|Anime Debut||From Beyond the Twilight|
|Japanese Voice Actors||Takayuki Sugou|
|English Voice Actors||R. Bruce Elliot|
Wanyūdō is one of the companions of Ai. He appears in all three seasons of Jigoku Shōjo. He is played by Hisahiro Ogura in the live-action television series.
Wanyūdō's appearance is that of a normal old man, but his age is more than 400 years. But as he used to be a tsukumogami, which usually requires an object to live for about 100 years before becoming one, he might actually be a bit more than 500 years old. His appearance has always been like this ever since he had his human form, which is due to the fact that he doesn't age, similarly to Ai and her other companions.
Wanyūdō is bald, to the point where he looks like his head is completely shaven. His hair colour is black, shown by his eyebrows. His eyebrows are of bigger than average size. His eyes are so narrowly opened that they look like they are shut all the time. He does open his eyes wide when he transforms into a wheel, which has shown that the colour of his eyes are black.
Wanyūdō wears traditional Japanese types of clothing. His normal attire is a dark red brown haori, which he wears over a yukata of khaki colour. The obi that keeps his yukata tied is black in colour. Underneath the yukata, he wears a white coloured nagajuban. For his footwear, he wears a pair of straw zōri over a pair of black tabi. Additionally, he always wears a light gray fedora (a wide-brimmed hat). He also wears a red scarf around his neck most of the times.
In Jigoku Shōjo Mitsuganae, his normal attire has changed to a brown haori, which he wears over a dark gray yukata, and underneath which he wears a purple nagajuban. He still wears the same kind of fedora he used to wear, but he only rarely seems to wear the red scarf anymore.
In the distant past, when he first appeared as a human, he used to wear a white set of clothes, over which he wore a black sweater. He also used to wear no tabi with his zōri back then. On his head, he used to wear a large straw hat instead, which had strings hanging from both sides that were tied near the chin.
As a straw doll, he appears to be black in colour, with a red string tied around his neck. He also has another form where he takes an appearance of a wooden wheel, with his face as the hubcap, and his rim enveloped on fire that never goes out.
He can even turn into a carriage, where he once again appears in his wheel form as the left wheel, though both of the wheels of this carriage is on fire. As a carriage, he is coloured black and red, and has the black symbol on his back that appears on the chest of people who are bound by Ai's service to go to hell after their death.
Most of the times, Wanyūdō is calm and mild-mannered. He usually seems to be reluctant to take the aggressive path to do something, and is able to keep his temper cool in situations where it isn't easy to do so. He also seems to be quite knowledgeable about a lot of things and events, which are usually supernatural, which the other companions of Ai don't know much about. He often figures out a lot of things and events before the other companions manage to figure them out on their own. Like the other companions of Ai, he is very obedient of Ai's orders.
Wanyūdō has also been shown to joke around sometimes, though it is still uncommon for him to do so. He keeps a smile on his face in good frequency. He is also a habitual smoker.
He seems to like all of the companions of Ai, and Ai herself, but seems to dislike Kikuri most of the times.
Wanyūdō was a wheel of a two-wheeled carriage that used to be pulled by two oxen, which is to say that he was a tsukumogami. He was specifically the left wheel if the carriage is viewed from the back. The carriage used to belong to a royal family more than 400 years ago, though the requirements for Wanyūdō to become a tsukumogami means that it could have belonged to them for more than even 500 years.
One day, a war had broken out against this royal family, and three of the warriors secured the princess and two others inside this carriage to make a getaway. One of the three warriors served as the driver of the carriage, and the two others rode on the back to assume a defensive position. But unfortunately, the enemies caught up to them while they were moving along a cliff, and they were caught in a battle. The enemies shot the carriage with fire arrows, and the carriage soon caught on fire, for which the driver and the oxen all lost their controls. The two warriors on the back managed to get off by jumping, but the coach fell off the cliff shortly, and everyone aboard died from the fire and from falling from such a height.
After the carriage crashed into the ground, the left wheel, which is Wanyūdō himself, came off and rolled to a distance before coming to a rest, and then continued to burn. It was then that Wanyūdō turned from a tsukumogami to a yōkai and got a new form. In this new form, he appeared as the same wooden wheel that he was, but a human face that newly belonged to him replaced his hubcap, and he was on an eternally burning fire. From then on, he had the ability to do as he wished, and had many mysterious abilities, one of which was the reason he never burned up even if he was on fire. From then on, he started running up and down the same cliff every night, terrorizing and scaring anybody who passed by the cliff at that time.
The rumors about him spread in the nearby village, who thought of him as a ghost holding a grudge against humans. Ai, who happened to come to this village at one time to provide her service heard about him from the people of the village while she was undercover. This got her interested enough to set out in search for Wanyūdō the next night. It was then that Ai and Wanyūdō met each other, and Ai invited him to join her. After Wanyūdō accepted the offer, Ai gave him a new human form, which is his current form.
And thus, Wanyūdō became the first of Ai's companions. In fact, not much time had passed in between him becoming her first companion, and Ai herself turning into Jigoku Shōjo, both of which has happened around 400 years ago.
In Jigoku Shōjo Mitsuganae, after the death of Ai, Wanyūdō lived his life seemingly in peace as a construction worker for a while, until Kikuri arrived to recruit him again with the words that Ai is back. For the rest of Mitsuganae, he served as a janitor at Yuzuki's school in Saigawara City. Near the end, he was the only one of Ai's companions who came to the aid of Yuzuki, who newly and temporarily became the Jigoku Shōjo, but he returned to being Ai's companion after she became the Jigoku Shōjo again.
While investigating the clients or antagonists of Ai's service, Wanyūdō has the ability to magically change his clothes. He can create an illusion in the minds of people when needed to make them think that he is someone specific or someone else, or to make them think that they know him for a long time already.
At the request of Ai, he can transform into a straw doll like the other companions. As a straw doll, he is black in colour, with a red string tied around his neck. When told to transform into the straw doll, he usually tosses his red scarf around his neck before transforming. Later on, he instead tilts his hat towards the front before transforming, though sometimes he switches to the older move too.
He can also transform into a wheel, which is his original form after he turned into a yōkai. In this form, he appears as the same wooden wheel that he once was, but his face replaces the hubcap, and his rim is on fire. In this form, he can move around and do anything that a human face can do. He can also levitate or fly around in this form, and cause things near him to catch on fire at will.
He can even transform into a carriage - the same carriage that he once was the wheel of. As a carriage, he is black and red, and has the black symbol on his back that appears on the chest of people who are bound by Ai's service to go to hell after their death. He has nothing to pull him in this form, but he can independently move on his own anyways. In this form, he can also levitate or fly around, and it is the method that he uses most often to move around in this form. He also seems to be able to take some magical attacks in this state without causing any damage to himself. He often turns into this form to serve Ai by taking her to the normal world when she is about to take someone to hell, even though she can go there by herself.
He has the ability to possess any wheel or any vehicle with one or more wheel. This includes turbines used to produce electricity from running water, to vehicles like cars. When he possesses these, he has the ability to control the wheel, or control the whole vehicle in the case of vehicles.
Despite appearing mild-mannered and aged, Wanyūdō has great skills in martial arts, which he had used against two men to protect Kikuri. He also has strength much greater than that of a normal human, as shown when he stopped a moving truck with his hands from falling down the same cliff that he fell from as a wheel of a carriage in the past.
He also seems to have many fire related abilities due to the circumstances of his transformation into a yōkai. For this, he seems to have the ability to be on fire in his wheel form all the time, while it is of no damage to him. He also has the ability to make things near him catch on fire while in his wheel form, as mentioned earlier. He can also shoot projectiles of fire with his hands in his human form with great accuracy.
- Wanyūdō's name roughly translates to mean 'a wheel on a road', or alternatively 'wheel monk', the former referring to his original form, and the latter referring to both that and the fact that his appearance resembles a monk.
- Wanyūdō is based on a yōkai of the same name in real life Japanese mythology and folklore. This yōkai is also described as a burning oxcart wheel with the face of a tormented man, and is also said to scare townsfolk as it passes by.