Sunday, February 14, 2010

Garo #26

Oct., 1966: Garo issue #26. Another 202 pager.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #23

Lots more struggling now. Turns out that the merchant, Shichibe has designs of his own. He works with Red Eye and sword master Henyasai to wipe out the ninja trailing after Red Eye, with the ultimate goal of killing Kamui. Along the way, the fishermen working 16 hour days processing fish for Shichibe prepare for a revolt, which the merchant easily stops by making the lead fisherman into the new plant manager. This new manager then treats his own men worse than Shichibe ever did. Additionally, Shichibe's daughter, Kiku, has fallen for Kushiro, a fish diver that hates what Shichibe has done to their village in the pursuit of a fast buck. At the end of the chapter, Shichibe sends Henyasai after Kuroshi, and Kamui runs afoul of Red Eye. It looks like Kuroshi and Kamui have both finally met their fates, with Kamui shot point-blank with a pistol, and Kuroshi missing an arm and impaled with one hundred squid spine fragments.
107 pages.

安全保障の逆説 (Theory of Military Security) #19
Koshi Ueno's (上野昂志) 2 pages.

作品集 (Creation Collection) #5

Susumu Katsumata (勝又進).
Lots of social commentary on thieves pretending to be victims to trick the police, clueless company bosses, bad bus drivers, and overly fawning westerners. In one strip, the 60's surf band The Ventures (bencha-su) praise their audience so much that Susumu changes their name to "obenchara-su" ("the flatterers"). A whopping 13 pages.

ノンセンス (Nonsense)

Kuniko Tsurita (つりた くにこ) is back, but this time with a more serious story. A young man witnesses a hit and run, and tracks down the driver and kills him. From this point on, he acts as a vigilante, tracking those with evil hearts. But, the police catch him and he's executed. His soul enters purgatory, and waits until he decides to move on down to hell where there's more evil hearts to eradicate. Unfortunately, the devil doesn't like the competition and rips out the guy's own heart, leaving him stranded and hoping to be reincarnated to start over again with a better knowledge of what to expect in the next life. 16 pages.

嗚海幸保 (Bad Flower)

U.Narumi (嗚海幸保) last appeared in the July, 1066, issue, with "Nonsense Mystery". This time, it's the last meeting of the "evil deeds society", a variation on an Edogawa Rampo story. The oldest member of the club gets his turn to tell a story, starting out saying that the rest of the group thinks too small. As a child, he'd tortured various insects and animals to death, then worked up to humans. While in school, he caused various deadly accidents, and during the war he staged executions of his own men as well as foreign prisoners. After the war, he got a job in the government at a high enough level that he was no longer able to act secretly. When he finishes his story, one of the other members pulls out a knife, saying that he was the kid that appeared on page 7, panel 3, and was one of the victims. He stabs the old man. The guy falls over and the other club members laugh at how fake it looks. The guy gets up, and apologizes, saying that he'll practice more. The director yells "cut", and the actors for the university stage play take a break.

日本忍法伝 (Japan Ninja Arts Legend) #13

Mamoru Sasaki & Satsuko Okamoto (佐々木 守 岡本 颯子). 6 pages.

青空太郎の絵日記 (Aozora Tarou's Picture Diary) #6

Another short 4-page story of the bizarre by Mitsuo Fujizawa (藤沢光男). A stranger who whistles with his nose blows snot on a kid. The kid asks for help in beating up the stranger, who then turns out to be an alien. First the kid's friend comes to assist, then the friend's father, and finally the father's wife. The alien is no match for the wife, so it radios for the invasion to begin, and the Earth gets swarmed by butt ships (UFO's in the shape of the human hip area).

電話魔 (Demon Phone)

Shigeo Masai (正井滋魚) also wrote "Shinigami" and "God of the Street". The phone rings and a woman answers it. The voice on the other end says "itadakimasu" (thanks for the meal), then corrects itself, adding that this is the wrong meal and it'll be back in 2 days. The next day, same thing happens, with the caller saying he'll be back tomorrow. The woman comments on this to her husband, who doesn't remember anything from the day before. The husband and wife get into an argument over the call and the wife stomps out, hoping that the phone caller eats her husband. The next day, the phone rings and the wife refuses to answer it. The husband picks it up instead and the caller says "itadakimasu, I'll eat you up clean". The husband is sucked into the phone and when the wife enters the room, she hears chewing sounds coming from the other end of the line. 6 pages. This is one of the two featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.

名刀 (Named Sword)

On a cold, rainy day in old Edo, a group of people gather at an inn for the night. A couple of merchants start chatting, guessing as to where everyone's come from, and this gets a samurai to brag about a famous sword that he's carrying around. He talks about the sword, how it's one of the few with a full name, and the fact that it's so sharp a leaf landing on it will cut itself in two. Eventually, the boy in the group laughs out loud, saying that he's got something even sharper than that sword. The others try to get the boy to shut up and apologize before the samurai gets angry, but the boy won't stop. The samurai demands to see this blade, and when the boy refuses, the samurai cuts him down. Turns out that boy is a carpenter and he was talking about a woodworking plane. In disgust, the samurai throws the plane away and it makes a perfect cut along the top of the floor before landing outside in the mud. The group stands sadly over the boy's corpse. 17 pages. This is the second featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter.

Shouhei Kusunoki (楠勝) (1944-1974) was principally a gekiga artist. According to one website, he debuted in 1960 with "Certain Kill Secrets" (必殺奥義) in "Master Fencer Picture Book" (剣豪画集). His "Senmaru" was serialized in Garo from Oct. 1964 to June, 1965. He then had a series of short manga appearing in both Garo and COM. As yet, there's no entry for him in either the Japanese or English wiki. He seems to be a perfect match for Drawn and Quarterly, but his work apparently hasn't been translated into English commercially yet.

暑い日 (Hot Day)

On a night that's hotter than it's ever been, Shigeru Mizuki finds himself out walking the streets alone, trying to track down a sound that's bothering him. He follows it to a stone cutter's house, where the cutter is just finishing up a tombstone with Mizuki's name, and the day's date on it. They get to talking about how the heat is making people do crazy things, and the cutter's wife invites Mizuki to stay for a beer. There's only 5 minutes left in the day and Mizuki is hoping that the grave stone was just ordered by someone else by mistake. He comments again about how the heat and humidity is making him insane, while the stone cutter is in another room busily sharpening a carving knife, his eyes rolling madly around in their sockets.

昭和百四十一年 (Showa Year 141)

Remember the story of a man that helps a turtle being tortured, is invited to an underwater palace by a princess as thanks, and when he finally returns home finds that 100 years have gone by? Well, this story starts with the guy riding the back of the turtle to the beach. It is now Showa era year 141 (2066 AD). Tokyo is unrecognizable, freeways have been replaced by toll slide ways, and it's a 2000 yen service fee if you look at a beautiful woman. The guy goes to an apartment complex the size of Tokyo Dome to look up his great-grand kid. Turns out that because apartments kept getting smaller, so did the people. He's at least twice the adult grand-kid's size. Of course, this means that meals are smaller also and the family can't afford to feed the guy. Then again, they also eat sausages made up of human meat now, so... The guy hastily leaves, thinking that the Japanese back in 1966 should have been more careful in their planning.

Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる) went back to running two 8-page stories this issue.

Over all comments: I know that I said I'd only buy issues that were under 500 yen, but I had to make an exception here. This copy was in much better condition that the others, and I was hoping that it would mean that it wouldn't smell as bad. Paper does not age well. Paper discolors, degrades, and degases over the years. If you have a magazine, which started out with cheaper materials to begin with, it will exude something similar to a rotting smell eventually. This wreaks havoc with my sinuses. I may have to cut back on how many old issues of Garo I read per month, just to avoid picking up a nasal infection. Anyway, this was a pretty good issue, and I don't mind paying the higher price, even though it still bothered my nose the same amount.


Ko said...

Great post as always! I'd really love to see Kusunoki Shouhei here in the states, too. Seirinkogeisha released a compilation of his works, so maybe it'll catch D+Q's eye some day soon? The only problem is that jidaigeki might not sell too well over here :( He's actually memorialized on the cover of Garo 6/74, if you happen to run across it.

TSOTE said...

Thanks, Ko.
Shouhei's manga (at least, what I've seen of it in Garo so far, and I've seen 4 stories to date) is pretty accessible. The art is clean, the characters are easily identifiable and are generally attractive, and even though the jokes are based on cultural references, we can understand them without much difficulty. If there's any jidaigeki that would catch on in the U.S., I'd argue that Shouhei's is it. We should start a mail campaign to petition D&Q to issue a Shouhei collection.

I'll look for the 6/74 issue. Mandarake should have it. The Akihabara store does have some gaps in the 1967 timespan, but they also have issues all the way up to the 1990's. They should have this one. Thanks.

You seem to be pretty knowledgeable - when does Katsumata Susumu stop doing yonkoma? I've seen some coverage of the U.S. release of Red Snow, and it doesn't seem to correspond to the manga that I've seen from him up to 1967. Is the "yonkoma Katsumata Susumu" the same person as the "Red Snow Katsumata Susumu"? And if so, when does he start doing Red Snow?

Ko said...

You do have a point, Kusunoki's stuff is definitely accessible to broader audiences. Have you seen his work "Osen" (Garo 12/66)? One of my favorites by him. I really keep meaning to get the big collection, but the price tag always scares me off at the last second.

As for Katsumata, he does yonkoma for Garo for quite a while actually - until at least 5/81. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the point where he begins to branch out into new styles is in the zoukan issue Garo does for him 5/69. Unfortunately, the zoukan issues of Garo seem to be a bit harder to find. I think I mentioned this on my blog (I'm kransom on, but Garo Mandala is a good resource if you can get it for cheap, since it has a collection of covers on the front and a list of works published from '64-'91 sorted by author in the back.

But yeah, the style of his stories in Red Snow is really quite a jump from his yonkoma stuff. Those stories were actually all published in Manga Goraku between '76-'80, if I recall correctly, something that only a handful of English critics have seemed to point out.

TSOTE said...

Actually, yes, I read Osen a couple of weeks ago. I'm buying Garo at a rate of 2 a week right now, and am reviewing them one a week, so I've built up a 5 week backlog of reviews already (I wrote up Mar. 67 last night). You're right. Osen is really good. So far, I've seen Famous Sword, Izakaya, Osen, Tono-dono and the Rough Flavor, Brawl and Armor. Story and pacing-wise, I think Izakaya is my favorite, followed by Osen and Famous Sword, although I do like them all.

Thanks for the info on Katsumata. If Red Snow came out towards the end of the 1970's, that's outside of my expected timeframe for reviewing Garo, anyway. But, running in a completely different magazine would explain a lot. I haven't seen back issues of Goraku, so I'd have to get the later book reissue. On the other hand, I'm not a big enough of a Katsumata fan to want to pick up Red Snow just out of curiosity. So, I'll continue focusing on Garo, and see what happens later.