Gegege no Kitaro: Ominous Sky! Yokai Castle (lost anime short film; 1996)

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Gggnk yokaicastle.jpg

A rare promotional still from Ominous Sky! Yokai Castle.

Status: Lost

Gegege no Kitaro (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎) is a multimedia franchise created by manga artist Shigeru Mizuki, known for popularizing the use of yokai in Japanese pop culture. The series is known for its numerous adaptations, including different manga, anime, and movies.

The fourth Gegege no Kitaro anime began airing in Japan on January 7th, 1996. In April of that same year, an animated short was broadcasted exclusively at the Toei Kyoto Studio Park, named "ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 風雲!妖怪城", or "Gegege no Kitaro: Ominous Sky! Yokai Castle". Based on the "Yokai Castle" story written by Shigeru Mizuki, many elements of the short would end up being used in episodes 66 and 67 of the fourth anime adaptation, including the title; However, the short featured some key differences, such as an alternate character design, and the inclusion of a new villain. Although some promotional stills and advertisements have surfaced, the short remains completely lost.

A brief synopsis of the short. Notably, Miage-Nyudo is mentioned (見上げ入道), as well as episodes 66 and 67 of the fourth series.

Information[edit | edit source]

The film was broadcasted exclusively at the Toei Kyoto Studio Park, with sources such as Wikipedia stating it was broadcasted at a Dome Theater. According to other sources, the short was first screened on April 28th, 1996.[1] The short film would go on to be screened numerous times, but the exact number of times is unknown. It's confirmed that the short was screened in March of 1997,[2] and once again on July 12th of the same year.[3] Official publications from Toei Animation state that the short was seven minutes in length.[4]

Plot[edit | edit source]

There's very little information about the story of the film. As stated previously, the story is an adaptation of the "Yokai Castle" manga chapter written by Shigeru Mizuki. Besides this, little is known, and not much has been translated into English. However, sources point to this adaptation having a different story compared to episodes 66 and 67 of the fourth anime series. The name of the short also seems to be a reference to the game show Takeshi's Castle (風雲!たけし城), as they both share the same kanji.

Differences[edit | edit source]

The 1996 short shares some key differences between the revised episodes that would air in 1997. One notable change was the inclusion of Miage-Nyudo, a large cyclops yokai. He was not present in the original "Yokai Castle" story, and is exclusive to this adaptation. His role in the special is unknown, but he would've appeared alongside other villainous yokai, such as Tantanbo and Kamaitachi. Promotional stills have shown that his character design was the same as the 1996 series, with no differences.

The design of Futakuchi-Onna from the 1996 short (left), was heavily revised for the 1997 series (right).

However, this was not the case for another villain. Futakuchi-Onna, a female yokai with a mouth on the back of her head, is the only character featured in the short with a notable redesign. In the short, she can be seen with large, cat-like eyes. Her teeth are sharp, and she has a large, toothy grin. Her nose is also rounder. Compare this to her design used in the 1997 series, where she's much more conventionally attractive. She's drawn with a slimmer face, eyelashes, and even lipstick. The reason these changes were made is unknown, as she was the only character to be given such treatment.

Availability[edit | edit source]

Due to the short film's limited screening, very little has surfaced. Only promotional stills and brief descriptions have been discovered, leaving much of it shrouded in mystery. It's unknown where the short currently resides, and if it'll ever surface.

External Link[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]