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Ubume (姑獲鳥 or うぶめ Ubume) is a bird yōkai who first appears in the manga. She captures babies and toddlers and takes them away to a mountain lair.

Appearance

Ubume resembles a bird, resembling an owl, with a large beak, big eyes, a pair of small pointy ears on top of her head and four-toed feet. Within the First anime, she appeared relatively small, with dark feathers and large pupils.[1]

Starting from the third anime, her stature is much larger than before, now towering over adults of average height and her pupils are no longer distinguishable. Her feathers are dark blue, she has a pink beak, blue eyes and dull yellow feet.[2]

Within the fourth anime, her feathers are dark green, her beak is even darker and her eyes are red and surrounded by thin green rings. Her arms have three digits and are separate from her wings.[3]

In the fifth anime, Ubume's feathers are gray, her beak is dull green and her feet are dull pink with black talons. Her eyes are lime green and her tongue is dull purple.[4]

In the sixth anime, Ubume's feathers are brown, her beak is plum and her feet are dark purple with black talons. Her eyes are red-violet and her tongue is plum.[5]

Personality

History

1968 Anime

Ubume appeared in episode #46 of the first anime adaptation, Ubume.[1]

1985 Anime

Ubume appeared in episode #24 of the third anime adaptation, Children disappear!? Yōkai Ubume.[2]

1996 Anime

Ubume appeared in episode #81 of the fourth anime adaptation, Child-rearing yōkai! Ubume.[3]

2007 Anime

Ubume appeared in episode #65 of the fifth anime adaptation, Curse of the Dancing Bird! Ubume.[4]

2018 Anime

Ubume appeared in episode #47 of the sixth anime adaptation, The Child Snatching Ubume.[5]

A monster in the form of a giant bird. When she saw a crying baby, she took it to her nest. She misunderstands that the abandoned children should do so, but after being asked by Kitarō, she promises not to catch the baby anymore, return them to her parents, and then live peacefully in GeGeGe Forest. However, Ubume was later accused of kidnapping the baby again, of which she did not do, and was attacked by many people. She flew away while screaming that she hated humans, dropping several feathers in the process. A few moments later, her feather disappears

Powers and Abilities

Retrogression: Within the 1996 anime, Ubume was capable of regressing people and yōkai to an infant state, having done this to both Kitarō and Nezumi-Otoko.[3]

Transformation: She was also capable of transforming into an adult woman, as her disguise to use as part of her child kidnapping plan.[3]

Rock Body: Within the 2007 anime, Ubume possessed notable durability due to her body composed of special type of rock called Sennenseki (千年石, lit. millennium rock).

Legend

Ubume in original lore in Japan

The letter 姑獲鳥 originally refers to Kokakuchō, a type of kijin in China, where the Chinese bird yōkai was later confused with Japanese legend of Ubume (産女, lit. giving birth woman) in Japan. Ubametori (ウバメトリ) was the only local version of Ubume depicted bird-like being, and is speculated to be confused with the Kokakuchō.

Ubume as a bird-like creature can turn into a woman who kidnaps children. Ubume is said to be the soul of women who die during childbirth or during pregnancy.

Another explanation is that Ubume is a topless woman carrying a baby. Appearing at dusk at intersections, bridges and bridges, Ubume will ask passersby to keep their children while she goes to work. The baby will become more and more heavy until the person holding it reads a prayer. Later, Ubume returned and thanked them for bringing their children back to the world of the living.

Many other stories tell of Ubume looking for a guardian to look after the baby after her death. Someone said, Ubume raised the child by regularly going to town to buy things, but the money the owner received turns into dry leaves after Ubume leaves.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 GeGeGe no Kitarō (1968): Episode 46
  2. 2.0 2.1 GeGeGe no Kitarō (1985): Episode 24
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 GeGeGe no Kitarō (1996): Episode 81
  4. 4.0 4.1 GeGeGe no Kitarō (2007): Episode 65
  5. 5.0 5.1 GeGeGe no Kitarō (2018): Episode 47

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1968 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
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1985 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
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1996 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
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2007 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
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2018 Series Yōkai and other Mystical Beings
Kitarō and Allies
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