Hong Meiling

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(ホン) (メイ) (リン)
Hong Meiling
xʊ̜ŋ˧˥ meɪ̯˨˩˨liŋ˧˥ (♫)
Hong Meirin, Hoan Meirin
Hong Meiling
Hong Meiling in Touhou Hisoutensoku
Chinese Girl
More Character Titles
Species

Youkai

Abilities

Usage of Qi

Occupation

Gatekeeper and Gardener of the Scarlet Devil Mansion

Location

Scarlet Devil Mansion

Music Themes
Appearances
Official Games
Print Works

Hong Meiling (紅 美鈴 Hon Meirin) is a youkai, though it isn't currently known which specific category she actually belongs to. She's the gatekeeper of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She is known for her mastery of the martial arts, part of which can be seen from her movement which is performed with Shin-Kyaku (a move in Chinese martial arts).

General Information

Meiling first appeared as the Stage 3 boss and midboss of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. Later she became a playable character in Immaterial and Missing Power, one of Stage 5's targets in Shoot the Bullet, and one of the three protagonists of Touhou Hisoutensoku.

Meiling is a proud Chinese-style martial arts master and a youkai.

Personality

Meiling is very laid-back, which sometimes gets her into trouble, and is known to take siestas while on the job. She regularly receives challengers and is a worthy opponent of the strong. She isn't outwardly aggressive towards humans unless they are trying to trespass on Scarlet Devil Mansion property, though it seems the only humans who trespass are powerful enough to defeat her in the first place. She'll also sometimes have conversations with bypassers.

Many of her lines in Touhou Hisoutensoku indicate that Meiling has boastful pride in China (though she does also says she loves Gensokyo with all her heart): "You're all not there yet! You're all children compared to 4000 years of history!" comparing Yuyuko Saigyouji to a Jiang Shi, and noting that Tenshi Hinanawi and the Celestials read Chinese works. (Many of Tenshi's win quotes in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody come from Chinese classics.) This is how Chinese characters in Japanese media are commonly depicted; stereotypically prideful. The script also reveals that she seems to spend a lot of time reading manga written by the tengu.

Ability

Meiling's mastery of Tai Chi Chuan is her main ability in combat, but other than that, she has no youkai-like ability. While not particularly strong as a youkai, she is described as being well-rounded, with no particular weak point when fighting humans; this is likely why she was hired to watch the gate of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

Usage of Qi

This Qi () is not an ability to skillfully be kind and considerate of others – this Qi is not the same as how it is used in the word "kikubari" (気配り) meaning "attentiveness or consideration for others". Rather, it is the kind of Qi that pertains to auras, the Qi of martial arts. It's an ability to see and discern the shapes of energies and auras within the body. It is the exact same Qi that is used frequently in other works outside Touhou Project, but this could be a coincidence. Her danmaku as well as her flight is probably due to this ability.

Occupation

Meiling works as the gatekeeper and gardener of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She also acts as the doorkeeper when there's a party at the mansion. She performs Tai Chi Chuan daily, and has a nap at noon.

Background Information

Meiling's depiction in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense

Name

Her full name is Hong Meiling (紅 美鈴 Hon Meirin). The character for Hong () literally means "Scarlet/Crimson" in Japanese and "Red" in Chinese. Meiling (美鈴) means "Beauty Bell/Chime". The latter part of her name, Meiling, is at least a common Chinese name. Her full name is a referrence to Hong Mei, a tai chi grandmaster. These characters can be read in Japanese as "Kurenai Misuzu", and you'll sometimes see her name mispronounced or miswritten that way. Using English name order, her name would actually be "Meiling Hong", which is used normally by Chinese diaspora or immigrants into Western countries. Some sources and media may often read Chinese names in Japanese on'yomi, rendering her name as "Kou Birei/Kou Mirin". Meiling's name is often rendered in pinyin/Mandarin instead.

Hong () is "kou" in the on reading, "Hóng" in standard Chinese and "Hhong" in Shanghainese. It could possibly refer to the Red Guards (紅衛兵, Pinyin: Hóng Wèibīng), a youth movement of the cultural revolution of China. This is reinforced by her clothing. The word "guard" also has the meaning of "gatekeeper" as well. Thus, it could indicate a pun, where "guard of the family name Hong = Red Guard." "Hong" also appears in the title of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil (東方魔郷). However, the name of the game in its developmental stages was 東方茶館, thus indicating that it has a strong relation to the of black tea (紅茶).

Additionally, her first name could also stand for , which means rainbow, since it has the same on reading as as well as the same pronunciation in standard Chinese and Shanghaiese. However, it also is synonymous with a two-headed dragon-like creature in a Chinese-context, thus the hóng dragon's rainbow associations may be reflected in Meiling's title of "Colorful Rainbow Gatekeeper", the naming theme of some of her spell cards, and her bullet patterns and attacks being usually rainbow-colored.

Her name was spelled by ZUN as in Immaterial and Missing Power and the corrected version of Sangetsusei as Hong Meirin. Her name became Hoan Meirin in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense. Though in pinyin, it would be "Meiling"; there is not a single source within the Touhou Project itself that states that it is spelled in this manner. Additionally, Meiling says "Geez, please remember my name~" in a win quote in Immaterial and Missing Power while ZUN didn't know how to answer the question "Is Chuugoku's name forgotten?"[1]

Design

Meiling has aqua-blue eyes and long, scarlet hair that symbolizes both her name and the place that she's guarding. Her green beret and dress resemble traditional Chinese clothing mixed with the red guard uniform. Her beret has a gold star on the front with the Traditional Chinese character "" that is read and pronounced as "lóng" in standard Chinese and means dragon. She wears white pants in her fighting game sprites.

Meiling's Appearances

Games

Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
Meiling's sprite in EoSD

During the events of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, she bravely fought against the intruding heroines, but ultimately failed. She ends up being followed by the player character to the mansion against her will, initiating another fight.

Spin-offs

Immaterial and Missing Power

Meiling was made playable in Immaterial and Missing Power through a downloadable patch, but she was the only one to not be given a scenario. She is almost universally considered a bottom tier character in the game as well, despite the fact that she has some of the most impressive combos in the game, as shown here.

Shoot the Bullet
Meiling's sprite in StB

In Shoot the Bullet, Aya Shameimaru encountered Meiling on stage 5 and took photos of her danmaku.

Touhou Hisoutensoku

In Touhou Hisoutensoku, she saw a roaming giant that she was certain was an incarnation of a God of Calamity, "Taisui Xingjun". However, those she warned didn't realize the seriousness of the situation they were facing. Thus it was up to Meiling alone to defend the Scarlet Devil Mansion and all of Gensokyo from this destructive deity. After defeating some pseudo-characters sent as assassins, she defeats a Giant Catfish and faces Taisui himself, then realizing it was all a dream. It may be worth noting that despite her comically strange scenario, she is considered by Soku communities to generally be a high tier character in this game unlike in Immaterial and Missing Power.

Literature

Meiling at a loss regarding the "crop circle" in Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red.
Patchouli revealing to Meiling that she is the one behind the crop circle.
Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red

One day, a mysterious crop circle appears in the gardens of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, causing widespread speculation, rumors and gossip around the Mansion.

Meiling, who is responsible for taking care of the garden, claims not to be the culprit, but admits that she's been tasked by Remilia to restore the garden to its original state now that her mistress has become bored with the crop circle pattern. During her interview with Aya Shameimaru, she notes she is quite worried, as she has no idea how to change the flowers back. Questioned about the crop circle's origins, Meiling vehemently denies falling asleep, so Aya goes on to talk about aliens...

The culprit revealed at the end is Patchouli Knowledge.

Touhou Bougetsushou

During the party to celebrate the completion of Remilia's Moon rocket in Silent Sinner in Blue, Meiling was briefly shown guarding the gates of the Scarlet Devil Mansion as invitees walked by. Expanded on in Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth, Meiling was in charge of vetting invitations. She gave a speech about how she would not let anyone through without the proper invites, but the residents of Eientei simply walked past her while she was giving it. Meiling managed to get them to show her their invites, but got bombarded by so many invites from so many rabbits that a whole slew of people (the Eientei group included) got by. Inside the mansion, the group ran into Sakuya Izayoi, causing Reisen Udongein Inaba to remember how powerful Sakuya was and think about how her job of managing the entire Scarlet Devil Mansion put her on a whole new level compared to that gate guard.

About two months later, in an unrelated incident, Eirin Yagokoro infiltrated the Scarlet Devil Mansion and met Patchouli Knowledge in the library. Patchouli wondered what happened to the gate guard, to which Eirin commented that she played tough, but all she needed to get past her was a "light greeting".

Wild and Horned Hermit

In Chapter 16 of Wild and Horned Hermit, it appears that because Remilia Scarlet and Sakuya Izayoi were both drinking from the Ibaraki Box of a Hundred Medicines at a flowering viewing, they started to violently tease Meiling.

Relationships

Meiling has at least communicated to the entire cast of Touhou Hisoutensoku and may be on friendly terms with anyone who walks nearby the gates of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

Residents of the Scarlet Devil Mansion

Remilia Scarlet

Remilia is Meiling's mistress. Being the type of person Remilia is, she tends to tease all her subordinates, and Meiling is no exception. She does get mad at her sometimes if things don't go her way, but the two are generally on friendly terms, and in Touhou Hisoutensoku it's suggested that Remilia reads some of the same manga Meiling does.

Sakuya Izayoi

Sakuya is a fellow employee of Meiling. Meiling's win quote against Sakuya Izayoi in Touhou Hisoutensoku implies a friendly, if somewhat formal, relationship between the two of them (rather than the comically abusive relationship often depicted in fan works). In those quotes, Meiling also tells Sakuya that she always goes easy on her, so it seems they do spar often. She also claims that she wouldn't go easy on the maid if it were a formal match, but it's unknown how much effort there is on Sakuya's part, or if Meiling's claims about her strength are true at all. Sakuya is also shown to care for Meiling, though is strict about her not slacking off.

Patchouli Knowledge

Patchouli is the friend of her mistress, and sometimes berates her for not thinking enough and spending too much time reading senseless comics.

Fairy maids and other staff

The fairy maids assist Meiling in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, but it's unknown what sort of authority she has over the fairy maids in the mansion. Perfect Memento in Strict Sense imples that youkai also join in Meiling's battles on a whim, but instead usually only point and laugh.

Flandre Scarlet

Flandre is Remilia's younger sister. It's unknown what kind of relationship Meiling and Flandre have, however.

Minor Relationships

Taisui Xingjun and the giant catfish

Taisui Xingjun is Meiling's sworn enemy and the Giant Catfish is the avatar of Taisui Xingjun. They both only appeared in her dream while she was reading a manga, so any realistic communications with them is so far not shown.

Gallery

Skills

Spell Cards

Additional Information

  • Meiling became a playable character in Immaterial and Missing Power through a downloadable patch, although she wasn't given a a scenario.
  • If Meiling loses to Youmu in Touhou Hisoutensoku, Youmu will ask if Meiling shouldn't just use a weapon, namely a green dragon blade. This can be a source of confusion, since many would imagine the legendary Green Dragon Crescent Blade wielded by the famous Chinese general Guan Yu, but women seldom use pole arms in Chinese martial arts. In Japan, the term has become a common misnomer for the liuyedao and other Chinese sabers. As Youmu admits she has only heard about them in stories, the use of her local, incorrect term is likely intentional.
  • One of her normal bullet attacks (along with a few of her skill cards) in Touhou Hisoutensoku resembles Krizalid's Typhoon/Tuhon Rage from The King of Fighters '99, 2000, and 2002: Unlimited Match.
  • Meiling looks very similar to Orange.
  • Meiling is one of the few characters to not make a cameo appearance in Hopeless Masquerade. The reason is currently unknown.
  • Meiling is loosely based on Hong Mei (red eyebrows), a Tai Chi grandmaster and leader of the buddhist shaolin temple where the five elders of Kung fu are from.

Fandom

Meiling is amongst one of the popular characters in the Touhou Project. She's shown typically as a Chinese character that has a tendency to be portrayed as a joke character that chronically naps, often earning herself as knife in the head from Sakuya (if not out of breast envy) as well as additional poor treatment from the rest of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

Official Profiles

Official Sources

References