Legends of The One Tail Beast August 23, 2014
I’m sure all of you remember the One Tail Beast, the very first Summoned Beast you obtain. The One Tail was based on a Tanuki from Japanese folklore or a Japanese Raccoon Dog in reality. Many of Japanese contains tanuki otherwise known as Bake-danuki (化け狸). They are a kind of tanuki yōkai (ghost) found in the classics and in the folklore and legends of various places in Japan.
Although the tanuki is a real, extant animal, the bake-danuki that appears in literature has always been depicted as a strange, even supernatural animal. The earliest appearance of the bake-danuki in literature, in the chapter about Empress Suiko in the Nihon Shoki written during the Nara period, there are such passages as “in two months of spring, there are tanuki in the country of Mutsu (春二月陸奥有狢), they turn into humans and sing songs (化人以歌) ”. Bake-danuki subsequently appear in such classics as the Nihon Ryōiki and the Uji Shūi Monogatari. In some regions of Japan, bake-danuki are reputed to have abilities similar to those attributed to kitsune (foxes): they can shapeshift into other things or people, and even possess human beings.
Compared with kitsune (foxes), which are the epitome of shape-changing animals, there is the saying that “the fox has seven disguises, the tanuki has eight (狐七化け、狸八化け)”. The tanuki is thus superior to the fox in its disguises, but unlike the fox, which changes its form for the sake of tempting people, tanuki do so to fool people and make them seem stupid. There is also the theory that they simply like to change their form.
In Anime Ninja, Shukaku perhaps doesn’t give shinobies abilities to do shape shifting but they do give you a nice boost of stats if you boost them periodically until shinobies able to take control of the two tails. And don’t worry about getting tricked, shukaku prefer to sleep rather than tricking shinobies though.