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PC-98 Isn't Canon? by FullHitPoints PC-98 Isn't Canon? by FullHitPoints
This is a statement that crops up regularly when discussions about PC-98 games crop up in online forums about Touhou games: the PC-98 games aren't canon. As someone who plays and enjoys the PC-98 games on a regular basis, not only does this statement feel extremely exclusionary, but if you know where to look, it's also completely wrong.

Prop credits

Hands by Ceej39
Crossed Arms by Tsukune429
Table by Reimu-and-Cirno
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:iconstiffy76:
Stiffy76 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2017
i just roll with the story 
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:iconexfodes:
exfodes Featured By Owner May 30, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Is it correct to portray pc98 Reimu with purple hair? Her hair color technically violates windows canon.
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:iconfullhitpoints:
FullHitPoints Featured By Owner May 31, 2016
The way I see it, her purple hair is meant to depict black hair in a limited color scheme. Her hair isn't actually purple, it just looks that way because it'd be hard to detail if it were black using only 16 colors.

This isn't just speculation. Artwork exists in the PC-98 games that depict Reimu as a brunette.
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:iconpopfan95b:
popfan95b Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Kinda late to the party here, but I'm pretty sure Reimu's hair in the PC-98 era has always been intended to be purple. All it takes is a look at every single game's box art. I strongly assume that ZUN drew all of these traditionally, meaning there wasn't much in terms of color count limitations, though you could argue that he purposely designed her this way to make her use as few colors as possible.

As for your example from Mystic Square's results screen, isn't that basically just a drained color palette? Calling Reimu a brunette from that one image would be like looking at a sepia picture of a group of people with diverse hair colors and claiming they were all brunettes. On top of that, that depiction of Reimu was taken directly from the title screen, where her hair is very much purple.

Whether ZUN opted for purple to depict black or not is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose, but that would be forgetting about Konngara, who has been depicted with actually black hair. On top of that, it's shown in ZUN's art from the Windows era onwards that he's anything but shy about using pitch black as a hair color, so personally, I think he always intended for Reimu to have purple hair when he first designed her.
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:iconfullhitpoints:
FullHitPoints Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2016
Okay, HRtP and SoEW's cover art clearly depicts Reimu with black hair with purple highlights. As for PoDD and LLS, it looks like ZUN got lazy and just used the same marker for Reimu's entire body (Notice that Marisa uses the same color as Reimu.). Whether or not making Reimu monochrome was a stylistic choice, or if he was trying to depict her like in the game, I cannot say.

As for Mystic Square's results screen, it could very well be a palette issue. The results screen doesn't use as many colors as the title screen, so he was free to be more liberal with Reimu's color scheme. Plus, she looks very-much like how she does in the Windows era. It's probably coincidence, but I'd like to believe otherwise.

On top of that, it's shown in ZUN's art from the Windows era onwards that he's anything but shy about using pitch black as a hair color
That really doesn't say anything about the PC98 games, does it? The Windows platforms have a much-higher color depth than the PC98 did, so it made much more sense to depict a small character sprite with a more-vibrant color. Konngara, on the other hand, is a much larger sprite, so he can afford to add details like highlights in his/her hair. Plus, Konngara's hair is up against a blue background, so black actually stands out in this case.

Of course, the only way we'll know the true answer is to ask the man himself. That would mean planning a trip to some kind of event in which he appears at, hopefully with an English interpreter.
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:iconpopfan95b:
popfan95b Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Okay, HRtP and SoEW's cover art clearly depicts Reimu with black hair with purple highlights.
That is very much a point of contention. To me, Reimu's hair looks much more purple than black, though it should be pointed out that HRtP's and SoEW's cover arts have much stronger colors than the other three games.

(Notice that Marisa uses the same color as Reimu.)
Marisa in LLS (in-game, I mean) has a very vibrant purple as her dominating color. It didn't actually get darker until MS. Granted, it's still darker than on the cover art, but maybe ZUN just didn't have that particular shade on hand.

As for Mystic Square's results screen, it could very well be a palette issue. The results screen doesn't use as many colors as the title screen, so he was free to be more liberal with Reimu's color scheme. Plus, she looks very-much like how she does in the Windows era. It's probably coincidence, but I'd like to believe otherwise.
Yeah, no, that shit ain't gonna fly. You make it sound like ZUN designed the title screen background first and then put Reimu in like she was an afterthought. Also, the notion that palette constraints forced him to draw Reimu with purple hair in every single instance except for Mystic Square's results screen... Jesus Christ, are you even listening to yourself? ZUN is a smart person. He would have been able to depict Reimu with black or brown hair if he had wanted.

That really doesn't say anything about the PC98 games, does it? The Windows platforms have a much-higher color depth than the PC98 did, so it made much more sense to depict a small character sprite with a more-vibrant color. Konngara, on the other hand, is a much larger sprite, so he can afford to add details like highlights in his/her hair. Plus, Konngara's hair is up against a blue background, so black actually stands out in this case.
You say that like sprites are the only thing that matter, entirely disregarding dialogue portraits. Besides, 4096 colors is nothing to sneeze at, especially when it gives you 16 shades of gray, black and white included. I'd say that would have been more than enough to depict a black-haired character, and ZUN could have made everything else fit around that no problem, I'm sure. Looking at Reimu's sprite, the colors that pop up the most are red, green and black. You've got a couple pixels of purple there, but it's really insignificant when compared to the red of her ribbon and skirt, which draws the most attention and directs you to the rough whereabouts of her hitbox.
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:iconpopfan95b:
popfan95b Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If it's "Aw, man, I don't wanna learn about that many characters", well, I kinda dig that (I'm as astonished as anyone as to how massive this world has gotten), but here's the thing: You don't have to.  If you rather not deal with slightly out of place war machines or Shinki mastering parthenogenesis, don't.
If that's a thing people actually say, then they're kinda dumb, to be honest. Counting only the games, there have been 119 characters introduced so far (and no, I'm not counting background characters from the fighting games or inanimate objects like the tanks and magic stones from SoEW, nor am I counting unnamed midbosses, so this is only a very rough estimate of the true size of the cast). Out of those, 32 have been introduced in the PC-98 era, so if we're not counting Reimu and Marisa, the Windows era alone introduced nearly three times as many characters as the PC-98 era did.

And people are complaining about having to learn about all the characters? Welcome to Gensokyo, bitch!
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:iconthermyon-vulcronus:
Thermyon-Vulcronus Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016
Quite a shame, actually. Even if they are canon, no one cares about them anyway.
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:iconzerozexion:
ZeroZexion Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2016
I haven't played the pc-98 games, but I consider them canon...
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:iconjester-147:
jester-147 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
It's just that all PC-98 characters are all left out with the exception of Yuuka and Alice.

Even then, I see that some Windows characters had some ties to characters of PC-98 as well.
PC-98 may be canon, but I could say Windows might as well be a retcon.
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:icongirkirby:
Girkirby Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Now we wait for the reason why Reimu's hair was purple in the pc-98 days. Seriously why was it purple? Was Reimu going through some kind of phase?
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:iconstubbornvirus:
StubbornVirus Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2016
When I was young, my hair was blonde. Now it's brown. I just figured it's the same thing, except with other colors.
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:iconfullhitpoints:
FullHitPoints Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2016
My guess is that it's a limited-palette issue. The PC-98 could only display up to 16 colors, so it's possible we were supposed to imagine that her hair was black, even though it was purple.

It's worth noting that the artwork for Reimu on the post-game analysis screen for Mystic Square looks as though she has brown hair, making her look almost exactly like she did from Embodiment of Scarlet Devil.
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:iconilluminatitriforce:
illuminatitriforce Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016
thank you!
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:iconfrank22222:
Frank22222 Featured By Owner Edited Feb 24, 2016
My one reason for not liking the PC-98 era and not wanting it to be canon.

Rika... or put differently... DAT TANK!!!

I hate it. I despise any idea of technologic progression in gensokyo. And for those who are pointing out the kappas; Those are just engineers. Just mechanics. No electronics. No sci-fi! NO SCI-FI IN AND TECH IN TOUHOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EDIT: AAAAAEEAEEAEARRRGGGHHH!!!!!! *seizure*
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:icongirkirby:
Girkirby Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't think you even understand what exactly a tank is. It's as mechanical as anything else the kappas build.
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:iconfrank22222:
Frank22222 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016
Tanks, these days, have computers and electronic devices. But even if we assume the kappas are just buildings first gen. tanks, it still means they are advancing technologically and will, eventually, manage to build new gen. tanks that DOES include electronic and stuff.
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:iconpopfan95b:
popfan95b Featured By Owner Edited Feb 25, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
One thing you seem to be forgetting is that Kanako was trying to bring technological advances to Gensokyo by having Utsuho eat the Yatagarasu and create an energy source through nuclear fusion. Granted, that didn't really work out too well since Utusho kinda went mad with power (edit: Looks like there's actually a nuclear reactor underground by the time the events of Hisoutensoku happen), but even so, technology has a way of getting through the border, as with the Game Boy that FullHitPoints mentioned, but also TVs and cell phones, which Yukari et al. use to monitor and communicate with Reimu while she's underground.
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:iconfrank22222:
Frank22222 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2016
All right, *ahem*:

1. Kanako is a bitch

2. Yatagarasu? Energy source? I don't see what a God and mystic energy as anything to do with sci-fi. Just because it's called Nuclear fusion doesn't mean it's science. That phenomenon was always a reality. Albert Einstein didn't invented it, he found out how it works, that's all.

3. Many objects gets through the border when they are forgotten long enough, including tech devices. This doesn't mean the gensokyo folks knows how to use it. There's no way any one could turn on the TV as there is no electric circuit. The cell phone can't work as there is no signal. The Game Boy might work if there is still battery on it, but well... Rinnosuke doesn't want to try as he feared it might cause the end of the world, lol. Anyways, I think those items are there to act as cameos to real life, more then to build up a major change in gensokyo's life style.

4. en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Subterr…

I fail to see how this proves anything. All I see is a drunk Suika who's been randomly given a tv and a cell phone by Yukari... She doesn't even know what it is, nor how it works.

The communication? It is clearly stated, right in this very same page, that Yukari used Ying-yang orbs to talk to Reimu. Not cell phones, Ying-Yang orbs. So please, take my advise, double-check your sources »before« arguing someone.(-_-);
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:iconfullhitpoints:
You do realize that technology from the outside world leaks into Gensokyo all the time, right? For instance, Rinnosuke has a Game Boy.

There are, in fact, a few items kept deep inside the store that I’m not interested in selling. Some items are not for sale because I am personally interested in them. It’s true that some of these are bothersome things that would only take up space in the shop. However, I consider all of them to have value, but more so than my common wares. It just so happens that no one willing to pay a price corresponding to their worth has appeared. But among them there is an item that’s lately been bothering me terribly. And it’s worse than usual, because I can’t really ask anyone’s advice regarding this item. It’s a grey box, small enough to be held in the hands, made of... plastic, I believe it was called? As I was saying, it’s a box made from a material neither metal nor stone. Items made of this material have been extremely numerous lately. On top of that, this one has several differently-shaped buttons and switches on it. However, even if I push them, nothing happens. Insofar there’s nothing particularly ominous about it. However, this item’s “utility” is very unsettling. Yes, my ability permits me to “determine an item’s utility”. That’s why I am the only one that gets this uneasy feeling. And it’s this feeling that prevents me from selling this item.
It had black, cheap-looking buttons, and some small openings on its back and sides. But its most characteristic feature was the small window just above some buttons, that would neither open nor shut. If you stared for too long at that window, you would almost feel like you could get sucked into it. It was made of a strange artificial material.
Secondly, just because Rika has a tank, doesn't exactly mean it's powered by electronics. Its functionality could be purely mechanical, much like trains in the 1800's. It's actually more realistic than Nitori having a helicopter back-pack that fires rockets.
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:iconfrank22222:
Frank22222 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2016
Rino has techs, but he doesn't know how to use them, so it's ok. Also, Rika's tank needs fuel. I've never heard before that there's petrol collect in gensokyo, so does that mean her tank is powered by magic? If so, I'm buying that too.

The thing is this: I don't want Touhou, as a hole, to become a weird Magical/Science-fiction crossover like Final Fantasy. Touhou needs to keep it's ancient Japanese life style and, to me, bring it technology will just ruin just what makes it great.
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:iconfullhitpoints:
FullHitPoints Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2016
I do not know what powers Rika's tank, but it could also be something like coal or steam, which powered a lot of machinery back in the day. At any rate, the fact that Rika has a tank doesn't mean that PC-98 isn't/shouldn't be canon.

But let's play Devil's Advocate for a moment and assume that PC-98 isn't canon, simply because of Rika's tank. How exactly does that disprove the points that were made in this comic? How is Yuuka able to recall a conversation she had with Marisa years ago if said conversation never happened? Where did Alice's grimoire come from? Who was the "evil spirit" that took over Reimu's shrine? If PC-98 isn't the answer, then what is?
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:iconfrank22222:
Frank22222 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2016
TBH, I wasn't going fully serious with this comment and I'm not saying that just because I don't like Rika's tank means we should wipe out the entire PC-98 area.

To me, the PC-98 area is not fully canon, but almost. This is my very personal point of view, but here's what I think: The events that occurred chronologically before the Vampire Incident are not exactly, but very close to, what happened in the PC-98 canon. This way, we can perfectly use th01~05 as references to the windows games.

However, there are some details that really bugs me from believing that the old school games are totally canon to the rest of the series. Rika's tank aside (that one was just an eruption of my feelings), I have some trouble with Yumemi. We're talking here about a character that supposedly came from the outside world... in a... space hypervessel... and uses some device that somehow collects data about magic.

Wait, wait, wait... I though the outside world was suppose to be OUR world, with OUR tech level. Unless th03 happens far in the future, I fail to see how such scenario fits in today's Touhou to begin with. But since Reimu haven't yet invented the spellcard rule in this game, then~... it doesn't fit. Like I said, I don't mind saying that modern Touhou have major links with past Touhou, FullHitPoints showed-up pretty good examples, but to say it's totally canon? Mmm... I'm not pretty sure.

Or, maybe you have an explanation for Yumemi. I'd be very glad of it, actually. ^-^;
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:iconfullhitpoints:
FullHitPoints Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2016
To me, the PC-98 area is not fully canon, but almost. This is my very personal point of view, but here's what I think: The events that occurred chronologically before the Vampire Incident are not exactly, but very close to, what happened in the PC-98 canon. This way, we can perfectly use th01~05 as references to the windows games.
This sounds extremely similar to DeityDiz93's argument that the PC-98 canon has been "retooled" to fit within Modern standards of story-telling.

As for Yumemi and the rest of Phantasmagoria of Dimensional Dream, it has been speculated that the Probability Space Hypervessel is actually a time machine. There are a few hints lying around the dialogue that would confirm this theory, so it's not totally out of the question.
Like I said, I don't mind saying that modern Touhou have major links with past Touhou, FullHitPoints showed-up pretty good examples, but to say it's totally canon? Mmm... I'm not pretty sure.
Why exactly are you referring to me in the third person? ^^;
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(1 Reply)
:iconpopfan95b:
popfan95b Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
One thing you forgot to bring up was that Alice still remembered Reimu when they met in PCB.

Alice: "Long time no see."
Reimu: "We've only just met."
Alice: "No, that's not what I meant."
Reimu: "Am I supposed to remember?"
...
Alice: "And we've only just met after so long, old friend. Have you only brought me your life as a gift?"
Reimu: "And why am I being called "old friend" by this seven-colored magical moron?"
Source

But you bring up plenty of evidence as-is, anyway.
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:iconfullhitpoints:
FullHitPoints Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016
True, but if we use the non-canon theory for a moment, then it could simply mean that Alice had met Reimu under completely different circumstances. I would argue that Alice saying "Have you only brought me your life as a gift" ties into her PC-98 title of "The Witch of Death," but it's a bit of a stretch.
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:iconpotato-yi:
Potato-Yi Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Mima conf1rmed!!1!

//shot

---------

(that's prolly why) xD
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:icondeitydiz93:
DeityDiz93 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2016  Student Digital Artist

My personal stance on this, ever since I've noted Alice and Yuuka's return, is that virtually all of the Touhou PC-98's cannon is overhauled to better suit what would be better in modern day Touhou, and now it's just lying dormant awaiting the chance for the material to find its use in future works if ZUN sees it fit somehow in his next project.

Ultimately, I think your stance on this hold a lot of water due to that conception of overhauling. I agree that because of how the modern day character make connections to the past like that, it's very much possible we could see more direct connection to the past, but in a new way that takes itself more seriously whereas back in the day there was more a carefree feel, references, and not a whole lot fleshed out story-wise. Note also that ZUN has the tendency to recycle some old bullet patterns and attacks from PC-98 like Byakuren's Spell Card under the name Devil's Recitation, and even PMiSS and SSiB's music albums are in FM format because ZUN still loved composing in that style!

ZUN is clearly still influenced by Touhou's past; in fact, you will often catch passing glances and quotes of his talking about it. I know that given 
ZUN's stance on creating new characters It will all depend on if decides on a whim that a PC-98 character returning is necessary, but at least we know that there is tons of potential for someone from that era returning, so far, we've missed a few chances of one of them returning, but there will be more games with so you don't know until you see.

As ZUN said: "Of course, I won’t say they’ll never show up again...", and despite his plea to have us ignore the PC-98 games as though they were derivative works, I will never stop holding out hope that ZUN will make at least few more of them shine again, and because of how much I love Touhou PC-98, there is no chance in hell I'm going to ignore these games. He might think it's weird to fit them back in, but with all of the Windows Era references hearkening back to the PC-98 era, I think at some point no fan would really mind seeing them show up somewhere again. Heck, at this point, a simple cameo of anyone from that era would make me overjoyed.

I would need hospitalization should there be a game with more than one Touhou PC-98 character in it, or a chapter in a story or manga with some of them I'm sure.

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:iconfullhitpoints:
FullHitPoints Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016
I think I've realized why ZUN has consistently decided not to touch the stuff: because he doesn't wish to splinter the fanbase. If he retools the PC-98 canon, then he risks angering the fans who enjoyed the originals the way they were, and would potentially pit them against those who believe the retools are superior. If he simply remakes the games the way they were, then he risks the accusation that he's simply rehashing content. Either way, it's a lose-lose from what I've figured.

...and despite his plea to have us ignore the PC-98 games as though they were derivative works...
There's a reason I used ZUN's AWA 2013 statement. It's because peoples' opinions can change over time. Early on, he may have wanted people to forget that the PC-98 games existed because they were simply a college experiment, but as time went on, he grew accustomed to the fact that people enjoy his earlier works despite their flaws. As a result, he may have become more lenient on the topic and decided to allow people to enjoy Touhou the way they want to, even if it means playing the PC-98 games.

That said, I would very-much enjoy a cameo or a reappearance from anyone from the games. They deserve a comeback in any form possible in my opinion.
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:icondeitydiz93:
DeityDiz93 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Thinking back, not as many people noticed Alice and Yuuka's returning all to much aside from those who were fans of Touhou since the very beginning, and if they never appeared back then and appeared today now, there would likely be a huge fanfare. Just think about it: Alice Maragatroid is among the consistent top ten most popular Touhou character in every popularity poll and her return was a very strong one amongst fans, people are thankful to have Reimu, Marisa, Alice, and even Yuuka back within modern era games.

While I think that there could be a splinter, I also think there is a majority of fans who would be alright with the prospect of ZUN making an old character come back, and more power to ZUN if he can freshen up the danmaku so that it doesn't feel like a total rehash because it isn't like the reappearing character in-game would be totally vapid.

I don't think there has been many Q&As with ZUN without someone at least mentioning PC-98 in the set of questions. I'd imagine that alone has got him to think back, and even during his interview with MAGNet and the Touhou twentieth-year anniversary livestream, they talked about and played these old Touhou games with ZUN, so I'm already happy with the prospect that he's opened up a little bit more as time has gone on about the PC-98 games.

Heck, just something like this: 

Q: Will you consider bringing back very old characters from the series?

ZUN: I won't say no. There's your answer.

This kind of quote is very reassuring to a lot of people as ZUN knows there are people who have hope and anticipation to see something like that again.


Amen to the idea of a cameo or reappearance as well! I bet the both of us would react very strongly should it happen, and that's a testament to our personal enjoyment of the PC-98 era I think. I'm glad to know that we're both also not alone in that regard either.
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:iconyoumuneplowell:
YoumuNepLowell Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2016
I think ZUN's slowly trying to tie in everything that happened in the modern era with the PC-98 era and is trying his best to not let the PC-98 era die away like that, thus making references and stuff like that.
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:iconasleepysen:
asleepysen Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2016
I guess I'll take the PC-98 characters more into consideration now then.
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:iconcaptainface:
Captainface Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2016
I had my suspicions about this anyways. I figured it's kind of like how other games may have spin-offs or something in which only certain elements are canon, like with Half Life and the expansion pack Opposing Force.
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:icondrifter-dx:
Drifter-Dx Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
alternate dimensions?
that's my take on it. alternate dimensions with the
same characters but different story line

but i could be wrong
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:iconfullhitpoints:
FullHitPoints Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2016
I prefer to believe in a singular timeline, but do what works for you.
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:iconmariosonichq:
MarioSonicHQ Featured By Owner Edited Feb 23, 2016
True dude. I don't see why people insist the events of those games never happened.
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:iconmorrigananneaensland:
MorriganAnneAensland Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconstandingovationplz:
FINALLY
Someone says it!
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