The female bathhouse employees all have humanoid appearances, while the male workers, besides Haku and Kamaji, are all frogs. Why do none of the workers, besides Kamaji (always in his "spider" form) and Haku (in his dragon form), ever transform into their actual spirit forms? Lin/Rin is a weasel spirit, but she never transforms into something like a weasel, and the yuna are spirits of slugs, but they never transform either. Not that they would want to transform into a weasel or slug, but do they even still have the ability to, like Haku into a dragon?
And what about the customers? Although they don't either, can they transform into humanoid appearances?
Lets see, Kamaji in spider form is very useful, he needs all his hands to get all the ingredients for the bath water, including reaching for the highest rack. So, in short, he is most useful in that form, so transforming into a human with only two short hands...can you imagine when the bathhouse is full? The same with Haku, he can get to his errands in flying in dragon form.
As for Lin/Rin and the others, probably simply weasel or slugs not the appealing to the eyes...woudn't want to chase away the customers..
Also, since the bathhouse a resting place for the spirits customer, I don't think they will bother to transform into human form while relaxing themselves...it might deprive their powers too by transforming...
I meant the workers besides Kamaji and Haku; I know those 2 need their spirit forms. Although that does bring up another question--What would Kamaji look like as a "human"?
I did say that Lin and the other yuna most likely wouldn't want to transform, but I was just curious if they even still could, or if working for Yubaba [instead of being her slave (Kamaji) or apprentice (Haku)] would weaken them, perhaps because of stealing their real names.
Yeah, the customers probably wouldn't bother to transform; I was just curious about that and how certain ones, like the polluted river spirit, would look like.
And this wikia, which probably got the info from the book The Art of Miyazaki's Spirited Away, says that Lin is a weasel spirit and the yuna are slug spirits.
I thought perhaps the more powerful spirits are the only ones capable of fully transforming between spirit and human form. Dragons like Haku are the most powerful of spirits and can shapeshift seamlessly, while not even Yubaba fully transforms into a bird (she just wraps herself in a cloak to resemble one and flies off). I never thought of Kamaji and the yuna ever having alternate forms. They're low-level spirits, and are permanently in an in-between state like Kamaji, whom is while clearly not human, isn't completely a spider either. Perhaps if entering the human world, Lin might become a weasel, but otherwise none of the weak spirits would have a need of their animal form in the spirit world. A slug would get stepped on.
Literally everywhere else I've read it, 'Byakko' refers to the White Tiger of the four mystical beasts. In fact, a quick google search of 'Byakko' comes up with nothing but 'White Tiger' results.
I've always heard Fox spirits referred to as Kitsune. But I'm not an expert and don't speak the language, and putting in 'Byakko Fox' gets results for White Fox. But they also seem to be deities centered around Mt. Inari.
It would strike me as odd that Lin would be such a rare yokai working in the bath house and serve such a low function, and I think I remember hearing that Miyazaki himself said she was a Weasel spirit in the finished product.
I don't have proof of that, and don't even remember where I read it, but the 'Weasel' theory had to come from somewhere. She looks closer to a Weasel than a Fox in my opinion, as she's long and thin, and Weasels seem to be more attuned to water than Foxes, who are typically aligned with fire.
That seems to match up more with the rest of the bath house staff, who are Frogs and Slugs, also aligned with the general water theme of a bath house.
My vote has to go to Weasel. It's less powerful than a Fox spirit would be, which would work with her seemingly low status in the bath house, but it's stronger than Frogs and Slugs, which a Weasel would feed on in nature, and so explains why she would be in charge of a group of them.
In my opinion, it isn't odd Lin is a rare youkai. You know Haku is a god, too. Including he is a Ryuu Dragon (That is a fact. Read The Art of Spirited Away in Japanese).
If you really want to get the answer, read the book The Art of Spirited Away in Japanese. It stands there clearly Lin is a Byakko (Tiger), Weasel Spirit, Kitsune or Human. You find your answer in the book (in Japanese).