I've been wanting to try and get into Touhou. However, just looking at Wikipedia, there is a crap ton of games and most seem to be for very old systems; they aren't listed in chronological order by store (rather, by release date).

So, I'm wondering: Is there is a game/anime/manga which is in English, in one form or another with games, it would be either official English releases or fan translation patches; anime would be either English dub or sub; and manga either localized or scanlation), which would be a good entry point into the series?

  • The thing that matters to me from Touhou is that I know all the characters (from Akyu to Yuyuko) and nothing else. I don't have to play the games or get into the convoluted lore to love Touhou. May 22, 2020 at 0:01

2 Answers 2


The biggest difficulty with getting into Touhou is the number of characters which are present. The bulk of the canon story material is really not that large.

The main Touhou games are released in chronological order. This is rather irrelevant because the stories typically are not closely related anyway. However, newer games do involve characters from older games. This shouldn't really stop you from understanding what's going on, because the characters are all pretty easy to understand, but you may miss a few things if you go out of order. Note that these are really essential to understanding Touhou well, since they serve as the introduction for most of the characters and almost all of the major plot points which are referenced elsewhere are from the games.

Typically, it's recommended to start with the beginning of the Windows Touhou games, Touhou 6 (Embodiment of the Scarlet Devil). The Windows Touhou games have only occasionally used characters from PC-98 era games, apart from Reimu and Marisa (the protagonists). However, it would not really hurt anything to start with any of the other games either. If you find the games too difficult, many people who are just interested in the story watch replays of them online or read transcripts of the dialogue (which are available on Touhou Wiki, e.g. here). There are fan-made patches available for all of the main Touhou games.

If you want an official source, Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red (the first Touhou fanbook) has a great deal of information on the characters up to Touhou 9. Touhou Wiki typically serves as a fine alternative as well, though it has a lot of fanon as well. Neither of those are really stories though. To be perfectly honest, you can read almost any of the canon manga releases if you're willing to occasionally look up who a character is. Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth might be a particularly good choice simply because it only involves a small number of characters.

In any case, once you know the very basics (the major characters and plot of the main games), you can pick up pretty much anything canon or fanon with relative ease. The biggest difficulty is just learning all the characters in the first place, and I don't think there's any better advice for that than just to play the games (or at least read the dialogue from them).


There's a good introduction to Touhou in this blog post by rabbiteclair, which gives some background on what exactly is Gensokyo, some perspective on the media and fandom, and also lists some games and manga that are particularly good starting points.

The fandom is so damn big that it was very efficiently self-perpetuating for a long time. There’s no common canon entry point, because half the English fandom just stumbled upon this thing ten years ago and got curious enough to try figuring out what in the hell it meant.

Even just looking at official content, there are >27 official games, a bunch of manga series, a music CD series that has its own independent story in the booklets (fun Secret Sealing Club shenanigans). But here are some possible starting points:


The stories for the games are fairly straightforward and self-contained, so you can jump into any of these in any order without needing to worry about other games.

  • Embodiment of Scarlet Devil: The 6th game of the series, and the first game to be released for Windows. The start of modern era Touhou; this game effectively soft-rebooted the continuity, so you don't need to worry about the previous 5 games (the older PC-98 system games). It introduces a lot of major characters, including Cirno, Patchouli, Sakuya, Remilia, and Flandre.
  • Perfect Cherry Blossom: The 7th game of the series. The Cherry mechanic makes it one of the easier games. Really great music. It introduces a lot of major characters, including Alice (well, if you ignore Touhou 5), the Prismriver Sisters, Youmu, Yuyuko, and Yukari.
  • Mountain of Faith: The 10th game of the series. Introduces major characters like Nitori, Sanae, Kanako, and Suwako. It's considered the first game of the "2nd Windows Generation", using a new engine.
  • Ten Desires: The 13th game of the series. Relatively recent. There are a few really good songs in this game. The Trance mechanic helps make the game easier to play, but only if you remember to hit C.


  • Forbidden Scrollery: The story of a normal human girl from the human village as she starts getting entangled in the supernatural and youkai politics. Also, it has an official English release!
  • Sangetsusei (the Three Fairies series): The story of three pretty normal fairies as they do fairy things. Very slice-of-life-y. Lots of cameo appearances from other characters, so it's also a nice way to get introduced a lot of characters.

Incidentally, I first played the games in this order: TH06, TH08, TH10, TH13, and then TH07. So far, the only games I've been able to finish without any continues (on Normal!) are TH08 and TH07 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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