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Gegege no Kitarō 3: The Yōkai World

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Noppera-bo casts magic (Ep. 16)
Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 1
Cel Number: A9
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Added 1/12/2013
Updated 3/15/2023
Episode 16: "Yōkai Nopperabō" (妖怪のっぺらぼう). The “faceless spectre” [のっぺらぼう] character on the left is the focus of many Japanese supernatural and urban legends, loving to accost travelers, then startling them out of their wits by showing his egg-like, featureless “face.”

Here, in addition, he’s unleashed some kind of uncanny spell, visualized as an airbrushed blob floating up toward the top right of the cel.

Noppera-bō is a very well known yōkai in Japan; see The Yōkai Wiki for more details. The creature has been reported in Hawaii as well, as the blogsite of the National Japanese American Historical Society reports.

But actually faceless ghosts are pretty widespread in other cultures. In the area of Pennsylvania where I used to live, there was a spooky road that wound up nearby Stockton Mountain. That's where a mine subsidence in the 1860s swallowed up several homes one night, entombing their sleeping families. Supposedly you’d see a hooded woman dressed in black standing by the road trying to hitch a ride. You'd stop and let her in, then ask where she was going. In reply, she’d turn to you, and in the darkness you’d slowly realize that she had no face.

Update: in 2023 I was able to obtain the matching A9 douga for this cel at auction.

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