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Oni (鬼, also transcribed as オニ or おに) are a class of mythical creatures from the yōkai (monster-spirits) family, which appear in Japanese folklore, and are sometimes worshiped as Shinto kami, revered spirits or gods.

They are depicted as hulking humanoid creatures comparable to ogres in Western mythology (and have even been at times translated as "ogre" in English) with prominent horns and fangs as well as a fierce appearance. Largely because of this, they generally were depicted as stock villains in Japanese fairy tales such as Momotaro, and were even an integral part of Japanese holidays such as Setsubun where people wear oni-style masks and have roasted soy beans thrown at them to "ward off evil". They were even believed to be what particularly wicked people become when they die, although they have lately been depicted in a more benign if still dangerous manner. Their name is derived from the on'yomi reading of the Kanji "隠", meaning to hide or conceal.

In Dead or Alive, a small number of oni have appeared, though they are depicted more along the lines of their modern characterization than that of old folklore. However, trace hints at their old folklore characterization were given indirect allusions at times.


Oni have had a foundation in Japan since ancient times. In some cases, they're sealed within shrines (although accidental unsealings have occurred), and have even been known to participate in festivals. Though participating peacefully in festivals at times, they are also shown to be dangerous, being capable of enslaving people's souls. They were also known to generate electricity, enough to summon lightning at a whim, as well as having enough control over said ability to tone down lightning strikes to avoid outright killing people if such were requested.

By the time of the Dead or Alive games, the existence of oni has become shrouded in mystery, with contact between them and other beings becoming difficult due to their secrecy. It is rare to even see evidence of an oni, let alone meet one. Despite this, oni have at least some knack for modern technology and customs.

Physical Appearence[]

Oni have similar body structure to humans, but have highly notable differences. An Oni's skin color can be depicted as red, blue, green and chalk white, but there are some oni that have the same skin tone as the average Japanese population. They also have horns, which are apparently extremely sensitive to touch, as well as pointed ears and prominent fangs, and even have eyes comparable to that of a cat.

They are generally depicted as extremely tall, being more than twice the height of standard humans in Japan, although exceptions such as Kanna have been noted who are short enough in stature to be mistaken for children.

They also apparently have extremely sensitive skin, as Kanna reacted negatively towards a Chinese massage supplied by Leifang.


According to Kanna, the closest the oni have to birthday celebrations are "special days." Unlike humans, and to a lesser extent tengu, oni generally do not have cakes for their special days due seeing no need for them, although they are willing to accept it if someone went through the work of preparing for it beforehand. The Oni language is also similar to the type used in historical Japan, and to a lesser extent the tengu language. In at least Kanna's case, however, they have a tendency to utilize Katakana for certain terms that conventionally use hiragana or kanji (eg, warawa).

Based on comments made by both Nyotengu and Kanna, the tengu and oni have a rivalry with each other, with oni in particular tending to flee from tengu, causing the latter party to look down upon them.

Known Oni in Dead or Alive[]

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