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FOE “Field-On Enemy” is a parody of a type of enemy from the Etrian Odyssey series who appear at inopportune moments and are depicted as Orange, Red or White fuzzballs with a °д° face. It has commonly been associated with the Touhou Project.
On April 2007, a Flash animation by IOSYS satirized their annoying tendency to pop up at inopportune times during play and respawn every three days after being defeated. It turned them into a popular meme within Japanese image-board culture. IOSYS depicts the FOE as a literal monster rather than a placeholder: tribble-like orange fuzzballs with the °д° emoticon for a face. This has become the standard way of drawing them, although the nature of black and white doujinshi means white is a common alternate color.
An “FOE” is a special type of enemy from the Etrian Odyssey series. In-game, they are rendered in dungeons as Orange or Red spherical wisps of sorts and move either in a pattern or actively chase down the player. Once both the player and the FOE are on the same tile, the FOE will be engaged, and will appear as their normal monstrous forms.
In many videos, it will portray a Deer FOE of sorts. This is in reference to the ragelope, the first FOE you will encounter while playing the first Etrian Odyssey game.
It is worth noting that the ragelope and other FOEs are significantly stronger than normal enemies, and it is easy to be caught unprepared. It is common that one will venture to the next floor in the labyrinth before they are prepared to fight the stronger FOEs on the current floor.
Even in X, FOE!
Within the video, the line “Even during a boss fight, FOE!” is spoken. The phrasing has achieved memetic levels and is often applied whenever FOEs are featured outside of their (limited) relevant context.
FOEs are monsters exclusive to Etrian Odyssey, so that begs the question of how they got associated with Touhou.
One would assume it was just because the video was made by IOSYS, a group that has made many popular Touhou videos and remixes. It could also be attributed to the multiple Touhou references made within the video. However, that may not be the case, as it bears a considerable resemblance to the common fan depiction of kedama, A common Touhou enemy, which may have been the start of their association with Touhou.