Monthly Archives: November 2013

Introduction to Touhou 38: Akyuu

Akyuu 1
“We, the Hieda family, decided to collect information about Gensokyo’s most prominent youkai every one hundred twenty to one hundred eighty years in order to ensure humans to live in safety.”

Hieda no Akyuu is the human historian responsible for updating the Gensokyo Chronicle. Akyuu is known as the Ninth Child of Miare, and this distinction comes from her unique circumstances. Every one to two centuries, a Child of Miare is born into the Hieda Clan. This individual is actually the reincarnation of the same individual named Hieda no Are. While the cycle of reincarnation applies to all humans in Touhou, it’s important to remember that people can be reincarnated into different families or even different species. Thus, the odds of a person being reborn into the same family nine times are extremely low.

The Hieda Clan possesses a specific ritual that allows for the continued reincarnation of Hieda no Are, but this process is not without its flaws. Children of Miare tend not to live long, with their life expectancy being thirty. To compound matters, the ritual itself is quite involved and requires several years of advance preparation. Considering that Akyuu is 19, this leaves her with the better part of a decade to live. However, Children of Miare are either born with fully developed minds or grow rapidly since Akyuu wrote Perfect Memento at the age of ten.

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The Nine Hells of Anime Episode 48: Pokemon Origins

Fino, Moon, and Ace came into this week’s episode expecting to talk about the anime adaptation of Pokemon Adventures, but instead found a nostalgic, yet oddly unfaithful retelling of Pokemon Red’s story with convenient tie-ins to the new games. Does the obvious marketing ploy spoil the good memories or does Pokemon Origins have a charm of its own?


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Introduction to Touhou 37: Suwako

Suwako 1

“My name isn’t really mentioned publicly, but I’m the one that does the work at the shrine.”

Though the Moriya Shrine’s followers owe their allegiance to Kanako, the shrine itself is actually the abode of a completely different entity: the earth and curse goddess Suwako Moriya.

Where Kanako is direct and forceful, Suwako keeps to the shadows and prefers to act covertly. Her true personality is difficult to read as she rarely lets on the full extent of what she knows, instead preferring to play the fool when others get too close to uncovering the truth.

Though she’s mostly seen in a childlike form, Suwako’s physical shape isn’t fixed and she can take the form of a frog. That said, she’s not actually a frog goddess and has no sway over the amphibians of Gensokyo. Apparently she just really likes frogs, which would explain her hat. Speaking of that particular piece of headwear, Suwako seems to have sparked something of a fashion trend among the mountain-dwelling fairies as in Mountain of Faith, several are seen with similar hats.

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The Nine Hells of Anime Episode 47: Ghost in the Shell 2 – Innocence

In this episode, Fino, Moon, and Ace slog through Mamoru Oshii’s second Ghost in the Shell movie: Innocence. Setting gratuitous basset hounds and talking heads aside, we answer the big questions. Can this complex film truly stand alone from the rest of the series? Did it end the character arcs of The Major and Batou on a solid state? Did future incarnations of Ghost in the Shell arise from the groundwork set by Innocence? The answers to these clumsy references and more within.


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Introduction to Touhou 36: Kanako

Kanako 1

The mountain itself is me.
The mountain is the object of worship of me.
After all, this is the only such magnificent mountain in all of Gensokyo.
I can’t help it if those who live here don’t have faith in me.

Residing in the lake at the peak of Youkai Mountain, Kanako Yasaka is the primary goddess of the Moriya Shrine and Sanae’s boss.

Originally, Kanako came from the Outside World, but found that her days there were numbered. In large part, this threat came from the increasing secularization of the world and the consequent decrease in believers. Indeed, Kanako speaks with disgust when reflecting on how shrines and other sacred locations were being turned into “power spots” and other such hippie nonsense.

However, humans came to know mortality and started disbelieving in eternity.
Even in agriculture, they continued to acquire skills that defied the rain and winds.
They learned that mountains were created from volcanoes and changes in the earth’s crust.
They became able to cross mountains easily and without danger.
Yes, humans had begun to believe in science and information.
In tandem with that, the faith they had in gods like Kanako continued to wane.

Rather than fade into obscurity, Kanako instead sought to regain her power by relocating the Moriya Shrine to Gensokyo. As a fantasy land resembling feudal Japan, the residents of Gensokyo are far more spiritual and believe in the existence of gods as a matter of fact. Kanako’s plan, however, doesn’t end at merely transplanting herself into this environment. Kanako is a major player in Gensokyo’s power politics and one of her first acts was to negotiate an alliance with the Tengu and Kappa of the mountain. In return for providing her with a steady supply of faith, Kanako in turn grants boons to her worshippers. In one instance, she offered to introduce the Kappa to the power of nuclear fusion.
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The Nine Hells of Anime Episode 46: Watamote

This episode, the crew is forced to reflect on the ugly side of things with the series Watamote, which is also known by the lengthy and unwieldy title of “No Matter How I look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular.” Soft-spoken, unattractive, and afflicted with crippling levels of social anxiety, Tomoko schemes to become loved and respected someday. The problem? She’s actually a horrible, vindictive person whose thought process has been twisted through years of social isolation and pornographic visual novels. Thus, we see Tomoko experience disaster after self-inflicted disaster in a dark comedy with a knack for striking uncomfortably close to home.

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