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U.N. Owen Was Her? (U.N.オーエンは彼女なのか？) is the theme song for the Extra Stage Boss level stage in the Touhou Project, a series of vertical-scrolling 2D shooting games developed by Shanghai Alice. It is often considered the most popular song in the Touhou soundtrack as well as the most commonly used source music for MAD remix videos on Nico Nico Douga.
The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil is the 6th game in the series but the first to be released for the Windows operating system in 2002. U.N Owen was her? (U.N.オーエンは彼女なのか？) is the theme of the Extra Stage Boss, Flandre Scarlet. As a result, the song’s name is often referred to as “Flandre’s theme.” The song was originally composed by ZUN, the creator of the Touhou project.
The name “U.N. Owen” is an allusion to character names in the 1939 detective fiction novel And Then There Were None written by Agatha Christie. In the book, Ulick Norman Owen and Una Nancy Owen are a couple who host a dinner party on an island, albeit being absent throughout the night. Their names, which are shortened as “U.N. Owen,” can be read as a pun and a homophone for “unknown.”
Since the early 2000s, Touhou soundtracks have established itself as a popular source of MAD remixes in the Japanese online communities and “U.N. Owen Was Her?” was no exception. With its catchy and sometimes ominous melody, the song became one of the most remixed Touhou songs ever. One of its most famous remixes is Last Brutal Sister Flandre S (最終鬼畜妹フランドール･S, Saisyu Kichiku Imouto Flandre. S), first released at Comiket in December 2004 by doujin circle COOL&CREATE as the 11th track on the Touhou soundtrack. It is believed to be one of the first U.N Owen Was Her? remix ever created.
Nico Nico Douga users (NND) were among the first to sample the “U.N. Owen was Her?” in MAD videos, beginning in early 2007 with the upload of 第二回紅白夢寐合戦東方夢神楽. Many MADs continued to be uploaded within the Nico Nico Douga community.
However, the song didn’t reach the broader audience of YouTube until 2007, when it was paired with the footage of a Japanese McDonalds commercial in a MAD remix titled Ran Ran Ru. This peculiar MAD soon became known as “Ronald McDonald Insanity” or “Mcroll” and began circulating across the Japanese web as well as on YouTube in the beginning of 2008.
Having spread beyond the Nico Nico Douga community, other YouTubers adapted the song into the YouTube Poop Music Videos as well.
MADs / YTPMVs
Another popular type of remixes are vocal renditions with fan-created lyrics, due to the absence of lyrics in most Touhou background music.
Death Waltz by John Stump
On March 13th, 2010, the following video was uploaded onto YouTube:
Due to the song’s resemblance to U.N Owen was her?, some Touhou fans responded with assertions that it was a remix of the popular soundtrack. However, others speculated that it was an original composition titled “Faerie’s Aire and Death Waltz” by music composer John Stump, a composer known for his impossibly complex music sheets, that happened to sound similar to the Touhou song, even though the actual music sheet had little to nothing in common with the notes shown in the video. The fans were eventually proven right as it was revealed as a remix of another remix based on “U.N. Owen was Her” by COOL&CREATE.