Sunday, July 4, 2010

Garo #44

Garo #44, Apr., '68. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.

This issue contains silly toilet humor. If you are easily offended, or if your country restricts your reading this kind of stuff, please stop reading now.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #40

By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 46 pages.
A mysterious basket priest is stalking low-level samurai. He asks them questions about the local lord and they generally snap back at the lack of respect they're getting. This then results in the priest cutting them down in a few seconds. He eventually makes his way to a town where stage performers are being scouted. He challenges the theater's master, who quickly recognizes the priest as Ikkaku. The two of them sit down to plot strategy.

One-legged swordsman Ukon continues to try wooing Atena, and ends up picking a fight with some onlookers at a festival in order to defend her honor. But, when he takes her out on a lake in a boat, he tries to make advances on her and she throws him into the water before returning to shore on her own. Elsewhere, an old man with a young granddaughter have entered a restaurant to eat dinner. The shop owner suspects them of trying an "eat and dash" and refuses to serve them unless they pay in advance. They leave, and almost immediately after someone else pulls an eat and dash, running close past the old man before tumbling to the ground. Some guards surround the old man demanding that he turn over what he took - the thief's purse, which is still wrapped around the guy's severed arm. The guards take the old man and the girl to the local lord's home. The lord wants the old man to enter his service, but the swordsman doesn't want to, although he's tempted by seeing how happily his granddaughter is playing ball with the female retainers.

A beggar sitting along the wall near the gate to the lord's residence is chased away by some retainers. He's got a patch over his left eye and has rags wrapped around his sword. Possibly Ikakku or Red Eye in disguise. He tries to pick a fight with more samurai, but the old man comes out and challenges him to a fight, and ends up chopping off the "beggar's" left thumb. The "beggar" soon finds himself surrounded by over 20 guards, dripping blood from his hand, and his sword lying on the ground several feet away.

「市民」から「野次馬」へ (From "citizens" to "rubber neckers") #37
By Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 pages.

オンドル小屋 (Korean floor heater cabin)

By Yoshiharu Tsuge (つげ義春). 21 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
This is another of the stories that had been included in Tsuge's "Neji-shiki" collection I reviewed a while back. The author goes out to a mountainside onsen to relax in the hot spring waters. Unfortunately, 3 delinquents show up and act like jerks, ruining his trip.

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #22

By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 9 pages.
More 4-panel strips mocking society.

風太郎 (Fuutarou) #2

By Ryouichi Ikegami (池上遼一). 29 pages.
This chapter is titled "無風時間" (Calm hours). A truck driver encounters a drunk old man at a roadside drinking stall and talks the guy into taking a ride with him out to a deserted dumpsite. There, the driver and his biker friends reveal that they've found an unexploded U.S. aerial bomb dating back to WW II. The driver wants the old man to help him transport the bomb in his truck in order to kill a cop on the other side of the city, who'd messed up one of the gang members. Fuu-tarou is one of the people standing around with the group, and the driver picks him to ride in the back of the truck with the drunk guy. The driver is fairly careless, and the old man panics as the bomb slides around the bed of the truck, almost bumping the detonator into the walls. The old man sees that Fuu-tarou has a screwdriver in his backpack and uses it to defuse the bomb. At about this time, a couple riding on a motorcycle pull in front of the truck, and the woman at the back of the bike doesn't notice that her jacket is about to get caught in the rear tire. The bike seizes up and the driver of the truck swerves sharply around them, causing the driver's side front tire to snap loose. The truck careens into a sign post and the driver is severely injured in the wreck. The old man and Fuu-tarou climb out of the truck and try to flag down passing motorists, but there's an approaching typhoon and no one wants to stop long enough to help take the driver to a hospital. The old man then notices, in his coat jacket, an envelop with a wad of money in it and suddenly remembers that he'd been given his severance pay when he was fired the day before. He and Fuu-tarou stand and watch the cars speed by.

日本忍法伝 (Japan Ninja Arts Legend) #27

By Mamoru Sasaki & Satsuko Okamoto (佐々木 守 & 岡本 颯子). 6 pages.
Subtitled (牟婁の湯煙 (Murou Steam), Part 23).

Rotary (Rotary)
By Shigeru Mizuki (東 真一郎). 1 page.
Essay written under Shigeru's pen name, and accompanied by an illustration drawn under his regular name.

太陽の時 (Time of the Sun)

By Midumi Seto (せとみづみ). 12 pages.
A young man finds himself out in a sun-blasted wasteland, wandering around with no clear goal. He encounters a woman who runs away from him. He follows her to the sea shore, and strangles her in the waves. A little later he wakes up in a prison cell, and he calls out to the sun, the only witness to the crime, asking it if he'd really killed that woman or not.

There is nothing on Midumi Seto in English or Japanese.

アンリとアンヌのバラード (Ballad of Anri and Annu)

By Maki Sasaki (佐々木まき). 25 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
A man and a woman working in a strange prison climb up to the surrounding wall. They take turns telling their stories, in alternating pages. The guy was an artist that arrived in town and fell in love with a beautiful woman. The woman lived with an older man, and the artist ended up sneaking into their house in the middle of the night to continue the affair, but the old man woke up and shot him, thinking that the artist was a jewel thief there to rob him. The artist then died in the resulting hail of gunfire and went to hell. The prison girl, on the other hand, became homeless when her mother died. She tried making a living selling matches, but at a time of cheap cigarette lighters no one was buying. In the midst of the ongoing Christmas celebrations, the girl decided to use her matches to keep herself warm, by setting fire to houses around town. The townspeople caught her and burned her at the stake as punishment, and she also made the trip to hell. Back in the prison in hell, the two prisoners decide to ask kami-sama to save them and take them to a place that's more comfortable.

滝田ゆう論ノート モラリストの大衆象 (Takita Yuu Note, A Moralist General Public Phenomenon)
By Junzou Ishiko (石子順造). 4 pages.
A short discussion of the works of Yuu Takita. Junzou was last seen here writing up a commentary on Yasuharu Tsuge.

吾が母は (My mother)

By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 26 pages.
This is another story in the frogs and wizards universe. A frog husband and wife, the last remaining members of Japanese society after having lost the war, have to turn their son over to a gorilla wizard representing the victorious U.S. The gorilla takes the frog boy away as a hydrogen bomb wipes out the husband and wife. The boy stares at the flash, which gives him a radiation burn around his left eye. The boy dreams that he can fly, and the wizard angrily throws him off a cliff to show that only birds can fly. However, the wizard isn't all evil - he helps the boy build a bright, new future. The voices of the lost frogs remind him that this is a future of the wizard's design. The boy almost escapes the spell cast on him when he sees a vision of his mother, but the wizard works to convince the boy that his real mother is an erotic Marilyn Monroe dressed up as the Statue of Liberty holding a bottle of Coke.

ラララの恋人 (Lalala Lovers)

By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 21 pages.
A guitar player and one of his groupies go out and proclaim their love all over the city. Each place they do this has another couple sitting together pondering what to do next. In all cases, the free display of love by the guitarist and the groupie causes the other couples to break up and hate each other. At the end, the two go to a phonebooth, dial a number at random and sing about their love into the phone. They run away as the snow falls on the ground, leaving behind a baby in a box and a very angry person on the other end of the phone.

鬼太郎夜話 (Kitaro Night Stories) #11

By Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 24 pages.
The fake Kitaro (FK) finally recovers from his panic, and discovers the eyeball (Kitaro no Otosan, AKA: KnO) in his pocket. FK is having regrets over killing Neko musume, and is happy to learn that Kitaro's vest can bring her back to life. They return to the house that Neko-chan is staying at, and she says that being a were-cat in a human world has become distasteful to her and she wants to stay where she is in hell. KnO leads FK to one of the 400 exits from hell back to the human world, and they end up taking the wrong one, coming out in the middle of the Japanese Alps. KnO declares that it will take 10 days to reach Tokyo by foot. Unfortunately, at this point Nezumi Otoku is being grilled on TV by the scientists that refuse to believe that anyone can go to hell (which they claim doesn't exist) and come back. Nezumi Otoku comes up with a plan to escape the studio - he offers to give the scientists his droppings, which he's been holding in for 3 months. He goes to the hell exit point at the Tokyo city dump that he and FK had agreed on, but FK's nowhere to be seen. In anger, Nezumi Otoko decides to beat FK up with a baseball bat. By accident, he finds the real Kitaro, who is crying over Neko musume's fate. Kitaro stumbles into the pail and shovel that FK had forgotten behind him, and the pail lands on Kitaro's head. Nezumi Otoko sees this and happily attacks Kitaro with the bat. So happily that he has to sneak back in front of the panel to laugh at the reader some more.

I like the way Neko musume is drawn as a ghost.


Mr Alchemy said...

I'm fully convinced that the next major English language publication about the history of manga will use your blog as reference when discussing anything Garo related. I have read many articles about Garo (some written by a former editor at the magazine), but in most cases the articles talk about Garo's place within the manga industry, giving a loose overview of the magazines history (usually just repeating a list of significant dates that are already widely known). But nowhere have I seen such a detailed issue-by-issue breakdown of all the artists and stories featured in the magazine.
Even if there is some obscure Japanese blog out there that attempted the same mission, I doubt it would go into so much detail. (Maybe that's something you should look into. I would have a hard time trying to search Japanese cyber-space myself, but I'm sure somebody has already attempted what you're doing.)

Mr Alchemy said...

I would like to make a suggestion. When you have the time you might want to consider updating the tags/labels on all your Garo write-ups (#23 to #44) and your Garo features (#1 to #22) to include each individual artist and story from that particular issue. I think the only reason I found your blog in the first place is because you attached a 'Yoshiharu Tsuge' label to your Neji-Shiki anthology review.

[Also, in the 'Takita Yuu Note' summary 'Yoshiharu' has been spelt 'Yasuharu'.]

TSOTE said...

Mr. A - Thanks for the comments. I did correct the Yoshiharu misspelling before, but it seems to have snuck out on me anyway. Sigh. I'll fix it again.

One of the reasons for starting up this Garo database (given that that's what it's turning into) is that I haven't been able to find this level of information on the net myself. I didn't really intend for this to get so involved, but I am learning about big-name artists that I'd never known of before, and that's kind of feeding on itself. And it's tying in to other sources, like the 300 Years of Manga exhibit book I got from the Kawasaki Museum, in ways I wasn't expecting, which is something that has always attracted my attention for other subjects. The more I learn, the more I find stuff that amuses me.

As for other, obscure sites in Japanese that have done something similar in the past, well... When I encounter a new artist's name for the first time, I do a net search first on the Japanese spelling (usually it's in kanji) in order to get a pronunciation for the kanji in hiragana. When I have the pronunciation, I render it into Romaji and do a second search on the English version to see if someone has already written up a bio on him/her. If the English bio is missing or insufficient, I go back to find a bio in Japanese. For the really obscure writers, the only hits are for websites trying to sell Garo back issues. If there are websites doing what I'm doing, they'd show up during the searches for the obscure artists.

At the moment, the closest thing I've found is the Garo Encyclopedia, which is incomplete and only in Japanese. I haven't found any site that lists artist names both in kanji and romaji, which I consider important assuming that someone later may want to do another google search, and having both the kanji and romaji spellings already laid out for them may inspire them to contact me with whatever new they find out. There is one site that summarizes a number of the stories for a few years' worth of issues, and I've added a link to it in the HTML pages. If there is someone else with this information already typed up, if I find them I'll link to them to save myself as much work as I can.

Thanks for the suggestion on the tags. I'll look into adding that to my automation script. If/when I get the time, I'll update the older posts.