DISCLAIMER: This is merely an introduction to material that inspired my theory that the rukh will be the “final boss” at the end of Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic. The compilation of scenes in the clip
(along with a few other episodes of Mushishi) are what got me thinking about the rukh being primitive but harmful entities that are fundamentally parasitic in nature.
While Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic largely draws upon Arabian Nights for inspiration, I believe the “rukh” that act as “media of the soul” and obey the commands of magicians are more consistent with specific kinds of kami featured in Japanese folklore. The qualities rukh share with traditional kami make me think that they might be the “villains” be behind every human villain in Magi & Sinbad no Bouken.
It’s not just wishful thinking: there are other animanga franchises that use kami-like lifeforms as plot devices in the same way. It’s an established animanga literary trope. A contemporary example is Mushishi, a critically acclaimed manga written by Yuki Urushibara. This clip is from the equally esteemed anime adaptation.
Mushishi features primitive lifeforms that are directly inspired by a specific kind of kami to be found in Japanese folklore. Rather than refer to the creatures in her story as “kami,” she decided to use the term “mushi” since each one is an original creation inspired by a specific kami.
Mushi literally translates to “bug” in Japanese. The term can be used to a variety of nonspecific primitive lifeforms including insects and microbes. Ironically, the term “rukh” is derived from “roc” (رخ in Arabic and رخ in Farsi) that refers to an enormous bird of prey featured in many Arabic folktales, including Arabian Nights.
I’ve found the Imemo no Awai mushi featured in this episode to be intriguingly similar to the rukh. They are birdlike mediums for the soul, obey the commands of humans with which they are connected, manipulate reality based on such commands, can only be seen by people with a deep connection to mushi, create unintended disasters because how poorly understood they are, and are primitive lifeforms whose only motivation is to exist.
I’ll expand more on these ideas later by incorporating the Alma Toran Arc, Mushishi side material, and scholarly articles about Japanese folklore to make a more concise argument supporting my theory about the rukh being the “final boss” in Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic.
They’re all here! I took it upon myself to create an illustration of a Mythological creature or character for every letter of the alphabet, trying to span across a multitude of cultures and creature-types. Another thing I wanted to accomplish with this project was to find some the more unusual and/or obscure creatures that don’t get as much representation in artwork. Individual Tumblr Posts with said creatures’ descriptions are below.
Again, I’ll be making this into a small run of books as a way to test the waters. If there’s more demand for a larger run, I’ll definitely be looking into it!
Mizuki Shigeru aka Shigeru Mizuki aka 水木 しげる aka Shigeru Mura aka 武良 茂 aka Mura Shigeru (Japanese, 1922-2015, b. Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan) - Gasha-dokuro: a giant skeleton spawned by the angry spirits of wayfarers who died by the roadside (A Yokai from Hiroshima Prefecture).
Author and translator Matt Alt recently posted pictures of his upcoming translation of Toriyama Sekien’s Yokai Encyclopedia’s on his Yokai Attack Facebook group! If you enjoy the art I post on this page it’ll be of interest!
AMIGOS DE PUNTA ARENAS! Este fin de semana estare presente en Festigonia 2016! Llevare prints y comics, ademas de hacer dibujos y firmas. Nos vemos este 29, 30 y 31 de octubre!
—————————— Hi guys! this is an old image. This time a japanese folk tale of Tamamo no Mae. ed itself into a stone called the Sessho-seki. The
stone continually released poisonous gas, killing everything that
touched it. The stone was said to have been destroyed in the Nanboku-chō
period by the Buddhist monk Gennō Shinshō (源翁心昭), who exorcised the
now-repentant fox spirit. He held a Buddhist memorial service after the
deed, allowing the spirit to finally rest in peace.
The Kaikidan Ekotoba, a nineteenth century Japanese handscroll of uncertain authorship, is a seemingly inexhaustible source of strange creatures. Here are four interesting scans that I haven’t seen on Tumblr.
On the left are two unrelated monsters of Fukuoka, Kyushu: A blob of soft flesh suspected of being a shapeshifting Tanuki, and a dog-bird hybrid.
The center illustration is a man-eating cave said to be located somewhere in the Aso Mountain Range of Kyushu.
On the right is a fanciful portrait of a real animal, the Ezo wolf. This subspecies was extant in a limited range when the scroll was written, but the last known member died in 1889. There are still occasional sightings reported in rural Hokkaido.
Lastly, there’s a great big angry fish seen off the coast of Hokkaido.
In the folklore of the japanese island of Kyushu, the Nurikabe is the ‘wall poltergeist’. It appears as a large white wall in front of people who are out walking about late at night. If you try to pass the wall it will fall on you and crush you. If you turn and run from it it will reappear in front of you. The only way to escape is to hit the bottom of the wall with a stick, and it will disappear.