As long as I’m talking about the Moon

BGM: Pure Furies ~ Whereabouts of the Heart

Here’s some more stuff about the Moon that didn’t fit in the last post.

First Lunar War

                                          Artist’s rendition of the First Lunar War (1969, colorized)

Remember how humans once landed on the moon, back in 1969? I know it’s been ages since NASA’s had enough funding to do it, but Apollo 11 landed and stuck a flag up there. And the Lunarians were hella pissed. Actually, they freaked the fuck out. It seems they treated it as an actual invasion, which was only encouraged by the humans planting a flag as if claiming territory.

This didn’t amount to much on Earth at the time, but apparently it was bad enough on the Moon to generate refugees which fled to Earth. I’m not sure who they were actually fighting, since the humans (that’s us) remained entirely unaware that there were people already living there (although, given our history, it wouldn’t have stopped us). Well, there weren’t all that many refugees (one), so it’s fine.

Second Lunar War

Later, in the events of Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, the Lunarians were poised to wipe out all life on Earth in order to build a summer home there. I’m not even kidding. Most of them weren’t aware of the plan, but that was essentially what they were going to do.

Made of 100% pure angry

This was prompted by an angry lady named Junko (June-ko, not junk-o) invading the Moon by flooding the near side with fairies, which are associated with life and thus impurity. Confusingly, Junko used her power (the ability to “purify” anything in the literal sense, e.g. purifying water; this is completely unrelated to kegare/“impurity”, they just use the same word when translated) to “purify” (literal) the fairies into “pure” (literal) life energy, thus making them even more “impure” (kegare).

Junko invaded the moon because she was mad at Chang’e (the other Person of Hourai I mentioned earlier; pronounced something like “chong-eh”) because her husband, Houyi, killed Junko’s son. She exacerbated this by using her power to “purify” (literal) her own grudge, until she was less a person and more the embodiment of her former self’s grudge. Junko was joined by her pal Hecatia, the goddess of Hell (the new one, not Former Hell) who wears silly t-shirts, who was mad at Chang’e because her husband shot down some extra suns. Seems like Chang’e is getting the flak for a lot of stuff her husband did.

By laying siege to the Lunar Capital, Junko hoped to force Chang’e to come out and fight her. Note that Chang’e was in prison and so was not actually able to come out and fight her. Poor planning on Junko’s part – but good execution. Understandable since, y’know, a purified grudge in the shell of a former person isn’t likely to worry about the details.

What can we take from these Lunar Wars?

Well, there are probably some lessons in there about shortsightedness, overreacting, and not turning yourself into a barely-living embodiment of your own anger, but there are some other things I briefly mentioned that I’d like to expand on instead.

How many suns is too many?

I mentioned that Chang’e’s husband, Houyi (“hoe-yee”), shot down some extra suns. This is from a myth in which some god got mad and stuck nine extra suns in the sky because they were so dang mad, or something like that, and Houyi shot down nine of the ten suns with a bow. The astute reader will notice that this doesn’t really make sense in a literal context, but hey, it’s mythology. Chinese mythology, actually, which explains why it doesn’t quite fit with the Japanese mythology the series usually draws from. In any case, maybe they just weren’t very good suns.

Anyway, it’s a good thing Houyi shot the extras down, because the thing about having ten suns is that it sucks.

                                                       Utsuho’s Blazing Star 「Ten Evil Stars」 also references this myth

You know how Tattooine from Star Wars has two suns and the whole planet’s a desert? What do you think would happen if there were five times as many suns? I’ll tell you one thing, we’d all die. Gensokyo would have to get a lot bigger, because you could forget all about this nice habitable planet we’ve got right now. Also our nice stable orbit, because who knows what’s going to crash into what when you suddenly introduce nine new Sun-sized bodies into the local gravity.

So the lesson here is… Global warming? Something about missile defense systems? I’ll go with that. Is there a missile defense system named after Houyi? There should be, it’s very appropriate. I know there was a moon mission named after Chang’e. Well, whatever.

Save our moon from our moon beaches

I mentioned earlier that there are moon beaches. There are, and it’s a pun on the moon’s “seas” – in the area of the Lunar Capital, they’re literal seas instead of just darker rocks. But there’s a reason there aren’t normally seas on the moon. Well, several reasons, most of them being things like lack of a thick enough atmosphere and water sublimating in the low pressure. But some of the reasons are that it would cause problems.

First, erosion. Most of the moon’s surface is dust. That’s gonna get eroded fast. It’s like building a city on an island made entirely of sand. Sure, there wouldn’t be as much weather to move the water around, but there would be tides – even bigger tides than on Earth, since the Earth would exert more gravity on the Moon’s seas than the Moon does on our seas.

Second, weather. They’ve got an atmosphere in the Lunar Capital, and seas plus atmosphere means weather. I doubt the Lunarians would have built their city with weather in mind – at least, if Eirin hadn’t built it for them. Eirin, being based on the god of knowledge Omoikane, probably thought of that. But they’d probably still complain about it. Lazy smug moon people.

But I guess they wanted seas, so they got seas. Besides, it’s convenient for invading Earth, since Watatsuki no Toyohime has the abilility to “link the seas and mountains”. (She and her sister, Watatsuki no Yorihime, appeared in a manga and are overpowered, so they’re rarely mentioned in later works.)

Save our moon beaches from our moon

Now that they’ve got the seas, might as well take care of them, right? The fact of the matter is, though, the seas couldn’t survive without the Lunar Capital’s barrier.

Humans are 60% water. Humans are not good at surviving in space. These two facts are related.

my_beach_in_a_moon_crater_by_arthurblue-d3eaw66The Great Hakurei Barrier doesn’t affect things like air and water, but clearly the barrier around the Lunar Capital must be different somehow. So there probably aren’t many people who actually know how it works and how to maintain it. One of those people is most likely Eirin, who helped(?) build the Lunar Capital in the first place. Depending on whether she did it alone or worked with the other Lunar Sages (“smart moon people”), it’s possible that her departure left the Lunarians with, in CS terms, a huge mess of code that nobody else knows how to maintain, except the code is a barrier and that barrier is all that’s between their moon city and space. Basically, shit’s fucked.

Well, the Lunar Capital’s barrier probably isn’t actually in danger of failing, since there are people there who can mess with fate. Sagume (sog-oo-meh) could just say “the Barrier’s fucked, huh?” and her ability would cause that situation to reverse itself through some turn of events. (Don’t worry about that right now, Sagume’s ability tends to confuse people.)

But enough about the moon people. Next I’ll talk about some people that invaded the moon.

First Genso-Lunar War + Who’s Yukari?

                                                         Yukari’s Arcanum 「Danmaku Barrier」

Around a thousand years ago, Yukari staged a war against the Lunarians.

Who’s Yukari? Well, remember back in the first post when I briefly mentioned someone else guarding the Barrier? That’s her. See the spellcard in the picture? That’s the last spellcard in her fight. It involves layered circles of bullets with no gaps that collapses inward onto the player. It’s only dodgeable by moving in a very specific and precise way, and that possibility only highlights the fact that she’s still essentially toying with her opponent. Her fight is the only Phantasm stage in the series – a second, harder Extra stage. (Note that I am able to clear some Extra stages after playing regularly for upwards of six years.) Basically, she’s strong.

Yukari’s ability is to freely manipulate boundaries. That sounds ambiguous and open-ended, and it is, and she can and does abuse the hell out of it. Boundary of here and there, boundary of human and youkai, boundary of life and death. Basically, she can do whatever she wants, and sometime in the past what she wanted was to create Gensokyo. So she did that.

In case you missed that: Yukari is the creator of Gensokyo. Among other things, this means she’s the resident expert on the Barrier and sometimes teaches Reimu stuff. It also means she generally makes sure things keep running from behind the scenes. I’ll probably talk about her more in another post later, because she’s a pretty important character.

Anyway, around a thousand years ago, Yukari staged a war against the Lunarians. It didn’t work, and it seems Yukari knew it wouldn’t work from the beginning. …This was around a thousand years ago, so we don’t actually know much more than that.

Second Genso-Lunar War

This is fine

More recently, there was some unrest on the moon, and Yukari, Eirin, and Remilia (remember Remilia? Vampire lady, I talked about her in the first post) all started plotting behind the scenes. Yuyuko (ghost lady with vast intelligence behind a carefree personality; friends with Yukari) was also plotting – or rather, following Yukari’s plan without even needing to be told what it was.

Yukari asked Remilia to help her infiltrate the moon and steal their technology. Remilia didn’t want to, and instead had her staff make a moon rocket so she could go infiltrate the moon first. Knowing nothing about rockets, they came to the conclusion that the important part was building the rocket in three stages. The result was three bamboo cylinders haphazardly assembled into a lopsided tower (pictured).

Since three lopsided bamboo cylinders do not a rocket make, they ended up turning to Reimu to make it go. Yukari had been training Reimu to channel the gods (with this in mind, though she didn’t tell Reimu why), and Reimu powered the rocket by channeling Sumiyoshi, the three-part god of voyages. The rocket was still, of course, horribly lopsided and not structurally sound, so some last-minute magic stuff was slapped on to keep it from falling apart before it left the ground, as well as to keep them from, y’know, dying in the vacuum of space.

They set off, and everything somehow worked. It was clear to all involved at this point that this was only working because they were being manipulated (by Yukari) – people knew about things they shouldn’t, etc – but Remilia kept going with it “out of boredom”. After several weeks, they somehow made it to the moon in the last, smallest stage, crash-landing in the Sea of Prosperity (which was an actual sea, if you recall).

Then Watatsuki no Yorihime showed up and beat them all up, one at a time.

Then Watatsuki no Toyohime showed up on Earth and threatened Yukari, who surrendered without bothering to fight, saying her plan “was doomed anyway once her decoy was defeated”.

ssib21_20Then Yuyuko went through a gap Yukari had opened to the moon. Both the party Yukari had arranged to reach the moon and Yukari herself had been distractions. As a ghost, Yuyuko has no impurity whatsoever, and the Lunarians were unable to perceive her, so she was able to go unnoticed in the Lunar Capital for a full month until she could be extracted (the next full moon).

While Yukari never actually gave Yuyuko any instructions, what she had in mind was a burglary – stealing some “valuable treasure”. So Yuyuko stole their booze. Specifically, a big jar of thousand-year-old moon sake. While it wasn’t exactly the “valuable treasure” Yukari had in mind, she decided it was an even bigger victory, since the Lunarians couldn’t take it back after they drank it.

By the way, I’ve simplified things here by not talking about their servants. Yukari was accompanied by her shikigami (kind of like a familiar) Ran (pron. ron), Yuyuko by her half-ghost (on her dad’s side) gardener (with a sword)(two swords) Youmu (pron. yo-moo), Eirin by her guinea pig Reisen, and Remilia by her feeble-bodied magician, Patchouli, and her time-stopping knife maid, Dio Brando Sakuya. In Silent Sinner in Blue (the manga detailing the Second Genso-Lunar War), while Remilia’s staff had the role of “the ones doing the actual work”, the other servants had the role of “very confused people who can’t keep up with all this plotting their masters are doing”. Makes sense, since their masters are some of the smartest people in Gensokyo and they aren’t, but from our perspective it lets them act as an outlet for things to be explained to, like Watson.

Next time on Occult Ball Z


Anyway, you’ve now been introduced to almost all of the “usual suspects”. I’ll touch on the last (the Urban Legends incident, a more recent development) in the next normal post. The very next post, though, will be a “very special episode” in which I attempt to justify how this blog was totally focused on sustainability all along.


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