Before the kitsune takes ‘teen wolf’ by storm, brush up on the japanese folklore

Teen Wolf“‘s menacing Alpha Pack may have disbanded, but soon, a new type of beast will captivate Beacon Hills, and this one’s unlike anything Scott and friends have ever seen.

Back in August, Executive Producer Jeff Davis told rabid fans at San Diego Comic-Con that the show’s return will explore the Kitsune myth, a bit of ancient Japanese folklore that centers on shape-shifting creatures with a “trickster spirit” (something newcomer Arden Cho, who’ll play BHHS student Kira, mentions in the trailer below). So, will we meet one, or a whole pack? And will the show’s supernatural addition amount to friend or foe; help or hindrance? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Still, after a fair amount of Internet research, we’re not completely in the dark about what the Eastern lore might bring. Take a look at five basic facets of Kitsune mythology, and be sure to tune in to the “Teen Wolf” premiere Monday night at 10e/7p!

1) According to the Mythical Creatures Guide, a Kitsune is a wise, magical fox in its truest form. It can have up to nine tails, which can accumulate based on the power and wisdom it gains, or disappear as consequence to certain spiritual laws it breaks. It’s said that the only way to kill a Kitsune is to cut off the original tail that holds all of its power.

2) On a Kitsune’s 100th birthday (or sometimes, a bit sooner), it can achieve the power of taking on a human form, says The Stranger’s Bookshelf. Usually, a Kitsune prefers to become either an older, wise man or a young, beautiful woman.

3) Though there are 13 types of Kitsune, which are associated with different earthly elements, the creatures can ultimately be classified in one of two ways: as “zenkos,” which are good foxes with pure intentions, or “yakos,” which are sly and even dangerous foxes, the Mythical Creatures Guide says.

4) Above all else, the Kitsune is determined to remain a free spirit, and hates the idea of being controlled or sapped of its autonomy.

5) In addition to the power its tail holds, a Kitsune’s “star ball,” a white-gold sphere that it carries, holds its life force, and without it, the fox will lose control, says Stacy King of Shifty Looks.

So, what role do you think the Kitsune myth will play this season? Put on your theorizing caps and sound off in the comments!