Yokai (妖怪 Yōkai, literally meaning ghost, phantom and strange apparition) are a class of living creatures commonly found throughout the original manga series, Wild Hunt, written by Wyvern 0m3g4. In Wild Hunt, yokai are spiritual entities that take on any number of different forms and appearances and seem to be closely connected to the natural universe. They are recorded as having lived alongside humanity for as far back as prehistoric times and they all seem to possess a far greater grasp in understanding both essentia and sorcery, as well as how to properly use them.
Later on in the story, it's revealed yokai are the byproduct of essentia's inherent nature to create fusing with the natural world around it and forming copies of living creatures such as humans, animals and plants, as well as mimicking inanimate objects, thus making all known yokai a living form of condensed essentia, as well as explaining the yokai's closeness to nature and essentia. It's also later revealed that Earth is not the only location to possess yokai, as many other planets throughout the universe lay claim to having their own yokai as well; each being wildly different from the last due to how a planet's yokai mimic the natural ecosystem.
Despite yokai being a race of being in and of itself, much like animals and plants, there are a countless number of yokai subspecies which inhabit the universe of Wild Hunt; with some being simplistic in design to others being more stylized and complex. Likewise, the behavior and attitudes each sub-race of yokai may possess varies from species to species, and even tribe to tribe in the case of the dragons; with some yokai living in harmony with other creatures to others being more territorial, aggressive or outright hostile. Then there are those like the fairies and their evolutionary relatives which live within a culture unlike any other, often making them utterly bizarre and alien to even other yokai.
There are also yokai hybrids, often the result of two different yokai breeds mating with one another, such as a tanuki breeding with a unicorn to form a strange crossbreed of the two species. Likewise, if the outer appearance mimics those of other plants and animals, a yokai can breed with them to create a half yokai, half organic offspring. This can even include yokai and human interbreeding, resulting in some of the more inherently powerful breeds seen in Wild Hunt, like Gilgamesh Prime. Any crossbreeds between yokai is considered a "chimera," and many well known half-human yokai throughout the world have chimeric origins, such as harpies and the merfolk.
Also, some yokai can possess organic origins too; most notably any form of ghost or phantom, which were previously living creatures in their past lives. This odd phenomena is explained through the process of death itself, as when a body dies, it always becomes disconnected with its host core, and as a core is ephemeral and spirit-like in nature, it will naturally start to become and behave like a yokai without a physical body attached to it. This only happens, however, as a result of a core being unable to pass onto the afterlife for one reason or another. Therefore, it is indeed possible to have been born human or otherwise and become a yokai upon death.
Finally, some yokai can be created through artificial means, usually involving sorcery. Much like with technology developing artificial intelligence via computers, robots and androids, so too can sorcery create artificial life in the form of homunculi. Most commonly, a homunculus is created from a base material fused with life granting properties from sorcery, thus giving it shape, form and sentience to some degree. Depending on the homunculus or sorcerer in question, a homunculus can become a simple slave-like tool which only imitates life when responding to certain stimuli, or it may become a full blown existing being, complete with memories, feelings and physical sensations of touch, taste and so on.
List of Yokai SubspeciesEdit
Below is a list of known yokai breeds seen throughout Wild Hunt thus far, including a list of known members of each breed:
- Chimeras: (Gilgamesh Prime)
- Dragons: (Ally Saurus)
- Elves: (Zelda Beryl)
- Kirin: (Gilgamesh Prime; Ban)
- Satori: (Hanuman; Enkidu)
- Yamata no Orochi: (Yamato Yamada)
- The yokai in Wild Hunt are heavily inspired off of the yokai of Japanese lore, such as Yamato Yamada (a Yamata no Orochi,) the satori and Gilgamesh being half kirin. However, despite being largely based off of Japanese monsters and spirits, the yokai in Wild Hunt appear to take inspiration from creatures found throughout multiple world cultures, including taking inspiration from more recent media, such as the various edlritch horrors found throughout H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos or any number of kaiju (Japanese giant monster) movies.
- The relationships yokai share with other beings and creatures in the Wild Hunt universe continues to emphasize the overarching themes of duality, moderation and balance seen throughout the story, as it appears yokai, despite being strictly supernatural lifeforms, can be created from natural phenomena and organisms, as well as merge with or become organic as well, thus further blurring the lines between what is and isn't a yokai. Likewise, this can also extend to humanity in Wild Hunt, as well as many other forms of life in its respective universe.
Yōkai - Wikipedia article on yokai, which inspired the yokai in Wild Hunt