A Dragon (竜 ryū) is usually defined as a large reptilian creature possessing various abilities. They are considered a type of god in much of Asian folklore and monsters in Western folklore.
Dragons in Touhou
The Dragon is the highest god in Gensokyo. It is a being capable of vast amounts of destruction - making thunderstorms occur, destroying mountains and blotting out the sky with a mere roar. However, it is also a deity of creation, responsible for things as fundamental as rainfall or the growth of vegetation. It only reveals itself when Gensokyo is in great peril, and was last seen shortly after the creation of the Great Hakurei Barrier. The dragon once brought dissonance into the world, from which everything was created and organized into the "ten powers". Other dragons exist as well, though little is known about them.
The Statue of the Dragon God
A statue dedicated to the Dragon currently stands in the Human Village. Its eyes are capable of telling the weather with 70% accuracy, as well as warning of incidents. This is presumably functionality added by the kappa who chiseled the statue. In Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, the color scheme of the weathers seems to partially reflect this.
- The color for Sunny (Reimu Hakurei's weather) is white,
- The color for Cloudy (Sakuya Izayoi's weather) is grey,
- The color for Sprinkle/Drizzle (Suika Ibuki/Marisa Kirisame's weather) is blue.
These are all mentioned in the Perfect Memento in Strict Sense article. It's also said that the eyes turn red when an incident is about to occur. Scarlet Weather Rhapsody appears to follow this, as well:
- Remilia Scarlet's weather, "Heavy Fog", is red, as she is the culprit behind the Vampire Incident and Scarlet Mist Incident.
- Yukari Yakumo's weather, "Sunshower", is likewise red. She manipulated the border of the Netherworld to allow Yuyuko Saigyouji to steal spring in Perfect Cherry Blossom.
- Tenshi Hinanawi's weather, "Aurora" is red as well. She caused the entire incident in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, in addition to the destruction of the Hakurei Shrine.
Birth of dragons
Various accounts of dragons coming into existence have been given in the series. There's most likely no uniform rule applying to every dragon.
- Rinnosuke Morichika claims that they are born at sea due to their connection to it, the rain and the heavens. For a dragon to appear, all three must be present. Since Gensokyo doesn't have a sea, an illusory one is used.
- Kasen Ibaraki mentions that dragons can be born from a Dragon Stone (龍石 ryuuseki), a type of Weather Stones (天気石 tenkiishi). They sometimes appear during a change of seasons with an animal living inside, somewhat similar to an egg. Koutei hatched from a Dragon Stone.
- In the 24th chapter of Wild and Horned Hermit, it is said that storm-calling dragons may be born and raised from lizards responsible for the ball lightning (球電) phenomenon. It is also noted that Western and Eastern dragons are thought of as being entirely different creatures, albeit they might have more in common than believed.
Western dragons (西洋のドラゴン seiyō no doragon) are briefly mentioned in chapter 24 of Wild and Horned Hermit, but as not a single one of them has ever been shown, not much about them is known. As noted above, western and eastern dragons are thought of as being entirely different creatures even if they share some traits. Moreover, while eastern dragons are called 龍 (ryū), the western species' name is ドラゴン (doragon), the english word for "dragon" written in katakana.
Examples of dragons
Whether these dragons have any connection to the revered Dragon God is unknown.
Koutei is a young Eastern-style dragon that Kasen is able to control with her abilities. First appearing in Wild and Horned Hermit's 5th chapter, it abducts Reimu under Kasen's orders.
Suiryuu is an entity seemingly revered and feared by the kappa. It was initially thought to be behind the huge spout of water which temporarily destroyed the Genbu Ravine during the attempted capture of Seiga Kaku by Suiki in Wild and Horned Hermit. There also exist Ice Scales which are thought to be the crystallization of this dragon's power. They can only be found during winter and won't melt, even in summer, so they're used by Magicians to power year-round ice magic.
Tenryuu is a dragon living in the skies, seemingly identified with the Big Dipper and called the King of Constellations. This dragon is said to be moving in order to devour the North Star, causing an event that will make Heaven and Earth tremble to occur. After hearing the kappa's explanation, Kasen Ibaraki commented that "dragons will become rulers of everything under Heaven as the Heaven-born dragon dances through the sky".
In Forbidden Scrollery's 9th chapter, the Evil Dragon was accidentally let loose on Gensokyo by Kosuzu Motoori and Marisa Kirisame from the Night Parade Picture Scroll, though its power had waned. Its form is merely that of a winged, black snake, and it has yet to mature into a true dragon. It appears to reside in the sky. Contrary to its name, it has a genial personality, and was grateful to Kosuzu and Marisa for its release, giving them presents in exchange.
Yachie is a Jidiao who is the leader of the Kiketsu Family.
- Hong Meiling uses dragon imagery. Her name, Hong (紅), has the same reading as Hong (虹), a type of dragon. She also utilizes rainbow-colored danmaku, has the word "dragon" in some attack names, and the kanji on her hat, 龍, also means dragon. However, there is no known association beyond this.