In the Touhou Project universe, three characters often find themselves the center of attention. One is Reimu Hakurei, the Hakurei Shrine maiden who ends up being the star of many games. She enjoyed all the limelight in the original release of Touhou Genso Wanderer. But Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded understands that two other heroines can be just as important and makes a big deal of both Marisa Kirisame and Sanae Kochiya’s involvement. In so doing, their personalities and situations bring new perspectives and a bit of balance to the game.
First, let’s go over who these characters are, since they may be new to you. Reimu, the returning heroine, is the person who guards the Hakurei Border between the human world and Gensokyo. She often finds herself handling incidents. This means killing some of the yokai involved. She can be lackadaisical, but is strong. She can be fair, both helping yokai who are kind or hurting ones who deserve it, but can be shown to have a bit of a temper. She is temperate and the most controlled of the three. In this trio, I suppose you could consider her the most temperate of the three. It is only fitting that her storyline involves solving Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded’s main incident.
Marisa is the second most established heroine. She’s an incredibly strong magician with an equally strong personality. Her pursuits involve knowledge, power, and hoarding impressive items. She employs charm to get what she wants. She is also willing to lie when it suits her. But even though she might seem a bit brash, she does work for things she wants. Appropriately enough, her storyline involves getting into an “interesting” situation. Instead of being a purely good person, like Reimu, we get to see her be a bit opportunistic. Fairies want either her or Alice Margatoid, another magician who Marisa occasionally pesters, to be their new leader. Reimu’s story can be a bit serious, since Gensokyo’s peace is being disrupted and the new tower and cloned yokai could cause trouble for the human world, but Marisa’s is purely fanciful.
Sanae’s storyline falls somewhere in between the two. She is a shrine maiden at the Moriya Shrine and one of Gensokyo’s more recent residents. Her goal is to be an admirable shrine maiden who helps resolve incidents and keep the area safe. Since she is a descendent of the goddess Suwako Moriya, who acts as her partner in her storyline, she is undoubtedly powerful enough. But, as a newcomer, she’s also quite idealistic. You could consider her a little too eager to try and make things right. In some games, she is even trying to compete with Reimu to solve incidents, as a means of proving herself. In her storyline, we see her witnessing something suspicious when constant rain is getting her down and taking the opportunity to hopefully find and handle an incident herself. With this storyline, we get to see how another person in Reimu’s situation tackles being thrust into what could be a major altercation.
In terms of gameplay, these extra heroines do not do much to shake Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded up. Each one of them functions in a similar fashion. They equip weapons. They use spell cards. They fire off danmaku shots. Their personalities and looks at Gensokyo are what matter here. Each of these people is in a different position. We have an established shrine maiden who has a reputation for being strong and capable. There is a magician who is opportunistic, only gets involved when she feels a situation is deserving, and will do whatever it takes to ensure she comes out of any incident in a better place than she was when she went into it. Then, there is an idealistic young woman who is enthusiastic and gets carried away. The way in which people around the land react to them and they deal with things helps us understand more about a world that is not yet a common location outside Japan.
Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded’s new heroines help players establish themselves in the world. People might have a better idea of who they are and how the world reacts to humans. We have someone who is an established warrior seeking to good, who is known in Gensokyo. To balance that out, we have two new characters on other ends of the spectrum. One is a warrior like herself, but with less experience. She might be more likely to get carried away. The other is someone just as established, but with a more selfish mindset. These three perspectives give us more opportunities to learn about this world and its residents.