What do you feel it is that ultimately divides Yukari, Kasen, and Okina as Sages of Gensokyo? (i.e. their philosophy, their intentions for Gensokyo, etc?) Also, what roles do you feel each one of them played in its creation?
I’ve more or less covered this across multiple previous posts, but here:
Yukari: The gardener. Gensokyo is her garden and she wants it to be just perfect. However, she knows that ultimately she can’t directly control the growth of the plants, so she leaves things lying around the garden to direct their path. She’s willing to prune branches if necessary. Her goal, as mentioned, is to direct things towards some perfect end-state or cycle and keep it like that as long as possible. It’s unclear what that end-state is.
She is probably directly responsible for the creation and upkeep of the Great Hakurei Barrier.
Okina: The admin. She just wants things to work properly. She seems fairly hands-off regarding the precise goings-on in Gensoyko and spends most her time in the background, keeping the systems running. Until very recently anyway. We don’t yet know all that much about her relative to the other two, but I’d imagine she thinks of Gensokyo as primarily a means to an end. Preserve fantasy by whatever means necessary. If they happen to create something self-sustaining that doesn’t need sages, well, that’s fine too.
Her powers allow her to regulate lifeforce and spirit, however that works. I assume this is necessary in the same sense that regulating the flow of air and water is in a space shuttle: the closed space makes imbalances much more dangerous. She probably had to work overtime during the Spring Snow Incident.
Kasen: The philosopher. She’s concerned primarily with ethics. What is the right course of action? Not necessarily the most beneficial or most efficient. It sounds like she’s been gone for a while and only recently returned to see what had become of their experiment. And to her, that’s what Gensokyo is: an experiment. She has no ideological stake in its continuing existence, and she seems increasingly convinced that it was a failure. Maybe it’s time to tear it all down and find something better. I also can’t help but feel that she was somewhat against the idea from the beginning but was convinced to give it a shot. She’s the evil sage, from a certain perspective.
It’s not at all clear how talking to animals would help, but given that she has some connection with dragons I suppose it’s possible that she negotiated with the Dragon God. Also, as a hermit she has some experience with creating small artificial worlds.