Welcome, one and all, to another poll! With the brief downturn on how much I’m posting, I didn’t manage to make this a fortnightly one, but we’re hopefully back on track for that now.
Last time, I asked, what was the most shocking anime death? The results were actually quite shocking themselves, at least to me. For one, neither Sasha nor Kamina got a single vote. Meanwhile, Mami and Nina Tucker both received a small number of votes. There was definitely a clear winner though: L in Death Note. Looks like the death of the main hero was a surprise for everyone!
Now, this time, I’m going to ask you something a little different. I’m a big fan of the supernatural, and there’s no shortage of interesting folklore across the world. So, seeing as I cover a lot of content that originated in Japan here, I’m asking… What is your favourite yokai?
Yokai, for those that don’t know, are spirits in Japanese folklore, and their name is made from the kanji for bewitching and spectre. Despite their name sometimes being translated as ‘demon’, they aren’t really easy to classify in terms of a good vs. evil binary. In fact, they’re really quite diverse. On top of that, you will have no doubt seen plenty of them in anime and manga. So, let’s have a look at the options.
These fox spirits are known as shape-shifting tricksters and are easily the most well-known yokai outside Japan. Stories have often depicted them taking the form of an attractive woman in order to take a human lover, though this isn’t always the case. Most commonly, they’re shown to have a mischievous streak. The picture above is of Tenko Kūgen from the anime Our Home’s Fox Deity.
Much like the kitsune, Tanuki are thought of as shapeshifting tricksters. One thing you may not know though is that a tanuki is a real mammal known as the Japanese raccoon dog, and the yokai is actually called a Bake-danuki. What sets them apart from the kitsune is that, while the foxes often shapeshift to tempt humans, tanuki do so to make them seem foolish. The picture above is of Koyuzu Shigaraki from the anime Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs.
The Kappa, sometimes known as water tigers, are green, human-like beings that are said to attack humans in the water. The reason for these attacks is to remove the mythical shirikodama organ. They’re also known to drown horses, so you could well believe that they’re a bit of a menace. For that reason, families sometimes carve their names into cucumbers – the Kappa’s favourite snack – and float them down the river as an offering. The picture above is of Kappa from the anime Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan.
Though sometimes shown as a monstrous bird, the tengu is perhaps most well-recognised as a large, red-faced human with a long nose. They can be seen as troublesome spirits, and the opponents of Buddhism, or even as protective spirits. They are also said to be highly skilled in combat. The picture above is of the more bird-like tengu, Bad Bird, from the anime Samurai Pizza Cats.
These giant, horned ogres were once entirely viewed as evil spirits. In modern times, they are sometimes depicted as being used to dispel bad luck, much like Western Gargoyles. Whichever way you look at them though, they’re terrifying creatures. The picture above is of Orgemon from the anime Digimon Adventure.
Of course, you may prefer another yokai. So, I’ve included an ‘other’ options again. Regardless though, give a vote in the poll below, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!