Genshin Impact’s New Cat Girl Character Draws Inspiration from Japanese Myths

Myth-inspired characters are always a delightful sight to my eyes

A new Genshin Impact update is already around the corner, meaning it’s time to tease even further patches. Dropping its usual drip marketing one day before the new content hits the live servers, Hoyoverse has announced Kirara, the newest character they intend to live rent-free in your head during the next 40 days until she finally debuts. But not as a complete surprise, of course, because leaks about her had been surfacing for some time.

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Diona was still the only catgirl in the whole cast (casting the catgirl-wannabes Keqing and Dehya aside), so receiving another catgirl/catboy was just a matter of time. People thought that Lyney and Lynette would be the next ones during the 4.0 updates, but this new Nekomata-inspired character is here to prove them wrong.

Japanese Folklore Strikes Again on Teyvat

As the next 4-star Dendro Sword character, the twin-tailed Kirara had been a rumored character for a while by now, and was initially believed to be a 5-star Geo Bow character that would hit the Standard Banner just like Dehya. People later clarified her description to match her current status, but all was uncertain until she actually was announced.

And with the said announcement, we can confirm that she’s indeed another character based on a Japanese mythical creature, more specifically the Nekomata. While her cat ears are fake (you can see the ear lobes beneath her hair), her other cat features are definitely real. Her description depicts her as “A courier who works for Komaniya Express, a delivery company in Inazuma. She has twin restless tails and is a nekomata who loves human society”.

A Nekomata is a youkai similar to Bakeneko, said to be born when a cat has an abnormally large tail. When the tail grows too long, it splits into two and the cat becomes a Nekomata, and the tail is their biggest difference from the Bakeneko. They are said to walk on two legs and have special abilities such as creating fireballs and transforming into anything, from people to objects.

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While often described as vengeful spirits who attack humans and bring them misfortune, they’re not always depicted as maleficent beings. Kirara seems to draw more from the benevolent Nekomata tales given her seemly carefree nature. She joins the Inazuma cast alongside her fellow playable youkai, namely the tengu Kujou Sara, the kitsune Yae Miko and the oni Arataki Itto. But as a 4-star, she might not get as much screentime as the latter two did and still do. And she won’t be around until 3.7 drops.

You can also find numerous Tanuki wandering around the islands willing to play games with the Traveler, but none has been announced to be playable at the moment. But with an ever-growing cast for each region, it shouldn’t take long before more youkai-inspired characters start popping up. A kappa boy was featured in a previous Inazuma event, so would be asking too much for a playable kappa character hailing from Sangonomiya? Hoyo, please!

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Patrick Souza
Patrick has been working for Prima since 2022 and joined as a Staff Writer in 2023. He's been interested in gaming journalism since college, and that was the path he took once he had his degree in hands. Diligently ignores his ever-growing backlog to keep raiding in Final Fantasy XIV, exploring in Genshin Impact or replaying some of his favorite RPGs from time to time. Loves tackling hard challenges in games, but his cats are still the hardest bosses he could ask for.