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Ganbare Goemon (がんばれゴエモン? lit. "Go for it Goemon"), known as the Mystical Ninja series internationally, is a video game series created and produced by Konami. Etsunobu Ebisu is the joint producer of the franchise.

These games revolve around the main character, Goemon, and his exploits. As the name suggests, his character is loosely based on Ishikawa Goemon, the noble thief of Japanese folklore. While the early games of this title emphasized Goemon as a noble thief, he eventually becomes more of a standard video game hero character. His trademarks are his blue bushy hair and weapon of choice, the kiseru. The games are set in a cartoon-like, mystical Feudal Japan. Within this world, every bit of folklore and legend about Japan is true. Although the series has its roots in action adventure, the Ganbare Goemon series has features from genres including role-playing, puzzle games, and board games. Ganbare Goemon has proven to be widely popular in Japan with its many video games, with its success spawning a wide series of merchandise and an anime and manga series.

Konami has generally regarded the Goemon games as too specific to the Japanese market to be released worldwide. However, five of them have been released overseas: The Legend of the Mystical Ninja for the Super NES, Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon and Goemon's Great Adventure for the Nintendo 64, and two titles for the Game Boy.

In 2002-2003, a mobile phone was released for the titled Ganbare Goemon: Tsūkai Game Apli series.

The last original game of the series was Ganbare Goemon: Tōkai Dōchū Ōedo Tengu ri Kaeshi no Maki, released in Japan for the Nintendo DS in 2005. Since then, the series has been used primarily as themes for Konami's pachislot machines.



These are the main characters of almost all the games. Yae and Sasuke joined in later games but they are now full members of the gang.

The main protagonist and titular character of the series, he is a hot-blooded man of Edo. With a strong sense of justice and will, he will right whatever wrong there is in front of him, although he has a short temper and tends to get upset rather easily. (Renamed "Kid Ying" in the North American release of The Legend of the Mystical Ninja for the SNES. In the North American releases of Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon and Goemon's Great Adventure, his name is correctly translated to Goemon.) He primarily uses a variety of kiseru as his weapon of choice, as well as throwing ryō, and using a "chain-kiseru" in later games. Also, in the future, his descendant is referred to by the same name. His original voice actor was Shinichirō Ōta, but this has since switched to Yasunori Matsumoto. He has his own Monster Card in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game and Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG, known as "Goe-Goe the Gallant Ninja".
Goemon's longest standing partner and best friend: a surprisingly pudgy ninja, with an equally puzzling eccentric personality. This character is based on Konami developer Etsunobu Ebisu. (Renamed "Dr. Yang" in the North American release of The Legend of the Mystical Ninja for the SNES. In the North American releases of Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon and Goemon's Great Adventure, his name is correctly translated to Ebisumaru.) He uses a different weapon in almost every game. His weapons are also quite unorthodox, being items such as flutes, party whistles, fans, frying pans, mallets, boxing gloves, hula hoops, and a gymnastic ribbon. His special powers for some of the games are also peculiar, bordering on humorous, including spinning in a tutu to destroy blocks, or his green poison gas attack (which might be a euphemistic reference to it actually being flatulence). Ebisumaru also has a daughter named Mao (she also makes a brief appearance at the end of Goemon's Great Adventure). He also has a brother called Obisumaru who loathes him, and a descendant from the future called Sister Bismaru (a nun). In the ending of the Famicom game Ganbare Goemon 2, it is revealed that Ebisumaru is in fact a girl, but this is not canon in any of the other games and not meant to be taken seriously. To further add to his bizarreness and the overall anachronistic elements of the games, he claims he's the descendant of American actor James Dean, despite that claim being chronologically impossible. His voice actor is Kenichi Ogata in all voiced media and he speaks with an unusual Kansai accent. He also has a Yu-Gi-Oh! card, named "Masked Ninja Ebisu".
A clockwork robot ninja. He was created by Monoshiri and often joins Goemon and Ebisumaru on their quests. A very naive and honest character, he sometimes fails to grasp jokes or irony. However, he also seems to have a switch that can make him from good to evil and vice versa. He is most famously known as the boss of the fifth stage in The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, where he fought Goemon and Ebisumaru atop a giant ninja kite. Sasuke fights using all manner of weapons, including twin kunai, miniature explosives, and even his spiked topknot. He shows some signs of gender confusion, at one point in Goemon's Great Adventure asking why he cannot "make a good wife someday", as well in the intro to Ganbare Goemon 4 where is he dressed in female clothing. He is based on the fictional ninja Sarutobi Sasuke. His voice actor is Junko Hori, and he speaks in very polite samurai speech, often punctuating his lines with "de gozaru". He has his very own Monster Card in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG and Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG, known as "Sasuke Samurai". He also has three other series of Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Cards, "Sasuke Samurai #2", "Sasuke Samurai #3", and "Ninja Grandmaster Sasuke".
A kunoichi that works for the Secret Investigational Ninja, a secret organization of peacekeepers. She often joins Goemon and Ebisumaru on their adventures under the same goal. In battle, Yae usually wields a katana, as well as her personal bazooka, and the ability to transform into a mermaid. She is depicted as level-headed and is the voice of reason compared to her comrades, who are either not so serious or too serious. Her voice actor is Rumi Kasahara. She also has her very own Monster Card in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG and Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG, known as "Lady Ninja Yae".


These characters appear in most games.

The local belle of Edo who works at the local tea shop. She is basically Goemon's girlfriend, although he is scared of her due to her rather fiery temper and tendency to attack him. She is also a constant target of foes. Omitsu also tends to get very jealous if Goemon is caught talking to another woman for any reason. According to the anime series, she is the granddaughter of Monoshiri and prepares ohagi that fuels Goemon's power to fight his enemies, although this was never needed for Goemon in the games.
A brilliant genius of clockwork machines who lives deep in Iga. Although a good fellow, he is also a big pervert. This trait was bowdlerized for the North American release of Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon, however; instead of collecting hentai magazines, he collects car magazines (the Mystical Ninja starring Goemon anime series, however, still depicts Monoshiri as a flirtatious girl-crazy old man). He is depicted as a very short man but wears high heeled wooden geta to make him appear taller.
A giant clockwork robot made by Monoshiri Ojīsan. With a frightful motif modeled after Goemon himself, it was built to help Goemon take on giant foes, but more often than not, he acts as a famous movie star in various parts of the world, and even has a planet named after himself. He shares Goemon's strong sense of justice, and enjoys fighting for the team. He also has a love of dancing, particularly disco.
The rulers of Edo. Despite this, they do little that inspires leadership. More often than not, they too are preyed on by evildoers and generally end up on the receiving end of very unfortunate accidents, even when they have relatively nothing to do with the current story's events. The lord and princess are described in the manual for Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon 2: "They are born to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time." Yuki has a significant role in Ganbare Goemon Pachisuro, notably singing a song during gameplay.

Related media[]


Original video animation[]


Goemon is the protagonist of many manga based on the video game series. There are several series, each one based on a different game. Most of the manga were illustrated by artist Hiroshi Obi and were published between 1991 and 1998 to accompany the release of each new game.

List of games[]

Original title Localized title(s) Regions First
Mr. Goemon - JP 1986 Arcade
Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Dōchū - JP 1986 Famicom, MSX2
Mobile phones
Ganbare Goemon 2 - JP 1989 Famicom, i-revo, Wii VC, 3DS VC
Super Famicom, Wii VC, Wii U VC
Ganbare Goemon Gaiden: Kieta Ōgon Kiseru - JP 1990 Famicom, Wii VC, 3DS VC
Mobile phones
Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyūshutsu Emaki The Legend of the Mystical Ninja JP, NA, EUR 1991 SNES, Wii VC, Wii U VC
Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru! Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
(in Konami GB Collection, Vol. 3)
JP, EUR 1991 Game Boy, 3DS VC
Ganbare Goemon Gaiden 2: Tenka no Zaihō - JP 1992 Famicom
Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shōgun Magginesu - JP 1993 Super Famicom
Ganbare Goemon 3 - JP 1994 Super Famicom, Wii VC, Wii U VC
Ganbare Goemon Kirakira Dōchū: Boku ga Dancer ni Natta Wake - JP 1995 Super Famicom
Ganbare Goemon: Uchū Kaizoku Akogingu - JP 1996 PlayStation, PlayStation Network
Ganbare Goemon: Kurofune Tou no Nazo Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon JP, NA, EUR 1997 Game Boy, 3DS VC
Ganbare Goemon: Neo Momoyama Bakufu no Odori Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon JP, NA, EUR 1997 Nintendo 64
Ganbare Goemon: Derodero Douchuu Obake Tenkomori Goemon's Great Adventure (NA)
Mystical Ninja 2 Starring Goemon
JP, NA, EUR 1998 Nintendo 64
Ganbare Goemon: Kuru Nara Koi! Ayashige Ikka no Kuroi Kage - JP 1998 PlayStation
Ganbare Goemon: Tengu-tō no Gyakushū! - JP 1999 Game Boy Color
Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Dōchū Tobidase Nabe-Bugyō! - JP 1999 Game Boy Color
Ganbare Goemon: Hoshizorashi Dynamites Arawaru!! - JP 2000 Game Boy Color
Ganbare Goemon: Ōedo Daikaiten - JP 2001 PlayStation
Mini Kyodai Robo Goemon Compact - JP 2003 Mobile phones
Kessakusen! Ganbare Goemon 1•2: Yukihime to Magginesu
(port of the first two Super Famicom games with extra mini-games)
- JP 2005 Game Boy Advance
Ganbare Goemon: Shishijūrokubē no Karakuri Manji Gatame - JP 2005 Mobile phones
Ganbare Goemon: Tōkai Dōchū Ōedo Tengu ri Kaeshi no Maki - JP 2005 Nintendo DS

Other appearances[]

Relation to the Castlevania series[]

Owing to both franchises being created by Konami, the two series have occasionally referenced each other. In particular, in both Ganbare Goemon Gaiden 2: Tenka no Zaihō and Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shōgun Magginesu, a boss character (secret boss in the latter game) named Draculan was fought. As implied by the name, the boss had a similar appearance and attack strategy to Dracula. The former game also had Simon Belmont making a cameo appearance, with his name also being selectable. Likewise, the protagonist, Goemon, had a cameo appearance in Castlevania: Harmony of Despair during the Esquisse of Violence stage as a collectable item.

External links[]