Shokujinki are a species that features in Kemonozume.
Shokujinki (食人鬼?, lit. "Man-Eating Ogres") were a race of beings that inhabited the world that preyed on mankind and ate their flesh. It was said that their origins were traced to distant times when a young girl was being sacrificed to the gods. A man opposed the sacrifice and rescued her leading to the two being cursed by the gods. As a result, they were transformed into monsters that fed on the flesh of human beings. Another account held that the Flesh Eaters had lived on Earth since prehistoric times where there were many species of Shokujinki including dinosaur sized versions that preyed as well as devoured one another. Since that time, they had children who later bred with human beings with their descendants living till the modern day. Shokujinki operated secretly among humanity as they appeared human until they transformed or indulged their hunger. Select number of humans were aware of the existence of these creatures with a martial arts school called the Kifūken forming to find and slay the flesh eaters. This practice had been in place for a thousand years with the Kemonozume technique being created whereby a Kifuuken could wield the arms of a Shokujinki in battle.
Years ago, the Kifuken had three rising warriors among their ranks known as the Kifuken Triumvirate that consisted of Jūzō Momota, Kyūtarō Ōba and Jin Kakinoki. The three encountered a young woman without a home named Harumi Kamitsuki who they took into their dojo where she worked and lived alongside them. Unknown to them initially, she was actually a Flesh Eater but rejected the life of her people and wanted to live as a human. The three Kifuken warriors decided to protect her secret and sheltered here allowing her to continue her human life. In time, Jūzō fell in love with Harumi and she became pregnant with his child. As a result, Jūzō relinquished any claim he had to the leadership of the Kifuken with Ōba similarly doing so because he did not feel he was the best of the three as a warrior. Thus, Jin ascended to leadership but he resented how Jūzō had robbed him of proving which of them was superior. In an effort to gain true power, he decided to perform the Kemonozume with the severed limbs of a Flesh Eater. However, he was consumed by the animalistic instincts and attacked the Kifuken until Juzo similarly used the technique to stop him.
This incident had a marked effect on Oba as his sense of right and wrong became shattered after seeing his two comrades fight. Thus, he worked in secret in the shadows in studying the Shokujinki whilst operating as the Kifuken's administrative. Oba established his own company that isolated the elements of a Flesh Eater's body whereupon he created a medicine that promised increased health and vitality. However, the drug contained Shokujinki genetic material in small amounts that turned a number of humans into new forms of Flesh Eaters. As a result, Japan became plagued by the rise of Shokujinki's with the Kifuken struggling to combat these creatures that now appeared in new forms whilst unaware that Oba was responsible for this event. In an effort to combat this rise, young Kifuken member Kazuma Momota proposed the use of technology such as Buster Suits to battle the Shokujinki on a more even footing.
In appearance, these creatures varied depending on the form they took but among humanity they appeared as normal humans allowing them to blend in without drawing suspicion. However, they could transform either voluntarily or because they were consumed by their hunger for human flesh or due to arousal. When this happened, the turned into large monstrous beings with the shape varying depending on the breed. Some were much larger than humans with long arms with four claws, large skin, a shark-like head and no eyes. Their animal instincts were difficult to combat with Flesh Eaters even attacking one another in their feral states.
Flesh Eaters had to wage a constant battle against their kilker instincts that were quite strong and caused them to transform. Some of their kind were able to resist their natural instincts and prevent the transformation into their monstrous forms. However, once they transformed, Shokujinki tended to lose control of their senses. Those that lost the battle to feed were sometimes forever lost and unable to turn back to their human form. Whilst others were able to transform back through force of will.
They were capable of mating with humans but the offspring tended to be Shokujinki. In addition, through drugs, a person was capable of being turned into a Flesh Eater. This was made possible through the use of special cells within a Flesh Eater's claws that transformed a person into such a creature. A result of this form of propagation meant that new breeds of Shokujinki formed that were visually different from their natural born kin. Such a breed was commonly seen in Japan but a newer breed was sighted by the modern age with these being smaller and possessing eyes. Furthermore, this breed if killed turned back to their human form. The claws were held as an important part of their existence as severing of the claws led to the death of the Flesh Eater.
Practitioners of the Kemonozume technique were also capable of becoming Flesh Eaters. By severing their arms, they conducted the rite of bonding a Shokujinki clawed limbs to their own. In theory, this afforded them great fighting power but frequently saw the practitioner succumb to the instincts of the claws thus turning them into monsters.
- Yuka Kamitsuki : a female Shokujinki who appeared as a blonde short haired woman who in her civilian life operated as a sky-diving instructor.
- Harumi Kamitsuki : a female Shokujinki and mother to Yuka who was married to her father but did not want to live alongside her kind thus she left them along with her daughter.
- In the English subbed version, the creatures were referred to as Flesh Eaters.