ANIME & MANGA - Article
09:41 - 19th December 2013, by David West

Yokai: All Shapes And Sizes

Yokai are supernatural beings from Japanese folklore and an anime favourite - not inherently malevolent, they are famous for their mischievous activities. In Manga's Nura: Rise Of The Yokai Clan, Rikuo Nura is the heir to the Nura Clan and the future commander of The Night Parade Of 100 Demons. However, Rikuo is only one-quarter yokai on his father's side, so during the daylight hours, he appears as an ordinary teenage boy. It is only after sunset that he transforms into his yokai form; a warrior of great power. The yokai in Rikuo's extended family run the gamut from gigantic centipedes to the crow-like Karasu Tengu.

In GeGeGe No Kitaro, the famous 1959 manga series (and later, long-running anime franchise) by Shigeru Mizuki, the titular yokai Kitaro struggles to keep the peace between humans and yokai. While in appearance Kitaro looks young, he is actually several centuries old, and is the last surviving member of the Ghost Tribe.

There is a very different presentation of yokai in Karas, from Manga Entertainment, where these demonic beings live alongside ordinary humans in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Yet, no matter what their form, yokai should never be trusted too readily. They are tricksters by nature and some of them are only too happy to devour unsuspecting humans.

However, there have been instances of yokai falling in love with humans and producing half-human, half-yokai children. If you stumble across a yokai during these dark nights, you might be swallowed whole - or you might find love. Frankly, they're an unpredictable bunch, but either way they can steal your heart (and quite possibly eat it).

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