Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Shijin (or Shishin) were 4 or 5 (depending on the country) beast gods that protected the four corners of the world, according to Japanese and Chinese mythology. The Shijin were a Blue Dragon (Seiryu/Qinglong), a Red Phoenix (Suzaku/Zhuque), a White Tiger (Byakko/Baihu) and a Black Tortoise (Genbu/Xuanwu). They represented the 4 elements, the 4 seasons, and the 4 points on a compass. Seiryu was East, Wind, and Spring, Suzaku was South, Fire, and Summer, Byakko was West, Metal, and Autumn, and Genbu was North, Winter, and Earth/Water,The Chinese myth also had a Yellow Beast (Ouryu/Huang Long) which was the Center of the Compass, and Aether (or Void). These legendary beasts have made a big impression on cartoons and video games. Here are some notable examples

The Digimon Anime had the Digimon Sovereigns who were embodiments of the Shijin. Ebonwumon (Genbu), Baihumon (Byakko), Zhuqiamon (Suzaku), Azulongmon (Seiryu), and Fanglongmon (Ouryu).
The Beyblade Anime had a team called the Breakers whose Bit-Beast allies were based on the Shijin. Draciel (Genbu), Driger (Byakko), Dranzer (Suzaku), Dragoon (Seiryu), and Gaia Dragoon (Ouryu)

Final Fantasy 10 the RPG video game had the Shijin all appear in the game as themselves, but Ouryu was replaced with a yellow dragon-like animal called Kirin (which, while having yellow dragon traits, was based on the unicorn-like Kirin/Qilin, often closely tied to the Shijin, and in fact replaced Byakko as a Shijin during the reign of the Yellow Emperor in ancient China)

The video game Monster Hunter featured many dragons and 5 of them resembled the Shijin. The tortoise-like Apceros (Genbu), the white tiger-like Barioth (Byakko), the red bird-like Hypnocatrice (Suzaku),  the blue dragon Lagiacrus (Seiryu), and the silver unicorn-like Kirin (Qilin).

The mobile game Guardian Cross had the Shijin appear as hard to kill "Giant" guardians.An interesting fact is that the Shijin in the game had the swirling orbs that the Digimon version of the Shijin had. Also there was no Ouryu, but the Unicorn in the game had golden-yellow armor (similar to Byakko's silver armor) and was huntable in the same zone as the Shijin.
The mobile game Puzzles & Dragons introduced the Shijin as the "Chinese Celestials", 5 animal-themed goddesses. Each goddess represented an element; Genbu Meimei was Earth, Byakko Haku was Darkness, Suzaku Leilan was Fire, Seiryuu Karin was Water, and Kirin Sakuya was Light.
Ouryu was also in Puzzles & Dragons as a "Chinese Celestial", but instead of a goddess, he was an emperor god called Emperor Kouryu Fagan, who shared the light element with Kirin Sakuya.

1 comment:

  1. Although it's an old game, "The Last Blade" and it's sequel "The Last Blade 2" based its history in four of these 5 deities: Genbu (Genbu no Okina), Byakko (Naoe Shigen), Suzaku (Kagami Shinnosuke) and Seiryu (Kaede).