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Touhou Character Analysis: Kaguya Houraisan
#1
Introduction
If I were to assume the quantity of images I find on certain image sites is somehow representative of a character's popularity, Kaguya Houraisan is the fourth most popular character from Touhou 8: Imperishable Night. Number one being Mokou, two being Reisen, and three being Keine. What I'm wondering is... why is this the case?

Of the four, Mokou and Keine are probably the least interesting characters. The former is an angsty hot head, while the other is a teacher at the human village who also guards it... Well, that's at least more interesting than what Mokou has ever amounted to in canon.

This is very peculiar to me, since Kaguya is leagues more interesting than either Mokou OR Keine, and yet she barely has even half the amount of images Mokou has. Why? Is it because people like Mokou's immortality? Kaguya has that too. Is it because Mokou's more powerful? Not true at all. Kaguya's ability – control over eternity – is way more versatile than the ability to throw fire. Is it because of their reputations? … Possibly.

MokouxKeine is a very common pairing with Touhou fans, and it's easy to see why. Mokou is a hot blooded, bitter angst fest, and her best friend is a calm, yet naggy teacher. It's an interesting contrast, and... Mokou fits the tsundere bill pretty well, and we all know how much people tend to gravitate to those types.

However. Let's think about it. Doesn't Kaguya have a good contrast between her pairings? She's often seen as a lazy, immature person. Compare that to Eirin, an intelligent pharmacist who can cure nearly any ailment. You bet the latter's gonna nag the former to get off her ass and do something with her life. Isn't that a good contrasts?

And what about Reisen, Kaguya's other pairing. Reisen is kind of a mix of Eirin and Mokou. Smart, but bitter. Mature, but emotional. She also has a slew of her own traits, such as shyness and being somewhat intimidating because of her reserved nature. Doesn't that contrast well with Kaguya's more sociable, friendly mannerisms?

Well. Then it doesn't make sense. What am I missing here?

Perhaps it's something simple... like their appearances.

While I find Kaguya the more attractive of the two, Mokou is definitely the more exotic looking. Kaguya is the epitome of ancient japanese beauty, but Mokou is a much more mixed bag of traits, which would probably give her a wider appeal.

But I think there's also the fact that Mokou deals with her immortality in a more realistic way. She just doesn't give a shit. Kaguya's still a fairly normal person outside of her toilings with Mokou, so she seems less like a product of her situation than Mokou is.

I think it's a bit unfair to write Kaguya off like that however. I insist that she's the much more interesting character because... despite Mokou's personality being more of a product of her situation, Mokou lacks an interesting backstory, and her motive for hating Kaguya is rather pathetic by today's standards. But I suppose that too is part of Mokou's appeal: despite all of her power and immortality – or perhaps because of it – she's still a pathetic human being.

Analysis
Kaguya Houraisan was the princess of the Lunar Capital. I'm not sure how the class system of the moon works, but I'm guessing Kaguya was mostly just a figurehead, since Lord Tsukuyomi is the guy who apparently runs things. Eirin is her closest friend, and together, they sought for a way to achieve immortality... which is retarded when you think about it: Lunarians don't age. They only die by injury. Not to mention problems with overpopulation. Lunarians are greedy fucks.

Anyway, this is a pretty pivotal moment in Kaguya's life, so I wish to analyze her motives for this. This is a princess we're talking about. One who has been described as pampered and selfish by the imperishable night booklet. My guess is that Kaguya did this out of cowardice. She was afraid of death, so she sought a way to overcome it... and she did with the help of her power over eternity.

She drinks the elixir, and is sent to earth by the lunarians for her impure actions. Hypocritical, I know, but the moon is by far the most fucked up place in the Touhou universe. Kaguya was taught to hate humans – I'm guessing that Lunarians did A LOT of propoganda to keep it's government and society from falling to pieces – but she grew to like them, and become content with living on the earth. Then... another pivotal moment in her life. The lunarians wanted her back.

Not sure why they bothered to get her back. I guess they wanted a pretty doll to put on a pedestal for the sake of morale. Either way, one of the people who came to pick her up was Eirin Yagokoro.

Despite being involved in the creation of the Hourai elixir that gave Kaguya her immortality, Eirin was not persecuted or punished for this. Probably because she's the co-founder of the moon, but... fuck, that just opens so many more questions. Let's leave that for now. Either way, Eirin felt terrible for what happened to Kaguya, and Kaguya was her best friend of all things. When Kaguya refused to go back to the moon, Eirin decided to kill the squadron she was with since they were going to bring her back whether she wanted it or not. By the way. Important note: Her squadron consisted entirely of moon rabbits. This is important.

Eirin decided not to go back to the moon, and simply stay on earth with Kaguya... Somehow they ended up in gensokyo though. It's never explained or even mentioned how they got there. It just happened. Or perhaps I'm reading this wrong: Maybe they're referring to gensokyo when they say “earth”. I'm going to go with that for now since it's a lot less problematic.

Now... here is where we have a huge gap. Obviously Kaguya hung out with humans. Obviously she denied marriage with Mokou's father, and obviously she somehow ended up in the middle of a forest of bamboo with a mansion. How did all of this happen? I'm going to assume that after being expelled from the moon, Kaguya lived at one of the human villages for a while. Obviously if you want to survive, you need food. You either get that by paying for it, or by starting a farm. Either way... let's get something straight here.

KAGUYA WAS NEVER A NEET.

Even if she is immortal, she can still feel pain and die, which means she can starve. Starving is extremely painful and can drive you to madness. Not to mention, it may even override Kaguya's immortality unless reviving somehow also reverses her starvation state. Anyway, the point I'm getting at is that Kaguya HAD to get food somehow. She's not a princess to these people, and I doubt her looks alone is going to get her enough food gifts to keep her sustained. Maybe she hunted for food... but I think the more likely scenario is that Kaguya got a job.

Now let's pile onto that too... How did Eientei Manor come into existence? There's no way someone just built it and left it there. That opens up a ton of questions that I'd rather not explain. Instead, I'm going to believe that Kaguya and Eirin saved up a lot of money for it. Eirin has the medicine, and Kaguya probably did something else. Perhaps a performer? She's certainly good looking enough to be a model. When I RP as her, I usually go with something along the lines of an aesthetic designer or stylist.

So there ya go. That's how they ended up in Eientei. They saved up a fuck load o' cash and had it built. But then... there's a few more things to fill in.

Why the rabbits all over that place?

Remember when Eirin killed those moon rabbits? Imagine how guilty they must've felt about it. Obviously the moon teaches people that moon rabbits are meant to serve them, and they are nothing but tools, but Eirin's been around since before then. She saw the lunarians subjugate the moon rabbits. Even if the moon rabbits are seen as servants and pets though, that would still instill a lot of guilt on a person. Wouldn't you feel like shit if you killed a dog?

This is why Eientei is an asylum to the rabbits. Kaguya and Eirin feel horrible about what happened, and seek redemption for it. They also don't treat the rabbits as pets like they did on the moon. Instead, they are seen as tenants. Why? Well, being on the earth made Kaguya realize that a lot of the stuff she was taught on the moon was a load of bullshit, and Eirin kind of always knew as well, but fuck if she's going to stand up against an entire nation. As such, Kaguya learned that Youkai are not below her, or anyone else for that matter. So long as the rabbits earn their keep, they can stay at Eientei.

I think this opens up room for other things however... As stated before, Kaguya is quite popular with the guys. What about the male rabbit youkai? Have some tried to start a relationship with her? Actually, has Kaguya ever dated? She's probably not such a prude that she's NEVER EVER dated within the span of her numerous years of living, so I'm gonna guess she DID date. Maybe even got married a few times, but had divorces, or her partner died.

Depending on how you want to depict Kaguya, it could go a lot of ways. Perhaps the rabbit youkai really DO find her attractive, but she remembers what they were like when they were just rabbits, or child youkai. Maybe she doesn't care since she's immortal, and is aware that people age and get older. Who knows?

Kaguya probably also socializes a lot and goes to the human villages often. I mean, she used to work there, and it's written in her profile that she loves guests. Surely she's made a slew of friends at the villages, or even other places.

Either way... I think I'm out of shit to say on the matter except that Kaguya's one of the most underrated characters, and I feel that she's more mature and complex than people give her credit for.
#2
I Didnt played touhou, im just here to make your day because nobody else has written here. now get out the chair and put a f***ing smile in your face buddy.
-Link_121212
#3
Just going to repeat this again before getting to my actual points...

Touhou memes are the cancer that is ruining the legitimate perspectives of the franchise.

Anyway, on to the points...

Although I won't lie that I still stick to my claim that Touhou is too underdevelop and ZUN is a bad story writer, Kaguya was one of those characters to me that had a lot of potential based on whatever backstory she has and premise alone. Her personality is a bit sparse (like most of the cast), but she has a ton to work with to at least give her a more consistent character interpretation that makes her less of a victim to those awful Touhou memes than most characters in the cast. I guess it's interesting to see how you're analyzing and interpreting her history and personality to something that is sensible at least with all that said.

Also, I am a sucker for the Yamato Nadeshiko style.

In a less characterization oriented sense, I do remember stating in our discussion last night that if Kaguya's powers over eternity were extended beyond its usual temporal depictions and extends to far more metaphysical/abstract stuff, she could potentially rival really hax techniques from the likes of Beatrice from Umineko. People tend to underestimate abstract attacks because they tend to lack the Michael Bay Factor most people are obsessed with when it comes to powers. Albeit, this comparison disregards actual raw power since Beatrice easily beats anyone from Touhou in that aspect.

Fire manipulation is okay for the newbies, but let's be fair here... it's a tried and overused power that is running out of imagination since very little are even willing to reinvent it. Abstract shit is way funner to explore.
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#4
(08-15-2013, 08:02 PM)Ampchu Wrote: Although I won't lie that I still stick to my claim that Touhou is too underdevelop and ZUN is a bad story writer, Kaguya was one of those characters to me that had a lot of potential based on whatever backstory she has and premise alone. Her personality is a bit sparse (like most of the cast), but she has a ton to work with to at least give her a more consistent character interpretation that makes her less of a victim to those awful Touhou memes than most characters in the cast. I guess it's interesting to see how you're analyzing and interpreting her history and personality to something that is sensible at least with all that said.
I haven't really gotten into detail about her personality, but I suppose what I presented should be adequate enough.

(08-15-2013, 08:02 PM)Ampchu Wrote: People tend to underestimate abstract attacks because they tend to lack the Michael Bay Factor most people are obsessed with when it comes to powers.
Aren't you obsessed with the michael bay factor? You wrote a whole article about Marisa's Master Spark. Besides, I think you're being presumptuous/unfair about most people.

(08-15-2013, 08:02 PM)Ampchu Wrote: Fire manipulation is okay for the newbies, but let's be fair here... it's a tried and overused power that is running out of imagination since very little are even willing to reinvent it. Abstract shit is way funner to explore.
I have yet to see a story where abstract powers don't compromise it's credibility, so I think sticking with "newbie" powers like fire manipulation is a sensible choice.
#5
(08-15-2013, 08:13 PM)markyjoe1990 Wrote: I haven't really gotten into detail about her personality, but I suppose what I presented should be adequate enough.

Theories work, too, given what we're limited to in the first place. Not saying I'm one of those people who easily dismiss things as "it's the thought that counts," but everything has to start somewhere before becoming better.

Quote:Aren't you obsessed with the michael bay factor? You wrote a whole article about Marisa's Master Spark. Besides, I think you're being presumptuous/unfair about most people.

That's different, I'm a member of a versus community, so that calc came from a blog meant to provide proof for one of the characters I am arguing for in a versus debate. I have my justification and I even stated before that raw power doesn't mean everything if this post is anything to go by:

(07-24-2013, 10:33 PM)Ampchu Wrote: Well, there is always other ways to win other than brute force. It's why most debate forums will agree that the EU version of Luke Skywalker would be able to beat SSJ4 Goku quite easily in a 1-on-1 match in spite of being far weaker because Goku has no shown resistance to mindrape from someone who can react first. Power isn't everything.

So yeah, no.

Quote:So I think sticking with "newbie" powers like fire manipulation is a sensible choice.

Probably not really going to argue against this since the point is fair. Not everyone likes things complicated and rather keep it simple for the sake of ease. Doesn't change the fact you compared Kaguya and Mokou's powers anyway.
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#6
Alright alright. I'll back off. Sorry for putting you on the spot, Amps.

(08-15-2013, 08:41 PM)Ampchu Wrote: Probably not really going to argue against this since the point is fair. Not everyone likes things complicated and rather keep it simple for the sake of ease. Doesn't change the fact you compared Kaguya and Mokou's powers anyway.
A lot of people who love a specific touhou character will cite their power as one of their reasons for attraction. My intention was to explain that people wouldn't logically choose Mokou over Kaguya due to power.
#7
Reasons why I like Keine:
1) SHE'S HOT, DAMMIT!!!
2) She has one of the most broken abilities in canon (which isn't much to say, ZUN wouldn't know how to balance his cast even if his life depended on it).
3) The most "benevolent yet approachable" character from the cast. Byakuren comes as second, but she's not approachable at all.
4) She's hot.
5) Her character design looks pretty awesome. I actually prefer Mokou's over her's, though.
6) Long hair (c'mon Marc, we both know that's sexy). Again, Mokou beats everybody on this because she has the most ridiculously long hair since Rapunzel.
7) I don't think I should repeat "she's hot" at this point, should I?

As for Mokou: Everything's better with fire, I guess?

[Image: 3404c3d3bb6906cbc28be54c51df25cf.png]
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#8
(08-16-2013, 02:23 PM)Alex Suárez Wrote: Reasons why I like Keine:
1) SHE'S HOT, DAMMIT!!!
4) She's hot.
7) I don't think I should repeat "she's hot" at this point, should I?
Those are pretty decent reasons.

(08-16-2013, 02:23 PM)Alex Suárez Wrote: 2) She has one of the most broken abilities in canon (which isn't much to say, ZUN wouldn't know how to balance his cast even if his life depended on it).
Apparently it's just an aesthetic according to Yukari in imperishable night, but fuck if yukari's a reliable source... But come on dude, being powerful in gensokyo is about as rare a trait as cheese in a cheese market.

(08-16-2013, 02:23 PM)Alex Suárez Wrote: 3) The most "benevolent yet approachable" character from the cast. Byakuren comes as second, but she's not approachable at all.
Benevolent? Or self righteous? Not to mention she's a nag from what I can tell, so "approachable" is probably not accurate, and while I won't say there's a lot of benevolent touhou characters (Such as Reisen and most of the Imperishable Night cast), not many of them are genuinely evil either (Yuuka?). A good sum of them fall into true neutral.

(08-16-2013, 02:23 PM)Alex Suárez Wrote: 6) Long hair (c'mon Marc, we both know that's sexy). Again, Mokou beats everybody on this because she has the most ridiculously long hair since Rapunzel.
Kaguya has control over eternity, or "the instant". She could control the duration of how long it takes for her hair to grow a certain length. As such, Kaguya could instantly have longer hair than Mokou if she wanted to.

On top of that, Kaguya can lock things into an unalterable state... This means she can make her hair indestructible... which means if she were to wrap you in it, you wouldn't be able to escape.

There's also Reisen, who is BARELY behind Mokou in terms of hair length, and she could use her illusions (I think she can even give them physical properties if the fighting games are any indication), Kaguya, or possibly some potion made by Eirin. =X

Heck, that could quickly apply to most of the Eientei cast, but others could do it if they choose simply because of Eirin.


(08-16-2013, 02:23 PM)Alex Suárez Wrote: As for Mokou: Everything's better with fire, I guess?
Meh. Fire can destroy, or it can keep shit warm, or cook stuff.

(08-16-2013, 02:23 PM)Alex Suárez Wrote: [Image: 3404c3d3bb6906cbc28be54c51df25cf.png]
The image doesn't show. =X
#9
Can you see it now?
#10
(08-16-2013, 02:41 PM)Alex Suárez Wrote: Can you see it now?
Nope.
  


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