Amabie: the plague-fighting, Japanese mermaid-thing

With the COVID-19 pandemic if full swing, trust Japan to resurrect an old monster which can fend off diseases. Not literally, of course, as metal as that might be.

The amabie (アマビエ) is a yokai (妖怪), a traditional Japanese monster, but an exceedingly rare one. It appeared in the mid-nineteenth century off the coast of Kumamoto, and as far as I know, this is the only record. has a pretty good write up on the amabie if you want more details. One of the abilities of the amabie is to cure disease if you show its picture to many people (kind of like influencers, if they were actually useful), so people began posting images of it to Twitter and Instagram. I guess the internet doesn’t violate the fineprint of the “show my picture to many people” , so it’s all good.

My wife kept asking me to draw it, so I started off with a more traditonal, creepy kind of yokai in contrast to the majority of the ‘net, which went in a definitely more kawai vibe. There is a lot a like about this one, but I the figure is just too stiff… oh well.

Amabie (Yokai ver.)

The second version was pure superhero, which overall turned out really well. I might go back and add either some gradations or colour in the future. It did take a lot longer a lot than I expected due to the water, which I kept fiddling with, but I am quite happy with the final result.

Amabie (Heroic ver.)
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