GeGeGe no Kitarō Wiki
GeGeGe no Kitarō Wiki
Img backbeard2018.png
"I am Backbeard, the one that stands
atop all yōkai! Hahahahaha!"
Kanji バックベアード
Rōmaji Bakkube'aado
AKA Beard
Species Yōkai
Gender Male
Home USA
Abilities Hypnosis
Dizzying Glare
Affiliation Western Yōkai
Other Information
Awards 3rd Place at the
World Yōkai Rally
Hobbies Causing traffic accidents
with his gaze
Favorite sport Sumo
Dream vacation Outer Space
First Appearance
Manga The Great Yōkai War (1966)
Anime Series 1 Episode 10 (1968)
see Cast

Backbeard (バックベアード Bakkube'aado) is a semi-recurring yet major antagonist in the series. Backbeard is the most powerful of all the Yōkai in the western nations.



Img backbearddetail2018.png

Backbeard is a giant shadow with a single large eye in the center.

Backbeard appears as a giant, black spherical being, with a single large eye in the center, around it is a light eyelid. He has short, root-like tentacles all across his body.

In the first anime, Backbeard's appearance is relatively the same to his manga appearance, being a large black ball that has a single eye and short tentacles all over his body. His appearance during the yōkai rally however is much different, the most notable being that his skin is much lighter, appearing light grey and his eye has a visibly lighter iris.

Within the third anime, Backbeard is still a large black sphere with a single eye and numerous tentacles. The eye appears larger, while also having a yellow sclera and a red iris, around his eye he has a blue eyelid. His tentacles are shorter and they split off into two or three strands.

In the fourth anime, Backbeard's appearance has few changes. His eye's yellow sclera and red iris remains, now having a visible pupil. His tentacles appear shorter and his black aura appears fuzzy.

Within the fifth anime, Backbeard appears much larger than before around the size of a small castle. His eye now has a white sclera, having a red iris and a visible pupil. His tentacles are longer and appear to have less split ends.

In the sixth anime, Backbeard's appearance has relatively few differences from previous adaptations. The most noticeable being that he has a green eyelid, surrounding his eye which has a yellow sclera, a red iris with several violet veins and a dark ring around it and at the center of it is his black pupil. The texture on his body has additional faint blue highlights, his tentacles appear as cracks in the sky, having sharper, straighter edges and are now much longer.[1] His body is still in the shape of a giant black circle, however it is disk-like and aligned from a certain angle, with the only part of him that extends from this is his eye.[2] He is also able to assume a physical form, where his body resembles a tall humanoid that is roughly black with his skin having tints of green that appears to be raw tissues. His eye first forms from his abdomen but quickly moving to rest at the center of his face, lacking any other features.[3] After being revived, his body takes on a form similar to previous adaptations, his skin has a fleshy texture, now matching his eyelid, and across his body are long tentacles.[4]


As a foe

Not truly known, but he is sometimes moody, full of pride, and egoistic. He hates all of Japan's yōkai, and believes they are too weak to even be considered yōkai. He becomes surprisingly obedient in the presence of stronger yōkai, such as when he accepted Akashita's ruling on the Yōkai Rally[5]

While he was normally portrayed as an antagonist, some manga stories portrayed him as an ally of Kitarō.[6][7] However, even in these appearances he still has a wicked side to him, such as causing traffic accidents purely for fun by blinding drivers at night in New York.[6]

In the sixth anime Backbeard is more akin to a classic villain, almighty and powerful. He's willing to recognize a power greater than his own, as when he openly praises Agnès for turning the Ring of Arcana against him expressing great hopes in having Adél mastering the ring for him.[2] Backbeard is a major social darwinist who believe the strong have the right to rule and dismiss the weak as unworthy of even living.

However, he feels no emotions or loyalty whatsoever for his own followers: he willingly sacrificed Adél and Agnés' mother to access the Ring of Arcana,[8] and despite asking full loyalty from his servants, he doesn't seem to act in their defense. Also he willingly injures Adél to force Agnés to become the core of the Brigadoon Project. His whole Brigadoon Project hinges on stripping every yōkai in the world (and humans turned into yōkai) of their free will, getting blind obedience from them [8]

Overall his personality is a cluster of the personalities of his followers, past and present: he despises weakness and weak foes as much as Wolfgang does, shares the sadistic urges of Carmilla and the need to deliver physical punishment and pain to his strongest foes and force anything to oppose him to beg for his or her life, while expressing amusement at their predicament, the immorality of Victor Frankenstein, the tactical mind and arcane knowledge of Adél and the unbridled mystical power of Agnès.[3]

Backbeard relishes in the position he has in the Western Yōkai hierarchy: while mostly unknown in the Eastern world, every Western Yōkai, such as Belial has heard of him, and is willing to listen his promises of powers and rewards for the ones pleasing him.[9]

While in his physical form, he has claimed to enjoy the sensation that it gives him as well as the sadistic sensation of delivering pain to his opponent with his own body.[3]

As an ally

In manga chapters Kitarō's Vietnam War and Yōkai Lockheed, Backbeard befriended with Medama-Oyaji and helped him to save Kitarō. In the former episode, Backbeard helped Medama-Oyaji to track and locate a Futakuchi-Onna who was a spy of the USA. In the latter episode, he also saved Kitarō under hypnosis, and he even battled and defeated a legion of western yōkai.


Backbeard first appears in the Shonen Magazine series story The Great Yōkai War. He appears as the leader of the Western Yōkai Army living in the Brigadune phenomenon. He leads Dracula, the Witch, the Wolfman, Frankenstein and many others to invade Kikai Island and turn it into a Yōkai Country. They killed half the islands population and nearly wiped out the Kitarō Family, who had come to save the islanders. Backbeard managed to control Kitarō with his hypnotic powers, but he was killed when Medama-Oyaji used the chanchanko to fly up to him and stab him in the eye.[10]

In Yōkai Rally, he represented the USA in the titular race. When he arrives for the race, he hits the Umibōzu child with his car, and when chided by Kitarō he simply brushed it off and said "It's common sense to move out of the way of a moving vehicle". Throughout the race, he stays ahead by using his powers to make the other racers dizzy until he he gets whiplash after driving into a lake. He perseveres, however, and later sprays Kitarō's car with whiskey and sets it on fire. He ends up finishing third behind Kitarō and Gremlin and complains about the results. Head judge Akashita angrily suggests Beard do the race again if he's not satisfied, but Beard obediently declines.[5]

Afterwards he made many more appearances in other series. In Kitarō's Vietnam War, he runs into Medama-Oyaji while the latter is in New York searching for Spy 67. He shows no sign of bearing a grudge from their previous meetings and instead aids Medama-Oyaji in his search.[6] He then appears in Kitarō's World Obake Tour, traveling to England with plans to travel to space. When a meteor is discovered falling toward England, plans begin to send a rocket to it, and Beard hides in the clouds in order to blind the pilot and steal the rocket. After knocking out an investigating Ittan-Momen, he hides out in an old castle, where the Kitarō Family goes to confront him. He knocks out and captures Nezumi-Otoko and attempts to cut him in half with a pendulum, but Konaki-Jijii immobilizes him and puts him in Nezumi-Otoko's place. Despite being cut right in half, Beard lives and uses his dizziness powers on everyone. He is defeated when Medama-Oyaji tricks the two halves into glaring at one another and set on fire while he is dizzy.[11]

In Yōkai Lockheed, Medama-Oyaji calls on him to help reverse the Great Witch's hypnotism spell on Kitarō. He also uses his powers to blind the Great Witch as she flies away.[7] In Kitarō Kunitori Monogatari, he participates in Boze's Yōkai Sumo Tournament. Aiming to defeat Kitarō, he uses underhanded tactics such as his dizzying glare and stealthily stabbing opponents in the heart with his tendrils to advance to the finals. However, Kitarō was able to avoid his cheating tactics and, taking advantage of their size difference, defeats him with an over-the-shoulder throw.[12]

While the manga often portrayed him as Kitarō's arch enemy, many of his stories were never adapted for the anime. As a result of this and Nurarihyon being portrayed as Kitarō's arch enemy since the third anime, in more recent adaptations he makes fewer appearances and is not nearly as prominent a character. According to Shigeru Mizuki, he enjoyed drawing Backbeard and would always look for opportunities to write him into stories.[13]

Powers and Abilities

  • Eye Powers: Backbeard's primary ability are his eye powers. Glaring at victims can have certain effects on them.
    • Hypnotism: He can hypnotize others into becoming his minions and can counter other yōkai's hypnosis spells.[7]
    • Dizziness: He can disorient his enemies for certain periods of time, though the periods have ranged from momentarily to long-term.
    • Heat Beam: Backbeard can fire a heat beam from his eye hot enough to set enemies on fire.
    • Energy Beam : He can also shoot beams of concentrated yokai power.
    • Lightning: He can emit bolts of lightning from his eye.
  • Tentacles: Beard can use his tentacles to stab, hit, throw, bind, and capture enemies. He can also grow arms and legs when needed, such as he did for the sumo tournament in Kitarō Kunitori Monogatari.[12] Occasionally he also uses the tentacles themselves as his limbs.
  • Durability: In the fifth anime, his body was neither solid nor soft and was extremely flexible. These traits made him almost invincible physically, however Jigoku Keys can penetrate his defense.
  • Materialization: Seen only in the Nintendo DS game. Backbeard can materialize artifacts made of energy. He can create weapons such as lances, swords, axes and manipulate them telekinetically. He can also create a shield to protect his eye.
  • Internal Dimension: In the third anime, he contained what appeared to be a different dimension which looked like a universe within his body. If one falls into it, there is no way out.
  • Dimensional Mobility: He can appear from and disappear into different dimensions.
  • Physical Form: Seen only in the 2018 anime series, under duress, Backbeard can mold his shadow body to assume a physical form, becoming a tall cyclops with a muscular, inky black body with his skin appearing to be raw tissues. His eye forms at the abdomen but quickly moves to the center of his face which lacks any other features. He claims that he rarely assumes this form, having last used it a thousand years ago to dispatch an unspecified foe. In this form he is capable of close combat, delivering great physical attacks to his enemy, while also retaining his large amount of yōkai power, amplifying his energy beams.[3]


The source of origin for Backbeard is unclear, though some believe he is very loosely based on the Bugbear, a boogieman-like spirit from English folklore. However, other than the similar names, the two have nothing else in common.

Backbeard may have been inspired from the "Eye Bugs" (昆虫の目 Konchū no me) from the magazine Shonen Book in 1965, it is an insect-like creature made up of eyes in an illustrated article on monsters of the world. This article was written by Sachihiko Kitagawa and drawn by Toshio Okazaki, and the same drawing later appeared in a Shonen Book appendix.

Accusations of plagiarism

In a 1989 interview with the magazine Nihongaku, photographer Masatoshi Naitō claimed that Mizuki plagiarized one of his photos for Backbeard's design. His collage Shinjuku Phantom Chimera featured a similar imaged of a black sphere with a single eye and with root-like tentacles growing from it. The collage was published in the April 1964 issue of Asahi Camera, while Backbeard first appeared in the second chapter of The Great Yōkai War in 1966.

However, it has also been pointed out that both works were derivative of the painting Eye Balloon by Odilon Redon.



v  e
Western Yōkai Army
Young Generation
v  e
Nurarihyon Faction
v  e
Yōkai Rally
1968 Anime
1985 Anime
1996 Anime
2007 Anime
(GeGeGe no Kitarō: Yōkai Japan Rally 3D)
v  e
1968 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
v  e
1985 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
v  e
1996 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Amefuri-KozōBaby DorotabōDai-TenguEnma-DaiōGama-SenninIwanabōzuKaruraKashaboKawausoKawazaruKubinashi-UmaKuchisake-OnnaMt. Kurama Karasu-TenguNeko-SenninMermaid ChildObariyonShisaYakanzuruYama-WarawaZashiki-Warashi
Akaname & Shiro-UneriAkashitaAmamehagiFukuro-SageKaminariKashaKeukegen & Gasha-DokuroMizu-Sennin
Xú FúYōkaChiisuttā no Kami
v  e
2007 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
v  e
2018 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies