Much cartoon Get inspiration for their story or character from Japanese mythology and folklore. From gods and yokai to urban legends, these anime take famous and beloved stories as the center of their own shows. Some are straight retellings, while others are looser interpretations.
These anime often have similar themes. Some of the central beliefs of the Shinto religion from which most of these legends originate include a connection to and respect for the natural world, the countless omnipresent spirits, and the maintenance of harmony and purity. and ethics. These values are present in adaptations of the myth as well as its characters.
In one of the best historical fantasy anime ever made, Kagome Higurashi is pulled into a portal through time and quickly realizes that her family’s stories of magic and monsters are all true. . She soon discovers that she is the reincarnation of the nun Kikyo, who had a falling out with the half-human, half-yokai Inuyasha centuries ago. Kagome must then team up with Inuyasha to fight the evil spirits that threaten their world.
Inuyasha places the main characters at the center of a complex conflict between demons and spirits. Inuyasha was rejected by other youkai because of his human heritage, and his differences left a scar on his shoulder. Clever Shippo and Kirara transform more closely resemble traditional kitsune and nekomata than they do with an inugami.
9 The story of Princess Kaguya
Many of Studio Ghibli’s most famous films focus on mythical creatures, from Princess Mononoke to Spirited Away. The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a direct retelling of the oldest recorded work of Japanese folklore, “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.” With a unique art style and profound story, director Isao Takahata sought to add more depth to the character of Kaguya.
A bamboo cutter and his wife find a divine child in a bamboo shoot and vow to raise her into a noble lady because they believe the gods want her to be just that. Kaguya obeys her father, but his pursuit of wealth and status is a burden to her. The things she truly values on Earth are her home in the mountains, the love of her parents, and her human friends.
8. Tsume’s book of friends
Because of his supernatural abilities, Takashi Matsume has never been able to connect with others, let alone make human friends. He possesses the ability to see yokai that others cannot, and after inheriting his grandmother’s book of captured yokai, he becomes the only one who can free them. While some people wanted to kill him for the book, there were many who appreciated his kindness.
The book about Tsume’s friends combines supernatural elements with Takashi’s desire to no longer be alone. Maneki neko Madara still hangs around in hopes of inheriting the book but quickly becomes one of Takashi’s closest companions. Unlike people from Takashi’s past, his classmates are always willing to help him with his yokai problems when he allows them to.
In Shinto, there are many minor gods and spirits, all of whom serve specific functions, such as local deities watching over their towns. When middle school student Yurie Hitotsubashi becomes a god overnight, she is overwhelmed with her new abilities and all that is expected of her. Local shrine maiden Matsuri’s top priority may be using Yurie to keep her family’s temple open, but she’s also the best guide Yurie has these days.
Kamichu! explores the relationship between traditional Shinto beliefs and modern sensibilities. Set around the coastal city of Onomichi, the show includes many real temples and landmarks in the area. As a new god, Yurie must face not only divine matters but also the problems and desires of the people of Onomichi.
When Hiyori Iki almost died to save what she believed was a normal human being, her life changed forever. She discovers that not only can she now separate her soul from her body and see supernatural beings, but the person she saved is also a minor god looking to strike big. Delivery God Yato may be broke and lonely now, but his dream is to become a powerful God of Luck.
While Yato’s desire for a shrine, worship, and five-yen coin donation were consistent with the traditional behavior of the gods, he himself did not base it on any existing deities. Those who come from centuries-old mythology are stronger gods such as Tenjin, Bishamonten, Ebisu and Takemikazuchi. During their adventure, the main trio must journey into the underworld and prevent war from breaking out in heaven.
Makoto Saeki comes from a family that has long maintained a shrine dedicated to the gods Inari and Ukanomitama. She inherited both the ability to see spirits and the companionship of Gintaro, the white fox spirit that has protected the temple since the first Saeki. Together, they help gods as well as humans who come to the temple to solve their problems.
Like Kamichu!, Gingitsune explores how to balance ancient beliefs and modern lifestyles. Makoto is devoted to the shrine and wants to keep it running when she grows up, like her parents before her, even though it is a dying profession. To do this successfully, she must learn to use Gintaro’s power responsibly, both in terms of her goals and how she helps those who no longer believe in gods.
4 Enter the firefly forest
Based on the manga by Yuki Midorikawa, who also wrote Tsume’s Book Of Friends, this short film tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a human girl and a not-quite-human boy. After being raised by Gin, a masked yokai boy, Hotaru continued to visit him every summer as she grew up and they gradually fell in love. But because of his demonic qualities, if Gin touches Hotaru or any other human, he will cease to exist.
This film is highly appreciated for its beautiful settings, especially its depiction of the real-life Kamishikimi Kumanoimasu Shrine. Harmony with nature is a key tenet of Shinto, and Hotaru’s annual escapes from the city to the mountain god’s forest were the happiest times of her life. As a human, she could never be fully a part of the spirit world, nor could Gin be a part of her life forever.
Ginko was touched by mushi spirits as a child and suffered a curse from a spirit that would one day kill him at a young age. He made peace with his fate and spent time away from Japan wandering as a mushishi. Some of these spirits are harmless, even in need of protection, but others pose a threat to those around them: in any case, only Ginko’s abilities can solve the problem.
Mushishi affirms the Shinto concept of the soul as more or less part of nature, although largely invisible to the human world. They are to be highly respected, and the consequences of taking advantage of them are dire, making the show quickly become one of the scariest body horror anime around. There are countless mushi found everywhere Ginko looks.
In addition to the concepts of chakras and elemental ninjutsu originating from Buddhist, Hindu, and Shinto beliefs, many Naruto characters are inspired by Japanese myths and legends. The Nine-Tailed Fox is inspired by the legend of the kitsune: a shape-shifting creature that can be cunning but also fiercely loyal once it has earned its trust. The legendary Sannin comes directly from the 19th century folktale “The Tale of the Brave Jiraiya,” specifically the chapter in which Jiraiya and Tsunade foil the plans of the snake’s son, Orochimaru.
Uchi ethnic people especially love this topic. The creator gods Izanami and Izanagi gave birth to Amaterasu, the goddess of fire; Tsukuyomi, god of the moon; and Susanoo, god of storms. Not only do the Sharingan’s ultimate techniques share the names and attributes of these gods, but the gods themselves are a family marked by death, grief, and chaos, much like the Sasuke clan. .
1 Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories
There are many horrors found in Japanese folklore. In this anthology series, short scary stories are told in the kamishibai style, a storytelling technique popular in early twentieth-century Japan. The storyteller is an old man, passing them on to an audience of children, as is the oral tradition.
These stories are also inspired by Japanese urban legends. It includes episodes based on the story of the “Eight-meter Tall Woman” who kidnaps children and Internet rumors about the Kunekune, a scarecrow-like creature that drives anyone who looks at it crazy. Even when they are not directly adapted, the themes of the stories are often based on mythology; for example, the episodes of season nine are all based on the Chinese zodiac.
Much cartoon is based on many myths, legends and folklore. Not only do they feature famous characters and plots, but their themes are also consistent with essential Shinto beliefs.