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Manga / Little Ghost Q-Taro

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"Q Q Q, Q Q Q Q!"
"Q Q Q, Q Q Q Q!"
"Question, question, do you know my name?"
"Question, question, the name is Q-Taro!"
— 1985 theme song

Little Ghost Q-Taro (or Obake no Q-Tarō in Japanese) is a series created in 1964 by Fujiko Fujio. The series is about a mischievous ghost named Q-Taro who lives with the Ōhara family. Q-Taro likes to trick people, though he has a fear of dogs. Q-Taro tries to aid his friend Shōta Ōhara, a boy in grade school.

The Animated Adaptation was the most famous work by Fujiko Fujio before Doraemon premiered. The first one was made in 1965, the second one was made in 1971, and the third one was made in 1985.

One volume of the comic was released in English in Japan as Q the Spook. The TV series aired in English in the United States under the title Little Ghost Q-Taro, but the dub wasn't successful and it's now completely lost. The Licensed Game was released in English under the title Chubby Cherub (but with Q-Taro replaced with an angel-like character).

In 2018, 4 volumes of never-before-seen comics were released.

Q-Taro inspired the ghosts in Pac-Man.

Question, question, do you know my tropes?

  • Adjective Noun Fred: Little Ghost Q-Taro.
  • Alliterative Title: The video game was released in North America as Chubby Cherub.
  • Animated Adaptation: Three have been made so far.
  • Art Evolution: The animation improved over time, especially when they began using color.
  • Big Eater: Q-Taro can eat twenty times the amount a regular human consumes.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: It managed to combine this with Deus ex Machina in the 1965-67 anime’s Grand Finale. The heroes are captured and all hope seems to be lost when they are suddenly rescued by Perman. They ask who he is, and he declares himself to be the star of the show. Q-Taro then angrily informs Perman that his show starts next week, and he's arrived a week too early. Sure enough, Perman debuted the following week in Little Ghost Q-Taro's former time slot.
  • The Cameo: The ramen man Koike makes cameos in tons of other Fujiko Fujio works.
  • Crossover: It's had a few crossovers with other Fujiko Fujio works, most notably Doraemon and Perman.
  • Cultural Translation: Subverted by the NES game. Chubby Cherub is the localized version released in the US. The title character's sprite and the title screen were the ONLY graphical alterations. This runs contrary to other localized licensed games of the era, when all references to the show it was based on were removed.
  • Deus ex Machina: In the 1965-67 anime’s Grand Finale, Perman comes in and rescues the heroes at the end. Perman says that he's the star of the show.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Q-Taro sings in the theme song.
  • Dub Name Change: One translation changes Q-Taro's name to Q the Spook.
  • Eating Solves Everything: In the Licensed Game, Q-Taro can eat lollipops to allow him to shoot the dogs.
  • Friendly Ghost: The titular character is an adorable spirit and a friend to the Ōhara family.
  • Grand Finale: Possibly the funniest grand finale is the final episode for the 1965-67 series. Q-Taro and Shōta are held hostage by a gang leader. When all hope is lost, they are suddenly rescued by Perman. They ask who he is and Perman replies that he's the star of the show. Q-Taro angrily informs him that his show starts next week; Perman arrived one week early. And yes, a week after the final Q-Taro ran, Perman did take over the time-slot.
  • Gratuitous English: The English word "question" is used in the Japanese theme song.
  • Kid Hero: Shōta Ōhara is a kid protagonist in grade school.
  • Licensed Game: Received one on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
  • The Movie: Various movies and television specials have been made.
  • One-Letter Name: Q-Taro's name is simply Q in the English version of the comic.
  • Reused Character Design: The ramen man first appeared in this series and he is a recurring design in Fujiko Fujio works. The Ramen guy was based on Shin'ichi Suzuki, an animator who often collaborated with Fujiko Fujio on the anime adaptations. He was known for eating ramen a lot, hence the character.
  • Shout-Out: Saigō is nicknamed Godzilla.
  • Theme Tune Extended: The full theme tune is three minutes long.
  • Time Skip: One of the stories takes place 15 years after the original series.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Q-Taro has a fear of dogs.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: The only objective in the NES game is to eat everything in sight. And yes, eating keeps him alive.
  • Youkai: Obake, in this case.

Alternative Title(s): Little Ghost Q Taro, Obake No Q Taro, Chubby Cherub, Obake No Q Taro Wan Wan Panic, Q The Spook