[Touhou Video] Beyond that Door – What Does it Mean to Grow Up?

I found this video to be touching. Beyond that Door is a song by RD-Sounds based on Alice Margatroid‘s theme songs from the Touhou game Mystic Square. The lyrics and the video tell the story of Alice as a kid, when everyone around her tells her to grow up – however, when none of them can answer her when she asked what it really means. Which is understandable, how does one really explain what it means to grow up? How many people actually know what it means to grow up? Is there really a clear distinction in being an adult? Alice tries to think about it herself, but she couldn’t find the answer. In the end, Shinki (whom many in the Touhou fandom believe to be Alice’s mother, although there is no official word) gives her the key to the door and sets her off on a journey to find the answer for herself.

As a college student on the borderline between a teenager and an adult, this resonates with me a lot. I’ve said many times that I’m not ready to be an adult at all. It’s scary. As for what being an adult means, I agree that in the end we find our own answer and I think I’ve found mine. Being an adult doesn’t mean to stop having fun, or to give up odd hobbies or act a certain way. It means being responsible and self-reliant enough to set goals for yourself and work towards them without imposing too much on others. It means to be able to survive by yourself – you can rely on others sometimes, but not too much – and still being able to be happy with your life. At least, that’s what I think it means. I’m still not an adult yet, far from it. But I know I need to become one pretty soon.

The video itself is drawn and animated in a simple style, which I think is fitting because the message it’s giving is a simple and nearly universal one, yet has a heavy meaning to it. I love the music too. The simple piano notes at the beginning give off a sense of innocence, like a child that still doesn’t know what is out there in the world. The steady beat that comes up and coincides with Alice running gives the feeling of starting an adventure, before the other instruments come into play and the vocals take on a more upbeat style as the wonders of the greater world are discovered. The music feels really grand at the end where Alice leaves, and made me tear up with a mixture of happiness, wonder, awe, and a little hint of sadness.

I really enjoyed this video and song, and I hope you did too.

For those unfamiliar with Touhou, there are two distinct “era”s of the games – the PC-98 era (Touhou 1-5) and the Windows era (Touhou 6 and onwards), and canon isn’t continuous between the two though there are some overlaps. In PC-98 Alice appears as a small child, and the characters you see with her in the beginning are from that era. In the Windows era she appears as a grown woman, and the characters seen after she steps out the door are from this era and are characters she will meet.