Touhou and Vocaloid

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Let’s look at two big giants of multimedia culture.

If you are a fan of anime/manga or just like the artistic style, it would be almost impossible NOT seeing a Touhou or Vocaloid character somewhere along the internet. Many people would usually ask, “What anime/manga series is this character from?” Well I just want to make a simple post detailing these two popular pieces of work. (Remember, click to see a better res. picture!)

Let’s start with Vocaloid

Yep, it started from this

As I have mentioned, I’ve seen many people ask where this character named Hatsune Miku came from. Well it started out with Vocaloid, a voice synthesizer program. Vocaloid introduced the characters of Meiko and Kaito for female and male voices, but it would be the next program that would create its iconic character. Vocaloid 2 formally introduced Hatsune Miku as a female persona that was the personification of the synthesizer program/application. Somewhere along the line, Miku’s popularity skyrocketed thanks to the the Japanese video sharing site, Nico Nico Douga (it’s like youtube’s video sharing and 4chan’s meme making combined). Thanks to that, Miku would go on to be an icon and with its success, more characters like the Kagamine twins and Megurine Luka would be created and even with that, more characters (both unnofficial and official) characters would be introduced to the “series” itself and thats where it stands now. Miku has came very far from her first outing as a simple voice synthesizer and has made some cameos in anime and certainly has a HUGE fanbase in the internet. To show how popular she has gotten, there were live-concerts with her performing in it with the help of projectors. I was mostly interested in the entire thing of Vocaloid after seeing it’s characters, which is probably 90% of how people got into it these days.

It’s kinda crazy how a mascot for a simple program become the icon it is today. Remember, I’m just giving you the basics, if you wish to know more, GOOGLE IT.

Now, where to begin with Touhou?

Touhou was created by this dude named ZUN, who reallly likes beer. Touhou to be short, is a 2-D overhead shooting game that featured the character, Hakurei Reimu, a young shrine maiden. The first four games were released on the PC-9801 and was generally not that popular. Once the games were started to run on Windows did it start gaining its fame. With the release of “Embodiment of the Scarlet Devil” introduced the myriad of characters and also the alternate character of Kirisame Marisa(she appeared in one of the four beginning games but she is playable in this one), a witch and a friend of Reimu. With that, came around 12 other games (not including the one I mentioned and the first four) and an obscene amount of characters that normally shouldn’t be required in a 2-D shooting game. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, THESE GAMES ARE F*CKING HARD. You would think 2-D overhead shooters wouldn’t be that tough but the games have been described as “bullet hells” or “danmaku”. Simply put, enemies shoot bullets EVERYWHERE and even the bullets shoot bullets.

The Touhou series since then has become HUGE. It’s known mostly for its characters and its god-like music. The series itself does have a story in each game but don’t expect novel-worthy material. The setting for each game is placed in Gensokyo, where youkai’s (demons) roamed its lands and eventually exorcists and many other anolmalies ended up here. Our duo of main characters are Reimu and Marisa are usually the ones doing the work to solve the problems that arise in the games (as the series progressed, more playable characters were added). The popularity spawned a humongous number of fan-art and fan remixed songs of the character themes. Touhou, like Vocaloid has come very far. An extremely hard game has become one of the most extensive fanbases I have ever seen. Music-remixes with actual good singing, mangas, memes, countless amounts of doujinshi and fanart, and even a (semi) fan made anime. Like Vocaloid, characters got me into this series. The first character I actually remembered being Sanae, from “Mountain of Faith” Since then, Light’s gone crazy of her too.  There are just sooo many characters, it’s insane on how I even remember their names and how they look. I can remember around 60-70% of the characters. Show me a picture, I can safely say I can identify most of the characters, except for the fairy like characters with their wings. I would also like to mention the artwork.  The Original artwork were just plain..bland, and ZUN’s artstyle literally makes every character a flatchested, female character with a hat. His official art has become better but compared to the fan-art people are able to create, I can’t compare. Although the actual “story” and character personalities are not explored too much in the games, many fans have created jokes and character appearances (for example, some characters have big boobs, usually the taller ones. This isn’t technically correct as ZUN drew every character as a flatchest). I guess if you have great music, crapload of characters, and addictive but balls to the wall hard games can make you popular.

EDIT: Some picture errors so I removed them.

That’s the basics and a little more information that you need to know to not be completely lost when some people go around mentioning these things. Thank you and good night

Me and Light will probably do a top touhou characters. But until then, see you next time.

15 responses »

  1. Haha I’m so addicted to Touhou. I’ve played all the games including the PC-98 ones. And I can name 96% of the characters I also know all their themes and back stories, what game they appear in and what stave boss they are. It’s really the game of my teenage years, along with the Mother series.

    • aha, thank you. There were just so many people on the internet who wandered aimlessly on such topics. I had an excuse to use my huge cache of pictures and explain something that had enough characters for me to pull it off

  2. Y’know, it amazes me that they have yet to make an official Touhou anime. Most are either AMVs, fanmade vids, songs, but no actual Touhou anime series. I guess with all the doujin games, manga, yuri and the like, it wouldn’t be easy to do. Heck, I’d really like a Rosenkreuzstilette anime myself but that’s very unlikely to happen.

    As for Vocaloid, so many parodies and anime characters dressing up like them, and who could forget the epic CG concert? anime-wise, we’re getting Black Rock Shooter so it’s a start.

      • I’m not quite sure but I just know that Black Rock Shooter is a character created in one of Miku’s MV, in a song titled “Black Rock Shooter” likewise. But I think their relationships started even earlier then that.

    • Oh wow, that’s pretty impressive, I never really knew anyone in my social circle with musical talent (well, next to an upperclassmen i know).

      Touhou I guess can be considered hit or miss. But it’s fanbase IS pretty damn big.
      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Touhou doesn’t sound like my type of game… I think I’d put my computer through the window before I ever completed it (^_^;)

    That said, it was a nice read to finally know its history… thanks for that!

    • Ever heard of a game called Ikaruga? Play that a get a small taste of Touhou (or just watch videos I guess)

      Aha, At least I helped one person get to know the history behind these things!

  4. This was very helpful! I had already known alot about vocaloid before this, but i’d only heard of touhou from the music on youtube. I recognize the game!…not that im gonna try (and inevitably fail) anytime soon. :D

  5. Pingback: What the hell is Kantai Collection? | Anime Tree

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