Introduction to Touhou 57: Seija

Seija 1
WARNING: This article contains partial spoilers for Impossible Spell Card. Reader beware.

“No matter who’s after my life, I have no reason to return this wonderful power!”

Seija Kijin is the contrarian mastermind behind the incident in Double Dealing Character and as of the newest game, Impossible Spell Card, a wanted criminal.

No one likes Seija. This isn’t an exaggeration. It’s completely intentional and Seija wouldn’t have it any other way. She is an Amanojaku, a particularly sinister type of youkai that drives people to commit wicked deeds by drawing out their darkest desires. Some Amanojaku, Seija included, revel in being hated and loving what others despise. Essentially, they’re supernatural hipsters.

While she has horns and is described as having a vaguely Oni-esque appearance, Seija is not an Oni and her deceitful nature would likely make the comparison quite insulting to Oni like Suika and Yuugi. Indeed, she made her entrance into Touhou by deceiving Shinmyoumaru into declaring war against the youkai of Gensokyo, simply to get her to use the Miracle Mallet to cause chaos.

Having the Tsukumogami rise up and overthrow the youkai would have given Seija the perverse pleasure of seeing a society where weak youkai rule the strong ones. To Reimu, Marisa, and Sakuya, she tries to tempt them by saying such a world is better for humans than the current one (of course, her caste would still be supreme). However, she didn’t recognize that the three are haves rather than have-nots, so they see her little rebellion as a threat rather than an opportunity.

“From here on, the strong shall lose their power and the weak will unify the world!”

With both her and Shinmyoumaru falling victim to the Gensokyo welcome wagon and Raiko leading the Tsukumogami away from confrontation, Seija’s rebellion virtually collapsed. Impossible Spell Card then details her on the run with a bounty on her head. Because she’s considered an enemy of Gensokyo, the humans and lesser youkai hunting her have carte blanche to use abilities and spell cards that would otherwise be illegal due to their difficulty, hence the title of the game. One terrifying example has Mokou taking a page from Utsuho’s book and nuking three-quarters of the screen with a ball of solar fire.

Not wanting to go down like a punk, Seija decides that if these spell cards are impossible, she has no option but to cheat. To do this, she uses magical items like corrupted replicas of Remiu’s Yin-Yang Orbs, Shinmyoumaru’s Miracle Mallet, Yukari’s umbrella, and other such artifacts. With each providing a unique advantage over her pursuers, Seija beats back the opposition.

“Whatever the means, whoever survives, wins.”

However, the use of these powerful items catches the attention of Aya and other news-writing Tengu, whose writings bring heroine-level characters into the mix including Youmu and Sanae, who missed out on the action in Double Dealing Character.

Seija defeats them all and schemes to use her stock of magical weapons to conquer Gensokyo singlehandedly until Shinmyoumaru shows up to demand she give herself up. Between continuing her revolt and making an enemy out of the closest thing she’s ever had to a true friend, Seija chooses to fight. In the end, Seija is left alone, hated, and without a sympathetic soul in the world. As she continues her struggle, she comes under attack by increasingly powerful entities like Reimu, Kanako, Byakuren, Miko, Tenshi, and Remilia until the guardian of the old order herself, Yukari, comes to finish off the troublesome Amanojaku personally.

Due to the lack of a comprehensive translation of Impossible Spell Card, Seija’s fate is currently unknown.

Seija’s power is to reverse/flip things, generally (but not limited to) physical space. This power explains why the Shining Needle Castle is flipped upside down in Double Dealing Character and it also allows Seija to reverse the player controls by rotating the screen and flipping the X and Y axes in her spell cards. Because the controls are from the character’s perspective, the player must think on their feet or risk running facefirst into otherwise easily avoidable danmaku. As a combat power, it holds relatively little value aside from some disorientation, a fact that Seija seems to resent somewhat depending on how you interpret her constant discussion of weakness.

Within fandom, Seija’s flipping power and contrarian personality feature prominently. People roleplaying as Seija sometimes even opt to invert their text, which aside from making them difficult to read, is supposed to represent her flip-turned upside down craziness.

In terms of fanart, she overturns Shinmyoumaru’s bowl, rotates Sekibanki’s head, and causes other minor mischief. One particular comic has her completely unable to understand the idea of Opposite Day. Seija’s primary image in Double Dealing Character has her back turned toward the camera, and fan images reflect this by placing a good deal of emphasis on her rear. The answer to the age-old question “Do she got the booty?” is apparently, “She do.”

Her red hair highlight, along with her rebellious streak, lend themselves to a rather large amount of Kill la Kill crossover art with her dressed as Ryuko. There isn’t a terrible lot of the reverse, though.

With the Hard Mode section of Introduction to Touhou now underway, it’s high time we gave some love to one of the oldest characters in Touhou. She may not have survived the test of time as well as Reimu, but she’s been around since Highly Responsive to Prayers and fans are highly responsive to rumors of her making a Windows-era comeback. Next time, we’re taking a look at the vengeful spirit named Mima.

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