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Tsurube-Bi often appear to assist Kitarō, performing a variety of tasks including serving as a light in dark places, shining bright enough to trick some enemies into believing it's daytime, or even attacking enemies with flames.
While most adaptations depict numerous Tsurube-Bi, some stories (particularly from the manga and the 1968 anime) depicted an individual Tsurube-Bi as an ally. Tsurube-Bi had speaking roles in two 1968 series episodes, Obake Nighter and The Yōkai Army.
The first anime also featured a similar character, the Yōkai Lamp (妖怪ランプ), a Tsurube-Bi who acted as a light for Kitarō's house and occasionally aided him in fights.
The Tsurube-Bi is floating fireball with a face, usually that of an old man.