Kemono Friends Character Designer Draws Tsuchinoko for Yearly Festival

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

As an island nation, Japan has some unique flora and fauna exclusive to its geography. You've probably heard of tanuki, Japanese macaque, and the presumed extinct Hokkaido wolf. But have you heard of the tsuchinoko (literally, "child of hammer"), Japan's popular Unidentified Mysterious Animal (UMA)? This creature of folklore is described as an elusive serpent and, depending on the legend, enjoys both lying and drinking alcohol.

This tsuchinoko specimen was created by Hajime Emoto out of paper.

The creature has gained quite a fan following and even has its own festival in Higashishirakawa in Gifu prefecture. On May 3, the town goes tsuchinoko hunting with the chance to win 1,280,000 yen (US$11,449) for locating the tsuchinoko hidden in the search area. Various other activities, like photo opportunities and food stalls, are also at the festival.

One of the shops at the festival site is hosting a very special gift this year from manga artist and character designer Mine Yoshizaki. Yoshizaki drew the Kemono Friends version of the tsuchinoko on a panel to display at the event. Twitter user BIT shared the images.

Included with the panel is a note from Yoshizaki.

In the letter, Yoshizaki thanked Tsuchinokokan for its support of the anime. He offered the art as a sign of his gratitude. Since he was a child, Yoshizaki has dreamed that there might be tsuchinoko somewhere in the world. He said he would be happy if he can help Tsuchinokokan's work even a little.

The Kemono Friends anime, which was part of a multimedia project that included the Nexon smartphone game of the same name, aired from January to March 2017 and was streamed by Crunchyroll. The series is getting a new video project, smartphone game, and stage play.

[Via Yara-on!]

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