Monday, June 14, 2010

Garo #41

Garo #41, Jan., '68. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #37

By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 98 pages.
The aftermath of the rice riots is just beginning. Soldiers have suppressed the chaos, and now it's up to Yokoma's vagrant army to track down the participants and either out, or kill, them. As a reward afterward, Guntaro gives them some of the rice they would have gotten if they'd been allowed to keep working the rice paddies alongside the farmers (although the farmers themselves now have nothing). This is followed by Yokoma ordering Kamui's father to cut the noses and ears off the vagrants that had been caught in the arms of farmer lovers. The body parts are sent to the farmers as warnings.

One group is living it up amidst the pain and suffering - three counterfeiters who've been running off hundreds of sheets of fake scrip and then using it at tea houses and bars, and to buy up carts of rice from merchants. Unfortunately, the fakes get identified quickly and everyone found in possession of them is punished. The counterfeiting mint is burned to the ground and the counterfeiters themselves are rescued by Red Eye, who is working under Shichibe's orders to keep trying to undermine Kuraya's stranglehold on the economy.

Kazuma had gotten pummeled by the villagers, but saved by Ryounoshin. The boy is met in the woods by the hunchback beggar, and he demands to be made stronger. The beggar asks "why do you want to do that?", with the answer partly being to go back home and see his girlfriend again. The beggar relents and takes the boy to the teahouse where his girlfriend works, only to witness her being ravaged by Guntaro's little brother. The beggar says that the only way to improve is for Kazuma to kill him (the beggar), which the boy is happy to try. Elsewhere, Ryounoshin visits the grave site of a family member, with the skull exposed above-ground in the rain. He remembers all the pain and suffering his family and friends received at the hands of the feudal lord, and how he's been thwarted at getting revenge. So, what's his purpose in life now, as a samurai? The hunchback beggar arrives and slowly backs Ryounoshin against the edge of the cliff, and he gets his answer - a samurai lives to fight.

Back at the rice paddies, Shousuke is continuing to have his own crisis of faith as the farmers act like they don't need him any more, going out in the heavy downpour to protect the irrigation earthworks from flooding on their own. Finally, he realizes that he can be with them as equals, rather than as teacher and students. But, Yokome and a small crew are out destroying the dams and they use this to separate Shousuke from the group and kidnap him. Ryounoshin sees this and rushes to the castle to cry for help, but the castle remains silent and ignores him.

長八の宿 (Chouhatchi Lodge)

By Yoshiharu Tsuge (つげ義春). 24 pages.
This is another one of Tsuge's stories that had appeared in the Neji-Shiki collection. In this one, a traveler arrives out at a lakeside lodge. The lodge is known for the elaborate carvings on the sides of the main support pillars. The traveler befriends an old grounds keeper who talks about how local lore says that Mount Fuji can't be seen through the mist. The traveler wants a copy of the lodge's old brochure, but there aren't any available anymore because the lodge's mistress was embarrassed at having been photographed for it while sitting at the edge of the spa's baths, and had all of the pamphlets destroyed. Actually, the old man kept some copies hidden and the traveler talks him into handing over one. Naturally, the lodge's mistress knew about the hidden stash, and now demands to have the rest of them destroyed as well. When the traveler leaves, the old man is shocked to be able to see the mist is gone and Fuji looming over the lake.

赤水, 後篇 (Red Water, Second Half)

By Shouhei Kusunoki (楠勝平). 31 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
The older brother staggers back home and tries to recover from the embarrassment of having been thrown out of the drinking party. A little later, he has a thought and goes into a cave in the hills where the rich boy's would-be betrothed is hiding. She's been there for several days and greedily wolfs down the onigiri he brings with. He leaves again, but when he returns with more food, he stumbles on another soldier who's also found the cave and is attempting to rape the girl. The brother kills the soldier with a rock. At the same time, the rich boy is paraded out in front of some of the peasants to show off his riding skills. The little brother is impressed, but dismayed at seeing how the rider mistreats the horse with his spurs, drawing blood from the horse's sides. The rich one gives the horse to the little brother, who then races it around the village. He finally reaches the temple at the top of a hill, where he discovers the bodies of his brother and the girl, hanging by their necks by ropes from the ceiling. It's not clear what happened, but it may have been a punishment killing rather than a lover's suicide. The temple priests are shocked, as well as being put in a bind since the rich family is scheduled to come to the temple soon to pray for their son's victory in war. They haul the bodies out down a back path as the new procession arrives. The little brother is so enraged over what happened to his brother that he takes the horse out to a river and kills it with a bamboo spear. He then stands in the middle of the river, catching fish with his bare hands, and the growing plume in the river around him causes the boy to comment on the "red water".

自昼の死 (Noon's Death) #33
By Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 pages.

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #19

By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 11 pages.
More Susumu jokes.

Rotary (Rotary)

By Shigeru Mizuki (東真一郎). 1 page.
東真一郎 is one of Mizuki's pen names, according to the Japanese wiki. He's credited under his own name for doing the illustrations for this one page commentary.

浪曲師ベトナムに死す (A Storyteller's Death in Vietnam)

By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 18 pages.
A failed rakugo-styled storyteller is approached by a small-time Vietnamese promoter that wants to take him on the road at a show in Vietnam. After a long trek through the jungle, where the guy comments on being a Japanese Tarzan, they reach the event site. Unfortunately, the storyteller doesn't recognize the air raid siren, and is the only one still in the hall when the shrapnel bombs fall. He's hit by one and dies during the ensuing surgery. At the end, the doctor removes the "shrapnel" from the storyteller's skull, revealing it to be Japanese-made pachinko balls.

長い道 (The Long Road)

By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 8 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
A disheveled samurai is told to clean up his act, so he has his wife shave him and gets a new set of clothes. But, his meal ticket at the castle ends and he finds himself out of work and unable to pay the new bills. When he reports this to his wife, she tells him to cheer up because life is still full of possibilities. She orders two bowls of expensive tempura soba and after the couple is done eating she reveals her plan - to pack up all their belongings and run out on the bills.

ちいさいな世界 (Small World)

By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 14 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
In this wordless short, #6 in Shinji's gekiga collection, a small boy out playing with his dog dashes across the street, where a careless driver hits and kills the dog before driving off heedlessly. The boy is heartbroken, but makes friends with a girl who has a doll. Again, the children run across the street in front of a truck, with the doll on the boy's trike looking like a girl pedaling in the street. The driver swerves into a lamp post as the children ignore him.

鬼太郎夜話 (Kitaro Night Stories) #8

By Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 21 pages.
Standing in for Mijima, Neko-chan impresses the audience with her cat-like singing voice, and then she and Kitaro return home. The doctors and the manager are left trying to decide what to do about their singer-turned-blob talent, Mijima. At a hotel coffee shop, a promoter learns that Otoko Nezumi and the fake Kitaro have been to hell and back, and he succeeds in booking them on the talk show circuit. The real Kitaro learns from his father that the checkerboard vest he's wearing is a fake, and that the real vest is made up of threads made from the spirits of dead yokai. Without the vest, they might as well kill themselves now. Kitaro fishes his father out of the teapot of boiling water to prevent the attempted suicide, and goes to find the vest. The narrator comments that Kitaro has never watched TV or listened to the radio, because if he'd had, he'd see the fake Kitaro wearing the vest on a TV special airing at that moment. On the TV set, a group of scientists discount the idea of anyone being able to go to hell and come back, so Nezumi Otoko shows them the vest, which the scientists discover is made up of "hairs of something not a normal living creature". They want more proof, and the two promise to deliver in a few days.

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