Sunday, May 16, 2010

Garo #37



Sept., 1967, issue #37. 266 pages, cover by Sampei Shirato.


カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #33


This chapter starts out as a cross section of small events featuring Gon and his new "children's patrol group" as they band together to leverage the multiplying power of the group. Incidents include the creation of a new cotton gin, the treatment of a constipated horse, and the harvesting of a field occupied by two elderly invalids. The children keep falling back on the belief that Shousuke will return to the village to guide them, and Gon wants them to become independent just in case Shousuke is lost or killed.

Elsewhere, Ryounoshin and Ikkaku are having a crisis of faith. If they no longer plan on killing the fief's lord in revenge for the loss of Ryounoshin's parents, what purpose do they have in life? They're not really close to finding an answer yet. At the same time, single men and women from the village and vagrant sides are trying to sneak out after curfew to secretly meet at night, but Kigisu (Yokome's underling) and others are patrolling to enforce the ban on intermingling. There's a hope that Shousuke will come back and make everything better.

Finally, Guntaro's son, Kazuma, goes out fishing, where he's harassed by a stranger that sends the boy's catch back into the river. Kazuma is convinced that as the son of the attache he's untouchable, but the stranger roughs him up, manhandles him back to the house, and then trashes the guards. Turns out that the stranger is Guntaro's younger brother, a master-class fighter. The brother promises to make Kazuma into a man and the two of them go into town for some drinking and womanizing. But, a group of street thugs turns on them, and the older man leaves Kazuma to his own devices when a woman grabs him and drags him off for more drinking. Initially Kazuma holds his own, killing one of the thugs, but the others team up on him, knock him out, then wrap him up in a tatami rug and throw him into the river to drown. The thugs return to the brother for payment for their part of the plan, and the brother kills them instead. The brother returns to Guntaro's house, where he says that Kazuma has gone out on his own on a trip. Yokome arrives to say that the magistrate has sent a messenger out to Edo with a letter regarding Shichibe, and Guntaro asks his brother to intercept it. Red Eye is spying on them, and the brother easily detects him and hits him in the arm with a throwing knife. The brother reaches the messenger, and takes out him and the bodyguard, as Kamui watches on in awe. 86 pages.


聖域について (About Sanctuary) #30
Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 pages.


なまけ武蔵 (Lazy Musashi)


Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる) actually has two independent stories this time (rather than having two 8-page short horror stories one after the other), the later continuation of the "Kitaro" storyline, and this little 6-page look at famed swordsman Musashi. The story starts out with Musashi lying around and picking his nose, trying to decide what to do with himself. He tries his hand at woodcarving, then settles down to writing his treatise, the "Book of 5 Rings". Nothing really deep here, just a little glimpse at a historical figure, Mizuki-style. This is one of the two stories featured on Nihon-go Hunter this week.



海辺の叙景 (Scenes on a Beach)


Yoshiharu Tsuge (つげ義春). 27 pages. A young man (possibly Tsuge himself, in that a lot of his stories seem to be auto-biographical) is out vacationing on a remote beach where he attracts the attention of a young woman also out visiting the area with her mother from Tokyo. The two keep running into each other, and suggest meeting again the next day. It's raining then, but the two of them meet up. The weather's cold, but because the woman is going back to Tokyo the next day, she really wants to go swimming in the ocean now. As the guy swims in the waves, the woman stands under an umbrella in the cold rain, watching him and thinking that this is fun.


日本忍法伝 (Japan Ninja Arts Legend) #23


Subtitled (蝦夷の霧 (Ezu Fog) 19).
Mamoru Sasaki and Satsuko Okamoto (佐々木 守 & 岡本 颯子). Note that the numbering has been corrected now. 7 pages. One comment about the subtitle - "Ezu" is an old, slightly derogatory word for the Ainu people, and could also refer to the regions where they lived around Hokkaido, which is known for its foggy weather.


茎 (Kuki)


Shouhei Kusunoki (楠勝平). 26 pages. A young woman enters a small Edo business that makes dyed and patterned cloth, working as a cleaning woman and dyer. It's a man's work in this era, so she's having a rough time fitting in, but she eventually does so. Time passes, and her little brother grows up and visits her at her apartment, talking about starting work himself. Also, she and a friend encounter a young man that keeps sticking his nose into other people's fights and getting pummeled as a result. During one such fight, he's knocked down a hill and smashes into the woman and her friend, sending all three of them into a small river. After that fight, he's bragging about how he handled himself, only to be embarrassed at realizing that he's caused the two women to come down with colds. Some time later, the woman meets the guy again, and he forgoes getting into another fight to go talk to her. Since one of the continuing threads in this story is how strong-willed girls find it hard to get a good husband, the feeling at the end is that these two will start dating soon. This could be the prequel to Kusonoki's "Brawl".



風法師 (Wind Monk)


Yuu Takita 滝田ゆう, 18 pages. An old monk with a shamisen (traditional Japanese lute) comes to town and begins relating a story. One day, a samurai arrived at a dojo and was beating up the sensei in preparation to take over the school. The monk, happening by, used the power of his shamisen to take over a weak-minded student and then defeat the samurai in one blow. Over the next several days, the student found himself being issued different challenges by master fighters, and crushing them without knowing where this sudden skill came from. Finally, he arrived at one dojo where the main sensei is his spitting double. They fight and the sensei is knocked senseless in one strike. The students are confused and run after the intruder thinking that that was their real sensei who'd gotten mixed up in the fight, but when they get outside all they see is the monk with his shamisen - the doppelganger is nowhere to be found. The monk tells the reader that the dojo's sensei had purged himself of anything resembling weakness, which had then taken on human form. When he'd finally been confronted by that weakness, they'd rebonded and it had destroyed him.


地球儀 (Globe)


Ryouichi Ikegami (池上遼一). 18 pages. The artist of "Crying Freeman" is back and still trying to find his own style. This time, a young boy being treated for a debilitating illness is keeping a globe of the Earth in a bird cage. What his mother and the doctor don't realize is that the globe really is the Earth; when he shakes it there's an earthquake. He lives for the night, when there's no one watching him, and he can inspect the globe with a magnifying lens. He spies several air force jets flying over one continent, and he uses a pencil to reach down onto the globe and knock one jet out of the skies. The doctor tells his mother that it's common to have lucid dreams in this case, but the boy knows this isn't a dream. But, he wakes up in the middle of the night, convinced that he's gone blind. He seems to have become somewhat younger now, and when his mother runs into the room he coughs up blood. After being treated by the doctor, the boy seems to have gotten better.


罪の意識 (Crime of Awareness)


12 pages. A group of manga assistants discover that their boss has gone missing and they wonder what's going to happen to them. Elsewhere, their boss is out exploring the countryside, having gotten a letter from a fan offering him some "questionable" work.

IMDB lists writer, director and producer credits for Takuo Yasuda (やすだ たくお) on the films "Artful Dodgers", "Does Your Soul Have a Cold?", and "Eric Clapton: Sessions for Robert J". There's almost nothing in the Japanese pages for やすだ たくお, although there are a few hits on 保田卓夫, which is pronounced the same. No Japanese wiki page though. So it's possible that this Garo manga artist and the director/writer on "Artful Dodgers" aren't the same person, or that やすだ たくお was his pen name. It's also possible that they are the same person, being stalked by a priest with a shamisen.


妙薬TCM (Wonder Drug TCM)


8 pages. A scientist discovers a drug that releases the love inside a person's heart. Not sure what to do with it, he goes to a colleague who urges him to destroy it. The scientist is reluctant to discard something that he'd worked so hard on, so the two of them go out to a small town and test the drug on the townspeople. Initially, everything looks good as the people suddenly stop fighting each other. But by the third day it's obvious something is wrong. Unable to hurt another living creature, the town becomes overrun with mosquitos, flies and rats. A few days later, they've all become tree huggers. In the end, the town goes to ruin. The scientist agrees that the drug is too dangerous and he allows it to be thrown off a cliff.

The problem with trying to track down information on these artists is that occasionally their names turn out to be fairly common, (and of course they could have been using a pen name) and if there's no solid wiki page on them you're just piecing information together that may not be for the person you want. There's no wiki entry on Makoto Komori (コモリ マコト) in English or Japanese, but he does come up fairly often as a children's book author, specifically for the "Bal, the Car" series, and some scary books aimed at misbehaving kids. The earliest ones date back to 1978. There's also a bassist for the punk band Link of the same name, and a power train design engineer for Nissan. But I'm thinking that these are three separate, unrelated people and the one we want is the children's book author.



作品集 (Creation Collection) #15


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



(李さん一家) それから ((Sumomo's Family) After That)


Tsugi Ateharu (宛春つぎ), 12 pages. Actually, this is a parody work by Kuniko Tsurita (つりたくにこ), building on Yoshiharu Tsuge's earlier story, "Sumomo's Family". The hero returns to the home of Sumomo's family 3 months after having left it, finding that the four of them are exactly as he'd last seen them. However, they've moved down to the first floor, the second having been taken over by a strange woman with really slender eyes. The hero takes up residence in the closet under the stairs and is woken up at night by the woman's overly loud stereo playing. She looks really emaciated, but when he tries offering her some bread she ignores him. A few days go by and she sells the stereo to two guys and uses the money to buy a huge amount of food. Again, time passes and along with the new silence there's a new stench. At some point, she'd died while eating the food. Sumomo and the hero bury her under a rock and the hero takes over her room on the second floor of the rundown shack, where he still lives today. This is the second of the two stories featured on Nihon-go Hunter this week.



鬼太郎夜話 (Kitaro Night Stories) #4


Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 28 pages. The boss of the monster bank starts thinking about what to do next about Kitaro and his eyeball father. He concludes that he really should turn them into the police or something and claim the money for bringing the monsters to the public's attention (which is the main reason why he'd offered the big reward for Kitaro's father in the first place). Kitaro enters the room, saying that the boss shouldn't dial 110 (Japan's version of 911) and the guy replies that Kitaro is safe with him and that he wouldn't do anything like that. Kitaro answers back that if the guy is lying he's going to go to hell. The next day, the three of them get into the boss's car, but no matter how many times he tries going to a police station the roads change on him. Finally, the car goes over a cliff and gets totaled. The three of them walk through an increasingly bizarre landscape, and when the boss asks what's going on, Kitaro ignores him. They reach a hill, where Mizuki, the one living person in the land of the dead, is sitting at the top. The boss and Mizuki recognize each other and start talking, but it soon becomes obvious that the boss has died and needs to be escorted to the ferryman to cross the river Styxx. Once the boat has gone, Mizuki notices Kitaro and his father. He apologizes for having tried to capture the eyeball, and they agree to let him return to the human world. Elsewhere, in the Prince Library in Ginza, at about the same time, Nezumi Otoko is standing and reading a book on how to revive monsters. The woman in charge can't stand watching him scratching his flaking skin any longer and kicks him out. He feels that he has enough of a hint now to work on, and during a heavy storm that night, pours the blood he'd purchased over the ground where the hair monster and Dracula had been buried. Fairly quickly, a sprout shoots up, promising the birth of an all-new creature.

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