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Kawauso
Img kawauso
Name
Japanese かわうそ
English River Otter
Profile
Species Yōkai
Gender Male
Home Obebe Swamp
GeGeGe Forest
Abilities Water Cannon
Transformation
Affiliation 47 Yōkai Warriors
First Appearance
Manga Yōkai of Obebe Swamp (1968)
Anime Series 1 Episode 40 (1968)
Portrayals
1968 anime Keiko Yamamoto
1985 anime Kiyoshi Komiyama
Kazumi Tanaka (Ep. 98)
1996 anime Tsutomu Kashiwakura
2007 anime Yūko Maruyama
2018 anime Megumi Urawa
Gallery

Kawauso (かわうそ, lit. river otter) is a yōkai from the anime and manga series of "Gegege no Kitaro." He first appeared in the Shonen Magazine story Yōkai of Obebe Swamp. Because he haunts the Obebe Swamp, he is also known by the name Obebe (オベベ).

Appearance

Kawauso resembles an anthropomorphic otter wearing a T-shirt, shorts and a ratty, patched up hat. In the 5th anime, he dresses more like the historical artwork of the yōkai, wearing a yukata and a conical hat.

In the fifth anime, Kawauso's fur returns to its more short fur, becoming a lighter brown, four pairs of whiskers are beside his mouth and his tail appears longer. Rather than a simple t-shirt and shorts, he wears a light pale yellow kimono, with a pale blue diamond with an inner diamond pattern. He lacks any shoes, instead going barefoot and his hat is pale green and more conical, having several cuts by the edges that goes to the middle.

In the sixth anime, Kawauso still appears as an anthropomorphic otter, having brown fur covering all of his body, three pairs of whiskers on the sides of his face and a tail. His eyes still have yellow scelrae and small black pupils. His outfit returns to a simple t-shirt and shorts, here it is colored light blue and blue respectively, as well as a pair light yellow sandals with black straps and a green conical hat.[1]

Personality

History

Shonen Magazine/First & Second Anime

Kawauso first appears in episode #40 of the first anime adaptation, Yōkai of Obebe Swamp. He lives in Obebe Swamp and uses the form of a poor human child fishing to provide for his family to trick passersby into collecting clams and turtles out of the swamp for him. He sells all of it in town and keeps the money for himself. He successfully pulls this trick on Nezumi-Otoko when they first meet, but comes clean about his scheme when Nezumi-Otoko returns the next day. He offers to include Nezumi-Otoko on the scheme, but first they decide to eliminate Kitarō. After a brief scuffle, Kawauso seemingly defeats Kitarō. But, like with his encounter with Nurarihyon, Kitarō possesses Kawauso's hand and makes him attack himself. Nezumi-Otoko ties Kawauso up under the guise of helping him, but instead hangs him from a tree and saves Kitarō from the swamp. Kitarō decides to let Kawauso go after he promises to leave the swamp and behave.[2]

Kawauso would then make a number of background appearance, including appearing as a resident of the Yōkai Apartments. He appears during the The Great Yōkai Trial, where Medama-Oyaji scolds him and reminds him that Kitarō helped him out in the past.

Third Anime

He appears in episode #31 of the third anime adaptation, Yōkai of Obebe Swamp. His story goes pretty much the same with the added element of him being angry that the swamp was dammed by a nearby farming village.[3] He then has a recurring role in the series. In episode #85, he appears with Gangi-Kozō, Iso-Onna and Sazae-Oni to help Kitarō defeat Takurō-Bi.[4]

Fourth Anime

He appears in episode #71 of the fourth anime adaptation, Yōkai of Obebe Swamp!. In this adaptation, his story is altered significantly. After Nezumi-Otoko makes a bundle selling fake watches, he comes across Kawauso pretending to be a starving child. Nezumi-Otoko takes pity on him, treats him to dinner, and then Kawauso robs him. Nurarihyon hears of Kawauso's trickster skills and hires him to help sell and a drink called Kitaron Z. However, Kawauso makes off with the cash and while running from Shu no Bon and some Kappa, he slips and falls into a river. He wakes up with an old man who has mistaken him for his grandson Kotarō. Kawauso ends up becoming close to the old man and decides to spend the rest of his life with him, even returning Nurarihyon's money.[5]

He later helps out during the battle with Chi, but is defeated and transformed into a Yōkai Cloth.

Fifth Anime

In the fifth anime, Kawauso is a regular character and a resident of the Yōkai Yokochō, renting a room at Sunakake-Babaa's boarding house. He speaks with a lisp and has a carefree attitude. He often helps out Kitarō in missions, particularly underwater missions or battles against fire-based yōkai. He often appears along side Amabie, and they two are usually used for comic relief. He sometimes goes along with Nezumi-Otoko's schemes and is something of a troublemaker. However, while Nezumi-Otoko helped the Chinese Yōkai trap the Japanese Yōkai and transform them into Yōkai Cloths, Kawauso instead ran off with Amabie to inform Kitarō.

The Obebe Swamp story is told in episode #42, Yōkai of Obebe Swamp Kawauso!.[6]

He is later the first of the chosen 47 Yōkai Warriors of Japan. He is the representative of Ishikawa and his mark is located on his right arm.

Sixth Anime

Kawauso is shown in the opening of the sixth anime being chased by Sunekosuri and during the tug-o-war scene. He is depicted in his original t-shirt and shorts outfit. His first episode appearance is in episode #18 of the sixth anime adaptation, Kawauso's Lie.[1]

He later helps Kitarō and the others by being the ferryman of the Clam boat they used to search for the source of the Yōka, going through multiple islands until going to an island below the equator.[7]

Abilities

Transformation: Kawauso can change his appearance from otter to human, although this ability is rarely used outside of his introduction story. When he smells river fish, his favorite food, he tends to get so distracted he accidentally reverts to his normal form.

As an otter he is also an excellent swimmer and will often be called on for underwater missions. He can also shoot water from his mouth like a water cannon.

Legend

Kawauso is a river otter that becomes a yōkai when it lives at an exceptionally long life.

A Kawauso is able to shapeshift into human form like the kitsune, the tanuki and the mujina. But it is most often depicted as dangerous monster. In one story, a female Kawauso gets a man to take her to his home while she’s in human form where she tears off his genitals and kills him. In another story the Kawauso kills soldiers until at last a samurai sets off to kill her. On the way he comes across a beautiful woman. Realizing that she was a yōkai of some form he attacked the area off to the side of her as he knew she would have created an illusion standing in a different place then she actually was.

Trivia

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 GeGeGe no Kitarō (2018): Episode 18
  2. GeGeGe no Kitarō (1968): Episode 40
  3. GeGeGe no Kitarō (1985): Episode 31
  4. GeGeGe no Kitarō (1985): Episode 20
  5. GeGeGe no Kitarō (1996): Episode 71
  6. GeGeGe no Kitarō (2007): Episode 42
  7. GeGeGe no Kitarō (2018): Episode 20

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