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Nurarihyon
Nurarihyon.jpg
2007 anime art
Name
Japanese ぬらりひょん
English Slippery Gourd
Alias Yamada
Title Yōkai Supreme Commander
Profile
Species Yōkai
Gender Male
Age Millions of Years
Abilities Command over a large number of yōkai
Affiliation Nurarihyon Faction
Other Information
Greatest Nemesis Kitarō
Greatest Headache Shu-no-Bon
Favorite Pastime Breaking and entering
Least favorite pastime Being sent millions of years into the past
Most threatening incarnation 2007 anime
Least threatening incarnation 1996 anime
First Appearance
Manga Yōkai Nurarihyon (1967)
Anime Series 1 Episode 12 (1968)
Portrayals
see Cast
[v · t · e]

Nurarihyon (ぬらりひょん, Slippery Gourd) is the "Yōkai Supreme Commander" and the main recurring antagonist of the GeGeGe no Kitarō franchise.

Cast

Appearance

Nurarihyon is a humanoid yōkai that resembles an old man with a bulbous, gourd-shaped head. He has a slim build, and in some adaptations, can be seen holding a cane. Some anime adaptations also give him pointy ears. He's usually depicted with some form of stubble on his face, and small, sunken eyes. In the 1968 anime, he wears a formal suit with a tie.[1] However, starting with the 1985 anime, he wears traditional Japanese clothing. Current adaptations depict him dressed in a dark yukata, with a matching haori tied together with a white coat cord and an obi belt. The colors of the yukata and haori vary between each series, but he's always shown wearing dark or muted colors. He wears white tabi socks, and flat sandals known as zōri. His 2007 anime design is noteworthy for having a long, red scar across his forehead, which he gained after fighting Kitarō and his friends.[2]

His appearance changes drastically in his "Yōkai King" form from the 1996 anime. Here, he wears green battle armor, adorned with a purple cape and gray, spiked shoulder pads. His head is elongated to the back, with small warts covering the top of it.[3]

In the Monday Dramaland TV movie, Nurarihyon often transformed into a human woman and was called Onna-Nurarihyon (女ぬらりひょん).

Personality

Nurarihyon's motivation and personality changes depending on the adaptation, ranging anywhere from comedic to a legitimate threat. However, he's often portrayed as a cruel yōkai, manipulating others to get what he wants. He frequently employs other powerful yōkai to help him defeat Kitarō and friends, sometimes tricking these yōkai into joining him; Other times, they're loyal minions who are in on a larger plan. He dislikes humans.

In the 1968 anime, he would commit evil deeds just for fun, including bombing locations across Japan. Medama-Oyaji noted that he often causes car accidents on purpose, and visits hospitals to swap babies around.[4]

In the 1985 series, he believes that humans are inferior to yōkai.[5] However, he'll work with them if it means a chance at defeating Kitarō.[6] Kitarō wants humans and yōkai to co-exist, which causes conflict between the two of them.

Legend

There are two vastly different versions of the Nurarihyon legend. One version of the myth depicts this yōkai as an old man with a large head, while the other is a form of Umibōzu. Due to the vagueness of the original myth, many artists and writers came up with their own stories and ideas based on the legend. The most well-known legend roughly follows:

The yōkai Nurarihyon resembles that of an old man, wearing expensive and affluent clothing. When the owner of the house is away, or when things get hectic, he steps inside. He smokes their tobacco, drinks their tea, and acts as if it was his own house. Because he looks human, anyone who sees him mistakes him for the owner of the house, making him very hard to expel. He leaves on his own accord, causing little to no harm.

Although this is the most accepted version of the myth, it actually comes from Shigeru Mizuki's own imagination. Original depictions of Nurarihyon were vague, so many aspects of the yōkai come from pop culture. This includes his portrayal as the leader of all yōkai, and the leader of Hyakki Yagyō or the "Night Parade of the Hundred Demons".

However, not everything stems from pop culture, as illustrations from the time hinted at the yōkai having an affluent lifestyle. Toriyama Sekien's original artwork depicts Nurarihyon stepping out of an ornate palanquin, which can also be seen in one of Shigeru Mizuki's original yōkai illustrations.[7]

History

Nurarihyon as a Syokuyōki, conquering Japan and heading to GeGeGe Forest within Jukai of Fuji Mountain

Nurairhyon first appeared in the Shonen Magazine story Yōkai Nurarihyon and made his anime debut in the 1st anime Ep. 12, Yōkai Nurarihyon, the adaptation of his manga debut. He did not appear in the 2nd anime, but was a recurring antagonist from the 3rd series and on.

Although he appeared as the main antagonist in the Shukan Jitsuwa manga and the Monday Dramaland TV movie, it wasn't until the 3rd anime that he was established as the "Supreme Commander of the Japanese Yōkai".

In his first appearance, he had been living among humans under the alias Yamada for a century. By the time of the story Yōkai Nurarihyon, he has amassed a significant amount of wealth but passes himself off as poor. He sneaks into other people's apartments, much like the Nurarihyon of legend, and sets off bombs as an act of terrorism. Worried Kitarō will catch onto him sooner or later, he works with Nezumi-Otoko to trap him in concrete. Only Kitarō's hand is not encased in the concrete, so Nurarihyon mockingly shakes it. Because of this, Kitarō is able to curse him and control his hands. He seeks help from Jakotsu-Babaa and they try to capture the newly escaped Kitarō by tricking him into drinking from a magic jar that will swallow him. Kitarō instead outsmarts them and uses a magical millstone to send them backward in time to the prehistoric ages.

In the Shukan Jitsuwa story Baseball Mania, he is the principal of Under the Grave High School. He plans to use his school's baseball team to take control of the baseball scene in the human world, but humans catch wind of the plan and hire Kitarō to stop him.

In the manga Saishinban GeGeGe no Kitarō, which was serialized at the same time as the 1985 anime was airing, he is a recurring villain. It is established that, after being sent back to prehistoric times, he has lived until the present day, having grown more powerful and developing a deep hatred of humans. He is defeated when he falls into Mount Mihara during an eruption, but he later returns after transforming into a ravenous demon and destroys Izu Ōshima, eating everything in sight. He earns the name "The Eating Demon" from the locals. In this state, he completely loses his senses and intelligence, and even Kitarō and Medama-Oyaji try to just escape from him. Eventually, Kitarō is able to destroy him with a desperate attack.

In the manga Kitarō Kunitori Monogatari, during the battle with the Mu Empire in Hakone Castle, Kemedama convinces Nurarihyon to back up Kitarō for the sake of all yōkai. In one of the only instances where Nurarihyon lives up to his title "Supreme Commander", he commands armies of Wanyūdō, Hitotsume and Tanuki, a Karasu-Tengu air force, and fights the Mu himself as well.

He appears in Ch. 25 of the manga Yōkai Sen Monogatari. He tries to frame Kitarō and put him on trial, but he is ultimately thwarted. He is sentenced to be executed via 500 Years of Melting at the hands of the Tengu Police.

Image Songs

Trivia

  • In Episode 101 of the 1996 anime, Ikkokudō states that Nurarihyon was originally an octopus.[8] This is in reference to the Umibōzu version of the Nurarihyon myth, in which it's believed that its origin stems from fishermen seeing octopus adrift at sea and mistaking them for yōkai.[7]

References

Navigation

v  e
Nurarihyon Faction
v  e
Yōkai Rally
Manga
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
Threats
Others
v  e
1985 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Threats
Jigoku
Others
v  e
1996 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Threats
Others
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
Others
v  e
2018 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
Threats
Others