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Jakotsu-Babaa (蛇骨婆 Jakotsu-Babaa, lit. Snake Bone Hag), also simply known as Obaba (おばば Obaba, Old Woman) is a yōkai witch from the anime and manga series "Gegege no Kitarō". She is a member of Nurarihyon's gang of villainous yōkai.

Appearance

As her name implies, Jakotsu-Babaa is a human-like yōkai that resembles an elderly woman. She has prominent wrinkles on her face, and drooping, tired eyes. Her hair is graying, and is tied into a bun. Depending on the adaptation, she can be seen with protruding teeth, sometimes resembling fangs.

Her outfit stays the same in most adaptations, though the color of her clothes varies. She wears a kimono, monpe (もんぺ) work pants, a sleeveless haori (known as sodenashibaori), and zōri sandals. In the 2007 anime, her kimono is longer, and she no longer wears a haori or work pants, instead wearing a white maekake (前掛け) apron.

In the 1996 anime, her true form is a giant serpent with wavy gray hair on her head and green scales.

History

1968 Anime

She first appears in Episode 12 of the 1968 anime. Here, she's simply referred to as "Obaba" by Nurarihyon. She warns him of Kitarō, stating that he'd be able to see through his human disguise quite easily, and would put a stop to his destructive acts. She tells him the best course of action is to trick Nezumi-Otoko, as he's often seen with the boy.

She would appear once again, after Nurarihyon's attempt to bury Kitarō in concrete is unsuccessful. With Kitarō's spirit trapped in his hand, Nurarihyon goes to Obaba for help, much like in later adaptations. Obaba uses a flame from an urn to remove Kitarō's spirit, but warns Nurarihyon that the boy is still alive. She shows Nurarihyon that the urn used to heal his curse can trap living creatures, due to the pleasing aroma that comes from it. Much like in the 1985 anime, she refuses to help until she's paid.

Obaba and Nurarihyon go to where Kitarō is buried, only to discover that he's freed himself. The boy greets the two of them, with Nurarihyon apologizing for his previous behavior. Obaba shows Kitarō the urn, stating that it contains sweet Amazake, and that the three of them should have a drink. Kitarō agrees, and takes them to an abandoned cottage. Little do they know, that the cottage is secretly a time machine.

The ending plays out much the same as the 1985 anime, with Kitarō leaving the two of them back in time to the age of the dinosaurs.[1]

1985 Anime

In the 1985 anime, she debuts along with Nurarihyon and Shu-no-Bon in Episode 4. Her role in this episode was much like her previous incarnations, with Nurarihyon seeking her advice. She comes up with a plan to trap Kitarō in a bottle by getting him drunk, but isn't pursued to help Nurarihyon and Shu-no-Bon until she's promised cash. The plan backfires when Kitarō takes them to an old stone mill, which is secretly a time machine. Mesmerized by the changing scenes, all three of them are sent back in time to the Mesozoic era, where Kitarō leaves them for good.[2]

She appears once again during Episode 112 of the Jigoku Arc, soon after Kitarō and Yumeko are restrained by Gotoku-Neko and Tesso. She transforms into a horse-like yōkai, and devours Kitarō in one bite. Before she has a chance to do the same to Yumeko, Jigoku-Dōji appears, restraining Jakotsu-Babaa with his scarf. Kitarō and Yumeko are freed, but not before Jakotsu-Babaa bites Jigoku-Dōji, seriously injuring him. Kitarō rushes to defend him, splitting Jakotsu-Babaa in half with his Ocarina, defeating her once and for all.[3]

Powers and Abilities

Jakotsu-Babaa's transformation in the 1985 Anime

Transformation: In the Jigoku Arc, Jakotsu-Babaa is able to transform into a ferocious, horse-like yōkai.[3]

Poison

Immortality: Unlike the rest of the series, she survived along with Nurarihyon and Shu-no-Bon after being sent to the Mesozoic era.

Equipments

Arrow: In the 2007 anime, Backbeard gives Nurarihyon a cursed arrow that contains a powerful Western Yōkai spirit. When the arrow strikes, the evil spirit will enter the targets body, making them rampage out of control. Jakotsu-Babaa is tasked with shooting Kitarō, but hits Sunakake-Babaa instead. Sunakake-Babaa is saved thanks to Amabie discovering that the evil spirit is weak to water.[4]

Legend

The original myth by artist Toriyama Sekien states that the Jakotsu-Babaa is possibly from Bukan (also known as Fukan; a fictitious country located west of China). According to him, the people of Bukan are shamans, and carry snakes with them. The Jakotsu-Babaa he describes carries a blue snake in her right hand, and a red snake in her left one. She was the wife of a man named Jagoemon, and her name was originally Jagobaa (lit. Jago's Wife).[5]

Trivia

  • Although her transformation in the Jigoku Arc wasn't given a name, it highly resembles Shigeru Mizuki's Yōkai Illustration of Hōsō-Babaa (疱瘡婆, Smallpox Hag).

References

Navigation

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Nurarihyon Faction
v  e
1968 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Threats
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1985 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Threats
Jigoku
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1996 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Threats
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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
Threats
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