Meet the Beasts! How Monster Hunter Rise’s Monsters Were Inspired by Japanese Folklore

With the series following a Japan-inspired theme for the first time in over 10 years, the monsters in Monster Hunter Rise are one thing else. Director Yasunori Ichinose explains how the artwork group was impressed by ghosts and spirits of Japanese folklore, or yokai, for the design of Rise’s new monsters. Furthermore, The Rampage – a catastrophic occasion during which a horde of monsters assault Rise’s hub Kamura Village – was impressed by Hyakki Yako, an historic Japanese fantasy typically translated as “night parade of one hundred demons.”“Hyakki Yako portrays countless yokai parading at night. We wanted to recreate that image in the world of Monster Hunter,” Ichinose says.

Monster Hunter Rise Concept Art and Yokai Comparisons

See all the comparisons between monsters and yokai in the slide-show above with extra idea artwork and explanations!

To give The Rampage an genuine really feel that really resembles Hyakki Yako’s parade of ghosts, Ichinose and his group sought inspiration from yokai in addition to different Japanese legendary creatures and tales for Rise’s new monsters. Ichinose gave us an intensive clarification of how seven of those monsters got here to be.


Magnamalo will be Rise’s main monster, and is Kamura Village’s biggest threat together with The Rampage,” says Ichinose. “The main inspiration for Magnamalo came from samurai armor. While not a yokai per se, an armored samurai ghost is a well-known image, and we took this as the base for Magnamalo’s design.”

Ichinose additional explains that hitodama, or balls of fireplace that float round at night time, are sometimes related to armored samurai ghosts, as they’re mentioned to be the souls of the lifeless.

“That’s why Magnamalo emits a gas from his body that looks like onibi (ghost light),” explains Ichinose. Apart from the apparent Japanese inspirations, Ichinose says that Magnamalo’s design was additionally impressed by tigers that inhabit different Asian international locations.


The Aknosom was designed as a mixture between a crane and kasa-obake, a widely known yokai that’s formed like an umbrella. Kasa-obake have appeared in different video video games equivalent to Nioh, Yo-kai Watch 2 and Pocky & Rocky as effectively.

“When a crane stands on one foot, it looks just like an umbrella, which is why we chose to combine them together,” says Ichinose. “When it closes its wings, its patterns resemble an umbrella with a long tongue, which is a hallmark of kasa-obake’s feisty attitude.”


The Tetranadon was primarily based on kappa, one in every of the most typical yokai in Japanese folklore, with many legends and tales which have unfold all through the nation. A kappa is a inexperienced creature that’s typically depicted as a combination between a younger boy and a turtle. While Tetranadon’s design clearly doesn’t resemble a younger boy, you’ll be able to undoubtedly discover its turtle heritage.

“We looked at creatures that live near water. Turtles, crocodiles… even platypuses!” Ichinose recollects.

Another famend attribute of kappa is the dish-shaped despair on high of their head, which may be seen on Tetranadon’s head as effectively, giving it a barely extra cute look than your common Monster Hunter creature.

“Legends say that kappa enjoy sumo wrestling, which is why Tetranadon uses famous sumo wrestling attacks like open-hand strikes, or tsuppari,” Ichinose provides.

Great Izuchi

The Great Izuchi was impressed by kamaitachi, one in every of the sneakiest yokai. The kamaitachi is a weasel-like creature that assaults individuals in the midst of a whirlwind, nevertheless it assaults so quick that its victims don’t even discover.

“The kamaitachi work together in a group of three, which is why the Great Izuchi has two regular Izuchi help out,” Ichinose explains.

The kamaitachi strikes with both its scythe-shaped tail or its arms, which is why it ought to be no shock that the Great Izuchi’s tail has the form of a large scythe as effectively.

“To make the design match Monster Hunter’s world, we made the Izuchi raptor-type creatures,” Ichinose provides.


“While mermaids are commonly known as aquatic creatures with the upper body of a young beautiful woman, Japanese folklore has its own type of mermaids with the upper body of a devil instead,” Ichinose says.

The Somnacanth is a combination between Western and Japanese mermaids. While its look is as menacing as any monster in the collection, the Somnacanth swims in model and has a mesmerizing singing voice. Ichinose says that the group checked out sea otters for Somnacanth’s method of swimming.“Western mermaids are known to lead people astray with their beauty, and we wanted to add a similar aspect to Somnacanth’s identity. Leading the player astray is a bit difficult to interpret as a gameplay mechanic, so we chose to give Somnacanth the ability to put the player to sleep instead,” Ichinose explains.


The Bishaten was impressed by tengu, one other staple creature in Japanese folklore. The tengu shares similarities with Western devils, and is claimed to lure individuals to the evil path. Its most typical look sports activities a crimson face and lengthy nostril, however there are numerous differing types of tengu. Ichinose tells us that Bishaten was impressed by the most typical picture of a tengu, in addition to the karasu-tengu, which has a pointy nostril and appears like a crow.

“While Bishaten’s skeleton is close to that of a monkey, its tail is the shape of the fan a tengu often holds in his hands. It throws items at the hunter such as persimmon fruit, which shows that it is a monster of high intelligence,” Ichinose says.

Another characteristic of the Bishaten is that it reveals all kinds of facial expressions, Ichinose tells us.

Goss Harag


Namahage photograph: Nakashi / Wikimedia Commons

For Goss Harag the group referenced namahage, a beast that seems at a conventional competition in sure areas of Akita Prefecture in Japan. At this occasion, males dressed as demon-like beings in straw capes with both crimson or blue ogre masks and (faux) knives go door-to-door to frighten kids which have misbehaved.

“When we were thinking of monsters that inhabit the Frost Islands, namahage came to mind, as Akita is a very cold and snowy area in the northeast of Japan,” Ichinose tells us.

With an enormous ice blade connected to his proper hand, the Goss Harag will certainly give Monster Hunter Rise gamers scare!

Monster Hunter Rise shall be launched on Nintendo Switch on March 26. For extra on Monster Hunter Rise, remember to try how Monster Hunter Rise connects to a previous game in the franchise, our Somnacanth Quest gameplay video, an in-depth interview with director Yasunori Ichinose and exclusively revealed concept art. Stay tuned for extra unique Monster Hunter Rise unique content material on IGN FIRST all through February.

Esra Krabbe is an editor at IGN Japan. He lives in Japan however will not be a yokai.

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