Geek Dad Reviews Kitaro: The Birth of Kitaro

“Stack Overflow: Comic Books” / Geek Dad / Jonathan H. Liu / September 2, 2019

I’ve had a copy of this for an embarrassingly long time (it was published in 2016) but finally got around to starting the series. Kitaro is a Japanese manga, translated into English in this edition, featuring a yokai child who becomes a sort of superhero. It’s a bizarre origin story: Kitaro digs himself out of a grave because his parents died of an illness before he was born; he’s raised by his father’s eyeball (which pops out and grows a tiny body to fulfill its fatherly duties). And now Kitaro has become the one that humans call upon when they have trouble with the supernatural. The Kitaro comics were actually published in the late 1960s, and each of these volumes from Drawn & Quarterly includes a bit of the history of Shigeru Mizuki, the folklore and mythology of Japan, and how Kitaro came to be. The various chapters of the book have Kitaro encountering all sorts of yokai, which are strange and supernatural beings or occurrences. There’s a bit of creepiness to it all, but also a lot of silly humor, and may be a fun read for kids who like a little spookiness to their stories.

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