Sunday, October 24, 2010

On Touhou: a brief history of a fan's procrastination

If you wanna know, I’m a terrible procrastinator and delayer. In addition to that, I’m rather slow at picking up the latest fad/craze/trend/jumping into the bandwagon. And nothing better illustrate it than observing the sequence of events that lead to my current obsession with Touhou.

Don't say lazy – lest you end up as a shut-in like her

So yeah, this post is actually more Touhou oriented than being a post on how I complain on how sucky I am at putting my mind into something (that would require a seperate topic, and it's better to do something about it than talking about it). Yeah, yeah, consider this a brief trip through my memory lane, etc etc. This will be picture heavy, by the way. Watch as I blabber on yahooooo

In case you're wondering, yeah, I’m writing this as I am procrastinating from assignments and tests, hehe.

Oh, and by the way: yuri ahead (not NSFW tho, but still).

Other than that, enjoy.

…I mean, uh, once upon a time:

My first encounter to Touhou was from this one picture I got from my roommate (along with some other generic anime fanarts). At that time, I have yet to come across to the name Touhou itself (this was back in 2007), and I would certainly have to wait for a while before having another close encounter with Touhou.

2008: this was the year where I’ve become more and more of a japanophile (I might write about it sometime). During said period, like any good sucker-for-anime, I hung out at imageboard solely focused on fanarts and related anime arts (Anime Advanced, which is still around I think), and this was where I once again encountered Touhou. But alas, my knowledge of Touhou was practically nil as before, so there wasn’t any progress.

2009 came, and I had the first slight knowledge of Touhou early in the year, although it was pretty much vague, and very indirect:

I remember reading the comments on this picture, remarking how these two should have gotten along, instead of trying to kill each other every time (they’re immortals, see). That got me thinking, hey, that would've make a good angsty love story – of course, I was imagining they were from some sort of anime or manga - so yet another false start.

Several months would pass afterwards, with my collection of Touhou fanarts steadily increasing:

Then, sometime around May to September, something extraordinary happened:

After browsing through several artists of deviantArt, I finally came to hear the name Touhou being mentioned for the first time.

I think I recalled someone mentioning that it is a game series, but I never gotten around to clarify that:

(but then again, Final Fantasy is a game series, and the fanarts could give the same impression as well…)

While I was hanging around with this one cool guy (then a ‘she’ – long story), he (or should that be she??) got down to business and explained to me what Touhou is. I was (mildly) surprised to find out that it is actually a game – and a shoot-em-up game at that. (S)he thoughtfully showed me the screenshot of said game, but it didn’t really attract any great attraction from me (I’m not really into those games; that, plus the fact that said person also commented on how (s)he doesn’t play the games either).

Then, after a while, as if to remind me that Touhou is indeed a game series, I found this meme filled by another dA gal (authentic one – the person, I mean), which highlighted to me once again that all those Touhou girls are from a series of game. But of course, since my further knowledge of the series is pretty much zero, I have no idea what the guy (OK… gal) was talking about.

At this point, I have this impression that Touhou is almost always associated with yuri, hehe

Not long afterwards, I inquired a person that I’ve been following on dA about Touhou (I noticed how she had some Touhou fanarts amidst other fanworks), and never got an answer for a long time (I asked the question way back in November last year, but only gotten a reply early of 2010)

That one drawing

But, here’s something surprising – in between those period, and extending a little further after that, I did no further digging into Touhou, and satisfied myself with just knowing that it is a series of game. I know it wouldn’t hurt to try one or two of the games… but to be honest, I can’t be bothered to do so. Partly it was because I was also preoccupied with assignments and tests at that time– but that’s just a lame excuse. The real reason is that I'm not that interested. That's all.

But that was about to change soon… but, just before we go into that, have a look at some of the Touhou fanarts that I managed to accumulate during that time (without realizing that they are from the series, of course):

Early of May (that time of the year again), after searching for some Final Fantasy cover (specifically, I was looking for FF6’s The Decisive Battle cover), I came across a doujin artist by the name of Crow’sclaw (or Crow’s Claw, depending on which spelling you prefer), who did a few cover of FF songs, along with some covers from – surprise surprise – the Touhou series. After going through their FF covers and original albums, I wondered if they’re any good at the Touhou covers.

Hips don’t lie

A few listening to the Touhou cover albums, I fell in love with the songs. And it was not because of the way they arranged the songs (I never listened to any Touhou songs prior, see) but because the covers are of rock and heavy metal genre (!). I wouldn’t have thought that shoot-em-up music could be arranged into heavy metal – my exposure to the nature of covers and arrangements is still small at that time – and yet, here, it did.

Having listen to the covers, and curious of the original songs from which the album covered, I searched on all the other aspect of Touhou that I missed (in other words, pretty much everything). And while I was browsing for information, I eventually came across this illustration from a certain blog full of Touhou awesomeness:

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Looking back, it’s kind of amazing how lazy I was, not bothering to check something that is so engrossing that I’m practically converted into it(or should that be infected instead?). And it took me about 3 years to reach here – quite a long time before actually properly understanding something, don’t you think?

But of course, I’m mentioning about getting into a certain fandom, and not of other pressing things such as, say, work. Can you imagine the effect if I applied similar approach to other subjects?

Getting back to Touhou, I’m hoping to meet more Touhou fans in the near future (especially those from around here – it’s somewhat thrilling to find out that the fans have been steadily increasing... even if we’re still at a modest number). And I hope they don't take as much time as I did before they know what they should know about Touhou.

It is the age of information after all - Google is your friend. Either you do want to find a certain information, or you don't.

Hail to ZUN, the awesome beer-drinking lolicon obsessed danmaku-making genius

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