U.N. Owen Was Her?

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U.N. Owen was her? (U.N.オーエンは彼女なのか? U.N. Ooen wa kanojo na no ka?) is a theme song composed by ZUN for the sixth Touhou Project game Embodiment of Scarlet Devil that's associated to Flandre Scarlet. His comments on the song imply that it was his favourite during the time of the game.

Debut: 2002 (Embodiment of Scarlet Devil)
Image: Flandre Scarlet

Analysis[edit]

The theme, along with Flandre's second-to-last spell card (Secret Barrage "And Then Will There Be None?"), are references to Agatha Christie's novel And Then There Were None. In the origin of this incident, the spouse of the person who sent out invitations had the initial "U.N.Owen". As "U.N.Owen" is "Unknown", i.e. an "unknown person", the characters in that story were killed by someone unknown.

That Flandre Scarlet herself does not know the meaning of killing humans or other youkai, so that in a sense she has a cruel (or, in some sense, an innocent) personality which can attributed to the fact she hasn't been in much contact with either one, and that she continues to be locked underground knowing pretty much nothing about the existence of the outside, and other things like this are thought to be the reasons there is a relation between Flandre and U.N.Owen, since ZUN stated that this relates to Flandre being unknown.

Composer/Arranger Comments[edit]

Embodiment of Scarlet Devil[edit]

Comment: "Flandre Scarlet's theme. I liked this one the best out of the whole game. It depicts a devilish girl in an Oriental and mysterious way. Loli-tastic melodies like this are what I'm best at, so I had a lot of fun composing this. "
  • Afterword Shanghai Alice Correspondence vol. 1
Comment: "This is U.N. Owen (Una Nancy Owen). Only people who understand it understand please. The original is quite old. (About 70 years ago?) The reason why the name is this, thinking in terms of why the name is written in roman letters, is because Flandre is an unknown being. The ninth spell card is a parody of that.

Dolls in Pseudo Paradise[edit]

  • 2002/12/30
  • Track 11 is a rerranged version
  • No comments related to the song

Strange and Bright Nature Deity[edit]

Comment: "I thought of making it an arrange of "Sunny's Rutile Flection" with the style of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, but when I finished, it ended up being a completely different piece. While the fierce battles go on, you can see the figure of a fairy collecting bugs or something by the side of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. If that piece from the days of yore ended up in a fairy's hands..."

Fandom[edit]

U.N. Owen was her? is one of the most popular themes in the Touhou Project to have a wide range of remixes and vocals added. Its genre for arrangements can range from cute and relaxing to insane and bloodthirsty due to Flandre Scarlet's personality amongst the fanbase. It is particularly famous, and is often used in MAD videos, and for a time introduced many as "newcomers hoihoi" on Nico Nico to Touhou. The theme is commonly remixed with other themes such as Remilia Scarlet's Septette for a Dead Princess or Koishi Komeiji's Hartmann's Youkai Girl.

McRoll/Ran Ran Ru

The arrangement "Final Savage Sister, Flandre S." (最終鬼畜妹フランドール・S)[1] in the album Touhou Strike by COOL&CREATE seems to have been mistaken by many to have been the original music. This may be due to a remix of this song along with the original with Ronald McDonald[2] and the so-called McRoll and has been the first contact with Touhou for thousands of western Internet users. People referring to "U.N.Owen was her?" as the McRoll/Ran Ran Ru song is a sore point among many long time Touhou fans.

Theme song controversy

The theme was at one time wrongly criticised for plagiarism due to a confusion arising from a video uploaded to Youtube. This video, created with a software called Synthesia and showing a MIDI arrange created by COOL&CREATE being played on an interactive piano, was initially uploaded to Niconico; later, an user reuploaded the video to Youtube, but the video's Japanese title was mistranslated as "Death Waltz - John Stump", causing a confusion that led some people to believe that ZUN had plagiarized that song. John Stump did create a song in 1980 called Death Waltz, but it is a joke song impossible to play by a human and it sounds like jumbled noise when played on a synthesizer.

Notable Arrangements[edit]

Arrangements (download)[edit]

References[edit]