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Although it’s had only limited success internationally, in its home country of Japan, the video game series Monster Hunter is a massive hit. New titles have been released for the series at a pace of more than one a year, and the franchise can count 17 titles since it began in 2004.

Monster Hunter is popular enough that you could argue that it’s become one of Japan’s national pastimes, so maybe it was only a matter of time before someone thought to combine it with another of the country’s favorite cultural activities, the paper-folding art of origami.

The first image most people think of when hearing the word origami is that of a paper crane. The precisely creased lines combine with the lightness of the paper to create an effect that’s at both strong and graceful, much like watching a real crane soar through the skies.

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But what if you’re not interested in such delicate designs? Can origami instead be used to create something ferocious and powerful, like Monster Hunter’s dreaded mountain dragon, the Lao-Shan Lung?

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Sure it can. As a matter of fact, you won’t need more than a single sheet of paper to pull it off, as shown in this video created by Niconico Douga user Asa.

For the proper scale, you’ll need a pretty big sheet, and the video makes use of a square measuring 90 centimeters (35.4 inches) on each side.

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Once you’ve got that, all you’ve got to do is make the proper folds. The video even gives you directions to follow, so how hard could it be?

▼ Oh….

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That fancy geometric design may look like the pattern on a traditional kimono, but it’s actually a layout of all the folds that need to be made to complete the paper Lao-Shan Lung. To give you an idea of how the whole thing comes together, the video’s creator highlights the most basic elements of the structure, then combines them and shows how they can be used to produce s simplified model of the finished product.

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Of course, that blocky little guy isn’t going to strike fear into even the least experienced monster hunters, which is where all of the extra embellishments of the complete plan come in.

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Each tiny crease needs to be formed precisely, and Asa comments during the video that as the process went on, it became increasingly harder to keep his concentration up. Intense focus is essential though, as a single mistake of crushing or tearing the paper would ruin all of the work leading up to that point.

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Some of the most intricate details are found in the dragon’s head.

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The creature’s rock-like body means that it also needs a row of craggy spikes along its spine.

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▼ The complete version

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It’s amazing that not only is the Lao-Shan Lung balanced well-enough to stand on its own, if you were the sadistic type, you could slowly undo the entire process, fold by fold, and end up with a flat sheet of paper once again.

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Of course, the Lao-Shan Lung isn’t the only terrifying colossus in Monster Hunter. The key to the game’s popularity is its extensive pantheon of creatures, such as the gigantic Rathalos.

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But while the poisonous wyverns are a major challenge for Monster Hunter players, they once again are no match for Asa’s origami skills.

▼ The plan, detailing clockwise from upper right, one wings, the legs, the other wing, the head, and at the center, the tail.

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▼ Forming the tail

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▼ All done

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Next on Asa’s list is another wyvern, the Basarios, which has a much bulkier build than the sleek Rathalos.

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▼ A whole family of Basarioses….or should that be Basariosi?

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And while it’s common knowledge that dragons are by far the coolest fantasy monsters, this origami artist also took the time to show some love for the crab-like Daimyo Hermitaur.

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▼ Ready to be hunted

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Asa’s creations are so impressive that they’ve inspired us to attempt our own Monster Hunter origami project, albeit one more in line with our considerably lower artistic skill level. Since Asa’s already doing such a great job with the monsters themselves, we decided to try recreating their habitats. Let’s see, the Lao-Shan Lung lives in the mountains, right? Maybe we could make a boulder for it…

▼ Perfect!

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Sources: IT Media, Niconico Douga (1, 2, 3, 4)
Top image: Niconico Douga
Insert images: Wikipedia, Neoseeker, Nico Nico Douga, MHP2, MHFO, Monster Hunter 2 Hiroba, Teacher Trainer