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Gegege no Kitarō 4 (Toei, 1996-98)

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Kitarō in a dust devil
Source: TV
Layers: 1
No sketches available
Cel Number: A1
Standard size

Key Cel
Original Unmatching Background

Added 1/25/2012
Updated 5/8/2017
This very fine action image of Kitarō caught up in a whirlwind or dust devil, comes from scene 34, cut 42 of an unidentified episode. That would put it close to the climax, as seems likely from the situation. Our hero looks temporarily disoriented by the windstorm that has trapped him, which is superbly rendered by the swirl of airbrushing that covers most of the front of the cel. Also, the foreshortening is quite good, with Kitarō’s right geta (or wooden ceremonial clog) realistically projecting out from the storm, while the one on the left is neatly receding into the other side of the tornado. Overall, it’s a terrific image, full of billowy clothes and spiky hair.

The cel came stapled directly to the background, which had been rather roughly trimmed to make it fit into a regular-sized cel bag. This leads me to believe that, like many of the cels in this gallery, it was originally sold to a visitor who took the Toei Studio tour. It certainly was cared for more carefully than many: the cel is brilliant and free of oxidation, and the delicate airbrushing on the front, while it shows stress in a few places, is largely free from damage. The trace lines, too, are unusually strong. This leads me to think that it is from Kitarō 4, the final cel-based version from the 1990s.

It is impossible to confirm that the background is the original matching one, but odds are that it is. Certainly it flatters the cel’s colors perfectly.


In most cultures the meteorological phenomenon known as a “dust devil” is associated with some kind of supernatural entity, often a malicious witch or elemental spirit. The Arabic word for “dust devil” is djin, the same word from which we derive the name of the familiar folktale spirit “genie” (as in the tale of Aladdin). In Cardcaptor Sakura, the Storm Card creates a similar supernatural whirlwind. So it makes sense that this episode plays on some Japanese legend in which a troublesome yōkai has the ability to create funnels of wind like these.

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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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