Yokai Attack!: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide Paperback – 15 Aug 2008
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
If you have any interest in Japanese culture, this book is a must!
It's easy to read, great pictures and information!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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
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.
Fortunately Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt do a pretty good job of compiling several of the odder ones in "Yokai Attack!: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide," complete with some intricate and sometimes funny illustrations in a traditional style. And none of the yokai here are watered down -- we have the good, the bad (onibaba) and the disgusting (filth-licker) and the really, really strange.
Among the creatures listed here: the Karasu-tengu, a blobby humanoid with no head and a really offensive stench, the Piggyback Monster, the corpse-devouring Onibaba, demon cats, the chimeric Nue, the sea ghosts, the "Rat Monk," an oni that apparently suffers from OCD, a muddy rice-paddy creature, the scum-sucking Akaname, the creepy little singing Azuki Arai, a tree of human-faced fruit, the tanuki, a woman with a giant stretchy neck, and an utterly freaky girl with a "slashed mouth."
And then there are the REAAAAAALLLYY WEIRD ones like a yokai constructed out of dishes, a second mouth that appears on the back of girls' heads, dozens of eyes in a sliding screen, flying skeletons, the amusing Namahage, a giant disembodied foot, and the Tsukumo-gami (who are basically random household items come to life).
Certainly the Japanese can't be accused of making up boring apparitions and specters, because there's nary a boring moment in this book. A few of the creatures chronicled here have been more extensively covered in various media (such as the kitsune, the tanuki or the kappa) but most of them are relatively obscure -- and freakier than you'd expect. Seriously, who came up with these?
Yoda and Alt write in a pleasantly tongue-in-cheek manner. And they relate lots of stuff about these yokai: the pronunciation and translation of their names, their physical stats, their odd features ("tentacle-like, prehensile hair"), their offensive weapons ("incessant cacophony"), their abundance, their favorite food, and anything else that's relevant. Then they relate more detailed information about what these creatures do and the possible sources of it, as well as weird little cultural tidbits (such as a children's song about tanuki testicles.... ew).
It's also pretty obvious that some of these were either generated as warnings (the Namahage turn up to terrorize whiny kids) or wishful thinking (the Akaname will eat the filth of a poorly-cleaned bathroom, which I'm not going to talk about anymore because it's making me sick). And they have some pretty bizarre stories attached to them which anime and manga might not reveal -- such as the really nasty way that kappas kill people (disemboweling through, er, a personal orifice).
"Yokai Attack!: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide" is a fun look at some very unusual monsters, specters and supernatural creatures, and the book just gets weirder and more fun as it goes on. I only wish it were longer.