The Len'en Project features a variety of characters. With 4 games, the cast has grown to have 39 characters. Yabusame Houlen and Tsubakura Enraku are considered the protagonists of the Len'en Project, and they are the primary playable characters in all games so far.[a] Others usually appear in the games, as support characters, bosses, or with some other role in the storyline.
List of Characters
Here is a list of all Len'en Project characters, categorised by their first game or publication appearance.
The Len'en Project series contains mostly of gender-ambiguous characters. Most characters reside in a fictional region called Mugenri, where humans and youkai both live, similar to how Gensokyo functions in the Touhou Project. The youkai may sometimes prey on the humans while the humans try to exorcise them. A lot of the characters have a title, a theme song associated with them, and unique abilities fashioned of "something like (ability)" (的な能力 teki na nouryoku).
Though each game features a collection of different characters, with the main characters of the games always being Yabusame Houlen, joined by Tsubakura Enraku. Interestingly, JynX revealed on 15 March 2014 that there was one more main character that had yet to be revealed, prior to the release of Reactivate Majestical Imperial. It is possible that this character is Suzumi Kuzu.
Generally, almost all names for each character are written in the Japanese script, either in hiragana, katakana or kanji. Names generally start with the surname followed by the first name, even when they are written in katakana to show a western name. The names may not truly be actual names in real life, as they may contain kanji to represent the character overall.
JynX has provided rōmaji and kana versions for most of the characters; the latter only included if the name's in kanji. On some rare occurrences, JynX would include official English translations of the name. Some characters only have one name, such as Kurohebi and Jinbei.
For western languages, such as English or French, these names are to be written in the Latin script, called romanization. Also, the naming order from Japanese is switched to fit suitably with Westerners, for example "Senri Tsurubami" (闡裡 鶴喰) becomes "Tsurubami Senri". Unofficial rōmaji may be used for convenience; for example, the Hepburn "Fujiwara no Iyozane" is used as opposed to the official "Hujiwara no Iyozane". There are two exceptions to this rule:
- When a character name has a "no" in the middle, such as with the aforementioned "Fujiwara no Iyozane". Since a proper English translation of that name would be something like "Iyozane of the Fujiwara clan", these kinds of names are left unaltered for convenience's sake.
- JynX intentionally wants the fans to actually write it the way they've intended, such as with Yabusame's surname: Houlen. Using an l in rōmaji is very unusual since an r would be more standard, but there is meaning to having the l instead.
As for the names themselves, there is a certain number of characters know to have a "Bird's Name", where a character's name contains a meaning for birds, for example Tsubakura (玄鳥) literally translates to "swallow".
Despite there being species of youkai, almost all the characters take a humanoid form and are notorious to not have a known gender. Their designs are distinct and are based around their characteristics, culture and appearance in a game. It's also noted that almost all characters have some kind of headwear, such as hats or non-human attributes, and that they tend to wear a skirt or shorts. However, there are exceptions to these trends, such as Yabusame Houlen not having a hat and Clause wearing trousers respectively.
The designs would be based around the species and abilities a certain character has, such as Shou Amanomori being a slug youkai and can leave traces of slime when they walk barefooted and Taira no Chouki is an evil spirit who can only talk using their shikigami burabura. JynX has a basis for a step-by-step approach for when they create their characters: They start with the overall world, then a story that relates to this, then the roles. They'll then think about the model characters that would fulfil those roles, probably using ideas from other sources such as books. After drawing the models, they'll add a backstory then finally their species. JynX personally really likes to think deeply about the characters they create, with their designs and backgrounds.
JynX has not given any character (aside from an odd few) a known gender. It is up to the player's imagination to decide their gender as most characters already introduced are likely to never have their gender revealed. JynX was asked why they have taken this approach, and they compared this to animals like a puppy and an eagle, where people would think these animals are adorable without even considering their gender.
This wiki doesn't make these assumptions, so gender-neutral words are used to keep the characters' gender ambiguous. See here for more information on this.
JynX takes on all of the drawings for the characters that appear in the Len'en games. Their distinctive way of drawing is different compared to other artists. They drew significant influence from ZUN's artwork in earlier Len'en works, but over time their way of drawing has become unique.
- When asked about it, JynX dodged the question of whether there will be games where other characters will be the main characters instead.
- Peing - 3 February 2019
- JynX's Twitter: "Now that I think about it I never talked about Len'en like this. Even though there are quite a bit of insider secrets... Like a third protagonist that has yet to be seen."
- Interview with JynX (2017): Development and Design Decisions, Question 90
- JynX's Twitter: "To continue from where I left off [introducing the names of Suzumi's souls (Hamal Cine & Arde)]: I personally really like looking deep into characters, so I'm extremely particular about my own characters' designs and backgrounds, especially 'what/who the characters are based on' and their 'names'."
- Interview with JynX (2015): Question 5