Sunday, February 21, 2010

Garo #27

Nov., 1966: Garo issue #27. The issues are coming pretty consistently at 202 pages at the moment.

Just to let you know, I'm starting to upload the Garo magazine index to the TSOJ website, and it's a little bit ahead of the publishing of these blog entries. I'm also starting to sort the stories by artists on a separate page.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #24

It's hard to keep track of specific characters because of the way Sanpei interweaves the spying and fighting together, such that I can't tell when someone is the actual person, or a ninja disguised as that person. Case in point is Kamui. In the last chapter, he was captured and shot point-blank in the chest by Red Eye. In this chapter, he's confined in the hold of a small boat out in the bay, where Red Eye is checking to see his recovery power. Kamui does eventually heal and tries to return to his village, where the other ninja, who weren't really killed either, attack him. There's more fighting and the other ninja blow up the tree that Kamui goes and hides in, sending bits and chunks of Kamui all over the place just in time for Saesa to come up and mourn his passing. She knifes the ninja leader and he dies again.

However, part of the story moves to Edo (old Tokyo), where Kagamihayato (Kamui's alter ego) confronts the real Ryounoshin, who is laying low as an umbrella repairman. So, is Kamui really dead, and if not, who was shot in the chest and then blown up in the tree? Anyway, Ryounoshin and his partner Ikkaku are plotting to assassinate a child inside a secure compound, when they watch someone else make the hit. Afterwards, the child's father stands over the corpse and laughs, implying that a decoy had been killed instead.

Actually, though, the majority of the 100 pages this time concerns Shousuke and Nana. Although the charges of insurrection had been dropped against him, his declaration of love for Nana sends him back to prison for mingling with members of a lower class. He's a villager and she's a vagrant. This is a no-no, and both of them are shackled and tortured. Nana's tied to a post on a hill, subjected to mosquitoes and crabs coming up from the beach. Several people try to approach and fondle her, but the villagers nearby protect her for Shousuke's sake. Eventually, a group of 5 guys come by and one lets slip that they're the ones that raped Akemi. The villagers hear this, and they beat the 5 to pulp before tying them up and covering them with fish paste for attracting the crabs. The five admit that Yokome, the head vagrant, had ordered them to do the attacks. Following this, someone burns Yokome's house to the ground. When Yokome goes to Guntarou for help. , Guntarou just laughs at his misfortune. Finally, the magistrate not only decides to release Shousuke and Nana, but signs orders allowing for the creation of a new village that Shousuke had been pleading for. Construction of the village starts right away.

Back at Shichibe's fish processing plant, things are going badly. The workers rebel against their former leader, the new plant manager, beating him to a pulp and pulling down the buildings. At the end, Kiku, Shichibe's adopted daughter, is wondering what had happened to Kushiro, who's been missing since the last chapter. Someone looking like Kushiro was leading the attack on the plant, but he still has both of his arms. As I said, it's hard to keep track of specific characters...

『行事』と『運動』 (Function and Motion) #20
Koshi Ueno's (上野昂志) 2 pages.

女 (Woman)

Rather than return to her slapstick SF adventures, Kuniko Tsurita (つりた くにこ) has a 24-page silent drama this time. Set back in the stone age, a cave woman is abandoned by her partner for another woman. She's pregnant and delivers a baby boy, which she raises on her own. Her son grows up strong, then partners with a young woman and they have a child of their own. Unfortunately, the tribe moves out on a long walk through a desert and water becomes scarce. The heroine has aged and weakened and when her son tries to give her water, her daughter-in-law grabs it to give to the young grandson. The tribe discards the aged as they drop in the desert, and the story ends with the heroine being covered by vultures. This is one of the two manga featured on Nihon-go Hunter this week.

反発の平和 (Repelling Peace)

A scientist develops a new potion that turns the human body into a magnetic field that repels metal, using the principle of like-magnetic poles. It's released commercially as a vitamin drink, resulting in the townspeople no longer having accidents by being hit by cars - when the car approaches, they are harmlessly sent into the air ahead of the accident. Happy with the new situation, the townspeople stop making things using metal, and because the entire town drank the potion, any attempt to bomb them causes the bombs to be deflected back at the attackers. Peace reigns. However, the stock prices for mining companies plummets. A metal refinery company president decides to drink the potion, then climbs up into the hills; any time he floats into the air, he marks the spot and digs later to uncover huge veins of metals. He sells the rights to other companies and retires a rich man. Sadly, he finds it difficult to play with his new-found piles of gold bars... 10 pages.

Tomohiro Sawada (沢田ともひろ) doesn't seem to have gotten anything else published under this name, and he's only showing up once as a Garo artist. He's got a fairly well-developed style, even though it is rather crude and sketchy, so it's hard to believe that this is the only thing he's ever drawn.

よくあるはなし (A Common Story)

A newscaster announces that it's now legal to eat human flesh. This results in a number of strange situations, such as room service at hotels serving themselves on the trays, and women's magazines running articles on how to prepare their husbands for dinner. The final insult is that foreign explorers deep in the jungles are now putting the cannibals into the stew pots. 4 pages.

Maki Sasaki (佐々木まき) (born in 1946) (real name Toshihiko Hasegawa (長谷川俊彦)) has a large number of titles to his credit, and a slight write-up on the Japanese wiki. The ehon page has a small bio, saying that he was born and raised in Kobe. His early works appeared in Garo and the Asahi Journal. He then pioneered a series of nonsense picture books in 1973 and 1979. He also wrote the "Nemui nemui Nezumi" (The sleepy sleepy mouse) series among others. He is mentioned on Same Hat, and 1 or 2 of his short manga have been scanned by Pink Tentacle.

作品集 (Creation Collection) #6

Various satires on the hypocrisy of society, politicians and wanna-be idol singers, by Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 6 pages In the first strip above, Katsumata is complaining about not being able to sleep after using pills, drinking or listening to boring music. But, once he gets to work... In the second strip, a ticket window gets no attention from customers until after it closes out of business.

大空と雑草の詩 (Poem of heaven and weeds) #7

Another 18 pages of pontificating by Akira Ogawa (おがわあきら). This time, the main character has taken on a part-time job at a newspaper company, where he is run ragged by his bosses. However, he's exposed to a side of the world he's never seen before, including a number of car accidents and train wrecks around Japan. A man comes to the paper's offices, pleading that the editor not run a story on his son being arresting for theft. The hero wants to go to the chief's office to ask for the story to be pulled, and the editor says it's too late, the evening edition already hit the presses. Depressed, the hero runs to the roof and cries, and the editor tells him that his job is to not turn away from this kind of injustice. The editor takes the hero to a nightclub filled with beatniks dancing to surf and twist music. The youngsters are just living for the moment, waiting for someone else to solve their problems. The hero can't understand this mentality. Later, a girl enters the club, sees the hero and turns and runs back out. The editor asks if the hero knows her, and he says that she's a new transfer student at his school. The editor comments that she's a regular at the club.

いざかや (Izakaya)

Shouhei Kusunoki (楠勝平), who gave us "Famous Sword" in issue #26 now presents "Izakaya" (a drinking place that serves food). In a tavern in old Edo, a workman sits down to drink some hot sake and eat some grilled fish. A police detective and his lackey enter the tavern and the workman looks around at the unsavory characters there with him to see who the detective may be on the trail of. The workman suspects a few people, then dismisses them as targets. Eventually, he starts searching his own conscience, and remembers an event a couple of months back when he and a coworker were doing some road construction, and the son of a samurai rode by on a horse. The horse was bit by an insect and the young man thrown into the mud. The workman and his partner had laughed hard at this, but they'd thought that they'd been unseen. Maybe the samurai's son had filed a complaint against them after all. The workman's panic builds, convinced that the detective is really after him. The detective pulls out his truncheon and accidentally drops it on the ground. At the sound, every single person in the tavern bolts for the door. 13 pages. This is the second of the two manga featured on Nihon-go Hunter this week.

日本忍法伝 (Japan Ninja Arts Legend) #14

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

足跡の怪 (Footsteps Mystery)

Two hikers out in the back reaches of the mountains follow a trail leading past warning signs telling them to "keep out". The shorter of the two presses forward, thinking that there may be a treasure or something interesting that someone doesn't want them to find. They locate a cave under a big rock and go inside, but the passage ends in a huge drop off, so they go back home. A few days later, the short one wakes up and notices that his little finger is missing. He's about to go to a doctor when he encounters his friend. They sit down at a coffee shop and the friend shouts that the short one's ears are gone. His eye falls out of its socket as well and he runs for the door. The friend goes after him, but outside all he sees are some sludgy footprints on the ground. He follows the sludge back to the cave. There, he realizes that his own little finger and ears are gone. Later, an old hermit walking in the hills sees the footsteps and comments that someone else must have entered the cave again.

深夜のバス (Late Night Bus)

A salaryman misses the last train home and the regular buses have stopped running. He spies an old, ratty bus and gets on, but it's completely empty, without even a driver. The bus takes the guy to a ruined building, where ghouls come up out of the ground, cut him open, pull his skeleton out of his skin and bury up the innards. One of the ghouls puts on the skin and the others sew him up. That ghoul then returns to the guy's home, where his wife berates him for drinking until dawn and then missing work. The office has already called the house for him. The ghoul grunts, "is that so" and heads back out to get on the train. The narrator says that occasionally monsters or aliens take people over and no one ever seems to notice the difference.

These are two more 8-page short horror stories by Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). He's quite the fixture at Garo now. At some point, he's going to switch over to his shinsengumi series, but that won't happen until 1970. I want to see how long he can keep up this pace for horror.

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