The Yin-Yang Orb in Mystic Square
The Yin-Yang Orb (陰陽玉 Onmyou-dama or Onmyou-gyoku) is an orb with the appearance of a yin-yang symbol, used by Reimu Hakurei. Ever since Highly Responsive to Prayers, they've been Reimu's prime weapon.
The Yin-Yang orbs has appeared in every game Reimu Hakurei has appeared in, from early PC-98 to the latest Windows game. They appear next to her and are used in many of her attacks, either firing danmaku or being used as projectiles themselves.
- In the PC-98 era, the Yin-Yang Orbs are the greatest treasure of the Hakurei Shrine; made with a wondrous type of crystal, they hold so much spiritual power that they seem like they could be alive. They are an extremely effective weapon against non-humans (youkai); in the first game they are Reimu's only way of damaging enemies, due to her normal ofuda, spiritual techniques and martial arts being ineffective. In Story of Eastern Wonderland, Mima explains that only a blood member of the Hakurei clan may use the orbs, of which Reimu is the last living member. The orbs work by slowly absorbing their user's energy, good or evil, until they can hold no more and all of it bursts forth at once, after which the process repeats itself.
- In the Windows era, Reimu continues to use the Yin-Yang Orbs as her main weapon but their origins are not referenced. While temporarily deprived of her ofuda and needles, Reimu has referred to the orbs (and possibly her purification rod) as her "strongest weapons". It is dangerous for youkai to even touch the orbs, though fairies are unaffected. Unknown to Reimu, the true source of their anti-youkai properties is the god of the Hakurei Shrine, for whom they act as a go-shintai.
During the PC-98, it was treated as a type of character, but this doesn't seem to be the case in the Windows era since it's seen as an object.
The following is based on the Yin-Yang Orb's ending scenarios in Highly Responsive to Prayers. Reimu's wish for the destruction of Earth is actually a reference to the final boss in the shoot 'em up Metal Black, a game ZUN cites as an influence for his very early games. The other creature, called a "mountain-walker", appears in Izumi Takemoto's manga Loop Salada. Izumi Takemoto is a manga artist whose works are referenced in various places in the Touhou Project.
It's full name is the Yin-Yang Orb (陰陽玉 Onmyou-dama or Onmyou-gyoku). The first two kanji Onmyou (陰陽) mean "yin and yang", with on (陰) being the yin meaning "dark" and you (陽) being the yang mean "light". The kanji Gyoku (玉) literally means "Ball", "Sphere" or "Jade" (a green gem).
The Yin-Yang Orb appears to be a typical taijitu (yin-yang symbol) made of some type of crystal. Its true form is unknown.
In Highly Responsive to Prayers Makai route good ending, the ball transformed into a tiny fairy with a white dress and pink hair. In the Hell route good ending, the ball transformed into a strange creature resembling a white ball with stick-like legs and a top hat.
The Yin-Yang Orbs' Appearances
- Highly Responsive to Prayers
The Shrine Maiden Reimu Hakurei is able to frantically persuade a bouncing Yin-Yang orb to hit various on-screen targets, "cards" and "bosses" alike. The Yin-Yang Orb is her only true weapon against the powerful enemies, but she lacks the training to be able to fully control it. As such, she must avoid contact with it at all times; should the orb impact Reimu, she will be hit, and a life will be lost. However, Reimu can knock and manoeuvre the Yin-Yang Orb around by whacking it with her gohei, slide-tackling it or firing an ofuda at it. Only the Yin-Yang orb can damage the enemies, so simply firing your shots at enemies will have no effect.
When the orb passes over a card in the field, the card is considered to be hit (though no actual collision occurs). In most cases, a single hit is enough to overturn a card and eliminate it from the field, though in later stages, occasional cards will require multiple hits to overturn. Additionally, when the orb impacts a boss's weak point, the boss takes damage and loses a single notch from its health bar. Furthermore, the orb can dispel small white bullets (but nothing greater) as it passes through them.
In the endings to Highly Responsive to Prayers, the Orb appears to transform into either a tiny wish-granting fairy or a joyful spherical creature. In Makai route good ending, Reimu thought the tiny fairy can grant wishes, so Reimu wished for money, a cake, a hot meal, "the truth of the Universe", and the "destruction of Earth", with a response from the fairy: "Who'd wish something like that!?" In the Hell route good ending, the joyful creature starts destroying parts of the Hakurei Shrine and Reimu gets angry.
- Story of Eastern Wonderland
Depending on which ending you get Genjii will explain the orb's "true power", each of which is hilariously mundane and is never spoken of again in the series:
- The ability to eat sweets and not get fat
- The effect of giving its user whatever scent they desire
- The ability to turn into a cat whenever the user chooses
- Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream
In Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream, the orbs were for the first time treated as ordinary projectiles, used on the opponent's screen whenever Reimu summons an attack. If Reimu were to summon a Boss Attack, then unlike other characters who use their own body to be on the opponent's screen, the appearance of a giant Yin-Yang appears instead.
- Lotus Land Story
Also used by Reimu when she's a playable character, the Yin-Yangs appear as ordinary danmaku on Stage 4, supporting Reimu during her boss fight as they bounce downwards towards Marisa.
- Imperishable Night
Also used by Reimu when she's a playable character, the Yin-Yangs appear as a generic enemy on Stage 4 just like they did on Lotus Land Story, supporting Reimu during her boss fight as they bounce downwards towards the heroine; because they're destroyable, it wouldn't be best to treat them as danmaku. However, similar to other spirits throughout the game, if the player chooses to focus, then they'll become transparent, undefeatable, but also harmless, which simplifies gameplay.
- Phantasmagoria of Flower View
In Phantasmagoria of Flower View, the Yin-Yangs weren't shown to be a default weapon for Reimu Hakurei, but instead they appear as Reimu's Extra Attack. It was described as "Mysterious orbs bouncing off the boundaries." If Reimu were to kill a spirit, then a black and white yin-yang will appear in the opponent's screen and bounce downwards from the top, being ordinary danmaku. However, they've doubled in size compared to their previous game's counterpart. If the player is using the alternative version of Reimu who uses a blue outfit, then her Yin-Yang Orbs will be aqua coloured.
- Subterranean Animism
- Oriental Sacred Place
In Oriental Sacred Place Chapter 10, the Yin-Yang Orb is shown to still have its communicator function and was thrown onto the ground by Reimu in disgust at Yukari using it to eavesdrop on her.
Later in Chapter 17, the Three Fairies of Light decide to finally solve the mystery of the Hakurei Shrine once and for all. Kasen Ibaraki informs them that to start, they need to figure out who its god is and what the god's blessing was, and in order to do that, they need to find the shrine's go-shintai. However, because solving the mystery could disrupt the current golden situation with youkai and humans in Gensokyo, Kasen uses her animal companions to trick the three fairies into finding three false go-shintai that she hid amongst the shrine (and wrote down "go-shintai" on the back of them just in case, though that turned out to be unnecessary). Later, Kasen finds the Yin-Yang Orb on the ground (presumably because Reimu threw them away earlier). The Yin-Yang Orb destroyed Kasen Ibaraki's artificial arm when she touched it, revealing that the orbs were the real go-shintai of the shrine, and the shrine's blessing was youkai extermination. Kasen has an animal companion snake return it to the shrine.
- Shuusou Gyoku
Being part of Reimu Hakurei, the Yin Yang Orbs appear on the Extra stage of the first Seihou Project game Shuusou Gyoku, a danmaku game series by the junior doujin circle "Shunsatsu sare do?", where ZUN also contributed music and art to the game and put them in the game. The Yin-Yang Orbs appeared as ordinary danmaku, supporting Reimu during her boss fight as they bounce downwards towards VIVIT when Reimu shoots them, which is very similar to her battle in Lotus Land Story.
Reimu Hakurei is able to control the Yin-Yang Orb in both the PC-98 and Windows canon. She uses the orb to exterminate both humans and youkai regardless if they're enemies. The Hakurei God uses the Orbs as its go-shintai, blessing youkai extermination through it.
- None of the Windows games have a portrait of the Yin-Yang Orb (including Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream); it can only be seen by sprite next to Reimu, a shield use in the fighter spin-offs, and as danmaku bullets. Even large sized Yin-yang bullets are classified.
- There are many objects that have a strong resemblance to the Yin-Yang Orb, including the flying yin-yangs, the Shrine Tank with a small symbol, the Flower-Tank, the Blood-Vessel Yin-Yang Orbs and the cannons seen on stage one of Story of Eastern Wonderland. Even Gyoku from the Seihou Project has a strong resemblance to the Yin-Yang Orb, where Gyoku may've been inspired by the Yin-Yang Orbs.
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