The Real Ghostbusters vs Gegege no Kitaro?

The Real Ghostbusters vs Gegege no Kitaro?

Nothing to do on a Sunday night, still waiting for Resident Evil 7 to arrive in the post I randomly had the urge to stick on a few episodes of The Real Ghostbusters on Netflix. A few internet searches and ‘best episode’ lists later and I landed on The Boogieman Cometh and Knock Knock.

Arguably the top ranking episode of The Real Ghostbusters, Knock Knock shows the Ghostbusters battling on the New York underground to close up a recently unearthed gate to the underworld and stop the dead from spilling out.

Pretty early on in the episode some strange graffiti caught my eye. Is that Medama Oyaji… with love written above him? Almost immediately after the train becomes possessed and the graffiti jumps to life to terrorise random passengers. Yeah, that’s got to be intentional…

To give a little background on the production of The Real Ghostbusters, while the show was storyboarded, scripted and voiced entirely in the US, the majority of the animation was outsourced to Japan. While anime was gaining considerable momentum in the late 80s (and had been since the 70s) studios such as KK C&D and Toei often took on contract work to help fund their own productions. While much of this work would eventually shift to Korea, (including later seasons of The Real Ghostbusters) the first was essentially a Japanese production in terms of animation.

In fact the animation style throughout the entire Knock Knock episode seems eerily similar to Yuurei Densha, a popular story from Gegege no Kitaro which saw adaptations in both the 60s and 80s run of the show. The story typically concerns a spurned Kitaro tricking two arrogant salarymen in to taking a ghost train to Honetsubo (骨壷, kotsutsubo, literally a funeral urn). The salarymen are tormented through the night by all manner of undead and yokai before waking up in the morning with a somewhat kinder disposition.

So did someone in Japan sneak an homage to Gegege no Kitaro in to The Real Ghostbusters? With Gegege no Kitarou being something of a non-entity in the West until fairly recently it’s unlikely anyone on staff in the West had seen either adaptation of Yuurei Densha produced up to that point, but the similarities wouldn’t be missed by the Japanese animation on staff.

Similarities between another episode, Night Game, and Obake Night will definitely leave you wondering…

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Previous Sion Sono's Tokyo Vampire Hotel doesn't look like your typical J Drama
Next Resident Evil 5 HD Review

About author

Craig Hatch
Craig Hatch 35 posts

Horror Japan is Craig Hatch, a Brit currently living in Tokyo, Japan. Horror Japan is a project that aims to review and collate media from all aspects of Japanese horror culture.

View all posts by this author →