Sunday, April 18, 2010

Garo #33

May, 1967, issue #33. 202 pages, cover by Sanpei Shirato.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #29

By Sanpei Shirato (白土三平), 98 pages.
Back in the forest with Teburi and Kamui, Teburi is joined by the rest of his band. Kamui is feeling the effects of the drug and can't move. He figures that he has one chance, which is to goad them into attacking him all at once. Which they eventually do. Throwing knives and shuriken fill the air, but all but two of them just hit the tree Kamui is leaning against - the remaining two hit him in the wrappings around one arm. He collapses. The band pronounces him dead, and Teburi shows off his ninja skills by disappearing in a cloud of mist.

At the village, the cotton has blossomed and everyone picks it for processing. A neighboring lord arrives to congratulate Shousuke, and offers to provide assistance in the form of Gorou, a punk kid that the villagers had encountered before (in a chapter prior to where I started). Gorou tries to pick a fight with Gon, but the big guy prefers to turn it into a challenge of who can pick the most cotton. This is all rough work and everyone is kept busy, with the able adults in the field, the older ones making rice balls for meals, and the younger girls tending to the babies and washing diapers. Eventually, the bailed cotton is taken to the river for transport, but Shichibe has sent his assistant instead (Red Eye in disguise), and there's no invoice papers for tracking the amount of cotton being purchased or for how much. When the boats try to leave with the cotton anyway, Gon orders the others to raise ropes and spikes across the river, blocking it. The assistant comes back the next day with a contract but Gon rejects it. Shousuke has gone missing, and the villagers think Gon has gone out of his mind, but none of them can read the papers when he passes it on to them.

Eventually, Shousuke shows up again, filthy and exhausted. He recovers and visits Shichibe directly, and the villagers are amazed that he too rejects the contract. The reason he'd been missing is that he'd run all the way to Osaka, where he'd managed to get offers for accepting the cotton at much higher rates than that from Shichibe. With his hand exposed, the merchant gladly reworks the terms to be more favorable and the cotton boats are allowed to head out. There's more mingling between the lower classes, which Yokome dutifully reports to Guntaro, but the magistrate's attache is powerless to do anything directly about it at the moment. Instead, he tries a different trick.

Shousuke disappears again, and Gon has his hands full with his girlfriend, Akemi. Akemi keeps seeing other women having babies, and she's tired of Gon not committing to starting a family with her. She tries to threaten running off with Gorou instead, when a villager runs up to say that troops have surrounded the fields and it looks like they're going to take the land away from them. Gon and Akemi run to the fields, leaving Gorou standing around, looking lost.

Finally, Shousuke is out running along remote mountain roads, traveling way too fast for a normal human. Teburi sees this, and he and his band surround Shousuke, threatening to kill him. Shousuke protests, saying that he's just a regular villager.

言葉について (About Words) #26
Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 page article.

山椒魚 (Salamander)

This 8-page short by Yoshiharu Tsuge (つげ義春) was collected in the "Neji-Shiki" volume that I wrote about a while back. An intelligent salamander swimming through the sewers under Tokyo comments on the various kinds of trash the surface dwellers have discarded. It bumps into the body of a dead baby before continuing on into another section of the tunnels.

冷たい涙 (Cold Sympathy)

A samurai quietly reading a book at home is summoned by a friend to attend the funeral of a very close friend of theirs. While everyone else breaks down and sobs at the loss, the main character just sits there, detached, even during the eulogy he delivers. On the way back home he runs into another funeral, and again he doesn't seem to care less. In fact, he gets distracted by a geisha. Finally, when he's safely in his room, he loudly mourns the loss of two friends in 1 day. By Shouhei Kusunoki (楠勝平), 12 pages.

作品集 (Creation Collection) #11

Oddly enough, Katsumata Susumu's (勝又進) 4-panel short gags have been broken up into 2 parts this time. The first part is 4 pages.

しずく (Drip)

Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう), 12 pages. A prisoner on death row sits in his cell as another prisoner gets called for his execution. A priest enters the cell and informs the prisoner that tomorrow's his last day. The prisoner acts unconcerned, bumming cigarettes off the priest. The priest tries to talk to him about repenting, but the guy doesn't care. He'd rather that god turn him into a bird so he can fly away. His number is called and the prisoner enters the execution room where a guillotine is awaiting him. It looks like blood is dripping from the blade, but actually it's just soap water from the janitor who'd been cleaning it. The prisoner is strapped down on the table and some of the water drips on his neck. Later, the warden and a doctor enter the cell, where it looks like the prisoner had died in his sleep, with rain water leaking into the cell from a storm raging outside, dripping down on him.

戦場 (Battlefield) #1, Recruit

It's the middle of WW II, and a group of American soldiers are killing time between attacks. A greenhorn has just been transferred into the unit, and the group introduces themselves. Then the fighting starts and one by one the unit gets picked off as they also whittle down the German enemy. They radio for tank support, but there's only one tank in the area that can be rerouted to them. A tank does arrive, but it's one of the German's. That tank does get eliminated, and at the end, only the new kid is left standing as, finally, the American tank makes its appearance. 23 pages. I'm making this one the featured story on Nihon-go Hunter this time.

Kenji Nanba (南波健二) (1940-) has a long list of credits on the Japanese wiki, but little mention of him in English. One of his assistants, Takumi Nagayasu, later went on to team up with Katsuhiro Otomo on the "Mother Sarah" series. One of his few manga to be mentioned in English anywhere is "1970 Tagiri", which had run in Shonen Jump in 1970. He started out appearing in anthologies and rental manga, doing action and historical dramas. It's not surprising that there's a very strong hint of "Golgo 13" in his character designs - he'd been a member of Takao Saito's manga group and worked as an assistant for him for a while.

日本忍法伝 (Japan Ninja Arts Legend) #19

(Subtitled: 大化改新 (Taika Reform), Part 15) Mamoru Sasaki & Satsuko Okamoto (佐々木 守 & 岡本 颯子), 6 pages.

仮面 (La Masque)

A man goes through his day wearing a smiling mask. Eventually, he goes out to the ocean and takes the mask off, revealing a very sad man. He throws the mask into the water, but soon rushes out to retrieve it, saying "as I thought, I can't do it". He puts it back on and returns home. 17 pages.

Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二) (1937-2005) worked for Tezuka's Mushi Productions, on "Jungle Taitei", among other titles. He had a number of his own manga appearing in Garo and COM . He also worked for Takao Saito (Golgo 13) for a while. He's got about 20 titles listed in the English wiki. With "Life" in Garo volume 34, he started running what he called the "Shinji Gekiga Collection".

The second part of Katsumata Susumu's collection shows up here at 5 pages.

Rotary (Rotary)
A 1-page article by 東真一郎. This is a pen name for Shigeru Mizuki. The Rotary is an occasional forum for people to write in and say what they want. I hadn't paid attention to it before, so I don't know if it was in any of the other issues I've looked at.

木枯し (Cold Winter Wind)

Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる) only has the 10 pages this time. A boy visits his uncle in an old mansion, and as they talk there's a loud shrieking that rips through the room. The old man (looking much like Vincent Price) keeps saying "it's just the wind". Eventually, the boy follows the sound to a room where he finds a human skull wrapped up in a hat box. The skull bites him so he throws it outside. Except that the thing works its way back into the house again. The boy remembers a rumor about his aunt, who had gone missing, and he starts thinking that maybe his uncle had killed her and now she's looking for revenge. The next day, the boy finds an excuse to leave early and returns home. A few days later, he sees a newspaper story saying that his uncle had been found dead, his neck covered in tooth bites. The police suspect that a pack of hungry rats had gotten into the mansion.

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