蓬莱人形 ~ Dolls in Psuedo Paradise.


^ (Alice’s Hourai has nothing to do with the story, but this picture of her fit the “Neither Human nor Youkai” subject’s description absolutely perfectly, so I ran with it).

This is a brilliant masterpiece when you put it together. Can you find the killer? I love music, it can never fully be explained. Just like this.

The first block of text is from the C62 Version and the second block of text is from the edition after that. The exception is the text-heavy track “Reincarnation” of which the part after “interlude” is still part of the C62 Version.

If you haven’t listened to Hourai Dolls before, I really suggest you do.
I recommend all of the tracks, “二色蓮花蝶 ~ Red and White” and “桜花之恋塚 ~ Japanese Flower” and “Circus Reverie” are some of my favorites, but “明治十七年の上海アリス” (Meiji 17 Shanghai Alice), “Reincarnation”, and 永遠の巫女 (Eternal Shrine Maiden) and a few others from the PC-98 era have very noticable changes from their first appearances, and I feel are much richer.

ZUN really is a brilliant composer, though I figure most people who don’t have a flavor for that “game music from a lost age” as ZUN puts it wouldn’t recognize it until the great explosion of arrange groups take and transform the originals through different genres and even more transformations.

By the way, if you have the cover (of the “press version”) that shows the culprit (of the C62 story).

I feel that I haven’t really yet edited it to the point where it feels fully English, but in not doing so I feel I’ve kept some of the original structure instead. I don’t know yet whether I’m ok with that, so I may re-edit it in the future, but here it is for now. ^_^

蓬莱人形 ~ Dolls in Psuedo Paradise.
 Hourai Ningyou ~ Dolls in Psuedo Paradise
 Hourai Dolls ~ Dolls in Pseudo Paradise

C62 Story // Press Version Story

僕ら正直村はもともと八人だけだったのだ。
全員で東の山に引っ越すことになって二年が経とうとして
いたんだ。正直退屈な毎日だった。
ある日、一人が桃の木の脇に小さな穴を発見した。
そう、それから僕らはこの楽園に迷い込んだのだ。
そして僕はさっそく、人間をやめた。

We – the honest village, were originally a group of just eight.
We had all decided together to move into the eastern mountains and pass the time for two years. Everyday was an honest tedium.
One day, one of our number found a small hole in the curve of a peach tree. Yes, it was from then on that we stumbled into paradise.
Then and there, I quit being human.

1.蓬莱伝説
   Hourai Densetsu
   The Legend of Hourai

最も好奇心の高い僕は、先を急ぎ森の奥を目指した。
奥で謎のピエロに呼び止められ、なにやら嬉しそうに蓬莱
の玉の枝を手渡されたんだ。受け取ろうとしたら一瞬で首
と体が離れたようだ。僕は動くことも出来なくなっ
て、二度と仲間に会うことが出来なかった。
残りの正直者は七人になった。.

I, the most curious of our group, hurried ahead first and set my sights deep into the forest. There I was stopped by a mysterious clown. For whatever reason it happily held out to me the jeweled branch of Hourai. When I reached out to take it, in that very instant my head was separated from my body. I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t ever see my friends again.
And then there were seven honest ones left.

 不死の薬は、あの始皇帝の使いですら見つける
 ことが出来なかったというのに…
  …蓬莱の玉の枝などみつかるものか。

The elixir of immortality couldn’t be found even by the servants of the emperor Qin Shi Huang…
…But I wonder if you could find the jeweled branch of Hourai.

2.二色蓮花蝶 ~ Red and White
   Nishoku Renkachou
   Bichromatic Lotus Butterfly ~ Red and White

朝は、池の上に紅と白の二色の巫女が踊っているのが見えた。
最も早起きな僕は、その無慈悲で過激な舞に長い間魅了さ
れていたんだ。やがて雨が降り始め、僕は我にかえった時、
もう巫女の姿は無かった。

In the morning, I saw a red and white shrine maiden dancing on the surface of a pond. The earliest riser of our group, I was fascinated by her ruthless and radical dance for quite some time. Eventually it began to rain, and when I came to my senses, the shrine maiden had vanished.

 また、変な人が紛れこんで来たみたいね。
 神社まで来る前に何とかしないと…
 あら、あの娘… 人間でも妖怪でもないみたい

It looks like another strange person’s found their way in again.
I should do something before they make it to the shrine…
Ah, that girl… it doesn’t seem like she is either human or youkai…

3.桜花之恋塚 ~ Japanese Flower
   Ouka no Koidzuka ~ Japanese Flower
   Lovely Mound of Cherry Blossoms ~ Japanese Flower

雨は止むことを知らなかった。巫女はしっとりと全身を濡
らしたまま、雨に溶け込む様に消えていく。巫女に見とれ
ているうちに雨は恐ろしい嵐になり、最も美しいボクはピ
エロに捕らわれたのだ。そのままピエロは嵐の中に消え、
もう僕らの所へ帰る事は出来なかった。
残りの正直者は六人になった。

The rain knew no end. A shrine maiden, her body drenched, was disappearing as if she were melting into the rain. While I was captivated by the shrine maiden, the rain became a frightful storm, and I, the most beautiful of our group, was captured by a clown. Then the clown vanished into the storm, and I was unable to return to our group.
And then there were six honest ones left.

 あの桜の木の下には、今も*が眠っているのだろうか。
 あんなに紅くなった花びらが、年々、薄くなっていく。
 もう、土の中には何も残っていないのかも知れない。

I wonder if even now under that cherry tree * is sleeping.
Those crimson flower petals year after year are growing lighter.
There probably isn’t anything left under the ground anymore.

4.明治十七年の上海アリス
   Meiji 17 (1884) Shanghai Alice

夜、六人は異国風のパーティを開催した。最も幼い僕はま
だお酒も阿片も飲めなかったのでひどく退屈だったんだ。
僕は一人でこっそりその場から抜け出したんだけど、暗闇
で不吉なピエロに捕まってしまったんだ。僕は、あっさり
首を切られた。もう退屈することも二度と出来なかった。
残りの正直者は五人になった。

At night, we six held an exotic party. I, the youngest of our group could not yet drink alcohol or smoke opium, so I was extremely bored. Alone I crept away from the event, but in the pitch darkness I was captured by an ominous clown. My head was easily taken. I was never again able to be bored.
And then there were five honest ones left.

 阿片の煙が雲と棚引き、町のあらゆる場所に流れ込ん
 でいた。私は租界にいる。ワルツを踊る極彩色の衣装
 の人々。ここにはその魔法が届かないわ。

The opium smoke hovered like a cloud, and passed into that place in the town. I live in a land concession. The people wearing colorful clothes and dancing the waltz, their magic won’t reach me here.

5.東方怪綺談
   Touhou Kaikidan
   Eastern Fantastic Tale

僕は息が切れるまで走った。最も臆病な僕は、この楽園が
怖くなったのさ。この位予想していたことだけど、いくら
走っても帰り道を見つけることは出来なかったのだ。もう
僕の想い人も消えてしまっている、生きていても仕方が無
い、僕は失意の後に太い枝に縄を縛りつけ首を掛けた。
…僕はなぜか意識がある。縄が脆かったのか?…
最も臆病な僕は生まれ変わった。もう失うものは何も無い、
僕はもう一度だけ人間の真似をしてみることにしよう。

I ran until I was out of breath. I, the most cowardly of our group, had grown afraid of this paradise. I had thought as much, but no matter how far I ran, I couldn’t find the way back. Already the one I loved had disappeared, and whether or not she was alive there was nothing I could do – at length and in despair I strung a rope over a thick branch and tied it around my neck.
…For some reason, I’m conscious. Was the rope too brittle?…
I, the most cowardly of our group, was reborn. Having nothing left to lose, I decided to pretend to be human just once more.

 「妖怪?いまどき非常識な。」
 しかし、僕は知っている。妖怪達は、人間にそう
 思わせとけば平和に暮らせるという事を。
 妖怪は人間よりずっと平和で現実的だという事を。

“Youkai? Nowadays that’s just nonsense.”
But I know: If the youkai let humans think that, then they can live in peace.
Youkai are far more peaceful and realistic than humans.

6.エニグマティクドール
   Enigmatic Doll

目が覚めたら僕ら五人は暗闇に居たんだ。一人の言うこと
には、僕らは謎のピエロにさらわれたらしい。四人は幼稚
な脱出計画を立てている。最も聡明な僕は、止めとけばい
いのにと見ていたがとうとう口に出さなかったのだ。
四人の予定通り計画は実行され、一人の予想に反し成功に
終わったんだ。そして僕は永遠に逃亡出来なかった。
永い暗闇の中で暇を潰していると、すぐに後ろに気配を感じ
たが、身を任せた。熱いものが背中を伝った。

When I woke up, the five of us were in the dark. According to one of us, we were belaid by a strange clown. The other four were constructing infantile escape plans. I, the most wise of our group, saw that it would be fine to just wait it out, but in the end, I never said it aloud.
The four’s plan was carried out according to plan, and against my calculations suceeded, but I was never able to escape from the darkness.
While I was killing time in endless darkness, I felt a presence right behind me, but I just let things go as they would. I felt something hot on my back.

 ああ、この人形、どうにかして早く捨てたいのに。
 だって、あの蒼い目。時折黒い鴉がくわえて持って
 っちゃうのよ? あの目は本物の目よ。
 いつも、私が新しい目を入れるんだから。

Ah, this doll, I really want to throw it away.
After all, those blue eyes. Sometimes a black crow comes and takes them away in its mouth. Those eyes are real. I know, because I’m always putting in new ones.

7.サーカスレヴァリェ
   Circus Reverie

僕らは見事脱出に成功したんだ。僕らは何て賢いんだろう
と感心し、楽園に見つけた住みかに帰ろうとした。
誰もお互いを疑う事なんて考えたことは無かったのさ。
みんな正直者だったんだ。みんな仲良しだったんだ…

We were able to make our brilliant escape. We felt like geniuses, and went back to the place we were staying at in paradise.
No one had any doubts about the other.
We were all honest. We were all great friends…

 さて、お次は鳥人間の登場だよ。
 この鳥人間、なんと人間と、遥か南の国にしかいない
 世にも珍しい、ゴクラクチョウとの間に生まれた子供だよ。
 親はとっくに死んじまって、可哀想な孤児だったのを、
 うちの劇団で助けてあげたって訳だ。えらいだろう?

So, up next is the bird-man!
This man called “bird-man” exists only far in the south country, and even there is rare, a child born from a bird of paradise. His parents died long ago, and so was a poor lonely child. But we saved him from that! Aren’t we great?

8.人形の森
   Ningyou no Mori
   Forest of Dolls

楽園は、僕らが住むにはちょうど良い建物を用意してくれた。
森の奥にある古びた洋館は、いつでも僕らを受け入れてく
れる。でもいつもなら大量に用意する食事も、いつもの
半分で済んだ。
正直者の僕らはいつのまにか半分になっていたのだ。

Paradise prepared us a perfect building to live in. This ancient western mansion deep in the forest has always let us stay in. It always has a great store of food, but now we do with half.
Since when was our honest number halved?

 雨が止まない。
 私がこの家に迷い込んでから、一度も太陽を見ていない。
 もう何日経つんだろう。
 人形はしきりに話し掛けてくる。
 僕は、人形の首をはねた。雨が止んだかの様に見えた。

The rain won’t stop.
Since I’ve wandered into this house, I haven’t seen the sun once. I wonder how many days have passed?
The doll began to talk to me.
I twisted the doll’s head off. It looked as if the rain had stopped.

9.Witch of Love Potion

午後は、いつもお茶の時間と決めていた。いつもならただ
苦いだけの珈琲が、今日は僅かに甘く感じたんだ。
それが惚れ薬−Love Potion−入りだったとは…
最も大人びた僕は、美しきピエロに恋し幸福のままに眠り
に落ちた。
残りの正直者は三人になった。

We always have tea in the afternoon, and the bitter coffee I always have today tasted a bit sweet.
Was this the one with the love potion in it?…
I, the most mature of our group, in love with a beautiful clown, happily fell asleep.
And then there were three honest ones left.

 まさかね。もちろん僕も馬鹿じゃない。
 友達に言ったって笑われるだけさ。
 あそこの店に惚れ薬が売ってたなんて。
 だから僕は誰にも言わず豚の貯金箱を壊したのさ。

Of course not. I’m not an idiot.
I was just laughed at for telling my friend.
That the shop over there was selling a love potion.
So without telling anyone, I broke the piggy bank.

10.リーインカーネイション
   Reincarnation

僕は明らかに毒で殺された仲間を見てしまったんだ。あれ
は自殺のはずがない。珈琲は僕が適当に選んで皆の部屋に
配ったんだからな。他の二人には彼の死を伝えなかった。
最も警戒心の強い僕は、自分で用意した食事以外は口に入
れなかった。他の二人が寝静まるまで必死に起きていた。
僕らは別々に部屋に入って鍵をかけた。そう僕は二人のう
ちある一人を疑っていたんだ。
どこからか、すぐ近くで木に釘を打つような音が響いて
いたんだ。一体どっちの仕業だろう? 暗闇の中恐怖に顔
が歪む。音に合わせ僕の手足が痛む。まるで五寸もある釘
で打たれたかのようだったんだ。霊媒師にでも相談しよう
とも考えたが、ある事に気付いてしまったんだ。
そうだった、僕が木に打ち付けられていて動けないんだ
った。どっちが僕を木に打ち付けているのだろうか?
そして最後の釘が眉間に当てられた。
そこには予想通りの顔が見えた。
声を出す間も無く、光は完全に途絶えた。

I saw that one of my friends was clearly killed with poison. There’s no way it could have been suicide. I was the one who chose everyone’s coffee according to their tastes and carried it to their rooms. I didn’t tell the other two of his death. I, the most wary of out group, didn’t eat anything besides the food I prepared myself. I desperately stayed awake until the other two were sound asleep. We had gone into separate rooms and locked the doors. Yes, I suspected one of the two.
Somewhere near by I heard the sound of a something being nailed into a tree. Which of them is behind this? In the darkness my face twisted in fear. Matched in time with the sounds, my hands and legs began to hurt. It felt as if 15 centimeter nails were being knocked into them. I considered whether I should consult a medium, and then I realized the obvious.
Of course, I’m being nailed into a tree and can’t move. Which of them is doing it?
Then I felt the final nail against my brow.
Then just as I predicted I saw a face.
Before I had time to yell out, the light went completely out.

– interlude

君は余りにも腑抜けだったのだ。
正直者が馬鹿を見るということが分からないのか?
こんな隠居暮らしで昔のあの鋭い感覚・・・・・・が麻痺したのか?
もう一度街の賑わい、富と快楽が恋しくないのか?
僕は、昔みたいに皆で盗賊団になって、もう一度人生やり
直したいだけだったのに。
一仕事終えた僕は、朝食の準備をし夜があけるのを待った。

You were way too much of a coward.
Don’t you realize that being honest only sets yourself up to meet a cruel fate?
Did this escape from the world paralyze your old sharp senses?
Don’t you yearn for the bustling town, for riches and happiness?
I, in the past was a thief with the rest, and I just wanted to re-live my life.
Having finished the job, I began preparations for breakfast, and waited for night to lift.

 そもそも、道の無い森の中に洋館が建ってるだけでも
 不思議なのだ。あそこに住んでいた少女が滅多に街に
 出てこない。でも、最近、彼女の娘らしき人を見た。
 何で娘ってわかったかって?
 そりゃ、あれだけ幼少時代の彼女に似ていれば…

In the first place, a western mansion standing in a forest with no roads leading to it is strange. The girl that lives there rarely comes to the village. However, lately I’ve seen what looks like her daughter. Why do I say her daughter?
Well, she looks exactly like that girl when she was a child…

11.U.N.オーエンは彼女なのか?
   U.N. Owen wa Kanojo na no ka?
   U.N. Owen was Her?

最も早起きな僕の意識は、すでに虫の息だったんだ。今朝
のハムエッグに何か盛られてたんだろうな。なんて僕は頭
が悪いのだろう、二人になるまで全てが分からなかったな
んて。全部あいつの仕業だったんだ、気違いになった時点
で殺しておくべきだったんだ。
 いずれにしても、もう遅すぎたな…
いつかの巫女が見えた気がした。僕の幻覚なのか?
それにしても髪の色はあんなブロンドだっただろうか。
僕の命と引き換えに、もうしばらく幻覚を見せて欲しいと
言う願いは、前者だけ叶ったようだ。

Barely hanging on to consciousness, I, the earliest riser, was already at death’s door. There was something in this morning’s ham and eggs. How stupid of me, to not know anything even though we’ve come down to two. It was all *s fault, when * went mad I should have killed *.
But whatever I might do, it’s just too late.
I felt that I saw a shrine maiden, was this just an hallucination of mine?
Even so, was the color of her hair really that blonde?
In exchange for my life, I wished that I could see this hallucination just a little while longer. It seemed that wish was only granted to one before me.

 君は想像力にかけている。罠に落とそうと思えばわけはない。
 U.N.オーエンほど想像力豊かな犯人なら、君の頚に縄を
 まく事ぐらい朝飯前だろう。

You really have no imagination. It was as if you wanted to fall into the trap. If the culprit was one with the imaginative power of U.N. Owen, they’d have your neck on a rope before breakfast.

12.永遠の巫女
   Eien no Miko
   Eternal Shrine Maiden

あれから生まれ変わった僕は、昨日は夕食後、強烈な睡魔
に襲われたんだ。頭が割れる様に痛い。昨夜のことが何に
も思い出せない、永い夢を見ていたような気がする。目の
前の現実さえ見なければもっと良かったのに…
何てことだ、一人は珈琲に毒、一人は木に打ち付けられ
ていて、そしてもう一人は首をはねられて・・・・・・・いたなんて
僕は椅子と縄を用意し最後に呟いた。
最後に死んだとしたら、珈琲で死んだ奴しかありえない。
つまり、そういうことなのか?
そういうことなのだろう。
僕の夕食にも何か盛られていたようだな。
そんなことはもうどうでもいい、僕は一人だけなんだ。
もうこんな嘘つきだらけの世に未練など、無い。
今度は丈夫な縄を天井に縛り、僕は高い椅子を蹴った。
今度こそ、二度と体が地面に着くことは無かった。

そして正直者は全員消えた。

I, the one who had been reborn, yesterday after dinner was assaulted by an intense sleepiness. My head hurt like it was going to split in two. I can’t remember anything that happened last night, just that it felt like I was watching a long dream. If only I didn’t have to watch the reality facing me now…
Just what is this? One poisoned by coffee, one nailed to a tree, and another beheaded….
I whispered the last having prepared a chair and a rope. The last one killed had to have been the one poisoned by the coffee.
So, just what is the meaning of this?
It’s probably that.
There was something put into my food last night.
But what does that matter? Now I’m all alone.
This time I tied a strong rope to the ceiling, and kicked a tall chair.
This time for sure, my body won’t ever hit the ground again.
And then the honest group was none

 今日も何事もない一日だった。
 明日も何事もない事が約束されている。
 ここには誰も来ない。人間も神も。
 妖怪?ああ、毎日来るわ。

Today nothing happened.
Tomorrow I have nothing planned.
No one comes here, humans or gods.
Youkai? Ah, well they come every day.

13.空飛ぶ巫女の不思議な毎日
   Sora Tobu Miko no Fushigi na Mainichi
   The Strange Everyday of a Sky Flying Shrine Maiden

楽園の巫女は、いつもと変わらない平和な夏を送っていた。
ある夏の日、巫女の日記にはこう書かれていた。

八月○日
今日遭った出来事といえば、森の廃洋館のある方から歩
いてくる美しいブロンドの少女に遭ったこと位ね。その
少女をどこかで見たような気がしらけど、私はそんな瑣
末な事に頭を使おうとはしないの。その娘はいたずらに
舌を出しながらぺこりと頭を下げて、大笑いしながら楽
園の出口の方に向かっていったわ。変な娘ね。
そういえば、あの娘は正直者八人組の唯一の女の子だっ
たわね、そんなことはどうでもいいけど。
あーあ、今日もまた退屈な一日だったわ…

この楽園「幻想郷」から人間の数が八人ほど減り、七人の
遺体は無事妖怪たちに持っていかれた。幻想郷は正直者を
永遠に失った。ただの数値の変化だ。
そんなことは、大したニュースでも無い。

The shrine maiden of paradise spent the summer in an unchanging peace.
On one of those summer days, the shrine maiden wrote this in her diary.

August Xth
About all that happened today was that I met a beautiful blonde haired girl walking out from the direction of the ruins of the western style mansion in the forest. I felt like i had seen that girl somewhere before, but I didn’t waste my thoughts on such a trivial thing. In jest, that girl stuck out her tongue and quickly bowed with a great smile on her face and went off in the direction of the exit to paradise. What a strange girl.
Now that I think of it. That girl was the only female in that group of honest eight. But what does that matter.
Ah… today’s another boring day.

In this paradise “Gensoukyou” the number of humans dropped by eight, and seven corpses were safely carried off by youkai. Gensoukyou has lost the honest group for all eternity. Well, it’s just a numerical shift.
That’s not important news.

 最近、魔法だとか妖怪だとか今時無学なこという輩が
 増えてきたな。嘆かわしい。

Lately, the number of people that’ll say thoughtless things such as “that’s magic” or “that’s a youkai’s doing” are increasing. How depressing.

C62 Composer’s Greeting

きっと始めましてZUNです。長い間創曲活動をしてきましたが、
うっかり音楽CDを出すことになりました。内容はというと、実
に時代に逆行しています、レトロラブなのです。特にいまの小洒
落たダンス系ゲームミュージックではなく、一昔前のストレート
なゲームミュージックが好きな方に最適です(狭)あと、全体的
に少女チックになっていますので、そういう趣味の方にも聴いて
もらいたいです。

これからも、東洋風と西洋風に、アンティークなオリジナル曲を
作曲していきたいと思っています。

ちなみに、このCDを聴くとなぜか安心できないものがあります。
それは、道を外れるとモノは安定しないからでしょう。
蓬莱人形は「癒さない系」CDなのかもしれません。首吊るし。

I’m sure this is the first time, so nice to meet you, this is ZUN. I’ve been composing for a long time, but just now thoughtlessly have put out a music CD. The contents are really sort of against the times, retro love as it were. It’s especially not the sort of stylish, dance-game type of music, but is a perfect match for the people that love the straight game music from long ago (a small few of you I’m sure). Also, it’s also girly-tastic so for people with that sort of hobby, I’d like you to listen as well.

From here on out, I’d like to continue composing eastern and western antique original melodies.

By the way, it’s possible that while listening to this CD for some reason you can’t feel at ease.
That’s because when people (or other things) depart from the road, they can’t fully safe.
Hourai Dolls is probably an unhealing CD. With all the hanging and all…

 2002.8.11 ZUN(正直村の隠し子、最も高所恐怖症な僕)
    Illegitimate Child of the Honest Village, the Most Acrophobic of Them All.

Press Ver. Composer’s Greeting

おおよそ初めまして、ZUNです。このCDは、C62にて
発表したもののプレス版となっております。
曲自体は、かなり昔に創った曲ばっかなので今聴くと恥ずか
しいです。殆どが、自作のシューディングゲームで使用した
曲のアレンジとなっています。
一昔前の「アーケード世代のゲームミュージックらしさ」を
感じて頂ければ幸いです。

Nice to meet you if this indeed is the first time – this is ZUN. This CD is the press version of the one released at C62.
The tracks themselves are all ones I made a long time ago, so listening to them now is a bit embarassing. Most of them are arranges of tracks I used in my own shooting games.
If you would recognize of the feel of the long gone by arcade era’s game music listening to this, it would make me happy.

また、日本を捨てて海外に飛び出そうとしている方にも、
是非聴いていただきたいです。

Also, to those people throwing away Japan and flying off overseas, I would like you to listen too.

(Shanghai Alice Illusionary Orchestra)
上海アリス幻樂団 http://www16.big.or.jp/~zun/
            Music Composer / Arranger ZUN

Translated by Kafka Fuura

  1. I don’t really get it.. so the culprit is reimu? The picture on the c62 cd looks somewhat like reimu but somewhat different… but c62 was even before EoSD so it must be a PC98-era character? or one of the EoSD crew(very flandre-isg)

    • My thoughts (quite complicated and all over the place):

      Reimu’s just an observer for the most part, the shrine maiden dancing over the pond, though she was probably also the one that stunned the earliest riser into a trance, not wanting him to make it all the way to the shrine. However, the second time the earliest riser noted with doubt that the girl he saw’s hair was blonde (not Reimu). ((This is another place where Flandre could work, because she also wears red and white and is most certainly blonde, and is not human or youkai – but, Flandre wouldn’t have come with the group and stopped being human if she’s really related to Remilia.))

      The C62 CD has Reimu on it, but the other CD has this blond haired girl(/doll?) who is not Flandre with a stake and a voodoo doll(/baraningyou). ESoD was released on C62, if the wiki is to be believed, but though many things (besides noted above) point to Flandre (including the “and then there were none”), again, I don’t think Flandre’s the culprit.

      According to Reimu’s comments, one of the group of honest eight was a girl/young woman, the rest male. By careful reading you can confirm that one or two of the “I, the ~est” people are male, and can thus remove them from suspicion, and also looking closely you can mark off a few that are dead beyond a doubt (if their head has been hewn off etc.)

      Therefore, I suspect “the most beautiful of them all” due to the wording of “the capture”, and also relate it to the wording of the narrator in the beginning (quickly after entering, I quit being human). The most cowardly was in love with the most beautiful, and thus was not killed (and was possibly the one who saved him the first time), but she scorned him for his cowardice, and for the idea of all to wander off in the first place, so had no problem of driving him to suicide in the end.

      However, there’s no real way to be certain. Also from Reimu’s comments about youkai, I believe that the group of eight were NOT killed by youkai, but by one of their group – because humans are less peaceful than youkai. Commentary etc. “when I was young I feared monsters but now I fear humans” sort of thing.

      Here are a few other possibilities: the wisest one, because that death is the least clear, but I’m certain that the culprit was mentioned before the cowardly’s story (whose love whom I think must be the culprit was already missing); the cowardly one, because he was “asleep” while two of the last three were killed, and it’s possible that the second portion of Reincarnation is a crazed version of himself talking to his cowardly self, and he(/she) is who the earliest riser suspects – but I don’t think so.

      The “clown” is the most confusing really. I don’t know where to place it, whether it is indeed the culprit, or was really trying to stop the culprit, or just a random youkai wrecking havoc. For I think for the first song it is equally as likely for the clown to have cut off the head of the most curious as a jealous thief (noted in Reincarnation) cutting off the head to try to get the branch for him/herself.

      ZUN modeled Flandre and this story off of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”, which you can look up on Wiki for more info (that’s where UN Owen comes from).

      I imagine this written to be unsolvable or may only be solvable by the author, but it’s fun to try to solve things, even if they are unsolvable.

      ;D

  2. I see… well thanks for you dedicated explanation.. funny but now I am sure that they were killed by a youkai… the ways in which they died seem too elaborate for a single human to concoct. e.g. head being stolen ^^;

    Assuming that the events in this story take place with chronological placing as per real life, then since the trial version of EoSD came out before this CD, then it is likely the spell card rules were already established before the plot of the story. Which makes it illegal(lol) that a youkai would kill humans.

    But then again, perhaps this story was intended by ZUN to have taken place before EoSD. I am quite convinced the girl on the cover of the CD may be an early version of Flandre… But then again, this is contradicted by her being Remilia’s sister who’s been locked in the basement for the past 495 years(circa EoSD)…

    what bothers me is that in reimu’s diary entry she said “ruins of the western style mansion in the forest.” Was this the scarlet devil mansion? I don’t think so. More likely to have been Yuuka’s Mansion which may have been ruined after the events of TH04…. More possibilities, the cast of TH04 is also suspect, maybe Elly?

    • ZUN likes to use “abandoned western style mansion in the forest a lot”.
      It might be useful to look up all the instances haha.. If I had the time I’d love to collect all the info I could and compile it together into a sort of volume. Maybe after I graduate?? >.> As for spell card stuff, I think it’s an interesting explanation for dispute resolution, but Reimu definitely has killed a lot of youkai, and a lot of youkai and other demons etc. have killed lots of humans. (As long as there’s a balance things are fine apparently).

      Anyway, I love to see another Touhou “lore” enthusiast. :P

  3. I see your world view of Gensokyo is quite like Akyu in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense. Well that’s probably quite a reliable source in some sense but I think that somewhere along the line humans and youkai started to get along somewhat peacefully… and hence not exterminating youkai or killing humans… At least so it says in Perfect Memento In Strict Sense..

    • Ryas
    • April 8th, 2011

    The cowardly one was the culprit. She is “the clown” who killed the other honest men. It’s implied that she is literally not a human, and is a humanoid youkai or something else, and survived her hanging (twice) because of that fact. She also appears to have no recollections of her crime, and was “assaulted by sudden sleepiness” around the time the most cautious of the group was killed, meaning that she likely had some kind of alternate, murderous personality.

    • Anonymous
    • January 29th, 2012

    I read somewhere before that it might have been Alice Margatroid, with the basis that she was blonde and was formerly a human who became youkai.

    • Yeah, but the pictures of the two look considerably different, and Alice came out of Makai (she was originally not/more-than human, whereas the “village” supposedly came out of the Human World…) But then again there’s the thing with the bara-ningyou, so it’s a pretty good theory.

        • Anonymous
        • January 29th, 2012

        Makai is only PC-98, though (and ZUN has stated that everything was a “clean sweep” starting from Embodiment of Scarlet Devil), and so in windows, she was indeed originally human.

        • Anonymous
        • January 29th, 2012

        Clarification: I meant the Makai that Shinki made, not the Makai in UFO.

    • If we go by his clean sweep – no one dies at all :3 (ie. the press version of the CD) – but yeah, this looks like Merry more to me than it does Alice: [link]

      Though I myself consider her a separate character.

      Also, there’s nothing that says Shinki didn’t make her a human, it’s just the whole mother daughter thing is debunked unless you assume Akyuu is “wrong”, and she could be on some counts. :P

    • Chou
    • February 25th, 2012

    I believe that the most beautiful one is the culprit here, if you look at its line involving the clown it’s possible to read it more as ‘I told a lie about a clown and from then on was no longer honest’ which does allow the number in the honest group to dwindle while keeping her alive and still ‘in’ the group.

    The bit about someone no longer being human soon after entering has no relevance since through the whole story the narrator changes, for all it matters when it comes to who’s behind the murders it doesn’t effect the actual mystery.

    Although this theory does have an issue when it comes to the death of the most curious, if we’re to believe that the culprit is behind all 7 deaths aside from a potential suicide of the one who was reborn. It is possible that that death were said as a red herring and instead done by a normal thief coming after the jeweled branch.

    Either all of that or we can just say “that’s a youkai’s doing.” Like Reimu said though, it’s quite depressing when people believe that.

    • Kyubey
    • April 12th, 2012

    This just really looks like And Then There Were None!

    I love the story, and how it’s solved. And I’d think the culprit would be… None? |D

    • Drac
    • October 27th, 2015

    I have done an extensive analysis on the subject and have concluded, leaving little room for doubt, that the killer is the cowardly one. Not only that, I have concluded that the story is actually the story of a newborn youkai emerging from a human, and who that human is is relatively irrelevant. Follows is the analysis in full…

    1.) “One day, one of our number found a small hole in the curve of a peach tree. Yes, it was from then on that we stumbled into paradise.
    Then and there, I quit being human.”

    This implies that the culprit was aware of some kind of major change from within herself from the very beginning of the story. I should point out that this type of entrance to Gensokyo is classic of Yukari’s antics. She may have even kickstarted the transformation process by manipulating the boundary of human and youkai… but that is pure speculation.

    2.) The shrine maiden stated that one of them “doesn’t seem like she is either human or youkai”.

    This implies that the culprit was not fully a youkai yet, but was instead transitioning.

    3.) “…For some reason, I’m conscious. Was the rope too brittle?…
    I, the most cowardly of our group, was reborn. Having nothing left to lose, I decided to pretend to be human just once more.”

    This implies that she has a significant change in character after the first failed hanging.

    4.) “In the first place, a western mansion standing in a forest with no roads leading to it is strange. The girl that lives there rarely comes to the village. However, lately I’ve seen what looks like her daughter. Why do I say her daughter?
    Well, she looks exactly like that girl when she was a child…”

    This implies that she has fully changed her physical appearance to resemble a youkai by this time, but was not always like this.

    5.). The interlude is implied to be the youkai half speaking. It suggests that the youkai retains her human memories and many of her characteristics. However, it also suggests that her personality is a warped reflection of her human self. She is not cowardly, or timid at all. Also, the youkai appears to share the same sense of identity as the human side.

    These points taken along with the following points actually suggest that the transition is similar to dissociative identity disorder, although with a somewhat atypical combination of symptoms. The most unusual part is that both the human and youkai share a single sense of identity. However it is hardly surprising that such a comparison can be made about an emerging youkai.

    6.) “Barely hanging on to consciousness, I, the earliest riser, was already at death’s door. There was something in this morning’s ham and eggs. How stupid of me, to not know anything even though we’ve come down to two. It was all *s fault, when * went mad I should have killed *.”

    This is even further evidence that the culprit’s mental status had not only visibly changed, but that it had changed while in Gensokyo. Ergo, it must be due to the transformation. This implies that the symptoms analyzed are unlikely due to a preexisting condition such as a genuine case of DID.

    7.) “I, the one who had been reborn, yesterday after dinner was assaulted by an intense sleepiness. My head hurt like it was going to split in two. I can’t remember anything that happened last night, just that it felt like I was watching a long dream. If only I didn’t have to watch the reality facing me now…”

    This implies that her humanity is quickly slipping further away as she loses control. This also mimics DID.

    8.) “Just what is this? One poisoned by coffee, one nailed to a tree, and another beheaded….
    I whispered the last having prepared a chair and a rope. The last one killed had to have been the one poisoned by the coffee.
    So, just what is the meaning of this?”

    This implies that she only has a vague understanding of what is happening to her and what she’s doing. She can’t come to grips with the reality of the situation, and neither can she fully remember the precise details. But she does indeed remember enough. In particular, she should not know about the one nailed to a tree, yet she does. Nor should she remember the one who’s coffee was poisoned(who’s death was hidden from the group).

    This also connects the mysterious ‘clown’ with the cowardly one. She remembers events that were associated with the clown’s murders, that she would not have been present for otherwise. How the clown is significant remains a mystery though.

    9.) “There was something put into my food last night.
    But what does that matter? Now I’m all alone.
    This time I tied a strong rope to the ceiling, and kicked a tall chair.
    This time for sure, my body won’t ever hit the ground again.
    And then the honest group was none”

    This implies that she finally gives away the rest of her humanity at this point to escape this nightmare. All that remains is a youkai.

    Taken altogether, it really paints an interesting (and disturbing) picture on the subject of transforming into a youkai.

    The timeframe of the transformation process can be roughly estimated as well.

    1.) “I wonder if even now under that cherry tree * is sleeping.
    Those crimson flower petals year after year are growing lighter.
    There probably isn’t anything left under the ground anymore.”

    This passage implies that one of the group has been buried for at least several years, yet most of the group are still alive. This means that the youkai transformation process starts out rather slowly.

    2.) Two references to the shrine maiden(not the one about the blond shrine maiden) are implied to be Reimu. This suggests(but still leaves room for interpretation) that the maximum timeframe of the transformation is not much higher that several years… Reimu is not that old.

    This means that between passage 2 and the end of the story is roughly several years time.

    3.) By passage 4, the youngest of the group was STILL too young to drink. This implies(unless you believe the youngest to have been a single digit age upon arrival to Gensokyo) that the entire story isn’t likely to be longer than several years. At the very most, it puts an upper bound of around a decade from start to finish.

    4.) “In the first place, a western mansion standing in a forest with no roads leading to it is strange. The girl that lives there rarely comes to the village. However, lately I’ve seen what looks like her daughter. Why do I say her daughter?
    Well, she looks exactly like that girl when she was a child…”

    This implies that the group has lived in the mansion for long enough to be recognized by the people of the human village, yet not overly familiar with them. However, given the limited amount of time that the remainder of the story has left, it is unlikely that between moving into the mansion and this point took longer than a few months time.

    The final 4 deaths (poisoned, nailed to a tree, poisoned, and self hung) are implied to take place within a 24-48 hour period of time. This is a stark contrast to the previous 4 deaths that spanned over years. Within that time, the youkai has visibly started to look as such and may explain why she hastened the murders.

    The order of the deaths as well as the manner of deaths are a useful clue as to the mentality and abilities of the young youkai. They are as follows. Disclaimer! This section may be disturbing.

    1. Off with their head.
    2. Killed offscreen.
    3. Off with their head.
    4. Attempted self hanging. (survived)
    5. Stabbed in the back.
    6. Poisoned.
    7. Nailed to a tree.
    8. Poisoned.
    9. Attempted self hanging. (survived?)

    As you can see, the first 3 murders were performed in a generally quick and brutal manner. Afterwards, the cowardly one tries to commit suicide, but it doesn’t work. Next, the murders start getting more creative and generally effective at generating fear. Finally, near the end of the story, the pace of the killings quickens, rapidly finishing off the rest of the group overnight… but in a manner that will generate much more fear and doubt before death. All of this shows that the art of generating the most fear possible is not something that a youkai is born with, but rather is a learned process.

    The fact that the first three victims were all killed while they were in isolation from the group also indicates that the young youkai is a bit more cautious about it’s meals. Later, the attacks get much more brazen and bold. The final killing spree shows complete confidence in her abilities to hunt.

    For bonus points, this analysis can be summarized and generalized to show that characteristics of a youkai emerging from a human. I don’t know of any other canon source that allows this level of detail on the subject….

    A newborn youkai starts off(over about several years time) looking and acting like the original person except that they have spells of violent and crude behavior conducted against ‘safe’ prey. They are aware that something major is different about them from the earliest stages.

    Later on(lasting on the order of months) the youkai gradually refines her art and gets more bold in choosing prey. The overall mental status of the non-youkai side starts visibly changing, but still visibly looks like her old self.

    Later still(lasting a matter of days at most), the youkai starts really getting bold, and more importantly, confident in attacking prey. The youkai changes physical appearance and begins to actually look like a youkai at this time.

    From here on out, there is not much of the old self left to hold on to and it’s mostly the youkai that is in control. While not a certainty, it seems that the youkai will eventually replace the original self.

    Throughout the whole process, as long as there is at least a hint of the old self left, that self is at least somewhat aware of what is going on but unable to do anything about it. It’s unclear if the old self is aware while the youkai is in control. Both halves share memories, many characteristics, and identity, but have contrasting personalities. The process mimics dissociative identity disorder.

    It is possible, and even likely, for some of the original personality traits to be retained even after the transformation is complete; although the majority of the personality will likely be different.

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