Sunday, January 31, 2010

Garo #24

August, 1966: Garo issue #23. As with #22, the magazine held up pretty well for its age, although the glue in the spine is badly degraded and the staples have really rusted. This issue is 202 pages long, and over 1/3 of that belongs to Kamui. Sanpei can't quite maintain an average output of 100 pages per month, I guess.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #21

Kamui follows various intrigues, and is in turn followed by Saesa, who has become a shinobi in order to find him. At one point, they both try testing Koruko (the crazy guy on the cover) to find out whether he's really all that strong, or is being used as a front by another ninja. Looks like the latter is the case, which presents a problem because the one using Red Eye to kill others is both the little sister's would-be lover, and Kamui's next target to rub out - Shousuke. 84 pages.

ジャーナリズムの中のヴェトナム (Journalism in Vietnam) #17
Another a 2-page text-only essay by Koshi Ueno (上野昂志).

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #3

More of Katsumata Susumu's (勝又進) short-panel gags. This time, there's 5 pages of them. The two top gags on this page are self-explanatory. Most of the rest are fairly involved and require some cultural knowledge to comprehend.

祖国は誰のものぞ (Whose Fatherland is This?)

Set in Denmark during WW II, this cautionary tale centers around a Dane that refuses to be part of the protests against the Nazi occupation of his small town. He's a school teacher that tries to straddle the gap between the occupiers and the resistance forces, and is derided by both sides. Finally, he is forced to teach propaganda to his students, and rather than cave in, he speaks his mind, warning the townsfolk of what is about to become of them. Of course, this small act of rebellion costs him his life. 29 pages.

Suzuki Shigeru (鈴木茂) is actually a fairly common name, and there are 5 entries for him in the Japanese wiki, none of which seem to be an obvious match (a couple religious types, an industrialist and a guitarist). Half are too young to qualify, and the other half don't mention any artistic output.

青空太郎の絵日記 (Aozora Tarou's Picture Diary) #7

(Visualize change.)

In the comments for the last Garo issue, I'd stated that I'd overlooked scanning Mitsuo's gag manga, but that it wasn't much of a loss. I'm making up for it this time by making his story one of the two featured on Nihon-go Hunter. In this chapter, two would-be ninja are trying to turn into trees, but their master is unimpressed by the results. Finally, one of the students succeeds at becoming a convincing tree, but suffers the consequences when the master breaks off a branch as part of the testing. By Mitsuo Fujizawa (藤沢光男).

日本忍法伝 (Japan Ninja Arts Legend) #11

The next 6 pages of the on-going essay by Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木 守) and Satsuko Okamoto (岡本 颯子).

宇宙の出来事 (Space Event)

This is a simple text-less story that runs 19 pages. A scientist approaches a snake charmer to have music played into a balloon. The balloon is placed in a rocket and fired into space. Eventually, it crashes onto another planet, and the alien there tries to analyze the notes he captures to figure out what they are. In the last panel, he's managed to reverse engineer the flute to make the music himself.

There are a couple of Japanese hits on Tashiro Tamehiro ( 田代為寛) to indicate that he'd continued doing some manga, but there's not much to really go on.

諸行無常有響 (The Sound of Impermanence)

Kuniko Tsurita (つりた くにこ) is back with another of her bizarre space fantasies featuring Ishinomori and Nezumi Otoko. This time, the rocket suffers a malfunction (the captain claims that it must be crew incompetence because foreign-made rockets work perfectly) and they crash-land on a planet inhabited by Poplers. No, wait, by tasty little critters that ask to sign a mutual non-aggression pact with the humans. Problem is, there's no other food on the planet, and before the crew starves to death, they break the pact and eat all the little critters. Shortly after, another ship crashes, and a really big alien shows up, complaining of being hungry. One of the crew suggests they sign a non-aggression pact...

ベム (BEM)

Rather than being a bug-eyed monster, BEM is a retro-style robot. Its creator is initially pleased with himself for making the first self-aware intelligent robot, but it starts asking for a metallic outer skin and a stronger motor, giggling weirdly etc. When it starts hanging out looking over the scientist's shoulder, he panics and smashes it to pieces with a monkey wrench.

Nothing coming up for Norihiro Takeyama (竹山ノリヒロ) except for some mentions of being in Garo.

アメーバ (Amoeba)

A scientist develops a new form of amoeba, but his boss wants to claim the credit for the work. The scientist rebels, and everyone in the lab disses him for not being "a team player". Eventually the amoeba grows large enough to try to eat him, and in the resulting struggle both of them die. In the end, the lab president has the last laugh because tradition has been maintained and the misfit eliminated.

Nothing much on Shigeaki Tsuge (柘植茂晃).

マチコミ (Machi Comi)

This seems to be a commentary on mass communications. An artist suddenly finds himself being overwhelmed by requests by representatives of monster newspapers and magazines to create strips for them. He collapses from exertion, and a doctor comments that the monsters feed on creative thoughts. The artist realizes that he's going to die from over-popularity. This is the first of two more stories from Shigeru Mizuki.

五円玉 (5 Yen Coin)

This is the second of the two stories by Shigeru. Again, I liked this one enough to run it on Nihongo Hunter. On an isolated road way back in the hills, someone dropped a 5 yen coin. What happens when different people find it? First is Yoshiharu Tsuge, who's disappointed that it's only 5 yen, and then makes a silly pun about snot. Second is Akira Ogawa ("Poem of heaven and weeds"), who rants about someone somewhere crying over the loss of this coin and demanding that the readers turn found change into the police. Third is Shigeru himself, in the form of Nezumi Otoko, who says "don't laugh at 5 yen", while pocketing the coin. Finally, we have Sanpei's Kamui, who spends three pages leaping from tree to tree, dropping in to examine the "strange object", then tossing it away when he realizes it's just a 5 yen coin.


Over all comments: There's a fair amount of social and political commentary this time. About half of the manga works, and the other half is just "eh". I'm really liking Shigeru's work and Kamui is starting to grow on me. I'm waiting to see what Kuniko comes up with next.

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