A retrospective on BUTAOTOME’s PVs

Touhou PVs are one of the most popular forms of derivative works. They help to promote the music and boost their popularity. Many people, including myself, got into Touhou or a specific circle because of these fanmade videos.

Back when BUTAOTOME were a young circle, they used to make PVs of some of their songs. It was a constant element accompanying their album releases up until Tasogare Elegy. Interestingly that was also the last album to feature Ranko no Ane’s lyrics, so maybe she became lazy from En onwards :laughs:

Now I will review all the official videos published by BUTAOTOME, all listed here. Fanmade/unofficial videos won’t be included, even if they are particularly notable and were used by BUTAOTOME themselves in lives (such as a video of Jigoku Kakurenbo with apples or some videos made with Miku Miku Dance). Also, major MVs are excluded because I already talked about them in their respective album reviews. Without further ado, leeeet’s start!

Kyoai [Youtube | Nicovideo]
This and the following PVs come from Higashi no Kuni – Butaotome PV collection, a DVD that collects all the Touhou PVs made by Ranko no Ane during the first years of BUTAOTOME’s activity. She is not an experienced videomaker, unlike the majority of people who make Touhou PVs, but I can feel she tried to put her love in it! However, Kyoai is… eh. It feels a lot like a test for a bunch of random video effects.

Machibito wa Kozu. [Youtube | Nicovideo | Bilibili]
Now this is already an improvement from the previous one. This song made BUTAOTOME popular and if we compare with Kyoai, it’s easy to see why. The animation overall feel a lot better, even if there is some randomness. It conveys how Kogasa is still waiting for someone, her former owner. I also think that being a video about Kogasa (who was a relatively new character at the time) and not about the most overused Christmas vampire helped quite a lot. While not being my favourite video, I think this is “the” BUTAOTOME PV – the perfect one to represent their Touhou videography and be the face of the Videos section, once I update the Discography page!

Haruka Tooi Sora no Koe [Nicovideo]
That’s not bad for being something made in 3 weeks! While it’s mostly an ordinary Aya PV, worth noting are the references to the last bosses in Double Spoiler (where Infinite Nightmare plays as BGM), culminating with Hatate’s encounter.

Higashi no Kuni no Waltz [Nicovideo]
This is my favourite from the Higashi no Kuni (lol) DVD. I’m partially biased because it’s Hifuu, but this PV deserves attention because it is done in stop motion, which gives it a different charm. I would love to see more PVs done in this way.

Panorama Girl [Nicovideo]
My first contact with BUTAOTOME! People claim it to be a Seihou PV solely because of its original theme, but there is not even winged Yuuka hanging out with her best friend Muse. 0/10. Jokes aside, it has a chibi style that is the same one we find in the booklet, further emphasizing the link between the main track and the album (and not as a random video to promote the song).

Kakoinaki yo wa Ichigo no Tsukikage [Youtube | Nicovideo]
SuperSis improved her way, and this PV shows it! Even if it feels a lot like a showcase of Kaguya and random friends, this is definitely the best-looking one in the Higashi no Kuni DVD, as it has an higher quality feel compared to the rest.

Touchuu Aika [Nicovideo]
We close the Higashi no Kuni chapter with a PV made for being the opening theme of Koikoi Gensokyo. It’s a game with Akyuu as the protagonist and Touhou characters playing hanafuda, so the PV does its job by introducing the main focus.

Itsumo no Futari [Nicovideo (short)]
With this PV, we start to talk about the PVs featured on Pig Video Desu, released on December 2012. All these PVs were made by different artists. And we start with my favourite of the bunch. It’s a very cute ReiMari PV which narrates the events of Imperishable Night until stage 4, where the original theme of the song plays as BGM. PVs with a story and full of references to fuel my Touhou nerd side are those I like the most, so I’m quite biased.

Aoi Miren, Aoi Namida [Nicovideo (short)]
This PV is made by Mesopota, those who made most of the memetic Touhou PVs, so it has some vibes from those PVs (including some unnecessary cameo/references to IOSYS PVs). It’s still a high-quality PV which narrates Cirno’s quest to meet Letty, going between reality, dreams and videogames.

Gensou no Satellite [Youtube]
Aaaaand here is where I start to try to be not excessively mean. It’s your typical Hifuu video with some overused clichés, which in the end is not that bad of a thing, but I think the art ruins it. It’s “that video where Renko looks like a man”. BUTAOTOME’s signature song deserved something better for its official video. Not the best Hifuu video ever, but at least something with a bit of quality.

Yurara Kamishibai [Nicovideo (short)]
Can we have more videos with Nyoron’s art? Their style fits so well BUTAOTOME’s happier songs! This time we have Suika who just wants to party every day. Combined with the song, it makes me smile!

Deadman’s Lovely Life [Nicovideo (short)]
For those who don’t know it already, this video is unfinished, and a complete version was never released. That’s why the PV looks so empty, with a lot of static frames where nothing happens. So I won’t judge it too hard, or compare it with other videos. It could have been a very cute PV of a dead(wo)man living her lovely life. I just realized now how the title is a paradox. Also, with some love for the Ten Desires cast.

Kyouen [Nicovideo (short)]
I think this is an example of PV that doesn’t tell a story and has just some very cool animations done in the right way. Well… we actually have some deep BUTAOTOME lore where we discover Ranko is a superheroine, Sis is a kaijuu and the power of alchol will save all of us! But other than that the animations are very random and it’s a very trippy video (in a good way). It’s comparable to Shaft’s anime.

Mayoigo no Mezame [Nicovideo]
From here we talk about PVs that didn’t get a DVD release. This is the first one made by Ane where she gives a much more straightforward storyline, which fits Ranko’s way of writing lyrics. It’s also among her best PVs, imho. Chen brings lost children to her house in Mayohiga and spends happy times with them; however, they slowly go back to their home, leaving her alone. But they are still united by a bond. It has a very dreamy and childlike feeling, fitting for the song.

Sora no aru Basho [Nicovideo]
This video feels like something made at the last minute, due to its usage of the short version of the song. It doesn’t have anything exceptional, and just takes place before/during Mountain of Faith’s events.

Rattatta Winner [Vimeo]
“Hey, here is a rap album with Paprika and Comp singing!”

Futatsu no Cinema [Nicovideo]
Another video made with very limited time, but still very impressive, especially if we talk about the song itself! But this article focuses on the video, not the audio. The PV is filled with references to what we learned about Sumireko in her first game appearance: the doppelganger, the fact she sleeps at school, her admiration for Mokou, her possible relationship with the other Hifuu Club… I would love to see a full version of this.

Five Nights at BUTAOTOME’s
A new game of the Five Nights at Freddy’s series has been announced! This time you have to face some mysterious animatronics based on a local band… Oh wait.
Hakanaki Mono Ningen [Youtube | Nicovideo]
… :sighs: This is another PV where we find a cameo of the band members, but unlike Kyouen, which was cool to watch even excluding the infamous scene, this is… just the “Five Nights at BUTAOTOME’s” PV. Ah, and Sekibanki because this is an arrange of her theme. At least the art is better than GenSate.

Ane no Ekaki Uta [Youtube | Nicovideo]
It’s pretty much the video version of the lyrics sheet of the song in the Fanbook, but in the end it’s fine this way! Imagine a future PV with Ane’s manga art, it could be a cute idea for an extra video.

Yumehanabi [Nicovideo]
Now for something that doesn’t feature any Touhou character or Butamember. The song was made for maimai and it has Otohime, one of the mascotte characters, and her friends. While I quite like the PV, as it has good animations and it adapts very well to the washing machine game, it has quite a few reused sequences, which is something I’m not a big fan of. It’s a problem that is shared with Hakanaki Mono Ningen and Solid, but at least Yumehanabi is good.

Solid [Youtube | Nicovideo]
The newest PV released. It just feels like a giant album trailer, with no new artworks made for the video (except for the rotating Shion sequence, which is used at least 4 times in the entire video). It doesn’t give anything and, to be entirely honest, if you watched the short version you basically watched the entire video. It could have been cool if they made a crossfade PV instead, for a bit of change.

Aaaaand that’s all for this small journey! I hope we’ll get a new PV collection DVD one day, with all the missing videos and some good new ones.

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