6F (Northwest Segment): Find Iku and she will join
A fairly well-rounded character with some good supportive abilities, Iku's usefulness can vary greatly depending on who she's backing up. Her first two offensive spell cards carry only moderate damage output but come with very effective and delightfully high DEF debuffs, although she herself cannot take advantage of this. However, when paired up with characters who wield powerful physical attacks, this really begins to shine - especially if she supports those attackers with Thundercloud Stickleback, which is one of the best attack power boosts in the game, especially for composite attackers. The PAR effect will really slow you down if you're not careful, so make sure to equip PAR-resistance gear on anyone you intend on using it on, or have a healer capable of removing it - if you do, it's one of the fastest, safest ways to improve already awesome attackers. Her very high MND growth can make her a surprisingly good anti-magic tank, especially if you opt to use her purely for support and focus her bonuses in it. Either way, Iku can be surprisingly effective, but you'll need to make sure your party can take full advantage of her for her to really prove herself.
EVA -150% DEF, MND, SPD -25% PSN (45) PAR (30) DTH (30%)
Don't expect damage
Scythe that Chooses the Dead
500% ATK - 100% T.DEF
Note high damage and DTH%
Character Overview and Comments
7F: Find Komachi
8F: Find and defeat four Calamitous Spirits
7F: Return to Komachi
A tank who handles her job in a completely different way, using Komachi is different from using many other characters in the game. Her HP will dwarf that of any of the character in the game, but to make up for it she has nearly non-existant DEF and MND, meaning the only damage reduction she will gain is from her affinities, making raising them very important to her. It also means that many characters' healing capabilities that would be sufficient for some characters might have trouble offsetting the large amounts of damage Komachi will take, so she may have difficulty staying out for long. However, while she's out, she's very hard to take down and provides your first access to instant kill effects, which can be very useful for defensively tough enemies. On top of that, she has the highly useful spell card Narrow Confines of Avici. Though it'll almost never be doing damage, it provides a large number of smaller debuffs and brief paralysis, and after a couple of uses, vulnerable foes will be left helpless for the rest of your party to mop up. It doesn't flat-out replace the capabilities of characters who are better at debuffing many of those statistics, but its coverage of multiple aspects is definitely in Komachi's favor. Scythe that Chooses the Dead can deal decent damage if Komachi's ATK is boosted up, giving her another use when debuffing is simply not an option. Just remember that using defensive spell cards such as Reimu's Great Hakurei Barrier will give almost no boosts to Komachi's pitiful defenses--a sore spot that will stand out for Komachi more and more as the game progresses.
2F-8F: Find a total of 8 events in which Cirno freezes a frog. On obtaining the last Frozen Frog, Suwako will attack. Defeat her
An unassuming nuke, Suwako is overall fairly frail to both magic and physical attacks, but can prove very useful so long as she survives. Both her magic and attack power are high, and she uses them for different objectives. Her MAG is used for her multi-target attacks, which are sufficiently powerful but not awe-inspiring, and carry defense-debuffing side effects, which combined with Suwako's decent speed making them useful openers for the rest of your party when clearing random encounters. Her ATK powers her single-target moves, where she can really begin to shine as a boss killer. Moreya's Iron Ring isn't too powerful, but packs a particularly potent PAR effect that can single-handedly lock vulnerable enemies in place, turning some otherwise dangerous opponents into a cake walk. For others, she packs Croaking Frog Eaten by Snake, which is comparable to many of the best attacks in the game in power (and unfortunately delay) and also serves as the strongest NTR-elemental nuke in the game. Since both of her offensive stats are high and she is not a composite attacker, Suwako will continue to dish out loads of damage, even later in the game when enemies' DEF and MND are rising ever higher.
8F: After recruiting 20 characters in total, visit Sanae's location and defeat Sanae's rival
While at first glance you might think Sanae is similar to Minoriko, the two play very differently in practice. Where they are similar is that they are a bit frail side, they have average ailment resistances, and their stat growths are fairly similar (Sanae's are higher, but she levels notably slower), but it stops there. Defensively, Sanae's affinities are more well-rounded than Minoriko's. Sanae carries a higher magic and higher damage potential on her attack formulas, but lacks the defense piercing aspect. Her supportive spells especially shouldn't be mistaken for being the same, either: her SP costs and delays are much greater than Minoriko's, meaning that despite her better MAG stat, her healing does not match the output and speed of Minoriko's healing. However, her healing will clear all ailments and debuffs off of a character, something that Minoriko cannot do, and her buffing spell raises offensive stats and even speed as well, making it a great way to power up a single character. While it's hard not to compare them, neither is always greater than the other, and your party composition can and will affect which will prove more useful to you.
8F: Find and defeat Nitori in another random encounter
8F: Talk to Nitori again
9F: Defeat Nitori as a boss
Sporting fairly low stats, Nitori doesn't seem to be a character with much potential at first, especially since the formulas on her two multi-target spells aren't all that stellar. Nitori's ability to clear out trash in random battles works well at first but becomes dwarfed by the similar abilities of other characters, especially since Nitori's SP is not high. However, in a boss fight, Nitori will prove herself surprisingly powerful. She can boost up her average speed to passable levels via Optical Camouflage (if you are willing to take the time and SP), but what really sets her apart from other nukes is her Megawatt Linear Gun spell card. While Marisa's Master Spark may dwarf Nitori's Gun spell card in damage multipliers, it also consumes all of Marisa's SP - something Nitori doesn't have to worry about. The formula on it - especially if you're playing patch 2.06 or later - makes it one of the most powerful nukes in the game, and backed by its non-elemental nature the Gun remains a reliable, powerful nuke against anything without an incredibly high DEF. The Gun alone is strong, but if you can back her up with switchers and possibly someone powering up her attack, you'll find her an astonishingly high damage dealer that can keep switching back in for more.
Active Characters: DEF, MND +20% Reserve Characters: DEF, MND +15%
Also buffs reserve characters
Banquet of 12 General Gods
Active Characters: ATK, MAG +20% Reserve Characters: ATK, MAG +15%
Also buffs reserve characters
Character Overview and Comments
1F: Recruit Chen
9F: Defeat Reisen in front of the 10F Stairs
Ran is required to complete the game.
Ran is an incredibly useful party member in almost any party configuration. For starters, while her offensive spells don't start out stellar, they also aren't terrible and can be used reliably for clearing random encounters if she has enough MAG, particularly Princess Tenko earlier in the game and Fox-Tanuki Youkai Laser later. She also boasts above-average ailment resistances, affinities and defensive stats, making her surprisingly robust although not strong enough to serve as a dedicated tank. This in particular is important to her, as one of her most useful capabilities is her supportive spells. They have the unique property of also buffing party members not in the active row (although with slightly reduced effectiveness), so even if they don't appear to be huge buffs, the total amount she is increasing your party's stats is much higher than it might initially look, and if you rely on powerful but generally more frail characters, the ability to buff them without needing them to be in danger is invaluable. The catch, of course, is the huge bite each buff will take out of Ran's SP, which will restrict her for quite a while and limit her to one or two uses before needing to rest. However, once her SP is higher, she can sit out on the field or be switched in multiple times for a few turns at the start of a long battle and pump up your party's defenses and/or offensive power, giving you a full party of characters who can come out looking their absolute best. Aside from defensive buffs, players that prefer using characters that strike hard and fast will find the non-elemental spell card Soaring En no Ozuno to be a truly wonderful gem, especially given its low delay and Ran's startling high SPD. Her ATK growth is surprisingly high for a MAG user, and if boosted up then Soaring begins to start adding up surprisingly high amounts of damage very quickly, especially against bosses and otherwise lone enemies which take no reduced damage from Soaring's usual row-target weakness.