The biggest collection of loli's since -insert date here-
A very long time ago, a great franchise was released upon the world. This franchise, was Touhou. It was a top down shooter, involveing an entire cast of characters all made in the druken, barely functioning mind of their venerable creator, a man simply known as ZUN. The games were often reffered to as 'bullet hell' as oft the levels would include a small character flying through a gauntlet of enemies all fireing at you and then fighting a boss who fires alot more at you, alot. Such was the difficulty that most of the time the entire screen was covered with only a narrow corridor which was NOT under attack for you to fly down and attack. Yet somehow, be it the characters of the gameplay, Touhou has become one of the most successful doujin series to date with about 15 games total, each with new or improved characters.
Such was its popularity that the music within the game into songs with their own lyrics, ala IOSYS, two of my favourites being Chirumiru and Bad Apple. The characters have themselves gained legendary places among the Otaku community, with fanbases set up in their name. Such are these fanbases that most of the canon exists soley because the fans came up with it. More infamous Touhou characters include Flandre Scarlet, of U.N Owen fame and the 9 ball herself Cirno. As previously mentioned, Flandre (or Flan) is the reason U.N Owen Was Her exists, so that's who U.N Owen is then? And Cirno is the origin for 9 jokes and the word 'Baka' being used in the same joke, not to mention 'Eye' being used instead of 'I'. So it follows that an anime would be made based off of the franchise right? I mean, we have Street Fighter anime, Mortal Kombat anime and plenty of others, so does a Touhou anime exist? Well, the answer is....sort of. We're talking tricky stuff here so try to take it all in slowy. Officialy, ZUN has never endorsed a Touhou anime. However, there is an unofficial anime of sorts based on the games known as Touhou Anime Project. Episode one was released at Comiket as a single episode DVD, an OVA if you will. The episode is the subject of this review so I'll get to that in a moment, the main point is this. The rest of the series, never happened. Speculation runs wild about why this was, some suspect that the venerable ZUN had it stopped due to copyright, others say it was merely abandoned. My own research has revealed something however, an un and comeing theory suggests that episode 2 does indeed exist somewhere. Some say that episode 2 was released, again at Comiket, the following year. No raw or subbed version exists on the net to the best of my knowledge and it is doubtfull it will ever been seen. Thus, no official Touhou anime exists and there are currently no plans for one to be made. However, we do have episode one of the Touhou Anime Project to tide us over, let's take a look at it now, shall we?
So the episode begins with a black and white fly over of Gensokyo, what's Gensokyo? I'll let the narrator tell you: "Gensokyo: A world which exists quietly beside ours, separated by a mystical border. A utopia where humans and other beings, such as fairies, youkai and gods live peacefully together". I'd just like to point out that youkai tend to eat humans, so how can they live together peacefully? As the narrator points out, the summer festival is approaching and the shrine maiden Reimu Hakurei is prepareing for the feast and- oh wait, we have to have toe opening first. It's at this point you'll realise something, the animation is actualy...good. I sound supprised because, keep in mind this is an independent project, this isn't an official release. As the episode goes on you'll notice that the voice acting is pretty good aswell, this is no coincidence as most of the VA's for the episode were big names. How the creator managed to get them on an independent project that probably wouldn't make that much money, once again, remains a mystery. But anyway, the music turns ominous and everything goes dark to tell us EVIL IS AFOOT! As a mysterious shadow approaches the shrines collection box we cut to main titles.
Look out! It's...a poorly drawn villan!
After that, and after a beautiful scene of the clouds I might add, we get our first look at our cast. Speciffically the young, constantly drunk oni Suika (Yes, mellon) and Reimu herself. Reimu is collecting supplys from the storehouse while Suika helps, well I say helps, she's pretty much demolishing the place. Herein enter my first nitpick, there will be one or two of these so keep an eye out for:
Toehoe Nit Pick of the Minute!: Why is Suika's dress so clean and tidy? I've only ever seen her scruffy.
Anyway, Reimu, after being knocked down by Suika finding a wind chime, laments the lack of help: "So much for prepareing for the feast...only Suika showed up to help". Yeah, if I had a drunkard helping me prepare a sacred meal I'd be annoyed aswell. After mellon fails at a task as simple as getting a bowl, Reimu decides that's enough and they leave. There's a tiny little moment of chuckles for the audience when Suika bangs into the door fram due to her horns, but maybe that's just me. Suika is given the GREAT HONOR of carrying a bucket full of...non descript stuff, she then complains that there isn't any Sake in it!
"There's no sake in this."
Clearly this oni is a genius! We have learnt that a bucket full of non descript items is NOT full of Sake. To get the retard out of her face, Reimu tells Suika to get some shopping, who leaves promtly. Sometime later, Reimu is almost done. It is then she notices something evil, something terrible, something so satanic that this humble reviewer can scarcely believe it! THE COLLECTION BOX IS GONE! DUN DUN DUUUUUN! Reimu is a little more than shocked, yelling so loud that the birds in the surrounding trees fly away. Sometime later, once again, we see...a plane flying over head? They have planes in Gensokyo?
And on your left you'll see a magic village of super powerfull beings...
Eh, anyway, Reimu is so heart broken at the loss of her box that she has taken to paceing between the shrine entrance, or it looks that way from the angle. It is then we get introduced to everyones favourite tengu, Gensokyos resident pervert, Aya! Who just sort of...materialises next to Reimu, she does that. Aya suggests that the box may have been stolen, but also points out that noone in their right mind would bother since there is nothing in it, as shown by a quick flashback. Reimu appears not to want to accept the perverts help, I do wonder why, so Aya, in all her journalistic wisdom, decides to go and get help. She disappears, using one of her spell cards, in a nuclear explosion
She reappears quickly, however, bringing with her the brow beaten Marisa. Yes, Marisa, you know, the witch with the manly voice:
Toehoe Nit Pick of the Minute!: Marisa's voice isn't deep enough, that is all.
Aya suggests that the box stealer may be someone they know. Marisa responds with "Wait. I didn't steal it...", pretty quick to defend yourself eh Marisa? After Aya points out that it can't be Marisa, since she was helping to print newspapers the whole time, Reimu conscripts to two to help search for her box. Marisa refuses, only to have Aya say that if she doesn't help then the scandelous photos she has of Marisa will go public. That's Aya for you folks, a pervert for our time. It's also at this time that the mysterious shadow returns just to the side and disappears behind a tree. Hmmmm. The trio leave, and shortly afterwards Suika returns with a bottle of Sake. Ladies and gentlemen, the last time we shall see Suika.
After a pretty nice break picture of Cirno and what I think is meant to be Alice
we cut back to...the Scarlet Devil Mansion! Yes, this scenic mansion is home to the famous Scarlet Sisters Remilia and Flandre. Aya takes a picture of the sleeping gate guard Meiling and- ok, need another one:
Toehoe Nit Pick of the Minute!: This is going to make me sound like a pig, but, why are Meilings breasts so small? I may only be a layman when it comes to Touhou but I always assumed they were...anyway.
Marisa asks the perfectly reasonable question: "Why are we at the Scarlet Devil mansion looking for a donation box?". Oh, well, that's because if they didn't there would be little plot, right? Wrong, Reimu says that "Aya told me that Patchouli seems suspicious". Yes, I'm sure the book obsessed recluse that has never been outside in her life stole your donation box, Reimu. I think Aya just wanted pictures of Meiling sleeping. The trio enter the mansion while Marisa continues to point out how stupid this whole idea is. It is now we leave our main characters to see the current exploits of one Remilia Scarlet, who is wondering what's going on aswell. As the Scarlets made Sakuya points out via flashback, the tea has disappeared from the pantry, aswell as the wine and food supply. While in deep though, Remi hears our trio walking outside as Marisa is also pointing out that nothing was in the donation box so why would someone want to steal it? Reimu replys with a short "What was inside doesn't matter!". Ahem, that'swhatshesaid. Aya had apparently gained the ability to teleport without the use of nuclear explosions as she appears right next to a shocked Remi. Yet, all Aya does is slap a news paper down on the tale and leave to join Reimu and Marisa. What does this accomplish? Absolutely nuffin. Remi reads the front page anyway as we are greeted by our next peice of plot development, the festival has been canceled. I'm sorry, but, isn't that Reimu's decission? Surely the loss of a donation box is nothing to cancel a holy feast over right? Anyway, we enter the basement, also known as the Voile Library. Home to a massive clock pendulem. We see Patchouli doing what she does best, reading. Reimu bursts the doors open with a "Patchouli, we're coming in!". Jesus woman, manners. Reimu finds Patchy, however she points out that she is also looking for something. Noticeing a pattern here? It's almost invisible I tell you. Reimu is still holding onto the fool notion that Patchy has stolen the donation box and demands she hands it over. Meanwhile, Aya and Marisa are hurling books all over the place, one of which hits Patchouli right in the face, causing her to fall backwards. Patchouli then goes bat shit.
"I'm gonna choke a bitch!"
Cutting back to Remilia, and the mansion now has a clock tower for some reason, who is still reading the front page. "Reimu Hakurei, the self-professed 'Wonderfull Shrine Maiden of Paradise', stated that tonight's feast will be cancelled in order to search for the Hakurei Shrine's recently-stolen offertory box"...extreme? Remilia herself doesn't appear to believe it either. Sakuya appears with some drinks while Remi muses that Patchouli was saying that some of her books were missing aswell. They hear the battle rageing below, however Remi stops Sakuya from going to stop it, saying "I have an idea". Meanwhile, Patchouli is still bat shit and is summoning magic to blow our trio appart. Such magic will only make sense to you if you've played the games, but it's just pretty to watch for us laymans. Reimu attempts to fight back by throwing some of her talismans but Patchouli creates a wall to block them. Reimu appears like a freaking Giga Drill Breaker and flying kicks her way through the wall, giving us a nice upskirt by the way, she then uses her own magic which creates an explosion.
However, it seems Patchouli has escaped. Patchy herself had run begind a book case to hide, Sakuya beams, apparently to help, but warns Patchouli to wait. Remilia appears on the balcony above to stop the battle. "It appears that you are suspecting Patchy, but I highly doubt she did it", ahh, Remi and Marisa, the only two people in this show with sense. "Patchy has been looking for her missing books all this time", or not it seems. The clues come together, as they work out that the food, the wine, the books and Reimu's precious donation box all disappeared the previous night at the same time. "Reimu, I think you'd realize by now". Reimu turns super srs and says "This is another...incident". And how does the episode end? With a nice big To Be Continued sign. Whoop de fucking do.
So that's the Touhou Anime Project, how does it hold up? Well, I can't reallt fault it. The paceing is nice, the characters are IN character and the plot keeps us wondering. Sadly though we will never know how it turns out as, as I said, the series was discontinued. What happened to the stolen objects and who was behind it remains a mystery and I, for one, would like to know the answers. In itself, the anime is enjoying even if you don't know the games and for an independent I'm actualy very impressed.
Final Score: 4/5
Why not a perfect 5? The nit picks, go figure.