Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Moé! Moé! Cthulhu Fhtagn!

Tentacle jokes aside, the bleak, godless, and xenophobic worldview that permeates the pulp sci-fi horror of Lovecraft and his contemporaries feels right at home in Japan’s bleak, godless, and xenophobic national psyche. Some enduring quality of his cosmic horror has taken root in the hearts of the people, and while discreet, the influence is unmistakable. Over the years, English speaking fans have enjoyed a few knowing chuckles from the various nods and homage paid to mythos in Japanese pop culture that washed up on our shores.

Now these tides have begun to swell into tsunamis. The exclusion of Pluto from the celestial pantheon has thrown the stars out of alignment, allowing unspeakable evils that had been imprisoned since before our collective consciousness formed, to bubble to the surface. Mankind has to pay the price for its arrogance.Link

Your plush Cthulhu wearing an aloha shirt has nothing on the Moe Moe Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia, which features over forty illustrations of eldritch gods and aliens lovingly rendered to look like your best friend’s little sister. Make no mistake; forces beyond our comprehension are working to evangelize the mythos to a wider audience.

Save for the sanity-draining puns and Moe art, the content is almost entirely cribbed from two sources: The Illustrated Cthulhu Mythos by Molice (森瀬繚) and the Cthulhu Mythos Guidebook by Yusuke Tokita (朱鷺田祐介). Molice is the leading Japanese authority of all things Lovecraft and has his pseudopods all over a number of mythos related works, including the recent graphic novelization of The Call of Cthulhu. Tokita has dedicated his life to importing Western nerd culture, starting with localizing Magic: The Gathering (back in the good ‘ol days of 4th Edition, no less) and translating classic TRPGs like Shadowrun. A note to all you Chaosium kids: His warring-states era sourcebook for the Mythos TRPG is being translated to English as we speak under the title Ninjya Cthulhu. The combined output of these two men alone is enough to keep you sequestered in your parent’s basement for a lifetime, but you’d still need to come up for MOE!

Cthulhu

While Cthulhu receives top billing as the poster boy for the mythos, the real deity in the center of all the chaos is the blind idiot-God Azathoth. This doesn’t make his existence any less monstrous. Eons ago Cthulhu was master of this world, until his prodigious city R’lyeh sunk beneath the waves.

Moé!

Dread Cthulhu lies not dead but dreaming, waiting for the day when the stars are right and it may once more raise from the depths and reclaim from humanity what was once its. It communicates with men in their dreams, giving them visions of horrific vistas beyond comprehension. Or you know, sends them spam E-mails at three in the morning.

Hounds of Tindalos

These beings inhabit incomprehensible angled space, as opposed to humans who inhabit the familiar curved space of our universe. Likewise, they move along these angles, existing everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. But be warned: Should they detect you tripping balls through time on the astral plane, they will pursue you to the end of creation.

Moé!

Once they have your scent, Hounds are able to cross into our dimension via points intersecting at sharp angles, their manifestation heralded by curls of bluish smoke. Such is the fate of those that pursue knowledge that man was not meant to know. Danny Cho fans, take heed.


Elder Things

Their unique physiology displays characteristics of both plant and animal. From the furrows between the ridges on their trunk sprout leathery wings, wings that carried them on cosmic winds to this planet over one billion years ago. They used their great technology to create the ultimate all-purpose slave race, the Shoggoth, as well as human beings to worship them.


Moé!

The once prosperous civilization of the Elder Things was endangered by invasion from other alien races, weakened by Shoggoth uprisings, and finally pushed to the brink of extinction by a relentless Ice Age. The few who escaped to their final stronghold in Antarctica lay dormant in the frigid wastes until discovery by a team of Miskatonic University researchers. I get the feeling that things are going to play out more like Tenchi Muyo than The Thing, unfortunately.


Shoggoth

Protoplasmic masses composed out of what are essentially super stem cells, Shoggoth are capable of growing from their protoplasmic mass limbs, eyes, or any other appendage appropriate for the task at hand. Shoggoth were created to be mindless cattle controlled via a mental link, though over the millennium they developed the intelligence necessary to break free of their psychic bonds and roll over their former masters in the most terrible fashion.

Moé!

Shoggoth evilly sweep the ground free of debris, fulfill any task asked of them without question, and can even function as food in lean times. The perfect servant! And nothing gibbers “Moe!” (Or should that be “Tekili-li”?) like an edible maid.


Nightgaunts

Black as an endless, moonless night, these horned humanoids patrol the Dreamlands on soundless wings, abducting adventurers who venture too close into the seat of the Gods and depositing them in parts unknown. Should you make friends with a crypt-dwelling ghoul in the waking world, you can leverage this connection into a free ride between the talons of the Nightgaunts and into the deep depths of dreaming.

Moé!

Nightgaunts are under explicit orders from their master not to harm humans, leaving them limited options to subdue those struggling in their clutches. Tickling is the preferred option. Coochie-coochie-coo. Lovecraft confides in his letters that during his youth he was terrorized by these “Night Gaunts.” I find it interesting that young men across the world, regardless of race, background, or creed, have experienced similar disturbing dreams where they are dog piled and tickled by busty shadow women.


The list goes on and on. If you choose to investigate this matter further by purchasing your own copy I hold no responsibility for whatever unspeakable fate befalls you.

I have to thank Aaron in Japan for helping me navigate the back streets of Akihabara where this madness began. I wouldn’t have had the courage to delve into the darkness without him.

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