I had first got interested in this anime when I was researching yōkai (Japan's spirits and monsters) on the web. I had seen Shigeru Mizuki's pictures and then I got curious and then looked him up as well as his famous work "Gegege no Kitarō".
"Gegege no Kitarō" started off as a manga in 1959, and it became so successful that in 1968 an animated series was made by Toei Animation. Then other anime versions were made in 1971, 1985, 1996, and 2007. Also in 2008, an 11-episode mini-series "Hakaba Kitarō" was made based on the "rental" manga "Gegege no Kitarō" came from. I'd search for Kitarō on YouTube and I watched a "couple" of episodes; also on Dailymotion too. Now it is my latest anime obsession. The franchise is really popular in Japan, but strangely unknown in North America.
The 1968 anime series is one of my favorite versions of Kitarō, and I have 27 favorite episodes. You know, in the five anime series, many episodes are remakes of older episode stories and for me it is hard to choose which version I love. I love the rat-man, Nezumi-Otoko. I know he's greedy, sneaky, conniving, lecherous and really smelly. But to me he's funny. And there are times when I would feel pity for him (like in episode #36 of the 1996 anime version): Being alone for centuries. No mother, no father, no siblings or even a "mate" to bear 'im children to carry his bloodline.
Overall, Kitarō is a must-see anime for those who are interested in the supernatural and Japanese monster folklore.
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