Sun. Mar 29th, 2020

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Japanese Illustrator Imagines A World Where Humans Live Among Giant Animals

4 min read

This mysterious Japanese artist, who goes by the pseudonym of Ariduka55, or Monokubo, on social media channels, creates otherwordly illustrations that breathe life into a completely new fantasy world where giant animals live and evolve alongside humans.

Monokubo is a 24-year-old artist from Japan got an idea of giant animals from Studio Ghibli. “It came from “Princess Mononoke” and “Totoro”. I liked drawing pictures in such style since a young age,” MonoKubo shared with Bored Panda. The artist finds her inspiration in “Natural landscapes and various illustrations, for example, I like Piotr Jabłoński’s work.”

It seems the artist likes to indulge herself with illustrations that depict soft and cuddly animals – pandas, rabbits, dogs and the like – although, it’s pretty evident that the cats are the apples of the artist’s eye. The atmosphere in the pictures is almost always etherial and peaceful, complete with story-telling elements in their compositions. Many of the illustrations are marked with soft sunshine filtering through various objects, including leaves and windows.

Fun fact, the Japanese even have a word for sunlight streaming through the leaves of the trees – komorebi (木漏れ日). It’s a term for a light curtain and the shadow it creates on the ground, a term that eloquently describes this everyday beauty.

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This Japanese Illustrator Gives Life To Giant Animals

This black feline is a show off who likes to put his excellent abilities on display. ‘You can’t do that, human, can you?’ – he says with a challenging look on his face, while making a perfect pyramid formation with a huge ball of cotton and a blue blob of a bird.


This Japanese Illustrator Gives Life To Giant Animals

“In Japanese mythology, grain farmers once worshipped wolves at shrines and left food offerings near their dens, beseeching them to protect their crops from wild boars and deer. Talismans and charms adorned with images of wolves were thought to protect against fire, disease, and other calamities and brought fertility to agrarian communities and to couples hoping to have children. The Ainu people believed that they were born from the union of a wolf like creature and a goddess.”


This Japanese Illustrator Gives Life To Giant Animals

The art of camouflage is on point in this picture. Not only did the black cat become one with nature, it even managed to find a blue blob friend while at it. We are not sure why (perhaps because of the big round eyed), this cat reminds us of Totoro by Ghibli studio.


This Japanese Illustrator Gives Life To Giant Animals

A girl comes back home and uses a HUG card on her cat, but this non-exploding kitten combats the girl’s futile attempt at physical contact with a NOPE card of his own.

The Japanese have a daily expression ‘tadaima’ (ただいま) which is a shortened version of ‘I just came home’, and while usually it is polite to respond with ‘okaeri’ (おかえり) i.e. ‘welcome home’, this giant feline will have none of it.


This Japanese Illustrator Gives Life To Giant Animals

A world where you can surrender yourself to sleep on a giant ball of fur is a world where you wouldn’t be able to get any work done. A perfect world.

Fun fact: did you know that in traditional Japanese architecture, a door, window or room divider made of translucent paper over a frame of wood is called shōji? It probably all comes down to the Japanese love for minimalism, for the purpose of shōji doors is to slide open, and thus conserve space that would be otherwise required for a swinging door.


This Japanese Illustrator Gives Life To Giant Animals

A tranquil and slightly gloomy part of the series featuring a Korean crow-tit (Baepsae). There is a common idiom/saying: ‘the crow tit will break its legs trying to walk like a stork’, which, in its simplest form, means pretending to be something you are not.


This Japanese Illustrator Gives Life To Giant Animals

This looks straight out of a science-fiction movie where the main protagonist is a stray cat looking for a place to call home. For months, locals have tried to lure the kitten out of his hiding place promising toys and treats. ‘Look, this ain’t a laser pointer, but at least it’s shiny.’


This Japanese Illustrator Gives Life To Giant Animals

A peaceful autumn afternoon at the shrine saturated with both color and falling leaves.

Although it might be hard to tell, the animal depicted in this particular illustration is not your regular raccoon. In fact, this is Tanuki (or a raccoon dog), an atypical species of dog that can grow up to 60 cm in length, with distinctive stripes of black fur under its eyes. Unlike a raccoon, tanuki has a roundish nose, small floppy ears, short and furred paws for running, and a tail that is not ringed.

Originally an evil trickster and spook in Japanese folklore, Tanuki is now a benevolent modern-day symbol of generosity, cheer and prosperity.

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