Sunday, May 9, 2010

Garo #36

Aug, 1967, issue #36. 202 pages, cover by Sampei Shirato. This is actually one of the weaker issues this time. Not that there's really anything wrong with the magazine as a whole, but there's little that I want to highlight. Part of the problem is that we've got the regular artists doing longer 20-40 page stories, and I'd like to see newer people doing higher quality, shorter work to give me more to talk about. It doesn't help that I've already seen Tsuge's story in another collection already. But, this'll change in issue 37.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #32

We could call this one "Gon's Bad Day". He's sitting on a hill overlooking the village, thinking that things would have been better if Shousuke hadn't come back that time, and if he'd just been a little stronger himself. Akemi is getting married to Gorou, and everything's gotten all jumbled up. He flashes back to some days earlier. The soldiers had occupied the fields and the villagers were getting ready to attack to force them off. Gon was trying to calm them down, and it wasn't working. Ryounoshin and Ikkaku were debating whether to set a house on fire as a diversion, when suddenly they notice that one of the houses is on fire. They then see the insane Koroku wandering off with a torch. Unfortunately, it's Shousuke's house, and Shousuke picks this time to return to the village. The villagers stop to put out the fire, but it's too late - the house is reduced to ash. Shousuke goes to the local lord's mansion to petition the soldiers to be removed, but it has the opposite effect, in that not only is he spurned by the lord, but now a proclamation is sent out banning interaction between the villagers and the vagrants. As a result, the vagrant's upper class leader presents his son, Gorou, to Akemi as a suitor and she grudgingly accepts, hoping that Gon will step in and save her. However, he's feeling powerless and very angry. He sets out to explore the world (i.e. - running away) when he meets Akemi on the road. She yells at him and calls him an idiot, and when Gorou arrives and tells him to stay away from his new wife, he just stands there and lets Gorou pummel him. Akemi despises Gorou for being a brute, and tries to pull Gorou off Gon, but her husband tosses her away. Suddenly, he acts like his back has gone out and he collapses into the mud, begging Akemi to help him as she stomps off.

Gon leaves, and spies some kids trying to dam up a small river to force fish into a basket, and he helps them with it. They get a massive amount of carp, and give the biggest one to Gon. After they're gone, he returns the monster carp to the water. Later, a small girl discovers him, saying that he looks like her older brother. He angrily tells her to scram, then hears some strange grunting sounds coming from her direction. She's struggling under a big load of chopped firewood, unable to stand up. Gon grabs her and the wood and walks down the road, asking why she doesn't wait for her brother. Turns out that he's dead. So she's living alone with her mother? Nope, both parents are dead, too. Gon softens and takes her home a ways from the village. He eventually fits in with the farmers out on the outskirts. When they head the cattle out of the fields, the roads turn muddy and the cattle balk. Gon ends up picking up one massive bull on his shoulders to get it out of the mud, and under the strain resolves to show Shousuke that anything can happen if you become strong enough. 42 pages.

かかしが きいた かえろはなし (The Scarecrow Hears the Frog's Story)

This is Shinji Nagashima's (永島慎二) third "Shinji Gekiga Collection" story. A frog staggering from lack of food collapses on the road near a scarecrow. The scarecrow requests some of his friends, the crows, to get some grain. As the frog recovers, the scarecrow asks it what the matter was. The frog replies by saying that when it was a tadpole living in a well with all of his friends and family, he'd look up and see the moon. When he'd turned into a frog, he struggled for weeks to crawl up out of the well, and then spent the next few years walking the lands trying to reach the moon, but no matter where he goes, it's always still out of his reach. The scarecrow tells the frog about a bus that from time to time goes up a nearby hill to go to the moon, but that not just anyone can get a ticket for it. The ticket's in your heart, and he just happens to have one that he's willing to give the frog. The frog's overjoyed at this and happily continues on its way. The scarecrow then says that he'd often wondered why he'd been given life, and now understands the answer, as the wind picks up and he flops over. 29 pages.

日本人 (Japanese) #29
Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 pages.

ふぇあ ぷれい (Fair Play)

Yuu Takita 滝田ゆう, 15 pages. Two samurai are in love with the same woman, but the one is willing to let the other marry her. In the middle of the night, the chivalrous one is visited by the girl and she professes her love for him. He struggles to keep from hugging her and she leaves. The next day he learns that she'd died that night and had visited both men at the same time. They conclude that what they'd both talked to was a ghost of some kind. The next night, the girl visits the chivalrous one again and this time, while not coming right out and admitting it, he decides that he's willing to take his chances with her. But she's left by this point. He finds her hair comb, and when it looks like she's returned for it, he cries out in anguish because now all he's left with is her empty kimono and a leaf (leaves were used by kitsune - foxes - to shapechange). This is one of the two stories featured on Nihon-go Hunter this time.

六の宮姫子の悲劇 (Himeko Rokunomiya's Tragedy)

By Kuniko Tsurita (つりたくにこ). 15 pages. A young woman named Himeko Rokunomiya is having a lousy day herself. She despondently takes out the trash to a no dumping zone; is asked by her mother to buy some products at a store which are then broken when she trips and falls; and is berated by her mother for seeing some good-for-nothing guy. Said guy just called to meet her at a coffee shop, which she then visits. She stares coldly at him and his friends as they all wilt when trying to talk to her. The braver one of the group, who's still shivering away anyway, tells her that she should work harder to be less formidable. She asks if that's all they wanted to say, then goes home and stares at a mirror. She starts crying over having been born with such slender eyes (i.e. - with eyes that make her look so impartial and uncaring).

夏 (Summer)

Ryouichi Ikegami (池上遼一), artist on "Crying Freeman" and "Mai the Psychic Girl", is back with his second story (the first being "Crime of Awareness", back in Sept., issue #25). The artwork is very different now, looking much more advanced and tailored for the horror market. This time, a young man meets up with his girlfriend at her house, where her family has a stinky homeless man camped out on their front step. The young man takes the girl out on a drive and along the way they're constantly pestered by flies. Turns out the homeless guy had grabbed the trailer hitch of the car and had been dragged along with them, bringing his flies with. The car hit a dog along the way, and when the couple returns (without the homeless guy), they find the corpse of the dog has quickly attracted flies in the middle of the overwhelming summer heat. Later, things get worse when a truck (presumably one hauling barrels of garbage) overturns on the freeway and flies swarm all over. The final close-up of the young man's sunglasses on the ground implies that he's been eaten by the flies. 20 pages.

見解の相違 (Difference in Point of View)

An alien scouting party arrives on Earth and are preparing to mark it for future visits when one of the aliens spots a very fierce-looking Tokyoite through a window of a small building. The aliens get scared off and leave. The guy steps out of the public toilet thinking that he's still constipated after 10 days. 5 pages.

There is nothing on Yoshiharu Masuda (舛田義春), outside of mentions of this story in Garo. He may not have continued in manga under this name.

日本忍法伝 (Japan Ninja Arts Legend) #22

Subtitled (シザンの王国 (Sad Autumn in Mushu) 18).
Mamoru Sasaki and Satsuko Okamoto (佐々木 守 & 岡本 颯子). Note that the chapter numbering has been corrected now. 6 pages.

作品集 (Creation Collection) #14

12 more pages of satire by Katsumata Susumu (勝又進).

峠の犬 (Mountain Pass Dog)

This is another of Yoshiharu Tsuge's (つげ義春) stories that appeared in his Neji-Shiki collection. An old man finds an old stray dog and cares for it for a while, then it disappears. Some time later, he's out hiking in the hills and on a whim visits a remote inn, where he discovers the dog living out on its own again. He ponders this as he returns home. 12 pages. This is the second of the two stories featured on Nihon-go Hunter this time.

鬼太郎夜話 (Kitaro Night Stories) #3

Dracula and the hair monster fight over the fat manga artist for about an hour before being completely wrapped up in the hair of the monster into a tight ball. The artist hears a voice, leading him to get Kitaro's father down from the top of a bookshelf. But Nezumi Otoko takes the bottle and prepares to eat the eye before it's rescued by the artist. Kitaro comes in, still unaware of who his father is, and he kicks him away. Elsewhere, the director of the monster blood bank is returning home on a flight from America, when the balloon containing Kitaro's soul enters the plane and lands on his lap. He puts it in his briefcase and takes a taxi to his house. That night, Kitaro's body shows up at the door, and is reunited with his soul, to the amazement of the director.

He and Kitaro trade stories, as the director gets increasingly incredulous. Dracula is identified as a kind of ghost, neither alive nor dead, which reminds the director of an employee named Mizuki (no relation to the author) who'd tracked down some monsters about the time Kitaro was born (ref. the story when Kitaro was born, in issue #19) and had disappeared shortly after that. Kitaro chimes in that according to his father, Mizuki had inexplicably decided to take him to the police, and when the man had chased the eyeball out into the moors, had slid through the mud, becoming one of the living currently residing in the land of the dead. Kitaro wonders where his father is now, and the director offers to run an ad in the newspaper with a reward for his return. A week goes by, and Nezumi Otoko has gotten into a tussle with the manga artist and they part ways (with the artist going back to Tokyo). Nezumi Otoko returns to the house and gives up trying to cut open the hair ball to free his boss. He gives the hair ball a burial, then gets hit in the face with a week-old newspaper. Filled with renewed energy, he locates the eyeball and shows up at the director's house to claim the reward. At the end of the story, the narrator says that no one knows why Nezumi Otoko used the money to buy a 50-gallon drum of fresh blood from the blood bank.

[One interesting note here is that the "Graveyard Kitaro" book that I reviewed a while back contained stories that first ran in Garo, including the birth of Kitaro and the first appearance of Mizuki.]

Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 37 pages.

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