Yōkai (妖怪) are a class of supernatural or paranormal being in Japanese culture, myth, and religions. Species and groupings of yōkai are massively diverse, and run from beasts to demons to spirits. Their motives, appearances, and abilities are just as diverse.
Since many of the characters in TMNT are from and/or visit Japan, yōkai feature occasionally in various incarnations.
Yōkai in TMNT
- The Ninja Turtles themselves are mistaken for kappa in multiple incarnations, usually by the people of feudal Japan.
2003 TV series
- Tengu was a catch-all term for Japanese demons/yōkai in this series. Among the tengu mentioned were Ultimate Ninja and his father, the original Shredder and his possession of Oroku Saki, the Kappa Tengu (which are kappa), and the rat-like Nezumi-Tengu.
- Baku is modeled after the original, chimeric creature from Japanese myth of that name.
- Kitsune is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes were considered yōkai and were portrayed as magical tricksters.
- Ocho is noted to be a mole yōkai, and a former human.
- Like Kitsune and tanuki, Namazu is just the Japanese word for a common animal (catfish, in this case), but they were given yōkai status and powers through myth. Namazu in myth, like here, created earthquakes.
2012 TV series
- Joroguma is based on jorōgumo, a half-woman, half-spider creature who could disguise herself as a beautiful woman.
- While tanuki are a real animal (the Japanese raccoon dog), there were myths surrounding them regarding their motivations, personality anthropomorphism, and powers, which are displayed here.
2012 video games
- Many of the Power Rangers villains that appear in Ultimate Hero Clash 2 are based on Yōkai: Cat O'Clock is a nekomata, Ripperat is a kamaitachi, Skullgators are alligator gashadokuro, and Stonedozer is a construction equipment-themed daidarabotchi.
- The Kappa Yokai are a team of four kappa who saved ancient Japan, and are a spiritual predecessor to the Ninja Turtles.
Rise of the TMNT
- Big Mama is classified as a yōkai on the official TMNT Instagram page. She is likely based on a jorōgumo, just as Joroguma before her was.
- Baron Draxum is also classified as a yōkai on that Instagram page, but he has also been referred to before and since as a mutant.
- This is confirmed to be true in the episode "Bug Busters", wherein both characters are referred to as yōkai. The term is also used to describe characters who are obviously mutants, so it is possible that the terms "yōkai" and "mutant" are interchangeable in this series.
- Sunita is identified as a yōkai by April.