Kitsune are a supernatural species within the Teen Wolf Universe. They are described as "tricksters" with no care for the concept of right or wrong.
We have only observed two Kitsune so far.
To date, they have always appeared human to the naked eye.
In digital photographs and to those with enhanced vision (See Werewolf), the Kitsune has a distinctive and fiery aura.
It is shaped like a fox with large pointed ears and muzzle.
Derek Hale notes that this effect is visible on young Kitsune because they "haven't learned to conceal" their true nature.
In Season 5 Kira's aura becomes more visible and seems to move independently of her.
Kira's eyes appeared to glow orange when she was absorbing electricity.
Her eyes are the only indication of Kitsune shape-shifting abilities.
Types of Kitsune
There are 13 types of Kitsune within the Teen Wolf Universe.
Only five have been named within the context of the show.
They are: Celestial, Wild, Ocean, Thunder and Nogitsune or (Void).
Kira Yukimura is a "Thunder Kitsune". Her mother is apparently a different type but that is not revealed on the show.
Described as a "dark kitsune" the nogitsune possesses the body of an individual for no other purpose than to create chaos on which it then feeds.
Nogitsune can also be summoned but once present cannot be controlled.
Main Article: Nogitsune (Beacon Hills)
We only have information about the two Kitsune currently on the show - other types may have other abilities.
Kira (Thunder Kitsunes) was able to absorb a large amount of electricity into her body.
She explains that, according to myth, when a Kitsune rubs its tails together it can create fire or lightning called "foxfire." She is quick to add that she doesn't have any tails.
The foxfire appears to be more than just electrical. There is apparently a magical component as well as Kira was able to use lightning to repair a broken Katana.
Kira is surprised and delighted to find out that she can run supernaturally fast.
Noshiko exhibited accelerated healing although it took her some time to recover from several bullet wounds in 1943.
Noshiko appears as a teenager in 1943 and a woman of 35 currently. She claims to be 900 years old.
It is unclear if her appearance is a natural phenomenon or some sort of illusion (like the Kitsune aura) that she is able to project.
Kira's Mom had knives that her husband called "tails."
Breaking them allowed her to summon and control Oni.
Noshiko's transformation of "tails" into the physical knives went unexplained during Season 3. The Nogitsune said he did not understand how it was accomplished.
In Season 4 she explained to Kira that tails are achieved when a Kitsune becomes more powerful. Kira got her first tail from a piece of obsidian in Mexico that she used to unlock her healing ability.
The age of the "tail" also denotes its power level. The older tails summoned stronger Oni.
The power to summon and control apparently resided in the knives themselves as Nogitsune/Stiles was able to take control of the demons once he had stolen the knife.
The number of Noshiko's tails was limited. There were nine slots in the box where they were stored, her husband said she had sacrificed five and she broke two on screen. She then had one left which was stolen and used by Nogitsune/Stiles.
Teen Wolf Creator Jeff Davis says he studied Japanese kitsune myths while coming up with the stories for Season 3(b).
How Davis plans to further interpret these myths for television remains to be seen.
Real World Myth
- EDITORS NOTE: What follows here is the barest overview of Japanese fox folklore.
- It is not, nor is it meant to be, a full account of the Kitsune Myth.
- The different Japanese folklore stories about foxes are as widespread and varied as rocks in a riverbed. There is no one thing to which you can point and say “there, that is the Kitsune Myth.”
- Confusing the issue even more is the fact that each different Asian culture has its own unique fox-based myths - each with different names and attributes.
- What follows deals exclusively with the bare basics of the ancient Japanese folklore on the subject and does not take into account anything published after the 17th century.
Kitsune (キツネ) is the Japanese word for Fox.
Early portrayals of kitsune cast them as heralds of Inari Ōkami, the god of rice, but in some areas of the country the worship of the foxes became more important than the god they served.
There is no single, universal concept of kitsune just as there is no single, universal concept of “ghost” or “demon”.
In Japanese folklore, all foxes exhibit some level of magical ability including shapeshifting into people, other creatures, and inanimate objects. These powers increase with age and wisdom.
In ancient stories, some foxes use their magic for good while others are malevolent. They are often portrayed as tricksters. Some of the stories are comical while others are deeply emotional love stories featuring human/fox pairings.