible to recover from damage by flames. Also, in Strange and Bright Nature Deity, Remilia claims that not even the fires of hell could burn her body. While this could be just a manner of speech, relating this to what happened in Silent Sinner in Blue, there is a possibiliy of vampires being highly resistent to fire.
- Remilia hates garlic, but this doesn't seem to be related to a weakness as a vampire anywhere in the Touhou Project.
- In Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, since Hieda no Akyuu seemed to be saying that "the knives that Sakuya possesses are silver knives for exterminating vampires", it seems that there exists the general idea that Touhou's vampires are weak to silver.
- In relation to how Remilia enters and exists the Hakurei Shrine with an invitation, although it is possible to interpret that to be because Reimu Hakurei has invited her before, but clearly there was an instance where she was an "invader" breaking into Eientei in Imperishable Night, and therefore this weakness does not exist in Touhou.
- Regarding the "death by beheading" part, since Perfect Memento in Strict Sense stated that "she will recover back to normal even if everything other than the head has been blown away", the situation is that it is unrelated to Remilia.
Characters under this Bestiary
Books and articles
- Perfect Memento in Strict Sense: Remilia Scarlet
- Imperishable Night: Manual
- SSiB Chapter 6
- SaBND Chapter 15 - Remilia: Who do you think i am? Even the fires of hell could not burn my body.