Sanae Kochiya is a character from the Touhou Project games.
A human wind priestess from outside of Gensokyo hailing from Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture, she runs the Moriya Shrine and serves both Kanako and Suwako dutifully. During her life before entering Gensokyo she was worshiped as a god in her own right, and she has been having a bit of an identity crisis after moving from a world in which her abilities made her special to one where they are mundane.
In the XP4 fics, Sanae is a member of the Unlikely Heroes and ally to the Heroes Coalitions.
In her first appearance in Mountain of Faith she wears a blue and white outfit similar to a shrine maiden's, with the blue areas covered in light blue polka dots and stripes. She has long light green hair, and yellow eyes (green in Undefined Fantastic Object and Ten Desires, blue in Touhou Hisoutensoku portraits). In Mountain of Faith, she wears a snake-shaped hair accessory wrapped around her hair on one side, and a blue headband with a frog's head on it (both probably meant to represent Kanako Yasaka and Suwako Moriya), however, in every subsequent appearance after MoF, she has instead worn a hair clip shaped like a frog's head. She carries a gohei with straight paper decorations as opposed to the typical gohei.
In Ten Desires her hair color is slightly paler, and she wears a shorter skirt with maroon-colored boots instead of aquamarine-colored shoes.
Sanae is confident, energetic and dutiful, sometimes too much so, and tends to get carried away easily or have trouble thinking for herself. She also appears to be something of a geek, making references to popular culture and having knowledge of advanced scientific concepts. As someone who grew up in the Outside World, much of Gensokyo seems strange and novel to her; she finds unusually great fun in exterminating youkai and solving incidents, seeming to view herself as the hero of a fantasy novel or video game. Multiple characters have noted that Sanae's dismissive attitude towards youkai and youkai power makes her too much like a youkai herself. The simple fact that she is adjusting to life in Gensokyo makes her an extremely rare case.
- Ability to Cause Miracles
Sanae is capable of invoking miracles through her godly heritage, and many of her spell cards are themed after miracles of various religions or odd events. It's mainly the manipulation of weather, and also seems to use it in prayers for rain. The "miracles" that she can invoke are not related to good or bad fortune – they are merely events that have a very low chance of occurring. Before invoking a miracle, she needs time to prepare it proportional to how unlikely the miracle is. Simple ones can be invoked with a single word, while the most complex can take days.
- Abilities as a Shrine Maiden
Sanae is a shrine maiden, but of a different type to Reimu Hakurei. Like Reimu she is capable of summoning gods, granting her some of their powers; while she relies on this ability much more than Reimu, she is only capable of summoning her patrons: Kanako Yasaka and Suwako Moriya.
- Sanae seems to have a relatively low alcohol tolerance compared to other characters. In one of the endings of Mountain of Faith, she gets extremely nervous when informed of the constant drinking parties the tengu will hold, with the narrator commenting she'll just have to put up with it, and in Wild and Horned Hermit chapter 19, she's constantly distressed about being made to drink.
- In Mountain of Faith, her spell card Sea Opening "The Day the Sea Split" is extremely similar to Alice Margatroid's second attack in Mystic Square's Extra Stage.
- One of Sanae's Spell Cards in Touhou Hisoutensoku strongly resembles Shin Akuma's "Misogi" from Capcom vs. SNK.
- In her last stage of Touhou Hisoutensoku, despite the fact that Sanae is fighting against Suwako Moriya, Sanae can still use skills summoning Suwako to her aid (e.g. Using Summon Earth's God: Metal Ring), to attack Suwako.
- In Touhou Hisoutensoku Sanae's character portrait shows her having blue eyes, but her sprite has yellow eyes.
- Also in Touhou Hisoutensoku, Sanae has alternate colors that resemble Rumia's, Fujiwara no Mokou's and Mystia Lorelei's outfits. Conversely, one of Reimu's alternate colors resembles Sanae.
- Sanae appears in a promotional flyer wearing a school uniform.
- When in Wild and Horned Hermit a conversation occurred about a "electric rat", a thought bubble showed up with a censored Pikachu from Pokémon.
- Sanae's absences in Hopeless Masquerade and Double Dealing Character were not anticipated by fans, in spite of her many appearances in previous games and manga: Undefined Fantastic Object, Touhou Hisoutensoku, Ten Desires and Wild and Horned Hermit. ZUN directly stated that he hasn't include the Moriya Shrine cast in recent games without reason. However, there'd be explanatory descriptions about the absences through official works:
- Sanae complains that Kanako Yasaka (or possibly them) not taking action in those two incidents in Wild and Horned Hermit chapter 19. Kanako replies kindly that she must calm down, and in another scene, tells her the settlement of negotiation with the tengu about the installation of an aerial tramway; she remarks that she or they've been always busy for completing it. Along with Sanae also knowing the negotiation has been very long, it should be implied that Kanako stopped Sanae from taking action on the incidents for some reason: for example, because Kanako wanted to concentrate her mind on the negotiation, because Kanako couldn't find it worth doing to take action in the incidents, or something else.
- To add the reason of her absence of Double Dealing Character, Marisa points out to Sanae, in Wild and Horned Hermit chapter 19, that Sanae hasn't used her tool regularly; in other words, it isn't so well-used as to build its own ego and to get in rampage.
- Her sigil resembles the Star of David from Judaism.
- According to Kanako in Symposium of Post-Mysticism, Sanae hails from Lake Suwa of Shinano Province.