Continuing on with our look at Touhou 15: Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom’s cast, the character to follow Seiran is another Moon Rabbit, Ringo.
Just like all of the bosses in the main game of LoLK, she also serves as the sub-boss for her stage. She seems fairly basic at first look; she’s another Moon Rabbit, she probably interacts with the two other Lunar Capital character in the game (she mentions Seiran by name), is shown to be familiar with Reisen and while she’s not the bottom of the Moon chain of Command (because of Seiran), she’s still technically second to the bottom in terms of named characters.
Unlike Seiran who seems like your bog standard Stage 1 boss (even if she is much stronger than a regular one), Ringo is quite different and has a bit more potential than your regular Stage 2 Boss. The issue, though, is that what makes her unique is not immediately clear and I hope to alleviate this with my post.
Before we do get started, we should however look at how the character has been used. I think that she may be even less popular than Seiran herself. While Seiran had that small, “bloodstained bunny” period, nothing has really stuck out with Ringo. Some have noticed her ability to grow more powerful by consuming dango, and mg~ mg~ was a bit of a thing before release.
But other than that, she’s gotten similar art to Seiran; she’s either in group shots for the fanart of LoLK’s cast, or she’s paired with Seiran, or she’s grouped with the other rabbits. I guess there’s also art of Ringo as fat or involved in the act of eating for obvious reasons. And I think she’s one of the cast of LoLK where fan artists have been a bit more creative with her outfit.
Whereas Seiran, Junko, Sagume and Doremy art tend to favor the canon outfits without much deviation in design, Ringo (alongside Clownpiece and Hecatia) has had a lot of different portrayals of her costume. While in Ringo’s case, it could probably be chalked up to artistic license or preference, the details on her outfit tends to differ between art. Whether it’s the length of the top around her neck, the length of her pants, the length of her sleeves, whether she has an exposed midriff etc. it’s definitely more prominent than say, Doremy and Seiran art where there’s not much variance when it comes to costume.
This is admittedly more prominent with Hecatia (who tends to get full redesigns) and Clownpiece (who gets the redesigns AND the differing costume details), but I would still put Ringo on the higher end of the scale of “different costume details”. Other than that, there’s not a lot to Ringo in terms of fan art, which is a bit disappointing. Now I think it’s time to let’s dissect Ringo’s profile and learn exactly how Ringo has a lot of potential.
Stage 2 Boss: The Orange Eagle Ravi
Species: Moon rabbit
Ability: Capable of becoming stronger by eating dango
Amongst the members of the “Eagle Ravi” Earth Recon Unit,
she bears the most leisurely job: information management.
She has a high-ranking post relative to the leisure.
Perhaps because she’s been gathering information, she’s taken an interest in moving to the Earth.
Her duty is only to investigate.
She’s permitted to fight, but it’s said there’s no need for her to actually win.
Being an information manager, she actually knew
that the Lunar Capital they thought they were currently residing in was actually in the Dream World.
However, she didn’t know why such a situation had occurred.
Perhaps if she found that out, she’d swiftly be dealt with.
She sent the humans who came her way into the passage that connected to the Dream World’s Lunar Capital.
In so doing, she indirectly investigated the matter.
I think what we should immediately notice is her authority; compared to Seiran, Reisen and Rei’sen, she is the first Moon Bunny in an authoritative role (“she has a high-ranking post relative to the leisure”, “information manager/management”). Now while it’s admittedly not too high in the overall hierarchy of the Lunar Capital (as she’s only in charge of other rabbits, and she’s only a high standing figure in an area of recon), it’s still a very new idea.
Seiran is an underling, Rei’sen is more of a plot tool in SSiB and Udonge likes to act more important than Tewi and the other Moon Rabbits (despite that being wrong). But Ringo has some actual, canon authority AND the idea of her holding back, even when she’s already pretty nuts for a Stage 2 boss, gives the impression she must be pretty strong (and that’s super interesting considering her Stage dialogue, but we’ll get to that later)
Continuing on, the other interesting idea has two aspects; one is that “she’s permitted to fight [but has] no need [..] to actually win”; and two that she knows about the Lunar Capital being transferred (though not the reason it has happened). Ringo showing awareness of the plots occuring around her is also fairly unique. Unfortunately, I can’t say much about Reisen and Rei’sen as I’m not in this regard, as I have yet to read CiLR (and also tend not to have a LOT of love for the Lunar/Eientei factions) but it’s quite a far cry from Seiran who just seems to be in the way of the heroine and is really just carrying out her role.
The only other points of note (without looking too deeply or analytically) is the fact that her role is leisurely, her power involves eating dango and that she’s interested in moving to Earth.
Now to look at this more analytically. I think the combination of sending the heroine into the Dream World passage and thus “indirectly investigating the matter”, as well as her awareness of the situation and her interest in moving to Earth means she has quite a bit of plot awareness. That she also fills the “they were only holding back” character type (the only character that comes to mind that fulfills both conditions is Yuyuko and to a lesser extent Yuugi) only make her more interesting, especially considering ZUN prefers to keep the first three or so stages unrelated to the plot.
Now to look at her stage dialogue
Against Reimu, Ringo actually recognizes Reimu, which is really interesting since Seiran and even Sagume don’t recognize her. Since she knows who she is, Ringo actually goes in expecting a challenging fight and even mentions that she doesn’t plan to hold back. It’s interesting that for a change, Reimu has run into a character fully knowing what they’re going to get into.
That said, the comment of Ringo not holding back and how this actually works in practice is a bit confusing; the profile explicitly states that she is holding back for the heroine (in order to do indirect investigation herself). And the other characters fights are identical to Reimu’s as well. While I won’t say that Ringo’s comment is done off handedly (especially considering that Reimu says “she could have held back a little” afterwards) I think that it probably shouldn’t be taken at face value.
We’ll go into this later but the dialogue between different heroines clearly seems to have different focuses; Reisen’s route is rather heroic; Sanae’s route is more comedic/circumstantial; Marisa’s route is more confused about the situation (and she feels like she’s been pushed along by the plans of the Lunarians); and Reimu basically plays the role of Reimu as always. They’re not always consistent and I think, given that both Ringo and Doremy actually are aware of Reimu, I think the intention for Reimu’s route is basically the same as it always is, but to subvert a few expectations by having a handful of bosses knowing how Reimu is. I think if anything, the connotation here is probably that Reimu and Ringo’s fight may have been for real in canon, and that it sets up Ringo at Reimu’s level (but not higher), and just that.
The last things I want to mention are that Ringo’s desire to move to the Earth pops up (“You’ve got all sorts of food, too. I wish I had been born on Earth…”) and that she mentions that the Moon Rabbits aren’t that dogmatic about the Lunar Capital’s intentions.
Against Marisa, Ringo’s lazier side shows (she intends to take a break after the battle) but a bit of that Lunar Capital superiority also seeps a little bit into her dialogue (“Earthlings, who are allowed to get hit, cannot possibly understand our hard workー”). Just like Sanae, she is surprised at Marisa’s strength. Unlike Reimu, it’s mentioned that she should “finish her job” and it’s a bit confusing whether this is referring to purification (which seems unlikely since she’s an info manager), or taking on Marisa (which also runs contradictory to what her profile states, though Ringo could also be keeping up appearances as well).
Against Sanae, things are a bit more cut and dry. Since the Moriya’s are not as experienced with the Lunar Capital and not really in the loop of what’s going on, it’s mostly exposition. Strangely enough, Eagle Ravi is brought up and formally introduced for the second time (since Seiran also mentions the name). Eagle Ravi is also not formally introduced in any of the other characters routes. Ringo does mention impurity, but in a matter of fact manner (unlike Seiran who uses a rather derogatory term, “filthy” human as opposed to impure human). Ringo also mentions her considerable strength, though Sanae strangely does not show any sign of fatigue afterwards. At the end, Ringo mentions she likes the Earth and intends to stay “there” (whether that means the lake, or in Gensokyo permanently, is not clear).
Against Reisen, Ringo shows a mix of disdain and sympathy. The disdain shows early on in the converstation (“So is it true that you betrayed us?” and “Fighting your fellow moon rabbits, honestly”) and she sympathizes when Reisen brings up work. The comment about rabbit work conditions is interesting given that she’s stated to have a leisurely position. The last notable thing is that, unlike simply guiding or herding the human heroines, Ringo is pretty explicit about the threat to the Lunar Capital and mentions “a single lunatic”. Whether this refers to Clownpiece or Junko isn’t too clear. It may be referring to Junko as Clownpiece is acting with other Hell Fairies.
Looking at the info so far, again there’s been a bit of problem with character consistency between character dialogues. I don’t want to make a rule that “traits that appear in more than one route is canon” and I think again, it’s important to remember the different focuses of each character’s route. The character portrait we’ve begun to create of Ringo is that she’s a surprisingly down to Earth character. While the Moon Rabbits have sort of been portrayed as incompetent in SSiB and through Seiran, she’s potential main character level material, maybe even stronger if she’s hopped up on more dango or if she wants to win. She also shows desires and a bit of weakness for comfort, and she’s also not superior acting to the heroines; she mentions impurity in a matter of fact manner.
She, like Sagume, is quite the contrasting character. Where Sagume shows the weaker side to the Lunarian Gods and Goddesses, Ringo is a middle management rabbit that’s not as stuck up or unlucky as her underlings. This is an extra thought but I wonder, considering Ringo’s role and the bad working conditions for other rabbits, would Reisen and Seiran have such smug attitudes towards others if they’d had better conditions? Because I do get a bit of a vibe that maybe the other Rabbits are just used to venting against others (and Ringo is chill because she’s basically allowed to be chill in her job). That’s just a thought.
I think in terms of portrayals, Ringo has a lot of potential. Characters at Reimu and Marisa’s level (which is around Stage 4 to 5) aren’t quite like Ringo; she’s an underling (Sakuya, Youmu, Reisen, Futo) with considerable power (Shou) that acts of her own accord (Orin, Seija) and to top it all off, she’s hardly shown her full power (Yuugi) and does all of this as a Stage 2 boss only. The fact that she wants to move to Earth makes it very easy to write her in with meeting other characters. What I want to see the most though is Ringo playing off other intelligent or tricky characters like, most notably, a work involving her and Tewi could be really interesting in my honest opinoin.
Before ending this off, here’s a small summary I’ve come up with about Ringo.
Ringo is a Moon Rabbit that has it a lot better than others of her kind, though, as shown by her knowledge of the situation and her having the comfort of holding back against the heroines, it’s fully deserved. While she is allowed many comforts and she does seem to able to separate work from play (which can be tough when your ability comes from a leisurely activity like eating Dango), she has been thinking of something more (and it doesn’t help that she’s stuck in what is effectively a middle management role in the Lunar Capital’s hierarchy). Her yearning could be for a number of reasons; maybe she’s tired of seeing the poor conditions for Moon Rabbits; she might have realized that her career has already hit a ceiling in the context of the Moon; maybe she wants to remove the business from “mixing business with pleasure”; or maybe it’s even something more.
Regardless of the specifics Ringo seems interested in moving to the Earth. Given the attitudes of the Lunar Capital towards traitors in the past, this may seem like a poor idea, but for a Rabbit as competent and clever as Ringo it could be possible. Regardless of whether we could see her next casually intermingling in the settings of Gensokyo and the Lunar Capital (it could be possible, given Gensokyo’s role in the situation), or whether she will end up as yet another defector from the Lunar Capital (possibly more likely), she’s an interesting addition with quite a lot of potential both in the Lunar Capital and out of it.
One thing I forgot to do last time was Spellcards for Seiran, which is a bit embarassing. I guess it’s not so bad since Seiran is only a Stage 1 boss. Stage 1 and 2 bosses also rarely get insightful spellcards. And to top it off, I don’t think that Seiran and Ringo’s spellcards tell us anymore than what we already know about it so they’re not added above. Nevertheless, here are my thoughts on their spellcards.
I think that unsurprisingly, her danmaku is far above any other Stage 1 boss in terms of bullet count. That said, there’s still not a lot to gleam; her ability to pull bullets from other dimensions is probably represented here (given that she uses bullet danmaku). She also has quite a few patterns where she homes in on the player directly. That’s about it. At the end of the day, she is still the Stage 1 boss of the game and aside from the bullet theme, I don’t think there’s a lot more to add to her character.
I think her spellcards are slightly more interesting than Seiran’s, but not that much more. The most interesting theme here is that aside from employing only round bullet types (fitting given her dango ability), she also goes monochrome for most of her spellcards, favoring only red or blue spellcards at a time. It’s only the very last spellcard that we get a change, and what a change it is; her danmaku is so very dense and slow here, but it’s also extremely colorful. I think it’s a good visual representation of Ringo showing only a glimpse of her power in the fight.
As for her music, I don’t have a lot to say. Not compared to characters like Junko, Clownpiece’s or Hecatia’s themes anyway, so I’ll keep this reasonably brief. In my opinion, I get a very “militaristic” beat from her stage theme, particularly in the intro, which is fitting considering the role of the Moon Rabbits in the current plot. As for her boss theme, September Pumpkin, I don’t have a lot to say about this theme. While it’s a pleasant theme to listen to, I also don’t really feel it. I think of it as a “Lunatic” theme with frenetic pacing, but I don’t really connect it to Ringo, her personality or her fight at all (the latter is unsurprising given that she’s holding back).
So that’s that. Apologies if things are a little disjointed. Unlike the first few entries, a bit of planning was required (and planning is like the antithesis of anything cathartic). I may be able to iron out any issues by the next post. I might also re-edit this if there are any grievous mistakes (or might just add more pictures to cut up the blocks of text). Next time I’ll be covering the Ruler of Dreams, Doremy Sweet.