Strange Creators of Outer World/Who's Who of Humans & Youkai in Gensokyo/Marisa Kirisame

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Who's Who of Humans & Youkai in Gensokyo
Marisa Kirisame




Places of Activity:
Forest of Magic
Hakurei Shrine
All of Gensokyo


Main Abilities:
Capable of using magic


Magical research
Youkai extermination
Borrowing other people's things without returning them


Example Spell Cards:
Love Sign "Master Spark"
Magic Sign "Stardust Reverie"


Black clothes


The Magician Who Competes with the Shrine Maiden


Marisa is a magician. Though she is human, she can wield very powerful spells, and exterminates youkai as if competing with Reimu. She lives away from other humans in the Forest of Magic, where she runs a jack-of-all-trades business called the Kirisame Magic Shop. However, since the forest is inhospitable to normal humans, she hardly gets any customers. Because of that, most of her time is devoted either to magical research or visiting the Hakurei Shrine. She wears black clothes both because you can't tell when they're dirty, and because she thinks that's what magicians ought to wear.


A Collector With a Taste for the Extravagant


While her appearance is plain, she prefers her magic flashy. She likes to use light or heat magic, with star motifs, and puts an emphasis on sheer power. What she seeks from her magic is nothing but pure destructive force. While her magic has absurdly high output for a human, the preparations she makes for it are oddly plain: she seems to laboriously collect mushrooms and the like to use as ingredients. On the subject of collecting, whether she has a habit of collecting things or simply never throws anything away, she's quite the hoarder. She doesn't care whether an item is useful or not, or even if it belong to someone else. If she says "I'll be borrowing this" while carrying something away, the owner probably won't ever see it again. Perhaps this is one of her ways of communicating... well. Possibly. No one can tell what will catch her eye, so the best possible method is to prevent her from locking on to it in the first place. One could also make her think that taking one's belongings isn't worth the hassle, but those who can accomplish that are few and far between, whether human or youkai.


Another Protagonist


As she's always been close to Reimu and often loiters around the shrine, not to mention her inquisitive personality which causes her to stick her neck into anything that looks fun, Marisa's side of the story often involves her heading out to take over Reimu's youkai extermination job unasked. She's said to have a contrarian personality, but it's really only to a slight extent; she's basically just honest and impulsive to a fault. Although she has a showy & heroic side, she's also the type that works steadily to achieve whatever her goal may be. In contrast to Reimu's limitless innate talent, Marisa's ability to use magic is something she worked hard to learn. In the novel "Curiosities of Lotus Asia", it says of their fights that: "The duels mostly go Reimu's way, but Marisa doesn't always lose. It's just that Marisa attacks with all her skill and might against Reimu, who looks just like she was made of air; it's like trying to pound a nail into dust." However, since the spread of the Spell Card Rules throughout Gensokyo, it seems they're more serious than before about who is better at youkai extermination.


The Kirisame Magic Shop and the Kirisame Shop


Unusually for the key characters in Touhou, Marisa explicitly has family in Gensokyo. Her family runs the sizable "Kirisame Shop" in the Human Village, but for some reason she cut ties with them and lives alone in the Forest of Magic. One reason seems to be that she's a magician and the Kirisame Shop doesn't deal in magical items, but no particularly deep reason has ever been given. Even after leaving her home, she's maintained a friendship with Rinnosuke Morichika, who trained at her parents' shop, and often visits his (also largely inactive) store, "Kourindou", as detailed in "Curiosities in Lotus Asia". Her use of star and celestial motifs also seems to stem from a meteor shower she saw at Kourindou.


As a Magician


There are other magicians in Gensokyo besides Marisa: Patchouli, Alice, and Byakuren. However, they are "Magician-Species Youkai" rather than human. They became able to sustain their life functions though their study of magic, and abandoned their humanity as a result. Marisa is still just a human who can use magic for the time being, but it's possible she will head in the same direction in the future. Whatever the case may be, as the leading realist among Touhou characters, her choice is most likely a matter for the distant future.

Comment from ZUN

Comment from ZUN


As Reimu is quite mysterious, there are all sorts of things I wouldn't be able to explain if she were the only one around. That's why I have Marisa filling the support role by being the player/reader stand-in character, who gives the impression of being easy-to-understand and straightforward. That can make her a pretty un-Touhou-like character depending on the circumstances, but I believe that she used to be the easiest character to understand. Personally, it's much easier for me to write whenever Marisa's around. I can write any kind of story with her. Her thoughts are easy to understand, while you can never tell what the others are thinking. The only other character I can also imagine appearing in a non-Touhou work would be the idiots, I guess. Her parents' store, the Kirisame Shop, seems to be doing pretty well.