Touhou (pronounced as "toh-hoh", meaning Eastern or Oriental) is a series of Japanese vertical shoot-em-up games developed by Team Shanghai Alice. The setting is a fictional part of Japan called Gensokyo, an isolated island separated by a magical barrier and is teeming with youkai ("yoh-kai", Japanese supernatural creatures in Shintoism) whom the main characters do battle with. Touhou belongs to the danmaku or "Bullet Hell" subgenre of shoot-em-ups.

Bullet Hell games are characterized by an inordinate amount of bullets that the player must dodge. In other words, the objective of the game is to survive. Bullet Hells are known to feature elaborate and extremely pretty patterns of bullet flows that will eventually hurt your eyes. The player must dodge hundreds, sometimes thousands, of bullets, forcing the player to memorize patterns (because they will die at some point unless they're that skilled), skill, and most importantly, any skills they have in dodging.

Touhou is one of the few Bullet Hells where the playable characters are magical girls in frilly dresses rather than spaceships or war vehicles.

Fun Facts

  1. Team Shanghai Alice is composed of a singular member: ZUN, real name Jun'ya Ota.

  2. ZUN is the designer, programmer, script writer, and composer of the series (i.e. he does everything)

  3. There are around 60 to 200 covers for any given BGM in Touhou.

  4. There is at least 1 TB of fan-made musical arrangements and remixes of the game's music.

  5. There are only 2 male characters that show up in the entire series, one of which doesn't even appear in the games.