1. Sintas
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    Sintas Member

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    Werefoxes? For lack of better term...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Sintas, Apr 27, 2015.

    I say werefoxes because I don't think many people are familiar with the term kitsune, which is what they actually are hah. They're essentially fox spirits with multiple tails and types of magic. They appear a lot in Japanese folklore.

    Anywwho, I'm revisiting a story from when I was a lot younger while I think up a plot for the real project I want to work on. In this story, I'm giving the kitsunes two different forms: a more anthropomorphic one, where they have mostly human features, and then the other one, where they actually look like foxes.

    I need help with this human-esque form. I've decided that I want the traits of each character to be more individualized, instead of giving them all the exact same beastly traits. For example, instead of all of them having fox ears on top of their heads, some will have them on the side, and others will still have human ears. It will depend on genes and such. I was just wondering of some of you would help me brainstorm :)

    Here's what I've come up with so far (these are all for their anthropomorphic form):

    -the ears I described before
    -their teeth will differ between human teeth, human teeth with animal canines, and a whole set of animalistic chompers
    -some will have "manes" in the sense that their hair is turned mostly into fur. Depending on the individual, the fur may extend down their back.
    -some will have claws for nails (I thought about the idea of making paws for hands, but that might mess with the storyline too much because they won't have dexterity)
    -some (most) will have at least one tail. The length will differ

    Then, of course, the color of their fur and the length and size of their ears and tails will differ. Help?

    Bonus question: I can't think of what to have characters refer to these forms as in the story. "Full forms" and "human forms" seem a little weird. If you can think of anything that would be super

    Thanks for reading through this block of text ;)
     
  2. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    Kitsune ... Never knew that. This forum is a great learning resource!

    Anyway, back to your question, I think you've already come up with ideas of how to achieve the human forms yourself. I'd only add that you need to ask yourself how the human forms feature in the story? Are they part of human society? If so then they'll need to really look like humans but more hairy than your average human (and ginger!). I'm reminded of the werewolves in The Company of Wolves looking quite canine without going through the change to wolf, but without looking twee either. Hard to give any more advice really without knowing story or more about the setting.
     
  3. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Foxes have much longer noses than humans, with a black wet bit at the end. I'm sure you can do something with that. Looking at pictures on Google images, they sometimes seem to have amber eyes or black eyes.
     
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  4. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    You mention dexterity...my daughter defends her decision to keep the dogs off the settee (to her d0g-soppy brother) by saying they'll be allowed on once they develop opposable thumbs...so there's your dexterity issue.
     
  5. molliemoogle
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    molliemoogle Member

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    Your question reminded me of a Supernatural episode where Sam meets an old friend who is a kitsune (http://supernatural.wikia.com/wiki/Kitsune). It also reminds me of the anime Inuyasha, which also has a kitsune character named Shippo (http://inuyasha.wikia.com/wiki/Shipp%C5%8D).

    I think you've done really well thinking about their human and kitsune forms, but I'm wondering if they should have a human form and a kitsune form, rather than anthropomorphise each one individually and vary it according to their genetics. I'm with @FrankieWuh about needing a bit of context.

    Bonus question: more context about the story would be needed, but what about "normal" and "human"? Just imagine the dialogue between 2 teenage kitsune:
    Kitsune A: Mum says I need to go normal tonight; we're hanging out with the oldies.
    Kitsune B: But me, Jake, and Ashley were going human tonight to see those hotties at the mall.
    Kitsune A: The oldies hate going human; hurts their joints or some crap like that.
    Kitsune B: Every party needs a pooper and that's why they invited you. Am I right?
    Kitsune A: Totes.
     
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  6. Sintas
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    Sintas Member

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    Glad you were able to learn something new!
    As for human integration, it's not really a thing. The story is set in modern Japan, however they live in a world where it isn't uncommon to see demons and spirits (like kitsunes). People don't enjoy the company of spirits and demons, so its a bit like a constant war zone. These particular kitsunes that I'll be writing about will live on an island off the coast, but many others live on the mainland and build their civilizations in the forest. They are generally in their human forms, since it's more practical since they have dexterity and stuff. Also, because I prefer to write them that way ;)

    When I said anthropomorphic form, I'm essentially saying a human form. I need them to look different from humans in obvious ways when they're in their "human forms" otherwise it would be way too easy for them to integrate with humans. They'll sometimes use magic to hide their attributes but it takes energy. Also, since they are generally in their more human form, would that make it 'normal' instead of their other form? Or would that seem confusing.
     
  7. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    Will they be standing on 2 legs but running on all fours?
     
  8. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    Isn't kitsune just the Japanese word for fox? I didn't think it specifically meant spirit.

    Anyway, in my works anthropomorphic animals always play a huge part, and when it came to naming them I had my work cut out for me.

    I dissected the creatures into their traits. For instance, a race of reptiles could be considered aquatic, scaled, spined, sly, unusual, etc. Then I looked at various languages around the world and drew inspiration from the translations of the descriptions I had. So eventually you come to your own language by merging words and phrases together. You could come up with a word for "scaled-folk" or "tailed-ones" by mixing and matching words from Latin, Greek, or Hebrew. Just an idea.
     
  9. ZYX
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    ZYX Member

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    I'd say just try to vary the anthromorphic forms so that one doesn't look almost perfectly human and another super foxy ( heh ) unless that's relevant to the story somehow. For fur color I thought that this http://www.tehlorri.com/L5R/kitsuneclan.htm was helpful; I'm guessing you already looked into or planned on looking into that but if you didn't find that ...

    I'd say you could maybe say ningen form ? It sounds a bit more mysterious and it's literally just Japanese for human. Then kitsune or true form for the fox one.

    It's both. When referring to actual foxes its typically キツネ and for the fox spirits they'll say 狐 ( both pronounced the same ). In English, kitsune just refers to the spirits.
     
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  10. Sintas
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    Sintas Member

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    They are completely bipedal in their human forms. In this form, depending on the individual and with appropriate disguises (hats, baggy pants, contacts) they could be mistaken as human.
    If you're getting into the super specifics, some kitsune that are rogue are called nogitsune, but that's getting more into folklore and stuff. I've thought about mixing and matching languages but then that wouldn't make much sense since they're in Japan.

    That's so funny that you linked that, I remember looking at that exact website a long time ago when I was figuring out some of my basics! Thank you, I remember it being a handy site. I will definitely vary their individual traits. To some extent some will look more human than others for plot related reasons, but I'm trying to stay away from the "cute" cliche of little cat/fox/animal people with just ears and a tail. At the same time I don't want to alter their bone structure much, since they need to be able to walk and function as a human in that form, so some of the attributes will just be frivolous stuff.

    Also, I love your suggestion for their more human form, ningen. I think i'll use that, it fits well.
     
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  11. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I saw this movie with tanuki, who are raccoons that can shape shift. They had to 'perfect' their transformation, and people who were less skilled had their animal features over their bodies.(Nose, tail, ears, etc.) Even skilled Tanuki would start to let their animal features 'slip' if they got too nervous. It was called The Eccentric Family. And it is pretty good.

    Kitsune's traditionally only transform into women, but taking some liberty here should be fine.
     
  12. ZYX
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    ZYX Member

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    !! Nice !!

    I believe I read somewhere that they'll also do old men, but I can't remember where ...
     
  13. Sintas
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    Sintas Member

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    That sounds pretty good, I'll have to look it up when I get off work. As for the female and male kitsune, in my book I've made it so that the women can learn to use their magic to shapeshift into other animals/various people (if they're very skilled) while men can not. That was about as close as I could get to folklore without screwing with my plot and stuff.
     
  14. mclaire22
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    mclaire22 Member

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    The Japanese have a special word to describe women who look like foxes: "Kitsune-gao." This word describes someone who has close-set eyes, a narrow face, high cheekbones, thin eyebrows...this facial arrangement is considered quite attractive.

    Maybe think of a character who has almond eyes that are a light brown, almost golden in colour. Also think of the use of makeup, for example looking at foxes you will notice they have beautiful black outlines around their eyes. This makes those gorgeous amber eyes stand out so beautifully! Maybe have female characters wear black eyeliner around their eyes as part of their aesthetic.
     
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  15. Sintas
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    Sintas Member

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    I really like this suggestion. I have to say, i've never really thought about their makeup aesthetics and clothing as part of their culture. I'm going to brainstorm that for a while.
     
  16. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I thought kitsunes were referred to as ninetails in English...? :superconfused:

    Don't worry about having male kitsunes - I once read a stand-alone manga where the male protag was a kitsune and wielded a power called "kitsune-bi" (fox fire) that could cast out demons and such. In any case, the Japanese themselves did not mind a male kitsune, so I think you're definitly fine! :-D
     
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  17. TheWingedFox
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    TheWingedFox Active Member

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    Werefoxes? Here foxes! :supercheeky:

    Ahhh, the old ones are the best...
     
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  18. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I got the following from Wikipedia, don't know how reliable it is, but it actually clears a lot up, from what we've been talking about...

    "A kitsune may take on human form, an ability learned when it reaches a certain age—usually 100 years, although some tales say 50.[15] As a common prerequisite for the transformation, the fox must place reeds, a broad leaf, or a skull over its head.[18] Common forms assumed by kitsune include beautiful women, young girls, or elderly men. These shapes are not limited by the fox's age or gender,[8] and a kitsune can duplicate the appearance of a specific person.[19] Foxes are particularly renowned for impersonating beautiful women. Common belief in medieval Japan was that any woman encountered alone, especially at dusk or night, could be a fox.[20] Kitsune-gao or fox-faced refers to human females who have a narrow face with close-set eyes, thin eyebrows, and high cheekbones. Traditionally, this facial structure is considered attractive, and some tales ascribe it to foxes in human form.[21] Variants on the theme have the kitsune retain other foxlike traits, such as a coating of fine hair, a fox-shaped shadow, or a reflection that shows its true form.[22]

    In some stories, kitsune have difficulty hiding their tails when they take human form; looking for the tail, perhaps when the fox gets drunk or careless, is a common method of discerning the creature's true nature.[23] A particularly devout individual may in some cases even be able to see through a fox's disguise merely by perceiving them.[24] Kitsune may also be exposed while in human form by their fear and hatred of dogs, and some become so rattled by their presence that they revert to the form of a fox and flee" - Wikipedia
     
  19. Sintas
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    Sintas Member

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    Ohoho clever are we ;)

    That's pretty accurate as far as I know. I've done a fair bit of research on them myself and that all lines up, although I've never heard the bit about reflections being exclusive to kitsunes. It seems to me that this goes for a lot of demons.
     
  20. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Someone on the thread (forget who now) mentioned tanuki - so it's a racoon dog, is it? I've never known the English term for it (we have a direct Chinese term - I presume probably because we take straight from the kanji whenever one is available) and so I've always referred to it as a "racoon" but something never sat right with me whenever I called it that!

    Anyway, reading the above wiki source on kitsune, it reminded me of this anime about tanuki - a very old film, and a horribly boring one too as far as I remember, but nonetheless it's by Studio Gibhli and a bit of a classic I believe. It follows a whole family of tanukis and there was a lot about their transformation and trying to look human and all. I watched it only once and as a child at that, so I don't remember now, but here's the wiki link!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pom_Poko
     
  21. Spencer Rose
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    The film the everyone is referring to is called "Pom poko" by studio Ghibli and it goes through the lives of tanuki (raccoon-dogs) reviving the art of transformation to try and protect themselves against a human threat. For the type of story you're writing I think you should definitely check it out, though it can be a bit tedious. It sheds a lot of light about the art of transforming and the effect it would have on a group like this (including kitsune).

    Tanuki, bakeneko, and kitsune all
    fall into the popular japanese category of bakemono (aka shape shifters). There's alot of interesting material out there about them, including their habits, rituals, and culture. Most of these creatures don't develop the ability to shapeshift until later in life (as early as 50 and as old as 1000). They tend to use mundane objects to focus their talent and energy (the leaf is the most easily recognized, but it could easily be something your character is attached to, like a ring, a necklace, a hat, etc.) also, transformation they take does not depend on gender or age. An old man could transform into a young woman and visa versa.

    A popular idea is that traits from the base form transfer to the altered form. Example: a fat fox would transform into a fat human. An old fox would transform into an older human. Transforming is only half the battle, they have to interact in that form, change their voices, the way they walk, the way they interact with others. If an old man transformed into a sexy young lady, but walked all hunched over and feeble no one would buy it.

    A far as "leftover" traits in human form (mane, ears on head, or tail) are said to only appear when the foxes energy is spent, or when novices are transforming and "forget" a piece.

    Anyways... That's my two cents.
     
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  22. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    Oh, I was thinking actual werefoxes. Ya, Kitsune I've known about them. Actually part of one of my books. I don't have time to go into detail, since I really have to go to work about now. I'll go subscribe or mark this thread or whatever we do that I have yet to do before.
     
  23. Sintas
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    Sintas Member

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    Are werefoxes actually a thing? Ahaha
     

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