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YMMV / GeGeGe no Kitarō

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: In Japanese mythology, the Nurarihyon is a rather benign yōkai best known for being a moocher. GeGeGe no Kitarō reinterprets him as a devious villain with Fantastic Racism against humans, with the 80s series makes him the recurring villain, and eventually the Big Bad.
    • In a similar vein, the Sunekosuri in Japanese mythology is best known for unintentionally causing people to stumble or trip by nuzzling against people's knees, with some variations causing injuries at worst. In the 2018 series, the Sunekosuri gradually drains people's energy as it passes by them, which causes several deaths in one village, but the Sunekosuri hasn't acknowledged its existence as a yokai.
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    • The Sunekokusuri is more a Composite Character than an alternative character: in a compilation of legends written by Shigeru Mitzuki himself he writes how the Sunekokusuri myth has, in different places of Japan, a similar myth in which a yōkai looking like a small and cute piglet, by nuzzling and tripping people, saps their lifeforce making them impotent and coward or weak and sickly.
  • Anvilicious: The 2018 series hits you on the head with a big one right out the gate: don't play in traffic, and never put Social Media Before Reason.
    • Also, in the fourth episode, Kitarō and Medama Oyaji tell a young human boy who crossed over in the GeGeGe Forest, the dwelling place of all yōkai, because of his fascination with the ancient mythology, that the fastest, safer and best way to get to know more about them would be returning home and spending as much time as he could with his old grandmother, listening to her tales and keeping them alive.
  • Awesome Music: The music that plays when the Yokai Beast destroys Tokyo is an ominous, traditional sounding track that really hammers in that the humans are dealing with something they don’t understand.
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  • Complete Monster: In the 2018 anime, Backbeard is the wicked ruler of the western Yokai. A monstrous tyrant who intends to complete the Brigadoon and convert humanity to his zombified Yokai slaves, Backbeard exterminates the Hantu of Malay for not submitting to him, attacking Gegege Forest to massacre the Japanese Yokai within, and sends his servants to cause chaos throughout Japan. Also attempting to force the young witch Agnes to sacrifice herself, Backbeard had forced her mother to do the same to protect her and her sister Adele, who Backbeard likewise is fine with sacrificing to complete the Brigadoon. Backbeard shows no regard for any collateral damage, trying to kill Kitaro's young human friend Mana, gloating that nothing matters but submission to him.
  • Cult Classic: The franchise has only managed to reach cult status outside of Japan, though it's slowly becoming more popular thanks to the 2007 anime and especially the 2018 anime with its official Crunchyroll subs.
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  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Wolfgang, the wolfman, in his civilian identity is a business man with a tacky red jacket and a tie able to transform into his wolf form even in daylight. Talisman, an Italian B-Movie reaching cult status in Japan, features an half-demon wolfman able to transform in daylight, wearing a similar attire.
  • Ear Worm: Ge... ge... ge ge ge no geee...
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Neko Musume is without a doubt the most well-known outside of Japan. Many people know her without knowing the series. Turned Up to Eleven with the 2018 anime in Western territories, more than partly due to it having a readily available English release.
    • Sunekosuri has gotten popular for being an adorable cat, as well as a Tragic Monster whose episode is widely regarded as one the best, even to people who aren’t normally fans of the franchise.
    • Hanako San’s cute design and status as The Woobie has also made her popular. It also helps that she’s a well known Urban Legend, who many people were excited to see appear in the show.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: From the 2018 series: Looks are important, not just for how others perceive you, but for how you perceive yourself.
  • Fandom Rivalry: The 2018 series has a one-sided one with the Dragon Ball Super fandom, because they blame it for the series temporarily ending and taking its Japanese TV time slot.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: When asked by people why he helps out humans so much, Kitarō responds that it's because a man named Mizuki was kind to him and his people when they needed it. You could probably say the same of youkai tales in general, due to "some guy named (Shigeru) Mizuki" contributing to youkai tales being popular with the public again instead of letting those tales die out.
    • Mizuki, in most incarnations of the myth, was an hard working man tasked by Medama Oyagi to care for a newborn Kitarō, the last child of a now extinct tribe of powerful yōkai died while hiding from mankind: Shigeru Mizuki had always been known for its interest for the supernatural, and he published an illustrated Encyclopedia of Japanese yōkai. In a way, he fostered the latest myth, a new ghost story for the XX and the XXI century, and by doing so he ensured the entire Japanese mythology wouldn't die, as through Kitarō many young children will learn about the past.
    • Also, when young Yuta tells Kitarō and Medama Oyaji that he wants to learn about yōkai and befriend them, they direct him to his old grandmother, telling him to listen carefully to her stories as a way to bond with them. Shigeru Mizuki's whole career started when, as a child not older than Yuta, an old woman named Fusa Kageyama (immortalized in his comics as Nononba) told him every myth she knew.
    • Sakaiminato, Shigeru Mizuki's hometown, exists even in the sixth anime universe, as the hometown of Mana Inuyama's parents and place of her summer vacations. Furthermore, even Shigeru Mizuki Road, in the real Sakaiminato a celebration of Shigeru's creativity and fame showcasing bronze statues of Kitarō and all the yōkai in the show, does exist in the fictional Sakaiminato, albeit with a different but still heartwarming motivation
      • Kitarō is forced to slay an ancient yōkai, wishing to be laid to rest along a princess he cared for in a distant past. He's forced to oblige, and the yōkai is turned into a bronze statue, guarding the princess grave for eternity, but Kitarō decides he should stop being alone and forlorn even if dead, and, along with the townspeople, turns the solitary road in which their graves lie into a Yōkai Road filled with statues of himself, his friends and every other friendly yōkai in the GeGeGe Forest, keeping company to the poor, forlorn yōkai
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Episode 89 of the 90s adaptation had Neko Musume becoming insecure about her young age, and going through a Plot-Relevant Age-Up thanks to the powers of the Monster of the Week. This becomes ironic considering her actual Age Lift in her 2018 incarnation.
    • Even better: Kitarō's Night Tales featured a beautiful cat girl named Neko for several chapters. Aside from her reactions to rats or ratlike things, she otherwise looked like a regular human girl. Perhaps her Hakaba counterpart started leaking into her design?
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: After spending a season as a simple Monster of the Week series, episode 11 shakes things up in a major way. An army of Tanuki invade Japan and actually succeed, in the process petrifying Kitarō and releasing a monstrous Yokai Beast that destroys part of Tokyo.
    • The Great Yōkai War itself: a single member of the alliance of Western yokai, Wolfgang the Wolfman, is effortlessly able to slay every single Malay Yōkai, the last group of them in front of Kitaro, smash Nurikabe to pieces, beat Neko-Musume and Sunakake-Babaa fighting him together with Konaki-Jijii stuck on his back and almost kill Kitarō himself before Kitarō is told to shoot at him with silver bullets. The Western Yokai's reaction? Send a healed Wolfgang back to the GeGeGe Forest with Victor Frankestein, Carmilla and Adel to get revenge.
  • Les Yay: Mana Inuyama of the 2018 idolizes Neko-Musume immensely.
  • Memetic Mutation: You damn lolicons!
  • Mis-blamed: The 2018 series had nothing to do with Dragon Ball Super's hiatus; Toei Animation previously announced that Dragon Ball will be on hiatus so the staff would be able to work on the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie.
  • Moe: Bubbly, and kind hearted Mana Inuyama of the 2018 series.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Some of the more evil youkai are creepy.
    • Also, the backstory of some neutral or benign spirits, like Zunbera, once a beautiful human girl died of mercury posioning common in beauty products and resurrected as a yōkai granting beauty to vain girls, and Kani-Bōzu, the former guardian of a young princess, sealed and revived centuries later to find out he failed and his ward died.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In the 2018 series most evil yōkai are motivated into their villainy by the realization that humans don't fear or respect them anymore. Even Kitarō believes that mankind should revere and fear the darkness, but only the little bit necessary for self-preservation. But, Kitarō himself spent every day of his life protecting mankind from evil yōkai, becoming the main reason there's no longer anything in Japan able to hurt people in the darkness.
  • Older Than They Think: Western viewers were certain that the vlogger causing trouble by breaking talismans in the 2018 premiere was supposed to be a callout on the Logan Paul incident, and even nicknamed him as such. In reality, it was a common plot in the series to show reckless humans messing with things they thought were harmless and paying the price; this version just added in a social media component to keep up with the times. Given the Animation Lead Time (the Logan Paul video had been posted 4 months prior to the premiere), it's unlikely it was a direct reference, but the Values Resonance definitely makes it stick out.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: All seasons tend to lay on the morals rather thickly, but they often poignant and important. Most common being the dangers of greed and apathy towards the environment and other people.
    • The 2018 revival also tackles the difficult subject of the Pacific War and its lack of clear definition in Japanese curriculum. This is especially surprising as much of Japanese media tends to either ignore or straight up deny wrongdoing during that time period.
  • Superlative Dubbing: The series' had a relatively large following in Latin America thanks to the dub version of the 1996 series, much like other series' having been dubbed in the early to late 90s (like Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon or Slam Dunk, to name a few).
  • Ugly Cute: Nanashi's true form is revealed to be an orb with the mind of a baby.

Example of: