Forest Spirit, also called Shishigami (シシガミ) and Night-Walker (デイダラボッチ, Deidarabotchi), is a supporting character in Princess Mononoke. It is known as a god of life and death.
The Forest Spirit looks like a deer, but with more antlers and a human-like face; It can transform into a gigantic, translucent humanoid during the night called the Night-Walker.
The Deer God "Forest Spirit" is the protector of the Cedar Forest and is the god of life and death. It heals Ashitaka of his bullet wound, yet interestingly leaves the boar's curse untouched. Later, it takes the life of Okkoto and Moro. During Lady Eboshi's hunt to kill the Deer God, she shoots it as it transforms, turning it into the humanoid-like Night-Walker, releasing its destructive body. This causes the life of everything it touches to be drained away, causing mass destruction and death; this lasts until Ashitaka and San return its head, restoring peace.
- Immortality and invulnerability. The emperor Mikado believes it is possible to become immortal by eating his head. But Eboshi proves that the Night-Walker is vulnerable by shooting off his head.
- Powers over life. His blood cures all illness and curses, which can be seen at the end of the movie. When it touches the ground, the plants under his feet grow in a quick spurt and wither away quickly. It can heal wounds by touching them with his mouth, though it cannot take away curses that way.
- Powers over death. It can end life. Demons don't fear anybody, besides the Forest Spirit. It takes Okkoto's life, who becomes a demon as a result. Kohroku believed he would die if it looked into the Forest Spirit's eyes, though this is just an unprecedented speculation.
- Night-Walker. At the Sea of the Forest Spirit, it transforms into the Night-Walker at midnight. If it loses his head, it becomes death Night-Walker.
In Japanese mythology, it is called Yatsukamizuomitsuno, who is worshipped in Nagahama, Shiga. His origin is from buddhism script The Kasuga Deer Mandala, where it is seen as a deer with a tree on his head. It is the power that forms a planet.
The Night-Walker is called Daidarabotchi in Japanese. In the movie, the deer-like Forest Spirit and the Night-Walker are the personifications of the Forest. They are neither good nor evil.
- The Art of The Princess Mononoke
- Moro didn't die, but she is almost dead.
- [eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwords/entry.php?entryID=1304 Daisen Shinkou] (jap.), retrieved december 1st, 2013
- Kasuga Deer Mandala, 14. Jhd., Nara National Museum, rtrieved november 26th, 2012
- Hayao Miyazaki: Recovery of Japanese Cultural Values (eng.), Autor: Aurora van Zoelen, retrieved december 13rd, 2012