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Deathbombing is a mechanic present in most mainline Touhou games, which allows the player to survive if they bombed just slightly too late when getting hit by an enemy bullet. Upon dying, there is a very brief time window, most commonly 8 frames (approximately 0.133 seconds), during which the player is able to bomb to cancel the death, causing the death sound to play and the bomb to activate. This amount of time is not sufficient for a human to react to after noticing a death, especially not given that key actuation as well as possible input lag have to be factored in; it is, however, possible to deathbomb deliberately using anticipation prior to being hit and timing a bomb when you expect the hit. The mechanic was introduced in Lotus Land Story and has since been featured throughout the shoot 'em up games in the series.

From Embodiment of Scarlet Devil to Imperishable Night, deathbombs had different windows. Embodiment of Scarlet Devil uses a window of 6 frames (0.1 seconds), which decreases on every successive deathbomb on the same life. Specifically, it decreases by the number of frames between the hit taking place and the deathbomb being performed. Perfect Cherry Blossom features different windows depending on which character you pick, where Reimu has 15 frames (0.25 seconds, possible to react to), Marisa has 8 frames and Sakuya has 6 frames. Imperishable Night does not only have character-specific windows, but also introduces a new bomb system, where if the player deathbombs, they will cast a Last Spell, which is a stronger bomb that costs two bombs instead of one. See bombs in Imperishable Night for details.

In Mountain of Faith, deathbombing does not decrease faith, unlike regular bombs, giving the mechanic a unique niche in score runs. Deathbombing also gives the player character less invincibility frames than regular bombing.

The mechanic also applies to trances in Ten Desires, in which case it is known as deathtrancing (not to be confused with the automatic trance that can ensue when the player dies). Similarly, Wily Beast and Weakest Creature allows the player to cancel a death using Roaring Mode. Supernatural Borders in Perfect Cherry Blossom have the same effect if initiated during a death, but this is unintentional; see bugs in Perfect Cherry Blossom for more details.