Japanese creator kumacoro (クマコロ in Japanese) is a former toymaker who now works as a freelance designer. He's also a fan of robots and mechanical devices, as well as kaiju (Japanese monsters, usually in reference to monster films).

One of kumacoro's passions in the last ten years has been illustrating an ongoing series of creatures directly inspired by the world of food in Japan.

Recently, kumacoro's Twitter account shows a particular focus on sushi. With so many toppings and types to choose from, sushi provides a vast supply of subjects.

For example, take a look at these nigiri sushi-based creatures below. Can you recognize the sushi? You can see salmon at the top left and shrimp just below it. These creatures are called サーモン二ギリス sāmonnigirisu and エビ二ギリス ebinigirisu. At the top right, it says 「ニギリ目スシ科のなかま」nigiri-moku sushi-ka no nakama, meaning "members of the Nigiri Order, Sushi Family."

In other words, these creations are ordered by taxonomic rank.

Each creature is cleverly designed. For example, the エンガワアブリス engawaaburisu to the right of sāmonnigirisu in the panel above has a pattern on its back and side which imitates the rippled muscle texture of (seared) fluke fin on which it's based, or カリフォルニアマイマイ kariforuniamaimai at the middle right of the panel, is a slice of California Roll imagined as a snail, the spiral of ingredients inside finding a parallel in the spiral pattern of a snail's shell.

And there are countless others as well:

But Kumacoro isn't limited to sushi.

As the chart below indicates, the entire world of food is accounted for. For example, in addition to the Nigiri Order, there's also the Nigirazu Order (non-nigiri), where you'll find creatures inspired by sushi rolls, onigiri (rice balls) and temaki (hand rolls), and the Donburi Order (rice bowl) within the Rice Subclass. Within the Organic Creature Phylum, there's also the Flour Order where you'll find creatures inspired by bread and baked goods. The Inorganic Phylum is where you'll find creatures inspired by things like rice cookers.

For example, here are the members of the パパンガ種 papanga-shu ("Papanga Species") and the サンドリ種 sandori-shu ("Sandori Species") within the パンリュウ属 panryū-zoku ("Bread-Style Genus") of the Flour Order. In case you didn't get it, papanga is a reference to various savory breads, and sandori is a portmanteau of サンド sando, meaning "sandwich" and 鳥 tori, meaning "bird.":

As it should be clear by now, kumacoro's creations are imagined as if they were part of an illustrated encyclopedia. And in fact, the designer has published precisely such a volume. For example, 『新版 生物図鑑~食卓の生物の生態~』(New Edition Encyclopedia of Creatures: Creatures of the Dining Table and their Ecology") was published in 2009 (and is available for purchase here. Shipping outside of Japan can be handled by a proxy purchasing service such as Buyee).

For an example of this "encyclopedia" style, here is a recently illustrated version featuring sāmonnigirisu in a new drawing style:

To see more amazing food-inspired creatures and other artwork, you can follow kumacoro on Twitter here.

©2010 kumacoro | Licensed by TAKETWO

By - Ben K.