The Great Yōkai War (妖怪大戦争, Yōkai Dai Sensō) is a GeGeGe no Kitarō story that first appeared as a chapter of the Shonen Magazine run. The story was serialized from April 17 to May 8, 1966. It has since been adapted for the 1968, 1985, 2007 and 2018 anime versions of "GeGeGe no Kitarō". Elements of the story were also incorporated into the 1996 series movie GeGeGe no Kitarō: Yōkai Tokkyū! Maboroshi no Kisha.
This story is notable for introducing the team of allies that would later be known as the Kitarō Family.
- Sunakake-Babaa (First appearance)
- Konaki-Jijii (First appearance)
- Ittan-Momen (First appearance)
- Nurikabe (First appearance)
- Kichi (First appearance)
- Mayor of Kikaigashima (First appearance)
- Backbeard (First appearance)
- Dracula (First appearance)
- Witch (First appearance)
- Wolfman (First appearance)
- Frankenstein (First appearance)
- Chapter 1
Kitarō and Medama-Oyaji are walking through the city one night when they overhear a boy begging a crowd of people to save his homeland from yōkai. The crowd laughs at him and walks away, but Kitarō believes him as he can smell the scent of Western Yōkai on him. The explains that he is from Kikai Island and his village was taken over by about seven or eight yōkai. Medama-Oyaji warns Kitarō to stay out of this, as Western Yōkai are more powerful than Japanese Yōkai, and that many of them would be too much for him. Kitarō decides to take out an ad in the paper, asking for the bravest Japanese Yōkai to meet him in Tama Cemetery.
Several yōkai show up that night, but after a few tests Kitarō narrows it down to Sunakake-Babaa, Konaki-Jijii, Ittan-Momen and Nurikabe. As they head for the boy's raft to set sail, Nezumi-Otoko starts demanding to be brought along. Kitarō refuses, saying a half-human like him would only get in the way. However, after the group is on the sea, they see Nezumi-Otoko desperately rowing toward them in a wooden washtub, and they reluctantly agree to let him on.
As they near the island, they are intercepted by a witch. Ittan-Momen takes to the sky to fight her, constricting around her and dropping into the water. The others help Ittan-Momen out of the water only to find he has died, a needle forced through his heart. As they are distracted, the witch rises from the water and takes off with Nezumi-Otoko.
- Chapter 2
Before they can go after her, the come across Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein riding giant sea. The three reveal that they plan to make Kikai Island into a yōkai nation, and offer Kitarō's team a chance to work with them. Sunakake-Babaa retaliates by throwing sand in their eyes and a fight ensues, with more vampires jumping out of the water to attack. Konaki-Jijii wrestles with Frankenstein, grabbing onto him and increasing his weight until they fall into the water and Frankenstein drowns. The battle continues until Kitarō's team is completely separated.
Two hours later, Konaki-Jijii emerges from the water and finds Sunakake-Babaa and the raft on the shore of Kikai Island. She informs him that she can't find the others, although she knows the vampires ganged up on Nurikabe and sucked all of his blood. The witch then flies by on her broom stick, with Nezumi-Otoko in tow. Sunakake-Babaa throws sand at them, knocking them to the ground and breaking the broom. Nezumi-Otoko shows her and Konaki-Jijii that he has Kitarō's chanchanko, given to him by Kitarō as proof he is willing to work with the Western Yōkai. The two agree to come see the leader with Nezumi-Otoko and the witch.
Meanwhile, Kitarō and Medama-Oyaji are on a cove elsewhere on the island. Medama-Oyaji frets over the loss of the chanchanko and explains to Kitarō that it is the true source of his powers, as it was made out of the spirit hairs of his ancestors. They head off to search for it and run into the boy. He found his fellow villagers hiding in a cave and learned that many were killed by the Western Yōkai, including his parents. He brings Kitarō to meet the mayor, who tells them the whole story of the Western Yōkai. The yōkai suddenly appeared on the island, and the mayor believes it is because of the temperature of the soil in the graveyard, that it's just right for breeding yōkai. To test his theory, he had dug up the graveyard and saw that all of the graves were empty. Kitarō wonders if this means the Western Yōkai are actually zombies.
The Western Yōkai arrive at the cave, led by Nezumi-Otoko, who introduces Kitarō and the villagers to their leader, Backbeard.
- Chapter 3
Backbeard has hypnotic powers, so Kitarō has the villagers shut their eyes and leave the cave. Nezumi-Otoko tells Kitarō to surrender, but Kitarō perseveres and chases them off by firing his hairs like needles. After the enemies flee, Kitarō is bald save for three hairs and passes out from exhaustion. Medama-Oyaji orders the villagers to build a wall around the cave while he and the boy search for the lair of the Western Yōkai. Before long, they come across the dead bodies of Sunakake-Babaa and Konaki-Jijii, so Medama-Oyaji tells the boy to head back to the cave.
Medama-Oyaji soon comes across the Western Yōkai meeting in a swamp and eavesdrops on them. Backbeard tells Dracula and the Wolfman to lead Kitarō to the ocean so he can hypnotize him and tells the Witch and Nezumi-Otoko to kill the villagers in the meantime. The Witch asks Nezumi-Otoko for her broom, which he had fixed and was using as a laundry line for the chanchanko. Medama-Oyaji seizes the opportunity and jumps onto the broom and flies off. The witch summons the broom back to her, and Medama-Oyaji and the chanchanko fall into the water. The witch and Nezumi-Otoko fly off as Medama-Oyaji laments his failure, crying into the chanchanko.
Dracula and Wolfman arrive at the cave and ask to speak to Kitarō to negotiate splitting the island with villagers. The mayor asks Kitarō to consider, but Kitarō finds it suspicious, as the Western Yōkai are currently winning the war. He agrees to speak to them and they take him to Backbeard. Back in the swamp, Medama-Oyaji's tears drop onto the chanchanko, causing the ancestral spirit hairs to sense that their final descendant is in danger. The chanchanko glows red and flies off toward Kitarō.
Kitarō meditates as he waits for Backbeard, who sneaks up on him and finally hypnotizes him.
- Chapter 4
Elsewhere, Medama-Oyaji flies the chanchanko like a magic carpet and intercepts the Witch and Nezumi-Otoko. Using the chanchanko, he suffocates the Witch and knocks out Nezumi-Otoko. He then finds Kitarō, but Kitarō swats at him. Backbeard gloats over his victory and knocks Medama-Oyaji into the water, but Medama-Oyaji flies back up on the chanchanko and stabs Backbeard in the eye with a needle, killing him and breaking the spell on both Kitarō and Nezumi-Otoko.
A horde of Western Yōkai capture and plan to eat Medama-Oyaji, but Kitarō saves him and reclaims his chanchanko. He and Medama-Oyaji make a run for it and find Nezumi-Otoko. The three of them set fire to the surrounding area, seemingly destroying the Western Yōkai. The area is suddenly surrounded by a giant sphere, which rises up and floats away. The villagers are confused about this, so Kitarō and Medama-Oyaji explain that it was a Brigadoon. They explain that when conditions such as those the mayor mentioned about the graveyard are met, the Brigadoon appears and closes off the area. Yōkai consider them an ideal place to live, but they are rare and only appear once in a thousand or so years. The only reason they knew about it was because one of Kitarō's ancestors experienced it before and their spirit hair on the chanchanko told them how to complete the effect.
Kitarō, Medama-Oyaji and Nezumi-Otoko soon take off on their raft, with Kitarō humbly declining praise from the villagers and Nezumi-Otoko feeling embarrassed about being hypnotized and messing things up.
- Bokura picture book - The Western Yōkai (西洋妖怪の巻)
- Tanoshii Yochien - The Great Yōkai War (ようかいだいせんそうのまき)
- 1st Grade Learning Magazine - The Great Yōkai War (ようかいだいせんそうのまき)
- 2nd Grade Learning Magazine - The Western Yōkai (西ようようかいのまき)
- Poplar picture book - The Great Yōkai War (妖怪大戦争)
- Comic BonBon Special Release - GeGeGe no Kitarō Special Edition (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎・特別編)
- 1968 Anime
- Episode 10 - The Great Yōkai War (Part 1) (aired March 6, 1968)
- Episode 11 - The Great Yōkai War (Part 2) (aired March 13, 1968)
- 1985 Anime
- Movie 2 - GeGeGe no Kitarō: Yōkai Dai-Sensō (released March 15, 1986)
- 1996 Anime
- Movie 3 - GeGeGe no Kitarō: Yōkai Tokkyū! Maboroshi no Kisha (released July 12, 1997)
- (Original story but features the Western Yōkai)
- 2007 Anime
- Episode 32 - Landing! The Threat of Western Yōkai (aired November 11, 2007)
- Episode 33 - Great Counterattack! Japanese Yōkai (aired November 18, 2007)
- 2018 Anime
- Episode 27 - Invasion! Backbeard's Army (aired October 7, 2018)
- Episode 28 - The Great Yōkai War (aired October 14, 2018)