The Let's Play Archive

Fantasy Maiden Wars E

by BlitzBlast

Part 99: Forest of Magic, Magician, Mini-Hakkero, Master Spark

Time for a bit more of the FMW glossary, in commemoration of Marisa's chapter 4.

In fact, let's use this opportunity to learn more about Marisa. First up, she lives in the Forest of Magic.

Forest of Magic posted:

A primevil forest found in Gensokyo. Whenever someone in Gensokyo mentions a "forest", this is probably what they are referring to.
Characters heavily connected to the Forest of Magic are Marisa, Alice, Rinnosuke and the three light fairies. Marisa, Alice and the three fairies live in the forest itself (although the three fairies moved out later), while Rinnosuke's Kourindou stands at the entrance to the Forest of Magic.
Geographically, the forest is relatively close to the human village. However, the inside of the forest is not the best of places. "Perfect Memento in Strict Sense" states that "the forest's environment is extremely hazardous to humans, the spores of monstrous mushrooms dance about in midair, and for regular humans, even breathing the air would cause a breakdown in their physical condition".
While its name might make it sound like an early dungeon in an RPG, it is actually one of the most dangerous places in Gensokyo. The manual for IN calls it "the forest where evil spirits naturally gather".
One of the illustrations in PMiSS shows Akyu writing amidst what looks like dancing mushroom spores. You have to worry for her health.
Additionally, the above-mentioned monstrous mushrooms apparently consist of several mushrooms that makes one see hallucinations. For whatever reason, those hallucinatory mushrooms enhance magic power, so it seems that would be why several magicians stay here

So, in spite of Marisa being a human, she manages to live comfortably with a bunch of Magicians one of the most dangerous places in Gensokyo for the sake of being a magician. Why did I only capitalise "magician" once? Well...

Magician posted:

In Touhou Project, the word "magician" has two different meanings. The first refers to the word as a profession, with Marisa being the main example. The second refers to the word as a species, with examples such as Alice and Patchouli. The existence of both a magican profession and magician species can make things a little confusing.
For the magician species, their bodies run on magic and they do not need to sleep or eat, so they have been acknowledged as a type of youkai.
However, even though they are youkai, their physical attributes are no better than a human's, and there apparantly are magicians with asthma, as patchouli can attest to.
The following lines will be referring to the magician species. If it is not specified, it can be assumed that any uses of the word "Magician" refers to the species.
There are two futher classes of magicians. There are humans whose pursuit of knowledge turns them into magicians, and those who are magicians from birth.
In the case of humans who become magicians, they first learn "Shashoku" magic, which allows them to forgo food and subsist on magic alone, fulfilling the strict definition of a magician. However, in this state, they still possess the lifespan of a huma. Once they learn "Shachuu" magic that stops their growth and lengthens their lifespan, they then become complete magicians.
On the other hand, magicians from birth are able to live on magic the moment their lives begin. However, they still need to learn Shachuu magic, so some training is still necessary in the end.
It appears that learning Shachuu magic takes a considerable amount of time whether the subject is a human who has trained, or a magician from birth. As a result, magicians from the outside world are mostly the aged. In Gensokyo, thanks to the advances made in magic research, there are many magicians who appear to be quite young.
In order to be one of those young magicians, you would have to be blessed with magical ability like Patchoili who learned it before coming to Gensokyo, or be brought up in an environment conducive to magic for some reason, or use magic that restores one's youth like Byakuren.
Although in Byakuren's case, if such magic to restore one's youth really did exist, one would think all the elderly magicians from the outside world wouldn't be elderly at all. It is possible to think of many explanations, but it seems likely that it is just one of Byakuren's special characteristics.
The following is just the author's superfluous rambling, but the "chuu" in Shachuu means "worm", so it could well be a reference to the "sanshi" or the "three worms".
The "three worms" are worms that inhabit the human gut upon the human's birth. They watch as the human goes about his or her daily life, and report any wrongdoinds to the Yama (the exact person differs depending; in Taoism, it is God instead). The human's lifespan will then be shortened as a result.
There have been many ways handed down through generations to prevent the three worms from delivering their report, and thus extending one's lifespan. One such method is to not sleep during the eve of the 57th day of the sexagenerian cycle, to prevent the worms from leaving the body.
Of course, the best way to make one's lifespan long would be to expel those worms from the body somehow, but doing that or obstructing their reports may end up having negative effects on one's lifespan
(Bit of a sidenote here, but a common fan theory is that Alice became a Magician during the events of Mystic Square).

Next up, in order to use her powers to the fullest Marisa uses a focus, the mini hakkero. This device allows her to use her most devestating magical attacks.

Mini-Hakkero posted:

A magic boiler that Marisa carries around. It is her personal treasure that consumes her magical power to emit flames.
The heating power of the mini-hakkero has a very wide range. According to PMiSS, it can be used "both for gentle heat to simmer overnight and for high heat to make a bushfire".
Marisa uses it extensively for cooking and magic experiments, but its most well-known use is for the spellcard "Master Spark".
It was created by Rinnosuke, who was apparantly quite proud of it.
In CoLA, the line where he says that he made the mini-hakkero after Marisa left home is well-known, but another line reveals more. "Maybe I'll take out that boiler that heats through magic that I used before...Wait, I gave that to Marisa" In other words, Rinnosuke had apparantly used the boiler before.
By putting that information together, it can be though that the mini-hakkero was originally a boiler used by Rinnosuke, but after Marisa left her homw, Rinnosuke remodeled it into its current form and gave it to Marisa as a gift.
With its ability to melt all sorts of things, and several functionalities on top of it, its augmentability is truly pre-eminent.
With its necessity for Marisa's creed in laser form, the Master Spark, the mini-hakkero has become an item that symbolised Marisa.
In FMW, it is undergoing adjustments as the story gets underway. You could call it bad luck, or you could call it entirely expects...
Although CoLA has a scene where the mini-hakkero is remodelled with scarlet-gold, a metal that never rusts, the adjustments the mini-hakkero undergoes in this game is different.

In chapter 4, the mini-hakkero is returned to Marisa, and then she is finally able to use her signiture attack, the Master Spark.

Master Spark posted:

Its full name is Love Sign: Master Spark.
Magic that shoots down the opponent with an extremely large and powerful beam of light fired from a mini-hakkero. The magic is an embodiment of Marisa's creed: "Danmaku is power".
In various Touhou Project works, it is used as a bomb for Love Sign Marisa. With those works, it is usually the bomb with the highest power and the largest area of effect. There are many variations and different ways to use it. Along with the "___ Spark" series, spellcards like Star Sign: Dragon Meteor and Comet: Blazing Star" do not follow the "___ Spark" naming convention, but are still attacks that use Master Spark in some fashion.
It is called the most destructive special technique among humans, and its immense power makes the title deserved. In the manga SSiB, Marisa's firepower was half-jokingly put forth as a solution to aid the rocket engine in case the engine ran into trouble.
In the PC-98 series, specifically LLS, Yuuka had a wide laser attack that looked very similar to Master Spark. Thus, it became a joke that Marisa had stolen Yuuka's attack (Yuuka's laser is sometimes called "Original Master Spark" as a result.)
Even then, assuming that Master Spark was made by referencing Yuuka's attack, Marisa was the one who gave it its name, which is very important in the spellcard rules: an unwavering situation that place the ownership of the spell firmly with Marisa.
FMW follows the aforementioned idea of Marisa referencing Yuuka's attack in order to come up with the new magic.
And the start of the story, the mini-hakkero could not be used as it was being repaired, so Marisa used a prototype version instead. When it is eventually received, Master Spark becomes the most powerful attack available, and delivers a crushing blow to both your enemies and your MP