Proving that anything can be used for tempura.

Tempura is one of the most versatile types of Japanese cooking, with batter-fried bites of meat, seafood, and vegetables all making regular appearances on plates and in stomachs. Today, though, we’re seeing tempura enter a strange, make that very strange, new place with Tempura Yokai.

These aren’t for eating, though, as there’s no telling what sorts of digestive problems you’d get from devouring a member of the yokai category of creatures from Japanese folklore. Instead these little monster morsels are Japan’s newest weirdly desirable gachapon capsule toys. Designed by “mononoke artist” Noriaki Tanimura for Tokyo-based design company Honnow, the figures are billed as “contempurary art,” because Japan has never met a pun it didn’t like.

Despite their fearsome appearances each yokai does have a proper food-based inspiration. The one below is a yokai tempura shrimp, which bears a bit of a resemblance to the shachi fanged fish that decorate the eave of some Japanese castles.

The shishito, a kind of short Japanese pepper, has sort of an angry dragon thing going on…

…while the nasu (Japanese eggplant) yokai has a much more chill vibe.

But if you’re after the bizarre, keep your fingers crossed that your capsule contains either the cyclopic crab-like kabocha (Japanese pumpkin)…

…or the shiitake mushroom, which seems to have merged with a wanyudo, a type of yokai shaped like a flaming wheel with a face in the center.

Actually, it’s possible that there’s a tempura yokai even freakier than the kabocha or shiitake, since the complete lineup consists of six different designs, with the final one being kept a secret except to those lucky enough to find one in their capsule.

The tempura yokai are appearing in capsule toy machines (and possibly nightmares) right now, priced at 400 yen (US$3.50).

Source, images: PR Times
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