Fandom (a portmanteau of fan + suffix -dom), as used here, refers to the large fanbase of the Touhou Project, its culture, and its fanon. Fanon (blend of fan + canon) means, in the broadest sense, the unofficial content related to an official product, but in its most specific sense, means any unofficial content that's believed to be canon by fans. In the Touhou Project, because of its popularity, and ZUN's relatively broad narrative and lack of detail regarding some aspects, there is a high number of fanon interpretations affecting both story and characters. These interpretations often take the form of doujin (fan-created comic books, games, music, etc).
General Information on the Fandom in Touhou
An enormous amount of derivative works based on the Touhou Project have been created since the release of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. These include doujin manga, music, anime and fangames (even though Touhou itself is a doujin series). The first known Touhou fanwork is the CD Stardust Reverie. The vast scope of Touhou derivatives prompted commentary, noting that Touhou Project became an unmissable aspect of Japanese consumer generated media. It's also become widespread in other Eastern countries and parts of the Western world, namely the Americas, Australia and Europe, thanks to the Internet, creating a fanbase which in itself contains derivative works and a fandom dedicated to Touhou. It's unknown when the popularity of Touhou started to rapidly grow in the Western world, but Embodiment of Scarlet Devil is the first game to gain a substantial Western fanbase.
These doujin activities are mostly responsible for adding original attributes ZUN may not have intended. On a common basis, anything made without formal approval from ZUN is not canonical. This also applies to an author's speculation on official work. However, some have become popular amongst fans ZUN perceived in his work. Amongst the most famous examples are Koakuma and Daiyousei, characters not originally called by name in the games and were referred to in terms by ZUN. However ZUN, for the most part, had acknowledged, appreciated and even encouraged these derivative works by imposing very few restrictions on the use of his works. The major restrictions are on unauthorised commercial distribution (as opposed to doujin) and the spoiling of endings; sensible attribution to Team Shanghai Alice is a recommendation. ZUN stated himself that he doesn't want the Touhou Project to be officially commercialised.
Despite the existence of official works, authors of derivative works are unlimited to what they use in their creations. Consequently, they're free to enter into the narrative of their own characters, resurrect PC-98 characters as part of the Windows canon, produce cross-overs with other series, and so on. However, these ideas are rarely spread to other works, without going beyond the specific derivative work. A particular problem is that if some people aren't familiar with the official works, then they may perceive widespread unofficial elements as part of the canon.
Some of these more popular interpretations take the form of memes, which propagate and spread throughout Touhou's culture. In some cases, these memes are more popular and well-known than ZUN's official content, even spreading outside the fanbase, so opinions vary on them within the fandom. Regardless, they also serve to introduce and attract newcomers to Touhou Project. Amongst the most popular derivatives are the series of Flash videos created by the doujin music circle IOSYS. Many of them, one of which is "Marisa Stole the Precious Thing", are popular on otaku Internet forums and Niconico Douga.
Conventions are the prime places of where un/official Touhou works are sold. The most notable one is Comic Market. The first recent publication of Touhou derivative works occurred during December 2003, following the release of Perfect Cherry Blossom; seven Doujin circles sold Touhou derivative works at Comiket 65 on December 2003. At the Comiket 74 in August 2008, a total of 885 circles have had Touhou derivative works on display or for sale, out of a total of 35,000 circles participating at Comiket. By Comiket 85 (December 2013), 2,272 circles were selling Touhou derivative works, far outnumbering those of other franchises.
- The fangames
Generally, the fangames based on Touhou don't take on a serious approach to official works and do include alot of memes. There are the more serious types though, trying to follow as much canon as possible, such as Concealed the Conclusion. They usually include adaptations of other franchises with Touhou, such as New Super Marisa Land and Super Marisa World (parodies of Super Mario Land and Super Mario World respectively), MegaMari (based on the Mega Man series), Touhou Soccer (based on the Captain Tsubasa games by Tecmo) and Touhou Mother (A cross-other with EarthBound by 'S'). There are alot of fangames that follow the title naming scheme 東方ＯＯＯ like what most official Touhou games do.
At the Tokyo Game Show 2014, ZUN announced a collaborative project with PlayStation bringing Touhou fangames to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita platforms. As of September 2014, Fushigi no Gensokyo 3 (不思議の幻想郷3) by AQUA STYLE, The Genius of Sappheiros (東方蒼神縁起) by Strawberry Bose and Touhou Sky Arena -Matsuri- (東方スカイアリーナ祭) by Area-ZERO have been announced for release on the PS4. The games will be published by Mediascape, under contract by Sony and ZUN, as part of a move towards embracing indie games for commercial distribution on PlayStation platforms.
- The music
The music of Touhou is also very popular and many arrangement CDs can be found for sale at Comic Markets and other Japanese conventions, sometimes online. There's literally a countless amount of remixes and arrangements dedicated to Touhou, uploaded to Niko Niko Douga and YouTube, having thousands of users listening to them. Arranged music is simply set to all different kinds to genre: to rock, to orchestra, to upbeat, to retro gaming, as well as instrumental and vocal. Many doujin circles such as IOSYS have arrangers and vocalist to create Touhou music. They sometimes don't always reflect official Touhou music, but there are side projects that are dedicate to just making accurate arrangements of Touhou, such as MEGA ZUN (which thoroughly uses 8-bit music as its genre).
- The anime
Several fan-made anime had been made for Touhou. An anime project by the doujin circle MAIKAZE, titled Musou Kakyou: A Summer Day's Dream (東方 夢想夏郷), is an unofficial adaptation with an original plot featuring Touhou characters, with two episodes released in 2008 and 2012 respectively. Although it's created by an amateur studio, the animation project notably featured high-ranking professional voice actors. Another doujin anime by the circle Manpuku Jinja, titled Fantasy Kaleidoscope ~The Memories of Phantasm~ (幻想万華鏡), was released at in 2011, with one episode released based on the storyline of Perfect Cherry Blossom. A short derivative animated project, Anime Tenchou x Touhou Project (アニメ店長 x 東方Project) was produced by Ufotable in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Japanese goods chain, Animate, as a promotional video for a cross-over with Touhou and Animate's mascot, Meito Anizawa.
While they aren't developed nearly to the standards of a story-based game, characters for the Touhou Project is one of the major reasons Touhou has become increasingly popular. Many fans love them, and even obscure stage bosses who only appear once have a fanbase. One example is Hong Meiling, who is the stage 3 boss of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and won a popularity contest in Japan out of all Touhou characters. Various image dumping sites such as Pixiv and deviantArt have a vast number of illustrations of the Touhou, and Seihou, characters, being common places for Internet users to seek such illustrations.
Despite the Touhou Project being a doujin series, a gigantic amount of derivative works that have Touhou characters have been created since the release of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. These include doujinshi, anime and fangames. These doujin activities are mostly responsible for adding original attributes to characters that ZUN may've not intended.
Yukkuri shiteitte ne! is a very common meme amongst the fanbase. They're involving giant, disfigured heads resembling those of Touhou characters. It originated on 2ch on October 13, 2007, when an anonymous user tried to make Shift JIS art of Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame and failed horribly. Another anonymous user thought the failed attempt was humorous and drew the infamous original picture.
- PC-98 & Seihou
Since the PC-98 games and the Seihou Project are relatively obscure and have canon differences, the characters in and after Embodiment of Scarlet Devil are more widely recognised and popular amongst the fanbase. PC-98 characters are however shown with Windows-based character as though the two canon are merged as one. Seihou characters are also shown with Touhou characters at times.
There are hundreds of Touhou OCs (Original Characters) scattered around the Internet, mostly often ignored. Some fan-made characters have become memes in Japanese (and in the case of Meimu, Chinese) Touhou fandom. They're popular enough to be drawn by multiple artists and have them with official Touhou characters.
Various stage enemies have been treated as regular enemies in fangames, with even sometimes giving some a character profile. They shown to have more annotation, emotion and are even given a portrait with dialogue. They sometimes even have their own spell card. They usually occupy with various character on artwork, such as the Sunflower Fairy is compared with Daiyousei, Cirno and other fairies, while the Zombie Fairies are placed with Rin Kaenbyou. However, these aren't as notable as anything else said in this section since characters and music are some of the series's main attraction.
List of works
Because all the pages on this wiki are focused on canon, fandom and fanon are cataloged here, by each official work and the characters introduced in them, along with various related topics.
- Highly Responsive to Prayers
- Story of Eastern Wonderland
- Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream
- Lotus Land Story
- Mystic Square
- Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
- Perfect Cherry Blossom
- Imperishable Night
- Phantasmagoria of Flower View
- Mountain of Faith
- Subterranean Animism
- Undefined Fantastic Object
- Ten Desires
- Double Dealing Character
- Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom
- Hidden Star in Four Seasons
Derivative Works and Other
- Bad Apple!!
- IOSYS promotional videos
- Touhou M-1 Grand Prix
- Touhou MMD
- Yukkuri shiteitte ne!
- Fan-made characters
- References to Touhou
- THWiki Popularity Poll
- Touhou Nico Dousai Popularity Contest
- "1000万IDの巨大サイトも創作の連鎖反応を引き起こす 音楽や映像で自由に表現" [The gigantic site of 10 million users sets off a chain reaction of creativity: The freedom of expression through music and video] (in 日本語). Weekly BCN. 2008-10-20. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Wikipedia: Touhou Project
- Tomohiro, Katada (2008-10-03). "ニコ動、2ちゃんねるで人気の｢東方Project｣って何だ?" [What is this 'Touhou Project' popular on Nicovideo and 2ch?] (in 日本語). R25.jp. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- "Mountain of Faith: FAQ" (in 日本語). ZUN. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- "Top Doujinshi Events Most Popular By The Numbers". Crunchyroll. November 1, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- "August Dojin Data Base (via Wayback Machine)" (in 日本語). Addb.jp. Retrieved 2009-02-14.
- "What is the Comic Market? February 2008" (PDF) (in 日本語). Comiket. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- "3 Fan-Made Touhou Project Games Head to PS4 as Digital Titles". Anime News Network. September 1, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- "【速報】『東方Project』がPS4/PS Vitaに進出!? 第1弾は『不思議の幻想郷3』『東方蒼神縁起』『東方スカイアリーナ祭』の3作品!". Dengeki Online (in 日本語). ASCII Media Works. September 1, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- "ZUNxPlayStationプロジェクト第一弾3タイトル発表。『東方』の同人ゲームをPS4やPS Vitaで販売". Engadget Japan (in 日本語). September 1, 2014. Archived from the original on September 2, 2014. Retrieved September 2, 2014.
- Gann, Patrick (August 29, 2012). "Favs of Comiket: Fruited Vagabond (Review)". Original Sound Version. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
Every six months, Comiket sweeps Japan, and a boatload of doujin music albums are released... You could easily spend $1000 there and still miss something cool. Especially if you're down with all things Touhou-related.
- "東方二次創作同人アニメーション 夢想夏郷 A Summer Day's Dream" (in 日本語). Maikaze. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- "Touhou-Based 'The Memories of Phantasm' Anime Streamed". Anime News Network. August 16, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- "Touhou Project, Anime Tenchou Get Anime by ufotable". Anime News Network. September 24, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
- "Touhou Saimoe 2 official website and contest results" (in 日本語). Livedoor. Retrieved 2007-01-11.