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Yō-Kaijū
The Great Tanuki War cover
Japanese Name 妖怪獣
Publication date July 2-September 3, 1967
Magazine Shonen Magazine
[v · t · e]
Shonen Magazine
(1965-1969)
Vampire Elite Nezumi-Otoko and
Neko-Musume

Yō-Kaijū (妖怪獣), also known as The 808 Tanuki (八百八狸, Happyakuya Danuki) or The Great Tanuki War (Drawn & Quarterly version), is a story from the GeGeGe no Kitarō manga that was first published as part of the Shonen Magazine run. It has been adapted for the 1968, 1985, 1996 and 2018 anime versions.

Characters

Plot

In Shikoku, construction on a dam results in a mountain opening and the release of the 808 Tanuki army. The construction crew flee in terror and the 808 begin to formulate a plan.

A month later, a second moon appears over Tokyo, sending the people into a panic. Kitarō arrives and points out to the crowd that the moon is fake. He explains that it is the work of yōkai, but is laughed off by everyone. The prime minister of Japan then approaches him and requests his presence at a meeting the next day to discuss the situation. But as Kitarō heads home, the second moon follows him closely, eventually running him off of a bridge and into a river. The next day, an unconscious Kitarō is found in the river by Nezumi-Otoko. Medama-Oyaji explains that the 808 Tanuki are making their move and they must run away, but before they can they are suddenly surrounded by tanuki.

The tanuki explain to them that they plan to take over the surface world and turn it into a tanuki kingdom. They also reveal that the second moon is actually the egg of the giant beast Kōryū (the titular Yō-Kaijū). They then bring them back to Shikoku to meet their leader, the Gyōbu-Danuki. The Gyōbu-Danuki tells his minions to take them to see their other giant beast, the Ōnamazu. There they see the prime minster has been captured as well, but he tells them he had already given the order to launch an attack on the second moon, unaware it contained Kōryū. Sure enough, back in Tokyo, the army launches a missile at the egg, dropping it into the Tokyo Bay.

In retaliation, Gyōbu-Danuki demands the prime minister hand over Japan. He refuses, but Kitarō convinces him to go along with what they say for now. The Gyōbu-Danuki gives Kitarō three days to help the prime minster get things in order, and he kisses him on the cheek to symbolize the promise. Kitarō instead gets to work resealing the 808 Tanuki's cave with Nezumi-Otoko's help, although Medama-Oyaji warns him against breaking a promise with the Gyōbu-Danuki. Although the tanuki are sealed again, Kitarō's cheek that was kissed suddenly swells and he begins transforming into a tanuki. Against his wishes, Medama-Oyaji and Nezumi-Otoko head back to Shikoku to break the new seal, hoping it will end Kitarō's curse.

They succeed in breaking the seal, but are immediately captured by the re-released tanuki. Kitarō returns to normal and heads for Shikoku, just as Kōryū hatches from it's egg and rises from Tokyo Bay. It rampages through the city before burrowing a giant hole in Mt. Fuji, giving the tanuki a path directly to Tokyo. The Gyōbu-Danuki demands the prime minister hand Japan over, and in the face of their overwhelming power, he has no choice but to comply. Kitarō seeks help from Ittan-Momen, and the two of them see on the news that the prime minster is blaming Kitarō for the takeover. The head off to the city to fight Kōryū, but are overwhelmed and defeated. They are captured and Kitarō is forced to surrender under the threat of Medama-Oyaji being beheaded (Nezumi-Otoko, on the other hand, had switched to the tanuki side). Ittan-Momen, believed dead, is used by the tanuki Dansaburō as a loincloth.

Japan is completely overtaken. The police are forced to wear fake tanuki tails that allow the Gyōbu-Danuki to control them. Anyone who speaks ill of the tanuki are arrested, even children. The prime minster, now an ordinary citizen, gathers a few people to form an underground resistance. Meanwhile, back at the tanuki lair, Kitarō and Medama-Oyaji are thrown to the Ōnamazu, who eats them, leaving only Kitarō's hand behind. The hand tickles the inside of the monster's nostrils until it spits them out and they attempt to make their escape. During the escape, Kitarō fires off all of his hair needles and over exerts himself with his electrical abilities. The Ōnamazu also manages to take out his good eye, so after they make it to safety Medama-Oyaji crawls into his empty eye socket and acts as substitute eye for his son. Medama-Oyaji tells Kitarō the only way to seal Ōnamazu is to find the magic capstone the tanuki removed from over it's home.

As construction on Tanuki Castle is nearly completed, Dansaburō is found dead, and the tanuki deduce that Ittan-Momen actually survived and strangled him to death. As go to hunt him down, Ittan-Momen captures Nezumi-Otoko and forces him to help him get close to the Gyōbu-Danuki. Meanwhile, Kitarō finds the capstone and is compelled to touch it. However, Gyōbu-Danuki has charmed the capstone, so the mere touch turns Kitarō into stone. The curse doesn't last long, though, as around the same time Ittan-Momen is able to get close to Gyōbu-Danuki and strangle him. Once he is knocked unconscious, Kitarō returns to normal and makes a run for it. Ittan-Momen is captured an cut up into pieces while Nezumi-Otoko is tied up and set to be burned at the stake.

Kitaro escapes to the top of Mt. Fuji and runs into the prime minister and his resistance just as Kōryū is released once again. Kōryū steps on Kitarō, dashing the prime minister's hopes of using Kitarō's powers in their fight. He and his group leave to contact the Americans for help, and right after they are gone Kitarō emerges from the ground, having tunneled to safety just in the nick of time. Kōryū steps on him again, this time crushing him so hard Medama-Oyaji is launched out of his eye socket. He was also crushed hard enough to burst his stomach, causing his powerful stomach acid to melt himself and Kōryū down to a puddle.

Back in the lair, Nezumi-Otoko's cross nearly falls over, causing the flames to lick up and knock down a tanuki carrying a pail of water. The water is soaked up by the pieces of Ittan-Momen, which then expand and reconnect, bringing him back to life. Ittan-Momen saves Nezumi-Otoko and they escape from the cave to find Medama-Oyaji. He tells the how Kitarō and Kōryū have melted together, making it harder than it normally would be for Kitarō to revive. Ittan-Momen then suggests Resurrection Powder, which should be able to separate Kitarō's essence from Kōryū's.

The tanuki are preparing to grind the men of Japan into sausage when Gyōbu-Danuki receives the news that Kōryū has been defeated. He summons Ōnamazu out of the depths to rampage through Tokyo. The American army arrives to take out Tanuki Castle, but they are completely wiped out by Ōnamazu. Meanwhile, Kitarō's puddle has successfully separated from Kōryū's puddle and he is ready to fight. Nezumi-Otoko informs him of the situation and how not even the American army stood a chance, but Kitarō refuses to quit and asks Ittan-Momen if he can carry his puddle. Unsure of Kitarō's chances in his current condition, Medama-Oyaji heads back to Shikoku with Nezumi-Otoko to once again repair the seal on their cave.

Kitarō and Ittan-Momen find Ōnamazu in the middle of the ocean and are almost immediately eaten. However, Kitarō is able to control Ōnamazu from the inside and makes it swim away from Japan. A month later, they arrive in the arctic circle, where Ōnamazu freezes solid. Kitarō and Ittan-Momen escape but soon succumb to the cold as well and fall into the ocean. Back in Tokyo, the Gyōbu-Danuki now uses the magic capstone to fight off the American army. The spell on the capstone turns all bullets and missiles that touch it into stone, but once Medama-Oyaji and Nezumi-Otoko fix the seal in Shikoku, the capstone is destroyed by a missile, and the humans believe they defeated the tanuki and the prime minister dismisses Kitarō as useless on live TV.

Some time later, Umi-Jijii arrives at the GeGeGe House, having found the frozen Kitarō and Ittan-Momen floating in his sea. Medama-Oyaji and Nezumi-Otoko take them to a hospital, where Ittan-Momen is sewn back together and Kitarō is put in an incubator. Medama-Oyaji believes that Kitarō will be back to normal in a couple of months. Nezumi-Otoko gripes about the hospital charging them even though Kitarō saved the world, but Medama-Oyaji is content with the insects of the forest singing his son's praise.

Remakes

Manga

  • Tanoshii Yochien Picture Book - Yō-Kaijū Kōryū (ようかいじゅうこうりゅうのまき)
  • 2nd Grade Learning Magazine - Yō-Kaijū (ようかい獣のまき)
  • 4th Grade Learning Picture Book - Tanuki Kingdom (タヌキ王国のまき)

Anime

1968 Anime
  • Episode 21 - Yō-Kaijū (Part 1) (aired May 26, 1968)
  • Episode 22 - Yō-Kaijū (Part 2) (aired June 2, 1968)
1985 Anime
  • Episode 56 - The Tanuki Army Conquers Japan!! (Part 1) (aired December 6, 1986)
  • Episode 57 - The Tanuki Army Conquers Japan!! (Part 2) (aired December 13, 1986)
1996 Anime
  • Episode 110 - The 808 Tanuki Rebellion (Part 1) (aired March 1, 1998)
  • Episode 111 - The 808 Tanuki Rebellion (Part 2) (aired March 8, 1998)
2018 Anime
  • Episode 11 - Conquer Japan! The 808 Tanuki (aired June 10, 2018)