They're not monsters. And they sure don't appear in monster movies. They're yokai, fodder for Japanese folk tales, and they sometimes do appear in video games. Just in time for Halloween, authors Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt have a book called Yokai Attack! on the creatures, and just to show how pervasive yokai are in Japan, Alt has quickly drawn up a list of some in-game yokai. Here's a sample:
The tanuki, or "raccoon-dog," is a staple of Japanese folkore. They're known as tricksters, shape-shifters...and as a symbol of good luck. You can find statues of them outside of restaurants throughout Japan. They're considered lucky because their enormous scrotums (which are called "kintama" or "golden balls," in Japanese) are the source of their supernatural powers. Too bad Mario didn't get a nice super-sized sack when he suited up in his "tanooki suit" (as it was spelled for the English language release of the game.)
Knew there was something missing with that Tanooki Suit Mario. Make that somethings.
Pixel Yokai! [AltJapan]