Perfect Cherry Blossom
Touhou Youyoumu ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom (東方妖々夢 ～ Perfect Cherry Blossom, lit. "Eastern Ghostly Dream") is a vertical-scrolling shooter, and is the seventh official game in the Touhou series.
Perfect Cherry Blossom features three playable characters to choose from with two different Spell Card types each. Reimu Hakurei can weave through the smallest gaps with ease, and her attacks deal low to decent damage, depending on which type you use. Marisa Kirisame relies on her speed and power to compensate for her thin attack area, but wields a considerable amount of power. Sakuya Izayoi has wider and more versatile attacks than Reimu, but can be hard to control.
A major addition to Perfect Cherry Blossom is the "Cherry" scoring system. Almost every part of the game is linked with the "Cherry Meter": shooting enemies increases your Cherry points, bombing or dying decreases your Cherry points, reaching 50,000+ Cherry points gives you a temporary shield. The higher the Cherry Gauge, the more points you receive from Point Items.
Other important changes are the appearance of your character's hitbox while you are focused, the properties of your attacks depending on whether you are focused or unfocused, and a helpful cursor along the bottom margin during a boss battle that shows the location of the boss.
This game is also unique in that it includes a "Phantasm" stage that can be played only after cleaing the Extra stage. ZUN stated that the Extra stage in this game was meant to be an "easy mode" version.
Name and Concept
Following on the heels of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, Perfect Cherry Blossom was created with the same goals in mind - high speed danmaku, patterned after somewhat abstract concepts. The theme this time around revolves around the Netherworld, and the extra stages also deal a little bit with the Great Hakurei Border and the concept of a "spiriting away", though these are not discussed in very much detail, as the dialogue remains very light.
The name "youyoumu" implies some sort of mysterious dream. 妖々, taken to mean "ghostly", is possibly referring to the spirits of the Netherworld, including Youmu Konpaku and Yuyuko Saigyouji, the first of which contains the kanji 妖 in her name. It can also be a reference to the Saigyou Ayakashi, which also contains the character. "Perfect Cherry Blossom" is referring to Yuyuko's end goal to force the Saigyou Ayakashi to fully bloom by collecting the essence of springtime. Also, on the jewel case, the word Ghastly is misspelled as Ghastry in what would be the japanese pronounciation.
"Dead bodies are buried under the cherry trees! You have to believe it. Otherwise, you couldn't possibly explain the beauty of the cherry blossoms. I was restless, lately, because I couldn't believe in this beauty. But I have now finally understood: dead bodies are buried under the cherry trees! You have to believe it." -- Motojirō Kajii, opening of "Under the Cherry Trees"
Winter drags on past its expiration date in Gensokyo, eventually prompting the three main characters - Reimu Hakurei, Marisa Kirisame, and Sakuya Izayoi - to investigate the cause. Their travels lead them into the Netherworld, where they discover that certain people are attempting to gather the essence of spring for themselves, for some unknown cause.
Perfect Cherry Blossom has 19 tracks excluding the Staff Roll song, all of them can be heard in the music room from the very first time you open the game, regardless of whether or not you have encountered them in-game.
ZUN states in the Afterword that he wanted to create music that was "intense, emotional, and a little exotic". Rather than adding an Oriental spin to otherwise Western-sounding tunes, he instead started with an Oriental feel as the base and tried to work in a Western tone.
The music remains extremely popular among fans, with many tunes being re-arranged on fan-made CDs. ZUN himself has re-arranged some of the songs on various music CDs, such as Ghostly Eyes and Necro-Fantasy on Ghostly Field Club, Doll Judgement on Changeability of Strange Dream, and Necrofantasia on Magical Astronomy. The fighting games have also featured various themes for characters originating in this game.
ZUN included an unused track in Ghostly Field Club titled 過去の花 ～ Fairy of Flower, possibly meant for Stage 4.
A demo version of Perfect Cherry Blossom was released on December 30th in 2002, at the 63rd Comiket. The game later had another demo with only the MIDI soundtrack released on the internet on January 26th 2003. The full version was later released at the 64th Comiket, on August 17th 2003, and it first hit shelves of various doujin stores on September 7.
A week after the game's official release, a 1.00a patch was released that fixed various bugs. On October 24, 2003, the final 1.00b patch was released with more bugfixes.
At the first Reitaisai on April 18, 2004, a score attack event was held where competitors would aim for the highest score on Perfect Cherry Blossom's Phantasm stage. The stage and dialogue differed slightly from the original, and he composed a new song called 妖々跋扈 ～ Speed Fox (Phantasms' Domination ~ Speed Fox) for it. This song would later be included in sound sepher's first arrange album, Cradle -東方幻樂祀典-, released at the following Comiket.
- Perfect Cherry Blossom at royalflare
- Perfect Cherry Blossom scoreboard at Maidens of the Kaleidoscope
- Perfect Cherry Blossom scoreboard at shmups.system11.org
- Perfect Cherry Blossom shot type comparison, archived at Maidens of the Kaleidoscope
- ZUN's reply to messages on the former Gensou Bulletin Board 3 ― "In Perfect Cherry Blossom, is Phantasm the Hard version of Extra?" "It is the opposite. As you can see by Ran imitating Yukari's attacks, Extra is the Easy version of it. ^^;"