Paintings and drawings that show the splendour and beauty of nature and life, in the world that Ammy watches over.
All of these artworks show Ammy clearly “in her element” – the scenery that feels like home the most. Beautiful flowers, lush grass, healthy trees, clear water and surely a fresh and scented breeze. There are colours and life all around.
Of course, Ammy’s true home is Takamagahara (High Plain of Heaven) – or The Celestial Plain, as it’s called in Ōkami. The small glimpse of The Celestial Plain that we can see in the video game, very much looks like a beautiful place on our planet.
Restoration of Ryoshima Coast: Clover Studio, Capcom
Throughout much of the video game, the Sun Goddess Ammy will either directly or indirectly restore nature and life to cursed landscapes, resulting in beauty and life returning, much to the enjoyment of the people and animals inhabiting the land.
Let’s take a look at Ōkami fanart full of healthy and fresh life.
Click on a picture to see it pop up in a “lightbox”. All fanarts shown are my personal favourites. (Featured art: Ōkami – by Rio Burton)
There’s a kind of serenity and simplicity in this digital painting that instantly caught my eye. Crisp and clear water, healthy lily pads with flowers ready to bloom.
Ammy usually dislikes getting wet (being a sun goddess and all) but it looks like she made an exception this time, thanks no doubt to the water’s natural purity. A nice way of admiring ones’ handiwork is walking right into it, I suppose. A bit like restoring a beautiful car, and then taking it for a drive.
bug friend) is bouncing on her head, safely away from the water – I think he likes getting wet even less than Ammy. Issun is based on the Japanese folk tale of Issun-bōshi,1 (Paragraphs after the first, contain spoilers.)
https://okami.neoseeker.com/wiki/Issun but more details about that in another blog post.
On to the next painting:
Bamboo Sanctum, Ōkami Amaterasu – by 25Tachigami
Wow, now that’s a place that I’d like to visit at least once in my life! Not only is there beautiful and healthy plantlife, but also perfectly clear water and bright sunshine filtering through.
The location looks like it’s at Ōkami’s “Sasa Sanctuary”, because of all the bamboo plants. Ōkami is packed full of references to Japanese folklore and Shinto religion; in this case, Sasa Sanctuary (and Ōkami’s story) is heavily tied to “The Tale of Princess Kaguya”, also known as “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”.
This Japanese literary tale is believed to be the oldest existing Japanese prose narrative (tale written in natural style/language),2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_the_Bamboo_Cutter and is of an old childless bamboo cutter who discovers an infant girl inside a glowing bamboo shoot, and together with his wife they raise her as their own child, calling her “(Princess) Kaguya-hime”.
As the child matured into a beautiful adult woman, the tale goes on to reveal Kaguya-hime’s struggles to live a normal life on Earth – being not of this world, but of an advanced race of people living on the Moon.
Japan has various tourist attractions featuring lush bamboo groves and forests, and the ancient groves of Kyoto’s Nishiyama area are said to be the likely place of inspiration for “The Tale of Princess Kaguya”.3 https://web.archive.org/web/20141013214632/http://www.gov-online.go.jp/eng/publicity/book/hlj/html/201409/201409_09_en.html
Ammy’s got something on her mind though; there’s probably no time for her to enjoy the scenery. Just look at that stern expression on her face.
Demons never rest I suppose – back to work!
Ōkami Green Land – by MayhWolf
Normally I’m not a fan of simplicity in fanart – I like complex eye-candy! However, I personally see a lot of nature, life and beauty in this painting. The bamboo looks strong and healthy, and Ammy is clearly strong and healthy as well – leaping into action to continue her mission of fighting demons and restoring nature’s beauty.
Perhaps the shadow on Ammy’s chest, belly and legs is a bit overpowering but I still like it. The background almost looks like a simple printed curtain design, with the “real” Ammy jumping out from it.
Ammy has hovering above her back, a reflector/shield called “Divine Retribution” – all of Ammy’s weapons/shields are based on the “Imperial Regalia of Japan”, also known as the “Three Sacred Treasures”.
These treasures are the sword (Kusanagi), the mirror (Yata no Kagami), and the jewel (Yasakani no Magatama).4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Regalia_of_Japan
The video game’s Divine Retribution Reflector is based on the mirror (Yata no Kagami),5 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yata_no_Kagami which according to Shinto belief is said to have helped tempt Amaterasu out from a cave she had sealed herself away in, after a fierce argument with her brother.
Due to Amaterasu being the Sun Goddess, hiding herself away had plunged Heaven and Earth into darkness, so the other gods and goddesses had used several tricks (one including the mirror) to convince Amaterasu to open the sealed cave.
In this Japanese painting’s top left corner, you can see the mirror hung from a tree – put there to piqué Amaterasu’s curiosity and divert her attention, as the gods prepared to guide her from the cave (called “Amano-Iwato”) and forever seal its entrance.6 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amano-Iwato
Brushstroke – by Vergolophus
In a single brushstroke, all life appears – blooming trees, lush grass and flowers bursting from the ground. Very nice.
With ink and painting having such a strong theme in Ōkami, I quite like the idea of making this fanart look like it had been painted in a single brushstroke.
The Ōkami video game was designed to look like a “living” Japanese-style painting.
To become a part of this living painting, the video game’s player as the sun goddess Amaterasu-in-wolf-form uses her Celestial Brush to apply divine powers onto the canvas of the world around her – fighting demons, creating miracles and restoring nature, life and beauty.
Painting the sun; making daytime: Clover Studio, Capcom
Ōkami Amaterasu – by MIRTRUD
A nice place to take a moment by the water and simply (drink and then) rest for a while. Everything is still fresh and bursting with life here. No time for sleeping though – gotta keep an eye on the work up ahead!
Up in Flames – by MyarukaWolf
Well, time to get up and get on with things. As nice as things are here, there’s trouble brewing in the distance, and there’s only one goddess cool enough to take care of it.
I like the artist’s distinctive style and the energy in this painting. The ground is obviously very rich with life. Ammy sure loves nature!
Speaking of which… Ammy would love gardening, too – I’d imagine that even in her retirement from banishing demons, she’ll be winning fans from all over with her spectacular flower and plantlife displays:
If you’re wondering why Ammy’s so small… well she is well over a hundred years old, and I suppose even wolves shrink as they get older.
Or maybe… Ammy has decided now that she’s retired to take on the size of a smaller and less-imposing friendly dog, so that she can get even closer to humans who may otherwise have been overwhelmed by seeing a large wolf.
Ōkami Amaterasu – by Mireielle
Ammy looks like she’s in a hurry now, and Issun (on Ammy’s head) is holding his paintbrush/sword at the ready, so it looks like the time for enjoying lush scenery is truly over for now.
Probably on their way to another cursed zone, which needs cleaning up and restoring.
While green isn’t my favourite colour (it’s blue), however when it is in a natural setting like this and especially with sunlight, I think it’s really beautiful.
In this drawing of Issun (a wandering artist, as seen in Ōkami’s official artbook) we see his sheathed sword with a paintbrush tip on the end of its handle. That’s certainly efficient thinking, and better than carrying two big things around at the same time. (Or perhaps as a counterpoint, the paintbrush end is “softening” the dangerous sword, by being a tool of philosophy, artistry and humanity.)
Issun openly said to Ammy shortly after meeting her, that he’s only joining her quest to “steal and learn” the thirteen Celestial Brushstroke techniques, as she herself regains the ability to use them throughout her journey.
Like Ammy, Issun can use his brush (in a much more limited fashion) to channel and apply divine power, as seen when he restored a broken bridge at the beginning of the video game.
I’ll have an entire blog post dedicated to Issun in the near future.
Issun uses the Rejuvenation Brush Technique: Clover Studio, Capcom
Sunset – by Dodongo
Still on her way, but running now? Must be something pretty ugly that she’s going to confront, but she’ll be fine of course.
Looks a lot like official art, or maybe as part of an official trading card set. There’s a whole lot of content put into this fanart; the Guardian Sapling and the sun, everything at the peak of its health and strength, Ammy effortlessly running through the scenery leaving a trail of flowers behind, but also a man-made fence to remind us that this isn’t some far-away land without people in it.
To top it all off, this could make a good example to show to someone who doesn’t know of Ōkami yet – explaining the video game and pointing to various parts of the painting…
A lush trail of flowers and plantlife that is left where Ammy’s
feet paws touch the ground. Well, she is the goddess of the sun, incarnated as a wolf to bring back the balance of nature and beauty back to the world. Malevolent demons leave decay in their wake, and benevolent deities help bring about life.
Ammy’s tail, and also her Celestial Brush, which she uses to paint divine powers onto the canvas/fabric of reality in the world that she inhabits – Ōkami’s Nippon, representing ancient mythical Japan.
Ammy isn’t the only one with that ability – there are other “Brush Gods” like Ammy who each possess a single brush technique/power, however due to Ammy being the most powerful, she can possess all of them. There’s also Issun, who is trying to learn these brush techniques himself, and a particularly nasty demon enemy that has the ability to apply otherworldly powers with a brush as well.
An interesting subject that I’ll definitely be discussing more deeply, in a later blog post!
Divine energy emanating from Ammy’s body – here quite prominently from her shoulders but also from just above her paws, as seen in the first example, and the sides of her tail in the second example above.
This feature of Ammy’s is sometimes interpreted by fan artists as tufts of long flowing fur, or sometimes even feathers. I don’t think that any of these interpretations are “incorrect”, but whatever these features are – humans in the video game who have little or no faith in the gods, only ever see a plain white wolf.
Ammy’s “Divine Instrument” hovering above her back – in this case it’s a “Reflector” used as a weapon or shield against attacks.
These objects are officially called “Reflectors” in the video game, probably as a type of “umbrella term” due to them not only being shields that can also be used as effective weapons, but Ammy’s first-obtained Reflector actually being (based on) Shinto’s human-form Amaterasu’s own mirror.
As mentioned above, this mirror is said to have helped bring out Shinto Sun Goddess Amaterasu from a cave she has sealed herself in. Ōkami’s reference to this mirror makes sense – the game itself being greatly inspired by Japanese Shinto, mythology and folklore.
The Guardian Sapling tree, one of numerous across Ōkami’s mythical land of Nippon, which are offshoots from the roots of the massive “Konohana” tree at Kamiki Village: This Konohana tree and its offshoots protect Ōkami’s Nippon from evil and are the source of Tree Spirit Sakuya’s power.
A large Shimenawa (an “enclosing rope” made from rice straw or hemp) with Shide (paper streamers) has been placed around the tree by devout locals to define it as a sacred and pure space, ward off evil outside spirits and honour the tree spirit(s) living within.7 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimenawa
More detail and minor spoiler: At the beginning of Ōkami, it was (wood sprite/tree spirit) Sakuya who had reawakened Amaterasu’s spirit inside the statue of then-called “Shiranui”.
This statue, along with a shrine had been created one hundred years prior by the people of Kamiki Village in honour of Shiranui’s heroic efforts and sacrifice in her fight against the monstrous eight-headed dragon/serpent-demon Orochi.
Shiranui, was the same Amaterasu in wolf-form (Ōkami Amaterasu), now known by her nickname given by Issun – as “Ammy”.
Both Sakuya and Orochi from the Ōkami video game are also inspired by “Konohanasakuya-hime”8 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konohanasakuya-hime) and “Yamata no Orochi”9 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamata_no_Orochi) from Japanese folklore. More on that in a future blog post, or this one will simply get too big!
For now, let’s see the moment in Ōkami where Sakuya summons Amaterasu to reawaken inside the statue of Shiranui:
Ammy reawakens: Clover Studio, Capcom
Last, but certainly not least, it is the sun – certainly a major component of Japanese history, and with many examples of that apparent! The Japanese refer to their country as “Nihon”, which directly translates to “day origin”, or “Land of the Rising Sun” as commonly called.10 https://www.japan-experience.com/to-know/understanding-japan/the-land-of-the-rising-sun
The most important deity (kami, god or goddess) of the Shinto religion is “Amaterasu-ōmikami”, ruler of Takamagahara (“Plain of High Heaven”), and is seen as the goddess of the sun.11 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaterasu
Shintoism is deeply entrenched in Japanese culture and thinking,12 (https://taiken.co/single/shintoism-how-it-influenced-the-lives-of-the-japanese/) and Japan’s national flag is a representation of the rising sun. The round “sun disc” symbol has been used in Japan since the twelfth century!13 https://flagpedia.net/japan
Ōkami is a very Japanese video game – picking some of the best and most beautiful examples of Japanese folklore, art, nature and culture, and somehow managing to pack it all into an entertaining and rewarding adventure, without making it feel like some kind of schoolroom lesson.
To be honest: I personally didn’t pay much attention to anything regarding Japan besides their reliable cars and electronics, before playing this video game.
Ambience Rose – by Mimi Higurashi
Wow, looks like job done! Ammy must have taken care of that important business.
I can’t help but think that Ammy is just sitting there, to observe and admire her handiwork. Healthy flowing water and flowers below her, and also petals blowing away in the gentle breeze above.
However… she still seems quite tense and stern – just look at those deadly claws and entrenched facial expression. It must have been quite a confronting matter to take care of, regardless of her apparently flawless victory.
Ōkami Amaterasu – by Servaline
Well, now it looks like Ammy’s finally starting to relax – no more running around with a massive to-do list or sternly looking into the distance!
A mighty and strong (Guardian Sapling) tree, fat healthy bunnies, lush grass and beautiful sunshine! Ammy sure has been looking after things here (with the tree spirit Sakuya doing her part too, of course).
Maybe feed those bunnies now – it looks like they’re approaching her (a little bit apprehensively perhaps), because they can sniff those fine and tasty aromatic herb feedbags that Ammy likes to carry around with her, for just such occasions.
(Certainly, as a life and nature loving goddess, Ammy doesn’t hunt and eat rabbits! She “slaughters” cherry cakes, though!)
Celestial Goddess – by Shintoism
While green isn’t my favourite colour, pinkish colours would be near the very bottom of the list. This digital painting however is so nice in my opinion, that colours don’t matter.
It’s a very regal depiction of Ammy and extra symbolic with a Torii gate nearby, clearly being in her element amongst the restored pink flowers of the cherry blossom trees and the sunshine filtering through them.
Certainly not the kind of place that demons would enjoy inhabiting.
In Shinto, Torii gates signify a gateway between “sacred space” such as shrines, and the “mundane space” outside – a border separating the spiritual world, from the physical world.
Torii can also mark places that have a deep religious meaning, rather than exceptionally serving as entrances to shrines.14 https://hubjapan.io/articles/the-torii-and-its-meaning-in-the-shinto-religion
Shiranui sur l’eau – Fanart Ōkami – by o0dzaka0o
Shiranui – by Lulusama
Once again, Ammy in her previous incarnation as Shiranui, at the height of her power with the bright sun shining above, and like Ammy – leaving a trail of flowers behind her as she runs. Quite the impressive sight, and beautiful as well in my humble opinion.
Well, that’s it for this post, but there will be many more awesome themed fanart posts in the future! Ōkami being such a beautiful, artistic and also meaningful game, has inspired probably the most beautiful fanart of anything I’ve seen to date.
All of these fanarts in this and future blog posts are my favourites from the very many Ōkami fanart drawings and paintings, that I have now come across.
Do you have suggestions, would like to recommend some art or submit your own? Then feel free to get in touch or just leave comments, below: