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The cast of Touhou Project is vast, with a wide variety of wacky powers between them. However, are the characters using these powers to the best effect? (Warning, link leads to TVTropes. Muffin will not be held responsible for hours of time lost as a result of following it.But see also this disclaimer) Or is it the case that all they've done is just fling danmaku around?
This examination will attempt to answer this, comparing the best application in-story to the best idea I can come up with. I will only use canonical works, such as Perfect Memento, or the appearance of their abilities in-game. I will also assume that, in Imperishable Night, it is Reimu and Yukari who stopped the night from ending. However, this is disqualified from "best use" because the cure was arguably worse than the problem (i.e. the moon getting stolen to begin with). Furthermore, I do not regard the "Last Word" Spell Cards as being remotely canonical. For one thing, it brings Wriggle Nightbug up to the level of "even extra-er boss" ...
The ability to fly is also disqualified, since everybody can do it. (Possibly literally everyone in Gensokyo, depending on how you interpret a footnote to Flandre's article in Perfect Memento.)
Note also that this isn't specifically about danmaku; it is about the characters' "special ability," i.e. "manipulation of boundaries," or "control over weather."
I'm only examining the Windows games, since it has plenty of canonical out-of-game uses, whereas the PC-98-exclusive characters have had precious little. I'm also skipping mid-bosses, who practically have no story presence whatsoever. I'll also save the post-Phantasmagoria of Flower View games until the characters from Mountain of Faith on have had more than precisely one canonical appearance. (Shoot the Bullet, which has no characterization or story, doesn't count.)
- Under "Best application in-story", "Nothing besides Danmaku" means that a character never used their ability for anything more interesting than bullet patterns (or individual bullets) that looked like they had something to do with their ability — or not even that much (c.f. Rumia). This also includes attacks in the fighting games Immaterial and Missing Power and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody. (This has the side-effect that Marisa's butt-slam counts as "danmaku" by this definition ...)
- Under "better possible use", IGN stands for "I Got Nothing". Either the best canonical application is perfectly acceptable, and trying to come up with a better use for it would be seriously over thinking things; or it doesn't have much use, and there really is nothing you can use it for besides the way it's used in-story.
- "Combat-only" means that it has been shoehorned into the Inverse Law Of Utility And Lethality (Warning, link leads to TVTropes. Previous disclaimer appliesBut see also this disclaimer) — that is, you can use it to great effect for attacking things, but buggerall else; therefore, I Got Nothing more or less by default.
If anyone else has better ideas, feel free to tell me.
- Main Characters
- Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
- Perfect Cherry Blossom
- Immaterial and Missing Power
- Imperishable Night
- Phantasmagoria of Flower View
Yukari Yakumo: Theoretical omnipotence.
Suika Ibuki: Successfully took over Gensokyo (temporarily).
Mystia Lorelei: Most crafty con.