- For the beings also known as "Taoist immortals", see Hermit
Immortals are organisms who cannot die under normal circumstances like age. Immortality is divided into two separate groups; one that is based on folklore and the other being based on science. The scientific image of immortality is different than what immortality is often portrayed in religion or popular culture.
Types of Immortality
In folklore, those who achieved immortality cannot die under any circumstances. They are often sealed away or imprisoned as the only method to restrain them. Immortality in humans is sometimes seen as a spiritual crime, while a goal in others. Spirits and gods are often seen as immortal in many religions. Undead being such as the Jiang Shi are immortal to some extent as they can be resurrected after being killed, however they are technically considered dead and are not genuinely immortal.
Biological immortality refers to a being that cannot die of old age, but can still be killed. A small number of biologically immortal creatures exist in real life, such as the Turritopsis nutricula jellyfish. The gods of many religions are biologically immortal, either by nature or due to consuming mystical foods or elixirs.
Immortals in Touhou
Many characters in the Touhou world are biologically immortal, such as vampires, lunarians (as long as they avoid contact with impurity), and hermits. Spirits like phantoms or vengeful spirits are biologically immortal as they can be killed by characters like Youmu Konpaku or Kasen Ibaraki who possess abilities to dispose of them; although because they are already dead/nonliving, they cannot be classified as genuine immortals to begin with. Only a select few of characters are known to be truly immortal.
Person of Hourai
Those who have taken the Hourai Elixir are known as the "people of hourai" (蓬莱人 houraibito or houraijin), and are considered to possess the only form of complete immortality. Hourai immortals are untouched by age or sickness, and can immediately generate new bodies if killed.
Characters under this Bestiary
- This list shows only true immortals (i.e. those who have consumed the Hourai Elixir)
- Wikipedia entry for Immortality
- Wikipedia entry for Immortality (Japanese)
- Wikipedia entry for Biological Immortality
- Wikipedia entry for Biological Immortality (Japanese)