first impressions for ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 (Gegege no Kitarō) seasons 3, 4, 5, and 6

from 2024/01/02 bog entry:

also to refresh my knowledge, i'm watching the kitaro anime. i started with the season 4 (1996); not really because i grew up with it or anything as i mentioned previously, but mainly by vibes—i just remember once looking at the lastest season (s5 at the time) and thinking “wow, this kitaro looks so...modern." but i saw some art on pixiv showcasing season 6 (2018), so i gave that a try... and then season 5 (2007)... and then season 3 (1987).... so i'm now watching seasons 3-6 in parallel lmao. i'm holding off on seasons 1 (60's) and 2 (70's), since all 6 at once is 流石に a bit too much lol.

so here's what i think of them so far!
(see log at the bottom of the page for edit color-codes and dates.)
disclaimer: i really love all versions of kitaro, even if i complain about individual aspects of the series. also none of these points are objective, of course, and these may change as i progress through the seasons.

my japanese friends showed interest in the kitaro series, so i made a guide for them. i've also decided to share it here. (link above, fyi it's all in japanese)

season 3 (1987, kitaro voiced by 戸田恵子Toda Keiko, 19 episodes in)
  • おばけがイクゾ〜obake ga ikuzo is my absolute favorite ending!!!!!! the animation is so adorable, and i like the "be good or they're gonna getcha!" vibe.
  • the treatment of girls (particularly yumeko) is...hmmm...昭和shōwa....
  • toda has a very straightforward, passionate, bright personality. very 80's, very shonen. blue fourswords...
  • he's so violent goddamn!! he beats up ねずみ男nezumi otoko the literal moment he sees him. i love it, good for him.
  • favorite episode: i don't have a particular favorite yet, other than 幽霊電車yūrei densha / ghost train which i listed for s6, but i am looking forward to the 大海獣dai-kaijū episode(s?). i've seen lots of fanart about that particular episode, and i've also read the original manga for it recently (it was one of the first chapters in the version i have).

season 4 (1996, 松岡洋子Matsuoka Yōko, 30eps in)
  • out of the kitaros, matsuoka seems the most... proper i guess? he is very well-mannered and a general good boy
  • maybe 落ち着きがある is the best word for my impression of him, but idk how to say in english lol
  • the eyecatch is so goddamn adorable......
  • sometimes the pacing feels weirdly fast
  • favorite episode: ep24 『怪談!妖怪陰摩羅鬼Kaidan! Yōkai Onmoraki / Ghost Story! Yōkai Onmoraki
    • s4 is my favorite version of ねずみ男; the way the va 千葉繁Chiba Shigeru voices him is so funny too (「あんた坊さんかい?」「あッたりめーだよ 寺にアニメ声優がいてたまるかい!」"Are you a monk?"
      "Of course I am! why the hell would an anime voice actor be living in a temple?!"
      ). this episode showcases his more lovable (and loving!) side—it's so bittersweet, i was nearly driven to tears at the end.
    • it also features one of my favorite techniques, the spell using the questions and connecting dots (108 this time).

season 5 (2007, 高山みなみTakayama Minami, 13eps in)
  • i'm so sorry, all i hear is detective conan.... this is what happens when your mom has been watching conan your whole life
  • i will never get over the fact that he always goes 怖いですねぇ〜笑. like shiiit dude that sounds scary lol. anyways. or 大変でしたよ〜笑 as if he didn't get stuck in literal conk crete. unintentionally the funniest guy
  • idk, the writing doesn't feel as interesting to me in general? i get bored while watching so i often don't watch episodes back-to-back like the other seasons.
  • i don't think it's bad but i just don't vibe with the style/atmosphere i think
  • favorite episode: i don't have a favorite yet

season 6 (2018, 沢城みゆきSawashiro Miyuki, 20eps in)
  • ねこ娘neko musume's yassification feels uncanny.... i also really don't like that they've pretty much reduced her to half "has a crush on kitaro" (which is especially weird when she's gotten a more mature design) and half "object of mana's admiration."
  • it's cool that there's a much deeper focus on modern issues (labor conditions, separation from tradition + nature, social media, loss of awareness of war, etc) compared to the others. i was especially surprised that they mentioned japanese imperialism in ep20『妖花の記憶Yōka no Kioku / Memories of the Yōka』since when wwii is mentioned that part is always conveniently ignored. especially important since 水木しげるMizuki Shigeru himself was a wwii vet....
  • THE HORROR PARTS SURE ARE HORROR ALRIGHT. ARE YOU SURE THIS IS A KIDS' SHOW??? SUNDAY MORNINGS???? what the fuck is up with 名無しnanashi and also That Face sawashiro does (like during ep7『幽霊電車Yūrei Densha / Ghost Train』). love it but also goddamn
  • sawashiro is definitely the most immature of the kitaros, at least in the beginning. he uses 敬語keigo (polite way of speech) sparingly (as opposed to almost always in the other versions), he rarely says ちゃん-chan or くん-kun if at all, his manners aren't as well (shown in ep1『妖怪が目覚めた日Yōkai ga Mezameta Hi / The Day the Yōkai Awoke』), etc. after ep14『まくら返しと幻の夢Makura-Gaeshi to Maboroshi no Yume / Makura-Gaeshi and the Fantastic Dream』i noticed his mannerisms became a bit less childish and loosened up a bit, so i think there's a focus on his personal growth this season.
  • smartphone bad social media bad !!! kids nowadays stupid always on phone aghaghaghrh  like ok. ok i get it already. mana's reaction to 妖怪アンテナyōkai antenna, 「スマホみたい……」"It's like a smartphone...!" in ep1 was so on the nose
  • interesting takes on yokai-human duality from different angles, a good example being in ep13『欲望の金剛石!輪入道の罠Yokubō no Kongōseki! Wanyūdō no Wana / The Desired Diamonds! Wanyūdō's Trap』where ねずみ男 talks about his feelings over being half-yokai and half-human, and also sawashiro leans more into the eerie inhuman aspect.
  • favorite episode: ep7『幽霊電車Yūrei Densha / Ghost Train
    • 幽霊電車 is one of my favorite kitaro stories overall (i love the haunted/underworld train trope, like in モノノ怪Mononoke and the Mob Psycho 100 ova), and s6 is my favorite version of it. it especially holds a different sort of atmosphere because trains have changed since the writing of the story, everything being automated now, making it more out-of-place that the conductor checks for tickets.
    • the story is taken further by handling bullying, worker abuse/ブラック企業, and suicide. dear god it's scary. there's also the terrifying implication at the end....
    • also kitaro does the (´3\) face a lot which is cute lol

2024/01/17 Edits added (in red)
2024/01/04 Posted