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A self-styled "Ninja of Justice" who does things his own way and in his own good time. Setting down in Edo, he now lives with Goemon.
~ Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon instruction booklet

Ebisumaru (エビス丸?) is a character in the Ganbare Goemon series. He is Goemon's longest standing partner and best friend. A surprisingly pudgy ninja with an equally puzzling eccentric personality. He normally uses either fans or mallets as weapons.

Ebisumaru made his first appearance in the third game of the series, Ganbare Goemon 2 (he was preceded in the previous game by a similar character named Nezumi Kozō), and since then he has become one of its main protagonists, only second to Goemon. He is generally assigned to the second player.

He was renamed "Dr. Yang" in the North American release of The Legend of the Mystical Ninja for the Super NES. However, in the North American releases of Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon and Goemon's Great Adventure, he retained his original name.

His voice actor in most of his appearances is Kenichi Ogata.

General information

Ebisumaru is a fat and chubby ninja who wears a typical blue ninja gi and wears a bandana tied under his nose. His face always has his eyes closed and usually appears with a smiling expression. Ebisumaru has the role of the comical companion and stands out for his particular and absurd behavior. Most of the time he appears either sleeping, jumping or dancing, no matter what happens around him, even when he's in terrible battles. His favorite hobbies are, of course, eating and sleeping. His favorite dishes are the dango skewer and the onigiri.

Ebisumaru is based on a historical character that existed in real life called Nezumi Kozō, who was a famous thief who lived in the early nineteenth century in Japan and whose exploits made him a recognized legend of Japanese folklore. Konami then had the logical decision to include him as Goemon's companion, who is also based on a legendary historical thief, Ishikawa Goemon.

A character actually named Nezumi Kozō appeared in the video game Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Dōchū for the MSX2, drawn like a little ninja in a dark suit like the one Ebisumaru would later wear. For the sequel to this video game, Konami completely redesigned Kozō and made him the new character Ebisumaru; his suit remained almost intact but his appearance changed to that of a fat guy with a cheerful face. This redesign was actually an internal joke of Konami, as the appearance and name of Ebisumaru is actually a cartoon of Etsunobu Ebisu, a Konami employee who was the producer of the Ganbare Goemon series for many years.

Ebisumaru appeared for the first time in Ganbare Goemon 2 for the NES and has since appeared in almost every game, becoming the most important character after the protagonist Goemon. In his first game, it was revealed at the end that Ebisumaru was actually a beautiful woman who had been enchanted by a spell, although no mention was made of this fact in later games and this final revelation was only a joke. Even so, Ebisumaru has always shown female behaviors and manners and it's even common for him to dress as a female classical dancer for no apparent reason. Another strange trait of Ebisumaru is that he considers himself to be a very attractive man; he proclaims himself as a descendant of James Dean and is incredibly popular with women.

Weapons and abilities

Special attacks

Despite his ridiculous appearance, Ebisumaru is actually a strong ninja who serves as a great help to Goemon in his battles. He's characterized by fighting with different weapons in each game, which often are absurd for a ninja warrior:

  • Wood flute: Weapon to hit enemies quickly.
  • Paper fan: Ebisumaru uses the fan as a racket to hit his enemies well.
  • Bombs: Ebisumaru's special weapon typically are explosive bombs.
  • Gymnastic weapons: Ebisumaru uses different weapons of rhythmic gymnastics. These are the hula-hula, the Olympic tape, the gymnastic ball and the gymnastic mace.
  • Ninja Star: Ebisumaru can throw these stars at distant enemies. You can also charge power to shoot a super star.

Ninjitsu

These are Ebisumaru's magical attacks:

  • Kobun Cow: Ebisumaru invokes a powerful family member who turns out to be a cow.
  • Japanese Dance: A special dance that eliminates all enemies in sight.
  • Flapping: Waving his fans like wings, Ebisumaru can fly.
  • Firepower: Ebisumaru can make magical fire attacks.
  • Thunder power: Electric attacks that damage several enemies at once.
  • Healing: Ebisumaru has techniques to heal the wounds of his friends.
  • Chibi Ebisumaru: Magic to shrink in size and thus advance through tiny passages.
  • Dancing drill: Ebisumaru becomes a classical dancer and spins quickly while destroying all enemies in his path.

Special attacks in "Ganbare Goemon Gaiden"

Ebisumaru's special abilities in the first Ganbare Goemon role-playing game.

  • Rifuru (Lv. 1): Restores 35 HP of health to an ally.
  • Flame (Lv. 4): Fire power that causes 20 HP damage to an enemy.
  • Dokuneke (Lv. 7): Cures an ally from Poison status.
  • Gororin (Lv. 12): Thunder power that causes 20 HP damage to all enemies.
  • Tobuun (Lv. 15): Allows the party to teleport to any previously visited village.
  • Ufufun (Lv. 19): Reduces the speed of all enemies.
  • Rifurira (Lv. 20): Restores 80 HP of health to an ally.
  • Pikarin (Lv. 22): Thunder power that causes 40 HP damage to all enemies.
  • Do-Flame (Lv. 25): Fire power that causes 80 HP damage to an enemy.
  • Tonton (Lv. 27): Distribute the HP of the enemies so that everyone has the same value.

Special attacks in "Ganbare Goemon Gaiden 2"

Ebisumaru's special abilities in the second Ganbare Goemon role-playing game.

  • Rifuru (Lv. 1): Restore 35 HP to an ally.
  • Flame (Lv. 3): Fire power that causes 20 HP damage.
  • Dai-Flame (Lv. 11): Fire power that causes 50 HP damage to all enemies.
  • Tobuun (Lv. 13): Allows the party to teleport to any previously visited village.
  • Chibi Ebisun (Lv. 16): Causes damage of 85 HP.
  • Shiiu! (Lv. 19): Increase the defense of an ally during battle.
  • Rifurira (Lv. 20): Restore 80 HP to an ally.
  • Annihilation (Lv. 25): Eliminates an enemy on the spot.
  • Tonton (Lv. 28): Distribute the HP of the enemies so that everyone has the same value.
  • Turtle Attack (Lv. 27): Causes damage of 100 HP.
  • Head Worker's Song: Confuses all enemies.

Other proficient weapons

  • Bombs
  • Extendible boxing glove
  • Festive sign paddle
  • Frying pan
  • Giant spatula
  • Gymnastic ball
  • Gymnastic pin
  • Gymnastic ribbon
  • Hand Fan
  • Hula-Hoop
  • Mallet
  • Megaphone
  • Piko Piko Hammer
  • Plunger
  • Yo-yo

Specialty ninjutsu

Background

A self-proclaimed "Ninja of Justice", Ebisumaru once roamed the country doing good deeds under the alias "Nezumi-Kozo" (aka The Rat Kid). In a fateful encounter, Ebisumaru would meet Goemon. Learning of Goemon's righteous path, Ebisumaru decided to tag along and aid in Goemon's cause. To this day, Ebisumaru can be found in Edo living at Goemon's house. Whereas some people say they "follow the beat of a different drummer", Ebisumaru takes that saying one step further by "following the beat of his own drum". Ebisumaru is a whimsical and carefree person by nature. His favorite hobby can easily said to be eating, as his pudgy appearance suggests. Ebisumaru currently holds the record for dango consumption at Akindo's Teahouse. In one sitting at this, his favorite Teahouse, Ebisumaru consumed a whopping 200 plates! He also speaks in a peculiar Kansai accent (noted by how he refers to Goemon as "Goemon-han" in both text and voiced dialog) and claims to be the descendant of American actor James Dean (one of the series' many signature anachronistic jabs).

Although irresponsible and obnoxious at times, Ebisumaru has proven to be a formidable partner and a great help to Goemon. In a constant trend later on in the series, Ebisumaru has proven to be very versatile, wielding a variety of different household items as weapons. Everything from a hula hoop to an aerobic dance ribbon, he always seems to carry just the right item with him on whatever journey he goes on. Also among his talents, Ebisumaru is inexplicably popular among women. It is from this that Ebisumaru believes himself to be a man peerless in appearance, much to the dismay of his friends. It has been recently revealed that Ebisumaru is a father of a baby girl named Mao.

Who was Nezumi Kozō?

Nezumi Kozō (鼠小僧?) was the nickname of one Jirokichi (次郎吉 1797 - 1832), a Japanese thief who lived in Edo (present-day Tokyo) during the Edo period. In 1822, he was caught and tattooed, and banished from Edo. In 1832, he was captured again, and confessed to the burglary of over 100 samurai estates and the impressive theft of over 30,000 ryō throughout his 15-year career. He was tied to a horse and paraded in public before being beheaded at the Suzu-ga-mori execution grounds. His head was then publicly displayed on a stake. His grave is at Ekō-in in Tokyo.

At the time of the arrest, Jirokichi was found to have very little money. This, combined with the public humiliation he dealt out to the daimyo, resulted in the popular legend that he gave the money to the poor, turning the petty crook into a posthumous folk hero similar to Robin Hood. The fact that he died alone, serving his wives (he appears to have been guilty of bigamy, possibly polygamy, as well) with divorce papers just prior to arrest in order to protect them from sharing in the punishment as the law decreed, further enhanced his stature. His exploits have been commemorated in kabuki theatre, folk songs, jidaigeki, video games, and modern pop culture. Ryūnosuke Akutagawa wrote a short story, Nezumi Kozō Jirokichi (translated into English as "Nezumi-Kozo (The Japanese Robin Hood)"); at least two films have had the same Japanese title.

Modern scholars are of the view that Jirokichi most likely spent his money on women and liquor.

Yu-Gi-Oh!

Masked Ninja Ebisu is based on Ebisumaru. He also has an effect that supports Goe Goe, which indicates that Ebisu is based on Ebisumaru.

Notes

  • According to the Mystical Website of Goemon, Ebisumaru has a daughter named Mao.

Gallery

See: Ebisumaru/Gallery

See also

External links

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