Friday, August 20, 2010

Gegege Exhibit

(Ticket to the event)

The Matsuya department store in Ginza helped celebrate Shigeru Mizuki's 88th birthday by hosting the "Gegege Exhibit" in their 8th floor art space. The last exhibit I'd seen there was the Fujio Akatsuka show (Tensai Bakabon) last year, which had been very well-presented, so I figured that I'd better go see the new one before it ended (the exhibit ran from Aug. 11 to the 23rd; 1000 yen for adults.)

(Back of ticket)

In one respect, the Gegege exhibit wasn't quite as satisfying this time around, but that's more to do with the fact that Akatsuka had been an incredibly oddball person, and his show had been designed to reflect that (with popup artwork and arrows on the walls that led pointlessly to the floor). That's a hard act to follow.

Fortunately, Shigeru is a very prolific artist, and the Gegege exhibit had a lot of material to work with. First, the ticket booth is made up to look like the wall monster. Then, in the hallways leading into and out of the display space there are little (6"-8" tall) bronze statues of various creatures, all highly detailed and "life-like". In several areas there are 3-D display pieces, such as the one of Kitaro touching a space egg.

The first display area introduces us to Kitaro, with a bibliography, timeline, original pencil drawings from the manga, and collector's copies of the some of the books. A second area is dedicated to another title, "Akuma-kun". A third is a timeline of Shigeru's own life, with photos of his wedding ceremony, from his childhood, and a few from when he was in the service. The fourth area had more statues, a DVD playing the opening and closing sequences from the various Kitaro TV anime series, and some pencils and cel artwork from the anime. Finally, there was the huge gift shop area, which featured a small restaurant serving snack items (everything was x01 yen, i.e. - 301 yen, 401 yen, 501 yen, etc.) as well as the requisite t-shirts, towels, bento boxes, DVDs, manga and gift boxes of cookies and crackers.

(Looking in at the gift shop.)

I went at 1 PM on a Friday and the place was packed. Lots of elderly people reliving the times when they first read the manga 50 years ago, and children that had seen the latest Gegege no Kitaro TV anime, or the live action movies. Plus of course there were the new fans brought in by Shigeru's wife's book and TV series, "Gegege no Nyobu" (Wife of Gegege) running on NHK. (NHK is a sponsor of the exhibit, BTW). Naturally, photos aren't allowed, which is a shame because some of the bronze statues are lots of fun to look at. I wouldn't say that it was worth the 1000 yen admission, but it was worth the trip. (All the explanations were in Japanese; no English guides or translations anywhere.)

There's also a tie-in to the Legends of Tono, 100th Anniversary, which is going to run on NHK, and is also being serialized as a manga by Shigeru.

Minna de uta wo, gegege no ge.

And, a couple of the bronze statues are of monsters in the closing animation here, including the crab at the beginning.

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