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Yobuko (呼子, Calling Child) is a yōkai from the GeGeGe no Kitarō anime and manga series. In the manga, he was sometimes depicted as a member of the Kitarō Family. He has also been referred to as Yamabiko (山彦, lit. Mountain Echo) or Yama-Kozō (山小僧, Mountain Boy).
Yobuko has the form of a young boy with one leg, a large face and buck teeth. He wears a straw rain hood and a yukata. In some appearances, he has one eye or two legs, or red skin.
Yobuko first appeared in the story Kasa-Jizō helping the Kitarō Family deliver presents to the kindly old couple for Zashiki-Warashi. He went on to make regular appearances in the Shonen Magazine manga as one of Kitarō's allies, beginning with the story Mirror Battle where he joined in the yōkai chorus to help a young girl escape from a mirror prison. He also helped out in the battles against Kyūketsuju and Kōmori-Neko, as well as making minor appearances in the stories Odoro-Odoro and Kamaboko. He took part in the battle against Qi and the Chinese Yōkai, being the one to suggest the Kitarō Family infiltrate Chi's Castle and retrieve the Kitarō Cloth. He was also, however, the first to want to give up after their initial defeat. He appeared about as frequently as Konaki-Jijii and the other future Kitarō Family members, but he never showed any specific skills or displayed a stand-out personality. He later traveled to Vietnam with Kitarō to fight in the Vietnam war
In the Shonen Sunday manga, he was depicted as a tenant of Sunakake-Babaa's Yōkai Apartments. He notably used a rejuvenation massage on Kitarō in Shinigami and survived the tip of his head being cut off by Kasa-Bake.
He was one of the many Japanese Yōkai chosen to ambush the Western Yōkai in Shinigami Tai-Senki. While he first appeared with two eyes in this story, after returning from Mexico he is suddenly depicted with one eye. He appeared frequently throughout the 80s manga, such as Shinpen GeGeGe no Kitarō and GeGeGe no Kitarō: Kitarō Jigoku Arc.
His first anime appearance was in episode #10, The Great Yōkai War. Referred to as Yama-Kozō, he was among the yōkai Nezumi-Otoko gathered to answer Kitarō's call for assistance against the Western Yōkai, as well as one of the many who declined to help. He made similar minor appearances in episodes #27 (Odoro-Odoro) and #54 (Yōkai Rally). In each of these appearances his design changed drastically.
His only major appearance was in episode #29, Mirror Battle. Playing the same role he did in the original story, his design this time was the same as in the manga. This episode was also his only speaking role in the series. This design of the character also appeared in episode #60, Kasa-Jizō.
In the second series, Yobuko is referred to as Yamabiko and first appears in episode #2, Yōkai Cloth. He helps the Kitarō Family in their fight against Qi and the Chinese Yōkai episode. He later appears in episode #13, Kamaboko, and helps buy up all the pieces of Kitarō Kamaboko to revive Kitarō. He also helps the Kitarō Family trap Kamanari in episode #19, Kamanari, though he is never shown taking part in the actual battle. He appeared most prominently in episode #30, Shinigami. He is playing cards with Sunakake-Babaa and Konaki-Jijii when Neko-Musume asks if any of them have seen Kitarō. He later joins them all in fighting Shinigami and trying to save Kitarō's soul. After Medama-Oyaji returns and defeats Shinigami, Yobuko joins Sunakake-Babaa and Konaki-Jijii in punishing Nezumi-Otoko.
A different Yobuko appears as an antagonist in episode #12, Yamata-no-Orochi.
Yobuko appears in the third adaptation as a recurring ally, first appearing in episode #12, Zashiki-Warashi and Kasa-Jizō.
Yobuko makes recurring appearances in the fourth adaptation, first appearing in episode #36, Astounded! Oritatami-Nyūdō.
In the fifth anime, he is one of the inhabitants of Yōkai Yokochō and lives at Sunakake-Babaa's apartment complex. He is often helping her with odd jobs in exchange for letting his rent slide. He often helps Aobōzu find his way back to Yōkai Yokochō by calling out to him. He was the 7th of the chosen 47 Yōkai Warriors of Japan. He's the representative of the Tottori Prefecture and his mark is located under his mouth and above his chin.
In the sixth anime, Yobuko appears as part of the background during the third ending, Mienkeredomo Orundayo. The verse during which he is shown is about him.
Yobuko is among the yōkai gathered around the GeGeGe House, trying to drive Agnès out of the forest. He listens to Medama-Oyaji's warning that if they drive her out then the tragedy Malay yōkai will repeat somewhere else. Soon followed by Kitarō as he explains how grave the consequences are if Japan becomes a part of Backbeard's empire. This causes the crowd to look at one another, until their attention is drawn to Kitarō as he stands on his resolve to fight.
He makes his first actual appearance in the series in episode #28, The Great Yōkai War. He appears along with Konaki-Jijii and several other yōkai to help Kitarō fight off the Western Yōkai. His first speaking role is in episode #42, The Great Yōkai Trial. After witnessing Kitarō (Momon-Jii in disguise) kill his friend Hitotsume-Kozō, Yobuko reluctantly testifies against him in the Great Yōkai Trial.
He appeared in episode #73 when Kitaro and Neko Musume asked him about the Yobuko at Mt. Oguro only for him to state that the Yobuko stationed their is a special case.
Powers and Abilities
Vocal Powers: Yobuko has a number of abilities and techniques relating to voices.
- Vocal Mimicry: Yobuko can mimic and echo any sound he hears, a skill most useful in the mountains. In Kitarō's Vietnam War, Yobuko's voice was used against U.S. military to scare them off as a sound bomb.
- Sonic Attack: He can yell so loud that he can shock enemies, and in Yōkai Sen Monogatari he can create powerful shockwaves with his voice.
- Tracking: In the 2007 anime, he can use his powers to locate people, often times Aobōzu. He was often used when a loud noise was needed for any reason.
- Portal Opening: His voice also has the power to open a portal to Jigoku.
Enhanced Lung Capacity: In the 2007 anime, his lung capacity is shown to be so strong that he can produce enough air for multiple people in a single breath.
Rejuvenation Message: Yobuko once used this technique to de-age Kitarō after his encounter with Shinigami. As this event was only mentioned by Sunakake-Babaa and not actually depicted, it is unknown exactly what type of technique it is.
Drill Attack: Yobuko has been shown to be able to dive at enemies in a drill-like motion.
- "Kasa-Jizō", Shonen Magazine
- "Mirror Battle", Shonen Magazine
- "Blood Battle Ogasawara", Shone Magazine
- "Yōkai President", Shonen Magazine
- "Odoro-Odoro", Shonen Magazine
- "Kamaboko", Shonen Magazine
- "Yōkai Cloth", Shonen Magazine
- Kitarō's Vietnam War
- "Shinigami", Shonen Sunday
- Kasa-Bake, Shonen Sunday
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (2018): Episode 35
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (1985): Episode 79
- GeGeGe no Kitarō (1971): Episode 30
- "Japanese Yōkai Encyclopedia Final Edition: Yōkai, Other Worlds and Gods", by Shigeru Mizuki, pg. 775
|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|