Night Parade Preview: Onibi

Today was another overcast, cool, and slightly rainy day. Such a welcome respite from the July heat! I hear back home in the States some places are hitting well over 100 degrees. Yikes. Stay cool!

To go with today’s weather, and to help cool down all of you back in the great heat wave over North America, here is a refreshing cool, watery yokai. It is called Onibi, or demon fire, and it is found near lakes and rivers, especially on misty summer mornings and evenings. Onibi is usually a ball of phantom blue fire — sometimes red or orange — which hovers over the water’s edge. They bob up and down and are very beautiful and mesmerizing. Folks who get close enough to Onibi find out that it isn’t even hot to the touch, and it seems like a fun plaything except for the fact that it sucks the life force out of any living creatures that come near it… So if you see an inviting glow at a Japanese watering hole, stay away!

There is a very large number of fireball-type yokai. You’ve already seen Hitodama earlier, and now Onibi. There is another one which will be featured in this book as well, and a great deal that I won’t cover just yet. Collectively they are known as Hinotama, or literally “fireballs.” Good name, eh?

I think it’s interesting how there are some yokai that are so similar to European monsters. The English Will o’ Wisp, for example, is a near exact analogy to many of these Hinotama phenomena. It makes you wonder if there really isn’t something real behind most of these monsters and yokai. Maybe not something supernatural, but at the very least a common human experience, explained to the best of our abilities. Little things like this make me realize how small the world really is, and how even on the complete opposite side of the planet, we are all still the same human beings, with the same hopes, fears, and experiences.


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