By Tom Black, Seino RPA
NAME: The nurikabe 塗壁 ぬりかべ (lit. painted wall)
APPEARANCE: As with many yokai the nurikabe’s true appearance is shrouded in mystery as it can make itself invisible. In illustrations, nurikabe typically take the form of a large wall, with eyes and various other appendages depending on the mood of the artist. Often they are shown as grey, slightly melted looking walls with two arms and legs protruding from the sides.
MODUS OPERANDI: There are several variants of nurikabe, but all love nothing more than obstructing or blocking people’s paths. Once in front of a victim they can extend infinitely to the left and right so poor, unfortunate travelers can never pass.
However, common wisdom states that if you tap the lower left corner of the wall, the nurikabe is defeated and will let you by.
IN POP CULTURE: The nurikabe served as the inspiration for the Mario enemy the “Whomp.” In the Mario Party series these bipedal walls act as barriers and will not let the players pass unless they can satisfy the Whomp’s demands.