Aaaaaand yeah. I decided to delay the new part of the rank(o)ing. As an apology, I want to bring you a small and lighter article I had in mind for a long time.
If you follow BUTAOTOME not just for their Touhou stuff, you probably have already noticed the girls who are on the cover of their original albums (and not just them). These girls, all drawn by Ane, are pretty much the symbol of the Buta Original World. For The Pig, they are pretty much just “cover girls” with no personality nor backstory, but some of the more hardcore Japanese fans even decided to give them a bit of personality and make some fanbooks about them!
In this article I want to talk about these girls – their official appearance, their “name” and some small headcanons.
The very first original girl is the so-called “Dilemmako”, from the dilemma jacket on the rhythm game SOUND VOLTEX. As you can see she has a very different design from the others: the concept of cover girl wasn’t in Ane’s mind yet. She is usually depicted as the elusive and mysterious one.
These five girls symbolized the first era of BUTAOTOME’s originals. Each one of them appears on the cover of an original album and is named after their respective release.
Each one of them is associated with the songs from their albums, as well as a few other ones from rhythm games. Chessko is in the jacket image of Kakera (GITADORA) while Billiardsko is in the one of Masshiro na Kutsu (SOUND VOLTEX – interesting how one of the barefooters was picked for a song named “pure white shoes”). Hanafudako is lucky and got two songs: Heisei Kaisei Dottenshan (Groove Coaster) and Deguchi Iriguchi (GITADORA). And at last, Doubtko is on the jacket for Tanpopo (GITADORA). All of them got a new illustration for those images, except for Hanafudako on Heisei Kaisei Dottenshan, which just uses an edited version of the Hanafuda cover. While Bowlingko still doesn’t have any exclusive image, she was featured in the jacket images of the four songs from her album in the mobile version of Reflec Beat. She even got some shiny forms in those jackets!
In the picture above we can easily see that there was an evolution in style. Bowlingko and Chessko are quite similar (I used to think they were the same person), but then Ane managed to make all the others unique. I love how Hanafudako has the most “generic” outfit, but she has a freaking chainsaw! She might be a bit yandere…
These girls also got some of the coolest official goods ever. A replica of Bowlingko’s t-shirt was sold exclusively at the Circus live in November 2012, while a pouch featuring the five cover girls was sold at the Gohoukoku ga arimasu live in December 2016. I already have the pouch, but I hope The Pig will reprint both of them and maybe also make more original goods (in both meanings).
BUTAOTOME momentarily stopped releasing original albums after Doubt, but that didn’t mean that they stopped making original-centered stuff, and we got some new girls in the gap between doujin and major. Starting with Kashiramojiko, the girl who was featured in the Kashiramoji of Songs live and its promotional material. The only one to not have a standing pose. She is associated with Mondai (the song from the exclusive disc of the lives), Radical Shoujo and Motelab. (due to them getting their public debut during those lives). Kashirako (sorry, she has a long-ass name) is also featured on the Radical Shoujo jacket from Gitadora. She is the true Radical Girl! Then we have the two girls on the cover of the BUTAOTOME Fanbook released in 2016: Boushiko and Moniko. Their names come from their most distinctive objects: hat and morning star.
Boushiko is the girl on the front cover of the fanbook. She is associated with it, the song Kiraware and the Trauma Laundry live. She is often depicted as the most mature girl of the bunch. I imagine her as a cool aunt!
Moniko is on the reverse side of the Fanbook cover. She is associated with it, the song Otona Gum and the Lucky Train live. You may also have noticed that she is the avatar for this website in the various social media. Before the fanbook was announced, Tiramisu Cowboy’s Twitter simply had the girl from the newest Touhou album at the time. When the fanbook was first revealed, she was shown before Boushiko (before the reveal of a second girl, she was known as “Fanbookko”) and I liked her design a lot. The fanbook was a big deal, so I decided to change the avatar (which was the ugly Clownpiece from Getsumen Tansa) with her. Time passed, newer Touhou albums became the latest big thing… but I didn’t want to change the avatar. For some reason, I felt bad at the sole thought of changing her with any Touhou character. I felt she was just fitting as the avatar of the website. And thus, I decided to use her everywhere. I love how her design is simple yet detailed. She also has quite an “urban” feel that fits my imagery of BUTAOTOME’s original songs. And she has a freaking morning star, but I don’t picture her as a yandere. Well… except for that one time I imagined a visual novel/dating sim with the original girls, but it was right after I read stuff about Doki Doki Literature Club and similar games.
The cover girls concept wasn’t abandoned with the major albums! So far we got two new girls…. or maybe four. It’s up to your interpretation whether they are twins or just the same one with a different outfit, but I’m going with the latter. I think the fan nicknames for the Furubokko girls as twins are “Tenguko” and “Tonboko”, from the things they are holding. Similar to the cover girls from the doujin era, Furubokko (in her “CD version” outfit) got a new illustration in the jacket image of Toumei Justice from Konami’s GITADORA.
The latest additions to the Original girls family are Blackko and Whiteko, from the two 10th anniversary lives. One thing that makes them stand out is how they don’t have your typical colorful background of the original albums, and they are drawn in a more “sketchy” style. I like to think they are sisters, maybe twins. Also, I think they love playing Sound Voltex.
There are also some other girls featured in jacket images of some rhythm game songs (such as Rockstar Amy from Akarui Mirai’s image), but since they are not drawn by Ranko no Ane and they are more part of the “universe” of those games, I won’t talk about them.
Aaaand that’s all for this article. Do you like the cover girls’ design? What’s your favorite one and why is it Moniko? Do you have any headcanon about them? Let me know down in the comments!