bug Poncle Issun, shown magnified so that we may observe him in his natural habitat.
Even though Issun was quite superficial and selfish at times, without him Ammy would have failed in her dangerous mission – having pulled himself together when she needed him the most.
If you’ve played through Ōkami, you’ll have witnessed just what a responsible and true friend Issun had become in the end.
By the way, how many times did Issun get covered in godly wolf slobber?
I’ve lost count… no matter, let’s see some nice fanart that’s all about Ammy’s best friend, artist-extraordinaire and Celestial Envoy, Issun!
Click on a picture to see it pop up in a “lightbox”. All fanarts shown are my personal favourites. (Featured art: Issun the Badass Bug – by HeavyMetalHanzo)
You know, Issun has every right to strike a badass pose like that – he’s standing on the head of a freaking demon-slaying sun goddess!! That’s even more awesome than a raptor riding a shark. (Although, shark-riding raptors are also awesome.) Having said that, Issun clearly did need to “grow” emotionally throughout Ōkami’s story – a “badass pose” and attitude is one thing, but without character and substance to back it up, it’s just a bunch of worthless “hot air”.
At the end of the Ōkami’s story, Issun had earned the right to stand on his own with brash confidence, and also have a history of achievement to be proud of.
In case you don’t yet know about Ōkami’s Issun:
He belongs to a race of tiny “inch-tall” human-like beings, who serve as “Celestial Envoys” – a kind of “bridge” between Ōkami’s “Brush Gods” and Earth’s human/animal population.
His sword has a brush tip on the hilt, which he can use to create paintings, or use to paint “divine” powers onto the “canvas of reality” (for example, to repair something that was broken) just like the Brush Gods can – however, he is not as powerful as the gods.
See Issun’s description on the characters page for more details.
Unlucky Mallet – by Syberfox
“Not so big and strong now then, eh Ammy?” *BOOP*
As mentioned in the section of Ōkami’s characters, Issun is based on the Japanese folk tale of Issun-bōshi1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Issun‑b%C5%8Dshi (One Inch Boy). This folk tale mentions a magical “Lucky Mallet” which turns Issun into an adult human-sized man.
Luck Mallet shrinks Ammy: Clover Studio, Capcom (GIF version)
In Ōkami, this “Lucky Mallet” is required to shrink Ammy down to Issun’s size, and later back to normal size again – Issun never uses the mallet on himself, to grow.
Now that Ammy has been shrunk down – finally, Issun isn’t the little bug in this big adventure anymore, and he’s certainly making a point of it.
It’s interesting to realise there are lots of old folk tales from all around the world, that mention tiny-sized people. Probably the most famous folk tale that springs to mind is “Tom Thumb” (about a naughty but resourceful thumb-sized boy) – the first known mentions of which date back to the 16th century.2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Thumb The tale of Issun-bōshi may even be older still.
It looks like this artist made a conscious and successful effort to make this fanart look like something from Ōkami’s official artbook.
Ōkami Faves – by Sky665
“Hi-Yo, Silver! AWAY!”.
YESSS! Now Issun gets to be “the boss”, rather than “the flea” – riding his majestic and faithful steed into glorious and just battle, rather than merely scurrying around and hitching a ride between Ammy’s ears.
Issun must have thought of this moment many times, to feel such a compulsion of re-creating it in reality like this, haha – he’s got such an intense and serious expression. Then again, maybe he’s just being silly.
Kind of reminds me of a time back at high school, where I witnessed some of my classmates sitting in a rusty old disused pickup truck that remained on the school grounds as a type of feature. The truck didn’t have an engine in it, but the teenage boy behind the wheel was switching gears and operating the controls as though he were actually driving it – he had an expression on his face much like Issun.
I just stood in front of the truck staring into his face, wondering why on earth he was looking right past me as though he were speeding on a racetrack.
Amatesaru and Issun – by Stefano Rutigliano
The way Issun is standing there with his sword drawn, so commanding and confident, probably insulting a massive dirty demon – it’s almost as though he’s got a mighty demon-slaying goddess next to him to back up that oversized bravado of his… oh wait, he does.
I’m a fan of David Suchet’s Poirot, and have watched the entire series more than once. There’s a lot of unfairness in the world, and I feel that it would be nice if someone like Poirot were real, and to have a friend like him.
Alas, Poirot isn’t real and neither is Ammy, oh well.
This painting has such clear and expressive body language, that it’s easy to see right away what’s going on without needing to show any further details. Even without knowing the story, we can see that Issun’s confidently challenging and taunting someone (or something).
Also, once again it looks like this fanart was made in the style of Ōkami’s original artists, as they were putting down ideas and scenes onto paper.
Ōkami Celestial Envoy – by Tepaipascual
Well now, this has got to be one of Issun’s genuine self-portraits – just look at how “teen-magazine-cover” he made himself out to be, for all the beautiful, fresh and youthful ladies out there.
To make sure he appeals to the ladies’ romantic and sensitive hearts, he’s carrying his paintbrush’s ink pot in the foreground, and his combination sword/paintbrush behind his back – that way he’s advertising how artistic and sensitive he is, but gently reminding that he’s still a warrior and defender (of the home and family) if need be.
What a sly fox – he really knows how to advertise to his target audience.
This is one of the few fanarts of Issun, or any Ōkami character for that matter, which show the eyes in more detail than in the official art and video game. I’ll make a separate blog post on the eyes of Ōkami’s characters in the not-too-distant future.
Issun Boshi – by Syberfox
Pfft, well if he’s advertising to ladies in this painting, then yes I suppose there are some babes who go for the snotty little brat kind of guys – you know, to try and tame the brats’ hearts with their love. Such a cheeky guy.
Issun – by Muenli
That’s a nice scene, with the sun shining brightly through the clouds and Issun walking by the clear sparkling water and crisp vegetation.
Of course, since Issun is only a couple of inches (or thereabouts) tall, that water might just be a miserable little puddle instead of anything bigger and more noteworthy. I suppose, being as small as Issun would allow one to appreciate beautiful things that might go completely unnoticed by those much bigger.
In Ōkami, the humanoid characters tend to have short legs and long torsos, so I wonder why this artist seems to have done the opposite in this drawing.
The wandering artist – by Aurnimii
“Hello, m’Lady!” *Issun tips his
fedora beetle shell helmet*
Issun is certainly a lady’s man – when we’re introduced to him in the Ōkami video game, he was found to be sleeping snugly within the comforting bosom of a beautiful lady; perhaps he’s greeting yet another gorgeous babe here.
Of course, maybe it’s just a bit windy, and he’s holding on to his helmet… the world may never know.
Issun – by Ffox_Tsu
Issun the artist, and Celestial Envoy (messenger of Ōkami’s Brush Gods) working on another Ammy painting.
I don’t think I’ll spoil Ōkami’s story too much, by mentioning that it’s Issun’s painting of Ammy on leaflets and distributing them, which will help him save her life at one point; Japanese gods can die.
It seems Issun’s pretty relaxed in this scene however, and taking his time – maybe he’s painting this one for himself or a special friend.
Issun Boshi – by Homaru_89
Hah, that worm is “watching” Issun eating. Maybe the worm’s waiting for Issun to finish, so it can use the food waste for a nice compost mound.
Anyway, enough about the worm and his dinner plans. This painting looks like it belongs to a high quality Ōkami children’s book. It’s certainly a very friendly scene, and it’s also noteworthy that the sword end and its sheath is hidden from view, only showing the hilt with the brush tip – swords are weapons, after all. That Ladybug is the finishing touch.
Issun and Ammy – by Iker Azkarate
Issun just relaxing and enjoying the moment – he’s certainly the type of guy who knows of the finer things in life. Ammy must have just restored the nature, life and beauty to that place, smote all the ugly demons, and now Issun is just laying back, whistling a tune and taking in the fresh breeze.
The quality penmanship displayed by the artist in creating this fanart, with its clean crisp lines and colours stood out to me right away – especially since it was drawn on paper usually used for impromptu sketches. If only my own “sketches” could look this good.
Most (fan)art these days is digital, which is perfectly fine, but it’s nice to see some art painted/drawn on paper as well.
Issun – by Ru3na
It’s almost like Issun is sitting there, and waiting while someone paints him. Could it be that Ammy used her Lucky Mallet to shrink herself down to Issun’s size, so that she could more easily paint him for a change?
Issun even took his helmet off – that’s certainly a rare and personal moment for him.
The Beautiful Land – by PXL
The title of this painting is certainly apt – so much nice vegetation, sunlight and even a pretty little waterfall. I wonder if the artist used a reference for this painting, because I’d like to know the location.
In the last few years, I’ve developed a bit of a “Wanderlust”, but am not sure yet if it were fun to get that close to the water, due to not being an especially good swimmer – maybe I’ll just stay on the bridge and look down.
It looks like Issun had finally used the “Lucky Mallet” on himself to become bigger, due to the scale of everything else in that environment. Also, it seems that Ammy’s spotted a lucky four-leaf clover – how nice!
What a serene final piece of fanart to end today’s blog post – I hope you enjoyed looking through it. In the next blog post titled “Battles Worth Fighting – Wounds of Combat” however, we’ll get back into action big time! In my “Divine Retribution” blog post, we had scenes with only imminent or bloodless combat, but this next blog post will “amp things up” and show some more graphic and violent conflict.
Don’t worry though – our fluffy and “buggy” heroes will surely win! After that blog post, we’ll take another break from battles with a happy theme.
While you’re gone, why not read up on some Japanese folk tales? There are many tales to choose from, and as mentioned earlier, Issun is based on the Japanese folk tale of Issun-bōshi – kind of like “Tom Thumb”, except the Japanese version probably came earlier.
You can find an illustrated version of the original Issun-bōshi folk tale here. The website is designed mostly for kids, but has many illustrated folk tales, free to view and read:
If you would like to see an animated and narrated version of the Issun-bōshi “Inch-Boy” folk tale, you can watch it here for free:
“Inch Boy (English) – Animation of Japanese Traditional Stories”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l2sBFkFxv4
Issun was apparently added fairly late in the Ōkami video game’s development, and I’m glad that he was added (even though some people don’t like him), because without him, the video game’s story would have been much flatter.
See you next time,
Bieber Issun fans!
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: