(Above) The idea that the Oina tribe members could transform into wolves came up mid-development, and I remember re-doing this draft accordingly. This is also around the time he got his fiery red hair. The Oina tribe was influenced heavily by the Ainu peoples and the Native Americans. The masks they wear represent the divine spirit that they worship, and is their way of staying close to said spirit. The masks were definitely not just a cover-up for us to avoid the hassle of designing more faces… no, they carry a very deep meaning.

(Below) An early Oki. At this point, he did not have the ability to transform into a wolf, and I was drawing him to look a little younger. The fact that he is wearing short sleeves despite being from a very cold region is an idea left over from this early stage in development. In the end, I feel it suits his hot-blooded personality perfectly…still, looks a bit chilly.

Okami: Official Complete Works, page 147

This is the first character I drew when I joined the Okami team. Initially, her name was Omohikane and she existed separately from Tuskle. Omohikane means “God of Knowledge”, so I tied her design to owls. Eventually, the scenario had Tuskle and Omohikane combine and become what you see today. The owls on her head are indeed alive, and it is quite possible that they are the ones doing the actual talking instead of Tuskle…

Okami: Official Complete Works, page 150