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|Anime||Series 5 Episode 17 (2007)|
|2007 anime||Toshio Furukawa|
Aobōzu (蒼坊主, lit. blue priest) is a recurring character in the 2007 GeGeGe no Kitarō anime. He is referred to as Ao by many of his allies and friends.
In the fifth anime, Aobōzu isn't good with goodbyes, so he usually slips away on his own after a visit.
A flashback in episode 85 revealed that as a child, Kitaro's yōkai power was so wild he destroyed an entire village. He was calmed then by Aobōzu, and from that moment on looked up to Aobōzu like an older brother, even calling him Ao-niisan(蒼兄さん, Big Bro Ao).
Aobōzu (青坊主) are a type of Japanese yōkai (folk legend ghosts) that appear in 18th century artist Toriyama Sekien's book "Gazu Hyakki Yakō." The Aobōzu is depicted in the Gazu Hyakki Yakō as a one-eyed buddhist priest standing next to a thatched hut, however as there is no explanation of the image, the aobōzu's specific characteristics remain unknown.
It is believed that the Aobōzu is the direct inspiration for the one-eyed priest Hitotsume-Kozō that is present in many yōkai drawings, such as Sawaki Suushi's "Hyakkai-Zukan" published in 1737. There is also a theory that because the kanji ao (青) in its name also means inexperienced, it was depicted as a priest who has not studied enough.