Sunday, August 8, 2010

Garo 53

Garo #53, November, '68. Cover by Shinji Nagashima. 202 pages.

I apologize. It looks like there's only one shop in Tokyo that has a majority of the Garo issues, and that's the Mandarake used shop in Akihabara. It also looks like someone else is buying them at the same time I am. Right now, there's a consistent gap in what the shop has available to sell, with issues 47, and 50-52 currently missing (I can't find them at either the Shibuya or Nakano Mandarakes). I'll buy them as soon as they show up again.

47 and 51 are both special issues, meaning that they may be harder to find than normal to begin with. Not sure why 50 and 52 would be missing though. Maybe just bad luck.

さるかに昔 (Old Monkey-Crab Days)

By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 24 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
Long ago there was a crab scuttling along the beach, doing his daily chores. One day, he found a persimmon seed, so he planted it, and tended it until years later it had grown tall and borne its first fruit. Unfortunately, the tree's trunk was too slippery for the crab to climb, so he asked a passing monkey to go up into the tree and toss down one of the persimmons. The monkey instead decided to eat all of the fruit itself, telling the crab to make do with the discarded pits. The crab pleaded with the monkey for just one fruit, and in disgust the monkey hurled a persimmon at him, killing the crab. However, a hundred tiny crabs came to life from the now empty shell, and they grow up to carry on the old one's work. Eventually, the monkey kills another one of them and they decide to get revenge. On their way to the monkey's house, they pick up allies, including a thorny seed, a cow patty, a large pot and a bee. Working together they ambush the monkey and then crush him under the pot. The survivors live happily ever after.

It looks like Shinji has forgone his "Shinji Gekiga Collection" to start up a new series retelling various old folk tales. This is #2 in his new "Dansan" series.

後巻咲子の決断 (Shouko Atomaki's Decision)

By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 16 pages.
Shouko is a relatively young woman living alone, enviously watching love dramas on TV. She receives a letter inviting her to an omiai, an arranged marriage date. She dresses up and goes to meet her date. The young man she is partnered with seems very handsome and well-mannered. They go out to a lake, a play and a restaurant. She's very impressed and thinks about accepting the arrangement, until the guy starts slurping his food. His lips are so rubbery and noisy that she breaks off the arrangement and takes the next train out of town.

花の紋章 (Rose Crest) #2

By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 18 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
Seiichi is departing from his bizarre satirical works involving gorillas, frogs and wizards and moving into the realm of gangsters. Two young boys have decided to sneak out to a shack on the outskirts of town, where a woman is rumored to be sleeping with some guy, and they can watch through the windows. The guy is a famed gangster, who spends most of his time beating up punks and reminiscing about a beautiful woman, while the narrative text is drawn to look like an overblown movie poster, or the lyrics of an enka song.

「蒙昧と雷同」 ("Ignorance and Blind Faith") #44
By Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 pages.

新日本書紀 (The New Old Chronicles) #3

By Mamoru Sasaki & Satsuko Okamoto (佐々木 守 & 岡本 颯子). 6 pages.
Apparently in issue 51, Sasaki and Okamoto started up a new narrative series. "日本書紀" is the name of some old Japanese chronicles, and the "新" in front turns it into "New Old Chronicles". The format is the same though, with Sasaki writing 6-page articles and Okamoto illustrating them. The subtitles are harder to figure out though, so I'll hold off on dealing with them for the moment.

Rotary (Rotary)

By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 1 page.
A one page article by Yuu.

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #30

By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 9 pages.
Just the one part this time. 3- and 4-panel gag strips.

ばか雪 (Baka Snow)

By Hideshi Hino (日野日出志). 20 pages.
Hino (Mud Dolls) is back with another mood piece. A detective investigating a murder finds himself near a forest by a gate. The victim had his throat torn out, and his eyes removed. Some of the witnesses in the area are crippled children standing on the other side of the gate. The gate separates them from "this world" and "that world", implying a boundary between life and death. Behind the children are hundreds of graves. As the detective proceeds, snow begins to fall. The detective enters the graveyard, following the children who locate a small girl sitting and singing in the snow. She turns around and pleads for help, her sockets empty and a handful of eyeballs tumbling out of the bag she holds. Nearby is the half-decayed corpse of a dog. She calls to the dog, but there's no response. The detective arrests her and takes her to his car in handcuffs. She shouts for help, first from the dog then from her mother. Suddenly she wakes up in a hospital, with bandages around her face. She remembers that she'd been hit by a car, which had killed Pochi, her dog, and rendered her blind. The children at the gate were reminders of her possible death and she vows to keep fighting for her life. She mentions that the room feels cold and her mother answers that it's snowing heavily outside. She thinks that it would be pretty to look at, and starts singing about snow.

養子 (Youshi)

By Yoshiko Naka (仲佳子). 16 pages.
A young boy meets his teacher outside of school, and asks to drop by the teacher's house later on. The teacher goes to a playhouse where he watches Youko, a kind of rakugo artist, performing on a Japanese musical instrument and acting silly. That evening, the boy arrives at the teacher's house, they talk about books for a while, and then the boy says that he'd like to meet Youko. The teacher arranges this, and the boy visits her apartment. She starts laughing, and the sound is like seagulls swarming over a dead fish. The boy runs away and sticks his tongue out at her.

No hits on Yoshiko Naka, in English or Japanese.

白い砂 (White Sand)

By Tetsuhiro Morimoto (森本哲弘). 18 pages.
A young teenager on a beach sees a couple frolicking in the waves. He follows them around and we just get bits and pieces of what's happening. There's an impression in the sand made by two bodies. A boat. He throws a rock. A dead seagull on the shore. He sees the woman and reaches out. A close up of the seagull, carried by a child, who has tied a rope around its neck. People start talking about the bodies of a man and a woman that have been found. The teenager wraps himself up in a ball.

Tetsuhiro also wrote Steam Whistle, which appeared in issue #43.

彼女の世界 (A Woman's World)

By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 8 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
A secretary sitting at her desk, powdering her nose, sees a discount coupon for a department store fly by the window and land on the ledge outside. She goes out on the ledge to pick it up when her boss happens by and thinks that she's been having a bad love life and is about to jump. The fire department, the police and ambulances are called. Crowds gather to watch, with a few guys taking advantage of the situation to look up women's dresses. She falls. Her boss is next seen watching TV and laughing. She wakes up at her desk, takes the coupon out of her purse and tears it up before returning to powdering her nose.

すばらしき時代 (A Wonderful Era)

By Ryouichi Ikegami (池上遼一). 40 pages.
Ryouichi's art style has progressed a lot since he first appeared in Garo. He's still experimenting with dark horror, but his lines have become smoother and his characters better defined.

A group of five inhabitants of Mars are out on a space trip vacation. The travelers include an old man, a middle-aged fat guy, a younger weasel sort, and a young couple who have been dating since childhood and are currently attending university together. The old man strikes up a conversation with the couple, and the girl sings her boyfriend's praises, about how he's studying to be a doctor. The old man makes some jokes at their expense and talks about how they're living in such a wonderful era where space travel is common. Then there's a flash and the sole crew member comes stumbling out of the control room, blinded. There was a short in the control panel and the ship is now drifting aimlessly. They have a limited time to fix up the ship in order to enter the proper orbit for landing. The weasel is enlisted to repair the wiring with the crewman's directions, but he's just a TV repairman and can't handle this level of complexity. He breaks down and cries. The crew member then makes a more serious suggestion - if someone is willing to sacrifice their eyes, he can do the repairs himself.

The old man volunteers, but his eyes wouldn't survive the operation. The fat one demands that they draw lots, and the weasel is overjoyed that he's not the one to be picked. Instead, it's the girl. The boy refuses to operate on his love, and the fat one beats him to a pulp to force the boy to save them all. The boy does the operation, but it's a failure. The old man tries to commiserate with the boy, bemoaning his fate as being too old, when the boy tells him to shut up and quit being a hypocrite - the old man could have stopped the operation at any time and saved the girl but was too interested in protecting his own neck. The ship continues its long drift as the girl sits propped up in the seat, blood dripping down from under her bandages.

鬼太郎夜話 (Kitaro Night Stories) #17

By Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 16 pages.
Kitaro is sleeping at Nezumi Otoko's apartment. A female yokai with a zipper for a mouth, stops by to talk to Nezumi Otoko. The sound of the zipper opening and closing is irresistible to him, and he throws Kitaro outside. The yokai, Gama, gives Nezumi Otoko a big bowl of okara (leftovers from making tofu), which he then hides in the cupboard. Kitaro wakes up and goes into the wrong apartment, and ends up eating someone else's breakfast. The owner of the apartment, a yokai duke, is willing to let bygones be bygones IF Kitaro will deliver a love letter to Gama. Kitaro grudgingly accepts the task, but Gama is out for the day. Kitaro ends up returning to the right apartment, where Nezumi Otoko has also found himself falling for Gama.

That night, the duke is shown to actually be a werewolf, and he tears off his clothes under the light of the full moon before running into the darkness. Kitaro is out wandering the streets again when he hears a scream. He locates Gama, who is holding a handkerchief to her face. She says that a wolf-like person has just taken her nose. She pulls the cloth away, revealing a smudge-like area where her nose had been.

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