It's an eyeball. In a butt. It's the SHIRIME youkai!
This week will be short and sweet, showcasing the oddball youkai called the Shirime, whose name literally translates to butt (尻) eye (目)... so I think you can probably guess what this fellow looks like!
That's right, the Shirime literally has an eyeball in place of its anus. Here's a depiction of the Shirime by the famous artist and poet, Buson.
Not much is known about this obscure yet whimsical youkai. Legends tell that a samurai near Kyoto was the first to encounter the beast. Walking alone at night one day, he heard someone calling to him from behind. But upon turning around, the honorable fighter saw a man undressing and then spreading his cheeks, revealing a large eye.
Unsurprisingly, the Shirime hasn't been featured in a whole lot of anime and manga. But one does make an appearance during the Night Parade of One Hundred Demons scene in the Pom Poko anime film.
As a fun post-launch update, thanks to Sobriquet on Crunchyroll's Facebook page for pointing out that the Shirime appears in the game Muramasa Rebirth - and I have to say this image is possibly more disturbing than any of the above ones! XD
Have you managed to spot this cheeky fellow anywhere else? There must be other cameos out there, but given how strange this guy is, it's unsurprising they aren't as mainstream as the Kappa or the Yuki-Onna.
Thanks for tuning in this week! Make sure to be on the lookout for this adorable, wacky youkai in Japanese pop culture, and if you've spotted others that aren't mentioned above, let me know in the comments!
See you next time!
Kim Cameron is the CEO and founder of Anime-Planet, Crunchyroll's partner and the world’s first anime and manga recommendation database site, and author of the "Anime-Planet Recommends..." and "Monster Mondays" columns on Crunchyroll. Follow her on Twitter at @AnimePlanet or on Facebook.