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Neko-Sennin
Neko-Sennin cover
Japanese Name 猫仙人
Publication date October 24, 1965
October 31, 1965
Magazine Shonen Magazine
[v · t · e]
Shonen Magazine
(1965-1969)
The Cruise to Hell Obake Nighter

Neko-Sennin (猫仙人) is a story from the GeGeGe no Kitarō manga. It has been adapted for the 1968, 1985 and 1996 anime versions of "GeGeGe no Kitarō".

In the Drawn & Quarterly English translation the story was called The Cat Master, while the titular character Neko-Sennin was still referred to as such.

Characters

Plot

Chapter 1

One day, Kitarō informs Medama-Oyaji that humans will be building an expressway through the swamp they live in. Rather than dwell on the news, the two set off in search of a new home. Before long they come across a young boy, covered in scratch marks, heading toward the swamp. Kitarō tells him there is nothing but swamp that way and asks about his scratches. The boy explains that his village was taken over by cats and that he can't find his parents. The boy further explains that the village elder believes the cats took over because the construction crew for the expressway were trying to tear down the sacred Cat Hill. Kitarō offers to investigate since he is heading that way anyway and the boy reluctantly agrees to accompany him to the village.

When they arrive Kitarō sees that the boy's house is overrun by cats. The boy says it's safest to sleep outside, because if the cats scratch someone once, the rest will come after them later. Kitarō complains about the situation, leading a nearby monk (Nezumi-Otoko) and other villagers to tell him to keep quiet and not to anger their cat masters. Kitarō tries to speak against them, but holds his tongue when a large number of cats suddenly show up behind him. Kitarō later learns from the boy that some of the cats have learned to understand human language. When Kitarō once again suggests overthrowing the cats, several cats suddenly pile on him and seemingly scratch him into nothing. However, he had merely hidden under ground.

Medama-Oyaji finally decides they should go inspect the Cat Hill, so Kitarō has the boy show him where it is. The boy gets so worked up explaining how scary Cat Hill is that he faints, so Kitarō asks the insects instead. Once he arrives, Kitarō comes across a panther. The panther pins him down, but Kitarō rolls up into the shape of a ball. He then further alters his body to tie up the panther with tentacles. Suddenly, a swarm of cats attack until he releases the panther. All the cats then pile onto Kitarō.

Chapter 2

The cats continue to attack Kitarō until his flea friends arrive, forcing all of the cats to scratch themselves instead. Kitarō goes further into Cat Hill and comes across the source of the trouble, the Neko-Sennin. Neko-Sennin explains that he has discovered the secret to immortality by separating his soul from his body and possessing random cats. He has lived for 1,200 years, keeping his real body in a frozen tomb and using the cats to protect it, only reentering his body when it is in danger. He then attacks Kitarō, stating none who know his secret could live.

He morphs his arms into the shape of a wall around Kitarō, but Kitarō fires porcupine-like needles out of his back. Neko-Sennin then begins stretching his body and chasing Kitarō, but Kitarō leads him into tying himself into a knot. As Kitarō gloats, Neko-Sennin pulls a nearby rope, springing a trap and burying Kitarō under a pile of rocks. He digs up the rocks and finds Kitarō in the shape of a suitcase. Kitarō springs back to life and beats Neko-Sennin around until he tumbles down some stairs. Kitarō goes after him but cannot find him, and instead sees the exit sealed up. Medama-Oyaji points out a rock out of place and they are able to escape. They find Neko-Sennin's body and are then approached by the young boy, who informs them that the cats have left the village and everything is back to normal.

Kitarō finds the boy suspicious, but Medama-Oyaji suggests they go with him. Back at the village, it's almost like the cats had never even been there. The boy invites Kitarō inside and offers him tea. At Medama-Oyaji's suggestion, Kitarō offers to draw the boy's portrait. He decides to draw the portrait on a rock and asks the boy a number of questions while drawing. In actuality, Kitarō was connecting dots to draw the face of the boy's true form, Neko-Sennin. The boy passes out and reawakens as himself. Kitarō explains that while the boy was passed out earlier, Neko-Sennin took over his body, but now his soul is trapped in the rock. They then toss the rock in a well, trapping Neko-Sennin forever.

Some time later, as Kitarō continues on his journey, construction resumes on the expressway. The mummified remains of Neko-Sennin's true body is found, but no one knows it's significance.

Remakes

Manga

Anime

1968 Anime
Episode 17 - Neko-Sennin (aired April 28, 1968)
1985 Anime
Episode 3 - Neko-Sennin (aired October 26, 1985)
1996 Anime
Episode 12 - Conspiracy! Neko-Sennin’s Cat Kingdom (released March 24, 1996)

Trivia

  • While Nezumi-Otoko made a cameo appearance in the previous chapter The Cruise to Hell this marks his first appearance as a character in the story during the Shonen Magazine run, although he is playing a role rather than appearing as himself.
  • This is the third episode of the 1985 anime.

Gallery

Video