focuses on the young Kitarō—the last survivor of the Ghost Tribe—and his adventures with other ghouls and strange creatures of Japanese mythology. Along with: the remains of his father, Medama-Oyaji (a mummified Ghost tribesman reincarnated to inhabit his old eyeball); Nezumi-Otoko (the rat-man); Neko-Musume (the cat-girl); and a host of other folkloric creatures, Kitarō strives to unite the worlds of humans and Yōkai.

Many storylines involve Kitarō facing off with myriad monsters from other countries, such as the Chinese vampire Yasha, the Transylvanian Dracula IV, and other such non-Japanese creations. In addition to this, Kitarō also locks heads with various malevolent Yōkai who threaten the balance between the Japanese creatures and humans.[8]

Some storylines make overt reference to traditional Japanese tales, most notably the folk tale of Momotarō, in which the young hero defends a Japanese territory from demons with the help of the native animals. The Kitarō series The Great Yōkai War (Japanese: 妖怪大戦争, hepburn Yōkai Daisensō) draws a great deal of influence from this story, with Kitarō and his Yōkai friends driving a group of Western ghouls away from an island.[9][10]

While the character of Kitarō in GeGeGe no Kitarō is a friendly boy who genuinely wants the best outcome for humans and Yōkai alike, his earlier incarnation in Kitarō of the Graveyard portrays him as a much more darkly mischievous character. His apparent lack of empathy for humans combines with his general greed and desire for material wealth drives him to act in an unbecoming manner towards the human characters—often deceptively leading them into nightmarish situations or even to hell itself.[11]