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on August 31, 2008
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.
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on September 24, 2008
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.
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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.
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on March 5, 2011
If you're looking for exposure to a bunch of common yokai, this is a fun read! It's small enough that it's not imposing and it's informative! It's fun to realize you've seen some of the monsters referenced in movies and anime before! It's written in an easy to read manner and has classifications to help find what you're looking for. Fun book!
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on October 24, 2008
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.
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Yokai: they're sort of the faeries of Japanese folklore, except way way weirder.

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.
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on May 1, 2009
This is a great book - funny and informative! I actually bumped into one of the authors at a festival in AKita when they were doing research on the Namahage - check youtube for "japanese namahage devils scare lazy kids".

Who knew that Japan was brimming with horrible monsters long before Godzilla and his giant radioactive ilk bedeviled the land?

The book lists a number of monsters known as yokai and tells the reader of their danger level, their habits and attack strategies, their frequency, their weaknesses, and how to avoid or defeat them. One of my favorite is the tengu - the long-nose or crow-faced goblins with wings. One of the funniest bits of information is where the reader learns that flatulence is an effective defense against certain yokai. Another tactic the book teaches is that hard work is the surefire method of avoiding the strict work ethic minded Namahage devils.

This is an excellent book for those interested in Japanese folklore and/or monsters in general.
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on March 1, 2016
Love the subject matter and it seemed well researched. The layout was very snazzy, though I guess I could have done without the gimmicky "field guide" tone. Maybe I'm older than the targeted demographic, but what other book goes into such detail about such an interesting and exotic area of folklore? More, please.
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on October 9, 2009
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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on April 26, 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have never been particularly interested in Japanese culture but I have enough interest in comparative folklore to be intrigued by this collection of traditional Japanese monsters. I was reared at a time and place where ghost and monster stories were used to keep the kids in line as well as entertain them. There was a "painter" (monstrous panther) who could come up through the floor where the shadows of the furniture fell the darkest and a bogey man would get you if you went outside by yourself after dark.

I was not surprised to see that the Japanese used monsters to keep their children in line as well-- see Kappa. Or encourage good habits by postulating the existence of a monster who licks out the slime of dirty bathtubs-- there's also a good description of the traditional Japanese bath. The Zashiki Warashi, the size and shape of a five year old girl, who will bring good luck with her coming or take it with her leaving is not the least surprising to someone who has been told stories of Brownies.

I was surprised to see one familiar superstition among the ones about cats. When corpses were kept at home prior to burial, it was traditional to keep cats out of the room where the corpse lay-- usually the parlor. Now I think it has to do with the fact that cats are not particularly fastidious about eating their former owners; however, the story was that if the cat jumped over the body then it would walk after burial. The Japanese would keep cats away from the recently deceased because the cat might breath new life into the corpse.

Anyway, the book is easy to follow, not particularly scholarly, but with enough information to tell the interested reader where they might find more about these creatures and beliefs.
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