Ganbare Goemon Wiki
For other uses, see Goemon (disambiguation).

Born to fight for justice, Goemon helps the weak and fights the strong, his trademark pipe in hand!
~ Mystical Ninja (GB) instruction booklet

Goemon (ゴエモン Goemon?) is a video game character and the main protagonist of Konami's extensive Ganbare Goemon saga (known in the West as Mystical Ninja).

Goemon is a heroic bandit ninja whose actions are always motivated by a noble cause and his strong sense of justice. In his first appearances, he was a simple thief ninja who infiltrated castles and had to outwit the guards, but as the series evolved he became a warrior hero who fights against powerful villains with his friends to defend the ancient Edo and its inhabitants.

Goemon was renamed "Kid Ying" in the North American localization of the game The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, but in later adaptations he retained his original name.

General description

Goemon is based on a real historical figure from Japan called Goemon Ishikawa, who lived in the 16th century. He was a famous bandit, although little is known about his real history. After his death, he was turned into a character in several traditional theatrical representations in Japan, where heroic attributes and fantastic ninja powers were added to his persona that made him a true legend. Ishikawa is compared in the West to Robin Hood, since he robbed the rich to distribute the loot among the villagers. According to the stories, Ishikawa ended up being caught and condemned to die by burning in a gigantic pot of boiling water. Konami used this legend to create his own version of Goemon, who originally appeared in the year 1988 in an arcade video game, Mr. Goemon. This adaptation of the character initially looked a lot like depictions of the historical Ishikawa, but in each new game, the universe around him was widely enriched with the addition of all kinds of fantastic characters, crazy villains and adventures in incredible locations. He primarily uses a variety of kiseru (smoking pipes) as his weapon of choice.

Goemon is described as a hot-blooded character with a strong temperament, having the personality of a typical Japanese hero. Although he appears to be carefree, he has a great sense of justice and his misdeeds are motivated by a noble cause, always seeking to help those in need. In the various games he has appeared in, he has always remained an enemy of the guards, who will start chasing him in large numbers as soon as they see him breaking the law.

Goemon is always accompanied by various allied characters; the best known is his inseparable companion, the fat ninja Ebisumaru, who is in charge of bringing comedic relief to the games they appear in with his strange behavior. Other ninjas who have helped him fight in many adventures are the ninja girl Yae and the android Sasuke. Also featured are the secondary characters Monoshiri Ojīsan (the Wise Old Man), who acts as a kind of mentor, and the beautiful villager Omitsu, who is Goemon's girlfriend.

The Ganbare Goemon series, due to its original gameplay and sense of humor, had great success in Japan and more than twenty video games were released in various platforms. However, in the West it has not been so widely distributed and only a few titles have been exported under the name of "Mystical Ninja".

In the future, his descendant is referred to by the same name.


Although in the anime he is given a more sweet caring outlook, he is very hot-blooded in the games. Always itching for a fight. He is known for his strong sense of justice, being the noble thief that he is. In early games, such as Mr. Goemon, he is portrayed as being more chivalrous and does not smile very often compared to later games. Beginning with The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, he is portrayed as more of a hero, defeating evil threats to Edo instead of stealing from the rich. Although he originally had many samurai and ninjas chasing him (due to a large bounty on his head), now his enemies are more often the main villain's henchmen. The Lord and Princess Yuki now see him in a more positive way, shown by their apology in Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Dōchū. In the Nintendo 64 games, many people that resemble his former enemies act in a friendly way to him. This change can be seen in Bōken Jidai Katsugeki Goemon, where he is not a thief at all.

Design evolution

Throughout the different installments of the Ganbare Goemon series, the character of Goemon has gone through important changes in his design:

  • Ancient Goemon: In his debut in the arcades, Goemon looked much more like the historical character. He was also drawn in the style of traditional paintings ukiyo-e, that is, with a large pear-shaped face, a huge nose and kabuki makeup. This style was abandoned in the sequels, although it remained on the covers of later games. At this stage in his design, Goemon already had his classic red ninja outfit and well-puffed black hair. In the sprites of the games, he always appeared with an angry face.
  • Classic Goemon: This is Goemon's best known design, where he has blue hair with spiky hair, big blue eyes and a huge smile with his traditional kabuki makeup. This design is the main and most used in the series. It is the result of an evolution of the art of the game that was given little by little on the covers of old games.
  • Bōken Jidai Goemon: In the video game Bōken Jidai Katsugeki Goemon, Goemon's character changed considerably. This game tried to reinvent the series with a more serious and western style. Here he is not a thief, but an adventurer seeking to save Japan. He also has a white tiger companion named Kotora who helps him fight. The protagonist looks more serious and young, and is drawn with a typical anime style of the 2000s. In addition, he doesn't have the classic kabuki makeup anymore.
  • Goemon New Age: This is a complete redesign that was used for the game Goemon: Shin Sedai Shūmei!. The idea behind ​​this video game was to reboot the Ganbare Goemon series, adding the subtitle "New Age" and becoming a new subseries, having a style widely used in anime for teenagers. This new series is set in the future, many years after the original series, so the Goemon that appears here is not the same as the classic and is probably a descendant of him. The new Goemon maintains some basic characteristics of the classic design, although many significant changes have been made in order to "modernize" it, such as now having punk anime hair, a more adolescent and youthful face, and a tall and slim body. His pipe has become gigantic and he carries it on his back.

Powers and abilities

Goemon uses his trusty kiseru as his main weapon.

Goemon is a fast and strong ninja who fights using his pipe. In video games, he is often seen using the following skills:

  • Basic movements: Typical of a platform video game character, he can run, jump and attack. In some games, he can crawl like a worm to get through tight spaces.
  • Kiseru: A great pipe Goemon always carries around and uses as a staff to smack and defeat enemies. In some games, items appear that make the kiseru bigger, longer and more powerful.
  • Coin toss: In addition to use the gold coins dropped from defeated enemies to buy things at stores, Goemon can also throw them as harmful projectiles (although some may argue that this actually means a waste of money). In some video games, he can charge them to shoot flaming coins.
  • Stealing vehicles: In some games, Goemon can steal the combat vehicles used by enemies to use them to his advantage, such as a fish-shaped boat or a powerful sumo robot.


Goemon also possess an array of magical techniques –or Ninjutsu– that are very different and diverse in each game, such as:

  • In The Legend of the Mystical Ninja:
    • Kobun Tiger: Goemon rides on a fierce tiger that eliminates enemies by running them over.
    • Lightning Blaster: Goemon can fire powerful beams that eliminate all enemies.
    • Super Goemon: Goemon becomes a superhero who can fly.
    • Kabuki Goemon: Goemon transforms into a kabuki artist and starts attacking with his hair like a whip.
  • In Ganbare Goemon Gaiden 2: Tenka no Zaihō:
    • Thunder: Learned at Lv. 4, it is a fist of thunder that deals 24 HP damage.
    • Tanker: Learned at Lv. 7, a projectile attack that deals 60 HP damage.
    • Deruderu: Learned at Lv. 12, escapes from a dungeon and returns to the entrance.
    • Crisp: Learned at Lv. 14, heals an ally in a "drunk" state.
    • Shake: Learned at Lv. 15, seismic attack that deals 40 HP damage to all enemies.
    • Hanafubuki: Learned at Lv. 18, paralyzes all enemies.
    • Speeder!: Learned at Lv. 19, temporarily doubles walking speed on the map.
    • Ri-Shake: Learned at Lv. 21, seismic attack that deals 60 HP damage to all enemies.
    • Missile: Learned at Lv. 22, a missile attack that deals 70 HP damage.
    • Lightning Punch: Learned at Lv. 24, a fist of thunder that deals 100 HP damage.
    • Adapt: Learned at Lv. 26, dodge all enemy attacks.

Goemon Impact

Main article: Goemon Impact

Goemon Impact, Goemon's giant robot and friend.

Advertisement for Karakuri Dōchū, which served as inspiration for Impact's design.

Goemon Impact is an extremely powerful giant robot that Goemon pilots to combat giant enemies, much in the style of Japanese tokusatsu shows. He appears in various video games in special sections where he advances destroying everything in his path while tiny enemies try in vain to stop him. These sections end in a duel against a giant enemy that is seen from inside the cockpit.

Goemon Impact's ridiculous design is based on an old Konami advertisement for the game Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Dōchū, where a man appeared in a Goemon costume and a huge mask that was used as Impact's head. He also wears the same uniform that was seen in Goemon's old design.

Special forms

Goemon Bomber - 03.png
Goemon Bomber
Goemon made his debut in the Bomberman series in 2016 in the video game Taisen! Bomberman. In this game, he appears as a selectable bomberman named "Goemon Bomber" (or "Goebomb"). The character would return the next year in the sequel, Super Bomberman R.

Appearances in video games

Ganbare Goemon series

  • Mr. Goemon (1986 - Arcade): A simple arcade game where Goemon must go through short levels avoiding guards. He can attack with his kiseru or by throwing items that he finds.
  • Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Dōchū (1986-87 - FC, MSX): Goemon is the protagonist of this 3/4 perspective action-role playing game. He attacks with his kiseru and can also pick up items that put him in a white costume and change his attack to throwing coins. The 1987 MSX port of this game introduces cooperative multiplayer mode with the addition of Nezumi Kozō, a ninja character who is assigned to the second player.
  • Ganbare Goemon 2 (1989 - FC): Starring Goemon. Ebisumaru appears for the first time as Goemon's partner, who is assigned to the second player in cooperative mode.
  • Ganbare Goemon Gaiden: Kieta Ōgon Kiseru (1990 - FC): A Japanese role-playing game in which Goemon, Ebisumaru, the lucky cat and the kunoichi Yae are part of the team.
  • Ganbare Goemon: Ebisumaru Kiki Ippatsu (1990 - LCD game): This is an old dedicated LCD game that consists of moving Goemon across the screen to try to rescue Ebisumaru.
  • The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (1991 - SNES): The first game to be released in the West. Goemon, renamed "Kid Ying", is joined by Ebisumaru in cooperative mode. As usual, he attacks with his trusty kiseru, but this time he can pick up items that enhance its attack power and reach by giving it an extendable chain or turning it into a powerful "yo-yo saw". He also has the ability to throw coins and bombs. He can also learn various arts of ninjutsu at training dojos that grant him temporary super abilities.
  • Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru! (1991 - GB): The player controls Goemon as he navigates enemy infested levels.
  • Ganbare Goemon Gaiden 2: Tenka no Zaihō (1992 - FC): Goemon's second role-playing game. The team for this new adventure are Goemon, Ebisumaru, and the new character Koryuta. In this game, for the first time Goemon can use special attacks (ninjutsu) in battle.
  • Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shōgun Magginesu (1993 - SFC): There are three selectable protagonists: Goemon, Ebisumaru, and for the first time, Sasuke. Goemon keeps his traditional attacks of hitting with his kiseru and flipping coins, and the ability to steal vehicles from enemies is also added to be able to drive them through the levels. This game also introduces Goemon's giant robot, Goemon Impact, which has its own combat levels where Goemon appears sitting in the cockpit.
  • Ganbare Goemon 3: Shishijūrokubē no Karakuri Manji Gatame (1994 - SFC): Starring Goemon and Ebisumaru, Sasuke and the ninja girl Yae are also playable characters. Goemon has all of his classic moves and also possesses the special ability to shoot fireballs, which are a more powerful version of the coin attack, as well as a magical power that allows him to double his offensive power but also reduces his defense.
  • Ganbare Goemon Kirakira Dōchū: Boku ga Dancer ni Natta Wake (1995 - SFC): This adventure takes place in outer space where Goemon, Ebisumaru, Sasuke and Yae are the protagonists and each must complete their own adventure on a different planet.
  • Ganbare Goemon: Uchū Kaizoku Akogingu (1996 - PS): Starring Goemon and Ebisumaru, and introducing two new selectable characters: Baban and Goroku. Gameplay takes place in classic 2D perspective, with an improvement in graphics and animations thanks to the new hardware. Goemon has all of his classic attacks. The game implements an experience system, allowing characters to improve their abilities when leveling up.
  • Soreyuke Ebisumaru Karakuri Meiro: Kieta Goemon no Nazo!! (1996 - SFC): An unorthodox puzzle game where the protagonist is Ebisumaru for the first time, who begins an adventure in search of his friend Goemon who is missing.
  • Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (1997 - N64): The first fully three-dimensional adventure in the series, starring its title character, Goemon. The game greatly expands on the Ganbare Goemon universe while still retaining some of its classic concepts (such as Goemon attacking with his trusty kiseru). This adventure will have Goemon and Ebisumaru travel all across Feudal Japan, meeting new friends such as Yae, Sasuke, the Wise Old Man and Koryuta, who will help them in their mission.
  • Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (1997 - GB): While having the same title as the Nintendo 64 game, this is an all new adventure for Goemon and his friends. Selectable characters include Goemon, Ebisumaru, and Sasuke. Goemon maintains his classic kiseru and coin toss attacks.
  • Ganbare Goemon (medal game) (1997 - arcade): Casino arcade medal video game starring Goemon and Ebisumaru.
  • Ganbare Goemon: Kuru Nara Koi! Ayashige Ikka no Kuroi Kage (1998 - PS): The second entry for the original PlayStation and a full 3D adventure like Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon for the N64. Selectable characters include Goemon, Ebisumaru, Sasuke and Yae. Instead of just hitting enemies, the player can now execute combos and special moves. Goemon's special attacks include a kiseru hook, a spinning kick, and an aerial punch.
  • Goemon's Great Adventure (1998 - N64): Starring Goemon. A platforming adventure using the same 3D graphics engine from Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon. As usual, Goemon has the ability to hit enemies with his kiseru, as well as as pipe with a chain; he can also throw coins and accumulate power to throw flaming coins, which are more powerful. He is given the new ability to perform double jumps in this entry.
  • Ganbare Goemon: Tengu-tō no Gyakushū! (1999 - GBC): For once. the protagonist of this game is a little boy from the real world named Hajime who is transported via a video game screen to Goemon's world. Throughout the story, Goemon and other well-known characters from the series will be incorporated as allies. Goemon's special attacks include the ability to increase his defense, increase his speed, and perform as fire attack.
  • Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Dōchū Tobidase Nabe-Bugyō! (1999 - GBC): Starring Goemon, who is accompanied by his friends who are also selectable as playable characters. Goemon's special attacks include a fire whip and multiple coins tossing.
  • Goemon: Mononoke Sugoroku (1999 - N64): A tabletop-styled game based in the classic Japanese sugoroku board game, where characters take turns to advance across the playfield fighting enemies along the way. There are eight selectable characters, including Goemon.
  • Bōken Jidai Katsugeki Goemon (2000 - PS2): This title drastically reinvents the Goemon character and the saga in general. Goemon is a young man who lives in the modest town of Edo, along with his parents, when fate leads him to start an adventure to rescue Japan from an alien race. Goemon is also assisted by a white tiger cub named Kotora who helps him in the fight. Goemon can use various types of weapons in addition to the kiseru, including a sword. He can also obtain magic coins that allow him to use special attack or healing techniques, such as an ice storm, a sea serpent, and a tornado spin.
  • Ganbare Goemon: Hoshizorashi Dynamites Arawaru!! (2000 - GBC): This is a side platformer starring Goemon and Ebisumaru. Each character has their own levels to play. Goemon keeps his classic moves.
  • Ganbare Goemon: Ōedo Daikaiten (2001 - PS): Starring Goemon. He has his ability to strike with the kiseru, as well as a pipe with a chain. He can also throw coins and charge up power to throw flaming coins.
  • Goemon: Shin Sedai Shūmei! (2001 - PS): This side platform game is set in the Edo of the future. The characters are modern versions of Goemon and his friends. The protagonist is a young man with a punk style and a giant kiseru also called Goemon. Surprisingly, the leader and mentor of the heroes –who always appears in the shadows– has the silhouette of the classic Goemon.
  • Goemon: New Age Shutsudō! (2001 - GBA): The protagonist is the New Age Goemon, while the mysterious leader of the team is once again a figure which resembles the classic Goemon.
  • Ganbare Goemon: Tsūkai Game Apli (2002 - mobile): A series of game apps for mobile phones starring Goemon.
  • Ganbare Goemon: Tōkai Dōchū Ōedo Tengu ri Kaeshi no Maki (2005 - NDS): Goemon is the protagonist and as usual he is accompanied by Ebisumaru, Sasuke and Yae. A group of enemy ninjas also appear who call themselves the "Mr. Goemon Gang", formed by impostors with horrendous disguises of Goemon and his friends. In addition to his classic attacks, Goemon can use a special ninjutsu that allows him to disguise himself as Goemon Impact and fire cannon shots all over the screen.

Wai Wai series

  • Konami Wai Wai World (1988 - FC, J2ME): Goemon is one of the playable characters in the first entry of this long-running crossover spinoff subseries of Konami mascot games. He has his classic kiseru smack attacks and coins flipping. He also has the unique ability to open the sealed chests that appear throughout the game.
  • Wai Wai World 2: SOS!! Parsley Castle (1990 - FC, Wii U): This time the protagonist is an android named Rickle who can transform into three different Konami characters for a limited time at the player's choice. Goemon is one of the selectable characters. His only attack is attacking with his kiseru.
  • Wai Wai Bingo (1993 - arcade): A bingo medal game starring Konami characters, including Goemon.
  • Wai Wai Jockey (1995 - arcade): A horse racing gambling medal game starring Konami characters, including Goemon.
  • Wai Wai Poker (1997 - arcade): A poker medal game starring Konami characters, including Goemon.
  • Konami Krazy Racers (2001 - GBA, Wii U): A kart racing game starring Konami characters. Goemon appears as one of the selectable pilots and is one of the most balanced. He shares the same ability as the other players to use random trap items.
  • Konami Wai Wai Sokoban (2006 - mobile): A sokoban game (puzzle game where the player has to push crates) for mobile phones starring Konami characters. Goemon is one of the playable characters.
  • Krazy Kart Racing (2009 - iOS, Android): Another kart racing game for smartphones and sequel to Konami Krazy Racers, now using 3D polygon based models. Goemon appears again as a selectable racer.

Parodius series

  • Parodius (1988 - MSX): Goemon is one of the selectable characters in this classic space shooter that parodies the Gradius video series (also by Konami).
  • Gokujō Parodius! (1994 - SFC): Goemon is selectable only in the Super Famicom version, where he wears an astronaut uniform. His "Laser" is a kiseru machine gun, his "Double" is throwing coins, his "Missile" consists of dropping bombs, his "Options" are lucky cats that replicate his attacks, and his "Shield" is the reduction ability, which makes him smaller and more resilient to some projectiles.

pop'n music series

In many games of this series, Goemon appears as the challenger character while playing the "Ganbare Goemon Medley" theme.

Other franchises

  • Ganbare Pennant Race! (1989 - FC): A fairly conventional classic Konami baseball video game, where Goemon appears as a selectable character.
  • Hai no Majutsushi (1989 - MSX): A traditional mahjong game where the playable characters are the renowned Konami heroes, including Goemon.
  • Scribblenauts (2011 - Nintendo DS): Goemon appears as a guest character in the game.
  • Monster Retsuden ORECA BATTLE (2012 - arcade): Goemon appears as one of the featured monsters. In his initial form, he has a boyish appearance that closely resembles the classic Goemon. While in his evolved form (Gizoku Goemon), however, he is an adult and more closely resembles the legendary Ishikawa Goemon.
  • Kingdom Dragonion (2015 - iOS, Android): Goemon appears as one of the monsters the player can add to their card collection. His main attack consists in attacking with his kiseru.
  • Mah-jong Fight Club SP (2016 - iOS, Android): Goemon was included as a special "Petit Pro" character.
  • Taisen! Bomberman (2016 - iOS, Android): Goemon Bomber is one of the selectable bombermen.
  • Super Bomberman R (2017 - Switch): Goemon Bomber is one of the selectable bombermen.


Ishikawa Goemon

Main article: Ishikawa Goemon

The thief that Goemon is based on. He has been the star of many kabuki plays and puppet theaters, like Sanmon Gosan no Kiri.

Other appearances

Goemon, along with Ebisumaru, Yae and Sasuke, have cards in the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game. This character's card is "Goe Goe the Gallant Ninja", likely changed as to not seem out of place in Yu-Gi-Oh's universe, similar to how Simon Belmont's card is named "Vampire Hunter".

Goemon has also commonly appeared in Konami's Wai Wai crossover series of games, including Konami Wai Wai World, Wai Wai World 2, Wai Wai Jockey, Wai Wai Poker, Wai Wai Racing (released in English-speaking countries as Konami Krazy Racers), Wai Wai Bingo, Konami Wai Wai Sokoban and Krazy Kart Racing. Goemon also appeared in pop'n music 12: Iroha as a cameo character.

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, appears as a Mii Costume for the Mii Swordfighter as part of Wave 3.

Other media



See: Goemon/Gallery

See also