Really cool stuff. I would also say that there are plenty of evil kings and armored enemies to mine from the Mediterranean myth. The Japanese stuff seems almost like a tangent, story wise, though I have to say that the bird thing looks very nice.
I really like the colors on the test render. The warm cool contrast really helps (wish I could remember to do things like that). Noticed that on the rendered version the belly seems a lot more prominent. That's not a problem from this angle but might look a little dumpy in profile when he's standing upright.
All quibbles really. Don't really feel I'm in the position to crit some of you guys.