nagae ikɯ (♫)
Iku Nagae in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
More Character Titles
Reading the atmosphere
Envoy of the Dragon Palace
Clouds over Gensokyo
- "Getting straight to the point, an earthquake is going to occur."— Iku Nagae (Scarlet Weather Rhapsody Stage 3)
Iku Nagae (永江 衣玖 Nagae Iku) is a messenger of the Dragon Palace, whose job is to observe the daily mood of the atmosphere. She sometimes questions why humans and youkai fight/duel as a part of their daily life.
Iku first appeared in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody as the penultimate boss for most scenarios. From there, she became the stage 10 target in Double Spoiler and had a background appearance in Hopeless Masquerade. With all of her appearances so far only being in spin-off games, she has yet to make an official appearance in a main game.
Iku is a laid-back youkai that never shows interest in other people. The only exception is Tenshi Hinanawi, due to her egoistic attitude and the concern she has seeing her reports, which really worries and irritates Iku. As an envoy of the Dragon Palace, she sends information from the palace to other people. It's said that she is lazy and as a result, she never takes upon the position of a leader because she only observes what other people do. 
- Reading the atmosphere
In her Scarlet Weather Rhapsody official profile, it is stated, "she can read the mood of a place, and adapt to it right away. She doesn't try to break the mood unless there's a very urgent reason. Flexibility is stronger than stiffness. When necessary, she vanishes completely and parries any attack." However, in the neighbourhood where her speech and conduct irritate the opponent, it's a question of whether she truly reads it. (Very much so, it can be conceived that upon reading the atmosphere, she ventures to say things that give her superior mental and emotional standing than her opponent.)
- Borrowing the Dragon's power
According to Aya Shameimaru and Hatate Himekaidou, Iku (and possibly the other messengers from the Dragon Palace) can borrow a bit of the Dragon God's power.
Since the Dragon is known, among other things, for its power to cause rainfall, lightning and thunderstorms, this may be what allows Iku to cause and manipulate lightning on her own.
Additionally, in one interpretation, it might well be that "reading the atmosphere" is "reading the flow of air", and the ability to manipulate it. In actuality, the reason she was able to sense earthquakes was due to looking at the condition of the scarlet clouds, and reading the portents of earthquakes.
Her profile suggests that she's a youkai of oarfishes. In Japanese, oarfishes are called "Ryūgū-no-tsukai" (リュウグウノツカイor 竜宮の使い), which literally means "messenger from the Dragon's Palace". In this case, a dragon is considered as a god of water. Her shawls (and probably the long ribbons on her hat) are apparently modeled after the shape of oarfishes, which have thin, elongated bodies and red fins.
Her full name is Iku Nagae (永江 衣玖). Nagae (永江) means "eternal river", and Iku (衣玖) means "clothing" (衣) and number "9" (玖) or "black-colored jade". So, together, her name might mean "a black jade in (scarlet) clothing at the eternal river".
Her portrait in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody shows her having red eyes and short light indigo hair. She wears a white and red shirt, a long black skirt, and a black hat with a red bow and two long ribbons extending out. She also has a long, opaque, white and red hagoromo, which she wears draped on her arms. Both her hagoromo and blouse glow with scarlet color.
- Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
During the events of Scarlet Weather Rhapsody she finds out that a strong earthquake is going to occur in Gensokyo, so she decides to warn the residents. Afterwards, Yukari Yakumo tells her that the culprit is hiding in the Hakurei Shrine. She then goes back to the shrine and finds Tenshi Hinanawi, who has just inserted a keystone to prevent the earthquake. Iku questions this and thinks of Tenshi as having been "spoiled a bit too much", so she decides to punish her.
- Double Spoiler
In Double Spoiler, Iku made her first shoot 'em up appearance on stage 10 as a target, where she uses a few spell cards and had Aya Shameimaru and Hatate Himekaidou take photos of her and her danmaku.
- Hopeless Masquerade
- Symposium of Post-mysticism
Iku comments to Tenshi that she was supposed to file a report before warning everyone about the earthquake, but couldn't because all of the Hinanawi clan were away from their homes. This implies that one of her duties is to file reports to the Hinanawi clan when an earthquakes about to occur (note, however, that this doesn't mean she's subservient to Tenshi's clan; just that her job requires interacting with them). It's shown in her ending that she saw how spoiled and reckless the eldest child Tenshi was, and was never happy about it. Her win quote to Tenshi implies that Iku often complained to Tenshi about how mad her father was whenever Iku reported him. To Tenshi, however, Iku was just a messenger. Tenshi's unauthorized use of a keystone finally caused Iku to take action and punish Tenshi (and for Tenshi to learn Iku's name), although having no authority over a member of the Hinanawi meant that all Iku could do in the long term was complain about it.
Iku first encounters Suika when Suika's climbing to Heaven to see Tenshi Hinanawi, where she tested Suika before allowing Suika to move on. Suika won, surprising Iku with her power. Iku later runs into Suika while searching for Tenshi Hinanawi to file a report on earthquakes. The oni requests Iku play with her for a bit and fights Iku in a duel. Iku's extremely confused why the oni is still in Heaven, but had to get back to her job. Eventually, after a long string of being attacked by various residents of Gensokyo for no reason whatsoever and an infuriating meeting with Tenshi, the poor exhausted oarfish arrives back in heaven and runs into the oni again. Suika's story of Tenshi giving her land gets the oarfish even more exasperated at the celestial, and Suika cheerfully comforts her and pours her a drink, encouraging Iku to vent her complaints to the oni. It's unknown if they became friends after that or not.
The Cast of Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
Everyone attacked Iku either for no reason (sometimes twice) or because they suspected her of being the cause of the incidents, leaving the oarfish confused. Exceptions are the first battles with Yuyuko Saigyouji and Suika Ibuki (which were tests to see if they could enter heaven) and Sakuya Izayoi (who managed to get Iku mad by blatantly not caring about her warnings, causing Iku to attempt to block her from Heaven. This was presumably a one-time occurrence, as Iku was nice to Sakuya and hoped to try her cooking in Iku's victory quote to her. This is actually perhaps the kindest of Iku's victory quotes, with the rest being sometimes-biting advice).
Yukari Yakumo, Yuyuko Saigyouji, Suika Ibuki, and Tenshi Hinanawi are the only four characters who encounter Iku in story mode that recognize that Iku's a Dragon God messenger, implying they've seen one before.
Oddly, Iku becomes friendly with Yukari Yakumo in Yukari's scenario when Iku learned about the keystone before Yukari. However, Yukari becomes mad at Iku in Iku's scenario when Yukari learned about the keystone before Iku (Yukari's way of informing Iku was much more vicious than Iku's way of informing Yukari).
Iku also has new victory quotes to the new characters in Touhou Hisoutensoku, but there don't seem to be any relationships of note to glean from them.
Iku in Symposium of Post-mysticism, with other characters who don't appear in the book
Iku's sigil in The Grimoire of Marisa
- Iku's spell card declaration pose and some alternate special move poses closely resemble John Travolta's dancing pose from the disco movie Saturday Night Feveras well as the start-up of super robot Great Mazinger's move, Thunder Break.
- Iku's dress and hagoromo resemble that of a Spanish Flamenco dancer, and her movements and poses look a bit like dancing. However, her official profile states that it's a special dress, granting the owner the ability to fly. Maybe it's a reference to some dances, where it looks like the dancer is flying.
- Additionally, it could reference the Noh play Hagoromo, in which a Tennyo maiden loses her hagoromo. A fisherman named Hakuryo finds it, and the Tennyo asks for him to give it back. He told her that he would give the hagoromo back if the Tennyo performed a celestial dance for him, but the Tennyo says that she needed her hagoromo to perform the dance. After the Tennyo tells Hakuryo why he should return it to her, she begins dancing, now donning her hagoromo. Slowly, she starts floating into the sky, eventually disappearing into the mists of Heaven.
- Iku's Profile in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
- Double Spoiler - Stage 10:
Aya: Aagh, the danmaku won't disappear even if I shoot it with my camera. So this is some of the Dragon God's power...I think it's about time I gave my camera a power-up.
Hatate: Seems like the messenger of the Dragon Palace gets to borrow a little of the Dragon God's power. I'm so jealous. The pen is stronger than the gun, but it still can't beat a dragon.
- John Travolta's pose, Iku's pose
- Thunder Break pose
- Facts about Tennyo, as well as a summary for the Noh play Hagoromo.