Posted by psgels on 21 March 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hakaba Kitarou


The original Hakaba Kitarou (later renamed to Gegege no Kitarou) was one of the original pioneers in anime and manga, even before the legacy of Osamu Tezuka. Ever since it was serialized in 1959, it’s spawned five lengthy television-series, eight movies and one live-action movie. The problem is that all of these reduced the Kitarou-franchise to a kiddie-series. Enter Hakaba Kitarou, in its Noitamina time-slot as it attempts to remove all of the “kiddie”-roots from the franchise. And believe it or not, but it succeeds pretty well.

The result is a very rare combination between horror and comedy. But this series mostly stands out because it’s so refreshingly different from usual anime. The art really tries to go its own way, with character-designs in an original style, and a continuous filter, reminiscent of Mononoke. There are lots of interesting camera-angles and monster-designs, which make sure that this series turns into a visual feast that doesn’t rely on moe whatsoever.

This is also one series that completely shatters the boundaries between good and evil. It may seem like that Kitarou is the main character, and therefore the good guy, and yet he likes to play cat-and-mouse games with his victims, and he doesn’t even seem to care whether these victims end up dead or not. Nezumi Otoko, on the other hand, may be the series’ villain (he acts mostly out of greed and for money), and yet he stands so far away from the stereotypical anime villain. This guy is often rational and he doesn’t try to look as cool or evil as possible. He’s also often friendly, although he’s ready to betray any friend in favour of his well-being.

The same goes for all other side-characters that appear in one the different stories that have been put into the eleven episodes that this series consists of. Everyone is somewhere in the grey spectrum between good and evil. And all of the major side-characters have multiple sides and hardly have any chance to get boring. I’d also like to mention the ease at which this series seems to be able to kill off its characters. Seriously, some deaths really come from nowhere.

And that brings me to another good point of this series. Not every episode may have one, but the plot-twists will leave you guessing, and some will come as a huge shock, exactly what a horror-series should be. You can see that the writers have a lot of fun while writing this series, and building it up. Hakaba Kitarou has a delightful air of unpredictability that you hardly ever see in anime.

Overall, if you’re looking for something different, then Hakaba Kitarou is the way to go. Don’t get fooled into thinking that this is a series for kids. Simplistic character-designs don’t automatically make a series a kiddie-one. At eleven episodes, there’s hardly any chance to get bored. This is one reason why I like winter-seasons. Because not many popular series air, it’s the perfect chance for the less popular and under-looked anime that try to be different to get a chance. 2007 had Master of Epic, and 2008 continues this tradition with Hakaba Kitarou.

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  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 10:36 PM)
    @Bam And actually, it does work especially well for controlling muzzle rise in full auto. That’s the main rationale behind the technique. However, I see a lot of people using this technique for semi-auto rifles.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 10:35 PM)
    @Bam Personally, the Nazi seems a lot more fun.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 10:34 PM)
    @Ninja: I see what you mean now.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 10:34 PM)
    @Bam The C-Clamp actually works surprisingly well but it restricts your field of vision and is more tiring. You’re better of using a traditional grip.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 10:33 PM)
    @K-Off Well I live in KY so shooters tend to be pretty experienced. You will get warned for muzzle-sweeping and thrown off the range if you keep doing it. Trigger discipline is harder to enforce but I personally will never let it slide if I see it. Finger is way the hell away from the trigger if you aren’t pulling it. Even just resting it on the trigger guard is not enough. The finger should be on the frame/slide/cylinder.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 10:33 PM)
    I actually never seen that clamp. Seems too dorky. Also if you’re doing Rambo you should at least freakin go full-auto, but I’m pretty sure the range or state didn’t allow it.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 10:31 PM)
    @Bam One point shooting technique is to have your arm parallel to your body with the elbow bent so that your forearm sticks out perpendicular to your torso. Police like this technique for CQB. I prefer the classic Isosceles Stance or Weaver Stances for point shooting. They’re tried and proven.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 10:31 PM)
    @ninja I bet “the N00b” is one that you see a lot. Facing the barrel of the gun towards somebody and keeping their finger on the trigger.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 10:28 PM)
    @K-Off XD. Never seen any of those in person besides the C Clamp. The C Clamp is fucking everywhere. All of those are silly except for the olympic style shot, which actually makes a lot of sense for people who can do it well. I am not sold on C-Clamp or Central Axis Relock.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 10:26 PM)
    @K-off: lol

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