Monday, May 24, 2010

Garo #38

Garo #38, Oct., '67. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #34

By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 98 pages.
Kazuma gets fished out of the river by a scummy-looking beggar, and taken to the beggar's home to be bandaged up. But, no matter how much Kazuma begs for food or water, the beggar refuses to listen to him. In fact, this is a very severe form of tough love, as the mysterious beggar steals anything Kazuma can catch, succeeding in strengthening the boy over time.

Guntaro and the rogue merchant, Kuroya, succeed in forcing the magistrate into a corner. His letters aren't making their way to Edo, and knowing full-well what's going on, he dismisses his yojimbo bodyguards (who are all cut down later to a man by Guntaro's little brother). Meanwhile, Ryounoshin's friend, Ikkaku, is questioning their purpose yet again. As he goes out to the castle walls to practice with his sword, he sees Yokome putting the vagrants through some very hard military training using pole arms and farming instruments. Anyone with rusty tools, or failing to perform exactly right, gets whipped. Finally, Ikkaku has had all he can take and he can takes no more. He and Ryounoshin part ways, with Ikkaku going out to kill all the oppressors he can find, and Ryounoshin staying in the village to figure out what his true path should be.

Probably the single most disruptive force in this series is about to be unleashed as Guntaro and Kuroya succeed in switching from the gold standard to paper currency. Private ownership of gold is banned and anyone found to be possessing it is arrested and has their shops destroyed. Merchants and consumers are confused as to the value of the scrip.

A rain maker comes into town to help the peasants during the current drought, and Shousuke confronts him, saying that he's got a good scam going - as long as it *doesn't* rain, he gets paid to keep dancing. Shortly after, the skies burst and the rain comes pouring down. Shousuke dances with him, but now, the rainmaker is really confused. Initially, Shousuke's happy, until the hail starts pounding down and rips up all the crops in the field. In the midst of the downpour, Guntaro's little brother happens on Ryounoshin sulking under a tree. The two face off to duel (little brother just enjoys killing anything that he happens across) as the madman Koroku shambles up and pisses alongside the road near them.

はえ (Fly)

By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 13 pages.
This is Shinji's fourth "Shinji Gekiga Collection" story, a silly little tale about two billboard painters up on a scaffolding at the top of a skyscraper. The dumber of the two is sitting, looking at the street below while the other one works. A fly comes buzzing by and the dumb one tries to catch it, eventually jumping out into the air after the insect. When the body hits the street, his hand opens up to show the dead fly.

『ピース』について (About "Peace") #31
By Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 pages.

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #16

By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 7 pages.
In the first strip, the main character notices that musicians get chicks. But when he plays the accordion all he gets is some spare change. In the second strip, the boy is yelling insults at the adult, saying that if he won't leave him alone, he'll keep doing things like pissing on him. In the third panel, the boy says he doesn't need anyone. In the fourth panel, the adult thanks the dog and notes that the boy's eaten the food the dog brought to him.

Chonmage Omnibus (Topknot Omnibus)

By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 17 pages.
The "omnibus" is a set of four short stories featuring a low class samurai. In the first story, Pedigree of a Rumor (うわさの系譜), a feudal lord makes a comment about one woman and a low level samurai. The final result is that the samurai spends his final days as a drunk in a small bar. In Karamawari (からまわり) (to spin one's wheels), a group of samurai draw lots to see which one of them is to be dumped in front of a dojo as part of a scam for getting payment for medical treatment. Rather than take in the body, the dojo master has the body dumped in front of another school. This goes on until the "body" gets so banged up as to need actual medical care. For Makujiri (幕尻) (the lowest ranked wrestler in sumo), a samurai is the victim of a practical joke that sees him having to commit seppuku. But, the dagger turns out to be a wooden practice sword, and the samurai goes running after his boss for revenge. Finally, in Makizoe (まきぞえ) (to get mixed up in something), a group of samurai descend on a rival group in front of a noodle cart vendor. At the end of the bloody slaughter, the cart vendor has died of shock.

栄光への脱出 (Escape to Glory)

By Kuniko Tsurita (つりたくにこ). 19 pages.
A charismatic young kid forces his way into the dorm room of some students, eating their food, drinking their most expensive alcohol, and regaling them with stories of all the great things he's done. He tells them to come visit him, which they do. Turns out that the boy's actually a patient at a mental hospital, out during a rest break. He tells them that he's a Nobel prize winner as he returns to the compound.

自転車泥棒 (Bicycle Thief)

By Osamu Ashibetsu (あしべつおさむ). 13 pages.
A thief brings a bike in to a store that acts as a front for a stolen bike ring. The owner asks the guy to bring in some more high end bikes, so the thief goes out to pick the lock of a really good bike. At park a ways away, the thief is about to relax with a snack when someone else steals the bike from him. He goes chasing after the second thief, throwing a milk bottle at him, and then pummeling the guy out of sheer anger.

The only hits for Osamu Ashibetsu (あしべつおさむ) in Japanese are for this manga in Garo. Nothing in English. His style is developed enough, if not actually polished, to indicate that he may have worked as an assistant to someone.

茎, 2 (Kuki, the sequel)

By Shouhei Kusunoki (楠勝平). 25 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
This is a continuation of the story from the last issue, which I literally translated as "Stalk". Shouhei has put hiragana alongside the kanji, which I'll use here - "Kuki". The silk painter from the first story is getting older, and watches as her friends all quit their jobs to get married and settle down. She starts dating the fighter, but when he jokes about her giving up her own job to be a kept woman, she stalks out of the room in a huff. Later, the fighter is walking alongside another woman when he sees the painter. He tries calling out to her, but she doesn't hear him. Her boss is talking about firing her, because there's always this possibility that she may get married some day. Meanwhile, the painter is walking by a shop when two dogs go running out, surprising her and causing the bolt of cloth she's carrying to unfurl in the middle of the street. The design on the cloth looks very pretty.

紅い花 (Red Flower)

By Yoshiharu Tsuge (つげ義春). 16 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
A young man goes out to a remote village to do some fishing. He stops at a shop run by a small girl who talks him out of some money for snacks. She then recommends her friend, a small boy, as a guide to a good fishing hole. The customer agrees to this, and the boy takes him out into the hills. Along the way, they pass a big clump of red flowers, but there's no explanation for why the flowers are there. The guys get to the fishing hole, and the boy heads back, only to discover the girl squatting in the middle of the river. She seems to be emitting red flowers. She returns to the shop, where she's feeling extremely weak. Finally, the boy carries her out into the hills as the fisherman returns, spotting them off in the distance.

鬼太郎夜話 (Kitaro Night Stories) #5

By Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 17 pages.
Mijima, an older man who's on his way home late one night, catches the last train. Along in the car with him is Nezumi Otoko. At one point, Nezumi leans up against Mijima and spits in his mouth. Given that Nezumi eats garbage and hasn't brushed his teeth in decades, this is a fairly foul thing. Mijima falls asleep and arrives at the home terminal. He notices that his jacket is torn at the shoulder and a plant is growing out of his arm at that point. A couple of days pass and he's feeling weak. He tries pulling the plant out, but it hurts too much. He goes in to see a doctor and the prognosis is not good - the plant is parasitic and can't be removed through surgery. Further, it's consuming his blood at 500cc a day. He can try drinking that much fluid to replenish himself, but eventually it will take him over. Despondent, he goes to a bar in Ginza where he tries to drink the place dry, only to discover that he's taken someone else's sake by mistake. The two guys introduce themselves, with the second one, looking very blue, saying that he's Mizuki, just recently returned from hell. They go out to a graveyard where they can trade stories in peace.

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