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The Animal Realm in Wily Beast and Weakest Creature
The Animal Realm (畜生界 Chikushoukai) is a loosely-defined region of Hell (often treated as a separate neighboring realm) that is inhabited by countless animal spirits. As befits a realm related to Hell, the Animal Realm is a harsh place ruled by survival of the fittest, and human spirits are enslaved on the lowest rung of the animals' hierarchy.
While not directly connected to Gensokyo, it's possible to travel between the two by passing through greater Hell. The presence of border guards in Hell makes this difficult except during extenuating circumstances, however.
The Animal Realm is loosely based on the Tiryagyoni desire realm (畜生界, Chikushoukai) in real-world Buddhist cosmology, from where the in-universe location takes its name. In real-world Buddhist cosmology, the Tiryagyoni realm is the state of existence inhabited by non-human animals on Earth, and is distinct from the "Hell realm" of Naraka.
Geography and People
The majority of the Animal Realm is a skyscraper-filled metropolis, with one remaining forested region known as the Primate Spirit Garden where the human spirits are kept. The Garden is surrounded by a swamp, with its central island bearing a strong resemblance to the real-world Daisenryou Kofun, and is treated as a recreational area by the realm's animal inhabitants. During the events of Wily Beast and Weakest Creature, a high-tech fortress was built in the middle of the garden by Keiki Haniyasushin, but it may have been destroyed after her defeat.
The Animal Realm is ruled by four yakuza-esque gangs: Saki Kurokoma's Keiga Family, characterized by strength and brute force, Yachie Kicchou's Kiketsu Family, characterized by underhanded attacks from the shadows, Yuuma Toutetsu's Gouyoku Alliance, characterized by aerial warfare, and a fourth unnamed organization which specializes in cowardly methods of attack such as traps, camouflage, and parasitism. It's said that survival in the Animal Realm practically necessitates working for one of these gangs.
Names of the Groups
The name of Yachie's family, the Kiketsu (鬼傑), roughly translates to "relentless excellence".
The name of Saki's family, the Keiga (勁牙), translates to "strong fang". The character 勁 kei ("strong" or "agile") also appears in the prefix of most of her Spell Cards.
The first part of Yuuma's alliance's name, Gouyoku (剛欲), roughly translates to "obstinate avarice". It shares its pronunciation with the deadly sin of Greed (強欲). This name is also present in the title of Touhou Gouyoku Ibun.
Animal Realm's Appearences
- Wily Beast and Weakest Creature
During the events of Wily Beast and Weakest Creature, the collective faith of the Animal Realm's human spirits summoned Keiki Haniyasushin, who took over the Primate Spirit Garden in the name of liberating the human spirits. She was aided in this effort by an army of haniwa soldiers (including Mayumi Joutouguu) that she created, which had no innate spiritual qualities and thus could not be harmed by the animal spirits. The animal spirits responded by taking advantage of Hell's current political turmoil to secretly travel to Gensokyo and enlist the help of the protagonist-- either Reimu Hakurei, Marisa Kirisame or Youmu Konpaku-- under false pretenses, followed by the protagonist successfully defeating Keiki (albeit without fully understanding what was going on).
Following Keiki's defeat, the Animal Realm returned to business as usual. Shortly thereafter, Saki Kurokoma attempted to invade Gensokyo herself, and was defeated by the protagonist.