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Kawauso (かわうそ Kawauso, lit. River Otter) is a yōkai from the anime and manga series of GeGeGe no Kitarō. He first appeared in the Shonen Magazine story Yōkai of Obebe Swamp. Because he haunts the Obebe Swamp, he is also known by the name Obebe (オベベ).
Kawauso resembles an anthropomorphic otter wearing a T-shirt, shorts, and a ratty, patched-up hat. In the 2007 anime, he dresses more like the historical artwork of the yōkai, wearing a yukata and a conical hat.
In the 2007 anime, Kawauso's fur returns to its more short fur, becoming a lighter brown, four pairs of whiskers are beside his mouth and his tail appears longer. Rather than a simple t-shirt and shorts, he wears a light pale yellow kimono, with a pale blue diamond with an inner diamond pattern. He lacks any shoes, instead of going barefoot and his hat is pale green and more conical, having several cuts by the edges that go to the middle.
In the 2018 anime, Kawauso still appears as an anthropomorphic otter, having brown fur covering all of his body, three pairs of whiskers on the sides of his face, and a tail. His eyes still have yellow sclerae and small black pupils. His outfit returns to a simple t-shirt and shorts, here it is colored light blue and blue respectively, as well as a pair of light yellow sandals with black straps and a green conical hat.
Kawauso is given the task to be the helmsperson of the Clam Boat on their journey to find the source of the Yōka. Kitarō tells him to head south, where they travel from island to island, eventually finding one where a war took place long ago. He accompanies them on the last island, where a war took place long ago. They find the source of the Yōka buried under a large tree, where they dig until they find the body of a Japanese soldier with a ring that says Hanada. Hanako cries, realizing that it is her father and that he sent the flowers to watch over her. Soon he watches as the Yōka scatters their petals, dyeing the place red. Afterward, they lay her father to rest and depart from the island.
Kawauso would then make a number of background appearances, including appearing as a resident of the Yōkai Apartments. He appears during the The Great Yōkai Trial, where Medama-Oyaji scolds him and reminds him that Kitarō helped him out in the past.
Kawauso first appears in episode #40 of the first anime adaptation, Yōkai of Obebe Swamp. He lives in Obebe Swamp and uses the form of a poor human child fishing to provide for his family to trick passersby into collecting clams and turtles out of the swamp for him. He sells all of it in town and keeps the money for himself. He successfully pulls this trick on Nezumi-Otoko when they first meet but comes clean about his scheme when Nezumi-Otoko returns the next day. He offers to include Nezumi-Otoko in the scheme, but first, they decide to eliminate Kitarō. After a brief scuffle, Kawauso seemingly defeats Kitarō. But, like with his encounter with Nurarihyon, Kitarō possesses Kawauso's hand and makes him attack himself. Nezumi-Otoko ties Kawauso up under the guise of helping him, but instead hangs him from a tree and saves Kitarō from the swamp. Kitarō decides to let Kawauso go after he promises to leave the swamp and behave.
In episode #31 of the third anime adaptation, he appears Yōkai of Obebe Swamp. His story goes pretty much the same with the added element of him being angry that the swamp was dammed by a nearby farming village. He then has a recurring role in the series. In episode #85, he appears with Gangi-Kozō, Iso-Onna and Sazae-Oni to help Kitarō defeat Takurō-Bi.
In episode #71 of the fourth anime adaptation, he appears Yōkai of Obebe Swamp!. In this adaptation, his story is altered significantly. After Nezumi-Otoko makes a bundle selling fake watches, he comes across Kawauso pretending to be a starving child. Nezumi-Otoko takes pity on him, treats him to dinner, and then Kawauso robs him. Nurarihyon hears of Kawauso's trickster skills and hires him to help sell and a drink called Kitaron Z. However, Kawauso makes off with the cash and while running from Shu-no-Bon and some Kappa, he slips and falls into a river. He wakes up with an old man who has mistaken him for his grandson Kotarō. Kawauso ends up becoming close to the old man and decides to spend the rest of his life with him, even returning Nurarihyon's money.
In the fifth anime, Kawauso is a regular character and a resident of the Yōkai Yokochō, renting a room at Sunakake-Babaa's boarding house. He speaks with a lisp and has a carefree attitude. He often helps out Kitarō in missions, particularly underwater missions or battles against fire-based yōkai. He often appears alongside Amabie, and they two are usually used for comic relief. He sometimes goes along with Nezumi-Otoko's schemes and is something of a troublemaker. However, while Nezumi-Otoko helped the Chinese Yōkai trap the Japanese Yōkai and transform them into Yōkai Cloths, Kawauso instead ran off with Amabie to inform Kitarō.
Kawauso is shown in the opening of the sixth anime being chased by Sunekosuri and during the tug-o-war scene. He is depicted in his original t-shirt and shorts outfit. His first episode appearance is in episode #18 of the sixth anime adaptation, Kawauso's Lie.
He later helps Kitarō and the others by being the ferryman of the Clam Boat they used to search for the source of the Yōka, going through multiple islands until going to an island below the equator.
Powers and Abilities
Human Transformation: Kawauso can change his appearance from otter to human, although this ability is rarely used outside of his introduction story. When he smells river fish, his favorite food, he tends to get so distracted he accidentally reverts to his normal form.
Expert Swimmer: As an otter, he is an excellent swimmer and will often be called on for underwater missions.
Water Manipulation: Kawauso is able to produce water within his body, which he uses in his attacks.
- Water Cannon: He can shoot water from his mouth like a water cannon.
Thundercloud and Rain:
Former Powers and Abilities
Kitarō's Power: Kawauso temporarily gained Kitarō's power through using him in the form of Yōkai Cloth. With this, Kawauso can utilize several of Kitarō's techniques and increase Kawauso's own powers. After forcing Qi to retreat, Kitarō is returned to normal.
- Hair Manipulation: After being empowered by Kitarō-turned-Yōkai Cloth, Kawauso gains the ability to control his hair like the Yōkai boy.
- Finger Guns (指鉄砲 Yubi Teppō): Kawauso fires spirit energy surrounded by air at his target from his fingertips.
- Internal Electricity (体内電気 Tainai-Denki): He is able to produce electricity from his body, using it in conjunction with the seawater to charge at his opponent.
- Water Manipulation: While wearing the cloth made from Kitarō, Kawauso's control over water is increased, allowing him to use the surrounding seawater with ease.
Yōkai Cloth Kitarō: After being turned in Yōkai Cloth and forcing Qi to remove him, Kitarō floated to Kawauso and lent him additional power to defeat the Chinese fox. After forcing him to flee, those who were turned into Yōkai Cloth were returned to normal by Ido-Sennin, including Kitarō.
Kawauso is a river otter that becomes a yōkai when it lives an exceptionally long life.
A Kawauso is able to shapeshift into human form like the kitsune, the tanuki, and the mujina. But it is most often depicted as a dangerous monster. In one story, a female Kawauso gets a man to take her to his home while she’s in human form where she tears off his genitals and kills him. In another story, the Kawauso kills soldiers until at last, a samurai sets off to kill her. On the way, he comes across a beautiful woman. Realizing that she was a yōkai of some form he attacked the area off to the side of her as he knew she would have created an illusion standing in a different place than she actually was.
- The Drawn & Quarterly edition of the manga changed him to a tanuki, possibly to avoid confusion regarding his transformation abilities as The Great Tanuki War was included in the same book.
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (2018): Episode 18
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (Shonen Magazine): Yōka
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (1968): Episode 40
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (1985): Episode 31
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (1985): Episode 20
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (1996): Episode 71
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (2007): Episode 1
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (2007): Episode 2
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (2007): Episode 42
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (2018): Episode 20
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (2007): Episode 63
|Ghost Tribe||Kitarō • Medama-Oyaji|
|Other members||Nezumi-Otoko • Neko-Musume • Sunakake-Babaa • Konaki-Jijii • Ittan-Momen • Nurikabe|
|Former members||Shisa • Yuki-Hime • Netarō|
|Recurring allies||Yobuko • Kasa-Bake • Abura-Sumashi • Tsurube-Bi • Bake-Garasu|
|Yōkai Apartments||Nekoko • Kamikiri • Azuki-Arai • Akaname • Tsurube-Otoshi • Gyūki|
|Yōkai Yokochō||Kawauso • Amabie • Rokuro-Kubi • Ohaguro-Bettari • Nurikabe-Nyōbō & Ko-Nurikabe|
|Other Allies||Maruge • Ido-Sennin • Bake-Kujira • Yagyō-san • Aobōzu • Simurgh • Agnès|
|Tendo Family||Yumeko Tendō • Hoshirō Tendō • Masao Tendō • Yūko Tendō|
|Elementary School Trio||Yūko Murakami • Shōta Suzuki • Jun Tanimoto|
|Others||Mizuki • Makoto Washio • Mana Inuyama|
|47 Yōkai Warriors|