Everything is cuter in Japan. Games are cuter. Food is cuter. Even the freaking squirrels are cuter. Don’t believe me? See that creature below? That’s a picture of some momongas, Japanese flying squirrels, shared by Cute Overload. You can’t compete with that.
Naturally, such adorability is going to overflow into video games. People can’t live in a country like that and not seek to share something sweet like a momonga in media. The little dudes have popped up, though they don’t look exactly as they do in real life. You know, artistic license and all that.
One of the first instances of squirrels infiltrating our games is Mukumuku from Suikoden II. He’s leader of the five squirrel squad and Chima star and recruiting him means you also get to add Makumaku, Mekumeku, Mikumuku, and Mokumoku to your army. The other four squirrels aren’t Stars of Destiny, but that doesn’t make them any less adorable. Have all five in the party and the five squirrel attack can be performed. Plus, Mikumiku even counts as a purehearted maiden if you’re trying to recruit Sigfried the unicorn.
Pokemon has a momonga-inspired critter too. Pokemon Black and White introduced us to Emolga, a flying squirrel that is both an Electric and Flying type creature. The inspiration is obvious, from the big eyes, puffy cheeks, and being a whole flying squirrel thing. Unfortunately, he’s not a very effective character, especially when put against an opponent that knows Stealth Rock.
More recently, Samurai Warriors 4-II decided to add a flying squirrel to its cast. The already popular Kunoichi has a pet flying squirrel now called Tsukimaru. Because if a character is already pretty and loved, why not make her completely irresistable by saddling her with the cutest rodent known to man? Not that Tsukimaru does anything during the game, other than appear as a token mascot character on loading screens, but does he really have to do anything other than exist?
There’s one final instance of precious Japanese squirrels finding their way into games, and it’s fittingly in a non-violent title. The Animal Crossing series has been pro-varmint, with 20 squirrel villagers in the series. Of which Marshall is the best, because he has big eyes, super white fur, and essentially a squirrel marshmallow. Unless Peanut happens to also be around, in which case she is the best.
Perhaps we should think of it as sharing. Other regions don’t have cute momonga lurking in our forests. We’re deprived. But, thanks to the power of video games, we can interact with ridiculously adorable rodents whenever we’d like.