Garo #54, Dec., '68. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.
カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #45
By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 65 pages.
The villagers send their fishermen out to cast their nets, bringing in a massive catch of squid that is quickly sliced up and hung to dry. While most of the villagers are happy about the catch, an old man sitting off to the side comments that it's the wrong time of the year for squid to surface. Shousuke notices this and asks the old man to explain. He does, saying that something like this happened 40 years earlier, presaging some natural disasters. During this, a basket priest approaches and throws a dagger at Shousuke's feet. He follows the priest out to a ship in the bay - Shichibe is calling a war council with Red Eye, Ryounoshin (the priest) and Shousuke. They discuss the death of the local lord and what this means to them, and Shousuke says that his primary concern is the welfare of the villagers. He returns to the shore with Ryounoshin. When they part, some ninjas spying in the trees try to attack the priest and are warned off when a monkey comes tearing in through the trees chased by a dog, and Ryounoshin saves the monkey. Turns out that the monkey is a favorite of the ninja leader that had killed the archer in the previous chapter. After the ninja leader leaves, the monkey and its offspring are nursed back to health by Saesa, who had also been hiding and watching from the shadows.
Shousuke imagines the disasters that could strike next, starting with an invasion of mice eating the grain stores and attacking livestock and humans; the droughts that kill off the rice plants and dry up all the wells; the torrential rains that flood the village; hail that destroys the remaining crops and batters everyone standing outside unprotected; and so on. Returning to the present, Shousuke notices that the ongoing rain is threatening to start some landslides and he heads for higher ground with his horse. Some time later, the deluge turns into flooding and washes away some of the farm houses and the people living inside.
ぎんながし (Gin Nagashi)
By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 32 pages.
Essentially, this is the story of a young boy, Kiyoshi, working at his family's izakaya, cleaning up the mess from the night before. His older sister, Kazue, runs the bar and his mother bosses the rest of the family around. A customer comes in one night and orders sushi, and later gives a coin to the boy when they meet on the street. The mother finds it and takes the coin away from Kiyoshi, not wanting him to waste money. He later beats some of his friends at a battling top game, but loses all the tops he'd amassed when challenging a neighboring club. Along the way, the boy's parents discuss the sushi-eating customer, who apparently has a reputation for being a spendthrift. Then, a few days go by and the customer fails to show up at the bar. The mother panics, thinking that one of their sources of easy money has dried up, and Kiyoshi sends her on a wild goose chase as he tracks the customer down himself. Eventually he finds the man at home in a rundown apartment eating cheap grilled fish on a small portable hibachi. The guy has been dumped by his latest girlfriend, who had been his meal ticket. He laughs at how she's no longer in his life and that he doesn't need her. He tears up her photo then cries. Later, he shows up at the bar trying to pick up a new girlfriend.
Gin Nagashi is the first in a new series by Yuu, entitled "Terajima-chou Kidan" (寺島町奇譚, or, "Terajima Neighborhood Mystery Story"). There's a short description of it on the Japanese wiki. According to that, "Terajima" ran from Dec., 1968, to Jan., 1970, and was turned into an NHK TV drama in 1976.
「書けないということについて」 ("About not writing") #45By Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 pages.
新日本書紀 (The New Old Chronicles) #4
By Mamoru Sasaki & Satsuko Okamoto (佐々木 守 & 岡本 颯子). 6 pages.
By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 24 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
(#3 in the Folktale Series.) A rather clumsy ninja rushes to a farm where he's been hired to protect the family's horse from a wolf. Said wolf then approaches and enters the house and crouches next to the horse, ready to attack. The family consists of an old woman, her husband and a young boy. The boy asks his grandmother what the world's scariest thing is, and she answers "a ninja", which gets the ninja very excited. The grandfather agrees that ninjas are scary, but what about wolves? The ninja goes into a panic at the idea of a wolf being near by, and the wolf becomes very happy. The grandmother agrees that wolves are also scary, but what about "Furuyanomori"? (furuya is an old house or cabin, and "mori" is a forest, so the impression is something that lives in a old cabin in the woods). At this everyone in the house gets shivers and agrees that furuyanomori are scary. Just then, some water leaks through the roof onto everyone's necks and they all go yelling "furuyanomori, furuyanomori". The ninja falls from his perch and lands on the wolf, who goes screaming out of the house thinking that the furuyanomori has caught him. The wolf tears into the woods, knocking the ninja off into a hollow tree. Deeper in the woods, the wolf encounters a baboon and some other animals and warns them of the approaching threat. The baboon promises to protect them all and they go to the tree where the "furuyanomori" was last seen. The baboon lowers its long tail into the hollow of the tree, just as the ninja recovers from his concussion. He grabs the tail and tries to climb out. The baboon panics and tries to bolt, ripping his tail off. The narrator then explains that this is why, to this day, Japanese baboons have short tails, and that their faces and buttocks have turned bright red out of shame. Finally, back at the house, the boy starts asking "grandma, what's the world's..."
丘の上でヴィンセント。ヴァン。ゴッホは (Vincent Van Gogh on the Hill)
By Tadao Tsuge (つげ忠男). 34 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
A part-time factory worker/university student spends his days at work, and his nights learning to paint just like Van Gogh. He talks to the reader about Van Gogh's life, and wonders what had happened to make him paint so many self-portraits. A co-worker drops by with some grilled chicken and sake and they revel through the night, leaving the worker exhausted the next day. This is the time of the U.S. war in Vietnam, student unrest in Japan, and union strikes. The factory is trying to keep the workers happy, but it's not working. The artist buys some grilled chicken to share with his friend, but then discovers his friend in the company of two university students that are planning on trying to rescue another student demonstrator that had been arrested earlier. The friend decides to go with the other two, and the artist returns back home to his paintings.
I have to be honest, when I saw "Vincent Van Gogh on the Hill", I thought that Yoshiharu Tsuge had drawn it, but that the art was a little off. It wasn't until I was looking at a Garo index page in Japanese for issue #55 that I finally noticed that the author name didn't match up. Now I have to go back through all of the previous Garo issues to see where else I got the credits wrong. Tadao Tsuge (1941-) is Yoshiharu's older brother (one of two; they also have two younger half-sisters from when their mother remarried according to the Comics Journal article). Tadao is also an established artist, but not as well-known. There's one fan page showing some of his signed covers. A Japanese listing of his works can be found here.
By Maki Sasaki (佐々木まき). 20 pages.
Ok, here's a mind trip. Maki has put together a series of iconic images - camels, a guy playing golf, two lovers together - and added word balloons, but he's left the balloons blank. He didn't even come up with a title, using instead just the row of periods. The person that owned this issue of Garo before me wrote in "oh one day the spirit of sound of silence" in the title balloon in pencil. So, you can decide what you want the dialog to be yourself.
勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #31
By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 7 pages.
Just the one part this time. 3- and 4-panel gag strips.
花の紋章 (Rose Crest, Continued) #3
By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 18 pages.
This gangster tale has no clear story. Basically, the two boys from before encounter the gangster, who has been given the job to off the one boy's father. On the last page, the boy arrives on a hill in time to see the gangster squaring off against his target.
鬼太郎夜話 (Kitaro Night Stories) #18
By Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 16 pages.
Gama and Kitaro talk, and he mentions that the duke wants to propose to her. She leaves and the duke returns, back in human form, with a trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth. The duke asks what he's doing out along the water duct this late at night, and Kitaro explains that he couldn't sleep. It's getting close to sunrise so they return home. Kitaro meets up with Nezumi Otoko, who's eating the tofu rinds Gama gave him. Nezumi Otoko is keeping Kitaro's father in a gourd container, and he offers to give the gourd to Kitaro if the boy will kill the duke for him to help clear the way for romance with Gama. Kitaro agrees and signs a document to this effect. Nezumi Otoko says that the eyeball is in a precarious state right now, and that Kitaro shouldn't open the gourd until things get better some time from now. Kitaro takes the gourd, waits the appropriate time, then opens it to find that it's empty - Nezumi Otoko had lied to him.
Meanwhile, Nezumi Otoko notices that the room next door has been quiet for too long, and checks to see if Gama is ok. Turns out that her room is completely empty and that she's never actually lived in it. In any case, she's disappeared. Plus, Kitaro lied and isn't going to kill the duke. The duke and Nezumi Otoko run into each other, and Nezumi pulls out the contract showing that Kitaro promised to kill the duke. They partner up to find out where Gama went.