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Yokai Attack!: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide [Paperback]

Hiroko Yoda , Matt Alt , Tatsuya Morino
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

15 Aug 2008
Yokai Attack! is a one-stop guide to Japan's traditional spirits and demons, monsters and bogeymen. Yokai are ethereal sorts of beings, and nearly always encountered at night, so everyone has their own take on how they might look in real life and what sorts of characteristics and abilities they might have. This book is the result of collecting data and descriptions from a variety of sources, including microfilms of eighteenth-century scrolls stored in the National Diet Library in Tokyo. All new illustrations, created by the talented Tatsuya Morino, detail the potential visible appearance of each yokai. Alongside each illustration is a series of 'data points', with each yokai's important characteristics at a glance especially handy for any potential close encounters. Forget Godzilla. Forget the giant beasties karate-chopped into oblivion by endless incarnations of Ultraman, Kamen Rider and the Power Rangers. Forget the Pocket Monsters. Forget Sadako from The Ring and that creepy all-white kid from The Grudge. Forget everything you know about Japanese tales of terror. Yokai Attack! will convince any reader that Japan s tradition of fascinating 'monsters' is far from being history.


Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International (15 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770030703
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770030702
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 17 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 577,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Product Description

Review

Yokai Attack! is essential reading for any fan of monsters, horror and manga! --Steve Niles, Creator, 30 Days of Night

An invaluable resource for anyone interested in J-Horror and Japanese culture; gave me a deeper understanding of what I've been enjoying for so many years. --Don Coscarelli, director, Phantasm series and Bubba Ho-tep

About the Author

Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt are a husband & wife team who run a Tokyo-based translation company that specializes in producing the English versions of Japanese video games, comic books and literature. Matt is co-author of Super No. 1 Robot, and Matt and Hiroko are also co-authors of Hello, Please! Very Helpful Super Kawaii Japanese Characters. They happen to have firsthand yokai experience, having participated as extras in Takashi Miike's film The Great Yokai War (Kadokawa Films, 2005). Illustrator Tatsuya Morino became the assistant of Shigeru Mizuki, one of Japan's most beloved manga illustrators, fresh out of high school. After going independent, he illustrated the graphic novel Kibakichi, which was turned into two movies in Japan. He also works as a character designer. His comic "Legentail Sennenta" is currently being serialized in the comic collection Kero Kero Ace.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, well-informed, folklore resource 1 Jun 2009
By Ruth Ludlam VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Can't recommend this enough! It's got such a lot of information, but presented in a really easy to digest format. You can just dip in and out, as each yokai is summarised in 1 or 2 pages, and presented with illustrations (some are genuine Japanese woodblock prints or eighteenth century drawings etc., and some are cartoons by the illustrator!) and a fact file. Also, the name of each yokai is written in Japanese and Romaji, and has a pronunication guide as well.

I ended up really knowledgeable about yokai after reading this book, and also really enthusiastic about learning more. The authors give great tips for further reading, and are clearly very passionate about their subject. I also want to lend it to my friends, as there are so many amusing features. One of the yokai is the Tofu-kozo, a spectral little boy who goes around trying to kill his victims with.... a block of tofu. The authors' sense of humour is evident all the way through, making this book fun as well as fascinating.

On the more serious side, it also taught me a lot about a less well-known side of Japanese culture. I am currently reading the Tale of the Heike and I have already recognised several monsters that were featured in Yokai Attack! It just goes to show that the folklore of a culture will resonate throughout its literature, and so it really pays to understand some of it.

You can't go wrong with this book - it's a great price and it's fantastically entertaining. Even if you have absolutely no interest in Japanese culture you will still hugely enjoy this book, and learn a suprising amount about yokai.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 28 Nov 2010
By Wopha
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Got this for my 14 year old brothers' birthday and was a hit! He absolutely loves it and won't put it down. I really want one too and will no doubt end up getting it for myself :)

It's easy to read, great pictures and information!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Wonderful World of Japanese Folklore! 23 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This richly illustrated and highly informative guide takes the reader on a journey of discovery through the various ghosts, spirits and fantastical beings that inhabit Japanese myth and ledgend. From the aquatic to the reptilian right through to the more bizarre, this is funny and fascinating in equal measure.

If you have any interest in Japanese culture, this book is a must!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  69 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utilitarian yet detailed handbook - perfect for yokai fieldwork! 31 Aug 2008
By J. Cameron McClain - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When's the last time you asked yourself, "Gee, how do I keep my home safe from the Bathtub Licker?" Not recently, you say? And yet to a Japanese child, the mention of the name "Akaname" evokes the image of a large, red demonlike creature with a long tongue and glaring eyes, that hides in the bathroom at night. Aren't you glad you were warned? Then thank your lucky stars you're buying Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide.

Each of the more than 50 detailed descriptions provide everything you'll need when faced with one of these legendary Japanese monsters. The first page of each entry is the "Stats Sheet" page, containing vital information such as monster height, weight, mode of locomotion, and any special abilities, as well as a full page color image (by talented illustrator Tatsuya Morino) of the yokai in question. The pages following contain information on the type of threat each yokai represents (whether it be just a scare, or a definitely-to-be-avoided disembowelment), as well as any defensive measures that can be taken, origin stories, typical location where found, regional variants of the monster, in addition to stories, facts, and legends surrounding that creature and its habits. Truly, the amount of information contained for each yokai is substantial, and will undoubtedly prove crucial to the would-be yokai hunter (or as often as not, the "yokai hunted").

The authors have made on-the-go referencing easier as well (very important when you're not sure if you're facing a Kuchisaki Onna or a Futakuchi Onna!) by separating yokai into groupings by type, from the ferocious to the feeble. What's more, each grouping has its own tab for flip-through ease, very convenient when you're running away from a creature at close to a full-out sprint!

In my own time in Japan, I myself came across a number of the creatures described in this book, and can attest to the efficacy of at least a few of the defense techniques described therein. I can only say I wish I had had this handbook with me at the time, and that I will certainly be bringing it with me on any future excursions.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you ever wanted to know about Japanese monsters! 24 Sep 2008
By Laura I - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a really fun book, even better than I would have expected. The book is about the size of a manga and is full color inside. The illustrations are excellent and is just so much fun to read, after reading a couple pages about one monster, you want to check out the next, as they just get more and more bizarre and entertaining!

I've been watching animes and reading mangas for many years now and I've noticed some of the same strange monsters showing up over and over again. I was intrigued and wanted to know more about them, since I'm interested in folklore in general and Japan seems to have a very rich monster mythology. If you've watched animes like Inuyasha, Devil Man or Blood Reign, then you've already seen a few of the yokai featured in this book already. But as familiar as I *thought* I was with Japanese monsters, probably 80% of these I've never heard of before and it was a delight to learn more!

Each yokai is given specifications such as: height, weight, attack and defense. Also includes a wonderfully drawn illustration and if available, traditional Japanese illustrations (such as a 19th century woodblock print). As well as the Japanese name, English translation, and (very helpful) pronunciation of the Japanese name.

So if you've ever wanted to learn more about Japanese monsters, here's the perfect guide! Everything you ever wanted to know, from the standard bakemono to the bizarre Tofu Boy.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Night parade of 100 demons 25 Sep 2008
By Zack Davisson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Japan is a monster country. While other countries may have their vampires and wolfmen, their unseelie courts and ogres and giants, Japan is home to a traditional eight million different varieties of spooks and lurkers in the dark. Japanese children obsess on them and memorize them the way American children do dinosaurs, and you would be hard-pressed to find a child without at least one of the ubiquitous tomes detailing their haunting places and special attributes.

"Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide" (subtitled "A survival guide for foreigners", although this is only subtly written in Japanese), is one of the few books available on this traditional aspect of Japanese culture. Emulating such books as The Zombie Survival Guide, it takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to the bizarre menagerie. It acts like a video game guide, giving statistics such as height, weight, favorite food, method of attack, surviving an encounter, etc...A total of forty-six yokai get the treatment, from the famous beasties like the kappa and tengu, to the lesser-knowns like the dorotabo and the hashi hime.

This is very much a "flipping book", not to be read in one sitting but going through checking out the yokai who catch one's eye. Every entry is accompanied by an illustration, by Morino Tatsuya. Morino was an assistant to the yokai-master Mizuki Shigeru, and while his ability is not at Mizuki's level he does a good job with the style. All of the illustrations are in color, and are often accompanied by older artwork such as ukiyo-e prints and toys featuring the various yokai.

When reading this book, I was of two minds. One the one hand, it is pretty cool to have an English-language introduction to yokai in any form. One the other hand, I would have been so much better to simply translate any of Mizuki Shigeru's numerous beautiful and authentic books dealing with the subject. The idea of a "survival guide" works great when dealing with a familiar topic like zombies, but seeing as how most Westerners would be unfamiliar with yokai a more straight forward book might have been better.

People just looking for a fun and casual book will find this a treasure, however. Yokai appear quite often in Japanese video games and anime, and this kind of book would be a perfect resource to those who want to learn a little bit more about what they are seeing. It would also be a great guide book for role playing gamers who want to introduce a Japanese flavor to their campaigns.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice coverage of manga, but where's the Ogre... 25 Oct 2008
By N. Trachta - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Yokai Attack! details the strengths and weaknesses of the yokai (yokai are Japanese monsters, demons or spirits). The yokai are divided by their type, each section list the yokai associated with the type and provides a description (general description; including what they do, their attack and how to survive the encounter). In addition, each yokai has a drawing of it, usually done ala anime/manga style.

My Likes:
The authors have gone to great lengths to bring together different yokai from anime/manga. The drawing are very nice and the descriptions have good detail in the Claim to Fame, The Attack!, and Surviving the Encounter.

My Dislikes:
I ordered this book because I was interested in Japanese yokai, unfortunately I was looking for classic yokai rather than anime/manga yokai. I was really hoping that this book was covering both. Instead, the authors provide a history of yokai in the front (a nice one) and a pulled together description from different sources. My next dislike is that most of the effort and drawing are from anime/manga. While they have contributed greatly recently, many of the classic yokai are missing from this book and would have added a lot to it. My last dislike is that the oni of Japanese folklore are lightly discussed. I seriously missed a discussion on Japanese Ogres

The Rating:
This book is focused towards people who enjoy manga/anime. For them this book will be between 3 and 4 stars very easily. Manga/anime readers might enjoy seeing a summary of the different yokai they're read about and how they operated. For me, this ones 2.5 stars. I love the work the authors put into it, but there's too much missing from classical Japan. Since I can only do who stars, I' going to round down to 2 stars for me and it's a bathroom reader or bedside bed when you're short of books. If the authors would have provided descriptions closer to what Japanese folklore along with drawing from the Edo era and earlier I'd have rated this one 3-3.5 stars. Having said all that, other might find this book an interesting read and feel it's worth 3-4 stars.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok for knowledge on japanese folklore 9 Oct 2009
By Charsya Paul - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book depicts exactly what the title suggest. It is basically a collaboration of stories that are known throughout Japan. This book is ok if you are going to use it as a refference to a manga based on yokai. Other than that, some may find it to be less amusing. So if you're into folklore based on the supernatural then this book should be great as a great manga refference.
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