Meet the beast!How Monster Hunter Rise monsters were inspired by Japanese folklore

This is the first Japanese-themed series in more than 10 years, and the Monster Hunter Rise monsters are different. Director Yasunori Ichinose explains how the art team was inspired by the ghosts and spirits of Japanese folklore (youkai) for the design of Rise’s new monster. In addition, Hyakki Yagyo, a devastating event in which hordes of monsters attack Rise’s hub, Kamura Village, was inspired by the ancient Japanese myth Hyakki Yagyo, often translated as “Hyakki Yagyo.” It was. “Hyakki Yagyo draws countless youkai parades. Night. I wanted to recreate that image in the world of Monster Hunter,” says Ichinose.

Comparison of Monster Hunter Rise concept art and youkai

See all the comparisons of monsters and youkai in the slideshow above, with additional concept art and explanations!

To give The Rampage a real feel that really resembles the Hyakki Yagyo ghost parade, Ichinose and his team are inspired by the stories of youkai and other Japanese legendary creatures and Rise’s new monsters. I got it. Ichinose explained in detail how seven of these monsters were born.

Magna Maro

“Magnamaro is Rise’s main monster and the biggest threat to Kamla village alongside the rampage,” says Ichinose. “The main inspiration for Magna Maro came from the samurai armor. Although not the youkai themselves, the samurai ghost is a famous image and was used as the basis for Magna Maro’s design.”

Ichinose further explains that the human soul, the fireball that floats at night, is often associated with the ghost of an armed samurai because it is said to be the soul of the dead.

“That’s why Magna Maro emits a demon-like gas from its body,” explains Ichinose. Apart from the obvious inspiration of Japan, Ichinose states that the design of Magna Maro was also inspired by tigers inhabiting other Asian countries.


Aknosom was designed by combining the famous crane and umbrella-shaped youkai, Kasa-obake. Kasa-obake has also appeared in other video games such as Nioh, Yo-Kai Watch 2, and KiKi Kaikai-Rocky.

“When a crane stands on one leg, it looks like an umbrella, so I decided to combine it,” says Ichinose. “When the wings are closed, the pattern resembles a long-tongue umbrella, which is characteristic of the brave attitude of the Kasa-obake.”


Tetranadon is based on Kappa, one of the most common youkai in Japanese folklore, with many legends and stories spread throughout the country. Kappa are green creatures that are often depicted as a mixture of boys and turtles. The design of Tetranadon clearly doesn’t look like a young boy, but you can definitely notice its turtle heritage.

“We saw creatures living near the water. Turtles, crocodiles … even platypus!” Ichinose recalls.

Another famous feature of the kappa is the dish-shaped depression above the head. This is also found on the head of Tetranadon, giving it a slightly more cute look than the average Monster Hunter creature.

“Kappa are said to enjoy sumo, which is why Tetranadon uses well-known sumo attacks such as open-hand strikes and slapsticks,” adds Ichinose.

Great Izuchi

Great Izuchi was inspired by one of the most sneaky youkai, Kamaitachi. Kamaitachi is a weasel-like creature that attacks people in a whirlwind, but the attack is too fast for the victim to notice.

“Kamaitachi works together in groups of three, so Ozuchi is with the help of two regular squirrels,” explains Ichinose.

Since Kamaitachi is hit with a sickle-shaped tail or by hand, it is natural that the tail of a scythe is also in the shape of a huge sickle.

“I made an Izuchi Raptor-type creature to design it for the world of Monster Hunter,” says Ichinose.


“Mermaids are generally known as aquatic creatures with the upper body of young beautiful women, but Japanese folklore instead has its own type of mermaid with the upper body of the devil,” says Ichinose.

Somnacanth is a mixture of Western and Japanese mermaids. Its appearance is as intimidating as the other monsters in the series, but Somnakant swims stylishly and has a captivating singing voice. According to Mr. Ichinose, the team investigated how to swim sea otter somnacances.“Western mermaids are known to mislead people into their beauty. We wanted to add a similar dimension to the identity of Somnakans. Distracting players is interpreted as a gameplay mechanic. Is a bit difficult, so I decided to give Somnacanth the ability to put the player to sleep instead, “Ichinose explains.


Bishaten was inspired by another classic Japanese folklore, the tengu. Tengu are similar to Western demons and are said to lure people into evil paths. The most common appearance has a red face and a long nose, but there are many different types of tengu. Ichinose says he was inspired by the most common image of a tengu and the Karasu Tengu, which has a sharp nose and looks like a crow.

“The skeleton of Bishaten is similar to the skeleton of a monkey, but its tail is the shape of a fan that a tengu often holds in his hand. He throws items such as persimmon nuts at hunters, indicating that he is an intelligent monster.” Said Mr. Ichinose.

Ichinose says that another characteristic of Bishaten is that it shows various facial expressions.

Goth Harag


Namahage Photo: Nakashi / Wikimedia Commons

The Goshalag team mentioned Namahage, a beast that appears at traditional festivals in certain areas of Akita Prefecture, Japan. At this event, a man dressed in a straw cloak wearing a red or blue demon mask and a (fake) knife makes a door-to-door canvassing to scare ill-behaved children.

“When I was thinking about the monsters that live in the Frost Islands, Namahage came to my mind because Akita is a very cold and snowy area in the northeastern part of Japan,” says Ichinose.

With a huge ice blade on his right hand, Goshalag will surely give Monster Hunter Rise players something scary!

Monster Hunter Rise will be released on Nintendo Switch on March 26th. For more information on Monster Hunter Rise, see how Monster Hunter Rise connects to the previous game of the franchise. Detailed interview with Somnakans Quest gameplay video Director Yasunori Ichinose exclusively released the concept art. Stay tuned for more limited Monster Hunter Rise exclusive content at FIRST in February.

Esra Krabbe I’m the editor of Japan. He lives in Japan, but he is not a youkai.


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