Yukari Yakumo is a youkai who has the ability to manipulate boundaries. She first appeared in the phantasm stage of Perfect Cherry Blossom with Ran Yakumo serving her as shikigami. She is called the "gap youkai", although "gap youkai" is not the name of a species, as she is more of a one-of-a-kind type of youkai. She serves as the main antagonist for Gensokyo.
Her first appearance was in Perfect Cherry Blossom, where she is depicted with purple eyes and long blonde hair. She carries a pink lace parasol and a paper fan, and rides on a red boundary that leads to an unknown destination. She wears a deep purple dress, a pale pink mob cap with a thin red ribbon, and smaller ribbons tied liberally on her accessories and the tips of her hair.
In her appearances in Immaterial and Missing Power and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, her eyes have become dark golden. She wears a purple Chinese-style tabard with various Trigrams over a pale pink Western-style dress (similar to Ran's outfit), wears her hair coiled up into her mob cap, and usually carries a pink parasol. She wears the same outfit in Imperishable Night, but her hair is left loose. In the Japanese community this outfit is known as the "Taoist dress".
Yukari is known for being a very youkai-like youkai who sleeps all day and lives for the enjoyment of life. Though she rarely leaves her house, she's well-connected and is acquainted with most of the most powerful youkai as well as anyone having anything to do with the Hakurei Border or the outside world. She's possibly one of the most powerful youkai in Gensokyo and has a tendency to toy with her opponents rather than use her full power from the start. If anyone is suited for the role of "mastermind", it's Yukari, and she often has a great deal of insight and understanding about whatever happens in Gensokyo, and possesses considerable intellectual prowess, as well. Though she seems flaky and unreliable most of the time, when the safety or security of Gensokyo is at stake, she won't hesitate to get involved, even if it means using others to do the work for her. For example, in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, she treats Tenshi Hinanawi with much hostility after finding out the plot of the Heavens. She could easily be either a villain or a heroine, depending on her whims.
According to Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, she seems to rarely attack humans. She excels at mathematics and is experienced due to her long life.
Yukari deals with problems by manipulating others to act to resolve things for her. She seems to rarely act directly except in particularly egregious situations. In all cases, she rarely lets anyone know what her true aims or goals are, and sometimes these goals are extremely abstract. Yukari has a well-deserved reputation of being fickle, whimsical, and lying often, and thus many characters in Gensokyo dislike her. For whatever reason, Yukari takes it all in stride and does not seriously deny any of those comments. She seems to actively try to keep her more obviously-altruistic actions a secret, such as her donations to the Hakurei Shrine in Strange and Bright Nature Deity. She possibly cultivates this image to ensure that people continue to fear her as a youkai, as this is what her true goal for a particularly complex gambit is revealed to be at the end of Cage in Lunatic Runagate.
In Act III of The Quest For YouTube, Yukari demonstrates a more sadistic and evil attitude. This is mainly due to the manipulation done to her by the God of Chaos. After her defeat, she reverts to her usual self.
Yukari is skilled in Onmyoudou, the Taoism-derived arts of traditional Japanese court wizards, and specialises in spells which create and manipulate barriers (presumably due to overlap with her innate abilities). Yukari has been able to teach some of her spells to Reimu Hakurei, whose own techniques have similar roots.
Yukari also displays great aptitude with shikigami, binding a powerful kitsune and numerous lesser servants at once. As Shikigami are strongest when following orders, Yukari must also be skilled at giving the correct orders to fully maximize her shikigamis' potential. In an interview with Aya Shameimaru, Ran Yakumo states that despite sleeping most of the time, Yukari is capable of giving orders no one else would think up the instant she opens her mouth, and Yukari uses complex equations to increase Ran's power indefinately (This manner of using shikigami is likely one of the reasons Yukari views computers and shikigami as one and the same).
Yukari is capable of sensing and repairing damage to the Great Hakurei Barrier, and is widely believed to have aided in its construction (Yuyuko Saigyouji states that Yukari could not have done so herself). Yukari is also capable of seeing (and seeing through) boundaries that are normally invisible; when the Human Village was displaced from history by Keine Kamishirasawa, Yukari was still able to see it. It's shown that Yukari can also control the boundaries and bend them to her will as seen in Immaterial and Missing Power when she adjusted the sky by manipulating the border between the daylight and moonlight to unite the day and the night. Hieda no Akyuu writes in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense that "manipulation of boundaries" is theoretically a godlike power which would allow Yukari to create or destroy anything, but that all the stories about it are impossible to confirm.
The most common application of Yukari's boundary manipulation abilities is opening "gaps" (すきま sukima) which act as portals between two places, appearing as gashes in space filled with eyes (and sometimes arms). The description of Yukari's Magic Eye "Laplace's Demon" spell card implies that Yukari can see using the eyes in her gaps, as well. Many of Yukari's portraits depict her holding, sitting on, or emerging from such gaps. There are limits to the kinds of places Yukari can connect with her gaps; she required multiple trips to reach Heaven in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, while in Silent Sinner in Blue she could only create a gap to the Moon under highly specific circumstances (and had to travel much of the distance to the Lunar Capital on foot). She is, however, capable of travelling between Gensokyo and the Outside World. Yukari can create gaps through which only she can pass, or through which anything can pass.
Yukari is stated in Perfect Memento to have the strength that you'd expect from a youkai, which is generally beyond the average human's strength. The extent of an average youkai's strength is never really specified, but there are several examples and statements which show Yukari's strength. In Curiosities of Lotus Asia Chapter 12, Yukari's hand is able to effortlessly block and brush aside a mallet swung by Rinnosuke with all his might, leaving the half-youkai shocked that a small slender feminine hand was able to pull off such a feat. Rinnosuke described it as if feeling like he hit a pillow. Hong Meiling in one of her Touhou Hisoutensoku win quotes, presumably after punching and kicking Yukari a lot, also notes that she felt a odd resistance from Yukari's body, to the point where she wondered if Yukari was wearing something else under that presumably delicate dress of hers. Yukari states in her own win quotes in Immaterial and Missing Power that she has no weaknesses, and even shooting, cutting, stabbing, hitting, and killing her is useless.
From various descriptions of Yukari's spell cards, many of her danmaku consists of light attacks, concentrated spirit power (for her manjis according to Scarlet Weather Rhapsody and assumedly her butterflies in Sinister Spirits: "Double Black Death Butterfly"), or even just attacking with "boundaries" and gaps. Her ability to transport objects via gaps also allows her to use almost any physical object as danmaku, including road signs and even an abandoned runaway train. Attacking with her parasol is not out of the question, and she sometimes uses her shikigami Ran Yakumo and Ran's shikigami Chen as projectiles (that can fire danmaku of their own) for her spell cards. Some of the names and descriptions from Grimoire of Marisa for her spell cards implies she's capable of attacking with metaphorical concepts.
The Quest for YouTubeEdit
Yukari first appears as the YouTube Poop Unification Squad, Reimu, and Marisa head for Muenzuka while searching for the gem. She shows them she possesses what they seek, but won't give it up unless they entertain her. She conducts a test where the squad had to fight someone: they win, they get the gem, they lose, she turns it over to Anonymous. She pulls Rumia through one of her gaps and forces her to fight them. However, she's too weak to stand up to her opponents, so Yukari removes her ribbon, revealing Rumia's EX side. This new threat proves to be too much for the squad, death is imminent. Well, it would've been had Yukari not put the ribbon back on. She gives the squad the gem anyway, telling them they shouldn't believe everything told to them.
In the events between Act II and Act III, Yukari becomes infected with the malice of the God of Chaos, influencing her to try to awaken the Saigyoku Ayakashi in the underworld. She brings up this plan to her friend, Yuyuko Saigyoji, and they begin to execute it. The Unification Squad, Reimu, and Marisa run to the underworld where they battle both Yuyuko and Youmu before confronting Yukari. However, she didn't come alone, and brought both Ran and Chen. After defeating the shikigami, they turn their attention to the gap youkai, who does everything in her power to defeat them. After getting pummeled, the malice that infected Yukari disappeared, returning her to her former shelf, almost completely unaware of what she had done. Her defeat managed to restore the Gensokyo Gem.
Yukari later appears as an opponent for Mutant Rampage Bodyslam, sometimes teaming with Ran and Chen, or with Yuyuko.
- Yukari's battle theme is actually the title screen music from "BloodOver: Nobody Lives."
- The entire scenario for Gensokyo's Act III was based off of Solkenneth03's New Age MUGEN season three finale where the main character battled Yukari at the Saigyoku Ayakashi. The only difference was Ran and Chen were not present.
- Though Yukari mentioned she allowed Anonymous into Gensokyo, there's no evidence that proves she did. She could've been lying, as she usually does.