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Touhou Character Re-Analysis: Reisen Udongein Inaba
I wasn't happy with my other one, so I spent hours writing a newer one. This one discusses who Reisen is rather than what fanon gets right or wrong about her. Hopefully this is informative and interesting.


In fanon, Reisen Udongein Inaba is commonly portrayed as a cowardly, useless woobie whose only purpose is to be abused so that the audience may feel bad for her. Doujins have placed her in scenarios where people are fighting to make her their sex slave, food, or punching bag.

But is this an accurate depiction of our Moon Rabbit? Let's look at the canon material, which I like to split into two halves.

Pre-Retcon Reisen: Coward Seeking Redemption

Reisen's debut is in Imperishable Night, where she is faced by 2 or one of 8 possible foes. Looking at the conversations, it's quite clear that Reisen's personality hasn't been developed enough to be interesting at this point, since her only role in the story is to guard the mansion of Eirin and Kaguya, Eientei. However, one detail is of particular interest.

Instead of running away like a coward when Eientei is intruded by whatever two characters the player uses, she seals the doors of Eientei and stands in their way and fights back. Even when she is defeated, she uses her powers of lunacy to confuse her opponents as a last ditch attempt to stop them, and it's a 50/50 chance that it works too.

However, the instruction manual goes into a little more detail about Reisen's back story. Apparently there was a war going on between the moon and earth, and Reisen fled the frontlines into Gensokyo. According to Reisen's fellow Moon Rabbits, the earthlings planted a flag on the moon and acted like they owned it. When The Lunarians urged the earthlings to live peacefully with them, they refused, and that's how this whole war started.

When Reisen landed in Gensokyo - presumably using the Lunar Veil (Used for space travel between the Moon and other planets) - she found Kaguya and Eirin, who welcomed her to Eientei. She received telepathic messages from her fellow Moon Rabbits demanding that she come back, but Eirin and Kaguya decided they would protect her from the Lunar emissaries so she wouldn't be forced to return and fight the war. We could talk about the whole fake moon thing in Imperishable Night, and how the Hakurei Border prevents lunarians from invading (Mentioned in the instruction manual), but the former isn't really relevant to this discussion, and the latter gets retconned in, Silent Sinner in Blue, Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth, and Cage in Lunatic Runagate.

Reisen's next game appearance is in Phantasmagoria of Flower View, where her subordinate, Tei, runs off and Reisen has to find her. In this game, we get a very important event. Shikeiki.

Shikeiki pulls out her Mirror of Truth and tells Reisen that she has committed a terrible sin by abandoning her allies on the moon. Reisen seems convinced and asks what she can do to redeem herself. They have a spellcard duel, apparently as a test to see if Reisen has truly repented, and Reisen wins. When she heads back home, she thinks about the sins she has committed.


So currently, this all seems like pretty solid material to label Reisen as a coward, right? Well... things get a bit dodgey after these two games. If not for the following literary works, it would be safe to assume that she is a legitimate coward.

Post-Retcon Reisen: Rebel Seeking A Future

In this phase of Reisen's character, we get Silent Sinner in Blue, Cage in Lunatic Runagate, Inaba of the Moon And Inaba of the Earth, and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody.

I haven't read Silent Sinner In Blue because I've heard very poor things about it. Apparently, not only did it's illustrators take many artistic liberties, but Zun himself mentions that the story is told from multiple biased points of view, and it's not clear who is telling the truth. Beyond that, Reisen wasn't really focused on anyway, so this is a bit of blind spot in my analysis.

Let's skip to Cage in Lunatic Runagate. This book is the biggest adversary against Reisen being a coward, since it goes into detail about how Moon Rabbits are treated on the moon.

Basically, they are slaves. They spend their lives serving their lunarian masters, pounding mochi, being fed propaganda and getting conscripted into the military if they "misbehave". The upside is that they are at least fed and given shelter, but it's at the cost of freedom, truth, and doing something more meaningful with their lives. Chapter 6 is told from the point of view of Reisen II, a moon rabbit who replaces Reisen as the pet of important Lunarian figures, Yorihime and Toyohime Watatsuki. She mentions that Moon Rabbits are told that Gensokyo is a wasteland, and when they ask why they must spend their lives pounding mochi, they aren't given an answer. Another note of interest is that the Moon Rabbits consider the Watatsuki household a "bootcamp". This was where Reisen Udongein Inaba lived. Additionally, whenever moon soldiers are mentioned or seen, they are always, ALWAYS Moon Rabbits. The only Lunarians ever seen fighting are the Watatsuki Sisters.

So what does this all say about Reisen? Basically, it means that instead of her departure from the moon being an act of cowardice, it was most likely an act of escaping oppression and seeking a better life. While there are moon rabbits content with a life of servitude, such as Reisen II, it's pretty easy to see why one would leave the moon.

So now that we have established the two biggest splits in Reisen's character, let's talk about things that are consistent in both versions.

Reisen's Job
Reisen is Kaguya's servant, and Eirin's subordinate, but I say those words with strong caution. Reisen isn't "owned" by them, she serves them under her own free will, and benefits from this relationship: Besides food and shelter, she is also promised protection and asylum from lunar emissaries, and she gets an education towards being a nurse/doctor by Eirin. The latter of which shows that Reisen is working towards a future/dream outside of a life of servitude. Beyond that, Eirin and Kaguya's conversation with her indicate that they respect her as an equal. Unlike the moon, when Reisen asks a question, Eirin is happy to provide an answer, and Reisen isn't shut down or ignored when she criticizes either of them. For a Kaguya-specific example, when Kaguya gets sick, Reisen takes care of her, but the reverse happens when Reisen gets sick.

Anyway, what things does Reisen do for her employers? Cleaning and guarding Eientei mostly. However, she also delivers medicine to the human village, and takes on whatever other tasks given to her by Eirin and Kaguya, such as getting ingredients for potions. Lastly, Reisen instructs the earth rabbits. Sort of. Tei's their leader, but she's Reisen's subordinate, and they don't really seem to listen to her often, so take that as you will.

Reisen's Personality
Pretty Damn Sensible!
In pretty much every canon source, Reisen is one of the most well-rounded and realistic characters in the setting. In Inaba of the Moon And Inaba of the Earth She is quick to root out suspicious activity and point out hypocrisy. For the former, when Eirin grew plants all over Eientei as an experiment, which caused Kaguya to get stuck between a bunch of bamboo, Reisen pays close attention to Eirin's actions and gets her to admit that the incident was caused by her. For the latter, Reisen decides to go to one of Keine's classes after Keine criticizes her for poorly explaining medicines. She raises her hand and tells Keine that her own explanations are hard to understand, and Keine replies with "talk is cheap!".

We also see several instances of her level headedness in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody. In Marisa's story arc, Reisen asks Marisa to follow her so she can explain her theory on what's causing the weather incident. Marisa... can't be assed to listen, so she just attacks Reisen, which is met with "I was only trying to explain something! Why won't you listen?". A rare moment of straightforward cause and effect in a land where nearly everyone takes duels in stride. Additionally, in Reisen's own story arc, she decides to investigate what caused the earthquake in Gensokyo, and nearly everyone she meets decides to not be cooperative. Yukari in particular attacks Reisen simply because she... just decided the Shrine was off limits. After Reisen wins, she questions why Yukari takes issue with investigations, to which she once again gets no reply.

Pretty Damn Sad!
Most of my sources here will be Inaba of the Moon And Inaba of the Earth, but take note that it's apparently only semi-canon. Good thing too, because I find it hard to believe Eirin performs cruel corporeal punishment on Reisen when Cage in Lunatic Runagate shows an Eirin only mildly scolding her, and being extremely grateful to have her as an ally.

Reisen generally avoids people, as mentioned in Perfect Memento In a Strict Sense. It isn't much of a stretch to assume that it's because she's a misanthropist, seeing how she is mistreated by a large amount of characters in the setting. In Inaba of the Moon And Inaba of the Earth, the moment she enters Eientei and spots her former masters Yorihime and Toyohime, she immediately closes the door (perhaps as a self-aware joke about how people hate those two, but I digress). She's also used to Tei pulling pranks on her and shirking duties, and being scolded by Eirin for failing even though it is frequently because of matters out of her control. Reisen is also mistreated by other cast members such as Marisa, sometimes for literally no reason. Though, I suspect the residents of Gensokyo possess some kind of prejudice against moon people.

Reisen also has emotional breakdowns in the series. When the earth rabbits go on strike, Reisen is pressured to either side with Kaguya and Eirin, or the earth rabbits. Unable to handle it, she locks herself in her room for weeks. She only comes out because Tei pretends to be her parents... which Reisen seems to miss.

In Inaba of the Moon And Inaba of the Earth, Reisen takes pills that "make her super happy" whenever things get boring. It's honestly a cartoony scene meant for a joke, but it does make me raise an eyebrow. Considering Reisen's past, she probably has a lot of emotional baggage, trauma, and depression, so I wouldn't be surprised if those pills were meant to combat her negativity.

Despite her problems, we also get an impression that Reisen seeks affection and respect. when the Eientei cast went to a festival, Reisen was eager to play a gun shooting game in order to impress her peers. Not only that, but whenever someone shows even the slightest care for her, such as Kaguya and Toyohime, Reisen seems genuinely happy. When Eirin admits that she is too hard on her, Reisen starts to cry.

Pretty Damn Gullible!
Reisen is gullible. She is quick to trust people, and it often ends poorly for her. When assisting Alice in searching for ingredients, they get chased by a giant mushroom monster, and Alice hands her a mushroom and tells her to eat it. Reisen does so, suspecting it will make her big, but when she asks Alice what it does, Alice says it just makes her smell tastier.

There's also a few instances where she goes along with Tei's suggestions. None of them good, such as when Tei suggests that Reisen train by standing outside in the winter wearing summer clothes.

This trait is perhaps confusing for a few, but I think I have an explanation why this misanthropic rabbit tends to trust people. I believe it's because of her desire to be acknowledged. She doesn't want to believe that everyone is terrible, so she decides to trust them and hopes that it will pay off. I too have this problem.

Pretty Damn Curious!
Reisen has an insatiable lust for knowledge. She easily gets caught up reading tons of books over a short period of time, and has even attempted to stalk Mokou to find out why Mokou is the way she is. When searching for Tei in Phantasmagoria of Flower View she gets distracted by the blooming flower incident and investigates. I imagine this is another reason why she is so gullible.

Other, more trivial knowledge
- Symposium of Post-mysticism recently established that Mystia Lorelei and Kyouko Kasodani are punk rockers. If you look at the image included in the book, Reisen is in the concert audience. Apparently, she likes rock music.

I invite you all to discuss this with me, since Reisen's my favorite character in the series (and #1 waifu), and any extra knowledge helps me in perfecting my analysis.

Tune in next time where I discuss my Reisen Udonge Inaba head canon.
Sadly, the only thing that currently comes to mind is... How does Tei know how Reisen's parents act? Or even potentially more depressing, did Tei even need to know that detail to know that pretending to be them would get her to come out of her room?

As I've said already, thanks for typing all this up.
(07-14-2014, 02:24 AM)Onryou236 Wrote: Sadly, the only thing that currently comes to mind is... How does Tei know how Reisen's parents act? Or even potentially more depressing, did Tei even need to know that detail to know that pretending to be them would get her to come out of her room?

As I've said already, thanks for typing all this up.
I don't think Tei actually does. Come to think of it, I might have made a mistake. I think Tei went up to Reisen's door and said "Your parents came to see you", rather than pretending to be her parents.

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