Sunday, September 5, 2010

Garo 56


Garo #56, Feb., '69. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.


カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #47


By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 57 pages.
The attacks on the peasants by the ruling class are getting more severe. After one such, a roving wild dog tries to eat a corpse that isn't quite dead yet - it knifes the dog and gets up and walks away. Along its path are crow feathers, which it follows to a shrine building where Yokome is waiting. The figure takes off its disguise to reveal Yokome's daughter, Saesa. All she wants is to find Kamui. Yokome doesn't have the direct answer to Kamui's whereabouts, but he suggests that Shousuke might. She runs off, and Kigisu, who was hiding nearby is told to follow her. Up in the trees, at least another 3 ninja are hiding and listening in. They leave, with Yokome watching them off. (Note that Yokome and Saesa don't have what you'd call a "tight father-daughter bond". Yokome dislikes Saesa's fixation on Kamui and is willing to use it to destroy Shousuke, and Saesa is willing to attack her father in order to find out where Kamui is.)

In one of the towns, bales of rice are being unloaded from the ships and taken into the warehouses. One worker tries taking some of the rice, but discovers that the bales contain nothing but rocks, before Kazuma happens up and kills him. The workers threaten another riot if they don't get paid, and the soldiers protecting the town warn them off. Vagrants are being rounded up and tortured for not paying their taxes. Shibutare, the snitch, makes a small bit of change informing on them.

Guntaro is putting more pressure on the other retainers as he strengthens his grip over them. Both Kazuma and Gemba notice that there are spies hiding in the rafters and the floors of Guntaro's house, but no specific spy can be identified. Kazuma continues his ploy of preying on the weak as a way of drawing Ryounoshin out into the open. Gemba makes an assault on the magistrate's house, cutting down the horse as the magistrate tries to ride out on it. There's a short struggle and Gemba threatens to chop the old man up, but Guntaro needs the secret pact papers the magistrate is hiding, and Gemba won't get them if the old man dies. They are both at an impasse.



The chaos brings things to a head for Shousuke. He's hiding in a cave under a big rock, and is talking to Kokemaru and Ryounoshin. Shousuke's a mess. His spirit has been broken and he's lost sight of his goals. All he wants is to make a better life for the common folk, but the only outcome he sees is more death. Ryounoshin and Kokemaru can't give him answers that he likes and they leave him to brood by himself. Outside the cave, Saesa has knocked out the two children standing guard and is waiting to pounce as Shousuke comes out to try to plead with Kokemaru some more.



げんまいパンのホヤホヤ (Fresh Brown Rice Bread)


By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 36 pages.
Kiyoshi has a weakness for fresh baked brown rice bread, and has spent all of his school money on it. His mother discovers that he's been skipping school because of this and gets angry with him. However, he's also discovered a girl that likes genmai bread, and they kind of tease each other. The bread vendor is wandering the streets looking for customers when he hears his name called. He looks up and sees a woman in a window waving at him. The woman's customer is drunkenly asking for the bread and reaches over and grabs the woman's nightgown, pulling it off. This distracts the bread vendor, as one kid tries to reach into the carry case to steal the bread inside. The vendor chases him off. Kiyoshi was watching all of this, trying to figure out a way to avoid going to school and facing his teacher, when he notices the Japanese flag flying in front of one building, and happily realizes that today is a national holiday.



はなだれこぞう (Runny Nose Kid)


By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 24 pages.
Another folktale. A wood cutter walks into town to sell his wood, but no one is buying. As he returns home, the wind is so strong, and the wood so heavy, that he collapses. He decides to dump the wood into a stream near a shrine dedicated to a fox god, saying that the fox can have it. Soon after, a woman magically appears and tells him that he can have all of his wishes granted as long as he takes care of this snot-nosed baby. She disappears again and the guy is stuck with taking the baby home. He asks for a bigger house, and the baby grants his wish with a mansion. He suggests that he could use a good set of clothes, and the baby grants him a full wardrobe of finery. He asks for a little money and gets a mountain of chests filled with gold coins. Finally, he asks for a wife, and the first woman appears again, along with retainers. Time goes by and the guy is very happy, but the retainers keep following him around and he's tired of it. That and the snot nosed baby never looks any different. Finally, the wood cutter thanks the baby for everything that he's done, and asks if the baby would leave now. The baby says sure, and the house, the clothes, the money and the family disappear with him. The wood cutter is last seen trying to sell his wood again, and no matter how much he gives to the fox shrine, the woman and the baby never reappear.



[断の一字]に対して (To face the "one character decision") #47
By Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 pages.
Article.



新日本書紀 (The New Old Chronicles) #6


By Mamoru Sasaki & Satsuko Okamoto (佐々木 守 & 岡本 颯子). 6 pages.
Article.



みずからの歌を唄って (To Sing One's Own Praises)
By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 6 pages.
This is another one of the paired-up artists articles, this time with Seiichi Hayashi and Maki Sasaki.



花の詩 (Flower Poem) #5


By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 16 pages.
23-year-old and his boss are soft drink makers, looking for a new flavor. A spy for Happy Syrup company hides in the shadows and watches them. He spirits them away to another land where a woman with flower petals around her face tells 23 that the secret ingredient to Happy Syrup is her tears of sadness. Finally, the owner of Happy Syrup takes 23 away, and the girl cries sadly as they leave.



勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #33


By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 12 pages.
Just the one part this time. 3- and 4-panel gag strips.



新吉の散歩 (Stroll of New Good Luck)


By Yoshiko Naka (仲佳子). 16 pages.
From the author of Sea Ground Cherry, and Youshi. A young boy that should be at school comes home and his mother makes lunch for him. He tells her about his day, which included discovering a traveling freak show that had just come to town, and eating free sushi at a restaurant. His mother thinks that the boy's gone wrong in the head, until he pulls out a package that contains her favorite sushi that he'd saved for her. She apologizes, and the boy comments that she's only been eating yaki imo (baked sweet potato) lately. He goes to sleep at the table and she happily eats the sushi.



かなしいまっくす (Sad Tree (?))


By Maki Sasaki (佐々木まき). 12 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
More surrealism that doesn't really say anything. Interestingly, though, the last panel of this manga is a modified photo of a jazz trumpeter, which plays right into the next manga, by Ikegami.



電動式義手 (Electric Artificial Arm)


By Ryouichi Ikegami (池上遼一). 24 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
A young man with an artificial right arm is playing jazz trumpet in his room. His landlady comes in to complain that she doesn't like jazz. Although she can understand his situation, his playing trumpet from morning til night has been irritating the neighbors and affecting those that work nights or are trying to study for exams. The woman looks at the doorway where a pair of woman's shoes have been set next to the door, and she comments that she knows there's a girl hiding in the room. The landlady leaves, and her daughter, a university student, is shown standing behind the door. The girl opens the curtains and remarks how it's so strange, with the drapes closed, that you can't tell that there's a huge factory so close by spewing out clouds of pollution. She hates this place and wants to leave. Later, she goes to her own apartment, where her mother the landlady asks how her studies are going.

The boy goes into a flashback. He was an aspiring jazz player, a member of a good band. As he was crossing over a bridge, the driver of an oncoming car lost control and swerved right at him. The car stopped short, but he'd fallen over the railing onto the tracks of an oncoming train. A few months later, the driver confronts the boy, profusely apologizing for the accident, and mentioning that he's a design engineer for a prosthetics company and he wants the boy to be the first one to use their new artificial electronic arm. It'd be just like his own. The boy then practices using the arm for 2 years leading up to a big live performance of his band at a night club. The engineer has been given a personal invitation, but that day he spends his time drinking at a bar, unable to get his courage up. The engineer is convinced that the arm was a poor first attempt. That night, the boy goes into a rage, trashing the stage. The other members try to calm him down, but give up and return to their hotel. The boy staggers out into the middle of the street, where the engineer sees him as he drives up. The engineer apologizes again, saying that his claim that the arm would be good enough was just his way of assuaging his guilt. The boy claims that the arm is perfect, when it suddenly grabs the engineer by the throat under its own accord and starts choking him. The engineer wheezes out to cut the power, but it's too late.

At the end, the engineer is lying on the ground, the detached arm still squeezing tightly. The boy wanders over to the factory district where the girl finds him. Initially she's overjoyed to see him, but then notices his empty sleeve. The boy says that he'll go to the police, and then try to get a better arm. The girl looks at the factory in the background and says that it's too scary being here.



鬼太郎夜話 (Kitaro Night Stories) #20


By Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 16 pages.
Nezumi Otoko and the yokai duke find the house listed as the return address on the package sent by Kitaro. Since no one seems to be living there (it's very rundown), they decide to move in. Suddenly, though, their candle goes out, and in the darkness they hear approaching geta footsteps. They hide in the closet, and jump out at the last second but there's no one there. However, a pair of geta are found at the front doorway. In the kitchen they find a clothesline with a shirt and pants drying on it, and the duke yanks on one end of the line, pulling a large rock down on his head. There's a knock at the front door. The duke and Nezumi go to investigate, where they find about 20 skeleton monsters who have come for a dance party. The duke demands to know why they are here, and one of the monsters points up to the nameplate above the door saying that this is Gegege no Kitaro's house. The duke grabs the nameplate and throws it to the ground, saying that from today this is his house. The skeletons are outraged at this show of rudeness, and another one of them shouts out that they should do "ha hi fu he ho" at the "so-called" duke and his raggedy friend. The skeletons all chant as one, and the duke and Nezumi Otoko disappear in a puff.

This story is a retelling of another short story where a yakuza gangster and Mizuki Shigeru offend some monsters who want to visit for a party, and are then sent to purgatory. It's not quite word-for-word, but it's very similar.

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