The Touhou Project (Japanese: 東方Project Hepburn: Tōhō Purojekuto, lit. "Eastern Project"), often referred to simply as Touhou, is a series of Japanese bullet hell shoot 'em up video games created by dōjin soft developer Team Shanghai Alice. The sole member of Team Shanghai Alice, known as ZUN, has independently produced music, graphics, and programming for 22 games in the series, additionally collaborating with Twilight Frontier in the production of six official fighting games. ZUN has also collaborated with various dōjin circles in the production of related print works and music albums.
The setting of the Touhou Project is Gensokyo, a fictional realm sealed from the outside world and inhabited by humans and yōkai, supernatural beings based in Japanese folklore. The protagonist of the series is the maiden of Hakurei Shrine, Reimu Hakurei, who manages the barrier and resolves various incidents in Gensokyo by battling antagonistic yōkai. The first five games were developed for the Japanese NEC PC-9800 series of computers; bullet hell mechanics were introduced in the second game, Story of Eastern Wonderland. Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, released in August 2002, marked a shift to the Microsoft Windows platform, bringing the games to a larger audience. It was followed by several sequels, including several spin-off games diverging from the series' traditional vertically-scrolling danmaku (弾幕, lit. "bullet curtain") gameplay.
The Touhou Project is notable for its high number of derivative works, a phenomenon that has been attributed to the few restrictions placed by ZUN on the use of his characters and settings. The series has become an ubiquitous feature of Japanese user-generated content, spawning a vast body of fan-made artwork, print works, video games, and music, as well as several anime adaptations and Internet memes. Unofficial works are frequently sold at fan conventions, including Comiket, where the franchise has often held the top spot for circle participation, and the annual official Touhou Project convention Reitaisai, where trial versions of the games are typically distributed prior to release. The series was inducted into the Guinness World Records in October 2010 as the "most prolific fan-made shooter series".
The Touhou Project
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