Written by Jonathan Wojcik

October 26: Gegegegegegegegegege

   The average "Otaku" has probably never heard of it, but Gegege no Kitarou is one of Japan's most celebrated cultural phenomena, the history of which I delve into in my Cracked topic on Japanese monsters. Incidentally, all my Cracked monster mythology articles have been featured in this month's collection of horror articles.

  Anyway, Kitarou may hail from before Japan was ever aware of Halloween, but its carefree, bug-eyed goblins and spirits fit well with the season, as does the many incarnations of its catchy, kooky theme song. Whatever you do, DO NOT MISS the final video.

   The 1960's opening introduced the Japanese to a tune that would get stuck in their heads for generations to come. "Ge, ge, ge" is more or less untranslatable, but was used by Mizuki Shigeru as a "creepy" sound, made by various monsters, hauntings and humans shuddering with fear.

   The 80's intro adds a little punch to the classic song and shows off a little more action than the original intro's quiet late-night monster games. We also see a few more of Kitarou's friends, like the slab-shaped Nurikabe and ribbonlike Ittan-momen.

   The 90's intro is a more direct homage to the original, with an easygoing pace and various phantasms out for some innocent late-night frolic.

   The 2007 intro goes back to more upbeat territory, with really jazzy vocals and some beautiful animation. Notice that Nurikabe - the wall Youkai - has settled down and started a family this series!

   The next 2000's intro is easily the most fun, with its fast-paced mayhem and highly energetic new tune - I especially like the chorus of bugs and Kitarou's suddenly sentient house. We also see a lot of the series villains here, the giant eye-like Backbeard and his army of non-japanese monsters!

   In a surprising change of pace, the series Hakaba Kitarou opts for a slightly darker, more mature atmosphere and opens with the modern techno theme Mononoke Dance, featuring select manga panels in stark colors.

   Finally, we come to one of the best things you will see today; the official, extended Mononoke Dance music video with exclusive, new monster artwork by Mizuki Shigeru. This video definitely isn't for kids, but the insane monster designs and POSITIVELY MASTERFUL ending twist are a must-see. I really wish I could watch this in high quality and check out its creatures more extensively...Mizuki seems to have a more twisted imagination than he even usually lets on.

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