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Youkainote  are a widely-varied collection of various supernatural creatures that pop up in Shinto religion. They have a lot in common with The Fair Folk. Some youkai are good, others are evil, and many are different. Some are mischievous, others avoid humans entirely. Shinto is an animist religion, and youkai are often associated with natural features such as forests and mountains. This word is often translated as "demon" in Western translations, but since that term is generally associated with pure evil, that does not adequately describe the creatures in question — they are more like The Fair Folk, spanning the entire moral range between good, mischievous, neutral, and actually evil. The closest true Western equivalent is probably that of the ancient Roman genii or spirits.

Supernatural creatures drawn from Western sources often turn out to seem more like youkai in Japanese works. For instance, vampires.note  In the West you've got Nosferatu — a grotesque, undead monster who burns in sunlight and murders to preserve his hideous unlife. In Japan you've got exceptionally cute Fanservice protagonist Moka Akashiya, who is not undead, harbors no ill-will towards the sun, and drinks tiny amounts of blood that leave her "victim" light-headed at worst, but who has a Superpowered Evil Side who can (and will if you look at her the wrong way) kick your ass thoroughly.

Henge, a subset of youkai, are magical animals with Shapeshifting powers and human intelligence. They often assume human form and get into all kinds of mischief. Kinds of henge include Kitsune, Tanuki, and Nekomata.

Obake is another Japanese word that can indicate some type of monster. Derived from the word for “to change”, it generally covers the subset of youkai that includes shapeshifting animals (hence the terms bake-gitsune, bake-neko, etc.) as well as Animate Inanimate Objects. Confusingly, however, the word obake can also be used to refer to ghosts, also known as yuurei. See Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl for more information.

Ayakashi is a word which is roughly synonymous with "youkai" in current day usage, though traditionally it referred to a ghost that appears at sea during a shipwreck.

Many types of youkai were codified during the Edo period in the works of Toriyama Sekien. The genre of manga that deals with Youkai was founded by Shigeru Mizuki (1922—2015), who was obsessed with Youkai ever since he was a child. The Trope Codifier of modern youkai manga is his ever-popular GeGeGe no Kitaro that has received an anime adaption at least once a decade since it was written.

The list presented below is by no means complete. Many types of Youkai are exceedingly rare to find in modern media and so are not included. On the other hand, some have garnered enough examples to warrant their own pages.

Youkai with their own pages:

  • Hitodama
    Wispy lights that hover around ghosts and possessed people.
  • Kappa
    A "river goblin" resembling a cross between a monkey and a turtle.
  • Karakasa
    An old umbrella come to life.
  • Kitsune
    Foxes, treated in mythology as having great supernatural powers.
  • Oni
    A huge, muscular humanoid, similar to ogres.
  • Onryo
    A vengeful female ghost, usually with long, stringy black hair and pale skin.
  • Orochi
    A giant, multi-headed snake.
  • Tanuki
    A real animal also known as the "raccoon dog", treated in mythology as a shapeshifting trickster.
  • Tengu
    Mountain-dwelling humanoids which either have long noses or resemble crows.
  • Yuki-onna
    A pale snow spirit lady.
  • Zashiki-warashi
    A childlike spirit that should be cared for to keep the one's house in good fortune.

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Nekomata: A seemingly ordinary cat that develops magical nature through long life. It looks like an ordinary house cat except for the tail, which splits into two at half-length. While much smarter than it used to be, a nekomata remains just as whimsical, which may be dangerous with its new-found powers of illusion and necromancy. It's said a cat will become a nekomata after turning 100 years old, where upon its tail splits, it starts using human speech, somehow gains transformation powers, a greater intelligence, and other odd abilities. The name is often used and confused for catgirls. May be a Mega Neko.

A more general term for cat youkai is bakeneko, but almost all modern depictions of bakeneko will at least allude to the nekomata's signature split tail.

The Kasha, a mysterious grave-robbing youkai, is usually depicted as a nekomata Wreathed in Flames (specifically Hellfire).

     Nekomata Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Blue Exorcist: Rin's familiar Kuro (Blacky) is a two-tailed Cait Sith, and can grow to become gigantic.
  • Digimon: The X-Antibody version of Tailmon is two-tailed.
  • Hyper Police: Natsuki, the Cat Girl protagonist, is revealed to be a nekomata in a moment of anger (her tail splits in two)
  • Kirara in InuYasha takes the form of a two-tailed kitten that can transform into a massive feline beast.
  • One episode of Kamichu! has a cat named Tyler who is leader of a "city of the cats" where all cats can walk upright and speak. Later, he is explicitly revealed to be a nekomata while tag-team wrestling.
  • In Mokke, one episode centers around a nekomata.
  • The two-tailed demon-beast in Naruto is a two-tailed cat.
  • Omamori Himari: One of the protagonists is a shapeshifting cat.

Fan works

  • Axis Powers Hetalia fanfics Hakkōna and Kaitō Kokoro: Kiku is basically a Henge version of a nekomata known within both stories as a nekomataneko with the "nekomata" referencing the nekomata characteristics and the "neko" referencing the base human form with cat features.

Literature

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: The Cheshire cat may or may not be 100 or so years old, and he clearly doesn't have two tails, but he's otherwise a surprisingly close Western analogue to the nekomata. This is almost certainly a case of Strange Minds Think Alike, since it's unlikely Lewis Carroll would have heard of the Nekomata.
  • Eight Million Gods: The mother of one of the main characters is one.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • Pathfinder: Nekomatas are malevolent, panther-sized two-tailed cats with magical powers: chiefly, they can flawlessly mimic the appearance of a human they successfully damage with their bite attack and can animate and control undead creatures. They use their shapeshifting to infiltrate families and destroy them from the inside, seeking to ruin their reputations before killing them off and moving to another target. In-Universe legends claim that nekomatas are formed from cats who live beyond their natural lifespan, becoming malevolent two-tailed spirits and inflicting their first manipulations on the family that cared for them.

Videogames

  • BlazBlue: Jubei and his daughter Kokonoe (a Cat Girl version of this). Appropriately, the latter does bring people back from the dead, although since magic is commonplace in that world she uses science to keep the mysterious powers theme. Iron Tager is the result. The character Hakumen contemptuously calls them both "bakeneko" (monster/ghost cat), which in Japanese mythology is a general term for any cat Youkai. The video games translated this word as "grimalkin" in an attempt at a Cultural Translation (which failed, since "grimalkin" is about as obscure as "bakeneko" to an American audience). Official subtitles for BlazBlue: Alter Memory use "Goblin Cat" instead (which is more accurate and conveys Hakumen's insulting tone).
  • Found in the Disgaea series (and are used in quick leveling tricks in BOTH the first and second ones). They are more Cat Girls, however. They are capable of producing offspring with humans, as Rutile is half nekomata.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: Miike, the protagonist of the Muramasa: Rebirth DLC "Fishy Tales of the Nekomata", is a nekomata who can transform into a two-tailed cat, a Cat Girl, a gigantic, monstrous two-tailed cat, and a floating head made up of cats.
  • Saint Purrtrick from Neko Atsume is one of these, hence his two tails and "Ethereal" description. His Japanese name is even "Nekomata-san".
  • Pokémon: Espeon and Meowstic are Psychic-types based off of this legend. Espeon is the one most tied to the original myth, down to the forked tail.
  • Touhou: Chen and Orin from the Touhou Project. Orin, though, is a Kasha, a different type of youkai cat.

Web Original

  • Compared to other werecats in the Monster Girl Encyclopedia, the Nekomatas are rather tame and even give up on a man should he refuse her advance. They are still monsters though, and will eventually assault their prey to take his spirit energy. Unlike in the myth, Nekomata in this series are this way since birth. And since this world is filled with Cute Monster Girls, her forms are inverted, with the human form being the true one.


Tsukumogami: Inanimate objects that come to life after a hundred years. These can range from weapons to clothes to umbrellas. Well-known traditional examples include karakasa (paper umbrellas), ittan-momen (a floating strip of cotton cloth), biwa-bokuboku and koto-furunushi (stringed musical instruments) and burabura (lanterns). Strangely, they avoid electrical energy in common folklore from the 1940s and it is said that no modern object could ever become a Tsukumogami.

     Tsukumogami Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Bob from Bob in a Bottle disguises himself as one, sometimes.
  • Asagiri no Miko has two Tsukumogami among its characters.
  • GeGeGe no Kitaro has an ittan-momen whom Kitaro and his friends often ride on. It is weakened when it gets wet.
  • Ichimoku Ren from Hell Girl is a Tsukumogami; specifically, he is the spirit of a sword. He was given a human form by Enma Ai, so he could better work for her.
  • Yura of the Hair in InuYasha turns out to be a comb that became a youkai after being used to comb the hair of hundreds of corpses.
  • In Love Hina, there is the Tsukumogami called "Moe", a near life-sized doll/puppet who comes to life about halfway through the series, disappears after spending some time with Keitaro, and reappears in the sequel OVA Love Hina Again.
  • Omamori Himari features as one of its protagonists a Tsukumogami based in an English teacup.
  • Rinne features a "Tsukumogami sticker" which when placed on an object gives it the ability to talk.
  • In 3×3 Eyes, in the second part of the manga, an amnesiac Pai is targeted by living marionettes (who can take human form) who want to force her to make their "father" immortal (despite his death, a phenomenon that they cannot understand). To drive the point home, their creator's name is Soichi Tsugumo.
  • Tsugumomo revolves around these, both good and bad.
  • Tsukumo Happy Soul is a one-volume manga that involves Tsukumogami. While some are fairly normal, the main character's Tsukumogami is a pink vibrator she inherited from her mom that can turn into a boy. It is a bit ecchi, but it ran in a shonen magazine so it's more gag ecchi.
  • Ushio and Tora has a killer marionette Youkai who needs hearts from young women to charge its mechanism. Later on the author shows a rare example of "modern" Tsukumogami with Ikkaku, a swordfish-like, speed-eating demon born from a motorbike and forcibly possessing people to make it drive faster and faster.

Fan Works

Literature

Videogames

  • AdventureQuest Worlds has a place called the Yokai Junkyard filled with tsukumogami, the specific types being Bakezouri, Biwa-Bokuboku, Bura-Bura, Kara-Kasa and Koto-Furunushi.
  • Gaia Online: A variation of Tsukumogami, known as "The Animated", are the primary enemies in the Gaia Online MMO: zOMG!. Players can encounter animated Cotton Balls, Garlic Cloves, Purses, and even imperialistic Lawn Gnomes. Other enemies (including other youkai) exist as well.
  • In the Izuna games, not only are some of the standard Tsukumogami found as enemies, you can actually make your own! The more you use a weapon, the more its "LUV" stat increases. When it hits 100, you can burn in a Tsukumo talisman to turn the weapon itself into a talisman; anything you stick it on will gain that weapon's special abilities. (It only works on weapons, not armour.) Make enough of these and you can get all the best powers in the game on a single claw.
  • Several Pokémon appear to be based on Tsukumogami; unusually, some of these are modern objects, and indeed Electric-types. These include Magnemite (magnets), Voltorb (Poké Ball), Gardevoir (possibly anesama ningyou, a style of paper doll), Shedinja (the discarded exoskeleton of a Nincada after it evolves), Nosepass (Moai statue), Baltoy (shakokidogu), Shuppet (Teru Teru Bozu, a Japanese paper doll resembling a ghost), Banette (Voodoo doll), Bronzor (a bronze mirror), Bronzong (a bronze bell), Rotom's forms (refrigerator, lawnmower, oven, fan, washing machine), the Klink line (gears), Darumaka and Darmanitan (Daruma statues), Trubbish and Garbodor (garbage bags), Litwick (candle), Lampent (lantern), Chandelure (chandelier), the Vanillite line (ice cream cones), the Honedge line (swords) and Klefki (keychain). Though one would wonder how a candle or an ice cream cone would last the required hundred years without melting long before them.
  • Touhou:
    • Kogasa Tatara is a Karakasa. However, the umbrella creates a projection of a human-like body to carry around the umbrella itself.
    • Medicine Melancholy may or may not be a doll Tsukumogami.
    • Hata no Kokoro is a varation of this that's known as a menreiki.
    • Double Dealing Character introduces Benben Tsukumo, a biwa tsukumogami, Yatsuhashi Tsukumo, a koto tsukumogami, and Raiko Horikawa, a taiko tsukumogami (although she also has thunder god characteristics as well).
  • Yo-kai Watch features various yo-kai of this sort, such as hat yo-kai, remote yo-kai and umbrella yo-kai.

Unsorted


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/baku_by_katsushika_hokusai.jpg

Baku: A relatively benign example, being a creature with an elephant-like head that eats bad dreams. In modern Japanese the word baku can also refer to tapirs — when introduced to Japan, they bore such an uncanny resemblance to the mythological baku that they were assumed to be the same thing, and heavily influenced its later depictions. No relation to the capital of Azerbaijan.

     Baku Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Digimon: Digimon Adventure 02 has Bakumon, who goes by the name Tapirmon in the dub.
  • The baku from Hell Teacher Nube, instead of being a benign creature that eats nightmares, eats good dreams and leaves its victims in a state of utter, suicide-inducing despair. It's actually composed of hundreds of tortured souls who moan and writhe in the vague shape of a tapir.
  • In Naruto a baku appears as Danzou's summoning and looks like a huge, tuskless fierce elephant, able to suck anything in his trunk.
  • Nightmare Inspector has a baku for a main character, who helps rid people of their nightmares in return for being allowed to eat said nightmares.
  • Baku from Onegai My Melody, a tapir who has been known to eat black notes, which are basically manifested nightmares.
  • The second Urusei Yatsura movie and the chapter/episode it was loosely adapted from feature a baku.
  • Merry Nightmare from Yumekui Merry has powers revolving around dreams and nightmares, and she has a strong baku motif.

Comic Books

  • The Sandman: Baku make an appearance in The Dream Hunters.

Literature

  • Dragonology: Monsterology includes the baku in the chapter dedicated to terrestrial beasts. It's depicted as tapir-like creature with short elephant tusks, a black coat with large yellow dots, and the paws of a tiger, and is native to Japan and coastal China. While it does not eat nightmares, it's noted to have a profoundly soothing effect on people, similar to that experienced when petting a cat.
  • Paprika ends with the heroine getting rid of a destructive dream-turned-real this way.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • The baku of Legend of the Five Rings are malevolent. They still eat bad dreams, but they eat their victim's memories as well.
  • Pathfinder: Baku resemble floating, shaggy and tusked tapirs, and can when feeding choose to eat all of a person's dreams — causing them to wake up later exhausted and unrefreshed — or only their nightmares — which grants immunity to nightmare-inducing magic or dream haunting by malicious beings. They are mortal enemies of the dream-haunting night hags, and go to great lengths to hunt them down, fight them and prevent them from preying on sleeping minds.

Videogames

  • Animal Crossing: Luna from ''Animal Crossing: New Leaf]' is a baku, and fittingly runs the Dream Suite.
  • Tapir, the wizard from Cocoron, eventually turns out to be a baku who you have to fight in the game's final battle.
  • Dark Cloud 2 / Dark Chronicle features a mini-boss in Starlight Canyon called the Memo-Eater, an obese monster with a tapir's nose that possesses a girl and eats her memories.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, when a character wakes up from Sleep status on his or her own, a small baku comes by to "eat" their dreams away.
  • Onmyōji: They are called Dream Eaters (yume-kui).
  • The Final Boss of Parodius for the MSX is a baku named Bug (a Punny Name that works better in Japanese).
  • Pokémon:
    • Drowzee (and by extension it evolution, Hypno), a bipedal tapir-like Pokémon best known for eating dreams.
    • Munna, and Musharna are likewise tapir-based 'mons, and are themed quite heavily around dreams and sleep. They also take cues from cartoon "dream clouds".
  • Baku from Yo-kai Watch is one of the few yo-kai who didn't get a Dub Name Change. He is a purple baku who is said to put people to sleep before eating their dreams. In Yo-Kai Watch 2 he is a story character.

Webcomics


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/masasumi_kamaitachi.jpg

Kamaitachi: Weasel-like creatures that attack in trios: the first one knocks down a traveler with a gust of wind, the second cuts the traveler with its sickle-like claws (literally sickles or curved blades, in some depictions), and the third applies an ointment that stops the bleeding, leaving the victim with bloodless but inexplicably large and painful wounds. They're essentially the personification of the pain felt during a bitterly cold wind.

    Kamaitachi Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Izaya from Durarara!! jokes that he's a kamaitachi after shaving a thug's head with his knife in a split second.
  • The kamaitachi show up in Hell Teacher Nube in all their glory: the eldest sibling carries a cudgel to knock people over or inflict severe bruises; the middle sibling's forelegs are shaped like Absurdly Sharp Blades which can literally cut up anything and anyone; the youngest carries a jar filled with a mending balm. Makoto inadvertently takes the latter as a pet, and as the elder ones tried to find it they bring catastrophe to the town — nearly killing Nube by slicing him in half until Makoto finally releases the younger kamaitachi and it heals the teacher with its balm.
  • Naruto: Temari, a special technique that involves summoning a kamaitachi. She is the wind user, while the kamaitachi does the cutting. The only time it was used, the opponent was too dead to notice if the bleeding had stopped.
  • Itaku from Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is a kamaitachi that can appear as a ninja or as a weasel-faced demon.
  • The tenth movie of One Piece features, among the other creatures under Shiki's rule, the Tsujigiri Itachi (killer weasel), which actually wield small scythes with blades made from a Kenju (sword-tree) leaf.
  • Ushio and Tora: Two sets of kamaitachi siblings appear. The first help the heroes out (and one even falls for Tora, though he doesn't return it), the second are Psychos For Hire. Most notably, they can conjure their sickle blades from their bodies even when in human form.

Card Games

  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Yosenju archetype. Yosenju Kamaitachi is the gust of wind (it returns an opponent's card to the hand), Yosenju Kamanitachi cuts the opponent (it can attack directly), and Yosenju Kamamitachi applies the ointment (it adds a Yosenju to your hand).

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • Malifaux: Kamaitachi can be summoned by the Ten Thunders faction.
  • Pathfinder: Kamaitachi are malicious fey creatures resembling flying weasels with curved blades instead of legs, who delight in causing pain and suffering. They have the ability to delay the actual damage caused by their slashing claws — effectively, someone they cut won't actually start bleeding and hurting until the kamaitachi decides they should — and use this to force people to shame and demean themselves in exchange for their lives.

Videogames

  • Digimon World 3: Kyuukimon (not to be confused with the aforementioned Kyuubimon) and Reppamon of Digimon.
  • One of the Geomancer skills in Final Fantasy Tactics is a wind attack called Kamaitachi that can trigger the Paralyze (i.e. Don't Act) Status Ailment.
  • Ghosts 'n Goblins: Among the first enemies Sir Arthur faces in Ghouls 'n Ghosts are kamaitachi, depicted as small floating creatures with scythes that turn into tornados.
  • In La-Mulana, Kamaitachi first shows up as a Mini-Boss in the Graveyard of the Giants, and reappears in Hell Temple.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade features a series of swords, going from 3 Kamaitachi to 5 Kamaitachi. The user spins holding the sword out in a rainbow like arc, and the number indicates the total of clones plus the user that use the move.
  • Kamaitachi-style enemies appear in Namco × Capcom, and subsequently the Endless Frontier and Project X Zone games.
  • In Ōkami, the Kamaitachi (translated as Poltergeist) come in the form of three sickle-wielding weasels that can fight separately or join their weapons together to form a wheel of blades. Instead of just wind they can also use the elements of fire, lightning and ice.
  • Onmyōji: Appears as a monster and attainable shikigami as a weasel version of the Totem Pole Trench.


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tsuchinoko.gif

Tsuchinoko: A snakelike creature with a wide or fat body. It's mostly harmless to people, unless awoken from its sleep — in that case, its venom can fell a man instantly. Seems to have developed from sightings of snakes that managed to snare a particularly large meal.

     Tsuchinoko Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • In Kemono Friends, one of the Friends is a tsuchinoko. Appropriately, she's shy and likes to hang out in secluded areas.
  • Occult Academy: Several shorts exclusive to the DVDs center around a pet tsuchinoko kept by Maya and Ami.

Videogames

  • Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow: There's a tsuchinoko as a particularly elusive enemy that serves as a Metal Slime not because it drops a lot of money if killed, but because possessing its soul reduces prices at the shop. It appears in a single room, and not every time you enter it, and tends to disappear quickly.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: You can catch a tsuchinoko if you're lucky. Which is odd, since the game takes place in Russia. The team congratulates you when you do and you get an achievement (in the HD remake).
  • Pokémon: Dunsparce is a tsuchinoko with small wings and a rattlesnake-like tail. They are very elusive, and spend most of their time hiding in burrows and tunnels underground.
  • In Touhou canon, specifically Strange and Bright Nature Deity, Marisa adopted a rather cute tsuchinoko as a pet after chasing it out of a fairy's house.
  • One of Yo Kai Watch's Ensemble Darkhorses is a literal Tsuchinoko, named "Noko" in the English version. There's also a variant called Tsuchinoko Panda (named "Pandanoko" in English), who has a panda's black and white coloration.


Nurikabe: A monster that takes the form of an animate section of wall. It has the power to turn invisible, and likes to use this power to impede travelers. Interesting enough, its common depiction of being an animated wall is somewhat of a modern representation. Originally during the Edo period, one of its early depictions was that of a three-eyed grotesque vaguely dog-like creature. Over time, its depiction changed to a literal wall with limbs and very vague features.

     Nurikabe Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Petopeto-san has Nuri-chan, one of Hatoko's classmates. She is humanoid, but made out of concrete. Her little sister is more of a wall-shaped creature with arms and legs.

Live-Action TV

Videogames

  • In Ōkami, there’s a family of nurikabe that go by the name "Blockhead." They claim to be "the only one", though.
  • Bastiodon from the Pokémon series resembles the early depictions of nurikabe, being a stocky dinosaur with a large, flat face that acts as a shield.
  • Senran Kagura: Nurikabe (translated as "False Wall") is a name for an enemy in Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson, though it appears as a large Rock Monster with crystals sticking out of its body, one of them hiding a girl what has been fused into the monster.
  • Whomps and Wallops from the Super Mario Bros. series. In the Mario Party series, they often block pathways just like the real Nurikabe.
  • Yo-kai Watch has Noway ("Murikabe" in the original version). While it doesn't physically block people from passing through, it can make anyone it inspirits refuse to do anything they're asked to.

Other/Unsorted


Rokurokubi and Nukekubi: These two creatures are humanoid monsters; the Rokurokubi are human by day but have extremely elastic necks during the night, while nukekubi can detach their heads from their necks and float away in search of human flesh.

     Rokurokubi and Nukekubi Examples 

Anime and Manga

Comics

  • Hellboy:
    • The story "Heads" has Hellboy accidentally running across a household of Nukekubi. Needless to say, he hits them and pokes fun at them.
    • The OVA Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms includes a scene that's an almost word-for-word adaptation of "Heads". In another scene, Hellboy encounters female Rokurokubi.

Literature

  • The Fighting Fantasy gamebook Sword Of The Samurai has the protagonist visit an entire village of nukekubi, though the book mistakenly referred to them as rokorokubi.
  • At one point in Pact, Blake encounters a group of Others in the form of Japanese women who can "unspool" their internal organs into a long neck, or detach their heads entirely (though reattaching them is implied to be difficult). He notes that they don't seem very strong, and that the mage commanding them likely uses them as scouts rather than fighters.

Live-Action TV

Videogames

  • In Onmyōji, there is a creature called No-neck (kubinashi) whose head floats over his body. Appears as NPC, monster and attainable shikigami.
  • The viral Team Fortress 2 video nope.avi seems to reference rokurokubi. Or submarine periscopes.
  • Sekibanki of Touhou is officially called a Rokurokubi, but has flying head related abilities closer to a Nukekubi. However, her one spell card that directly references the Rokurokubi gives her flying head a stretchy neck.
  • Yo-kai Watch: Rokurokubi are one of the "Classic" Yo-Kai introduced in Yo-Kai Watch 2. The English version renames her "Lady Longnek".


Tsuchigumo and Jorougumo: These spiders are monstrous in size (as big or bigger than a man) that can take human form to seduce travelers. Jorougumo uses a lure to attract travelers to feed her offspring, and often has the power to allure men with a song. Others act as a Shapeshifting Lover. Tsuchigumo can also use illusions to keep his webs hidden and make people ill in order to feed on them.

In modern Japanese, "otsuchigumo" also refers to tarantulas, and "jorougumo" to the golden orb-weaver spider.

    Tsuchigumo and Jorogumo Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • The Kumogashira demons in InuYasha. Also the main villain, Onigumo/Naraku is strictly associated with spiders. A more traditional-looking spider demon with an ogre's head was used by Naraku to lure Sango's family into a trap.
  • Two female jorogumos appear in Wasurenagumo, a mother and a daughter. The mother is a Kaiju-sized jorogumo who appears with a monstrous human woman/spider appearance. The daughter is tiny and human-looking with an apparent spider-like lower body, which is never seen besides the spider legs.

Card Games

  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: A Punny example in the card Jirai Gumo ("Landmine Spider"), which lurks underground and pops out to attack people who pass by.

Film — Live-Action

Literature

  • Eight Million Gods: A jorogumo appears working for the villain.
  • It: Though it may have been entirely unintentional, the eponymous creature of Stephen King's novel has much in common with this particular brand of youkai. Its true form is a gigantic spider, and throughout the story appears in several humanoid shapes, most notably Pennywise the Clown. The balloons are strictly of King's invention, though.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • Pathfinder: Jorogumos are monsters resembling highly attractive humanoid women with spider legs sprouting from their backs, which they can retract or extend at will. They reproduce by seducing humanoid males, paralyzing them after copulation, laying an egg in their bodies, cocooning them and leaving them helpless and bound until the infant hatches and eats her way out of her father. The Pathfinder campaign setting has a country, Shenmen, ruled by jorogumos, who took over when its government collapsed and monsters overran it.

Videogames

  • The Ero-Game Atlach=Nacha has a jorougumo attempting to blend in with human society. She doesn't do very well with men, but meets a very nice girl...
  • A Tsuchigumo is fought in a web-filled castle room in Muramasa: The Demon Blade. He captures Torahime and her soldiers, and is fought alongside his children, who also appear earlier in the dungeon leading to him.
  • One of the mooks in The Ninja Warriors is named after the creature.
  • The first boss of Ōkami is based on the jorougumo (translated as Spider Queen). You later meet the tsuchigumo (Bandit Spiders) as Bonus Boss.
  • Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army: Tsuchigumo appears in the intro and as a summonable minion.
  • Tsuchigumo is the name of a boss in Sine Mora. Appropriately enough, it's a huge robot spider that fires out web-like Bullet Hell patterns.
  • Mimi in Super Paper Mario has some characteristics of a Jorogumo: her true form resembles a robotic Giant Spider, but she usually presents herself in less-unnerving, humanoid disguises.
  • Touhou: Yamame Kurodani from Touhou Project is a tsuchigumo.
  • Yo-kai Watch: Tsuchigumo (called Arachnus in English version) is a rare "Classic" Yo-Kai introduced in Yo-Kai Watch 2, while Jorogumo (called Arachnia in English version) is a Palette Swap of Tsuchigumo. Both are male instead of the traditional female.

Web Original

  • In the ''Monster Girl Encyclopedia', Jorogumo is a nice and harmless spider girl by day, but turns into a sadistic rapist when alone with her lover by night.

Western Animation

  • Gravity Falls: A jorogumo named Darlene appeared in the Season 2 episode "Roadside Attraction". She's never identified as one, but her basic appearance and modus operandi — a female spider-like monster who adopts a human guise to seduce and attract the men she preys on — fits the jorogumo myth quite nicely.


Raiju or "Thunder Beast" is lightning in a weasel-like shape: it's usually represented with many tails and/or legs, poisonous claws, and bright yellow and black fur. Can also appear as a dog, a monkey, a tanuki, a fox, or even a ball of fire and lightning.

    Raiju Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Cardcaptor Sakura: The manifestation of the Thunder card is Raiju, the Thunder Beast. It looks like a big electric wolf.
  • InuYasha: The Raiju Brothers Hiten and Manten. They're both humanoid (with Hiten being totally human-like while Manten has a monstrous head) and they do care for each other. The anime filler also introduces their little sister Soten.
  • Otome Youkai Zakuro: A raijuu goes berserk in the first episode, giving us a chance to see Agemaki's courage — and the half-youkai girls' ability to actually handle the situation.
  • One chapter of the Touhou manga Wild and Horned Hermit features Reimu and Marisa finding Kasen's pet raiju and becoming poisoned by its thunder.
  • While Tora of Ushio and Tora has been called a raijuu, his actual form looks more like a tiger, and lightning is only one of his Combo Platter Powers.
  • ×××HOLiC: A raiju appears in the form of a crazed lightning ball.
  • Shiro Amakusa in Yaiba turns into a giant, six tailed weasel with huge claws for his showdown with the Kid Samurai. However, it doesn't sport any thunder-related ability.

Videogames

  • Monster Hunter:
    • Rajang is a Thunder-type monster, can appear like a ball of thunder or fire, has yellow and black fur, and looks like the monkey-like depiction of the raiju. It has only one tail, which can be cut to make it lose power.
    • The Zinogre is also based on the raiju, being a wolf-like monster capable of generating powerful electrical shocks.
  • Pokémon: The Electric-type Pokémon Raikou and Manectric resemble Raiju. Thundorus is a literal interpretation of this creature.
  • Raiju appear frequently in Shin Megami Tensei games.


Nyuudou: Youkai that look like buddhist monks, commonly encountered on roads. They existed in many different varieties and were one of the favorite forms for youkai possessing Voluntary Shapeshifting powers to assume.

     Nyuudou Examples 
Mikoshi-nyuudou, Miage-nyuudou and Nyuudou-bouzu: A short monk who would grow taller as one looked at him until either one's neck was completely exposed from looking up at the nyuudou, at which point it would cut off one's head, or one fell backwards from trying to see how tall the nyuudou became, at which point it would laugh at you and disappear.
  • Touhou: Though only identified as a "Nyuudou"note , Unzan used to be the road roaming, size-shifting and decapitating kind of nyuudou before Kumoi Ichirin defeated him. These days he acts much like a Guardian Entity to her and his Megaton Punches and Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs are a popular source of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure references within the fandom.
Hitotsume-nyuudou: Just as its name indicates, this is a one-eyed, cylopic nyuudou.
  • In the Daily Life with Monster Girl anime, one of the listed sub-species for Cyclops/Monoeye is One-Eyed Monk, what is basically just a Monoeye who converted into Buddhism.
  • In Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Hitotsume Nyuudou is a member of the Nura Clan and the chairman of the One-Eyed Demon Clan. Four hundred years ago, he was part of Nurarihyon's Hyakki Yakkou and as a result of Kokehime's rescue, she became attached to him.


Wanyuudou: A burning wheel, frequently with a man's/monk's face serving as the hubcaps. Often lumped with the Buer from the Ars Goetia.

     Wanyuudou Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • One of Enma Ai's servants in Hell Girl is a Wanyuudou (name's the same). He can turn into a whole cart to serve as Ai's transportation to her targets. His human form is an old man with a pretty sweet hat.
  • The phantom beast Tonyuudo from Toriko is based on this creature. Like most things in Toriko's universe, the Tonyuudo's tears are edible and made of exquisite soy milk.

Videogames

  • AdventureQuest Worlds: Soultaker, the boss of Yokai Isle's Bamboo Forest, is a wanyuudou.
  • Castlevania: Several of these appear under different names as enemies in the series.
  • In Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Wanyudo is Momohime's second boss.
  • Mystical Fighter: The boss of Stage 3 is a wanyuudou.
  • Ōkami features fire, ice, electric, and wind wheels each with a different sensory organ on them, an eye, lips, ear, and nose respectively. The nose is unintuitively called the Earth Nose.

Inugami and Okami: Dog and wolf gods. Usually malevolent, and often found serving as Familiars.

The okuri-inu and okuri-okami tend more towards Noble Wolf, following travellers and protecting them from harm. However, they have a tendency to attack people who mistreat or offend them... or sometimes just those who show too much weakness; as a result, "okuri-okami" has become an idiom referring to stalkers and Wolves in Sheep's Clothing.

     Inugami and Okami Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Kuchiha from Amatsuki is possessed by a wolf-like inugami, rumoured to be the last of her kind.
  • Engaged to the Unidentified involves the relationship between between two teenage girls and a family of inugami.
  • Sadaharu from Gintama is implied to be one. Considering that he's a bull-sized white chihuahua with the strength of a bear and his former owners were a couple of miko, this is plausible.
  • Inugami is a manga series by Masaya Hokazono about a boy who finds an inugami. His appearances are those of an extinct Japanese wolf, but he can grow spikes from his back to fight.
  • InuYasha:
    • Inuyasha is a half dog-youkai. Inuyasha's father, stepmother, and half-brother Sesshoumaru are full dog-youkai. However, the story distinguishes between what Inuyasha's family is and "inugami" when villagers mistake Inuyasha for one and the gang are confused the mistake could have happened. This is because in Japanese lore "inugami" are a very specific type of sorcerer whose power comes from a dog they've killed and imbued on their behalf.
    • The series also has a tribe of wolf youkai under the leadership of Kouga. The youkai have power over wolves and are wolves themselves that can transform into human form.
  • Kekkaishi has Madarao, Hakubi, and Kouya, who in their sealed forms resemble ghostly dogs, but when unsealed become massive spectral wolves.
  • Kotaro Inugami in Mahou Sensei Negima! is half dog-youkai shapeshifter partly based on InuYasha. His default form has dog ears and tails, however he can also take on a Beast Folk form, a dog form and a wolf form.
  • In Natsume's Book of Friends, Madara/Nyanko-sensei's larger youkai form.
  • Inugami-gyoubu Tamazuki in Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan often appears as a human with of habit of panting with his tongue hanging out. His real form is that of a giant dog.
  • X: Yuzuriha Nekoi (surname is deliberately misleading) has a dog spirit Inuki protecting her.

Film — Live-Action

  • Inugami is a Japanese film about Akira, a teacher that falls for Miki, a papermaker. Miki's family is said to be under the curse of the inugami.

Literature

  • Inukami! is a Japanese Light Novel series written by Mamizu Arisawa. Instead of the term "inugami" which is mostly associated with malevolent dog spirits, it uses the word "inukami" to describe a type of benevolent dog spirit. Inukami! revolves around Keita Kawahira, a descendant of a Inukami-tamer clan and a inukami named Yōko, who later is revealed to be actually a kitsune.

Videogames

  • Oinu of the Dancing Blade: Katte ni Momotenshi! series is a dog-youkai in the form of a young human girl. The only dog-like physical features she has are her ears, which are hidden in her hair and only seldom pop up. She's a benevolent, meek and loyal girl who loves dog-related items, and in Tears of Eden, the power-amplifying artefact she gets is a dog collar that belonged to a legendary and almighty demon dog. The intro movie of the same game also hints that she has a giant, grey-coated dog true form.
  • Inugami play a background role in Muramasa: The Demon Blade. Kongiku and Yuzuruha are kitsune, with Yuzuruha trying to stop the release of the singular Inugami sealed in the Kuzuryu blade. as a Historical Villain Upgrade from his established love of dogs, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi is corrupted and eventually highjacked by Inugami.
  • Amaterasu from Ōkami and her son Chibiterasu from Ōkamiden are wolf-like mythical creatures living in a world inspired by Japanese myth, and the names of their games make it fairly clear what creatures the games' makers had in mind.
  • Inugami appear in Shin Megami Tensei games. Sometimes they can even grow into Makami, their more powerful counterparts.
  • Yo-kai Watch: Inugami is a rare Yo-Kai in the series, named "Frostail" in English.

Ushi-Oni or Gyuuki: Meaning "bull fiend", this is a sort of counterpart to the minotaur. In some stories it's a demonic looking ox with many tails and claws, in others he's a sort of giant spider, while in others is a sort of wisp fire.

    Ushi-Oni Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • A Ushi-Oni like Kaiju appears in Gantz: the upper half of his body is bovine, his lower half is spidery.
  • Gyuu Oh from InuYasha is a half-demon called Izumo who turns into a wicked minotaur-like monster after the sunset. As a result he's gone crazy, but unlike the typical stereotype he's a Genius Bruiser.
  • The Eight-Tailed Beast in Naruto is a giant bull-like demon with four horns and eight Combat Tentacles in lieu of tails.His name is, ironically enough, Gyuuki
  • Gyuki from Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is implied to be a Ushi Oni. Heck, his name is the alternate character reading of Ushi Oni.* In Ranma ˝, Pantyhose Taro's monster form can be associated to the Ushi Oni.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has some Ushi Oni-inspired cards. One of them is a demonic bull with a spider body, and the other one is a fiendish minotaur with four tentacles.

Literature

  • A female ushi-oni appears in Peter S. Beagle's short story "Junko And Sayuri".

Live-Action TV

Videogames

  • Ushi-oni is the first boss of Oira Jajamaru! Sekai Daibouken for the Game Boy. Like most enemies, he is completely replaced in the localized Maru's Mission, in this case with a Faceless Eye named Eyeclop.
  • The Bull Chargers from Ōkami are best described as something between a bull. a centaur and a Giant Spider.
  • Gyuki from Warriors Orochi is one, though he looks more like a boar demon than a bull.
  • Yo-kai Watch has a kudan named Predictabull. He is a benevolent fortune-teller who can only tell the weather.


Nuppeppo: A fleshy blob creature that lumbers around in deserted places, mainly temples and graveyards. Has a smell comparable to that of rotting flesh, leading some to believe they are made of corpses. In spite of this, Nuppeppo are generally peaceful creatures.

    Nuppeppo Examples 

Live-Action TV

Videogames

  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: Nuppeppo are enemies resembling purple blob creatures with eyes. They mainly try to throw pieces of themselves at you, but otherwise stand in place to allow you to whack on them.
  • Pokémon: Gulpin and Swalot resemble this creature, being voracious ambulatory stomachs that emit repulsive gases while digesting their food.
  • Yume Nikki has two examples:
    • The Mouth Monsters are a trio of brown blobs with large mouths and varying hairstyles. Each of them are seen near blood stains, and are the only NPCs in their respective areas.note  One of them even has poop on their head, so at least that one doesn't smell good.
    • Uboa is a rare malicious example, as it traps Madotsuki and takes her to an inescapable world. In the manga, it even assaults her and steals her effects.
  • Yo-kai Watch:
    • Everfore ("Oiran" in Japan) is related to the nuppeppo yokai but is not directly based on it. She is the evolved form of Grumples after fusing her with Ageless Powder. She goes from a wrinkly old woman to a beautiful, young looking one. It's implied that the Ageless Powder is a powdered form of nuppeppo.
    • Dismarelda ("Don'yorinu" in Japan) seems to be loosely based off of nuppeppo. She is a huge purple blob that puts people in a bad mood.


Gashadokuro: A giant skeleton, it is born from the bodies of those who died without proper burial (usually from plague, famine, or war). They stand 15 times taller than a normal person and come out after midnight to drink the blood of whoever they can snatch up. Their approach is heralded by the rattling of bones (hence the name, which means "rattling skull" in Japanese), and their only weakness is a purifying ward. They are otherwise indestructible and sometimes can turn invisible.

    Gashadokuro Examples 

Film-Animated

  • In Kubo and the Two Strings, the Sword Unbreakable is lodged in the skull of a giant skeleton. It's completely invincible until the Sword is removed from its head.

Live-Action TV

Videogames

  • O-Dokuro, the Chaos Beast of the Yokai saga of AdventureQuest Worlds, is this kind of youkai.
  • Goemons Great Adventure has one pop up early on near a bridge.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: The final boss of the Updated Re-release's DLC A Spirited Seven Nights' Haunting is a gashadokuro formed from the vengeful souls of everyone who Arashimaru killed.
  • Ōkamiden features two. They both have a fiery core and two swords embedded within them. The second has armor and is much stronger than the first.
  • Touhou: In the thirteenth main game Ten Desires, during Sanae's extra stage, she thinks that the youkai trump card is a gashadokuro, but instead it was Mamizou (a tanuki). It's neighbor series Len'en, features an actual gashadokuro named Sese Kitsugai who loves excavating underground.
  • Yo-kai Watch has several bosses based on this youkai. For example, Gusty Bones is a huge skeleton that lurks around the local elementary school. In Yo-kai Watch 2, he frustrates people by making sure they don't get what they want from gashapon machines, as a play on his Japanese name.

Web Original

  • SCP-2863 AKA がしゃどくろ. They're 30m tall and in this case caused by human suffering; the three newest instances were caused by the Nanjing massacre, the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, and the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.


Works that feature youkai include:

    Youkai Examples 

Anime and Manga

  • Amatsuki features many various different kinds of youkai, known here as "ayakashi", including spirits, and ghosts. In fact, about half the main cast are ayakashi.
  • In Azumanga Daioh, during one of the School Festival episodes, the girls ponder Osaka's idea of an obakeyashiki kisaten ("haunted cafe"), and imagine Chiyo dressed as a nurikabe and Osaka dressed as a karakasa.
  • Daily Life with Monster Girl has the occasional youkai show up, but the focus is more on the monster girls of other cultures. * Digimon, like Pokémon, has many youkai-based creatures.
  • Gantz features every youkai ever as aliens in the Osaka arc.
  • GeGeGe no Kitaro is all about youkai. Kitaro himself is a youkai.
  • Gugure! Kokkuri-san has a female protagonist who unintentionally attracts quite a few, and three of them (a kitsune, inugami and tanuki) end up haunting her.
  • Gurumin has Monsters as friendly NPCs; they are called Obake in Japanese. Meanwhile, the antagonists are called Phantoms, perhaps drawing parallel to the other meaning of obake.
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de has these creatures among its mook-type villains (somewhat confusingly, they fall under the collective term onryou, "vengeful spirits", which normally refers to ghosts). In the manga/anime adaptations, some of these get more prominent roles, like the last Nue and the Tengu of the Northern Mountains, but otherwise the youkai-like monsters in general are of little importance to the plot.
  • Hell Girl features a hone-onna, or "Bone Woman", a type of vampiric creature which disguises itself as a beautiful mortal woman to lure men away to feed upon their life force.
  • Hell Teacher Nube. Between these and Obake, it's practically the whole point. If they're not listed among the specific examples above, it's because they're minor characters, but trust us, these (and more) show up.
  • Inu × Boku SS revolves around a bunch of Half Human Hybrids actually descendants of demons.
  • InuYasha, which in addition to the named characters listed includes at least one example of pretty much every other kind of youkai named on this page and a good many more that aren't.
  • Kamisama Kiss, a manga about a teenage girl who accidentally becomes a Shinto god, naturally features youkai.
  • Karas (which itself is named for the Karasu Tengu) has youkai in a prominent role, and it depicts tensions between the youkai and the humans who have forgotten them.
  • Kekkaishi has Madarao, a white dog youkai that has served the Sumimura family since its founding, passed down to them by the founder, Tokimori Hazama. Madarao is able to detect ayakashi with his amazing sense of smell.
  • A Letter to Momo features three Youkai, there are others living in the forest.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! has two hanyou (human-youkai hybrids) among Negi's True Companions, the half-tengu Setsuna and Koutaro who is half-inugami.
  • Miss Hokusai, despite being a relatively realistic slice-of-life anime movie about Hokusai's daughter, has several youkai: A famous courtesan is a rokurokubi — her "spirit" stretches instead of her physical neck and while only a few people can see it everyone sees it pressing against the courtesan's mosquito netting. Ghost lights appear in front of a "haunted" painting of Hell and a giant ox demon threatens to show up at the house where the painting is. The painting is "haunted" because "Miss Hokusai" forgot to show the ghosts in Hell being redeemed by Buddha (which was kind of the whole point of the painting's commission in the first place, oops). Hokusai adds the Buddha and the haunting stops.
  • Mononoke Sharing is about an ordinary high school girl moving into an apartment complex with five big breasted youkai (Kappa, Oni, Kitsune, Rokurokubi, and Yuki onna) as part of an experiment to see if youkai can integrate with humans.
  • My Monster Secret has Youkai among the non-human students who attend Morobare High School in secret. Most of them are the underclassmen who Asahi councils in the second part of the manga; this list includes a Tengu and a Rokurokubi. Most notably, the series' effective Big Bad, Principal Shirayuki, is a Yuki-Onna who used to be human.
  • Naruto, which features several youkai-themed demon-beasts. The first Big Bad Orochimaru is also shown to be capable of stretching his neck out to great lengths, not unlike a rokurokubi.
  • Natsume's Book of Friends contains many youkai, referred to as "ayakashi" including those whose names are contained within the titular book.
  • In Neko-de Gomen!, Kuroda makes a serum that turns people into the youkai that fits them best for ten hours.
  • Most of the cast of ‘‘Neko Musume Michikusa Nikki’’ is composed of youkai living in and around a small Japanese town.
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is based on a mafia-like family of Youkai that live in the present era, in an ordinary city, keeping it safe from other families/groups seeking power.
  • Omamori Himari features several other Youkai in addition to the aforementioned, including a water serpent in a leading role, a Shutendoji and many others in minor parts. Most of the major ones are Cute Monster Girls.
  • Ranma ˝ frequently exploited Japanese folklore to provide their Monster of the Week.
  • Rosario + Vampire: There is a reason the school is called Youkai Academy (though monsters from many other cultures are largely present as well). The name of the school, however, is a Punny Name, since it uses a different set of kanji than the ones that designate the youkai.
  • Saiyuki, in which three out of the four main characters are at least part youkai, as are most of their opponents. Unfortunately, the majority are generic "demons" — i.e., pointy-eared humanoids with claws — rather than Japanese folkloric Youkai.
  • Sengoku Youko is rife with these, s the series is set in feudal Japan and one of the main characters feature a Kitsune.
  • The Lilo & Stitch franchise's anime series Stitch! features (for the first two seasons) a youkai named Kijimunaa who is friends with Yuna and Stitch.
  • Tactics, unsurprising since the show chronicles the adventures of a Japanese folklorist who practices Shinto and does exorcisms to make a little on the side.
  • Usagi Yojimbo has featured nearly every monster from Japanese tradition, from Oni to Kappas to Nues (chimera-like beasts) and an Obakeneko (vampire cat).
  • Urusei Yatsura, which, despite the nominal sci-fi setting, features many youkai both as Ancient Astronauts and as actual monsters.
  • Ushio and Tora is all about fighting youkai until facing the strongest of them all, a god-like kitsune (born in India of all places).
  • ×××HOLiC features many types of youkai.
  • In Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo! episode 27, "Rin-chan vs. Ōedo Yōkai!", Shibiretta takes the Cures and mascots back to the Edo period, where they encounter noppera-bō, rokurokubi, karakasa, oni and burabura.
  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero features cutesy versions of traditional youkai as the characters' fairy partners. The title character is accompanied by a Gyuuki, which takes the form of a tiny bull with stubby wings.

Card Games

  • Magic: The Gathering: The Kamigawa block, which is heavily inspired by Japanese mythology, features numerous yokai among its many and diverse spirit creatures.
  • The Obake Karuta, a set of cards with Yokai themes that were used in the Edo Period. An ancestor of the modern Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! card games.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has a number of cards based on youkai:
    • There is an archetype (cards which share part of their name and work very well with each other) called "Hermit Yokai". It seems to be mostly (if not entirely) made up of Kamaitachi.
    • Spirit Monsters are a type of card that return to your hand at the end of the turn, the majority of which are based on famous gods and monsters from Japanese myth.
    • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX manga, Bastion briefly uses a deck comprised of youkai that centers around bringing cards back from the graveyard.

Fan Works

  • Embers: The various spirits are largely based on various youkai.
  • In the Pony POV Series, while the normal versions exist as species (with Kitsunes and Shisa being seen in Neighpon), this word is used to describe the draconequus equivalent of angels. They function identically to angels (being servants/messengers of their deity), the difference being primarily cosmetic.

Film — Animated

  • Not surprisingly, yokai feature in quite a few Studio Ghibli movies:
    • In Pom Poko, the Tanuki prove capable of transforming into a wide variety of other youkai. Kitsune make an appearance as well, later in the movie.
    • Princess Mononoke has the Kotodama, which are spirits that live in the forest, as well as the Deer God.
    • Spirited Away: Most of the background characters are some form of youkai. "No Face" is a noppera-bō, while the workers at Yubaba's bathhouse are toad and weasel spirits.

Film — Live-Action

Literature

  • Kanokon: Nozomu Ezomori is a 200-year-old wolf spirit, both trying to seduce the protagonist, Kouta Oyamada. In fact, nearly everyone except him is Obake of some sort (sisters, brothers, etc to Chizuru and Nozomu. Many don't show up in the anime, though).

Live-Action TV

  • Super Sentai tends to use youkai as enemies in especially Japanese-themed series (meaning featuring ninja or samurai):
    • Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: The enemies are ALL Youkai, nearly all of which have adapted in some way to the modern world. For example, there's a Nurikabe covered in graffiti, a Sand Woman dressed like a hooker, a chariot youkai who's now a taxicab and a gluttony spirit dressed like a fast-food jockey. Sometimes the behavior is very different from the traditional youkai they're based on, but that's usually excused with "long ago, they were like [insert mythological behavior here] but the modern ones are [insert a Monster of the Week-ish behavior here] instead!"
    • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger: The enemies are called ayakashi and are based on youkai, but following ayakashi's traditional meaning of "shipwreck ghost", most if not all of them have some kind of sea-creature theme along with their mythic one.
    • Shuriken Sentai Ninninger: Similar to Kakuranger, the enemies are modernized versions of youkai; this time done by bringing inanimate objects to life. For instance, a chainsaw is turned into a kamaitachi and a snowcone maker into a yuki-onna. They also bring in three classic Halloween monsters (Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula and the Wolf Man) and classify them as "Western yokai".
  • Ultra Series: Youkai or Kaiju based on them have appeared as a Monster of the Week in many entries of the series. Many are based on examples above, but others have no basis in folklore and are original creations of Tsuburaya Productions.
    • Woo from the original Ultraman is a yeti-like youkai manifests from the spirit of a deceased parent who seeks to continue to protect their child.
    • Ultraman 80 featured a few youkai, like Jihibikiran (a sumo boy who wrestles everyone he meets) and Idantenran (a marathon runner who transforms into a giant monster when enraged).
    • An episode of Ultraman Tiga featured a youkai named Obikoboushi (Obiko for short), a mischievous demon-like creature who thrives in darkness and disguises himself as a noodle vendor in order to scare people with his magically animated shadow.
    • Two episodes of Ultraman Cosmos deal with a gorilla-like youkai named Yamawarawa who likes to befriend children lost in the forest. In the latter episode, we also meet Yamawarawa's archenemy, the demon-like Mahagenom.

Tabletop Games

  • In Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine, there are some youkai living in Town, primarily tsukumogami, with an assortment of various others sometimes popping up. Town's long-necked people are basically rokurokubi who've learned how to stretch their necks any time they like.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The "Oriental Adventures" setting features all kinds of youkai, including oni, kappa, tengu, and yuki-onna. Oni have made their way into the main game as ogre mages, while nuppeppo have made their way in as nupperibo, residents of the Hells.
  • Golden Sky Stories: The player characters are all various kinds of henge, although from the more benign variety. A later Japanese supplement introduces mononoke, wholly magical creatures, which cover virtually any type of non-henge youkai.
  • Kitsune: Of Foxes and Fools obviously has kitsune as the player's characters, but a number of other youkai are available as allies as well.
  • Legend of the Five Rings, which draws heavily on Japanese mythology, has many youkai, mostly malevolent.
  • Pathfinder does one better than its rival D&D by featuring many of the same youkai (including Ogre Magi under their proper name of Oni), but also including many, many others (both on this page and not), including a number of obscure ones like the Sagari, the Hyakume, the Jinmenju, the Bisha Ga Tsuku, the Harionago, the Akaname and the Umibozu (this last one under the name of Sea Bonze).

Videogames

  • Kind of a rarity in Cuphead, as all of the ghosts inhabiting the Phantom Express are subtly based on different types of youkai. The Blind Specter is based on tenome, an eyeless old man with eyeballs on his hands; T-bone is based on gashadokuro, a giant skeleton; the Blaze Brothers appear to be based on wanyuudou, flaming oxcart wheels with screaming faces; and the Head of the Train is based on oboroguruma, oxcarts with faces found on roads late at night. Maybe; what Japanese spooks are doing in a game based on American cartoons is a mystery.
  • While not actually Youkai in the demon-form, EVE Online has a couple of spaceships named after Youkai. Among those are the Kitsune, a small, but very potent ECM-based ship and the Tengu, a fast, medium-sized, powerful (and incredibly sturdy) ship capable of doing Level 5 Missions with no support, while all other ships require a fleet for those. It's also the general favorite among Mission-Runners, due to its high amount of Firepower.
  • Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja has Kappa, Tengu, nurikabe and many other youkai among the enemies.
  • Kanon: Makoto is a kitsune who lost her memory in exchange for the ability to transform. It came with a hefty price.
  • Kiki Kai Kai, a series of Cute 'em Up games (which were localized under the Market-Based Title of Pocky & Rocky) that includes several kinds of obake as enemies, several of the partners throughout the series are yokai as well. Aside from that, the main protagonist, Sayo-chan, is a Miko.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade features many youkai enemies.
  • Nioh, an historical fiction following William Adams, features Youkai as enemies in the waning days of the Sengoku Jidai period, who have been brought forth by the persistent war.
  • Onmyōji is about, well, an onmyōji named Abe no Seimei who, along with his companions, prevents yōkai from causing troubles to humans.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies: The second case of the game takes place in a town that maintains an ardent superstition of the youkai and plays a major role in the order of events (particularly a Karasu Tengu creature called "Tenma Taro" and the fabled nine-tailed Kitsune).
  • Pokémon has a lot of creatures based on youkai. It can even be said that all Pokémon take on the same roles that youkai supposedly play in the real world, as both take on the roles of animals and nature spirits while also being combination of malicious and scary yet friendly and endearing when befriended.
    • Exeggutor bears a resemblance to the ninmenju, a tree that grows human faces instead of fruit.
    • Mawile is based on the futakuchi-onna, a woman with a monstrous, voracious mouth growing out of the back of her head and hair that functions like tentacles. Mawile gains a Mega Evolution in Generation VI, which gives it two mouths on the back of its head.
  • Shin Megami Tensei has lots and lots of these, in addition to nearly every other culture's demons and spiritual beings, in the main series of games, as well as spin-offs.
  • SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos: Some of the characters, when defeated by Red Arremer, turn into different types of youkai.
  • Throne of Darkness, a Diablo-like Hack and Slash uses nearly only monsters of these origins.
  • Touhou: In Touhou Project, almost every known character, apart from the four-and-a-half human protagonists, a couple ghosts, and a handful of goddesses, is some form of youkai. Whether or not fairies are youkai is also subject to interpretation, both in and out-universe.
  • Yo-kai Watch is a Mon series revolving around yokai. The games and anime revolve around a boy named Nate using a mystical watch to perceive, communicate with, and summon yokai to solve other people's (or other yokai's) problems.
  • Video Game/Yodanji'' is a mobile Rogue Like that features many yokai as character classes.

Webcomics

  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, Japan talks about the legend of youkai but states that they do not exist. However, England does meet and talks to a kappa and an onion-head youkai, though Japan is skeptical.
  • Charby the Vampirate: The twins Han and Cho are cat youkai living at King Samrick's palace. Han is working for the king as one of his Justiciars.
  • Demon's World, a Toaplan Arcade Game also known as Horror Story, features many enemies from various mythologies, and in the Japan-esque stage you get to fight kappa, karakasa, rokurokubi, and other youkai.
  • Karin-dou 4koma: The vast majority of the cast are either magicians or some kind of youkai, generally either tsukumogami (coin, camera...) or animal (fox, bird/dog, snake, toad, crow...). Somehow, there's a Henshin Hero youkai. In one strip, a few characters discuss the possibility of virtual idols becoming youkai; one dismissing them as too fleeting to take hold and a moment later suggests that God is the original such idol.

Web Original

  • The web story Broken Gate has Nezumi, a rat (or mouse) youkai, and her three siblings, Toramaru (otherwise known as Tora),a tiger youkai, Miyako, a horse youkai, and Ryuuji, a dragon youkai. However, aside from her ears, Nezumi can pass for human and the same occurs for Miyako, aside from the hooves she keeps concealed under a kimono or her ears).
  • In the Monster Girl Encyclopedia, Youkai are exclusively Cute Monster Girls of the Zipangu region. Unlike other parts of this world, they've peacefully coexisted with humans long before anyone can remember. The youkai aren't part of the Demon Lord army and there is no Knight Templar religion hunting them down — in fact, powerful monsters like nine-tail Inari are revered as gods.

Western Animation

  • Adventure Time has the fruit witches in "Dad's Dungeon", which seem to be Futakuchi-onna.
  • Legend of the Three Caballeros has various youkai living in the Underworld. Unlike the ghost citizens, they are not dead, and are able to kill spirits as well. A Tengu in particular is the guard of the gates to the living.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja has really shown its work for a western cartoon when it comes to the actual Japanese mythological elements, right down to the inclusion of youkai. The feathers of the Tengu were used to create the Ninja suit, and in the episode Evil Spirit Week, Howard becomes possessed by a Tengu.

Other/Unsorted


Alternative Title(s): Yokai, Obake, Inugami, Nekomata

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