“The misanthrope lives!” – ZUN
In Touhou’s past, Reimu clashed regularly with a vengeful spirit wielding powerful sorcery and an intimate knowledge of the Hakurei Shrine’s secrets. This spirit was Mima and in the transition between the PC-98 and Windows canons, she vanished without a trace.
In Highly Responsive to Prayers, the first Touhou game, Reimu initially encounters Mima as she breaks free from a smaller shrine connected to the Hakurei Shrine. Though they don’t exchange any words at this stage, Mima’s appearance may provide some insight, specifically the bloody knife she holds.
This knife isn’t visible in her future portrayals and it’s never discussed in any canonical materials, but it may hint at her reasons for turning into a vengeful spirit. Perhaps she was murdered and unable to find peace or, given how she possesses the knife, maybe she’s the spirit of a murderer.
“Do you know why flowers can be a symbol of death as well as happiness? That’s because they’re the same as humans. Souls gather, flowers bloom, and when souls leave, flowers scatter. “
Sometimes they see, amidst the senseless landscapes of their dreams, a lake of blood. From the sanguine depths emerges a woman with green hair and eyes as deep and red as the water around her. Her smile masks her insatiable bloodlust and unimaginable cruelty and she begins to stride towards them, each step leaving an eviscerated corpse in its wake. She reaches out, but before she can touch them, they awake with a scream and the sense of relief that it was all a dream. Little do they know the nightmare has become reality.
Originally from the fourth Touhou game, Lotus Land Story, Yuuka received a minor wardrobe alteration and a significant personality change upon her reintroduction in Phantasmagoria of Flower View. Much like Alice, the Yuuka of PC-98 and the Yuuka of the Windows games are completely different beasts and there are two conflicting stories regarding Yuuka as a result of the divide.
“Why the hell did you stuff gunpowder in ’em?!” – Marisa
Deep within the Forest of Magic resides a puppeteer renowned for her pale skin and blonde hair much like that of the dolls she creates. Alice Margatroid, the Seven-Colored Puppeteer, is a magician of considerable intellect and power whose title supposedly comes from her grimoire that “shines wonderfully with all the seven colors of the light”.
Magicians in Touhou are defined as magic users capable of expanding their repertoire of skills through research, but they come in two varieties: youkai and human. Human magicians like Marisa Kirisame are born without innate magical ability and instead develop their powers through pure effort, contrasting with natural-born youkai magicians like Patchouli Knowledge. Somewhere in between these two extremes lies Alice, who claims to have been a human who recently ascended into a youkai through the accumulation of magical power. This is apparent in her more humanlike habits of wanting normal food and expressing the desire to sleep at night even though youkai need neither of these.