Tamamo-no-mae was one of the names taken by a fox spirit who was supposedly responsible for corrupting royalty all over eastern Asia. Specifically, Tamamo-no-mae was the identity it took of a courtesan under Emperor Toba. She was said to be beautiful and extremely intelligent. But when the emperor mysteriously fell ill she was exposed as a fox in disguise and the one behind the illness and she fled.
But really, the reason I chose Tamamo-no-mae is because she was a fox interfering with human affairs, though obviously the fox in Persona 4 was a helpful figure, not a malevolent one. Oh well.
When it came to designing this thing, though, it was a little tricky. I mean, I had a pretty good idea right away, but I don’t have very much experience drawing foxes, and I wanted it to be recognizable as a fox, so I had to do some research and practice. But like I said, I had one idea right away–the mask. Typically you see people wearing fox masks (as is the case in my design for the fox’s Shadow), not foxes wearing people masks, so that felt like a fun reversal.
I don’t know how I ended up first drawing those lips but after I did along with the visor shape for eyes it kind of reminded me of a female spy from like a 60s movie or something, so that informed the rest of the design. She also needed nine tails, of course, being a fox spirit and all, so I had to do something there, but I always seem to arrive at a design solution that’s the most difficult to draw. Those things were a pain, I’m not going to lie.
For the fox’s weapon I had to mull on it for a while, as I definitely wanted a proper weapon and I didn’t want to just copy what Koromaru had. Four legged creatures are obviously limited to what human weapons they can wield, so I gave the fox a kusarigama (a sickle with a chain and ball at the end). A rather… short kusarigama, but a kusarigama nonetheless. I’m not entirely sure how it wields one, as real ones require two hands, but it sorta looks cool in the picture.