I think Keine has the best hat. It's still darn silly though.

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__saigyou_ayakashi_touhou_drawn_by_void0mega__846e
I want to try having regular discussions of characters. My hope is that we can share our ideas and consider new ways to write them.

I'll try to figure out how to run these as I go. For now, I want this to be a dialogue about different perspectives, so we should try to keep in mind that these are all subjective to a degree. This isn't about finding the "correct" interpretation, necessarily, only as many interesting ones as we can. I think staying aware of where our ideas on characters come from, whether canon, fanon, or personal headcanon, and presenting them accordingly could help reduce friction. In any case, please try to keep an open mind.

That being said, I think discussion here should also be a bit more detailed. I'm not interested in regurgitating memes about characters that had already gone stale in 2009. Please make a good faith effort to talk about what makes a character interesting to you or a way you think they could be interesting.
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Kogasa_Whos_Who
Tsukumogami, specifically karakase obake.
First appeared in UFO (#12, 2009), other notable appearances in TD, WaHH, and SFW.
Official Profiles:
https://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Strange_Creators_of_Outer_World/Who%27s_Who_of_Humans_%26_Youkai_in_Gensokyo/Kogasa_Tatara
https://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Symposium_of_Post-mysticism/Kogasa_Tatara
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Just want to chime in and show support for this thread.

That said, I don't particularly have many thoughts on Kogasa. She's a very GeGeGe no Kitaro kind of goofy youkai who's very 'pure' in the sense that she does exactly what you'd expect: try to spook humies because 'that's just what you do'. Yeah, there's the technical connection with blacksmithing because ippon-datara, but I feel like that's such an incidental and minor aspect of her character as to not especially matter; it's relevant for a single chapter in Wild and Horned Hermit. Really, I just think of her as a bit character and wouldn't go out of my way to focus on her.

But, dunno, I guess people who are more opinionated can say more and maybe I'll accordingly have more thoughts.
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Kogasa's interesting. Just about everything about her would imply she's just a pity magnet- abandoned as an object, terrible at doing the thing she needs to do to eat, half of her relevant appearances are her showing up to try and be helpful and then getting beaten up, and she's working multiple jobs just to try and make ends meet.

But despite all that, she's not a downer in the slightest. She might run off crying, but she'll always be back with a big umbrella grin the next time she shows up. It's charming. She's not too troubled with her life at the moment, and being a fairly weak tsukumogami not tied to any faction opens her up for a lot of potential character exchanges, which is always a big one. She's pathetic, but only kitten-pathetic, not worm-pathetic.


Also, she seems to think Byakuren has a secret network of assassins, which is great no matter how you spin that situation.
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I've always had a soft spot for Kogasa. She's depressed by her inability to scare people but still seems to keep at it and even seems to be a skilled blacksmith as shown in her chapter in WaHH. Being abandoned, failing to achieve her original purpose, cycling between unsuccessful jobs, coping with depression, and still trying to carry on living and develop another skill in the meanwhile... Truly, she is just like me frfr, no cap.

I'm not sure what kind of relationships she has with other characters. I see some fanart depicting her as friends or acquaintances with Sekibanki and sometimes the grassroots trio as well, though I don't recall any canon basis for it. Regardless, I think she would get along with them.

I'm not sure if anyone from the Myouren temple has any particular relationship with her. Byakuren might have mentioned something in symposium about Kogasa's presence, but I don't feel like hunting for that right now. I'm not sure if there's much connection beyond her appearance in TD.

The idea of Mamizou hanging out with Kogasa is interesting to me. I guess the relationship I imagine occurring between them is pretty similar to the one Mamizou has with Kosuzu. Mamizou also seems to make use of baby tsukumogami, so maybe her relationship with Kogasa would follow that dynamic.

The relationships I think mostly about involve other tsukumogami. I feel like tsukumogami have a different relationship to humanity than other youkai, perhaps as a result of them originating directly from human tools. Medicine was abandoned and hates humanity, Raiko was treated well and holds no ill-will, and Kokoro seeks a human audience but otherwise doesn't seem to care. Benben and Yatsuhashi... I think they mostly follow Raiko's vision of tsukumogami living independently.

Compared to the above, I think Kogasa is unique in her desire to, well, not quite 'fit in' with humans, but at least coexist in a relatively benign way for a youkai. In a certain way, I think she seeks some kind of validation from humans, whether that is through startling them or being useful to them. I wonder how Raiko would think of this. Would she see Kogasa's desires as unbecoming, and argue that Kogasa should exist for her own sake?

I'm not sure of what the day to day aspects of Kogasa's life are like. I think some people have depicted her as having a forge in the village proper, though I'm not sure if that is necessarily the case. I do like the idea of Kogasa being one of the few characters in touhou with gainful employment (being someone's pet and/or retainer doesn't count). From her official descriptions, it seems like she's been active in the human village or immediate vicinity, and the villagers only see her as a nuisance instead of a threat.

I don't think Kogasa could live clandestinely among villagers like shapeshifting foxes or sekibanki, as she doesn't strike me as careful enough to avoid blowing her cover. In general, I imagine it would be difficult to pass as human if you have to constantly lug around your object body as well, and Kogasa's purple umbrella must be pretty easy to identify even without the tongue.

I haven't made serious use of her in my previous stories despite my fondness for her. She showed up for a scene in Lost Bees. I think more about using her in my idea of a story for Medicine Melancholy. Maybe it would make more narrative sense for Medicine to be taken in by a fellow tsukumogami than a human. Kogasa would certainly have to develop her childcare skills in a hurry.

Overall, I think she's a pretty versatile character who could fit into a lot of stories. She's got some emotional complexity, she has a history of trying to interact with the village with varying success, and she seems to have enough spontaneity that she could end up in all sorts of situations. She seems like a fun enough character to use as a writer.

Apart from Unchanging days by Kiz, I can't recall any stories that prominently feature her. A quick search of the story list returns a number of them, so I think I'll report back after reading some.
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>>17158
>stories prominently featuring Kogasa
Well, it died fairly quickly and is... well, a touch fanon, but there is If You Spook the Buddha a story I sort of helped write

I tried re-reading it and didn't think it held up very well, but that's to be expected when you've been around long enough for your tastes to have changed drastically.
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>>17158
>She's depressed by her inability to scare people
I don't remember any real depictions of this. Her SoPM entry basically says she gets disheartened by people not being scared, but that's more in the sense of a disappointed child sulking than an existential statement, I feel. Granted, I guess you could extrapolate that from her need to fit a singular 'purpose'.

>Myouren Temple
She hangs out in the graveyard, something that the residents may be aware of; at least, I'm pretty sure her presence was acknowledged by Byakuren or someone in Detective Satori. Whether that extends to any acquaintance with anyone is still unclear, but I personally doubt it; I think she probably just hangs around like some nuisance of neighbourhood kid.

>Mamizou
In all honesty, I doubt Mamizou would have the time for someone like Kogasa. She mostly hangs around 'noteable' people — especially if she can get something out of them. Sure, you've got the tsukumogami angle, mostly from Forbidden Scrollery, but I still think it's kind of a stretch. I guess, personally, it would take a pretty compelling reason for me to buy it.

>village forge
Pretty sure that's not the case, otherwise I think it probably would have been remarked on at this point. Blacksmithing is, again, something that's only been relevant to her as a character once.

>other characters
I guess you could connect them somehow, given all named are very minor presences, so their connection or lack of connection to anyone isn't of much concern to ZUN. Overall, tsukumogami seem to me to be very heterogeneous and unlikely to relate that much to each other; they're generally fixated on their particular 'purpose', so that seems like it would probably preclude taking much interest in that of others.

I don't know about Sekibanki. She's active somewhere in/around the village, but who knows if she would even interact with someone like Kogasa. There's so little to go off of that anything is an extrapolation.

>use in stories
At the end of the day, I don't think she'd ever be more than an incidental presence if I wrote her into anything. It's easy to project a lot of pathos onto her, but it doesn't do that much for me.
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I once had an idea that Kogasa's cheerful nature is a result of her growing tired of her failures in scaring others, considering that is basically her bread and butter. And as far as I can remember, fear (or emotions in general) is Youkai's main source of food. Kogasa isn't just depressed, she's dead hungry. So her deliberately pitiful (and cute) attempt in "scaring" people is done fully intentional by her, in an attempt to find other alternative emotions for fear, like pity.
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>>17162
That's pretty interesting. I must confess that I haven't read much into the 'fear ecology' of youkai in touhou, mostly because I wasn't that interested in the conflicts it could create for the stories I was interested in writing. Thinking about what you said, though, I feel like if it was viable for youkai to switch to different emotions to sustain themselves, there might be less reason to create gensokyo. Then again, maybe the problem with the outside world isn't that youkai aren't feared, but that they simply aren't thought of at all, and you can't get nutrition from nothing at all.
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>>17161
Yeah, there's a lot that I and other fans have extrapolated from what little has been shown. As far as I know, she hasn't been shown to have any significant relationship with any other character. In SFW, for example, I find it difficult to read much familiarity in Minamitsu's interaction with Kogasa. Maybe she's someone whom many people know in passing but doesn't have many friends.

The 'depression' part may also be an exaggeration. Personally, I imagine that she gets sad or cries easily, but doesn't really hit depression or despair.
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kogasa_wahh_ch27
Not sure if I should trip or not for threads like this. Whatever.

I have read Kogasa's character as being outright clinically depressed. It's a stretch to go that far, I know, and it's likely headcannon to that extent, but there are quite a few points that make Kogasa a very odd individual in the series.

First and foremost, she's a character with the very singular goal to surprise humans. Akyuu seems to misspeak that all tsukumogami in general exist to do this in SoPM even though we know about more tsukumogami that act differently, as mentioned in previous posts here, but Kogasa has a genuine standing reason for the assertion. Her ability is listed as 'being able to surprise humans,' so we can safely assume it's an important part of her character. We hear that she's unable to do this with any success at all, though. Village adults think she's a nuisance and kids like her. Akyuu straight up calls her attempts child's play. In WaHH's chapter 27 we see Reimu, Marisa, and even Kasen hardly consider her worth their time.

Secondly, Kogasa took up attributes of a different Youkai altogether, to which characters think she's an idiot for. She's not an Ippon-datara, let's be clear on that. Akyuu makes note that she stuck on parts to her umbrella to make it closer resemble the smithing Youkai, and she can smith, but she doesn't do anything else that this other Youkai does, as mentioned in previous posts as well. It's a strange thing to me that people in universe choose to not take her word at face value, since there's nothing to say it can't be true, and so it only calls more attention to the fact that she might be lying entirely.

It's all so disparate that she can't do her only goal in life and even chooses to run around with extra character traits that don't do anything to add to her ability. I've seen plenty of doujin works run the idea that she does add to her ability by being an excellent jack of all trades, usually copping the line 'wow, you can do this?' But that all feels so odd, as if sidestepping some kind of underlying issue. That's why I've read her character as having some kind of existential issue, which would in turn cause some level of psychological impairment.

I'm sure it's easy enough to counterpoint much of what I've said, but I wanted to give some establishment on the pity party Youkai.
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>>17162
>>17163
Unless I've missed a direct statement somewhere on the matter, I'm doubtful it works like that. That is: it's not that youkai have to be feared (or what have you) to 'eat'. They 'are obliged to' 'attack' humans in order to assert their existence; consider, though, that a statement is made in passing by... I want to say Mamizou in Lotus Eaters that some youkai don't even care all that much about that. What it amounts to is that 'the rules' say that youkai have to 'attack' humans, and humans have to 'exterminate' youkai. It's a relationship that is established and has to maintained on at least some pro-forma level, because it's a cute way of justifying why the games are the way they are. But, well, 'the rules' don't seem like metaphysical absolutes by any stretch of the imagination, regardless of the whole load of blah-blah-blah that's often said about the Hakurei Barrier, Gensokyo, and so on.

I mean, don't get me wrong, interpret it however you want in your work. I'm just saying there's not that strong of an imperative link between youkai and particular emotions.
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I don't really have much in the way of ideas when it comes to Kogasa. To me, she's just a generic minor youkai without any real relationships to other characters, locations, or groups and with nothing particularly unique about her abilities or noteworthy about her characterization. I agree with others regarding the incidental nature of the ippon-datara angle and how it doesn't really seem particularly relevant and more-or-less one-off.

I suppose she's okay in a role where you have to have a youkai and it doesn't really matter which one it is. In that sense, she's like, say, a grassroots member. Arguably cuter, depending on your preferences, but that doesn't do much for me. As others have said, not the kind of character that would get noticed by other characters or that they would have much reason to interact with her, for better or worse; when she peddled her needles to Reimu, the latter just acted as she usually does with youkai, finding her a nuisance and was lucky she wasn't beaten up; if she became too noticeable at the village she'd probably become a target of extermination.
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Kinda hard to say how Kogasa could be more interesting. She's too goofy to really lend that much pathos to her situation without being ham-fisted. The easy route would be some kind of comedic story, but I don't care for that sort of thing myself. Most people's idea of comedy is not for me.

I guess something like a light-hearted exploration of Kogasa incidentally being a friend to humans and unintentionally helping people in the village would be funny, perhaps with a side of running afoul of more influential figures. Otherwise, I got nothin'.
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Yeah, Kogasa is really a "So what?" character for me. While I've seen a comic relief depiction of her I've enjoyed (playing up her inability to scare kids), as a serious character, I'm not really sure what you'd do with her. To exasperate the problem, she has pretty much nothing in terms of meaningful connections. Her "relationships" section on the touhou wiki is almost empty, with the only non-minor connection being... a neutral relationship with Myouren temple. Outside of the one blacksmithing chapter in WaHH, pretty much the only thing I've seen her do (in canon) is be a random encounter for a protagonist to quickly smack down.

If I did want to use Kogasa in a story... well, the easy way out would be the comic relief route, as I mentioned before. Her cheerfulness and general ineffectiveness could also make her a potential cute-bait moe character, if you play up the friendliness and life being unfairly mean to poor Kogasa.

For a more serious take, you could look at the one blacksmithing chapter; how does her repairing Reimu's needles affect her reputation among local youkai? (Or perhaps her offering to work on Youmu's swords or Sakuya's knives could be a quick short.) Alternatively, a story about Kogasa trying to fit in as a youkai could be meaningful. Her defined role as a youkai seems significantly weaker than most, which means that her trying to "find herself" by trying to fit in among various groups, whether Myouren Temple or the Grassroots Youkai Network could be an interesting prompt.

Ultimately, the trouble with using Kogasa is that she really doesn't bring much to the table to use. She's cheerful, she's bad at scaring people, she can be a blacksmith, and that's it. Her ability is "scaring people", which she is canonically bad at. She has no meaningful established relationships to build off of. What role in a story does she fill that can't be filled just as easily (and perhaps more naturally) by someone else? This is made worse by the fact that the "not-really scary but good-natured and cute low powered youkai" role has plenty of competition in Gensokyo. Rumia, Cirno, Mystia, Wriggle, the three fairies of light, Chen, Kyouko, and I'm sure there's a few more in the newer games as well. Many of these are more popular than poor Kogasa, and have other points of interest, such as useful abilities, or connections to other characters that could draw them into plots.

Which is all to say, sure, you could use Kogasa in a story. And as a random encounter or comic relief, it's not that hard to do. But I think to use her in a more major role, you'd have to set out to write something with Kogasa. As such, I'm not surprised that the forgotten umbrella is largely forgotten from a writing standpoint as well. Despite her wanting to be taken seriously and wanting to be useful, in the vast majority of plots, she just isn't.
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>>17154
>consider new ways to write them
Reading over this thread, I feel like this is something getting lost in the mix here, but it's kind of understandable.

A lot of people don't seem to have strong feelings about Kogasa or much in the way of thoughts that diverge from presented information. That makes it a little hard to consider new perspectives. So, maybe OP can provide some examples of what he means? Otherwise, I think we're probably all just going to reiterate a lot of the same points.

To be clear, I like the idea of being a sort of think tank of Touhou stuff while keeping things free of fandom cruft. But it's hard for people to spontaneously develop new trains of thought, I think.
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Just remembered the story about Kogasa finding her life purpose and its really good too, not from thp though.
The Right Tools For The Job by freshlybakedspiderbread.
Here's the AO3 link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/43380529/chapters/109049695
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>>17171
The kind of thinking I want to encourage is that even if someone doesn't currently have any ideas for how to use a character, they would be willing to consider ways to make them interesting even if that entails taking a lot of creative liberties. To be clear, while I do have a fondness for Kogasa as a character, but I'm not interested in trying to market her as a waifu or something. I like just about every touhou character. She's the current example because some character needed to be the first one.

So what if Kogasa seems one-note and there's only so far you can extrapolate based on the brief glimpses you get in the games or the comics? That's going to be true for the majority of touhou characters. I think we should extrapolate because this is a fan fiction community and worrying too much about canon compliance leaves too little conceptual space to explore. As for personal interest, I believe that dismissing a character is wasting their potential.

>>17168
>>17170
>She's cheerful, she's bad at scaring people, she can be a blacksmith, and that's it.
>the "not-really scary but good-natured and cute low powered youkai" role has plenty of competition
I think that's enough information to get a basic idea of her character. Cheerful, bad at scaring, blacksmithing, various other bits of info like the brief babysitting stint - those are ingredients that you can use in various ways. Do you think she dwells on her failures? Is she oblivious, resigned, or delusional? Why does it matter that there are other youkai who are broadly similar? Does it make sense to lump all the 'powerful and ambitious incident-causers' together and treat them as interchangeable? So there's no conclusive evidence to show that she has significant relationships with other characters; do you think she has nobody at all to talk to, or are you willing to entertain the idea that she might hang out with someone 'offscreen'?

>>/shorts/res/1971
Kogasa is mischievous but compassionate and reasonably clever.
>>/shrine/res/41060
Kogasa is somewhat airheaded but also good-natured.
https://archiveofourown.org/works/2183565
Kogasa is the titular crybaby but takes a look at her desire to be helpful.

Each story takes more or less the same basic elements of Kogasa and travels in different directions with them. Their writers used her as a main character because they felt like there was something worth exploring with her. These are not generic plots that you could keep intelligible with a one to one substitution for some random character. In any case, a character doesn't need to be powerful or important to gensokyo itself to tell a good story.

>>17165
I think that's an interesting thing to read in her character. I don't personally remember doujins depicting what you describe, but I think I can understand the sort of sidestep you mention. The depression angle is a common reading, but I mostly see it used for pity as per >>17157 and >>17157. When it's brought up, it's quickly resolved or made the butt of a joke, and you don't get to see the writer's idea of how she actually manages it. Maybe it's because many writers aren't willing or able to depict mental issues in that way, or maybe because authentic depression is frequently difficult to depict in an interesting way to most audiences.

I think it would also be a good idea going forward to link to any story, comic, drawing, or other art of the character being discussed that inspires you or demonstrates a point.
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I'll pick a new character for discussion on Friday. The current method I have in mind is randomly picking a windows era game (decimal games get added to the most recent mainline), then randomly picking a character who appeared for the first time in it. I'm not sure yet how to include characters like Akyuu or Kosuzu who only appear in print works but I figure it's not important right now. I'm also excluding characters like koakuma, daiyousei, and kisume who have extremely little information to work with.
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>>17174
>>/shorts/1971
>>/shrine/41060
Fixed your links.

>worrying too much about canon compliance
For me, it's not about compliance with literal textual matter. It's about feeling like Touhou, which is a hard thing to define, and it's a line that's easy to stray out of because it's so vague. And it's hard to know how to stay in those lines without ultimately trying to understand everything that's there and the greater context. It's different to obsessing over 'lore' like some people do, but sometimes it's just as unwieldy and difficult to work around.

>failures
I don't think she does for very long. She wouldn't be as persistent a presence as she is if she did, I think. Whether that's a product of obliviousness or just Polyanna thinking, I have no clue. If she was delusional, what would she even be delusional about? Being scarier than she is? Being stronger? More important? I guess, if I'm entertaining that line, then it's probably more a matter of her being like an overgrown child; all of her shenanigans are as much play as asserting her raison d'être.

>hanging out
No idea here. It's a pretty broad space of possibility. She could be almost anywhere, bugging anyone and everyone. Or maybe she truly is alone most of the time. In a writing context, it'd depend on the story being told.

>handling mental health in writing
As someone who suffers from poor mental health, as both a reader and a writer, I prefer not to encounter/address it as an element of stories because, frankly, why do I need yet another reminder of my daily reality? Besides that, do youkai even work that way? I guess it's possible, but it's just as possible that they don't. But that's almost getting into issues of meta-physics, which I don't care to engage with.
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>>17176
You address very good points (especially the last one).
Expanding on that last point, I would argue that Touhou as a series is a way for us to escape reality itself (that is why we create fanworks to begin with).
Of course, this isn't really my idea to begin with (Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZSIirBfCs4).
But overall, I would argue that stories involving depression aren't written that much as it invokes the "destruction" of immersion (as small as it may be) since it is a real-world issue that can be easily related to in real life.
(No person is perpetually happy; there will be points where they may be shocked, depressed, angry, etc.
However, no person is perpetually sad; there will be points where they may be joyful, tranquil, excited, etc.)

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>>17177
I don't really know about any of that. Speaking for myself, I don't 'immerse' in anything I read, so I don't care about 'breaking immersion'. It's more about not trusting others to not be twee or insultingly caricatured in their treatment of mental illness; I've never encountered any attempts at such, but I also don't go out of my way to find them.

Also, just as an aside, depression (in the clinical sense) isn't about being 'sad'. It's often as much about feeling nothing as feeling anything. It's an inability to engage with anything. It's an inability to perceive anything as being worthwhile. It's a feeling of merely 'existing' when you could be doing much more than that. That people conflate that with sadness is an error that is rather irritating to people who suffer from depression.

So, you know, I generally feel the premise of Kogasa being 'depressed' is probably beside the point. It could be the case, but so many other things could be the case at the same time.
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Some generic questions I'm thinking about using going forward:
- What do you consider to be the character's defining traits? What do you think the character's personality, thought processes, and interests are?
- What depictions of the character in stories, drawings, or comics have you enjoyed, and what about the work made it stand out to you?
- How do you imagine the character's presence in Gensokyo in terms of relationships with other characters and lifestyle? What do you think their niche is?
- What situations do you think would be interesting for the character to be in? What conflicts do you think they are likely to encounter? What kind of roles could they serve in a story? How might they accept change or resist it?

In general, try to think about what about the character that strikes your fancy, with less emphasis on what canon describes them as being and more on what you think they might possibly be. If you haven't already given them much consideration, pleaes try doing a little of that now. Try to find something about them that evokes some emotion besides apathy. Note that these questions aren't mandatory to answer, but merely intended to promote thinking that could lead to new ideas for using the character in a story. I'm not your high school literature teacher, just another writer.
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Rolling 1d15 => 2
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>>17181
The next character will be from PCB/IaMP.
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Rolling 1d9 => 3
1: Letty Whiterock
2: Chen
3: Alice Margatroid
4: Prismriver Sisters
5: Youmu Konpaku
6: Yuyuko Saigyouji
7: Ran Yakumo
8: Yukari Yakumo
9: Suika Ibuki

Prisimriver sisters have been consolidated into one entry. Lily White has been excluded.
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File 171236811641.jpg - (57.42KB, 386x600, chennifer.jpg)
chennifer
Ayy, it's the girl. Chen is a fun one, and strangely not one we see often. She's described in PMiSS as being a very typical Youkai, enjoying scaring people and highly independent in her activities.

What I enjoy, though, is the utility she can serve as a general purpose miscreant, but I don't often see it. I mean, she's a menacing cat Youkai for crying out loud, why does she not get used as a trouble maker?

I know the answer to that is the fandom has coveted the cutesy Chen that Ran is smitten with, but it still feels silly that she gets pegged as a needy child while what can be read from her articles is a very independent Youkai asserting themselves and attempting to further their power. Not that she'll ever really be able to make a cat her shikigami.
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>>17184
Psst, Chen was 2. The dice rolled a 3, so it's Alice this time.
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File 171237015221.png - (4.29MB, 1526x2160, Alice_Whos_Who.png)
Alice_Whos_Who
Magician, known to reside in the Forest of Magic.
First appeared in PCB (#2, 2003) and had notable appearances in IaMP, IN, SWR, SA, and Hisouten.
Official Profiles:
https://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Perfect_Memento_in_Strict_Sense/Alice_Margatroid
https://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Strange_Creators_of_Outer_World/Who%27s_Who_of_Humans_%26_Youkai_in_Gensokyo/Alice_Margatroid
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I imagine Alice to be meticulous, fussy, polite, and studious. Her use of dolls makes me think that she painstakingly handcrafts them or has some kind of fine-tuned process for manufacturing them, both of which imply a lot f attention to detail. She also seems like the sort to keep her home and work space well organized. She feels more like a 'proper' magician than Marisa but is also more approachable than Patchouli. She seems to be well known and tolerated by the human villagers, and offers hospitality and guidance to lost people similarly to Mokou. I picture her as being willing to help lost travelers and traveling across Gensokyo to collect interesting items or expand her knowledge, but also likes to immerse herself in research at home. Overall, I think she's a pretty well-adjusted person by Gensokyo's standards. She might prefer spending time with her dolls to dealing with other people and their idiosyncrasies, but I don't think she's necessarily bad at it.

Stopping for now due to brainpain but will continue later.
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I'm going to take a shortcut to typing out my thoughts on Alice all over again and simply point to somewhere where I already have:

https://www.alicemargatroid.moe/

I'll get back to you later about depictions I've enjoyed and the other, more specific, things not covered there. The image I'm posting is one that I enjoy, I think she's confident about her puppetry and her more playful side comes out when she's showing off. It's true in fights, though in a different way, and likely true in the village performances she puts on. Here in the image ... I guess ... it feels more like a one-on-one kind of thing, a rare circumstance for her to display her flair and virtuosity.
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What I notice first about Alice is probably what most notice first: her dolls. They make up the majority of her interest in things, though perhaps not to the exclusion of everything else, as with some magicians like Patchouli. At the same time, it is certainly something of a (I'll continually recycle this word because I like it) raison d'être for her, something that she clearly spends a great deal of time on. After all, when the majority of her magic seems to be based around manipulating dolls, is she just going to magically produce more dolls? I doubt it. Really, when you consider how she does things like eating and sleeping despite not strictly needing to, that points to the sort of personality that likes to do things the 'hard' way. To me, the idea that she spends a lot of her time in her workshop, carefully crafting each doll by hand, seems pretty sound. And it was probably something she enjoyed for a long time before abandoning humanity; I'm pretty sure the 'unnatural' part of her interest in dolls — and her character in general — is the degree of fixation, the willingness to exert (notionally) unlimited effort and focus on them. This is, of course, because magicians are basically ZUN's stand-in for otaku, a thing he made a fair bit of commentary on, directly and indirectly, earlier in the life of the Touhou Project.

Not to linger on the point too long, but I suppose it is interesting to consider that it's difficult to talk about Alice and not include some degree of comparison to other magicians. Whereas others like Marisa, Patchouli, and Byakuren are dedicated to magic that largely has a 'function' or is otherwise meant to emphasise the 'supernatural/superhuman/esoteric' element, Alice's own magic is largely based on a sense of the artistic. She wants to show off her skill in manipulating her dolls to mimic life. There's even her once-stated goal of creating an autonomous doll, though that's never been explored further as far as official works go. Even when it comes to combat, she prefer employing her dolls at significant risk to herself and even holds back so as not to engage in brutish displays of overwhelming force — or so she claims. Taking that for what it is, it's hard not to think of Alice as someone who has an appreciation for aesthetics. I mean, look at her outfit. Look at the lace, the ribbon, all the little details. If she were simply focused on the mundane and functional, she would look much more plain, I think. Which isn't to say that I take her for vain or overly obsessed with notions of 'beauty', but I do think she has a certain ability, perhaps more than many others in Gensokyo, to look at and perceive the effort and craft put into things done with a purpose. She can probably look at a house, a chisel, a basket, a plate... anything imaginable that was made by someone's hands and have a sense of its maker's skill, pride, and dedication (or lack thereof). Perhaps she really enjoys art, too. Perhaps she curls up with a book and really digests it, taking in any intricacies of prose. Perhaps she stares at drawings or paintings and finds herself drawn into the various details. Perhaps, even, she looks at a Japanese tea bowl and sees the natural world reflected in its imperfections.

As far as where Alice is situated in Gensokyo, I think she's not anyone particularly influential or likely to lend gravitas to a situation. She's certainly no hermit-like presence, cloistering herself away from the mundane concerns of life outside her immediate sphere of influence or interest, considering she's not unknown to go out to perform puppet shows in the village, but she doesn't strike me as especially likely to go out of her way to be present anywhere. I take her as the sort to enjoy living a quiet life engaged in doing what she loves, not wanting to be bothered much by anyone. Which isn't to say she's necessarily aloof, just that I'm not certain she would do much more than keep a pleasant, polite distance from people she doesn't take a particular interest in, never especially trying to interact with anyone more than necessary. Whether that would be due to an inherent introversion or perhaps a sense of maintaining a mystique, or any other notion of the sort, would be an interesting exercise for a writer, I suppose.

I suppose one particular bit of opinion to inject here is that I don't think Miss Margatroid has any particularly strong ties to other magicians; I also think magicians are, in general, not drawn to others and most likely, continuing the otaku allegory, bound to stick to their own particular fields of interest, not viewing each other as 'peers' or 'competitors' especially. She has had interactions with Marisa, but none of them are that friendly, and it's clear that she generally views the witchlet as a nuisance. I don't recall any actual interactions with other magicians, but I get the feeling she wouldn't really be drawn to them. Perhaps even the opposite. I think it's likely she would give the others a wide berth, or at the very least she might be cautious around them, not wanting to stray onto the topic of magic lest she ends up trapped in a conversation on something she has utterly no knowledge of. And, really, I think that's the bane of all magicians, but I think Alice would certainly hate to be perceived as dull or lacking a certain refinement, both of character and knowledge.

As to how she might be used in a story or particular situations of interest, I'm not very sure. Alice is certainly the type of character who could be present most places in Gensokyo, but I can't say off-hand what 'role' she might serve. A story that focuses on her as the principle character is very difficult for me to conceive, so I guess my instinctive answer is that she's largely a 'side' character, someone who comes in for a part of a story to support it. Beyond that, I'd need a lot more time to really consider it, and perhaps more exposure to some other people's opinions.

I haven't come across many stories prominently featuring Alice, and I honestly feel like the tendency among many writers is to depict Alice as either a madwoman or a lazy tsundere archetype, usually with a side of being romantically (or otherwise) obsessed with Marisa. Honestly, the only stand-out portrayal to me is, to the surprise of those who know, the resident Alice expert Teruyo's depiction in Theater of Youth (>>/others/44424); I'm afraid I haven't read DEFT yet, so I can't speak to that one. Despite the notional 'alternate universe' conceit of the setting, the Alice that appears in that story just feels like Alice. She doesn't take shit from anyone, especially from the main character, but she's also a caring figure in her own way, steady and levelheaded, always present despite having been snubbed in many ways, yet not without her own depth of feeling. She doesn't always completely speak her mind, but she somehow still comes off as direct when she needs to be. There's a level of human warmth there that's sorely missing from other portrayals I've seen whilst also retaining some of the mystique and strangeness of her more 'inhuman' side.
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>>17189
>to the surprise of those who know
Pfft. Figures I'd screw up and say the opposite of what I meant.

That should be:
>to the surprise of no one in the know

Also, I guess the cross-board link didn't work because it's an archived story? Well, whatever, have the full link below. Seriously, read it.

https://www.thp.moe/others/res/44424.html
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You know, despite having actually written Alice, I feel like I never truly got a good grasp of her character at the time. On the surface, she's got something of a stilted formality going. While she's not unfriendly, exactly, she's not really sociable either. She has serious power of her own, but plays to her opponents' level when fighting. She's at home when by herself and surrounded by her dolls, but put her anywhere else, and she doesn't quite fit.

It reminds me somewhat of Orianna from League of Legends (and wouldn't that be quite the crossover?) in that there's an uncanny valley aspect to Alice. In some ways she's the closest to human a youkai can get: A formerly-human magician who still looks human, is friendly with humans, and still eats and sleeps as humans do. But at the same time, that similarity makes the unsettling side of her (semi-autonomous dolls, doll army) that much worse. It doesn't really affect any of Gensokyo's major characters (given that they've all faced and seen much worse), but I could see this throwing minor characters and humans for a loop. This was used to spectacular effect with Duke's overnight stay in Alice's house in "A Wizard is You".

Really though, not quite fitting in is a good summary of Alice's status in Gensokyo, as there's not really any larger group she can be said to belong to. And honestly, I don't think that bothers her. Her behavior pattern strikes me as that of an introvert with a passion, hers being her dolls and her magic. She's not unwilling to associate with others, and goes through the correct motions to be polite and sociable, when need be, but at the same time, that's not really what she wants to do. It's an obligation that she will meet because there's such a thing as good manners, but she doesn't seek other people out and is perfectly fine on her own. A quiet evening with her dolls and a spellbook is how she would prefer to spend her time, and something that would actually recharge her after a busy day.

This would be the difference between her character and Satori's to me. Both act aloof, both treat the majority of people with polite disinterest. But while Satori (or at least, my Satori) is being cautious due to her experience, fearful of being burned, and secretly (on a level she can barely even admit to herself) desiring that closeness... Alice honestly just isn't interested. Sure, it's great that you want to spend time with her, but if she applies the runes from this spellbook to Shanghai's danmaku deflection array, it'll let her absorb an additional 3% of the energy from amulet-type bullets! Oh, sorry, did you want some more tea?

I think this is part of why Marisa and Alice as friends makes so much sense. Marisa might not be focused on dolls, but she's interested in any magic she comes across, whether she can steal it or not. That's close enough to be a common shared interest, and Marisa is also friendly and outspoken enough to bulldoze through any introversion or awkwardness. And the thing about people who are passionate about one specific topic is that if you share that interest with them, if you agree it's important and are willing to talk about it at length with them, it makes you fun to be around, someone who gets it. If you can actually make relevant contributions of your own to the discussion, (something that Marisa is more than qualified to do w.r.t. magic), that makes you someone to treasure. I think Alice being friends with Patchouli would make sense for much the same reason, though the double-introvert combination makes it less likely for the two to interact frequently.

But for your average person, the combination of not-the-best social skills, a bit of weirdness, and a passion where most people simply won't get it would make it hard for them to relate to Alice. To be clear, I wouldn't write her as autistic or anything, I think she can hold standard conversations perfectly fine, but I don't think her heart would be in it. The vast majority of people might be perfectly nice in their own way, but they're really just... not that interesting. Not worth her time. And Alice doesn't strike me as the type to fake interest in things, let alone fake it convincingly.

But that's okay. More than just making peace with being alone, I think Alice outright chose it. Nothing's stopping her from just living in the human village if she wished, but she has a cottage in the Forest of Magic instead. And while some of that is certainly convenience for doll experiments (and perhaps magical supplies), I think Alice is also self-sufficient in a way that most people simply aren't. I'm not sure if she'd be my first pick for "Character best equipped to deal with being completely isolated for a century", but she's probably in the top five. She might not fit in all that well in any other group, but she also created her own place that fits her like a glove.

As an aside, I wish I'd done this exercise before I'd started to write Alice. I feel like I understand what I want to do with the character much better now than I did back when I actually wrote her. Admittedly, the characterization isn't that different from what I actually did, but I think I could have highlighted it a little better.
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>>17189
I've thought a little on it, and I suppose there's a couple of strands of matter that might make for interesting stories involving Alice.

This was already touched on in some fashion by >>17188 on their fan shrine, but the thing with Alice and the dream pills is something that seems very ripe for exploration. I don't necessarily mean exploring Alice's dreams as such, though that could also be interesting in its own way. Rather, I guess I'd personally like to see a look into the psychology of Alice and her retreat into fantasies with the help of the little pills. Why would she want them? Curiosity? Boredom? Ennui? An ever-present dissatisfaction with life? What would she have to be dissatisfied with? How would that colour her everyday? How would that seep into her work on her dolls? I think it raises a lot of questions from the very beginning that lead to others.

Slightly more superficial but still of interest to me is the fact that Alice sometimes lodges people at least for the night. I can't help wondering, what might Alice do if a one-night lodger became a long-term one? How would her life change? Would it change at all? How would she interact with them? How would they change because of her? How would she handle the inevitable degrees of friction that come with sharing a space with someone? And though it's easy for some to immediately jump to a romantic/sexual context for such a situation, I don't necessarily mean that; really, I don't mind it, but I also think it's a little... meh as a first-resort. I've no doubt it's ground that's been covered in some form elsewhere, but I'm not aware of anything of personal interest.

There's also just the very fertile ground of Alice's former humanity and the way she perceives the world as someone who abandoned it. What does that do to someone on a psychological and spiritual level? What does everyday life feel like to them? How do they really perceive things that were already familiar to them? How do they see things in a new way? What remains? What fades away? How about as time really goes on and things have changed greatly from what they knew before? I think these are things that can be explored even without getting into actual details of Alice's background and trying to 'square the circle' of everything regarding her past. Sure, that could be covered, too, but I'm not as interested in that, personally.

I don't really know, though. These are all kind of very broad, general sorts of thoughts. For anything more particular... I'm not sure I'd be able to come up with much. Perhaps with a great deal of time.

>>17188
I do just want to stop and remark that I love your little fan shrine and appreciate that you took the time to make it. It really takes me back to an earlier age, even if its intent wasn't necessarily nostalgia. Just seeing little independent websites like that outside of giant content silos always gives me a warm feeling, and this one is no exception. Keep being your fabulous Alice-loving self.
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I think story with maternity as its central theme would really fit Alice. Her skills with her dolls might have been explained through her motive to be a good mother. Or perhaps the fan theory of her relationship with mama Shinki could be explored to make something profound.

One of my favourites fanfic as of now is Tradition's End, and coencidentally, the author also implemented this idea into Alice's character. Here's the AO3 link:
https://archiveofourown.org/works/47739919/chapters/120342058
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>>17188 here, I was waiting to see what other people said and if there was any sort of debate before jumping in again. But I guess it’s almost Friday again and no one else is going to say anything, so I might as well jump back in.

I think that some of the assumptions and, indeed, the typical depictions of Alice with other characters are misguided at best. Like, for example, treating Marisa and Alice as friends is something of a stretch if you actually look at their interactions; they’re more like acquaintances. IN has a somewhat tense working relationship between them where Alice basically badgers and entices (with grimoires) Marisa to take an active role because the latter had previous experience with incidents, Alice didn’t, and no one else was doing anything about the imperishable night. Alice very much didn’t ask for a favor and their exchanges during the game isn’t exactly warm, veering towards contentious on occasion. And, well, IaMP’s dialogue between them in their scenarios reinforces that sort of distance between them. I wouldn’t say it’s outright hostile (and it is a fighting game, after all) but it isn’t the way friends would greet one another (contrast Marisa interacting with Reimu.) While it’s less antagonistic in SA, that whole scenario comes off as a sort of joke, with Marisa treating it like some sort of dungeon crawler and using video game jargon (… which is of a meta joke by ZUN in my opinion, since it’s unlikely that she spent any time playing Dragon Quest or whatever it, even charitably imagining that a famicom had found its way into Kourindou.) And those moments are really the only basis for their relationship, with the characters not really directly interacting in the various print works otherwise.

The link with Shinki is even more tenuous. PC-98 as a whole is suspect insofar canon is concerned. But, even putting that aside, there doesn’t seem to be any sort of reference made by either character to one another or the merest hint of a relationship. Which, perhaps a little noteworthy given that other characters (mainly Yumeko) do refer to Shinki and Alice appears again, in the extra stage.

All you can reasonably say about her relations with others is that she isn’t shy, talks to people no with no issue when either she wants something or they want something (would-be lodgers for a night, the fairies of light, Eirin(/Reisen?), Marisa, other characters in the fightan’), but there’s not much else as she lives an isolated existence in the forest of magic…. That and she can have a sharp tongue and be rather assertive on occasion.

As for depictions I’ve enjoyed: for the most part the stories I’ve seen on THP haven’t really captured what I feel her character is actually like. Most are outright bad, falling back onto tropes and very fandom meme takes. Some were okay, but their titles don’t come readily to mind as I read them years ago. It’s a shame, as I think she’s an interesting character and has a lot of potential, especially with regards to her magical interests, her affinity for artisan creation of dolls, sense of aesthetics, and her own mostly isolated life. It feels a little awkward to say, but I think the best depiction I’ve encountered on THP is one I wrote myself many years ago (and I have plenty of complaints about it too!) Feels a little gauche to recommend it unprompted, so I’ll leave that there for now.

Like all magicians, she’s a weirdo and I like it when artists and writers lean into that. Even when she’s being nice, playful or otherwise pleasant I think that some sort of tension—or perhaps distance would be a better term for it—between her and others. The attached image is sort of what I mean and makes me a little curious to find out what awaits if you hang out with her long enough.
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>>17204
Lurker here. I appreciate and have read through all the posts but this really caught my eye.
>Like all magicians, she's a weirdo
>All magicians
Why do you say that? I can see the argument that Patchouli, Alice and even Sumireko are weirdos but others like Marisa and Byakuren are perfectly normal people. They go outside, have a life outside of their exclusive magical interest and in Byakuren's case, doesn't even use magic much beyond keeping herself young. I don't have an exhaustive list of touhou magicians off the top of my head but I'm pretty sure #notallmagicians.
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>>17205

Marisa is a kleptomaniac, used to be an avid liar (Zun forgot at some point, lol), and chose to study magic on (most likely) her lonesome in the forest of magic since she was young. She's basically a couple of spells away from being a true magician by species, for which we could see her do those spells in an afternoon if she was so inclined (she made a botched Hourai elixir after IN with no guidance, which is pretty good for passing interest). She's a weirdo.

Byakuren is as much a Youkai as the rest of her staff, using magic to prolong her life and what she learned in Makai for combat. Both of those things are supposedly pretty bad in Buddhist teachings. She also turns out to be somewhat slothful and hypocritical to her own teachings if we take her dream self to reflect truths that she doesn't want to tell. She's also kind of a weirdo. And a cult leader, cause ain't no way she's teaching Buddhism to Youkai by the book.

And before you counterpoint Narumi, who is the latest magician we have (sans her identity as a Youkai of a Jizo statue), I actually don't have much. She stands out in the woods, I guess? She strikes me as kindly, but there's little to no evidence to make that claim. She's... alright, I guess.

Anyway, yeah, magicians are generally weirdos, even if they're not magic crazy.
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>>17205 I'm the guy you replied to but >>17206 got most of it and would add that Marisa also is a pack rack and her home (which is also a "shop") is a mess. Plus, on a most basic level: she has dealings with youkai, which is pretty weird thing for a human.

Without further getting into Byakuren's inadequacies as a Buddhist (arguably doesn't *really* matter because some esoteric beliefs are pretty out there), she also hangs out with youkai. And, well, there's something fundamentally weird about operating a temple and maintaining a front for the sake for her own selfish desires and fear of death.

Magicians all seem to have a particular strange way of thinking and behaving and tend to be obsessive in their own distinct ways.

... Also, Sumireko isn't a magician.

Don't just lurk, say stuff more freely. That's the point of this thread.
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>>17207
That particular work wouldn't happen to be Glass Half Empty, would it?

That aside, your post above does raise points that I hadn't considered before. For instance, the question mark about Reisen makes me wonder if there isn't some ground there for a story involving them interacting in some way. Maybe Alice would encounter her at Eientei when she's buying little dream pills. Maybe she'd be out in the village doing a puppet show and recognise the 'incognito' medicine peddler as a fellow youkai. Maybe they'd encounter each other at a function at the Hakurei Shrine. Maybe Alice would attend an exhibition — impurity optional — at Eientei? Considering Alice's relative range, there are actually a fair amount of opportunities for the two to meet, even incidentally.

In all honesty, I also wish people would explore Alice's weirdness and the sort of unbridgeable(?) distance that comes from someone like her. The images chosen for >>17188 and >>17204 are both pretty good in conveying some of that sense, the former giving her a look in her eyes that seems distant and inhuman, whilst the latter gives her an expression that seems inviting at first, or at the least neutral, but then the little smirk makes it harder to read, almost sinister in a way. They both activate my almonds.

I've picked out an image of my own. I'm not sure I've got much of a point with mine other than liking the vibe of it and generally getting the sense of a scene/story of Alice looking out into the forest on a rainy day or night in quiet contemplation.

>>17206
>Narumi
She's kind of a jerk-ass. She suggests to Rinnosuke that he ought to sell Sumireko as youkai feed in one of the earlier chapters of the new CoLA. All in response to having her cheek poked.

Understandable, of course. I wouldn't want to be touched by a terrible character, either.
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>>17208
Yes, that's the story. Rather naughty to pierce my pseudo-anonymity using an unfair advantage of yours.

More to the point, would be nice to see more Alice written up outside basic takes. Though, I suppose, I feel that way about most of the cast.
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>>17210
The only unfair advantage is my enthusiasm.

Sorry, though.

But, well, I do agree that I've not seen many who can capture that certain sharpness and assertiveness of Alice's. It's a damn shame, too, because it's more interesting than Alice being 'just' a magician or 'just' a weirdo. Though, honestly, few even capture her weirdness in a way that feels true. Your above point about magicians generally being obsessive rings very true, and it's a thing I don't think I've seen much in depictions of any of them, much less Alice.
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I think this was a pretty good discussion of Alice. I got busy and couldn't say more myself, but I think everyone else was able to continue the discussion just fine. Let's keep up the good work.

Rolling 1d14 => 14
1: EoSD
2: PCB + IaMP
3: IN
4: PoFV
5: MoF + SWR
6: SA
7: UFO + Hisouten + DS + FW
8: TD + HM
9: DDC
10: LoLK + AoCF
11: HSiFS
12: WBaWC +SFW
13: UM
14: UDoALG
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Unfinished Dream of All Living Ghost

Rolling 1d5 => 4

1: Son Biten
2: Enoko Mitsugashira
3: Chiyari Tenkajin
4: Hisami Yomotsu
5: Zanmu Nipaku
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>>17217
Not sure there's going to be that much to say about any of the newesthus, but I guess we can try.

Incidentally, do you want us to get talking as soon as a new character is rolled, or should we wait until you make a header post like >>17186?
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>>17219
I don't think it's necessary to wait for me. I do think it might be a good idea to reroll and exclude the newest game.
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>>17220
I'd second the notion. Hisami is fairly one dimensional in her current portrayal. While not bad, necessarily, it does make it fairly open and shut for how much there is to unpack for this discussion. Were it a character such as Biten or Enoko I might feel different, though, but that's just me.
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>>17220
I mean, I wasn't necessarily saying we shouldn't discuss Hisami; I think there's stuff to speculate on, as little time as the newest cast has had to breathe. Just... tempering expectations? I dunno.

But, well, if you wanna re-roll, go for it.
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