Playism, a company dedicated localizing Japanese PC games, announced today that they would be bringing the long-running Touhou series of shoot-em-ups (SHMUPS!) to the West later this year. The onslaught of cute girls firing magical bullets at other cute girls will begin with the release of Touhou 14: Double Dealing Character, and will mark the series’ first official release in the United States since its beginnings as a humble doujin, or fan-made, game in 1995.
Originally developed, written, and composed by a single man going by the pen name Zun, and later by the development team Shanghai Alice, Touhou has since grown into a small cottage industry of games, manga, figures, and other fan works that all melded over the years to create a thriving fan community that exists well beyond the bounds of the game series’s simple, yet hectic, shooting action. The series even carries fans among other famous fan creators in the same industry, and is often referenced in anime and visual novels, such as this scene from the 07th Expansion’s novel Umineko, in which the character Jessica Ushiromiya sings Tsurupettan, a popular song associated with the Touhou franchise.
Though not as popular in America as its native Japan, Touhou has attracted a healthy audience in the West that has loyally translated the series’ various releases into English for the sake of fans who cannot speak the language. With the release of Touhou 14 in English, the series will finally be able to reach a wider audience beyond those already in the know.
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