Baku : Cultural Curiosity

Posted: October 10, 2013 by Kane Blaireau in Kane, Minatures, Television, Video Games

baku_spirit-1979px

As per usual, I’m following several Kickstarters at once. Current one that really has me excited is Chibi Asian Adventurers by Impact! Miniatures. Check that out here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/674003445/chibi-asian-adventurers-miniatures-w-ninjas-and-mo

So, I was digging through each and every mini checking out the 3D renders and full details and finally got down to the last Stretch Goal: Baku. It looked familiar. Something about it sounded familiar so I started doing some reasearch. What I found was interesting to say the least.

First, I looked it up and plopped down to the Wikipedia listing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baku_(spirit). Still looks familiar. Definitely have seen it in traditional art. This has a mention of Bakumon from Digimon which is inspired by the mythical Baku. Which is translated as Tapirmon in the English games. Wait, WHAT?!

Continuing the Wikipedia article, apparently, the Baku was no longer portrayed as a supernatural beast after sometime in 1980 when 2 and 2 became two too many and its a Tapir. Seriously, A TAPIR. From the outside, it looks like an entire culture said “ooooooh, THAT’S what that was” and retconned the whole damn thing. Its still a Baku, but it looks just like a Tapir. Of course, the supernatural aspects are still there, its just no longer presented in the traditional manner.

Funny enough, the Baku also inspired the Pokémon Drowzee and Munna/Musharna. The Tapir resemblance is VERY evident even there.

Funny how culture can shift with our understanding of the natural world!

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