Benben Tsukumo

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九十九 (つくも)  弁々 (べんべん)
Benben Tsukumo
t͡sɯ̥kɯmo bembeɴ
Benben Tsukumo
Benben Tsukumo in Double Dealing Character
Tsukumogami of an Aging Biwa
More Character Titles
Species

Tsukumogami (biwabokuboku)

Abilities

Making sounds and performing on her own

Music Themes
Appearances
Official Games
Print Works

Benben Tsukumo (九十九 弁々 Tsukumo Benben) is a tsukumogami, transformed from a biwa. She is the older sister of Yatsuhashi Tsukumo, though they are technically not blood related, and just became sentient at the same time.

General Information

Benben first appeared as the Stage 4 boss and midboss of Double Dealing Character, as has also appeared as the fifth day boss of Impossible Spell Card. As a biwa tsukumogami, she carries a biwa, and uses it in her attacks and for her spell cards.

Backstory

Both Benben and Yatsuhashi Tsukumo were once merely an instrument used by others in the Outside World, but eventually they came to Gensokyo. When the Miracle Mallet was used, its magical power flooded into them, and they both became tsukumogami at around the same time. However, they quickly learned where their power was coming from (the Shining Needle Castle) and decided to overthrow society as tools, like Seija Kijin did as well.

Background Information

The motif of hers might be derived from "Bokuboku Biwa" (琵琶牧々), a tsukumogami transforming into biwa houshi. It should be pointed that Bokuboku and Kotofurunushi, would-be Benben's and Yatsuhashi's motives, are drawn next to each other in the facing pages of an ukiyoe aritst Sekien Toriyama's last work, and that Bokuboku is there on the left side. This means the tsukumogami of koto appears earlier and that of biwa later on the book in the traditional Japanese style, the order when the player choose Type A of any character in Double Dealing Character.

Name

Her full name is Benben Tsukumo (九十九 弁々). Her family name "Tsukumo" is a short form of "tsukumogami", her species of youkai, that was changed into different kanji, which can read as the number "99". Her given name "Benben" likely comes from the name of the goddess Benzaiten, as they both have the kanji "" in their names meaning "valve," "speech," or "petal," and because Benzaiten is often depicted holding a biwa. Another possibility is that "Benben" is derived from "ben-ben", an onomatopoeia of deep sound (two deep sounds in this case; "ben" is repeated) from the lute like biwa or shamisen; "be-be-ben" is seen in the bonus chapter of 1st volume of Forbidden Scrollery when Byakuren Hijiri is playing the shamisen.

Design

Benben has short lilac hair with two long ponytails, and purple eyes. Her outfit consists of a brown and black dress, with long white sleeves. She is barefooted and wears a small floral accessory in her hair. She also carries a biwa that is chained to her left hand.

Benben's Appearances

Games

Double Dealing Character
Benben's sprite in DDC

Both Benben and Yatsuhashi appear before the player character in Stage 4, though only one of them fights the player at a time. The fight the player gets is decided by which shot type they choose - if they chose to take their weapon along, they face Benben, and Yatsuhashi earlier on as a mid-boss; if they didn't take their weapon, it's vice-versa. At first, the two of them are under the impression that the heroine is looking to join their side, but it quickly turns violent. After being defeated, she points out the Shining Needle Castle, which is where they're getting their power from.

Between the main game and the extra stage, they were approached by Raiko Horikawa, who explained what had happened - and a way out of their situation. The two tsukumogami had realized that their power was coming from the Miracle Mallet. Not wanting to return to being tools, they successfully replaced the magical power they used to survive as self-aware beings with one from the outside world. The heroine must fight both of them at once.

Spin-offs

Impossible Spell Card

Presumably from hearing or seeing a wanted sign about the mischief-making amanojaku Seija Kijin, Benben appears to be one of the many youkai that tries to capture her. She uses spell cards that are considered impossible to dodge.

Relationships

Yatsuhashi Tsukumo

Yatsuhashi Tsukumo is Benben's younger sister, and serves as a hot-headed, energetic counterpart to Benben's cool and collected demeanor. The two of them are both tsukumogami, so they are not technically related by blood; they call themselves sisters because they were both "born" at roughly the same time.

Raiko Horikawa

Raiko Horikawa is a drum tsukumogami that approached her and Yatsuhashi, and offered to swap out their source of power.

Minor Relationships

Seija Kijin & Shinmyoumaru Sukuna

No dialogue is exchanged between these characters; when mentioned by the heroine, Seija appears to realize she's talking about tsukumogami, but no more than that. They all appear to share the same goal of overthrowing society.

Spell Cards

Additional Information

Official Profiles

Official Sources