|“||Lose yourselves in the gap of my boundary!||„|
|~ Reimu Hakurei, Imperishable Night|
|“|| Reimu: Unfortunately for you, I don't particularly mind needless killing. And of course, I'm not a Youkai shrine maiden either. I'm a human shrine maiden. And I exterminate Youkai on sight.|
Jinyou: Ri-Ridiculous! Aren't you on peaceful terms with a number of Youkai?! So why...?!
Reimu: You should have done more research. In Gensokyo, a human villager becoming a Youkai is the greatest sin there is. And my job is to make sure they don't.
|~ Reimu Hakurei, to a fortune-teller who became a Youkai, before killing him|
|“||That shrine maiden didn't have any ill intent to start with. There was never any need for discipline. These are the sort of things about Reimu that were intolerable to you? That level of worldly desire is only natural for humans. To be captivated by desires like that isn't ill intent, it's just simple-minded innocence. That's just how simple-minded that shrine maiden is. The memory of her training will stay strong for a while, and she'll try unnaturally hard, but around now, she's probably run out of steam and gone even more sluggish than usual. After she sleeps for a bit, she'll go back to being honest with ourself and our usual Reimu will return.||„|
|~ Onozuka Komachi, explaining to Kasen Ibaraki on why Reimu had suddenly been acting on her own desires|
|“||Thieves, assassins and soldiers would all say the same thing. Just because it's their job, it won't pardon their sins. To cleanse your sins even a little, you must accomplish good deeds.||„|
|~ Eiki Shiki's words to Reimu Hakurei, when Reimu attempts to excuse her behaviour|
Reimu Hakurei is one the main characters of the Touhou Project series alongside her friend Marisa Kirisame, having appeared in almost every game and book in the series whether as a protagonist, enemy, playable or minor character unless specified.
During her journeys, she fights hundreds of characters using her spiritual powers, mainly youkai, some examples including magicians, evil spirits and gods; afterwards, most become her acquaintances.
Reimu is described as being 'fairly tall', having fair skin and dark hair of long-to-short length. She typically wears a red-and-white adapted and non-traditional shrine maiden outfit, white sarashi, white bowed socks and black Mary Jane shoes, while wearing different outfits at times.
Otherwise, her design varies throughout many of the games:
- (Touhou 1 to 5) Purple eyes, long purple hair, wears large red ribbon in hair. Clothes are red and white, and strongly resembles a traditional shrine maiden outfit.
- (Touhou 3, alternative outfit) Same as above, but clothes are mainly green instead of red.
- (Touhou 6 and 7) Dark red eyes, black hair, wears large red ribbon in hair, often carries a rod (gohei) with many paper seals attached in streamers. Wears a red and white dress remotely similar to a shrine maiden's outfit with detached sleeves leaving her shoulders uncovered, and a red neckerchief.
- (Touhou 7.5, 10, 10.5, and 12.3) Same as above, but her neckerchief is yellow.
- (Touhou 7.5 and 10.5, alternative outfit) Same as above, but the dress is black instead of red.
- (Touhou 8) Same as 7.5, 10, 10.5, and 12.3, but her hair is dark brown.
- (Touhou 9) Same as 8, but her neckerchief is navy blue. Over the course of these games, her hair apparently grew from shoulder-length to the middle of her back before it became short again in Touhou 11.
- (Touhou 9, alternative outfit) Same as above, but dress is mainly blue instead of red.
- (Touhou 11) Same as 9, but her neckerchief is dark blue with a yellow ribbon tied to it. Shoulder-length hair.
- (Touhou 12, 12.5) Same as 11, but the neckerchief is entirely yellow again, and Reimu's hair has grown past her shoulders.
- (Touhou 13) Same as 12, but her hair has become shorter (possibly the shortest it has ever been). Her gohei is also much longer judging from the title screen.
- (Touhou 13.5) Same as above, except neckerchief is blue again and her hair is brown and longer.
- (Touhou 14) Same as in 13, but her hair is now slightly longer and her neckerchief is once again yellow. She also no longer has a ribbon threaded through the hem of her dress (it has been replaced with a lacy pattern of a similar colour), or ribbons threaded through the bottom of her arm-socks.
Reimu's occupation is a shrine maiden, who are altar girls that live in and work at Shinto shrines. Shrine maidens are generally virgins and take various rites of purity and chastity, and undergo various forms of physical and mental training. They also practice sealing and purification rituals, which are highly form-based and symbolic, and are used to bless, purify, or exorcise vengeful spirits. Her daily life as a shrine maiden includes wearing red-and-white clothing, staring at the sky from the edge of Gensokyo and enjoying tea and life on the veranda of the shrine.
The shrine Reimu works at is the Hakurei Shrine in Japan controlled by the Hakurei God, located by the boundary of Gensokyo while protected by Great Hakurei Barrier, distanced in mountains away from the Human Village. In these mountainous areas, the whole of Gensokyo can be reportedly seen from a single view by the shrine. The Hakurei Shrine exists in both the world of Gensokyo as well as the 'Outside World'; it is simultaneously sealed away from the rest of society.
In particular, Reimu's duty is to protect Gensokyo, while there are other things included in her job. Although Reimu only extinguished certain sparks of conflict in her journies because they seemed to befall her without warning, her actions have generally resulted in preventing the youkai residents of Gensokyo from visiting human settlements, and keeping human outsiders away from wandering into Gensokyo.
Author of the Spell Card System
The Spell Card system is a system set by a boundary of rules made in order to uphold the laws and values of Gensokyo's humans and youkai. Simply put, it refrains youkai from killing humans, without causing needless bloodshed and is a fair way of winning a duel.
It is assumed that Reimu is the author of this system, on many occasions having been mentioned has the creator of this system in canonical works. During the events of Embodiment Of Scarlet Devil, Reimu had been at least one of the authors of this system.
Reimu is one of the main incident resolvers in Gensokyo. In Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, an incident is defined as "a phenomenon that affects all of Gensokyo and is of unknown cause". These set the central obstacles that a character has to face in the games, typically enemy characters usually in the form of stage bosses, midbosses, final bosses, extra bosses.
Reimu has mostly natural abilities that come from birth and most of these are spiritual abilities, but there are other unrelated skills she has. Her trademark ability is Fantasy Nature.
Attracting other things towards her
Reimu has been shown to attract various things towards her; it is not in the sense of magnetism but for humans and youkai, they form strong opinions of her, and to animals, they follow her or at least show a sense of attachment towards her. In the case of animals, she has attracted fish to swim below her feet and effectively make her travel without her even realizing it, calling birds using a whistle and handfeeding wild rabbits. Meanwhile, with humans and youkai, she acts social towards them (whether it is negative or positive) and forms many bonds with both humans and youkai alike. Her official profile in Phantasmagoria of Flower View even suggests the idea that she attracts incidents to herself.
In earlier games, Reimu's spiritual abilities were highly limited. As time went by, however, she developed her abilities, becoming able to use the Yin-Yang Orb, special amulets, and her own spiritual power in order to fight more effectively. Sometime between Mystic Square and Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, this culminated in her developing the ability to fly under her own power.
- In Highly Responsive to Prayers, she was in fact unable to harm enemies directly at all.
- Her spiritual power was limited in the Pc-98 games.
- Before being able to fly, he relied on Genjii, her turtle familiar, to fly, and in fact did not fly at all in HRtP.
To see and control auras
It has been stated in Reimu's Omake text official profile of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, she could see and control auras, which was to control the natural spirits of living things. However, there has not been any other official statements regarding this ability itself except a few examples, such as in chapter 16 of Forbidden Scrollery, where it explained that she was able to tell if a youkai has been active in an area from the lingers of their aura. Also, in an instance, she used her ofuda to detect if a youkai had any evil in it. It may mean that she needs a specific item to be able to be capable of this ability, but it's unknown as it is rarely shown.
While her physical abilities are average compared to her spiritual abilities, Reimu can be energetic at times, which might help her physical abilities. For example, in works written in the books, she can be seen shoveling snow gently and running with Marisa at the same speed without effort.
Undefined Fantastic Object
In Undefined Fantastic Object, she seems very intent on getting the treasure ship's riches, probably due to the events following the Hakurei Shrine's repair and re-opening in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody. Where there's a treasure ship, there has to be the seven gods of luck. She figures that where any gods are involved, it's a job for her, but most of the seven gods of luck aren't Japanese gods. Her true goal is the treasure.
In Ten Desires, a lot of divine spirits start to congregate and due the fact that is an "Incident", Reimu has to go and figure out what drove them to spread.
In Hopeless Masquerade, the normally calm humans and the always-energetic youkai are both in a state of excitement. Their blood is boiling for one reason. From here on, the shrine maiden and her rivals will be battling it out. The goal is to emerge victorious in the battle, and acquire unwavering popularity.
Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom
In Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, the lunar emissaries have at last arrived for real. Their goals are unknown, but as Reimu is fighting entirely away from home, it's obvious that this will be the first truly difficult battle for her in a long while. This time, she's forced to fight a battle with no room for error.
Antimony of Common Flowers
In Antimony of Common Flowers, Reimu heads out with Kasen Ibaraki to investigate the Perfect Possession incident, but quickly realizes that the incident can't be dealt with via usual means.
Hidden Star in Four Seasons
In Hidden Star in Four Seasons, there were cherry blossoms blooming at the Hakurei Shrine, but it didn't bother Reimu as there was plenty of strange weather before, so she doesn't think of the incident as an issue. That conceit leads her to severely misjudge the true nature of the incident.
Wily Beast and Weakest Creature
In Wily Beast and Weakest Creature, beast spirits had begun to invade from Hell en masse. A beast spirit that was cooperative with humans told Reimu that it'd lend its power to her, so she decided to go to Hell. She wasn't completely convinced by what the spirit had told her, but she would be more powerful than if she went to Hell by herself, and she could always just defeat the beast spirit itself if things came to that, so she decided that it didn't pose any disadvantage to her.
|“||There are times where your wavelengths are alternately unusually long or unusually short. Sometimes there are people with wavelengths like that. A voice like that matches with no one's and reacts against no one's. It's mysterious.||„|
|~ Reisen Udongein Inaba's win quotes against Reimu in Phantasmagoria of Flower View|
She takes her job as the shrine maiden of the Hakurei Shrine very seriously, although she dislikes or hates training as she believes that effort will not be rewarded. Generally, her way of exterminating youkai is fighting first and then asking questions later. Even if a youkai were to be harmless and not trying to hurt anyone, she would still attack them using brute force to teach them a lesson, albeit without killing them. She is not afraid to murder when it is necessary to, only depending on if the victim commited a sin great enough to deserve the said punishment. It is noted that in contrast to other previous generations of shrine maidens, she lacks a sense of danger and goes through meager training, yet is exceptionally powerful.
She displays a neutral personality; she treats anyone and everyone in an uninterested manner with no particular respect or disrespect, whether or not they are an average human or a god and regardless of social status. This tends to attract visitors to her shrine, whether youkai or human, as well as those who are strong both in power and personality towards her.
As her abilities have changed, so has her personality. In the first few games, she is considered as very optimistic and easily excited, not worrying about any incidents even if they were strange or an emergency, but still enjoyed them. She was confident, believing she could solve every incident she came across with her power, rarely being suspicious about incidents. Described as having a ‘slightly emotional’ and ‘simple’ character, she was often the target of jokes and being dragged into adventures that she didn’t wish to participate in by Marisa, while Reimu pretended to ignore her, thinking she was a hopeless case.
As noted by Komachi Onozuka and Toyosatomimi no Miko, she is a person who is very easy to read. In the case of Komachi, she knew that Reimu is too simple-minded to have any ill intent and that she would quickly return to normal, while Miko easily deduced that even though she stated that she wanted to exterminate all youkai, she truly wanted to achieve a peace without violence in Gensokyo. Reimu also portrays her emotions exactly as they are: when she's happy, she's happy, when she's angry, she's angry.
Reimu, being the main heroine in the Touhou Project series, makes many different relationships during her appearances in the games and books. Her shrine is often visited by most of the characters in the series.
- Marisa Kirisame (Friend)
- Rinnosuke Morichika (Friend)
- Yukari Yakumo (Friend)
- Suika Ibuki (Houseguest/Moocher)
- Genjii (Familiar)
- Ruukoto (Maid)
- Mima (Taunter)
- Aya Shameimaru (Ally)
- Byakuren Hijiri (Business/religious rival)
- Flandre Scarlet (Known)
- Sanae Kochiya (Related shrine maiden)
- Reisen Udongein Inaba (Known)
- Reimu seems to be scared before and after the boss battle with the Five Magic Stones, making this the only ever time that Reimu was scared and/or afraid of a boss before and after the battle.
- Reimu is known for exterminating youkai indiscriminately, regardless of how much of a threat they represent to her or others. The most notable example of this was Tokiko, who was ambushed by Reimu while she was, in Reimu's own words, "reading and minding her own business".
- Most of her theme from Lotus Land Story sounds similar to Elis and Kikuri's theme from Highly Responsive to Prayers, "Magic Mirror".
- It is originally stated that she lives alone at the shrine, but other rarely seen characters (Mima and SinGyoku) are known to stay there or near there as well. Even then, she claims that most youkai visitors are nuisances, and she'd prefer to be left alone. Marisa Kirisame seems to be one of the few who she wouldn't drive away.
- In Imperishable Night, Reimu is the only one whose partner doesn't mention the danger of the full moon.
- Reimu's ultimate technique Fantasy Nature (夢想天生 musou tensei, "innate fantasy gained at birth") is homophonous with the ultimate technique of the Hokuto Shinken school in Fist of the North Star, Musou Tensei (無想転生 musou tensei, "nil-thought rebirth"), and has much the same effect.
- In Touhou Hisoutensoku, if you activate Fantasy Nature successfully in a 3rd round, a remix of "Eastern Mystical Love Consultation" will play which resembles Ai wo Torimodose, the opening theme of the Fist of the North Star anime (an instrumental version of which usually plays whenever Kenshiro is about to win a fight).
- In Touhou Hisoutensoku, one of her alternative palettes looks similar to VIVIT, the heroine of the Seihou Project. Also, one of her palettes seems to be another maid homage, Ruukoto, or possibly Sanae Kochiya's colours. The palette also seems to resemble Mima from Highly Responsive to Prayers. Her white/light gray palette seems to resemble Toki from Hokuto no Ken.
- When playing Yukari's story mode in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, Reimu breaks down in tears in the ending after Yukari defeats Tenshi and reduces the Hakurei Shrine to rubble for the second time, with Sakuya and Youmu looking on helplessly (although Suika offers to help rebuild it). This marks the first and only time where she is seen crying in a storyline scenario.
- The shrine maiden at the end of Dolls in Pseudo Paradise is probably Reimu. She has Reimu's title, "Shrine Maiden of Paradise" (and her personality), and according to Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red's Music Column, the shrine maiden in the song that accompanies the ending section is Reimu (so basically, this shrine maiden has Reimu's song and title). However, only the shrine maiden at the end is referred to as the shrine maiden of paradise. Thus it is possible that the shrine maiden seen in the first half of the story is a different person altogether.
- A "13th Shrine Maiden" signs off the Gensokyo Record in Perfect Cherry Blossom's prologue. ZUN has stated in an e-mail that the Gensokyo Record is unreliable (for one thing, the writing style of each section shows it was written by a different person each time), thus "there is a high possibility that Reimu is not the 13th Hakurei shrine maiden." (technically, this also means there is no proof that the person who wrote that section of the record is a shrine maiden at all).
- It is shown in Oriental Sacred Place that the shrine sometimes gets various donations (including wine) from unknown sources (implied to be from the outside world, as the Hakurei Shrine lies on the border) and Yukari is shown in Oriental Sacred Place to sneak yen donations into the offering box when Reimu isn't looking.
- Although Reimu has successfully resolved the incidents in each major Touhou game, it's possible that her win rate throughout the actual events of the games was not 100%. Perfect Memento in Strict Sense states that Reimu likes to request rematches until she finally wins. In essence, Reimu apparently has had to use a few continues every once in a while, but she still manages to get a good ending.
- Ironically, although she is a Shintoist shrine maiden, she has been compared to a Taoist hermit, her practices resembling wu wei and she has also used various weapons relating to yin and yang.
- Interestingly, in each story in most of the games and books, events are never from Reimu's perspective, but instead being from others.
- Reimu balances out Yukari's "girly-girl", while she balances out Marisa's "tomboy" theme.
- Reimu's ability of never getting fat after eating sweets is jokingly theorized by fans as the reason for her small in-game hitboxes.
- Reimu has been featured in Seihou Project, Magic Pengel, Graffiti Kingdom, Lord Of Vermilion and Nendoroid Generation.