She first made her official game appearance in Phantasmagoria of Flower View. Taking resident in Youkai Mountain, she is a Crow Tengu. Crow Tengu is one of the many youkai species that exists more than a thousand years ago, even before the establishment of Great Hakurei Boundary Field (To note, it was when the Oni still exists).
Since they lived in Gensokyo for so long, they are also knowledgable, which their knowledge extends up till the point where they also know about the "sea" that however does not exist in Gensokyo. Before the transformation into a Tengu, they were crows.
As for Aya herself, while she holds one of the highest tier in terms of power level amongst all youkai species in Gensokyo, she does not show-off her power unless necessary. This does not apply only to her, but also to all Tengu in general.
However, her very first existence is known way before "Phantasmagoria of Flower View", which she actually appeared in the book called "Bunkachou", which was a book, the next game, Shoot the Bullet, is made specially for her to appear in the game as the main character, considering her nature and the game settings
According to the omake text from Shoot the Bullet game game, the idea of "Camera Danmaku" game is already conceived during the production of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, and thus the appearance of Aya Shameimaru in the game is far more natural and suitable instead of using the usual, staple main characters.
With the appearance in the Bunkachou book, added with the appearance in Phantasmagoria of Flower View, the decision to use Aya in the next game production, Shoot the Bullet is then created.
Story after "Shoot the Bullet"
In the next game, Moutain of Faith (風神録), Aya was sent by the great Tengu to check on the intruder who invaded Youkai Mountain and is surprised to see it was the heroine. From there, although Aya knows that her boss' orders are a priority, she has no intention to fight the heroines, hence she purposely lose to the heroine, and leads her (depending on who you choose) to the new shrine, believing that the heroine could get rid of a large nuisance to the Tengu.
In Subterranean Animism, she is partnered with Reimu Hakurei as a support Youkai (only appeared through dialogues, hence there is no portrait of her). She also appeared once again in the previous spinoff game, Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, where you may select her as a playable character in the game's story mode and versus mode.
The second camera danmaku game (also a sequel) after Shoot the Bullet, Double Spoiler also featured her as the main, default playable character.
As a Tengu, her speed is excellent and can be actually comparable with vampires like Remilia Scarlet and Flandre Scarlet. Since then there were times where Aya is depicted to have a speed so fast that she could be possibly faster than both of the Scarlet sisters. ZUN has since confirmed it, and made it official in the manga Touhou Bougetsushou series through the dialogue exchange between Reimu and Marisa.
Because of that, it wouldn't be a surprise on why Tengu has the ability to control wind. It is also said that Tengu can move really fast due to the ability to control the wind that flies them all around the place.
However, it is currently unknown on which youkais move faster than Aya, or even Tenma, the chief of the Tengu. Also, considering Reimu Hakurei or Yukari Yakumo has the ability to move from one point to another almost immediately, they may be considered to be even faster than Aya.
But, if it's just pure speed, Aya, or the Tengu is by far the fastest as of current.
・Traditional Reporter of Fantasy (PoFV, PMiSS, SWR profile&select, SaBND, SaBND 19th, SA, SSiB 20th)
・Tengu Closest to the Village (MoF)
・Crow of the Tempest (SWR)
・Fabricating Newspaper Reporter (DS)
・Humble Tengu Newspaper Reporter (StB)
・「Wind God Girl」(風神少女)
Appeared in『書庫文(原曲)』"PoFV (Short version)", "StB (Short Version)", and "Hisoutensoku (Akiyamauni version)"
・「The Youkai Mountain ～ Mysterious Mountain」(妖怪の山 ～ Mysterious Mountain)
Appeared in "MoF (Original)", "DS (Rearranged by ZUN)"
Two things to note about Aya's theme :
- "Wind God Girl" is composed with the image and the characteristics of Aya.
- "Youkai Mountain" however is composed with the image of Tengu in mind, which involves the Japanese mythology of the creature instead of Tengu in Gensokyo.
※ Considering how from the start till the end where Aya acts as a reporter, the theme "Wind God Girl" is used instead of her other theme.
※ Whereas the song "Youkai Mountain" is used in the Extra Stage of "Double Spoiler"
In PoFV, "Wind God Girl" can also be heard in the game if one reaches level 10.
One of the species of Tengu, specializes in news report.
The Tengu were respected and prayed by the human villagers as a deity. Aside from their status, they are also an advanced civilization with the technology that will not lose to the outer world, and compared to most species, their strength and their unity is far superior. It is for this reason, to pass through the youkai mountain, it is advisable for the humans to handle the Tengu in groups instead of alone.
They were once under the rule of Oni. After their disappearance from Gensokyo, the remaining Tengu and Kappa moved to, and settled at Youkai Mountain. Because of that reason, Tengu does not raise their head above them. During the events at Subterranean Animism, Aya had to lower down her strength extensively against Yuugi Hoshiguma. This is different from how she interact with Suika Ibuki though, where both of them are drinking buddies.
Suika also once commented about Tengu, about how they are cunning species that holds back in battle but is actually really strong, signifying that Tengu are creatures not to be underestimated due to their intelligence.
Tengu usually publish their stories with their own funds, and sometimes even hold large scale events. However, instead of publishing newspapers that are supposed to be informative to their readers, their contents are mostly gossips, and in the end it turned into an entertainment stuff rather than relaying useful information.
They are also said to be great drinkers, rivaled only with Oni.
While her outlook is generally the same throughout all titles, there are some minor changes to her appearance.
- DS : Same as her Touhou 10 appearance, but with puffier and longer hair, her calf-high socks from Touhou 10.5, and an orange armband reading 「取材中」 (Shuzaichuu: "collecting material"). She is also shown without her fan and white puffs. Her ears are visible again but now pointed. The color of her camera lens is now red.
- SWR : Similar to her Touhou 9 appearance, but wears calf-high socks.
- SWR (Alternate Color Version) : Hair and dress are gray, blouse is dark gray, fan is orange instead of yellow, and Tokin is blue instead of red. Normal ears are visible in her portrait.
- MoF : Red eyes, semi-long black hair. Wears a white blouse with brown leaf-print sides, a black short skirt with brown leaf-print portions, and a Tokin with several white puffs of feathers hanging from it. Carries a hauchiwa fan.
- PoFV : Red eyes, semi-long black hair, with a crow perched on her shoulder. Wears a white blouse, a black short skirt, and a Tokin. Carries a journal of some sort. She is no longer shown with wings.
- (PoFV alternative outfit) Same as above, but her tokin is green, and her fan is blue.
- (Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red) Red eyes, semi-long black hair, usually seen with a crow following her. Wears a white blouse, a black short skirt, and a Tokin. She is sometimes shown with black wings.
It is also possible for Aya to wear school uniforms considering ZUN has once commented that her shirt is designed based on the image of a white collar worker.
Personality wise, she is often an earnest person but very inflexible.
As most tengu share in their traits, she is polite and shows respect to her opponents when need to, and her strong aura gives a sense of tension to weaklings. However, her politeness only applies when she conducts interview on her opponents, and to the ones that disturbs, her attitude will somehow change.
She also treats opponents according to ranking, so to the Oni, she takes a completely different attitude when conversing with them. She is also cunning, which this trait is shared among all Tengu in general.
According to SWR omake, she is also described as a smart youkai with the interest of competing, where her intelligence ability is so high that she could think a lot faster than most of the opponents. She is also unpredictable, where normal humans will not be able to predict what she is thinking about. To add the fact where she loves to play fair during battles, that she purpose lower her ability down in order to compete with her opponents in the same ground, which sometimes gave an uneasy feeling to most people around her.
While she does not have much interest in battling, she somehow managed to offend people a lot. However, rarely there are such cases where her opponents actually fought with her, and some even retreat to the point of upset and crying.
She also proclaims herself to be "Purely Righteous Shameimaru"
In PoFV, her personality is cleared shown when fighting with Cirno, with the quote "I have already plan on going real easy on you, and I won", and when she lost to Komachi Onozuka, Komachi commented that she actually faked herself when she lost. in MoF, before facing either Reimu or Marisa, she proclaimed that she will hold back while fighting them and provoked them to go all out in the battle.
The reason why Aya does not attack her opponents and instead using camera as her "weapon" in StB and DS is because she just wanted to focus in taking pictures, and dislikes the fact that her shots will be included in the picture, and thus does not attack them.
By the way, considering her heritage of being a crow Tengu, she is also portrayed as someone who dislikes any dishes that involves the bird species, which includes chicken.
Spellcards and Weapons
Phantasmagoria of Flower View
Wind Sign "Wind God's Fan" (風符「風神一扇」)
Whirlwind "Wind God Girl" (疾風「風神少女」)
Mountain of Faith
Crossroad Sign "Crossroads of Heaven" (岐符「天の八衢」)
Crossroad Sign "Saruta Cross" (岐符「サルタクロス」)
Wind God "Wind God Hidden Among Tree Leaves" (風神「風神木の葉隠れ」)
Wind God "Tengu's Fall Wind" (風神「天狗颪」)
Wind God "Storm Day" (風神「二百十日」)
"Illusionary Dominance" (「幻想風靡」)
"Peerless Wind God" (「無双風神」)
Cork Sign "Mountain God Procession" (塞符「山神渡御」)
Cork Sign "Advent of the Divine Grandson" (塞符「天孫降臨」)
Cork Sign "Terukuni Throughout the World" (塞符「天上天下の照國」)
Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
Whirl Sign "Maple Leaf Fan" (旋符「紅葉扇風」)
Tornado "Indication to the Divine" (竜巻「天孫降臨の道しるべ」)
Headwind "Route Forbidden to Man" (逆風「人間禁制の道」)
Thrust Sign "Tengu's Macroburst" (突符「天狗のマクロバースト」)
Wind Sign "Wind of the Tengu Path" (風符「天狗道の開風」)
Demonic Beast "Sickle Weasel Veiling" (魔獣「鎌鼬ベーリング」)
Squall "Sarutahiko's Guidance" (突風「猿田彦の先導」)
Rotation Sign "Calamity Waving Fan" (旋符「飄妖扇」)
Whirlwind "Torii Hurricane" (旋風「鳥居つむじ風」)
Crow Sign "Dark Daymare" (鴉符「暗夜のデイメア」)
Wind Sign "Tengu Limited Special" (風符「天狗報即日限」)
Interview "Aya Shameimaru's Coercive Reporting" (取材「射命丸文の圧迫取材」)
Telescoping "Candid Shot" (望遠「キャンディッドショット」)
Snapshot "Fast Shot" (速写「ファストショット」)
Aya has a hauchiwa fan (which is shaped like a maple) where she brought it with her all times. The fan has the power to cause strong wind, added with her wind manipulation power, the power is excessively strong.
Aside from her fan, she also holds a note that states whether the pictures snapped can be usable or not. Usually the picture contains the danmaku bullet from the youkai, and is usually clipped with the notebook. Other than that, her camera is also said to be able to cause mental damage to her opponents; and while the camera is said to be analog, the pictures will project instantly as a photo the moment a picture is snapped.
- Aya is the first character in the series to originally appear in an artbook, then later in a game.
- A silhouette of Aya occupies the front of Shoot the Bullet's jewel case.
- ZUN once commented that the gaming concept of Shoot the Bullet was around since the same time he created Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, since such a game required a camera-using character. Aya was created specifically to fit that purpose.
- In Mountain of Faith, Aya is the first stage 4 boss in a Windows game not to have some sort of gimmick/variation based on the playable character (i.e. Patchouli's different spell cards in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, Reimu or Marisa in Imperishable Night, etc.).
- In Touhou Hisoutensoku, she has a palette that resembles Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier.
Main Article : Bunbunmaru Newspaper
The Bunbunmaru Newspaper is run by Aya, which is viewed by most people and youkai in Gensokyo as a mildly popular (albeit notorious) gossip paper. Thanks to her shameless reporting style, and her tendency to exaggerate events, and including her own personal opinions in her articles, her article is never considered to be reader's choice, and they tend to avoid appearing in the papers.
However, she does have a degree of ethics and dignity as a reporter, and is more interested in pursuing the truth (sometimes to a fault) rather than reporting news that hurts other peoples' reputation for the sake of it.
Even with her ethics, her newspaper remain unpopular, as suggested in Strange and Bright Nature Deity and Curiosities of Lotus Asia.
In most doujinshis, Aya is said to be :-
- an individual with a terrible attitude
- always holding a camera all the time.
- loves gossip (applies to Tengu in general)
She is usually portrayed to be a troublemaker reporter with the tendency to make gossips, hence she is described mainly as a paparazzi, stalker, or having a habit of taking embarrassing or risque photos as well (in other words, a pervert)
Her terrible attitude is however being treated as a minor focus, considering the majority of the Touhou characters are bad in attitude anyway.
Her image has since changed with the appearance of Momiji Inubashiri, and her appearance as a partner of Reimu in Subterranean Animism. In Double Spoiler, it is said that Aya is weak at dealing with Momiji.
As with most other shipping community, Aya is also seen paired with other girls. While her main couple is Aya and Momiji, she is also seen paired with other characters seen below :
With the list above, it is also said that her character is potrayed in a much positive view since Subterranean Animism.
Main reason of her negative treatment.
To begin with, the main reason of her getting a negative treatment is due to the fact that her role for the game (Shoot the Bullet) - Her acquaintance with every character from the past titles with the exception of Reimu and Marisa was considered to be the main reason. In Gensokyo, it is a common occurrence to see characters exchanging sarcasms and witty comments against each other. Because of the reason, all the characters (aside from Reimu and Marisa), ranging from top tier, wise Youkai down to fairies, and even species were given a particularly witty comments by Aya.
Added to the fact where she is actually a strong character compared to most other weaker youkai makes her particularly stand out compared to most other characters. Which contributed to the negative treatment factor.