Monster Art Show II: The Sazaeoni
Written by Jonathan C. Wojcik - Thanks everyone who contributed art!
Seemingly thousands of oddball goblins, demons, spirits and
monsters populate Japan's traditional spook-story lore, known
collectively as "youkai" and ranging from such ancient figures
as the Tanuki to more modern urban legend like the
Slit-mouthed Woman.  Some of these creatures were once
firmly believed to exist, while others made their debut in works
of art, poetry or riddles, taking on life of their own as cultural
icons that persist to this day.
Perhaps one of the greatest influences on modern Youkai
awareness was the artist Toriyama Sekien, who illustrated
over 200 creatures - both traditional and of his own design - in
a series of four books published in the late 1700's. Among
them, an outlandish-looking monster he called the
Illustration by SpydrrXIII
Illustration by Savagepassion666
A "Sazae" is a distinct variety of sea shell belonging to a type of snail, also known as a "turban
shell" and even eaten as a delicacy, though this is hardly surprising since we're talking about
Japan and an animal that comes out of the sea.
Illustration by Eternalsaturn
In a humorous short story of indeterminate origin, a crew of pirates rescue a beautiful woman
mysteriously found drowning on the high sea. When they begin to argue over her, she agrees to
sleep with the entire crew...but removes their genitalia in the process. It's not quite clear how
exactly she does this, but she reveals her true form as a monstrous snail-beast, and returns the
pilfered extremities only in exchange for a share of the pirate's loot, or "gold for gold" as the joke
goes; a term for testicles in Japan is "kin tama" or "golden balls."
Illustration by Monster Man 08
-Complete Gallery-
Click thumbnails for full-sized artwork and click submitter
names (where applicable) to see more of their creations!
Highly creative and creepy merging of gastropod and humanoid!
Eerie, beautiful and colorful! I really like the shell head on such a small neck, and the tongue really fits.
The coloring and line style of this really makes me think of comic books and gaming. It has tons of personality.
A nicel illustration of the popular story, with the monster in two equally cool forms!
An instantaneously memorable design, really adorably grotesque!
Illustration by Skeevy
Illustration by Dodoman1
An interesting, spiny ogre-like Sazaeoni in pixel art!
One of the earliest entries, a really cute snaily lady with an interestingly gnarled shell.
Possibly the eeriest and most alien design here! The woman-shaped appendage is especially creepy, but you have to appreciate the giant lips and toothy radula as well.
Chiropto Necrolus
This one has fascinating anatomy, downright horrifying!
Another cute one, and with tentacles! The one little fang just completes it.
One of two by this artist, first the human form...
...And a truly ghastly monster form! BREAST SUCKERS!
Deimos Remus
John Pesando
A massive-looking, abyssal Sazaeoni! Beautifully colored.
A simple but neat design. Notice the tip of the tongue!
An ingeniously bizarre and demonic Sazaeoni, love the ghostly arms protruding from the shell, the mask-like face and hideous jaws!
A very crustaceoid-looking Sazaeoni.
A Sazaeoni in her lair...she has a perfectly slimy, mollusc-like look!
A very nicely rendered and realistic submission!
The first one I was sent, similar to Sekien's original but with some creative twists, especially the clawed, slimy limb.
I like how this one goes more for hermit crab than snail!
Delightful use of eyestalks and toothy maw. The true form reminds me a bit of the demons in Devilman.
Probably the most ghoulish submissions, though you can see how she might easily twist into a nearly human form!
A uniquely arranged monster with multiple protruding eyeballs.
A drippy, goopy beast with multiple eyes!
This one is just awesome, with that huge toothy smile and fashionable shades!
I like the sheer amount of STUFF on this one. She's a whole colony of sea life!
Another very monstrous, ghoulish design, with almost a seaweedy feel.
I love this MSpaint looking one!
Beautiful, but rather spooky at the same time. The sombre color scheme makes it even better.
This one combines many animal features into a truly gruesome form.
I love this black, slimy, almost catfish-like design, with two sets of neat, fishy eyes!
One of two by the same artist, the more humanoid form has great-looking claws!
Zombie's more monstrous entry is just plain wicked to the smallest detail.
It's hard to tell which end of this one is scarier.
Illustration by Verdego
In traditional Youkai lore, it seems that almost anything can transform into a monster under
certain conditions, and Sekien, for whatever reason, decided that the possibility of a Sazae
monster demanded illustration. Ever since, variations on the creature have cropped up
throughout Japanese monster culture, and though it's difficult to pin down how, the Sazaeoni has
adopted its own set of popularly recognized powers and characteristics well beyond Sekien's
original vision.
Sazae monsters from Digimon, Super Sentai and the definitive Youkai franchise, Gegege no Kitarou!
A creepy, sinister and strangely attracted spook by one of my favorite artists!
An interesting, beastly Sazaeoni with a lure for a tail.
Creepy, pretty, and surrounded by only the best choices in sea life.
Love the freaky monstrous face in the shell here!