Strange Creators of Outer World/Touhou Spell Cards FAQ

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巻頭大特集
いまさら聞けない!?
東方スペルカードFAQ

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Touhou Spell Card FAQ

東方Projectの原作ゲームを楽しむうえで洗礼を浴びる、もとい堪能することになる「スペルカード」―― ZUN氏によって命名された「名前の付いた弾幕」。「シューティングゲームとして、弾幕を見せることは非常に重要だしビジュアルの主役」と語るZUN氏だが、その弾幕が主役の新作書籍「The Grimoire of Usami」発売に合わせて、いまさら聞けない弾幕についてのあれこれについて聞いてみた。

Spell Cards: "named danmaku" christened by ZUN, and one of the major elements that players will suffer through-- ahem, that players will come to appreciate while enjoying Touhou Project games. According to ZUN, "showing off the danmaku is an extremely important element in my shooting games, and the main role of the game's visuals." In honor of the upcoming release of The Grimoire of Usami, a new print work where danmaku takes center stage, we took the opportunity to ask some questions about the very basics of that danmaku.

Q.そもそも「スペルカード」ってなんですか。

Q. For starters, what is a Spell Card?

――

今回はスペルカードについての今更な質問をぶつけていきたいと思います。断じて、うっかり忘れてたりとかではありません。

Today, I'd like to take the time to throw you some super-basic questions about Spell Cards. This is definitely not because the topic had slipped our minds up until now, I swear.

ZUN
(hereafter Z)

そこからですか(笑)。

You're starting off with that? (laugh)

――

東方Projectが多くの人に知られるようになってからだいぶ経ちますので。そもそも、東方として一作目から「スペルカード」と言っていたわけではないですよね。

Quite a long time has passed since the Touhou series became widely-known, after all. In the first place, Touhou didn't have Spell Cards right from the first game, did it?

Z

はじめて「スペルカード」という名称を使ったのは「東方紅魔郷」のときです。それまでにも弾幕が出るゲームを作ってはいましたが、弾幕が主役のゲームにするにはどうしたらいいんだろう、って考えて。そこで、ただ敵が攻撃して弾を出してくるだけじゃなくて、その攻撃に名前を付けようということにしたんです。それがスペルカードですね。スペルカードは「敵の攻撃にキャラクター性をもたせる」「弾幕を使ってくるキャラクター性を表現・補完する」っていう発想から生まれたわけです。

The first time I used the term "Spell Card" was in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, yes. I had made games with danmaku before then, too, but I got to thinking "what would be the best way to make a game where the danmaku itself takes center stage?" So, I decided that instead of just having the enemies attack with bullets, I'd give each of those attacks its own name. That's what Spell Cards are. They came from the idea of "giving enemy attacks their own unique sense of character," and "using danmaku to depict and complement aspects of the characters themselves".

Q.「スペルカード」って、実際にカードがあるんですか?

Q. Are "Spell Cards" literally a kind of card?

――

スペルカードっていうからには、実際に何らかカード状のものが存在している、と思ってる人は多いんじゃないでしょうか。「求聞史紀」の巻末資料での記述をみると「(前略)その紙をスペルカードと呼ぶ」と紙の存在は示されています。

Given that they're called "Spell Cards," there are probably a lot of people who assume that they're some kind of actual, card-like object. In one of the documents at the end of Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, it's written that "(...) these papers will be called Spell Cards," which indicates the existence of actual paper.

Z

スペルカードの「カード」は、元々は御札ですからね。名前に「なんとか符」ってついてる通り、符、つまり御札のことを指しているんです。

Yes, the "Card" part of "Spell Card" originally came from paper amulets. Like how they've got "such-and-such fu ()" appended to their names; that fu () is referring to ofuda (御札).

――

確かに霊夢とかは御札を持ってそうです。

You'd certainly expect characters like Reimu to carry a lot of paper amulets.

Z

キャラクターが使う魔法的、呪術的なもののイメージとして、そういう名前がついてるだけなんですよね。そういうことがすっかり形骸化して、今となってはそういう設定もあったんだろうな、みたいな状態です。

It's just a name, though; it's meant to give an impression of the magic spells, curses and so on that the characters are using. By now, that sort of thing has just become a simple formality. Like, "oh, I used to have some worldbuilding like that in mind, didn't I?"

――

マジックアイテム的なイメージだったんですね。キャラによってはすごいたくさんのスペルカードを持っていて、ゲームによって使ってくる時と使ってこない時があるじゃないですか。あれは、たとえば異変の時に実際にカードを持ち出しているわけなんですね。

So you used to picture them as a kind of magic item. Some characters have a huge number of Spell Cards, and they may or may not use different ones depending on the game, don't they? As if they're actually carrying a set of cards with them during incidents and so on.

Z

たしか昔は待ってたんですよ。いつぐらいまでだったかはすぐに思い出せないけど、一応ちゃんとキャラクターの周りを回っているんです。いつの間にか無くなってましたけどね。

They did! They used to, certainly. I can't remember how long I did this for off the top of my head, but they were technically there, orbiting around the characters. I got rid of it at some point, though.

――

あー、ボスの周りの(笑)。

Ohh, those little squares flying around them. (laugh)

Z

あれがスペルカードですよ。そういう設定で始まったんです。本当はあれでボスの残りスペルカード枚数とかがわかるようにしようかなと思ってたけど、あんまり見た目が面白くないんで……。カードを2枚しか持ってないのに、2枚だけ周りを回ってても微妙だしさ。それに、後半に行くたびにカードが減っていくのもそれはそれで変というか、派手さが失われるし。まあそういういろいろなことによって、ただのエフェクトになった(笑)。

Those are the Spell Cards! That's what they were supposed to be, at first. I actually thought about making them match the number of cards each boss had left, but it didn't look very interesting in practice... Like, a boss might only have 2 cards, but it seemed pretty lacking to just have two of those little things floating around them. And as you reach the end of each fight, seeing the number of cards dwindle was also pretty weird-- it lost some of the spectacle, I should say. And, well, thanks to various factors like that, it just ended up being a neat visual effect (laugh).

――

現在、ボスが持っているスペルカードの枚数は、体力バーの横に表示があって段々と減っていく仕様ですね。

And nowadays, the number of Spell Cards each boss has is represented by those stars next to their health bar, which decrease along with it.

Q.○○符「xxxx」、という命名がほんとんどですが、○○の部分とxxの部分の違いってなんですか?

Q. Most cards have names like OO Sign "XXXX", but what's the difference between the OO and the XX parts?

――

スペルカードの名称に関してなんですけど、御札というわりにはかなり自由な命名というか。カッコの中と外の、それぞれにどういう意味や区別があるのでしょうか。

Our next question's about Spell Card terminology. For something that started from the idea of paper amulets, there certainly seems to be a lot of... freedom when it comes to their names. What's the difference between the inside and outside of the quotation marks, and what significance does each of them have?

Z

あれは、一つ一つの必殺技の名前をイチから考えていくと名前をつけるのに結構苦労するから、法則を作ったんです。カッコの前が「こういうジャンルの攻撃です」で、内側が「こういう名前です」と。この法則をベースに最初は名前を考えていました。左側がジャンルということになってるので、ここが同じ名称のスペルカードは結構あるわけです。こういう攻撃なんだよ、という。火属性だ、水属性だ、レベルの考え方ですね。カッコの中身は、本当にただの名前です。

Well, I felt that I'd struggle quite a bit if I tried coming up with a unique name for every single special move from scratch, so I made some rules to follow. The part before the quotation marks says "this attack fits into this particular genre," and the part inside says "this is the attack's name." That's the format I used to come up with names when I was starting out. The left-hand part is the category of attack, so there's quite a lot of Spell Cards that share a single term. Like, "this is what kind of attack this is". This one's fire element, this one's water element, just thinking about it on that sort of level. The part in quotations really is just a name, nothing more.

――

なるほど。では、そのジャンルがない「xx」だけの……たとえば「レッドマジック」みたいなスペルカードの命名には、いったいどういう意味があるのでしょうか。

I see. So, when it comes to cards with just the "XX" part and no category... cards like "Red Magic," for example. What significance would that have?

Z

ジャンルを付けていないスペルカードは、他と同じものがないっていう特別なものです。どのジャンルにも属さないぐらい特別なものですよ、という。名前の付け方も演出の一つですからね。それもたくさん付けてきたけど、もうルールがよくわからなくなってきた。初期のころの考え方でいえば、そこは御札のジャンルなんで。例えば霊符っていう御札があったとしたら、それを使った必殺技の一つみたいなものをイメージしていましたね。

Spell Cards without a genre attached are special; they have nothing in common with any others. It's like saying, "look out! This attack is so special that it doesn't fit into any category!" The name given to a card serves as part of its dramatic impact as well, after all. I named a lot of cards like this too, but honestly, I don't even know what the rules are supposed to be anymore. When it comes to my initial way of thinking about it, that part was the category of amulet. Like, imagine that there was an amulet called "Spirit Sign", for example. I'd picture it as a single special move that made use of that amulet.

――

それを一番ビジュアライズされてるのは、「萃夢想」じゃないですか。ゲーム中でスペルカードを使用するとき、まず「宣言」のコマンドを入れて宣言が成立した後じゃないとスペルカードの攻撃ができないですよね。その宣言をする時にキャラクター毎に異なる色の御札が出てくるんですよ、こういうふうに使ってるっていうイメージをあの時に黄昏さんに伝えたんだろうなって。

Perhaps Immaterial and Missing Power might be the work that visualizes the concept most directly? When you use a Spell Card in that game, you have to input the "Declaration" command before you can attack with it. And during the declaration animation, you pull out a little paper amulet, with a different color for each character. I can picture you giving Tasogare instructions back then, about that concept of how they were used.

Z

そうそう、最初はああいうイメージだったんですよ。どんどんバリエーションが増えるごとに、別にそのルールも必要が無くなってくるなみたいな。例外が増えすぎてよくわからなくなってきた。元々の考えではいまみたいな話で作ったんだけど、それも結局「紅魔郷」を作ってる途中くらいからどんどんと訳わからなくなってきて、もうただの必殺技の名前でよくないかな? とか制作中には既に思っちゃったりして。でもまあいいかみたいな。法則性があることが、肝の部分じゃないから。

Yeah, that! That's how I pictured them starting out. But as more and more variations came about, there wasn't really any need for that rule anymore, either. There's so many exceptions that the rules hardly even matter by now. I used to come up with them in this format that I'm describing now, but even that got really vague while I was still in the middle of making Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. I already found myself thinking "wouldn't it be fine to just give them regular special-move names?" in the middle of production. But I thought "nah, this is fine too." Having a concrete format isn't the main point to begin with, after all.

――

あくまでスパイスの部分なのですね。でも、そこで例えば「幻符」の次のカードのジャンルが「メイド秘技」だったら、一瞬びっくりするじゃないですか。

It just adds some spice to it, in the end. But you'd certainly be startled if, for example, "Illusion Sign" was followed by a card in the "Maid Secret Skill" genre, of all things.

Z

名前の付け方まで合わせての演出なんですよね。ここ2文字じゃなくて良いんだ、みたいな(笑)。作ってるこっちとしても、自由に作っていいんだなって思うわけです。自分が作ったルールを自分で破るというか。自分が作った設定をなにがなんでも守らなきゃっていう発想は僕にはなくて、もうがんがん破っていく。だから遊んでる側はよくわからなくて、これなんなんだろうみたいになりがちではある。ちゃんとした設定になっていないんですよ。

The name is part of the spectacle too, after all. Like, "yeah, this part deserves more than 2 kanji!" (laugh). Even though I'm the one making them, I think it's good to play around with it freely. Setting up my own rules and then breaking them, I suppose? I don't feel like I have to force myself to adhere to the concepts I already came up with. I just plow on ahead. But that also means that it can get pretty alienating for the player-- like, "what the heck is this supposed to be?". There's no proper rulebook for it at all.

――

制作者「あるある」と言えば、そうかもしれませんね。

A lot of developers might find that pretty relatable, yeah.

Z

一応考えたほうとしては、最初に自分で作った設定があって、それを自分の中で勝手に破っちゃったけど、そういう設定すら作らずに名前だけ付けていたらきっとどこかでネーミングに行き詰まるので、こうなってよかったのかなとは思います。

As someone who did at least think up all this stuff at one point... I had a set of rules that I initially made, and from my own perspective I may have long since broken those rules, but if I'd just tried coming up with names without even making those rules in the first place, I'm sure I would've hit a roadblock with it. So I'm glad I did it, in the end.

Q.スペルカードって、名前を先に決める? それとも見た目が決まってから名前を付ける?

Q. Do you decide on a Spell Card's name first? Or do you give them names after deciding on their appearance?

――

スペルカードを命名するのと、実際の弾幕を作るのって、どういう順番なんでしょう。

When you name a Spell Card, and make the actual danmaku, what order do you do it in?

Z

弾幕を作った後に命名する……、いや命名が先の場合もありますね。

I name them after making the danmaku... actually, no, the name comes first sometimes.

――

このキャラだったらこういう名前のカードも使ってきそう、みたいな?

Like, "this particular character would probably use a card with this sort of name?"

Z

「このキャラクターに関連してるこの名前は絶対使いたい。それに合わせた弾幕はどうやって見せたらいいか」っていうのが、結構あるかもしれないです。イメージで、「その設定とこの名前だったらどういう風にしよう」みたいな。わかりやすいのだと、豊聡耳神子の、眼光「十七条のレーザー」とかでしょうか。「十七条」を入れた名前でやりたいというか、入れることを先に決めてから、レーザーを十七本出すような弾幕にするにはどうするかを考える、みたいな。そうして考えてみたら、他のスペルカードも名前を決めてそれをどう表現するか、という順番のほうが多いと思いますね。

When I think about it, there might be a lot of times where I think "I definitely want to use this term that's related to this character, so how should I go about making a danmaku pattern that matches it?". I picture in my head, "with this concept and this name, what kind of pattern should it be?". An easy example would be Toyosatomimi no Miko's Discernment "Laser of Seventeen Articles". I wanted to use a name that included "Seventeen Lines" (十七条)-- like, I decided on that name first, and then I thought about how to make danmaku where she literally fired seventeen lines of lasers. That sort of thing. Now that I really think about it, I think it's more common for me to come up with a name first, and then think about how to depict it afterward.

――

「条」っていう単語がレーザーの本数とすごくマッチしていました。

The character "" matched with the number of lasers so well!

Z

あれはやらざるを得ないというか(笑)。レーザーの数え方は条だよなと思って。

I just had to include that one! (laugh) I figured that if you're counting lasers, "" (line) would definitely be the character to use.

――

神子の弾幕では冠位十二段のネタとかもあって、しかも弾幕で使われている弾の色がちゃんと冠位十二段の配色になってるんですよね。上のほうの弾が位の高い紫色になってる! みたいな(笑)。

Miko's danmaku references the Twelve-Level System, too, and the danmaku actually has bullets colored to match each of the caps and ranks. Like, the bullets up top are purple, so they're the highest-ranking! (laugh)

Z

あれも、順番を間違えちゃいけないなと思って(笑)。でも黒は表現が難しいから、灰色になっちゃいました。結構そういうネタは多いんですね、神奈子の「オンバシラ」系のやつだって、制作の最初から入れることは決まってましたから。物語の中心にいたり、強力だったりするボスほどそういうのが多いですね。

Yeah, I had to be careful not to mess up the order (laugh). But black was hard to represent, so it ended up being dark grey. There's really a lot of references like that, when you get down to it. Like Kanako's "Onbashira" series. I had decided on including that one right at the beginning of production. The closer a boss is to the center of the story, or the stronger they are, the more of those references they tend to include.

――

強いボスほど設定が固まってる、ということかもしれませんね。

Perhaps because the strongest bosses have the most concrete background?

Z

たしかに設定次第かな。そんな感じで僕は名前から先に作るんだけど、黄昏さんと一緒に作るときは、向こうでイメージして上がってきたビジュアルに僕が後から名前をつけることがあって、結構その時は苦労するんです。黄昏さんが「こういうことをイメージしました」って説明してくれたものに乗っかって、それ通りの名前をつけるのも微妙だから、違う感じの名前を改めて考えたりすることも多いですし。

It can depend on their background setting, certainly. So that's how I make them-- usually name-first-- but when I'm collaborating with Tasogare-san, there are times when the rest of the team comes up with a concept, and I give it a name based on its appearance afterward. I tend to have a tough time in those cases, honestly. Tasogare-san very kindly explains "this is what we were picturing with this idea," but to me, it feels weird to just give it a straightforward name based on that. So there are a lot of times when I deliberately try to think of a name with a different feeling to it.

――

もちろん黄昏さんもしっかりとしたイメージを元にスペルカードの演出を作ってるでしょうから、やっぱり命名がキャラの表現の大きな要素の一つみたいな話になってくるんですよね。その部分でもどれだけそのキャラクターらしさを作るかどうかみたいな。

Of course, I imagine that Tasogare-san themselves take care to render each Spell Card based on a solid base image, so choosing a good name must really be an important factor when it comes to depicting each character. "How much can we make this character's personality shine through in this one aspect?", and the like.

Z

ネーミングでは、キャラっぽさは一番重要なのかもしれないですね。でもそればかり気にしていると、すぐに文字数の制限を忘れて困ったりしてね(笑)。日本語の名称は大丈夫なんですけど、英語をカタカナで書くとすぐ文字数がオーバーしちゃって。アルファベットで書いていれば全然納まるんでしょうけど……そういう都合で無理やり名前を納めることはあります。

Making it match the character might be the most important part of the naming process, yes. But if I only focus on that, I end up forgetting about the space limitations right away! (laugh) Japanese terminology is fine, but when I write English words in katakana, I go over the character limit so fast. It'd be easy to compress it by writing it in the Latin alphabet, but... well, at any rate, there are times when I'm forced to trim the names for reasons like that.

Q.弾幕を作るときに重要なこととは?

Q. What's important when it comes to making danmaku?

――

このインタビューの準備でひたすらスペルカードを見てきたんですけど、これ数学が好きな人じゃないと作ってられないだろうなって気にはすごくなって。スペルカードを作るときに実際なにが重要だと感じますか。

I spent a long time watching nothing but Spell Cards as preparation for this interview, and it got me thinking that you'd have to really love math to even try making something like this. What do you feel is most important when you're actually making a Spell Card?

Z

どうだろう(笑)。数学だなって言いたいところだけど、そんなに数学的なセンスを使っている訳でもなんでもなくて。ただ、数値が好きじゃないとね。

Good question (laugh). I'd like to say that math is important, but even I don't have that much of an affinity for math, myself. But you definitely have to love numbers.

――

形状や難易度のコントロールにはある程度以上は必須かと想像します。

I imagine that at least a certain level of expertise is essential for fine-tuning the shapes and difficulty levels.

Z

本当に細かくひとつひとつを制御すると、一つの弾幕を作るだけでヘトヘトになっちゃう。そうするとこの弾幕の数多い要素を一つの式でどう表すかが重要になって、それを何個か組み合わせる。どんな複雑なスペルカードでも大体要素は2つぐらいしかない、3つあるやるもあるかなぁ……たぶんほとんど2つしかない。1つだけのやつもあるけど凄いシンプルな弾幕になるので、大体2つあります。

If I try to micromanage it down to a really fine level, I get exhausted even just making one pattern. So then, what's important is figuring out how to express many elements of the danmaku in just a single formula. Then I take several of those formulas and assemble them together. Even the most complicated Spell Cards tend to only have about 2 major elements. Well, there's some that have 3... but mostly it's no more than 2. There's some with only 1 major element, but that makes for a really simple pattern, so it's generally 2.

――

ただ放出する弾と自機狙いの弾の違いみたいな?

Something like the difference between bullets that fire randomly and bullets that fire directly at the player?

Z

例えばそれを組み合わせることもあるし、放出するものでも計算式の組み合わせるで変わるところがある。ただもう、弾幕を作るのが当たり前すぎてなにが大切かわからない(笑)。そういうのを作るのにどういうところで躓くかもわからなくなってきました。

There's times when I combine those, for example, and even the randomly-fired ones can change a lot depending on how you combine the calculations. But really, at this point coding danmaku is so commonplace for me that I don't even know what's most important (laugh). I've lost track of what the common stumbling blocks are when coding the stuff, too.

――

DOS版のころで言えば、制限があったわけじゃないですか、数とか。今もあるんです?

There were limitations back in the DOS era, weren't there? With numbers and so on. Is there anything like that?

Z

一応制限はつけてはいます。画面の中で出る弾の数は予めこっちのほうで制御してて、そうしないと何かのミスやバグで無限に出続けた結果リソースを無限に喰う可能性があるからですね。画面には出てないけど画面外どこかで出続ける、みたいのもよくあるので。見えてないけど処理だけしてる可能性もあるし。だから制限してると、それが起きたとしても次の戦いの中で気づく。

I have some limitations set, for what it's worth. The number of bullets that can appear on the screen is restricted in advance, since without that, some error or bug could spawn bullets endlessly and potentially eat up your resources forever. There's a lot of cases where you can't see it happening on-screen, but they're still spawning somewhere off to the side. So if there's a limit on the bullet count, even if something like that happens, you'll notice it once the next fight starts.

Q.ZUNさんがお気に入りのスペルカードは?

Q. What are some of ZUN-san's favorite Spell Cards?

――

選ぶのは難しいと思いますが、お気に入りのスペルカード……お気に入りの名前とか、形状とかはありますか。

I imagine it may be hard to choose, but are there any Spell Cards that you're particularly fond of? In terms of their name, shape, or so on...?

Z

これはいつも言ってるけど、数が多すぎてわからないです。弾幕本で見てても全然覚えてないもん、名前も形状も。

Oh, I always say this, but there's so many that I can hardly keep track. Even when I look at them in the danmaku books, there's ones that I barely remember making! Both in name and shape.

――

さっきの神子の話じゃないですけど、わりとパロディを仕込むのはお好きですよね。

Apart from what we discussed earlier with Miko, you certainly seem to enjoy slipping parodies into your works.

Z

いっぱいありますね、一キャラ一パロディぐらいは仕込んでるんじゃないかな。

Yeah, there's a lot. I figure there's at least one parody reference per character?

――

ぱっと思い出せて強烈なのは、少名針妙丸の「進撃の小人」とかでしょうか。名前もそうなんですけど、弾の形状がちゃんと三重の壁になってる! しかも壁の門みたいなところが、弾幕の突破の鍵になってるのがおもしろすぎて。

Off the top of my head, I think Shinmyoumaru Sukuna's "Attack on Dwarf" had one of the strongest impacts. There's the name, obviously, but then the bullets are even arranged into the three walls and everything! Plus, there's the way the gates in each wall are the key to clearing the pattern. I was so tickled by that one.

Z

どれも気に入ってるんですよね。ラスボスぐらいのほうがエキストラよりいっぱいあるんだけど、難しい弾のほうがネタは入れやすいね。

I'm quite fond of just about every pattern, really. The final bosses tend to have more of them than the EX bosses, but overall, it gets easier to include references like that as the danmaku gets harder.

――

自分で避けててこういうのは楽しいとか、こういう形状に自分したがりだな、とかあります?

Is there anything that you're personally fond of dodging, or any patterns that you find yourself making out of habit?

Z

あんまりないなぁ、基本的には見た目のほうが重要だから、弾幕は。見た目が綺麗な弾幕はすぐ作れることが多いけど、簡単すぎるか全く避けられないかのどっちかになるんです。

Hm, not really. I mostly prioritize the visual appearance, when it comes to danmaku. I can often make a visually-appealing pattern in hardly any time at all, but it ends up being either too easy or completely undodgeable.

――

ZUNさんの言う「見た目が綺麗」は、幾何学模様的な形状を描いてるってことですか?

When you say "visually-appealing," do you mean patterns that depict geometric shapes?

Z

単純に誰が見ても綺麗なもの、だから花火的な扱いですね。

Something that anyone could look at and simply consider pretty. So they're like fireworks, essentially.

――

たとえば「マウンテンオブフェイス」みたいなのは、弾が特定の形状を描きながらそれが攻撃として襲ってくるみたいな弾幕じゃないですか。純狐とかは、形状を描くというよりはストレートに攻撃してくる結果、形状を描いているみたいな感じですが。

Like how "Mountain of Faith", for example, is a pattern where the bullets draw out a particular shape, and then come flying at you as danmaku? Although in the case of Junko, it's less "depicting a shape" than it is "attacking you straightforwardly, and happening to draw a shape in the process".

Z

純狐が出す弾幕みたいなのは、僕が一番作ってて楽しいです。あまりにも難しすぎて、ここまできたらこれでもういいやみたいな諦め感も出てくるし(笑)。他の弾幕だと二つくらい要素を入れてるけど、ひとつの要素ですごくシンプルですよね。複雑な色も使わないで、単色だし。そういうシンプルなのも、それはそれで作っていて楽しいです。

Junko's type of danmaku is the type I have the most fun making. It's so absurdly difficult, and it gives this feeling of resignation, like "welp, if we've made it this far, then to hell with it!" (laugh). With other danmaku I include about two or so main elements, but most of hers only use one. They're super simple. They're visually simple, too; no complicated colors. That sort of minimalistic stuff is fun to make, in its own way.

――

カードでいえば「掌の純光」みたいな、ちょっと通常弾幕に近いけどシンプルに針の穴を通すような作業を要求されて辛い、でも見た目は綺麗っていう。

In terms of her cards, there's "Pure Light of the Palm". It's fairly close to her regular danmaku, but it forces you to thread a needle in a really simple way. But it's visually very pretty.

Z

ずっとダラダラ弾をたくさん出すよりは、ああいう密度が濃いのを出すほうが画面的には綺麗になるんです。そういう弾だけで表現してる綺麗なやつもいいし、結構ネタに寄ったキャラクターに合わせたようなオブジェクトを出すやつも割と好きなんですよね。

Compared to attacks that constantly bleed bullets, releasing one dense wave all at once is a lot prettier on-screen. That sort of danmaku where it represents a concept with just bullets is nice and beautiful, though I'm also quite fond of the ones that rely on comedic effect by tossing around special objects related to the character.

――

目からビーム出してみたり……。

And shooting eye lasers...

Z

ああいうのを作ってる時は、自分でもゲラゲラ笑ってる(笑)。

Even I start chortling to myself when I'm making those ones (laugh).

――

「ルナティックインパクト」ってそういう……! みたいな(笑)。

Like, "oh god, that's what it meant by Lunatic Impact...!" (laugh)

Z

そういうギャグっぽいのも好き。作業量的には新しいオブジェクトを出すのは面倒くさいので、あんまりやりたくはないんだけど割と楽しいんですよ。

Yeah, I like those comedy-esque ones too. Making new objects is a pain when it comes to the workload, so I don't like doing it too often, but it's pretty fun.

――

新しい形状の弾が出た時は、プレイヤーも楽しいですよね。

When a new bullet type gets introduced, it's a lot of fun for the player, too.

Z

UFOとかも面白かったでうね。あとは弾幕を作る時に面白いとしたらマミゾウの弾幕とか。ああいうのも作るのはめっちゃ楽しいです。弾の形状を一つ考えただけで、さらに何個か思いつくのは凄く楽しい。作業量的にも楽なんです。

Those UFOs were also pretty neat. Aside from that, when it comes to danmaku that's interesting to make, there's Mamizou's. That's another type that's super fun to make. Just by thinking up one type of bullet, a bunch of other ideas followed too! Very enjoyable, especially in terms of the workload.

――

あれは弾の形もそうですがパロディがすごいというか。

It's one heck of a parody, isn't it? Right down to the shapes of the bullets.

Z

よく考えてみると東方は「源平討魔伝」ネタが結構多いですね(笑)。天子の要石とかもそうだし、「心綺楼」とかでも多い。「たわむれはおわりじゃ」みたいな。やっぱりすごいインパクトがあるゲームだったんですよね。単純に好きなゲームだし、ネタにしやすいんです。なんだろう、他に無いネタをいっぱい持ってる不思議な作品なんですよね。大体エキストラのボスって一キャラ一ネタで作られてて面白いんです。

Now that I think about it, Touhou has a whole lot of Genpei Toumaden references, huh? (laugh) There's Tenshi's keystones, too, and a lot of references in Hopeless Masquerade. Like "Playtime's Over!" and so on. That game really did have a strong impact, didn't it? It's a game that I just plain like, and it's easy to insert references to it on top of that. I wonder why that is... it's a really intriguing work, with a lot of material that you can't find elsewhere. In general, I tend to give each EX boss their own unique references like that; it's quite fun.

――

作ってる側が楽しんでる感はエキストラに顕著ですよね。

You can really tell from the EX stages that the creator had a lot of fun making them.

Z

雷鼓も面白かったですよ。太鼓の絵を一個描いただけで、もう楽しくなっちゃう(笑)。太鼓をどうしようかな、飛ばしてみようかなって。でもゲーム中のBGMに合わせて太鼓が鳴るやつ(※編注:「ブルーレディショー」)だけは、凄い苦労しました。どのタイミングでプレイヤーがそのスペルに入るかわからないけど、曲に合わせて弾を出したい。だけど曲の分解能とゲームの分解能が違うから絶対ズレるんですよ……。でも作りがいがあって面白かった。

Raiko was a lot of fun, too! I got so excited just by drawing that one image of a drum (laugh). I was thinking, "okay, what should I do with these? What about just shooting them like rockets?". But the one where the drums beat in time with the game's BGM (*editor's note: "Blue Lady Show") was the one spell that I had so much trouble with. I had no way of telling when the player would reach that spell, but I wanted the bullets to sync up with the music. But the music and the gameplay are resolved in different ways, so it'll get out of sync for sure... But it turned out very interesting. It was definitely worth making.

Z

最近の話にばかりなってるけど、昔に遡るともっとシンプルに作りやすかったですね。今だとどうしても昔のやつと被らないようにって考えちゃうので、より変化球が多いけど。昔の弾幕は、そんなにキャラに合ってないんですよ。でも合わなくても弾幕のほうからキャラクター性に追加できていた。

We've been talking so much about the more recent games, but when I look back to the earlier entries, things felt simpler and easier to make. Nowadays, though, I always end up fretting over how to keep it from being the same as something I made before, so there's a lot more curveballs. But that early danmaku doesn't actually suit the characters that well! Even if it didn't suit them, though, it managed to add a lot of personality to the characters in its own way.

――

例えば「妖々夢」の妖夢とだと、通常弾幕で旋風みたいなのを起こして、合間に斬撃が飛んでくるみたいな。

Like Youmu in Perfect Cherry Blossom, for example, where her regular danmaku whips up this tornado-like pattern, and then her sword slashes fly at you in between waves.

Z

今みると普通の弾に見えるけど当時は面白い弾だったから、それでキャラクター性がつく。最初のころはそれで良かったんですよね、妖夢は剣を持ってるからすごくイメージ付けがやりやすかったし。以前は弾を適当に出していれば、それでキャラクターが成り立ったから良かったけれど、途中から作り方が変わってくる。その切り替わりが「風神録」な気がします。それまでは結構適当かな。あ、でも輝夜は弾幕の名前が最初から決まってたのが、逆に楽しかった。

Those ones look like regular old bullets now, but at the time they were an interesting new bullet type, so they added some character just by being there. When I was starting out, that was all it took. Youmu had her sword, too, so it was really easy to form a mental image in her case. Back then, I could just shoot bullets in whatever way I thought up, and that was fine, since it added to the character in and of itself, but at some point my way of doing things started to change. I feel like Mountain of Faith was the big turning point; up until then, I was spitballing a lot of stuff. Oh, but I had a lot of fun with Kaguya, since I had the names of her patterns planned in advance.

――

輝夜はもう「かぐや」って言っちゃった時点で、ねえ(笑)。

Kaguya must've been fun from the get-go, huh? She's literally, you know, Kaguya. (laugh)

Z

ひょっとすると輝夜が初めてじゃないかな、キャラクターを作った段階でスペルカードの名前が決まったので、それに合わせて弾作るだけみたいになったのは。

Now that I think about it, Kaguya might have been the first? The first one where I had the Spell Card names drawn up since the character planning stage, and just made danmaku to match.

Q.作るのに苦労したスペルカードは?

Q. What are some Spell Cards that you struggled to make?

――

「天空璋」の話を聞いた時には、自分でやっても難しすぎて簡単にせざるを得なかった、みたいな話もありました。

When you were telling us about Hidden Star in Four Seasons, I believe you mentioned that some cards were too difficult even for you, which forced you to simplify them?

Z

「背面の暗黒能楽」とか「タナバタスターフェスティバル」の話? そういうのは、いっぱいあるんですよね。理想と現実を突き詰められなくて、理想はこうしたいんだけど、結果これしかできないみたいなの。ほとんどが難易度のせいです。いっぱいあったなぁ、今思うと。

You mean "The Back Face's Dark Sarugaku" and "Tanabata Star Festival"? Yeah, I've had a lot of those. Ones where I couldn't strike a good balance between the ideal outcome and reality-- like, "ideally I want it to be like this, but in the end I could only manage this much". It's mostly thanks to the difficulty scaling. There really have been a lot of those, now that I think about it.

――

大規模な人数で調整してるわけではないので、基本は自分の感覚でなんとかするしかないですし。

It's not as if you can get a large number of people to do the balancing work, so you basically have only your own senses to rely on.

Z

自分が避けられるか避けられないかしかないね。作った人は弾のネタを知ってるから簡単なはずなのに、避けられないっていうのは多分本当に難しすぎるんだろうなっていう感覚で(笑)。すごい廃人みたいな人だったら避けられるのかもしれないけど、それが基準じゃいけないから。でも最初にそういう人たちが遊んで、その人たちが面白いって言ってくれないとゲームセンターとかではみんなが遊んでくれないんですよ。一般の人たちに広がらないってなると難しい。

It just boils down to whether I can dodge it myself or not, yeah. "I'm the creator and know all the ins and outs of each pattern, so it should be simple, but if even I can't dodge it, then it probably really is too hard?" That's pretty much all I have to work with (laugh). I'm sure you could dodge it if you were a real video-game zombie, but it wouldn't do to make that the baseline. But on the other hand, that's exactly the sort of person who plays these games at first, and if those people don't agree that it's interesting, then nobody else is going to try the game out in arcades and the like. It gets hard when a game doesn't spread to the general public.

――

コンシューマ向け作品だったらプレイヤーが難易度を選べますけど。

Of course, in a consumer-focused work, the player can choose their own difficulty level.

Z

矛盾っていうか弾幕のシステムとして一番ネックになるのは、難しければ難しいほど見た目が美しいんですよ。難易度を下げると見た目がショボくなるから、それを見て判断されるのは切ないですよね。Easyモードでも綺麗に見えるにはどうすればいいかとか考えなきゃいけない。

One of the biggest paradoxes in danmaku games-- the biggest bottleneck, I should say-- is that the patterns get prettier as they get more difficult. If you lower the difficulty, it doesn't look as impressive, so it would be sad to have a game be judged based on that. You've got to consider how to make the game look appealing, even on Easy Mode.

――

Easyでいっぱいっぱいなプレイヤーにもそれなりの満足度がないと、というジレンマも大変そうです。

You have to make sure that everyone feels some level of satisfaction, including all those Easy Mode players. It certainly seems like a tough dilemma.

Z

まあほとんどの場合は見た目が優先になるんですけどね。やっぱりちょっとしか花火が出ない花火なんてダメですよ。花火っぽいといえばお空の弾幕とかも良かったね、あれも作る時はすごい楽しかった。

Well, the visual appearance still takes priority in most cases, though. A fireworks show with only a few fireworks is no good, after all! Oh, and speaking of firework-like patterns, Okuu's danmaku was good too. That's another set of patterns that I had lots of fun making.

――

たいぶ凶悪ですよ。

With all due respect, she's a nightmare.

Z

それまでの考え方とちょっと違って地形ゲームみたいになってきて。お空が使ってくるようなデカい弾って他の弾と違って、当たり判定が見た目ピッタリなんです。眩しくて白くなってる部分はすべて当たり。そうじゃないとどこまで行くかとか、中に入りこむこと前提で作っていかないといけなくなるから、ピッタリ当たり判定がある。

It's a bit different from everything up until that point. It almost turns into a game where you have to maneuver around terrain. Those giant bullets Okuu uses are different from the other ones, too; their hitbox is exactly the same as their sprite. That entire bright, white section is the hitbox. If it weren't for that, you couldn't be sure how far you could nudge yourself into them, and I'd have to design the patterns with the player's ability to wedge themself into the bullets in mind from the start. So to avoid that, they're nothing but hitbox.

――

言われてみると、よくある大きな弾って周りの白いところは当たり判定が無いじゃないですか。それとお空の弾は全然違うなって。

Now that you mention it, those usual bubble bullets don't have any hitbox on the outer white part, do they? They really are totally different from Okuu's.

Z

お空の弾はデカくなっても判定はピッタリだし、ちったくてもピッタリだから結構まずいんです。弾が大きくなる途中とかが特に当たりやすい、避けづらいんですよね。

Okuu's bullets are entirely hitbox, both when they're large and when they're small. That's what makes them so nasty. It's particularly easy to run into them when they're growing larger, so they're real hard to dodge.

――

他と同じ感覚でやると死ぬ。

If you approach them with the same mindset as usual, you're toast.

Z

あれは弾と敵の中間みたいな感じだろうね。それと対照的なお燐のほうは、ゾンビがいっぱいでてくる。そのネタは思いついててもゲームとして成立するまでがえらい苦労しました。あれはどうすれば倒した妖精がゾンビになって復活して、それでも面白さが出るんだろうか、なかなかアイデアが弾幕に結ぶつかなくて。

Those ones straddle the line between bullets and enemy characters, I feel like. And in contrast to that, Orin's danmaku has a bunch of zombies popping up. Even once I'd come up with the idea, it took so much effort to make it work in-game. "How do I make it so that the defeated fairies come back to life as zombies," "will it turn out interesting if I do it this way," and so on. I had a hard time connecting the idea to the actual danmaku.

――

ちょうど次のゲームにも復活する敵として芳香が出ましたね。

And then in the very next game, Yoshika shows up as an enemy that can come back to life.

Z

妖精のデッカいバージョンみたいなものかもしれない。なかなかゾンビはね、ネタがあっても、どう実現するかに苦労しますね。

You could see her as a huge version of those fairies. Zombies are hard to work with, aren't they? Even if you have the concept in mind, it's hard to put it into practice.

Q.どれくらい「初見殺し」を意識してる?

Q. How much attention to you pay to "blind-run killers?"

Z

初見殺しなんて山ほどあるからなあ。「文花帖」とかあのタイプにいっぱいありますよね。僕の中で一番印象的な初見殺しは、橙の、ステージがはじまった瞬間にくるくると登場するシーンで、そのまま橙が止まらないですみたいな(笑)。開始と同時にちょっと避けてみないと死んじゃうとかね。

初見殺しはちゃんと殺さないと覚えてくれないよね、初見で避けられるんだったら覚える必要もない。指先のテクニックで必ず避けられるっていう弾は初見殺しではないので、その分難しくなっちゃうんです。そんなのばかりだと飽きちゃうし、初見殺しっていうのは覚えたら死なないってことだから、弾幕としてはむしろ簡単な部類ですよ。

I mean, there's just tons of the things. Shoot the Bullet has a lot of that type of pattern, right? The one that leaves the biggest impression, in my mind, is the scene where Chen comes spinning into frame as soon as the stage begins. And then she doesn't stop spinning! (laugh) If you don't nudge to the side as soon as it starts, you're dead.

Really, if a "blind-run killer" doesn't actually kill you, then it's hardly memorable, is it? If you can dodge it on your first try, there's no need to memorize it. A pattern that can always be dodged via innate skill isn't a blind-run killer, but that actually makes it somewhat harder. It'd be boring if that was the only kind of pattern there was, and if something's a "blind-run killer", that means it's harmless as long as you memorize what to do. So in terms of danmaku, I'd say they're actually a pretty simple category to deal with.

――

正邪の「リバースヒエラルキー」も、先ほどの話の流れでいうと初見殺しではないんですが、混乱するという。

Following that line of thought, Seija's "Reverse Hierarchy" isn't a blind-run killer, but it certainly is confusing.

Z

なにが起きてるか理解できるけど、すごくイヤだなっていう。現実には何が起きてるのかわからないですよねあれ、キャラクター自体は普通に戦ってるんじゃないかなと思わなくもない、けどじゃあ誰があれに惑わされてるんだろう、とか思うとすごい謎なんだよね。

Yeah. You can easily understand what's going on, but it's still super unpleasant. It's hard to tell what's even going on in-universe, with that one. You could easily say that the characters themselves are just fighting normally, right? But then who's supposed to be getting confused by it...? As soon as you start thinking about that, it's a huge question mark.

――

プレイヤーですね(笑)。

The player's the one getting confused, clearly (laugh).

Q.見た目のインパクトが出せたなと思える弾幕は?

Q. What are some patterns whose visual impact you're proud of?

――

見た目のインパクトと言えば、ヤマメの「原因不明の熱病」。

Speaking of visual impact, there's Yamame's "Unexplained Fever".

Z

あ~、遊園地の人気者みたいな? いやああれはたまたまですよ。難易度的に、三箇所弾を出すとして手前側に出しちゃうとそれはそれでいやだから、奥にしようって。

Ahh, the one that looks like everyone's amusement-park favorite? That was a coincidence, I swear. Difficulty-wise, I wanted to have three bullet sources, but putting them near the player's side of the screen would have been pretty mean, so I put them in the back.

――

ビジュアルだけじゃなくて、さとりの想起「二重黒死蝶」とか、こいしの「夢枕にご先祖総立ち」みたいな、カード名でもインパクトありますよね。

And apart from the visual side of things, there's cards where the name itself has a lot of impact. Like Satori's Recollection "Double Black Death Butterfly", or Koishi's "Ancestors Standing Beside Your Bed".

Z

さとりとこいしに関しては、ネーミングにすごい困ってたんですよね。さとりは元々キャラクター的にそんなに弾幕は作れないだろうと思ってたけど、こいしのほうは本当に困ってましたよ、最初から(笑)。「イド」とか「エゴ」とかは入れるつもりだったけど、とにかく名前のネタに困っちゃって。

To tell you the truth, I had a lot of trouble with the naming process for Satori and Koishi. I imagined that making danmaku wouldn't be Satori's forté in the first place, character-wise, but I really did have trouble with Koishi from the start (laugh). I did at least want to include the words "Id" and "Ego" and so on, but I got really stuck when it came to naming material.

――

最終的にメインは心理学関連っぽいもので構成されてますね。

In the end, her card names are mostly built out of psychology terms.

Z

構成されてはいるんだけど、そんなにネタがないし心理学者でもないからなあ。そんな感じで最後まで1テーマで収まってくれないんですよ。最終的にはなぜか薔薇にしたんだけど(笑)。心のトゲトゲしてるところは、自分の心を塞いで周りにトゲトゲしてる状態を表現できたのは良かった。

They are, but I never had that much material for her, and it's not like I'm a psychologist myself. So it doesn't really come together under one single theme. I stuck roses in there for some reason at the end, though (laugh). I like how I managed to represent the thorniness of her heart-- how she closed up her heart and became thorny to everyone around her.

――

「嫌われ者のフィロソフィ」は名前と弾幕を一緒に見てると切ないところがありあす。

It's rather somber, seeing the name "Philosophy of a Hated Person" alongside the danmaku like that.

Z

作ってるときも面白かったし、よくできたと思います。基本的に動かなかったら弾に当たらないのに、近寄られると破裂するから逃げざるを得ないっていうところがよくできてるなと。そういえば、あのトゲトゲも当たり判定は大きいです。トゲが出たらそこの部分は抜けれない。話してると苦労したのがよみがえってくるなあ。

It was interesting to make, too. I think I did a good job. You basically won't get hit if you don't move, but since the bullets explode when she gets near them, you're forced to run away; it came together well. Speaking of which, those thorny bullets have big hitboxes too. Once the thorns come out, you can't squeeze through. Honestly, as I'm talking about it, I'm remembering how much trouble I had at the time...

――

あとハートの弾を出してかわいい。

Also the heart bullets are cute.

Z

ハートだけで良いんだったら楽だったよなあ(笑)。でもハートみたいな弾幕は当たり判定が分かりづらいんですよね。本当だったらハートのマークは尖ってる部分を先端にして飛ぶだろうから、その部分に当たり判定をもたせたほうがきっといいと思うんですよ。後ろの2つの山のところはあんまり当たらないようにして。いまさら変えると混乱するだろうなぁと思って、やらなかった部分です。

It would've been so nice if I could just spray hearts everywhere and call it a day! (laugh) It's really hard to tell where the hitboxes are on that heart-shaped danmaku, though. In real life, those hearts would fly at you point-first, so I feel like it would've been much better to put the hitbox right on the pointy end, and make the bumps on the back less dangerous. But I figured it would be confusing for people if I changed it this late in the game, so I decided against it.

――

見た目のインパクトでいうと「三歩必殺」みたいに、とにかく勢いよく弾で埋め尽くされるみたいのは、難易度が低くても結構たくさん弾が出ますよね。

Going back to visual impact, there's cards like "Knock Out in Three Steps", where the screen just gets buried in bullets all at once. Even on the lower difficulties, it certainly spawns a whole lot of them.

Z

あれこそ初見殺しですけどね。「必殺」だもん。一応名前で教えてるけど、一度死なないと意味が分からない。あれも三面で出すタイプの弾幕ではないだろうなぁ、そこら辺で初心者の心をくじく。地霊殿は結構くじきにいく部分が多いんです。実際難易度高かったんだろうし。でも「三歩必殺」自体はいい感じでしたね。

Now that's a real blind-run killer. It's a "certain kill" (必殺), after all! It does warn you right there in the name, but you can't understand what it means until you get killed by it at least once. It really isn't the sort of danmaku you should toss out on Stage 3, is it? It really twists the knife for first-time players, in that regard. Subterranean Animism has quite a lot of knife-twisting moments like that. The difficulty itself was probably pretty high, too. But "Knock Out in Three Steps" itself is pretty well-made.

――

新しいオブジェクトは当然インパクトが強いんですけど、やはり雲山は強烈でした。

It goes without saying that new objects have a strong impact, but Unzan really was impressive.

Z

あれは弾幕を放棄してた、突然(笑)。普通に殴る、っていうのは一度やりたかったんです。かと思いきや最後は目からビーム。楽しいキャラクターでしたね。あんなに殴ってくるけど寡黙キャラ。「星蓮船」の弾幕でいうと、星の弾幕とかも良かったんだけどね、弾幕というかレーザー。すごく太いレーザーと、へにょへにょ曲がるレーザーの組み合わせが僕としてはすごく好き。ただすごいプレイ評価は低い、すごく避けにくいから(笑)。そのレーザーの組み合わせで神々しさを出すのはすごい好きだった。

He just throws the whole "danmaku" concept right out the window! (laugh) I wanted to make a boss that straight-up punched you, just the once. But just as you've gotten comfortable, he shoots eye beams at the end! What a fun character. He literally comes out swinging, but he's a silent, stoic type. When it comes to Undefined Fantastic Object's danmaku, Shou's was also good. More "laser" than danmaku, honestly. That combination of really huge lasers and twisty little ones is a personal favorite of mine. But it gets such scathing reviews, since it's so hard to dodge (laugh). I really liked how I gave her a 'divine' impression with that combination of lasers.

――

星は「独鈷杵」がキツいです。

Shou's "Vajra" card is so tough.

Z

いいでしょ~、あれ。完全にエキストラぐらいのキツさなので、どう考えてもボムの使い所です。というか流れ的に星はボムの使いどころなんですよね、あそこでボムガンガン使うのが「星蓮船」攻略の基本だと思う。もちろん、ちゃんと全部攻略すれば、そうでもないんですよ。ただあそこまで頑張ってきた身としてはもう死にたくない意思で、ボムを使わされる感じ。五面ぐらいまで行って死ぬと心が折れるから、折れたくなくて普段避けられる弾幕でも避けられなくなる、っていうのが正解なんだ。東方の作りはそれが多いよね。

That one's the best, isn't it? It's completely EX-level tough, so no matter who you ask, it's where you want to use all your bombs. Really, in terms of the overall flow, Shou's entire fight is where you use your bombs. I think spamming bombs at that point is basically the key to beating Undefined Fantastic Object. That's not the case if you take the time to clear every pattern properly, of course. It's more correct to say that if you've worked hard to get that far, you really don't want to die, so you're kind of forced to use your bombs. It'd be heartbreaking to get all the way to Stage 5 and die, so that pressure makes you unable to dodge patterns that you'd otherwise be able to. Touhou games tend to have that sort of structure to them a lot.

――

今日は冒頭から大きなところから話しが聞けてたので、よかったと思います。

I'd like to thank you for your time today. I'm glad that I was able to hear about such a broad range of topics right from the beginning.

Z

本当はね、あの弾幕はああだった、この弾幕はこうだった、っていうのがそれぞれ一個ずつにエピソードがありますよね。むしろそこが作ってる時のほとんどのメインだから、ユーザーからすればボム一発で飛ばされちゃうような奴でもちゃんと考えて作らないといけないし(笑)。

If I'm being honest, I a have little story like that for every single danmaku pattern. "This attack was supposed to be like this," "I had such-and-such time with that," and so on. That's really what takes up the most time when I'm making the games, so I have to put a lot of thought into making all of them-- even the ones that most players ought to skip with a single bomb (laugh).

――

ゲーム的には、倒されるために出てくる「敵キャラ」ですものね。

In gameplay terms, they're "enemy characters" that just exist to get defeated, after all.

Z

それこそスペルカードを使わない雑魚敵や中ボス、もうなんでもというか全部に思い入れがあって。

In that sense, I really have fond feelings for every single enemy. All those small-fry enemies and midbosses, who don't even use any Spell Cards.

――

今回弾幕を見返しててスペルカードの話聞くって決めたけど、それ以外のところでも気になるところはいっぱいあるなってなっちゃいます。

We decided to look back over the games' danmaku and ask about Spell Cards in particular today, but it really gets you interested in all those little things throughout the rest of the games, too.

Z

それこそ、もしスペルカードが存在ってシステムがなければ、「弾幕の話をする」っていっても大雑把にしか話ができなかったと思うんです。でもスペルカードがあるから、そこに絞って話ができる。このシステムのすごくいいところですよね。

That's really it, isn't it? If Spell Cards didn't exist as a system, I think "talking about danmaku" would still be possible, but you'd only be able to discuss it in broad terms. But thanks to Spell Cards, you can narrow the discussion down to these small details. I think it's a really valuable aspect of the system.

――

それ以前はそれぞれが勝手に「ボスの第何形態」みたいな言い方をしたりしてましたね。

Before, people would just come up with terms like "the boss's Xth phase" and so on.

Z

たとえばわかりやすい例だと、大体最終段階の攻撃とかは「発狂」って言ってましたよね。言葉そのものにすごい強さがあって、その言葉を聞くだけですごく難しそうじゃないですか。あ、なるほどそういう凄そうな攻撃がくるんだっていう、それはユーザーがつけたネーミングの一つだった。

As an easy example, people would typically call the very final attack the "Berserk" phase, right? The word itself has a ton of oomph to it; it seems really difficult just from the sound of it. Like, "ah, I see, there's a really awesome attack like that coming up". It's a name that the player base themselves came up with for it.

――

「ボスを倒すゲーム」の多くに通じる演出なのかもしれないですよね、敵が一皮むけて強くなる、みたいな。RPGだと鍛えると自キャラのほうが強くなりすぎっちゃいますけど、シューティングではそういうのはないですから。

That seems to happen a lot in "games where you defeat bosses," doesn't it? Where the boss sheds its skin and gets tougher, as it were. Leveling up in an RPG can make the player character way stronger than anything else, but there's nothing like that in most shooting games.

Z

それが嫌ですね。RPGは極力レベル上げをしないでゲーム攻略しないとつまらない。倒せるかどうかわからない感じの、けどやっぱり倒される負けちゃうぐらいが一番楽しくて。ギリギリ勝てるよりもいっそ負けるぐらいの感じのほうが僕としては楽しいんです。10分ぐらい戦って負けるようなRPGが。そうすると途端にそのボスに対する愛着とか、ちょっとした尊敬の念みたいのが湧くわけですよ。会話では強そうなこと言ってるけど、行ってみたらボロクソ簡単に勝てちゃうじゃつまんない。もちろんそれは人の好みによるんですけどね。

Man, I hate that. I find RPGs to be so boring, unless you deliberately avoid leveling up too much as you play. I have the most fun fighting enemies where I'm not sure whether I can beat them or not, but I'm still worrying, "oh no, I'm gonna get beaten! I'm gonna lose!". That sort of thing, where you may as well take the plunge and lose rather than win by a hair, is the ideal for me. An RPG where you fight for 10 minutes, and you're in real danger of losing. It's moments like that when you feel a newfound affection for a boss, or respect, perhaps. It's really dull when a character talks like they're strong in dialogue, but then you beat them ridiculously easily. Of course, this is all just a matter of personal preference.

――

自キャラを鍛えると敵全般が強くなるシステムもありますけどね(笑)。

Although there's some games where every single enemy gets stronger as the player levels up, too (laugh).

Z

雑魚敵が倒せなくなっちゃったりね。最終的には雑魚が倒せないから逃げるしか無い。それも、こっちが今感じてるようなことを解決する為の一つの案として開発されてるんです。

Yeah, and then you can't even beat the small fry! You have no choice but to just run away from them, in the end. That's yet another method that people are developing to solve the problem I'm feeling at the moment.

――

開発者はずっとそういうのと戦ってきたんですね……。

Developers have always been at war with that sort of thing, haven't they...?

Z

レベル上げすることは正しいけど、それによって世界観が崩壊しちゃうのもなんかね。戦闘をストーリーを見るためのおまけにしたくないんですよ。そこをむしろメインに置きたいと思う。

There's nothing wrong with gaining levels, but it's awkward to have it clash with the game's setting, right? I'd rather not have the battles be a side thing that you have to slog through to get to the story. I'd much rather have them be the main focus.

――

ZUNさんと弾幕の戦いはまだまだ続くと。きっと次回作も驚きと楽しみとがいろいろ同居する弾幕が楽しめるわけですね。

"And so the battle between ZUN-san and danmaku goes on." I'm sure we can look forward to danmaku where both surprises and fun coexist in your next work, too.

Z

そんなに目新しいものがあるわけではないね(笑)。東方としてはもう斬新さから離れて「東方はこうである」っていうのを楽しみに作っていくような感じになるのかな。東方らしくあることを目指すという感じ。

Well, it's not like there'll be anything that new (laugh). I wonder whether Touhou might drift away from that sort of innovation soon, and whether I'll start focusing on the enjoyment of "this is what Touhou is like" while I'm making it. Aiming for a regular, Touhou-esque experience, that sort of thing.

――

安心して帰っていける場所みたいな。

Like a place you can comfortably return home to.

Z

そこに驚きはないんだけどさ。

There may not be many surprises in store there, though.

――

でも用意するんでしょう?

But you'll have some ready all the same, right?

Z

いや~、用意できたらいいね。

Eh, well, you know. I sure hope I can.