2018 anime art
|Abilities||Wealth of knowledge regarding yōkai|
|Body size||Tinier than tiny|
|Favorite pastime||Bathing in teacups|
|Favorite voice actor||Isamu Tanonaka|
"Ahhh, this is nice!" (bathing)
|Manga||The Birth of Kitarō (1960)|
|Anime||Episode 1 (1968 anime)|
|[v · t · e]|
Medama-Oyaji (目玉おやじ or 目玉親父, Lit. "Eyeball Father"), or Medama-no-Oyaji (目玉のおやじ), is a major character in the GeGeGe no Kitarō franchise and Kitarō's father. Once a fully-formed adult ghost, he perished of a disease, only to be reborn out of his decayed body as an anthropomorphic version of his own eyeball. His primary role in the series is to support Kitarō with his knowledge of all things yōkai.
Medama-Oyaji was performed in the first five anime series by Isamu Tanonaka, as well as in most other media prior to his death in 2010. His high-pitched voice became the standard other voice actors would aim for in their portrayals of the character.
The only instance where Tanonaka did not perform the role in his lifetime was for the video game series, in which veteran voice actor Kazuo Kumakura took the role (who is also known for singing the original version of the Kitarō theme song). Also, in episode 4 of the 1971 anime, Tanonaka was out sick and frequent guest star Hiroshi Ōtake filled in. However, the end credits still listed Tanonaka for the role and instead credited Ōtake as a guest star.
Following Tanonaka's death in 2010, Nurarihyon's regular voice actor Takeshi Aono took the role of Medama Oyaji for the TV Special Kitarō: The Happy Journey. Following Aono's death, Bin Shimada voiced the character in various small roles, including the Yo-kai Watch film, Yo-kai Watch: Shadowside Oni-ō no Fukkatsu
Medama-Oyaji appears has one giant eyeball for a head. He has a little body and wears no clothing. Before his death and Kitarō's birth, he had the body of a large adult suffering from a "melting disease", forcing him to wrap his body in bandages and giving himself the appearance of a mummy. How he looked before contracting the disease has never been shown.
Like Kitarō, Medama-Oyaji is a survivor of the once mighty Ghost Tribe. Before Kitarō's birth, he caught an incurable "melting disease". While living in seclusion with his pregnant wife Iwako, he began to sell his blood for income. However, this resulted in patients receiving the blood in transfusions coming to resemble ghosts, which caught the attention of the president of the blood bank. When blood bank employee Mizuki discovered them while investigating the case, Medama-Oyaji told him their story and asked him to look the other way. Mizuki agrees to give them eight or nine months, but at some point during that time the couple both die from illness. Motivated by his love for his son Kitarō, who had been born from the grave after Iwako was buried, he willed his spirit into the last living part of his body, his eyeball, giving him the appearance he is known for today.
The backstory of Kitarō and Medama-Oyaji is generally accepted as taking place in the early 60s, when the manga was first published. In the second live action movie, it was instead said that it took place during the Edo period.
Medama-Oyaji looks small and fragile, but has a strong spirit and a great love for his son. Like Kitarō, his spirit is so strong that even if he is stepped on a squished as thin as paper, even if his eyeball head is crushed, even if he is deep-fried in tempura, he will always return to normal eventually. In the manga Kitarō Kuni Tori Monogatari, it is established that he and Kitarō can go survive 10 years without food or drink. He also cares about Kitarō and his wife with great heart.
Because he wandered all over the Earth before Kitarō's birth, he has obtained extensive knowledge about yōkai, including nearly every type of yōkai and their nature and weaknesses. He is also knowledgeable in other occult subjects, such as Akuma and Ancient Inca. He has known Enma-Daiō personally for long (but unspecified) time, and he and Kitarō frequently speak to him directly and request permission from him (Ex: 4th anime, Ep. 91). This is not a privlidge unique to Medama-Oyaji, though, as a number of other yōkai in good standing with Enma have been allowed to come and go between Jigoku and the normal world as they please.
He enjoys staying clean, and is often seen bathing in a small bowl. Although primarily seen used as Medama-Oyaji's bathtub, Kitarō will also use the same bowl for meals. Starting with the 3rd anime he has been shown bathing in different tableware and liquids, including cups, tea cups, black tea, coffee, sand and sake. He also bathed in a pool of cola in a strawberry package.
His eyeball head has an eyelid, though it is always depicted as a simple line over his pupil. According to Shigeru Mizuki, "the fact that he cries and sleeps makes it obvious he has an eyelid". Whenever Medama-Oyaji sleeps, his pupil is replaced with a line curving down like the letter U.
He has a mouth, although it is very small and rarely seen. It is located under his eyeball head and he can bring it out and in as he pleases. However, in the story Mokumokuren, he is shown breathing out through his pupil. Until the 4th anime, he was rarely shown eating. His voice actor Tanonaka commented on this once, saying "I've never seen him eat, I'd like to see him eat more". His favorite foods are cherries and plums and he drinks the morning dew for breakfast. In the 5th anime his favorite food is fish eye soup and he is shown eating it. This time his mouth was depicted as a line underneath his pupil. From then on he shown eating more frequently, even appearing to have full cheeks and a full belly. Also in the 5th anime, he appears to have a bronchial tube, as he is shown sneezing out mucus. Although he has a mouth, he doesn't have teeth.
He is usually naked, but has sometimes worn clothes such as robes and coats. He also owns some clothing such as a silk hat he got from the English demons (Hakusanbō in the 5th anime) and a single shoe he got from Santa Claus. During the 5th anime's 4th ending, Natsu no Mamono, he is shown dressed as famous TV painter Bob Ross.
- Eyeball Substitute - Medama-Oyaji is capable of functioning as an eyeball by resting in an empty eye socket and using his body and limbs as the optic nerve. He did this for Kitarō in the story The Great Tanuki War when his good eye was destroyed and also secretly replaced the eye Amefuri Tengu was getting surgically replaced after Kitarō shot it out with his finger bullets.
- Mind Control
- Other Body Manipulations
- Eyeball Wrap
- Fitting Through Holes
Other Techniques and Weapons
- Spirit Creation
- Yōkai Energy Wave
- Soul Separation
- Ear Phone
- Three Wishes
1st & 2nd
At the beginning of the 1st anime his voice was much more higher pitched than the voice Tanonaka would use later. In both anime he is very much a doting parent always concerned for his son. In the 1st anime he is often scolding Kitarō while in the 2nd he is always worried when Kitarō goes up against a strong yōkai. He proudly proclaims that Kitarō, as the last survivor of the Ghost Tribe, was born an elite among yōkai. In the 1st anime he is depicted keeping his pupil open when fainting and shedding tears from his entire eyeball head, but in the 2nd anime and on he pupil is shown closing and shedding tears like an eye.
He tends to support the relationship between Kitarō and Yumeko and helps them along in any way he can, such as by searching for the right date spot for them (Ep. 41) or taking Nezumi-Otoko fishing so he can't disturb them (Ep. 46). This is in contrast to other adaptations where he usually opposes Kitarō's interest in human girls, as humans live at best around 100 years, meaning Kitarō would eventually be left alone and sad. His feelings may be different here because in this series Kitarō is half-human.
This is the first adaptation to show Medama-Oyaji before he became just and eyeball (in a flashback in Jigoku-Hen, Ep. 6). However, it is not his banaged form from the original manga, but rather a figure with a full head of hair whose face is obscured by a futon blanket. When his wife Iwako disappeared, he cast away his normal body and became an eye in order to find her.
His doting personality is on full display in this series. Anytime Kitarō is eaten by an enemy yōkai he begins crying for his son. In a more comical side to his character, whenever they go into someone else's house, he will usually bathe in their tea.
In this series he serves a mascot type role and is featured a lot more in marketing and opening and ending animations.
While still over protective as in the 4th anime, he has more comical elements now, such as exercising occasionally, being scared of fireworks, watching comedy shows on TV, and even making his own bad jokes. He is also more aware of current trends and fashions.
While he does remark that Neko-Musume might make a good wife for Kitarō (Ep. 2), whether or not he was serious is unclear, as he meddles far less in Kitarō's love life here. In a scene adapted from Yōkai Sen Monogatari, Medama-Oyaji declares to love Neko-Musume's cooking, but after she violently attacks Nezumi-Otoko for insulting her food, Medama-Oyaji hides in Kitarō's hair and says Neko-Musume would be "the wife from hell", to which Kitarō nervously agrees.
This was Isamu Tanonaka's final performance as Medama-Oyaji, as he died the year after it concluded.
For the first time, Medama-Oyaji's bandaged form from the original manga is shown. Because he and Kitarō are more reflective of the ironic and slighty anarchic tone of the rental manga, Medama-Oyaji makes fewer father-like speeches here. Because of this, he actually gets angry with Kitarō from time to time and is far more verbally abusive to Nezumi-Otoko. In particular, he gets very frustrated with Kitarō's irresponsibility and his ignorance of his Ghost Tribe lineage.
- In the 2002 Kodansha International Bilingual Comics edition, he is referred to as Daddy Eyeball.
- He has a great love for sake.
|Ghost Tribe||Kitarō • Medama-Oyaji|
|Other members||Nezumi-Otoko • Neko-Musume • Sunakake-Babaa • Konaki-Jijii • Ittan-Momen • Nurikabe|
|Recurring allies||Yobuko • Abura-Sumashi • Ido-Sennin • Tsurube-Bi • Bake-Garasu|
|Yōkai Apartments||Nekoko • Kamikiri • Azuki-Arai • Kasa-Bake • Tsurube-Otoshi • Gyūki|
|Yōkai Yokochō||Kawauso • Amabie • Rokuro-Kubi • Ohaguro-Bettari • Nurikabe Family|
|Other Allies||Shisa • Yuki-hime • Yagyō-san • Aobōzu|
|Tendo Family||Yumeko Tendō • Hoshirō Tendō • Masao Tendō • Yūko Tendō|
|Elementary School Trio||Yūko Murakami • Shōta Suzuki • Jun Tanimoto|
|Others||Mizuki • Makoto Washio • Mana Inuyama|
|47 Yōkai Warriors|