These games revolve around the main character Goemon, and his exploits. As the name suggests, his character was 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 cartoony, mystical Feudal Japan, where 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 RPG, puzzle games, and board games. Ganbare Goemon has proven to be widely popular in Japan. Along with its many video games (with more being produced to this day), it has spawned a wide series of merchandise and several anime and manga series.
Only four of its games have been released overseas: three for the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 consoles, and one for the Game Boy.
- <span id="Goemon"/>
- Goemon (ゴエモン): 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. (Renamed "Kid Ying" in the North American release of "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 smoking pipes as his weapon of choice. Also in the future his son is referred to by the same name. His original voice actor was Shinichirō Ōta.
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- Ebisumaru (エビス丸): Goemon's longest standing partner and best friend: a surprisingly pudgy ninja, with an equally puzzling eccentric personality. According to the Mystical Website of Goemon, this character is derived from Nezumi Kozō. (Renamed "Dr. Yang" in the North American release of "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 quite unorthodox, being items such as fans or mallets. Ebisumaru also has a daughter named Mao, according to the Mystical Website of Goemon (She also makes a brief appearance at the end of Goemon's Great Adventures). 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 Gambare Goemon 2, it is revealed that Ebisumaru is in fact a girl. Which might explain why the character usually has feminine tendencies. His voice actor is Kenichi Ogata.
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- Omitsu (おみつ): The local belle of Edo. She is basically Goemon's girlfriend, although he lacks the courage to approach her. She is also a likely target of foes.
- <span id="Yae"/>
- Yae (ヤエ): A kunoichi that works for the Secret Investigational Ninja, a secret organization of peace keepers. 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. Her voice actor is Rumi Kasahara.
- <span id="Monoshiri Ojisan"/>
- Monoshiri Ojisan (物知りお爺さん, lit. "The Wise Old Man"): A brilliant genius of clockwork machines who lives deep in Iga. Although a good fellow, he is also a big pervert.
- <span id="Sasuke"/>
- Sasuke (サスケ): A clockwork robot ninja. He was created by Monoshiri and often joins Goemon and Ebisumaru on their quest. A very naive and honest character. However, he also seems to have a switch that can make him from good to evil and vice-versa. 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 Mystical Ninja 2 asking why he cannot 'make a good wife someday'. He is based on the fictional ninja Sarutobi Sasuke. His voice actor is Junko Hori.
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- Ebisu: She's the best friend to the Goemon in the future. She wields the same weapons as Ebisumaru and possibly is his daughter.
- The Feudal Lord of Edo and Princess Yuki: The Rulers of Edo. Despite this, they do little that inspires leadership. More often than not, they too are preyed on by evil doers, as 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.
- <span id="Goemon Impact"/>
- Goemon Impact (ゴエモンインパクト): A giant clockwork robot made by Monoshiri Ojisan. 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.
- <span id="Miss Impact"/>
- Miss Impact (ミスインパクト): A female counterpart to Goemon Impact. Was created by the Wise Man as a counterpart to Goemon Impact, and is modeled after Omitsu. Omitsu refuses to notice the similarities... Goemon Impact fell in love with her at first sight and planned to ask her out. However, since Miss Impact has not been seen since "Goemon's Great Adventure" it is unknown how their relationship worked out.
- <span id="Suzaku"/>
- Suzaku (スザク):
- <span id="Yui"/>
- Yui (ユイ):
Original Video Animation
A single-episode thirty-minute OVA was released in Japan in 1993 titled Ganbare Goemon: Jigen Jō no Akumu (がんばれゴエモン 次元城の悪夢, , "The Nightmare of the Dimensional Castle"). The OVA starred the voice of Daiki Nakamura as Goemon and Hideyuki Umezu as Ebisumaru and feature segments parodying Gradius, Akumajō Dracula and TwinBee.
List of games by platform
Family Computer (Famicom)
- 1986: Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Douchuu (re-released on Game Boy Advance in 2004 under the Famicom Mini label)
- 1989: Ganbare Goemon 2
- 1990: Ganbare Goemon Gaiden: Kieta Ougon Kiseru
- 1992: Ganbare Goemon Gaiden: Tenka no Zaihou
- 1991: The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyuushutsu Emaki in Japan)
- 1993: Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shogun Magginesu
- 1994: Ganbare Goemon 3: Shichijuurokubei no Karakuri Manji Gatame
- 1995: Ganbare Goemon Kirakira Douchuu: Boku ga Dancer ni Natta Wake
- 1996: Soreyuke Ebisumaru! Karakuri Meiro - Kieta Goemon no Nazo!! (puzzle game starring Ebisumaru)
- 1996: Ganbare Goemon: Uchuu Kaizoku Akogingu
- 1998: Ganbare Goemon: Kuru Nara Koi! Ayashige Ikka no Kuroi Kage
- 2001: Ganbare Goemon: Oedo Daikaiten
- 2002: Goemon: Shin Sedai Shuumei! (a futuristic spin-off of the series)
- 1991: Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru!
- This game appeared in English on the European Game Boy Color compilation Konami GB Collection Vol.3, where it was titled "Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon"
- 1997: Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (Ganbare Goemon: Kurofune Tou no Nazo in Japan)
Game Boy Color
- 1999: Ganbare Goemon: Tengu-tou no Gyakushuu!
- 1999: Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Douchuu Tobidase Nabe-Bugyou!
- 2000: Ganbare Goemon: Hoshizorashi Dynamites Arawaru!!
Game Boy Advance
- 2001: Goemon: New Age Shutsudou! (a futuristic spin-off of the series)
- 2005: Ganbare Goemon 1+2: Yuki-hime to Magginisu (port of the first two Super NES games with extra mini-games)
- This game is a port of the first two Super Famicom games, Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyuuhutsu Emaki and Ganbare Goemon: Kiteretsu Shogun Magginessu.
- Differences in Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyuuhutsu Emaki include:
- You can play with Ebismaru alternating with Goemon.
- This is a single player game (the cooperative 2-player mode from the original version was removed in this version).
- You can now save your game instead of using the long passwords from the original version (in the Japanese version of this game, you can save your game using hiragana characters, and in the English version, using various non-letter and non-number symbols found on the keyboard).
- 1997: Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (Ganbare Goemon: Neo Momoyama Bakufu no Odori in Japan)
- 1999: Goemon's Great Adventure (Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon 2 in Europe; Ganbare Goemon: Derodero Douchu Obake Tenkomori in Japan)
- 1999: Goemon Mononoke Sugoroku
- 2000: Goemon: Bouken Jidai Katsugeki (a more serious spin-off of the series; the now defunct Working Designs attempted to release this game in America as "Mystical Ninja Goemon", but Sony would not approve the title.)
- 2005: Goemon: Toukai Douchuu
- Goemon appears as a playable character in the Konami crossovers Wai Wai World and Wai Wai World 2 for the Famicom, in the original MSX Parodius, in the Super Famicom version of Gokujō Parodius! ～Kako no Eikō o Motomete～ and in Konami Krazy Racers for the Game Boy Advance, the latter being the latest game released in America in which a Ganbare Goemon character makes an appearance.
- Ebisumaru is the second player in the Super Famicom version of Gokujō Parodius! ～Kako no Eikō o Motomete～ and is a secret character in Konami Krazy Racers.
- Impact makes an appearance as one of the bosses of Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius.
- Goemon, Yae, and Sasuke appear as cards in Yu-Gi-Oh. Other robots made by Wise Old Man also appear as cards, all are named Sasuke Samurai and are numbered.
- Seppukumaru and his Egg-like Henchmen Tsujigiri from Ganbare Goemon 4 for the super Famicom make appearances as the main villains in the Ganbare Goemon Anime series.
- Goemon and Ebisumaru made short cameo appearances in the Twinbee OVA, Twinbee Paradise, as judges in a female beauty contest when Pastel (Twinbee) accidentally eats some shrinking cookies.
- Goemon can be seen inside the bar before interviewing a dancer in Snatcher. Ironically, many of the Konami characters are also in the bar ranging from Castlevania to Contra.
- Official Konami of Japan Ganbare Goemon site
- 'Ganbare Goemon series at MobyGames
- Mystical Ninja/Ganbare Goemon Hardcore Gaming 101's page for Ganbare Goemon series
- Goemon International
- Goemon Mystical Ninja Wikia