|Hair color||Dark blue (eyebrows)|
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The original Nurarihyon, also said to be the leader of all the yōkai, would sneak into someone's house while they were away, drink their tea, and act as if it was their own house. Because it looks human, anyone who saw him would mistake him for the owner of the house, making it very hard to expel. He is the leader of Hyakki Yakō (百鬼夜行) or the "Parade of the Hundred Demons".
Nurarihyon resembles a wrinkled old man with a large gourd-shaped head and usually some form of stubble on his face. He is slim and usually dressed in a fine kimono and haori, though he wore a suit in his first appearance. In some adaptations he has pointy ears.
Nurairhyon first appeared in the Shonen Magazine story Yōkai Nurarihyon and made his anime debut in the 1st anime Ep. 12, the adaptation of his manga debut. He did not appear in the 2nd anime, but was a recurring antagonist from the 3rd series and on. Although he appeared as the main antagonist in the Shukan Jitsuwa manga and the Monday Dramaland TV movie, it wasn't until the 3rd anime that he was established as the "Supreme Commander of the Japanese Yōkai".
Nurarihyon is a cruel yōkai who commits evil deeds and uses deceit and cunning to oppose Kitarō. Depending on the adaptation, he can be portrayed as both a legitimate threat or a more comedic villain. He frequently employs other powerful yōkai to help him defeat Kitarō and friends. Sometimes he tricks these yōkai into joining him, other times they are loyal minions who are in on a larger plan. In the anime (starting with the 3rd series) his right hand man is Shu no Bon, though his most frequent ally across all adaptations is Jakotsu-Babaa.
In his first appearance, he had been living among humans under the alias Yamada for a century. By the time of the story Yōkai Nurarihyon, he has amassed a significant amount of wealth but passes himself off as poor. He sneaks into other people's apartment, much like the Nurarihyon of legend, and sets off bombs as an act of terrorism. Worried Kitarō will catch onto him sooner or later, he works with Nezumi-Otoko to trap him in concrete. Only Kitarō's hand is not encased in the concrete, so Nurarihyon mockingly shakes it. Because of this, Kitarō is able to curse him and control his hands. He seeks help from Jakotsu-Babaa and they try to capture the newly escaped Kitarō by tricking him into drinking from a magic jar that will swallow him. Kitarō instead outsmarts them and uses a magical millstone to send them backwards in time to the prehistoric ages.
In the Shukan Jitsuwa story Baseball Mania, he is the principal of Under the Grave High School. He plans to use his school's baseball team to take control of the baseball scene in the human world, but humans catch wind of the plan and hire Kitarō to stop him.
In the manga Saishinban GeGeGe no Kitarō, which wwas serialized at the same time as the 3rd anime was airing, he is a recurring villain. It is established that, after being sent back to prehistoric times, he has lived until present day, having grown more powerful and developing a deep hatred of humans. He is defeated when he falls into Mount Mihara during an eruption, but he later returns and destroys Izu Ōshima, eating everything in sight and earning the name "The Eating Demon" from the locals. In this state he completely loses his senses and intelligence, and even Kitarō and Medama-Oyaji try to just escape from him. Eventually Kitarō is able to destroy him with a desperate attack.
In the manga Kitarō Kunitori Monogatari, during the battle with Mu in Hakone Castle, Kemedama convinces Nurarihyon to back up Kitarō for the sake of all yōkai. In one of the only instances where Nurarihyon lives up to his title "Supreme Commander", he commands armies of Wanyūdō, Hitotsume and Tanuki, a Karasu Tengu air force, and fights Mu himself as well.
He appears in Ch. 25 of the manga Yōkai Sen Monogatari. He tries to frame Kitarō and put him on trial, but he is ultimately thwarted. He is sentenced to be executed via 500 Years of Melting at the hands of the Tengu Police.
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In the first series, Nurarihyon only appears as a guest character in Ep. 12 Yōkai Nurarihyon. He did not appear in the 2nd anime, but Shinigami's role of frequently conspiring with other yōkai to oppose Kitarō is similar to Nurarihyon's future role in the franchise.
Starting with this series, Nurarihyon begins appearing regularly as Kitarō's arch enemy and becomes known as the "Japanese Yōkai Supreme Commander". However, even though he calls himself the Supreme Commander, he is not necessarily at the top of the yōkai world, as his only regular subordinate is Shu no Bon. In most episodes he has tricked another yōkai into working with him to eliminate Kitarō, and said yōkai usually refer to him as "sensei". He is also not portrayed entirely seriously and has many comical scenes, particularly his scenes with Shu no Bon and some of his defeats.
In Ep. 4, like in the manga, he is sent to prehistoric times, and as a result he has lived several million years and now swears vengeance on Kitarō. In the fourth movie, he dubs himself the "Yōkai Emperor" and forms a large yōkai army to take over Tokyo. He kills guest character Caroline and her father Guwagoze and has a climactic battle with Kitarō.
Compared to other adaptations, Nurarihyon works with humans far more often in his schemes, such as bombing buildings to give his construction company work (Ep. 4), providing services for fugitives (Ep. 16), taking over a hotel (Ep. 45), tricking enviromentalists into releasing Daidarabotchi (Ep. 60) and sending the yakuza to cause trouble at an inn Kitarō is working at (Ep. 104). In Ep. 51, he holds the World Yōkai Rally, where the winner gains control over the other competitors' home countries. His intention was to invite only weaker yōkai so that Shu no Bon could win, but first champion Backbeard enters along with others like him. In the end, Kitarō wins and Nurarihyon makes his escape. Although Kitarō wins representing Japan, he opts not rule the other countries.
In Ep. 91, he offers to work with the Hi Clan to take down their mutual enemy Kitarō, but the Hi turn him down and transform him into a doll. His subordinates form a temporary truce with the Kitarō Family in order to team up and defeat the Hi Clan and their ally Nyō-Yasha. Afterwards, Kitarō offers to become allies with Nurarihyon, but Nurarihyon refuses and their hostile relationship resumes.
In Jigoku Hen, He steals the legendary sword Kusanagi from Jigoku in order to fight Kitarō. In the end, however, Kitarō manages to break the sword and Nurarihyon is defeat when Shu no Bon betrays him and tackles him into the Blood Pond.
Nurarihyon first appears in Ep. 45 as Kitarō's lawyer during The Great Yōkai Trial. He initially acts as though he genuinely cares to clear Kitarō's name, but it is eventually revealed that he was behind the frame job the whole time. He tries to escape the Tengu Police but is caught and sentenced to be sent to prehistoric times by way of the Ancient Millstone (as in his first manga appearance). He returns in Ep. 54 and is from then on pretty similar to his character in the 3rd anime. In addition to the usual plots against Kitarō, he is also skilled at iai (the art of drawing your sword and cutting in one move) and has many direct showdowns with Kitarō. He is more comical than in most adaptations. He always loses and often suffers payback from yōkai he worked with but betrayed or abandoned in battle. Unlike other adaptations, he does not appear to have significant power on his own.
In Ep. 64 he holds the Yōkai Rally, with the wish granting Yōkai Stone as the prize. He sent out special invitations to the racers and special TV to all yōkai who wished to watch. However, the invitations were covered in a special hallucinogenic powder in order to throw off the racers, while the TV emitted a radio wave that put the viewers under his control. However, because Nezumi-Otoko stole Kitarō's invitation before it could effect him, he was able to keep his senses and win the race and destroy TV wave transmitter, forcing Nurarihyon and Shu no Bon to make their escape. Kitarō used the Yōkai Stone to wish all the injured racers back to normal.
Eps. 96 to 99 sees Nurarihyon obtain great power and conquer Japan as the "Yōkai King", but he is eventually defeated as normal and loses all respect from the Japanese yōkai. His final appearance is in Ep. 113, where Nezumi-Otoko tricks him into hiring weak assassins to take out Kitarō.
According to Ikkokudō, Nurarihyon was once an octopus but changed over the years (Ep. 101).
For the first time, Nurarihyon is portrayed as sinister and powerful enough to truly fit the titles of "Japanese Yōkai Supreme Commander" and "Kitarō's Arch Nemesis". Although he is portrayed as a legitimate threat and thoroughly evil, he still has the occasional comical moment and some of his subordinates have at least some humanity in them. Before his first appearance in the series, he is shown in the opening animation with Shu no Bon and Jakotsu-Babaa.
He first appears in shadows in Ep. 4, though his full appearance is first shown in Ep. 8, and from the get go it is implied he is behind some sort of sinister plot. He believes humans are too arrogant, and he commits random acts of terrorism against them, much like in the 3rd anime. In his first confrontation with Kitarō he receives a wound on his forehead from Kitarō's Hair Sword, so he vows to never heal the wound until he defeats him. His first hideout was a luxurious looking room in an building of some kind, but by the time he reappears in Ep. 17 he has traded down to a warehouse at a harbor.
In Ep. 30, after another failed attempt at destroying Kitarō, he is arrested by the Tengu Police along with Shu no Bon and Jakotsu-Babaa. Later, in Ep. 39, just before their 5,000 year sentence is about to begin, Kyūso and Kamaitachi break them out. While in prison, Nurarihyon had somehow obtained Iron Claws.
In Ep. 47, Nurarihyon appears during the the Great Yōkai Trial to attack Momon-Jii and save Kitarō. His reason for helping his nemesis was that he would not let anyone rob him of the opportunity to crush Kitarō.
In Ep. 61, he deceives Tantanbō in order to steal the control device of Yōkai Castle, leaving Tantanbō behind after his defeat at the hands of Kitarō. His hatred of Kitarō is deep, and he tells his minions that he will not be satisfied until he has killed Kitarō and all of his friends.
In Ep. 72, he finally awakens the spirit of Yōkai Castle, but it sinks to the bottom of the ocean during battle with Kitarō in Ep. 85. Neither he or his opinions made another appearance before the series' cancellation.
In GeGeGe no Kitarō: Nippon Bakuretsu!! he appears at the Evil Yōkai Summit with Shu no Bon and Jakotsu-Babaa. While Backbeard and the others are unconcered with wether or not Japan is destroyed by Yato-no-Kami, Nurairhyon cheers support for Kitarō.
- Main article: List of Nurarihyon minions