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||Series 1 Episode 1 (1968)|
|[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 Shigeru Mizuki 80th Anniversary 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 Search for Happiness: 100 Years of Tōno Monogatari. 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.
Mizuki never showed how he looked before contracting the disease, but the 2018 anime depicted him as a human-looking man of average height with gray hair in the same style as Kitarō's, covering his left eye. As this form came about through Makura-Gaeshi's dream powers, it is unknown if this was his true appearance or just how Medama-Oyaji wished for himself to look. However, since his appearance matches the description given by Sunakake-Babaa, it can be assumed that this is Medama-Oyaji's true form before his decay. It is also possible that this form could have taken qualities of both his younger self and his current self as he was depicted with only one eye, whereas he had both before his decay.
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 Kunitori Monogatari, it is established that he and Kitarō can go 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.
- Medama-Oyaji no Sukue Uta by Isamu Tanonaka (1985 anime)
- Medama-no-Oyaji no Yōkai Kazoe Uta by Isamu Tanonaka (1996 anime)
- In the 2002 Kodansha International Bilingual Comics edition, he is referred to as Daddy Eyeball.
- He has a great love for sake.
- In episode 20 of the Yōkai Watch series, a parody version of Medama-Oyaji is briefly shown during one of Komasan's meetings. This parody was named Medama-Girl (目玉の女の子).
|Members||Kitarō • Medama-Oyaji • Iwako|
|Non-Canon members||Netarō • Yuki-hime • Jigoku-Dōji|
|Relatives||Kemedama • Mary|
|Items||Chanchanko • Geta • Yōkai Ocarina • Reikai Amulet|
|Ghost Tribe||Kitarō • Medama-Oyaji|
|Other members||Nezumi-Otoko • Neko-Musume • Sunakake-Babaa • Konaki-Jijii • Ittan-Momen • Nurikabe|
|Former members||Shisa • Yuki-hime • Netarō|
|Recurring allies||Yobuko • Kasa-Bake • Abura-Sumashi • Tsurube-Bi • Bake-Garasu|
|Yōkai Apartments||Nekoko • Kamikiri • Azuki-Arai • Akaname • Tsurube-Otoshi • Gyūki|
|Yōkai Yokochō||Kawauso • Amabie • Rokuro-Kubi • Ohaguro-Bettari • Nurikabe Family|
|Other Allies||Maruge • Ido-Sennin • 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|