Quick disclaimer; this is the second part of a post analyzing Sagume Kishin; first part is right here.
Traditionally, Lunarian characters have been always been powerful and antagonistic. While we all know very well about the Wakatsuki sisters, the Lunarian’s concept of purity and impurity and how generally, the Moon has been superior, we should also remember that Eirin and Kaguya are reasonably powerful too even if they’ve become a part of Gensokyo. They’re both immortal due to the Houraijin elixir, Eirin’s always been portrayed as rather competent in fanon and as much as Kaguya is shown to rely on the Eientei faction, she is canonically quite powerful, what with also boasting a rather strong ability, and also actually stepping in to help Eirin in FinalA of Imperishable Night. And let’s not forget that Eirin and Kaguya are the source of the incident in that game too.
So with that in mind, Sagume’s implementation is very interesting. She’s still an antagonistic force within Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom; the protagonists would not have gotten into the game without their involvement in Gensokyo, and we still have to have a reasonably difficult fight with the character (moreso because of the Pointdevice system) before proceeding with the game. But there’s a very immediate difference; she, and the Lunarians, are not the source of the incident. Sure, the investigation started with their invasion, but the story didn’t start with them; it started with Junko purifying Clownpiece and Hecatia, Clownpiece and the Hell Fairies entering the Moon, and the Lunarian’s being forced to relocate to the Dream World.
There’s clearly a big difference here from the past, superior Lunar Capital, and the Lunarians that are being forced to relocate to the Dream World and potentially Gensokyo. It’s an “Enemy Mine” situation (to quote TV Tropes); “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” or whatnot. After we defeat her, we move on to Clownpiece and the real characters responsible for the current incident, but not before we’re pointed that way by Sagume. We’re also explicitly tested by Sagume (unlike Kaguya, Eirin or, more egregiously, the Wakatsuki’s), and that’s quite a change up. So Sagume is one of the first “friendly” Lunarians we encounter within the games (yes Eirin helps out in the village, but we still had to fight her in IN first).
We also have the backstory and powers of Sagume to consider. Sagume Kishin is still a Lunarian Goddess, but unlike the others, she’s defined slightly (even if she’s even more mysterious) as she’s a bit of an amanojaku, and a bit of a divine spirit, but not definitely an oni or goddess as her name seems to hint at.
Her power is devastating, but not in a way that paints her as obnoxious or overbearing as the Wakatsuki’s; she has the ability to reverse any events or situations that she talks about. While this is obviously still a very powerful ability, and one that possibly played a part in the resolution of this incident too, Sagume is much more pitiable as it’s not a free power. Sagume doesn’t get to talk normally or that often because of it. It’s quite a farcry to how the Lunarian’s have always been portrayed.
In that way, she’s a bit of an intermediary Lunarian character; we get to see a weak, vulnerable side to the Lunarians through her. And I think that she’s been quite well received for those reasons (also because she has a great theme and a great, old-school Touhou design to her, barring the absence of a ZUN hat). Ironically she’s also served an intermediary purpose to the other Lunarian characters, with fan art involving her and the Wakatsuki’s or Eirin starting to become common.
She’s the perfect representative for a weakened Lunar Capital within the plot. While ultimately I feel she could potentially be flavor of the month fodder in a few years time (not unlike Futo for the Ten Desires faction), I do think that ZUN did a good job with Sagume Kishin’s design and I do hope that she actually isn’t FotM because there’s a lot of potential with her character in fan works.
So that’s the first doubler on this blog. Originally, I was just gonna make a single part, but after realizing how big it was getting, I figured it would be smarter to split it into parts (I know understand why part splitting happens in other blogs, and I take back all I said about them in my mind). I might get around to putting pictures, maybe; I don’t like the idea of using other people’s art though. Maybe I’ll make my own art for these? Maybe not, that’s a bit more than just venting. We’ll have to see. So yeah, that’s that. Let’s see how this blog thing plays out.