Even after years of studying super kawaii characters in Japan, I come across new species that defy easy explanation.
This sign appeared in Inokashira Park several weeks back. It's posted on a bridge that's being renovated, and warns pedestrians to watch their step. It's a classic "warning character" sign, but... What are those little monsters at bottom? Trees? If so, why are they armed with spears?
Perhaps they aren't trees at all but yokai: a personification of the misfortunes that befall your feet when you don't watch where you're stepping.