Ancient Greek and Egyptian cultures have so many amazing stories in their folk lore. Daring heroes slaying monsters. Clever ladies that out smart the bad guy (usually an evil king) and save their prince. And of course nearly every one of those stories features some kind of hideous and terrifying monster that would like to do nothing more than to gobble up some innocent bystander! Though terrifying, these monsters are what make the stories so thrilling. What would King Mino’s maze be without it’s Minotaur? What would the trials of Hercules be without the hydra? What would Jason’s quest to get the golden fleece be without the harpies?
As thrilling and horrifying as these monsters were, over the centuries they languished in the dusty tomes of legends, until they found a new home. Thousands of miles away from the lands where these creatures were first thought up, Japan has brought them into the world of anime. And these hideous monsters are now a lot more cute than they ever were before! Curious to see how mythical monsters have been merged with modern anime cuteness? Check these out!
How to keep a Mummy
How to Keep a Mummy is a cute anime about a boy (Sora Kashiwagi) that receives a gift from his explorer father from Egypt. What his father sends Sora is a giant coffin, and inside, along with a lot of fluff and stuffing is a tiny little mummy! At first sight, both Sora and the mummy are afraid of each other, but it doesn’t take long for the two to come together. Though mummies are ritualistically wrapped and preserved bodies of the dead that have a lot of legends and lore surrounding them in Egypt and beyond, Mii (as Sora named his new undead friend) is really more like a puppy than a cursed corpse leaving death and mayhem in its wake. The pet and pet parent relationship that Sora and Mii develop and the friends they make in the monster community is just adorable. So whether you like anime about kids having fun with their unusual pets or a little bit of Egyptian lore, this is the anime for you. Fun fact, animals such as cats, alligators, and birds were mummified in ancient Egypt, so Mii might actually be a puppy under all that wrapping!
Miss Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Department
In ancient Greek lore the hydra was a multi headed water serpent/dragon that was a fearsome monster Hercules had to defeat to prove that he was a hero. Needless to say, the anime version of this terrifying monster is considerably cuter and more friendly. In the anime Miss Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Department, one of the monsters Miss Kuroitsu develops is a blue haired girl named Hydra with four water dragon heads attached to her. Though the girl’s water dragon heads can talk quite a bit of smack and often argue with each other, Hydra herself is actually very nice and even a bit shy! Good thing she has four “Sister” dragon heads to stand up for her and help her pursue her crush with Thunderbird (another monster in the department).
Oh Suddenly Egyptian God
Oh Suddenly Egyptian God is an anime shorts series featuring ancient Egyptian gods as they get into plenty of mischief in the ancient and not so ancient world. These adorable little chibi Egyptian deities seem to love to do nothing more than pull pranks on each other, hang out and eat pizza, or just snooze under a kotatsu.
There was so many legends about ancient Egyptian deities, it’s hard to point to just one example. The classical era of Egypt spans thousands of years from the uniting of the upper and lower kingdoms of Egypt to the fall of the Roman empire, so of course a lot of stories can be created in that amount of time. Though, much like what the chibis get up to in Oh Suddenly Egyptian God anime, gods pulling pranks on each other was certainly a common theme also seen in the ancient lore.
Card Captor Sakura
Even in the cute and cheerful world of Card Captor Sakura ancient Greek mythology as found a home. The name of a certain little guardian beast of a very magical book hearkens back to the guardian beast of the underworld of Greek legend. Kero is the yellow floating critter with the big personality that recruited Sakura into the Card Captor world and helped her along the way. His full name is actually Keroberos guardian of the Clow. Keroberos is the Japanification of the name Cerberus, who was the three headed guard dog to the entrance of the underworld in ancient Greek lore. Cerberus was also the pet of Hades, a Greek god ruling the underworld and the dead. Though Kero doesn’t look much like a terrifying hell hound, I’m glad Clamp decided not to give him three heads!