|Gegege no Kitarou - Youkai Island Crisis|
|Part Two: Enemies and Bosses|
|With an incredible 60 enemy types (not counting re-colored variations in later stages) and 13 boss battles (many against more than one foe), this particular Kitarou game blows away virtually every other game on bogleech in the monster department, and nearly ALL of its creatures come straight from ancient, eastern folklore!|
|- All Monsters (game info on mouseover) -|
|- MYTHOLOGY -|
|Sazaeoni - a woman transformed into a "shellfish ogre" You can read more about the Sazaeoni here.|
|Umi Bozu - this mysterious sea monster can attain such a size that its head alone may capsize ships and blacken the sky. Traditionally described as a humanoid giant, its eyes are said to be either its only facial feature or the only feature that can be seen.|
|Kamaitachi - the "sickle weasel" is a small, bladed creature that flies too fast to be seen. It usually attacks in a team of three: the first knocks the victim down, the second slashes at them, and the third heals the wound.|
|Nure-onna - a river-dwelling snake woman able to cast illusions, the recleusive Nure-onna sometimes takes on human form to wash her hair by the shore and can prove very dangerous to nosy mortal passerby. Sometimes described with the power to drink blood from a distance.|
|Tutikorobi - a large, round monster completely obscured by fur or scales, it is found in fields and rolls after people who enter its territory. Its name means "earth roller".|
|Tanuki - one of the most popular and "mainstream" youkai, Tanuki are magical, sake-loving racoon-dogs (based on a real animal) able to change into any form. They are best known in Japan for their prominent testicles, which they can grow to any size. Tanuki are commonly portrayed playing their own testes as drums, or using their own scrotum as a makeshift umbrella.|
|Futakuchi-onna - a normal, human woman who became a monster by depriving herself of food. The secondary mouth on the back of her head has a mind of its own, and can form tentacles out of the surrounding hair to feed itself.|
|Karakasa/Kasa-obake - another well-known Youkai that crops up in countless videogames, the Karakasa is a type of Tsukomogami; inanimate objects that have slowly developed their own lifeforce over many, many years (usually at least 100). While virtually any object can become such a creature, the Karakasa is one of the few varieties with a name and story of its own. These one-eyed, one-legged umbrellas are generally harmless, but enjoy startling humans and may even cause nightmares by staring at sleepers.|
|Shirime - this faceless humanoid has never been known to harm anyone, but takes great pleasure in showing humans the gigantic, bulging eyeball inside of its anus. In my opinion, one of the most terrifying youkai of all.|
|Gaki - when a person lives selfishly or dies desiring food, he or she may become a Gaki or "hungry ghost" in the next world. With their own special village in hell, Gaki are plagued by an insasiable appetite and nothing to eat in their realm but the ocassional scrap of flesh or excrement. Their bellies are hideously distended, but their thin necks can swallow very little (think drinking through a coffee stirrer) and their mouths are sometimes only pinholes.|
|Keukegen - this mysterious creature is little more than hair with a set of eyes. Like fungus, it grows in the dark, damp, neglected areas of a household and inadvertantly brings illness to resident humans.|
|Ashimagari - small, gaseous entities that drift along the ground and harmlessly ensnare the feet of travelers. Sometimes said to nothing more than a magical trap set by Tanuki.|
|Katakirauwa - also called Utaki rauwa, these are baby pig spirits with only one ear and no shadow. They can steal a human's soul by running between their legs.|
|Mannentake - a bamboo demon that can form an entire grove. Humans get lost among its branching limbs and are slowly drained of lifeforce.|
|Kamanari - another Tsukomogami, formed from spiritual power that collected in an iron pot. There is thought to be an entire universe inside.|
|Moryou - corpse-eating demons that live near cemetaries. In the past, they would appear during funerals to eat the livers of the deceased.|
|Shinja - not a real mythological being, but a human cultist who seeks to awaken Daidarabocchi (see bosses).|
|Sasori-onna (scorpion woman) - (from the in-game youkai encyclopedia) "it's said that women who hurt people become like this. It scares people with its two snippers."|
|Nururibou - simply an aquatic youkai known for being very slippery, slimy and oily.|
|Kurage no hi no Tama - (from in-game youkai encyclopedia) "the jellyfishes in the sea sometimes ride off on the wind and in dark nights, they look like balls of fire. And that is probably why it's said they aren't jellyfish.|
|Youkai ki - a blood-sucking "demon tree" that ensnares any prey that within reach.|
|Youkai ki (Child) - a young demon tree that lurks beneath the ground.|
|Chuugoku Suiko - a chinese water-goblin similar to Japan's Kappa, but larger and a little more malicious. They may lure humans into the water and drain their lifeforce.|
|Kubi - (from in-game youkai encyclopedia) "It's said that these are the heads of beheaded criminals. Their souls, not being able to rest in peace, have become heads and wander about. Even though they are now heads, they still attack travellers."|
|Sunekosuri - small animals that like to rub up against ankles and sometimes trip people. They are described as being somewhere between feline and canine.|
|- Thanks goes out to X_comp for submitting information on the Sasori-onna, Nururibou, Kurage, Youkai-ki, Chuugoku suiko, and Kubi as well as writing a fantastic walkthrough and story translation!|
|For the heck of it, I thought I'd enlarge these particular sprites to show just how much detail was put into this game's graphics...almost far too much for the intended portable resolution.|
|--- BOSSES ---|
|- Episode 1: Curse of the Ox Spirit! -|
|In his first adventure, Kitarou must defend a human village from the monstrous Gyuuki ("Ox-demon"). It lumbers across the screen at high-speed and turns around by leaping. Simple, but still pretty dangerous.|
|Gyuuki is based on the "Ushi-oni", a type of demon that can appear as a monstrous, mishappen cow or more popularly as a grotesque cow-headed spider. These firebreathing beasts are one of the most ornery youkai, though not neccessarily evil.|
|- Episode 2: Conquest Japan! Night of 808 Racoons! -|
|Unleashed by an army of racoons bent on conquering the human world, the ghoulish giant Kouryou stomps the ground to drop rocks from its cave ceiling and fires a beam that can petrify Kitarou. For no explained reason, a giant catfish swims in the background during this fight.|
|Actually considered a dragon, the Kouryou was hatched from an egg laid by a 700-year-old snake, which underwent a strange transformation over several more centuries.|
|- Episode 3: The Huge Youkai, Daidarabocchi -|
|Sealed away in pieces, this giant is reassembled by a human cult but still lacks a brain. He cannot be destroyed in his incomplete state, and will pursue you over sea as you fly on Ittan-momen's back. He throws rocks up into the air that come tumbling down in set patterns, and can create spinning waves.|
|Daidarabocchi is a giant nature-spirit able to create mountains, plant life and other natural landscape.|
|- Nezumi Otoko & Daidarabocchi's brain -|
|Still flying on ittan-momen, you'll escaoe Daidarabocchi only to find his brain at the end of a long, narrow cave. It can't attack, but Nezumi Otoko will appear and defend it. He attacks by either belching or farting various gas-clouds, and will run away when the brain is destroyed.|
|- Episode 4: Huge Cold Wave! The Freezing Cold Youkai Yukinko's Trap! -|
|In episode four, three youkai snow-spirits have assembled an army of ice monsters to freeze the surrounding lands and reclaim the climate that mankind has tampered with. They are Yukinko (snow child) Yuki-onna (snow woman) and Yuki-otoko (snow man), who attack all at once. Yukinko only hops between two platforms, casually firing snowballs. Yuki-onna is a little more dangerous, teleporting around the screen and firing a freeze-spell. The snow man is the toughest, leaping wildly around the screen.|
|When defeated, the snow youkai merge into a single being with the combined attacks and behavioral patterns of all three.|
|Yukinko: the "snow child" youkai steals the souls of humans and transforms them into ice candy.
Yuki-onna: the "snow woman" is a recleusive mountain spirit able to control snow and ice. She sometimes seduces young human men and freezes them to death with a single kiss.
Yuki-otoko: Japan's take on the "abominable snowman". More or less a typical mountain ogre/oni with an affinity for the cold.
|- Episode 5: Youkai Zekizetsu! The battle at Ozoresan -|
|A monster summoned to punish man for polluting the rivers and developing in youkai territory. Zekizetsu or "red tongue" simply chases you like a runaway train, stopping only to catch his breath (and allowing you to damage him).|
|Zekizetsu is a monster able to control any body of water. When two villages fought over their only water source, Zekizetsu made sure it was distributed fairly. Thanks Ebe for this information!|
|- Episode 6: Kitarou's Death Sentance! The Great Youkai Trial! -|
|Kitarou's heroic efforts to protect the human world do not sit well with the world of goblins, and several monsters have conspired against him. He is framed for exposing the existence of Youkai on public television, and put on trial for up to 500 years imprisonment. After breaking free and fighting your way through the Youkai police, you will ultimately face the devious Momon-jiji, who is truly to blame for the offending video. He has two special attacks, both of which come out of his nose (yes, his nose). Either razor-sharp hairs that he fires straight forward, or floating bubbles that create copies of him if they are destroyed.|
|This sinister old man is seen standing at crossroads, and anyone who passes him will fall ill. If a traveler chooses an alternative path the Momon-jiji will be waiting again and again at every new fork in the road until he is passed.|
|- Episode 7: Dry Good Youkais! The Chinese Youkai's Counterattack! -|
|This time, Kitarou's unseen enemies have enlisted the help of powerful chinese youkai, and promised them their own mansion if Japan is successfuly conquered. In your first encounter with "Chi", he leaps about the screen performing various attacks while creating regular enemies with his paintbrush. He'll escape before you destroy him, but it's only a short journey to the palace roof where his true form awaits...|
|For the final fight, Chi reveals that he is actually a Kitsune - specifically the younger brother of a legendary Kitsune that was defeated over 700 years ago by the Japanese. He attacks either by transforming into mist and dashing about the screen or spitting fireballs that explode and scatter.|
|One of the most popular of Youkai, Kitsune are fox-spirits with awesome powers proportionate to their age and number of tails. Nine tails are a symbol of the highest-ranking Kitsune, who's fur is usually white or silver. You can read about Kitsune in further detail on Youkaimura.|
|- Episode 8: Youkai Island Crisis! -|
|At the end of Episode 7, Kitarou's true enemies are finally reveleaed. Jakotsu-baba and Nurarihyon have been pulling the strings behind every hardship Kitarou has faced up until now, and are plotting the downfall of mankind to make way for a new world where Youkai reign supreme! The hag Jakotsu-baba attacks by teleporting and releasing a huge beam from the jar she carries, while Nurarihyon flies about the screen scattering blue energy shots.|
| Normally neither villainous nor dangerous, Nurarihyon is traditionally described as a large-headed monk who presents himself as an ancient and powerful Youkai to take advantage of human hospitality...nothing but a braggart and a moocher.
Jakotsu-baba's name can be translated as "Old Lady Snake Bone". According to the legend, she guards the burial mound of her husband, Jagoemon, portrayed as a large demon with a snake in each hand. Thanks again to Ebe for filling us in!
|Miyami no Nushi:|
|The true boss of Episode 8, this towering nature spirit was awakened by the villains as a backup plan to wipe out humans once and for all. Another boss fought while riding Ittan-momen, you first must destroy the three rootlike snakes, which spit hard-to-dodge volleys of generic pellets. When the snakes are gone, the tree on his head will reveal its eye and start to drop exploding fruit. When the eye has taken enough damage, Miyami no Nushi's real face can finally be attacked while you dodge his clawed arm. After the battle, Nurarihyon and Jakotsu-baba are arrested by the Youkai Police, and Miyami no Nushi will snap out of his angered state. For now, the human world is safe from the bad apples of the spirit world.|
|- Final Episode (PLOT SPOILER!!!) -|
| Kitarou returns home victorious for a long, relaxing break, but something still troubles him. He has never met his mother, and doesn't know anything about her. Medama Oyaji reveals that, unfortunately, Kitarou's mother resides in the underworld for having married a human. Literally hell-bent on meeting her, Kitarou and the old man Eyeball set off for the entrance to the hell, located on a mysterious new island in the northwest. There they learn that she lives peacefully in the "place of 100 insects", watching over the tiny invertebrates for all of eternity. Unfortunately, this place is deep in the heart of hell, and you will have to pass through several different environments to get there.
This stage contains miniaturized reruns of the ice, magma and graveyard stages, which lead you to the Mountain of Needles (an area of the traditional buddhist hell) and finally Gakido, the realm of the Gaki.
|Not officially a boss, but only one exists, guarding the entrance to the mountain of needles. Its only attack is a ball of light that follows you around the screen until it petrifies Kitarou or vanishes on its own. When Gasha-Dokuro opens his mouth to release another, he is briefly open to attack.|
|The Gasha-dokuro is actually a collection of restless souls who died by starvation and now roam the earth as a single, immense skeleton. Unable to truly "feed" in its bony form, it only bites the heads off its prey before moving on. It announces its presence with an eerie call that sounds like a bell.|
| Keeper of the Gaki and described by your father as "the most horrifying youkai in hell", Yagyou will not allow anyone to leave Gakido, hero or not!
Initially riding a headless horse, he attacks by riding from one end of the screen to the other, cracking his whip. When the horse is destroyed, he hops off and whips out his wickedly oversized scythe. He attacks by leaping and sending out a wave of energy from his blade, while weaker scythe-weilding goblins attack from the sides.
|Yagyou-san, who's name can be translated as "Mr. Works-by-night", is a demon said to ride the earth upon a headless horse on the night of the new year, decapitating humans he comes across. The only defense against him is to lie prone on the ground with your shoes up above your head, which either confuses or appeases him depending on who you ask. He does indeed ride a headless steed, but is more commonly depicted as a wisened, one-eyed human with a trailing beard.|
|- The Ending -|
| Kitarou and Medama Oyaji find their mother and wife in the hundred insect place, but she says that she cannot leave hell. Kitarou asks that she at least stay with them for the trip home, but when they arrive at the gate she accidentally steps out into the living world and is instantly transformed into ashes.
Still alive but no longer able to truly interact with the world, the ashes join Kitarou and his father, and the bizarrely reunited family heads for home...
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|All images copyright Konami. All characters are the creation of Shigeru Mizuki.|