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Sprite of Kikuri in Highly Responsive to Prayers
More Character Titles

God (?)


Around the Rotting World of Flames in Hell

Music Themes
Official Games

Kikuri is a large bronze disc with an image of a girl on it that Reimu Hakurei ecounters in Hell's Rotting World of Flames. Kikuri is the Stage 15 boss on the Hell route of Highly Responsive to Prayers. However, since she has no profile and no dialogue exchange with Reimu, nothing much is known about this enemy.

Character Design


Kikuri is most likely based on Kikurihime (菊理媛 lit. "Lady Kikuri" or "Princess Kikuri") a Shinto goddess who mediated the dispute between the two primordial Shinto creator gods Izanagi and Izanami in Yomi, the Shinto land of the dead. Kikurihime, due to being the mediator of the conversation between Izanami and Izanagi, is said to be the goddess of love, marriage, and negotiation. In fact, it's speculated that her name originally came from the word 括り(kukuri) meaning to bind or to tie (relating to her status as a matchmaking god). She was later conflated with the dragon goddess Shirayamahime, who is worshipped at Mount Haku. Through this she gained the attributes of being a patron god of fertile land and rain.


Her name is displayed in-game as Kikuri. There's no official kana or kanji spelling of her name just like with the rest of the Highly Responsive to Prayers cast, but her name can be written as "菊理" where kiku () means "chrysanthemum", a symbolic flower of Japan, and where ri () means "reason", "logic" or "general principle" in Buddhism.


Her sprite in Highly Responsive to Prayers displays her as a large bronze disk with a fiery purple aura. The disc contains an image of a girl with long hair sporting a content, closed-eye expression. Ribbons or feathers seem to be on both sides of her head, flanking a white dot on her forehead. A similar white orb can be seen between her clasped hands. She also appears to be wearing modern attire, complete with a tie or ascot of some sort. In Highly Responsive to Prayers' "Good Ending #2", Kikuri is seen in a position where she's partially exiting her disk. This implies that she's not some engraving or picture but rather a being inhabiting the disk.

Additional Information

  • Elis and Kikuri share the same theme titled "Magic Mirror". Kikuri's variation uses slightly different instruments in a lower pitch, however.
    • Magic Mirror's Japanese name, 魔鏡 (makyou), refers to a type of traditional bronze mirror brought over from China. These bronze magic mirrors are often used as ritual objects of worship in Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples where they were thought to represent gods or be inhabited by gods.
      • Taking this into account, Kikuri may actually be the goddess Kikurihime inhabiting or possessing a bronze magic mirror.
  • Kikuri's version of Magic Mirror is listed in the files of Highly Responsive to Prayers as "KAMI.MDT", kami (神) being the Japanese word for god.
  • Kikuri is faced in Highly Responsive to Prayers' Hell route likely because the goddess Kikurihime was present in Yomi, the Shinto underworld.
    • In some Japanese translations of the Bible, Yomi is used to replace the words Hades and Hell.
  • Kikuri's title, "HellMoon", may come from the association that mirrors and the moon have in Japanese culture.
    • For example, the moon god Tsukuyomi is said to have been born out of a copper mirror. Another example is the Japanese proverb 鏡花水月 (kyouka sugetsu lit. "mirror flower, water moon") that connects the fleeting, untouchable beauty of a moon being reflected on the surface of water to a flower being reflected on a mirror.
  • In China, there existed "moon mirrors" (方諸 fangzhu) that were used to gather water during the nighttime.
  • Kikuri's connection to the moon might also come from juxtaposition with the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu. Amaterasu's symbol is the yellow chrysanthemum which represents the sun and Japan (The Land of The Rising Sun) as a whole. Kikurihime's symbol is also the chrysanthemum, particularly the white chrysanthemum, which symbolizes death (due to her connection to Yomi) and, if taken to be the opposite of Amaterasu's chrysanthemum, the moon.
    • ZUN had a tendency to reference the Shin Megami Tensei video game series quite a bit during the PC-98 era. The original Shin Megami Tensei on the PC Engine, released in 1993, featured both Kikurihime and Amaterasu, with Kikurihime being a simple palette swap of Amaterasu. Additionally, the area of Hell Kikuri is in, the "Rotting World of Flames" (炎の腐界), is a direct reference to Megami Tensei's "Rotting Sea of Flames" (炎の腐海).
  • Kikurihime is considered to be the honji (manifestion) of the androgynous bodhisattva Kannon (Japanese version of Avalokitesvara) by some Buddhist sects.
    • This may have influenced Kikuri's pose and appearance. Representions of Kannon often have him/her with closed eyes and clasped hands, just like Kikuri. In fact, this idea can adequately explain Kikuri's strange head dot and ball of light. Kannon, like most Buddhist figures, has what's called an urna (白毫 byakugo) on his/her forehead. Kannon is also commonly depicted with a jewel called a cintamani (如意宝珠 nyoi houju) that grants any wish one may desire. This jewel is commonly depicted as a glowing orb of light in Buddhist art. For comparison between the two, see here.
      • It might also explain why Kikuri is in Jigoku (Buddhist Hell) instead of Yomi (Shinto Hell).


Official Sources

Official sources