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Kenshi Yonezu's Monster Encyclopedia (Text Translation)

Kenshi Yonezu released his first book, Monster Encyclopedia, on December 10th, 2016. It's a collection and expansion of a monthly series he did for the magazine ROCKIN'ON JAPAN, where he drew monsters and gave a short description of their ecology. Here are translations of all the descriptions from the book.

(Amazon.co.jp)

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Definition of a Monster

- Speaks human language, or has a high level of understanding.
- Doesn't fit into traditional classifications; is an independent, one-of-a-kind species.
- Has abilities that can't be explained by human knowledge and technology.
- Was originally human, or for whatever reason is in a state where it can no longer be called human.

If two or more of the above apply, it is classified as a monster.

1. Bonekeeper

A monster that, without anyone asking it to, can't resist acting as a gatekeeper whenever it sees a gate. Even if it's a tiny little kennel, it denies entry to anyone and everyone. When it spots an intruder, it starts gnashing with its giant mouth and snaps at them. Its bites are incredibly powerful, and can easily chew up human limbs. While it will guard for you, the problem is that it can't judge who's an intruder or not, and will thus even attack the place's owner.

2. Policeman

Has a human-like appearance, and floats through the sky at heights of about 50 meters. No part of it resembles wings, so it is unclear how exactly it flies. 3 to 4 meters tall. Policemen target humans and stubbornly chase them down, and when a target is vulnerable (sleeping, primarily), it catches them and takes them away somewhere. It's not well understood what it takes people away for. It's also not clear what standards it has for selecting targets. It doesn't appear antagonistic toward humans, but as far as has been observed, humans are the only ones it takes with it. It appears to understand human language, but whether it has emotions or reason is another matter.

3. Substitutey

When it finds a human with a body resembling its own, it enters through their mouth, then spits the skeleton out and assumes the human's skeletal structure to control them. Humans controlled by a Substitutey retain their consciousness and senses, but lose their freedom to speak and move, and go on coexisting with the Substitutey without dying. Size varies from one to another, so it can wander for days on end in search of a human that's just the right match for its body. In very rare cases, a human may be able to reject the Substitutey and escape control, but once the Substitutey leaves their body, they will be left completely boneless and ultimately die.

4. Hoffa

A monster with a hand for a head. About 1 meter tall. Two eyeballs float in front of its hand-head. Having hardly any legs, it walks extremely slow, but it can see far distances by grabbing its eyeballs with its hand-head and throwing them. Its throwing skill is superb; it can throw its eyeballs as far as 3 kilometers. Some throw them so far that they end up losing one of the eyeballs, if not both.

5. Spider Family

A desert-dwelling spider, and little people who inhabit it like parasites. The people are born from within the spider's body - in a sense, the spider's children. The spider is about 4.5 meters tall, and the people reach about 1 meter at maturity. They survive in their harsh desert environment by depending on one another. The people do maintenance on the spider's body (manufacturing replacements for missing or defunct body parts, cleaning the body), and must observe the surroundings to make up for the spider's weak sensory organs. They are repaid by the spider protecting them from outside foes, and sharing its food when it hunts. The spider has a shorter life expectancy, so it would die before the people; however, it eats all the people when it approaches death. There are rare cases of some of the people managing to survive, but since they can't live on their own, they end up emaciated and die.

6. Candy Sorcerer

Uses magic that turns humans into candy. By pointing its staff at a target and chanting a spell, it can transform a human into human-shaped candy. It personally holds candy in the highest regard, so it believes it's doing humans a favor transforming them into it. Humans turned into candy remain conscious, and while they can't move freely, they are able to talk. The longer they're candy, the more they weaken, ultimately resulting in death and becoming completely candy (since bodily functions fully cease the moment they're turned to candy, there are various schools of thought on how to define "death," with yet no definite conclusions). The three sibling-heads each have a different flavor; the eldest son is strawberry, the second son is melon, and the third son is lemon.

7. Tree-Becoming-Person

Initially planted in the ground as a normal tree, its roots eventually become legs, its branches become arms, and ultimately, it becomes a human. The round berry-like objects are flesh, which through the growing process change into things like internal organs and eyes. It cuts off small, weak flesh, pruning itself as it waits to become a human, but it's difficult to assemble all the parts of the human body, so most die still imperfect. Even if one can get all the parts together, seeing as it can't take in nutrients except by eating nutritious soil, it will only have a few weeks left to live at that point, and can't hope to lead a very human-esque life.

8. Child-Carrying Furball

Most dwell in frigid regions. It's carnivorous, preying on small animals like rabbits. When it becomes an adult, its eyesight gets worse, so it puts a child on its head to act as its eyes. But its eyes are already bad from childhood, so the child often gives completely wrong directions. Its fur appears white, but upon closer inspection, is actually transparent. Because this fur is much like a polar bear's, many suppose they're closely related species, but they are genetically quite different. A generally docile and gentle monster, but gets scary when angered.

9. Slicehead

An aggregation of thinly-sliced heads. The portion that looks like a torso is actually a stack of numerous head slices. The horizontal stripe patterns come from the sides of the thin cylindrical heads, so the patterns vary depending on the facial expression. The area surrounded by a number of spikes is where the leader of the aggregation is located. Thus, one can immediately tell who the leader is, which is the Slicehead's greatest weakness.

10. Nestingmouth

It always has children inside its mouth. The Nestingmouth itself serves the same role as the pouch of a marsupial, protecting the Nestingmouths inside it. It's very smelly inside. The outermost Nestingmouth ruptures and dies once the Nestingmouth one level within it grows large enough. A single Nestingmouth is made up of 3 to 5 bodies, and is thought to reproduce asexually. While each Nestingmouth has an independent body and consciousness, they can't speak due to the children in their mouths, so the innermost youngest one speaks for them. Since it must speak for multiple people all at once, it's a rough job.

11. Wu-Tang

Always has its mouth open in a surprised expression, but it isn't necessarily surprised; that's just how it always is, apparently. About 50 centimeters to 1 meter tall. Extremely lazy, even finding eating to be a chore, so it survives just by eating bugs that occasionally fly into its mouth. It stores a lot of things in its body, and is even able to store things heavier than its body somehow. But it can't fit anything larger than its mouth inside, so mouth size is a signifier of strength among Wu-Tang.

12. Legless

Swings around from the ceilings of rooms. About 1 meter tall. Perhaps self-conscious about its lack of legs, when it sees something with legs - humans and animals, naturally, but also chairs and tables - it rips them off.

13. Clan

Has friends of various kinds, and tends to act in a group. About 20 to 40 centimeters tall. Each has their own specialties, so they live supporting one another. They have an ability like telepathy, so it seems distant allies can share information as soon as one learns it. They may form pacts or antagonistic relationships with other groups.

14. Dohz

A stuffed toy that's sewed a human into its own body. It survives by sucking up human lifeforce. The sewed-on human goes into a coma state, dreaming as they doze off. Most of these dreams are based on happy memories from childhood, so it's said they look very happy in their sleep.

15. Hammer-Person

Its head is a hammer, and if harm is inflicted on it, it retaliates with a headbutt. 2 to 3 meters tall. In daily life, it appears to find headbutting vertically-long objects irresistible.

16. Waitervane

Simply watches people come and go. It appears to be waiting for someone special. Occasionally, it will mistakenly go along with a stranger who looks similar, but as soon as it realizes its error, it immediately gouges out that person's innards. Apparently this monster was human-made, but the details are unknown.

17. Ladykiller Frog

A frog that haunts cute girls. 1 to 3 meters tall. It can turn invisible, and haunts its prey unnoticed. The amount of water in the girl's body gradually increases until ultimately, she turns completely into liquid. Half of all missing women cases are said to be caused by this monster (easily distinguished by the foul-smelling liquid left at the scene). The ex-girl liquid is the frog's favorite meal.

18. Organs

A monster that lives in a ribcage. It appears as if many of them are living in one ribcage, but they're actually all one organism, and when one dies, they all die. Thus, they live covering for one another in the ribcage.

19. Aspiringling

A child who died never becoming a grown-up, but refused to give up on becoming one, so it put on a parent's clothes and began to wander around town. It's already dead, so it won't grow, and as such can't become an adult. It's deeply jealous of children who are still alive, so it will inflict some sort of harm on any it sees. The number of children killed by Aspiringlings is not insignificant. Until its body is destroyed by external factors, it wanders around town seeking salvation in perpetuity.

20. Flowerman

An ex-human who's come to have flowers growing all over its body. The flowers grow by sucking the lifeforce of their host, so the host gradually weakens. But in exchange, it can grow flowers on any wood within reach. Most who become Flowermen ultimately have their lifeforce squeezed out of them in a few years and die, but it seems there are exceptional cases.

21. Anne

It normally mimics a matryoshka doll, but when a human approaches, it strangles them with its skeletal arms. It just seems to like seeing humans suffering. To distinguish it from a normal matryoshka, you should shine a flashlight on its face. If it's an Anne, it should open its eyes and look at you.

22. Thieving Juvenile

A child who was always stealing people's things, and one day found themselves to have become a monster. After crossing that line, it's no longer satisfied if it's not stealing. If it goes a long time without stealing from others, its body shrinks, and it will eventually die.

23. Prayer

Devout believers of certain faiths can become this monster as a result of extreme meditation. Its appearance is quite detached from what it looked like as a human, but it retains the same praying hands. It keeps praying in the ground or in caves, and some have been praying for centuries, but no one knows just how long they're going to keep praying.

24. Diverman

Lives deep at the bottom of the sea. Divers in ancient times so loved the deep that they became one with their diving suits and began living on the ocean floor. It's always flipping over deep-sea rocks and searching around. There's no real reason for these things, but it seems to be calmed by them. Though once human, it's lost its memories from back then.

25. Jack-in-the-Bed

Sneaks into homes night after night, drags children outside, and lurks in their beds to try and scare the parents. About 1 meter tall. If it gets the desired scare, it leaves satisfied, but if not, it stays in the house and keeps trying various pranks until its targets are surprised. Relatively innocent, so if you give it candy or the like, it'll give up on pranks and be happy.

26. Jarred-Away

Tries to drag any humans it spots into its jar. About 3 meters long (including tentacles). Most jars are usually about 1 meter big, but it can drag even the biggest humans inside. Humans dragged into the jar go missing, and most never come back. It's unknown if the jar is connected to somewhere or if people are being kept in the jar. On very rare occasions, a jarred-away person suddenly returns one day, but they have absolutely no memory of what they were doing, and no matter how many decades have passed, they seemingly re-appear looking exactly the same as when they first disappeared.

27. Insider Acquaintance

Appears near people whose death is near and waves a flag somewhere where they'll see it. Sometimes it's from the other bank of a river, sometimes it's from an apartment rooftop, sometimes it's from the veranda at home. Other people cannot see it. At first, it waves a white flag, but suddenly switches to a black flag one day; when this happens, the flagged person will die within the day. It understands human language and can speak, but it will not respond to pleas or bargaining. To quote it: "I am a messenger to the end, and I cannot change the outcome."

28. Fauxbird

It sits perfectly still without moving, so no one can tell what it's thinking. 2.5 to 3 meters. It has a vaguely bird-like face, but of course, is not an avian and cannot fly. Occasionally it glances around at its surroundings, and if it detects a threat, it uses its two arms like legs to abscond at blinding speed. It hardly ever harms humans. It's herbivorous, generally preferring berries and fruits. It's extremely unable to handle stress, and very wary, so it rarely becomes affectionate with humans, but there are a few who have formed human friendships. It seems unable to speak human language, but can understand it; thus, if a human can simply build fondness with it, they can be good friends.

29. Festisaurus

A dinosaur created for a certain festival, which secretly acquired a will of its own and began to move. Normally just wanders around the area, but if it hears a festival band, it starts to dance.

30. Messenger Bird

Appears on a certain holiday. It goes around distributing bread to children in town. 3.5 meters tall. It treats good kids and bad kids equally, giving bread to children and celebrating them whether they're studious or slackers. As a result, children trust it immensely, but there's no shortage of people who suspect its actions, and it has been falsely accused and blamed by humans who don't think well of monsters.

31. Charle

A parasite that infects people who are tired every day. It takes over their consciousness, stealing away all their freedom. But it seems Charle itself does this out of pity, taking the burden of the person's life on itself so they don't have to exhaust themselves anymore. It's not clear exactly how conscious the possessed people are. When the host human dies, Charle dies with them.

32. Blinder-Hat

Wears a hat that covers its entire face, staring with drawn-on eyes. It won't do anything as long as no harm is inflicted on it, but it's apparently fearsome when angered. It's normally silent, with an intellectual look to it. If talked to, it will respond to you calmly, but it often lies. It's suspected it may actually be human, but Blinder-Hats themselves refuse to back down on the claim that they are monsters.

33. Balloon Head

Children who lose their head in some kind of accident turn into Balloon Heads. If it lets go of its balloon head, it dies .It's always looking out into the distance in search of something.

34. Little King

Small royalty. Its head is made from a potato, and its clothes are fashioned from a scarf. The ribbon on its chest is of the wrapping variety, and its eyes are buttons. It's always looking for companions; it can't do anything alone.

35. Sentinel

Has very good eyes. It's always surveying the surrounding area to protect its turf. If someone intrudes into its territory by a single step, it comes snapping at them.

36. Malismoke

Usually, it mimics a cigarette; then, when a human smokes it, it feeds on their maliciousness to appear as smoke. Malismoke's strength varies depending on the amount of maliciousness in the human, so a pure human can only produce a frail Malismoke, while a vulgar human will produce a Malismoke raging like a typhoon. Humans who produce a Malismoke have their maliciousness sucked out of them, rendering them totally honest people.

37. Overcoat Gentleman

Always hovering around. It has no lower jaw, so it can't speak, but it can project images directly into a person's brain, allowing for mutual understanding. Typically, it has a great wealth of knowledge, and few can understand the algorithms this allows it to come up with. Appears friendly enough with humans, but it's never revealed what's inside its stomach, and you generally can't tell what it's thinking.

38. Scrapper

A child abandoned at a dump who turned into a monster. It lives by eating scrap. Its four legs became long and thin so it could better walk on trash-filled areas with no footing.

39. Pride

A monster with a crocodile-like mouth. It covers its bare face with cloth and won't show it to others, but if its bare face is seen by someone, the Pride will swallow them whole with its large mouth. It's very conceited and keeps strictly to its own ideologies and principles. It boasts that it harms humans only if its face is seen, but also has a degenerate side that will do things like purposefully show its face as an excuse to swallow people whole.

40. Wolfman [AKA Aroonin]

Always spacing out, living sluggishly from day to day. Sometimes it starts dancing like crazy.

41. Monster

Its body is structured completely different from a human, but its appearance is just like one. It speaks the same as a human and has the same feelings, so it even thinks of itself as human. Many die without ever knowing they're monsters.


Posted February 11th, 2017
#kenshi yonezu

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