“Cherry petals must have fallen like snowflakes…
However, it was still silvery snow.”
(Perfect Cherry Blossom, Stage 1 English Subtitle)
May has already arrived in Gensokyo, and yet no Spring to accompany it. Instead, Winter has continued to rage on in the form of increasing snowstorms. An incident no doubt, especially for those who looked forward to the flower-viewings, where cherry blossoms drift down instead. This time, alongside Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame, Sakuya Izayoi joins, as an instigator turned resolver. Their only lead seems to be a sparse few cherry blossoms which float down from the sky. This unending winter was the incident of the seventh mainline game, and second in the Windows Era. Touhou Youyoumu(Ghostly Dream) ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom(PCB).
The events of Perfect Cherry Blossom are equivalent to the A7 Universe in LostWord.
The Endless Winter
This game introduces Letty Whiterock, Chen, Lily White, Lyrica Prismriver, Merlin Prismriver, Lunasa Prismriver, Youmu Konpaku, Yuyuko Saigyouji, Ran Yakumo, and Yukari Yakumo.
Heading out in search of the culprit, the protagonist’s first encounter is the yuki-onna Letty Whiterock. Being a youkai who manipulates cold and hates the spring, she’s a prime suspect, and she teases the protagonist about being the mastermind(a lie). After harshly defeating Letty, the protagonists fly onwards, unsatisfied, chasing the cherry blossoms to a peculiar village where no humans reside. There we meet Chen, a bakeneko guarding said village, who we learn later acts as the shikigami of the shikigami of the gap youkai. Though Chen threatens Reimu with a warning that those who enter Mayohiga never escape, she promptly asks Reimu to leave, upon the latter revealing her intentions to loot the village for its supposed good-luck charms.
Their next destination is a strange, secluded area where Reimu and Marisa meet a familiar face, Alice Margatroid. She calls Reimu an “old friend” to which Reimu responds with confused ignorance. After a danmaku battle, Alice points out the falling cherry blossoms' relation to Spring and that the source appears to come from above (something Sakuya puts together before Alice even finishes explaining). Traveling upwards, they breach the clouds to discover the spring-filled world above. To announce this Spring, is Lily White who in her excitement, seemingly attacks and is defeated by the passing humans. The girls eventually discover a great barrier between Gensokyo and the Netherworld. Waiting there are the Prismriver Sisters, Lunasa, Merlin, and Lyrica, who have been told to perform during a cherry blossom viewing at “the mansion” and to guard the barrier. Marisa learns after their battle that the barrier need not open, as the sisters’ solution is simply to fly over it. After defeating the three, the humans enter the realm of ghosts and climb the stairs of Hakugyokurou.
Youmu Konpaku intercepts them on those steps, the half-human half-phantom gardener and swordsmanship instructor. Her title of gardener isn’t just for show, as it turns out that she has been stealing the essence of Spring and bringing it back to Hakugyokurou, under the orders of her mistress who wants to see the Saigyou Ayakashi bloom, their youkai cherry tree. Seeing as the protagonists carry the remaining amount of Spring Youmu needs, and as she is the culprit behind the stolen Spring, they inevitably clash.
Moving further into the Netherworld, the protagonists reach Hakugyokurou, where Youmu makes her last stand, after which the heroines finally reach the mastermind of the incident, Yuyuko Saigyouji. Her true intentions are revealed, Yuyuko decided she’d like to see what soul the great Saigyou Ayakashi kept sealed away, and to do so, she needed the withered tree to bloom once more. The protagonists don’t care an iota for the reason, and proceed to battle the ghost princess as Saigyou Ayakashi nears full bloom behind her, to regain their Spring. If they win without having used continues, congratulations, you’ve reached your respective character’s good ending! Spring is released back to Gensokyo, and the Saigyou Ayakashi has been kept from full bloom.
Yet, all is still not well. At the Hakurei Shrine, at the Scarlet Devil Mansion, ghosts seemed to have gathered all over to sight-see, and it has become a bit of a nuisance for our human protagonists. According to Yuyuko, who has come to the shrine to relax, breaching the barrier between the Netherworld and Gensokyo was a necessity for her plan to succeed, and something she had called in as a favor from a friend. That friend was supposed to have repaired the barrier by then, but remained asleep, as her usual winter hibernation had been extended as a result of the incident. Hearing from Youmu that a servant of that friend had come to the Netherworld, the three humans present briefly bicker over whose responsibility it should be, and after settling on a game of rock-paper-scissors, eventually all depart to confront that servant.
Once more ascending the steps of the Netherworld, our heroes meet Chen again, who blocks their way. She boasts about being freshly possessed, and attacks, though is once again defeated. Admittedly, she seems to be much stronger than before. The servant then appears, revealing herself to be Ran Yakumo, herself being the master of the Shikigami, Chen. Reimu remarks how strange it is for a Shikigami to have one herself. Ran refuses to let the protagonists disturb her master, who sleeps during that time, and is awake at night. Of course, the compulsory danmaku battle commences, and the humans vow to return at night.
A quick note, capturing 60 unique spellcards in this game unlocks Phantasm Stage, and this is unique to Perfect Cherry Blossom.
The one who tore the barrier between the Netherworld and Gensokyo appears when the protagonists return at night, introducing herself as Yukari Yakumo. She lazily banters with the protagonists, who aren’t as pleased about her idleness as Yukari herself is. She talks about her control over the boundaries of the world, such as night and day and Spring and Winter. Even having just awoken from her hibernation, she acts as the only Phantasm boss in the series which is quite an impressive feat. Defeating her, she relents to repairing the barrier, and at last, the endless winter incident is resolved.
According to ZUN on her theme in PCB’s Music Room, Alice Margatroid is a special character in the series. You might have guessed earlier, during her encounter with Reimu, but it could be because of her rare status as a character from PC98 or her shared namesake with Shanghai Alice, but we could very well never know. Alice is a Magician, and a human-turned-youkai. Along with being a magician, Alice shares an affinity for collecting things with Marisa, and also lives in the Forest of Magic, but very much unlike Marisa, never fights at full strength. She feels that if she lost while doing so, she would be at the end of the road. Her interest in dolls with stories has led to the creation of cards such as Malediction “Hanged Hourai Dolls” and Malediction “Magically Luminous Shanghai Dolls”. In LostWord, Alice from the A7 Universe has Spring Act - The Phantom of the Grand Guignol a Last Word from the main series she only uses in Imperishable Night. Perhaps even this is not her full strength.
Youmu is many things, a half-Phantom half-Human, a swordsmanship instructor to Yuyuko, the gardener of Hakugyokurou, and sometimes just Yuyuko’s servant. Above all else though, she is an expert swordswoman, and she wields her two blades Roukanken and Hakurouken with extreme prowess. Famously, according to Youmu, “The things that cannot be cut by my Roukanken, forged by youkai, are close to none!” and this is no empty threat and it slices through youkai and humans alike(though she must use it non-lethally in danmaku battles). Hakurouken is a blade passed down in the Konpaku family, said to be able to clear confusion from those it cuts, leaving humans incapacitated (along with heavy wounds), and allowing phantoms to achieve Nirvana. She must wield the latter with care, as Shiki Eiki has mentioned that allowing those who might not deserve to go to heaven to ascend, is something which must be avoided. Her skill with her blades can be seen in her spellcards, such as Six Realms Sword “A Single Thought and Infinite Kalpas” and Matsuyoi-Reflecting Satellite Slash, her Last Word in Imperishable Night.
For such a central character, someone who could be called the creator of Gensokyo, her introduction was in no way lacking. As the only Phantasm boss of the series, Yukari’s likely one of the first characters many people were introduced to. However, due to the difficulty of defeating the Extra Stage, and the additional requirement to unlock Phantasm, it might be that many people have not experienced her actual Phantasm fight. A7 Yukari can give you a glimpse at some of the spellcards she used. Once more, her Last Word in Imperishable Night and LostWord is “Profound Danmaku Barrier -Phantasm, Foam and Shadow-”, Barrier “Boundary of Life and Death” and Yukari's Arcanum “Danmaku Barrier” are some of her more prevalent cards.
The current characters who lack an A7 appearance.