Gegege no Kitarou (2018): Supernatural World – Episode 25 Analysis

Gegege no Kitarou: Fearless Exploration of Taboo Themes

Gegege no Kitarou, the 2018 version, deserves recognition for its fearlessness in tackling taboo subjects. Despite airing on Sunday mornings, the anime fearlessly explores and exposes the raw scabs of modern Japanese society. Few anime have dived as relentlessly into societal issues as this adaptation, reminiscent of Mizuki Shigeru’s original writing.

An Evolution of Themes

Episode by episode, Gegege no Kitarou has expanded beyond the confines of its original scripts. While the previous episode focused solely on youkai (supernatural creatures), the latest episode shifts its attention to the human world. Here, we encounter Mana, a character involved and more often than not, in trouble. Her character serves as a receptacle for the threats unleashed upon the human world by the updated “Kitarou” mythology, and at the heart of it all lies Nanashi.

Tackling School Bullying and Teen Suicide

Gegege no Kitarou fearlessly confronts one of Japan’s biggest third rails, school bullying and teen suicide. Suicide is an alarming epidemic in the country, particularly among young individuals. While the episode revolves around a “curse app” that allows a malicious spirit, Kubire-oni, born from the suicide of a human, to infect smartphone users’ minds, the true focus lies on the perils of blind devotion to smartphones and the use of social media in bullying.

The imagery in Gegege no Kitarou portrays the dangers associated with such topics. Perhaps one of the darkest moments in recent anime history occurs when Souma, under the app’s influence, is on the verge of hanging himself. Kitarou manages to save him just in time. It is astonishing that such incisive and risky scenes made it to the broadcast, considering the timeslot the anime occupies. The curse app concept emphasizes the Buddhist principle of karma, presenting a clear-cut message when Medama-oyaji states, “When you curse someone, you dig two graves.”

Dreadful Encounters: Nanashi and Mana

The mastermind behind these haunting events is Nanashi. Voiced by Banjou Ginga, Nanashi communicates through ominous chants, making him one of the creepiest and scariest anime characters in recent memory. The true nature of his connection to Mana remains shrouded in mystery. Lines like “This makes two, two eyes in a hollow vessel. When will the day come when five are gathered?” raise questions about the depths of evil embedded within her soul.

Mana, though innocent and endearing, finds herself trapped in dark and terrible circumstances. Her character stands out as one of the most relatable and believable child characters in anime this year. Unfortunately, she becomes entangled in sinister affairs, and Team Kitarou remains oblivious to the extent of evil’s grip on her soul.

Major 2nd – 25 (End) and Series Review

Hi Score Girl – 11