The Great Yokai War!
DJ Mokugohan watched this movie last night. We had seen it last summer and quite enjoyed it and understood most of it. Then we saw a subtitled version and were very impressed that very little was Lost In Translation. You need to see the movie yourself, but it would help if you knew a little about the monsters involved. So watch this trailer and if you're intrigued enough, keep reading.
I have included the trailer in English, but I find it removes all hint of horror and gives it the feel of a hollywood kid's movie. It is for kids but it does have its spooky moments that shook up a few adults when we saw it last summer. (If you can track it down, I beg of you to find a subtitled version, not a dubbed one.) Coming soon to a video store near you...
The comic relief is provided by a Kappa 河童. This frog-like creature with a tortoise shell, a duck's beak and a monk's haircut (which is actually a bowl full of water) can actually be very gruesome. Kappa are mischievous troublemakers. Their pranks range from the relatively innocent, such as loudly farting or looking up women's kimonos, to the more troublesome, such as stealing crops, kidnapping children, or raping women. In fact, small children comprise one of the gluttonous kappa's favorite meals, though they will eat adults as well. They feed on these hapless victims by sucking out the entrails through the anus. (OUCH!) Even today, signs warning about kappa appear by bodies of water in some Japanese towns and villages.
Today, Kappa are depicted as more friendly. There are even a series of children's books, anime and TV appearances by them. My best advice to you, should you happen to meet one, is to bow deeply. Although mischievous, the Kappa is very polite as well and will answer your bow with one of their own. If they bow too deeply, the water in the bowl-shape of their head will empty, thus rendering them powerless. Good luck when wandering throught the ponds of Japan!
There are far too many Yokai for me to write about, so I recommend you check out this website and click around. It has an A-Z of all of the Japanese mythological creatures.