Have you ever heard of Yōkai (妖怪)? Yōkai is a class of supernatural creatures often referenced in myths, folklore, and old artwork. They aren’t just scary monsters either – many yōkai simply wish to cause mischief or even bring fortune to whichever unsuspecting human their eye.
Some famous Yōkai includes the Kappa, Kitsune, and Hanako-san.
The creatures often feature in popular media, including some that have become popular overseas. Some famous examples include Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, Natsume’s Book of Friends, and Toilet Bound Hanako-kun. There are even illustrated field guides that teach readers how to tell them apart!
Yōkai is also known as Ayakashi (妖) or Mononoke (物の怪); both terms you may have already heard of if you’re a fan of supernatural anime. Something you may not know is that the terms Bakemono (化け物) and Obake (お化け) are generally only used to refer to those Yōkai that can shapeshift between forms.
Of course, it isn’t just Japan that has a history of supernatural creatures. Each unique culture has its folklore, and in some places, new monsters are being dreamed up to this day! Today we’ll be checking out some of the coolest, scariest, and funniest monsters in the Manga Planet Library.
Story and Art: Shimomura Fumi
It seems that humans were not alone in ancient Japan – Some say that people lived amongst an array of Yōkai. Occasionally, the two beings’ paths would cross, causing chaos and calamity. You must be careful when passing through mountains and forests or else you may meet your untimely end…
This unique selection of six stories is packed full of Yōkai tales, all set in ancient Japan. Shimomura carefully combines horror, comedy, and history to create an authentic reading experience full of folklore and fun. The whimsical art style will deepen your immersion, with many panels inspired by traditional Japanese artwork.
Story and Art: Shimomura Fumi
Aspiring poet Shimazaki Fumiki is a melancholic high schooler who would rather die than fail to achieve his dream, but with steadily dropping grades and pushy parents causing him grief, things aren’t looking too good. After taking some time out to vent his frustrations in an abandoned building, Fumiki discovers that his favorite poem has captured the attention of a strange (and scary!) dog. Could this creepy dog be related to grotesque murders that have been occurring around his town?
Inugami Kai blends horror, poetry, and history as it tells the story of Fumiki, Kai, and their fight against the Kurata Pharmaceutical group. While Fumiki and Kai both struggle to trust other people, the unlikely duo quickly grow closer as they learn more about Kai’s history.
Story and Art: Yoshikawa Keito
Motoi Takana is an eccentric zoology student dragged into a suspicious-looking store with his friend Tsukasa Reichii.
Upon entering the store, the pair find out that the shop deals with “unique beasts.” In other words, mythical creatures!
Fascinated, Takana wants to learn more about these historical beings and is offered one to raise for himself by the shopkeeper, who offers him a simple warning: “If you answer this demon’s question incorrectly, you will be devoured.”
Will Takana be able to handle such a ferocious new pet?
Set in the early Showa period, this historical story is perfect for any supernatural manga fan. With a wide host of demons to discover and customers to handle, you’ll fall in love with Yoshikawa Keito’s mysterious world of exotic beasts.
Story and Art: Uota Minami
Karasuma is no normal crow – He has an extremely long lifespan, the ability to understand humans, and is even able to shapeshift. Blessed with these unique abilities, he finds himself fascinated by human food and decides it’s time to try it for himself! After moving into (or freeloading in) the Crow Temple, Karasuma takes on Kyoto to discover the best Japanese cuisine.
This heartwarming story will leave you hungering for some Washoku (和食, Japanese-style food). Each chapter documents a real establishment in Kyoto, so if you find yourself hankering for some Kyoto snacks, then why not add them to your vacation itinerary?
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In 2012, Manga Planet started as a joint project between Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. and FANTASISTA, INC. to research and explore the ways manga is read throughout the world. Aiming to bring new manga to fans from all over the world and support artists and the industry, Manga Planet pushes for affordability and access to manga through a subscription-based service.
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