Sunday, September 12, 2010

Garo 57

Garo #57, Mar., '69. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #48

By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 40 pages.
Looks like things have taken a turn for the worse for Shousuke. The vagrants, under orders from Yokome, are chasing Kokemaru through the woods, and they pile up on the big man. Elsewhere, Saesa catches up to Shousuke and tries to take him down with a rope. Kigizu interferes and Saesa takes him on instead. Things turn really violent and Kigizu takes a dagger to the eye. Saesa catches back up to Shousuke, but a band of samurai on horseback sweeps down and tries to kill both of them. Shousuke puts up a brilliant defense, slaughtering the hunting dogs, then collapses from the exertion. This is followed by the onslaught of the monkey-handling basket priest's ninja troop against the samurai. After the last of the samurai are killed, the ninjas find themselves confronting their own leader - the basket priest. Another ninja battle follows, with the leader using controlled balls of flames as weapons. At last, there's just the basket priest left standing, and he notices Ryounoshin sitting on a horse off to the side. The priest removes his disguise, revealing Teburi. Ryounoshin picks up Shousuke's limp body and rides off, angering Teburi who throws a dagger at the bandit's back - but it's easily deflected. Meanwhile, out at sea, Shichibe and Red Eye are watching the coastline from a distance, as a gathering flock of birds swarm around.

One note about this manga - Shirato uses nature as an allegory for the behavior of his main characters. When an animal kills and eats another, it happens in conjunction with a battle between two or more humans. As an example, at the end of the fight where Teburi defeats the ninja pack, he looks over to see his trained monkey being threatened by a dog with a dagger in its mouth. When he looks the other direction, he sees Ryounoshin. While these animals have been trained as fighters in their own right, they also symbolize their human handlers. So, the swarming birds mentioned at the end of the chapter could represent the approaching threat of samurai coming down from Edo, or a larger army produced by Guntaro and the local lord and retainers.

おゆき (Oyuki)

By Haruo Koyama & Haruko Ri (小山 春夫 & 李 春子). 28 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
Oyuki is a young girl living alone outside one of the villages. When she comes into the village one day, asking if anyone knows about a baby that had been left at a shrine some years ago, the villagers call her the god of death and attack her to chase her out. One of the older villagers soon dies afterwards and they all say that this is obviously Oyuki's fault. She tries approaching another village and the same thing happens. Later, Oyuki sees a little girl playing with a ball along the seashore, and the ball gets caught by the waves. To protect the girl, Oyuki runs out into the water, but gets trapped by the undercurrent. The little girl's brother comes along and saves her. Next, some samurai enter the village and demand more rice for tribute to the local lord. The villagers have nothing left to give and some of them are killed as they protest. They see Oyuki watching from up in the hills and they blame her for all of this. They throw rocks at her and she falls from the hill and dies. The little girl's brother tried to stop the villagers, and he's the one that finds that Oyuki had been holding a note that implies that she was the abandoned child, and had originally just been a villager like them, but was cast out because of the actions of the samurai. The villagers turn on the samurai and chase them away. The scene changes. An old man is telling a young woman the story of what had happened at this spot a few hundred years ago. As the woman gets up to leave, she takes off her sunglasses, revealing a slightly older version of Oyuki.

Koyama's style here is a weird cross between Shinji Nagashimi, with his portrayal of Oyuki, and Sampei Shirato, with the designs of the villagers and the samurai. It really looks like something Shinji would have come up with if he'd tried to mimic Kamui-den.

Oyuki was written by Haruko Ri, and illustrated by Haruo Koyama. Haruko Ri apparently isn't a Japanese name, but I'm not finding a lot in English on her. Her last name could also be read as "Sumomo", which does come up in the credits for "Gen and Tsugumi", a manga also illustrated by Haruo Koyama that ran in Shonen Sunday in 1969. Her name also shows up for one illustrated picture book on the eHon site. So, she seems to have been somewhat active as a writer. Haruo Koyama (1934-), on the other hand, had worked as an assistant at Aka Me Pro (Shirato's studio) before going off on his own. There's a little bit of info on him on the net in Japanese, but no wiki page. He is listed as having drawn a manga in 1963 based on the "Kouga Ninja Scrolls" novel by Futaro Yamada (and later readapted by "Basilisk" artist Masaki Segawa). His time at Aka Me Pro shows vividly in Oyuki, given how much the artwork here resembles that from "Kamui-Den".

音 (Sound)

By Kuniko Tsurita (つりたくにこ). 14 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
A young man wakes up one morning to find himself without a body, and someone else sitting in his bed. The interloper drinks his best wine and eats his favorite rice crackers, and the main character yells that he's doing it wrong and corrects him. The interloper laughs that the main character has no hands for doing all this himself and then he goes outside. The main character stays in his room, unable to leave, surrounded by the ticking of his alarm clock.

ひとつぶのなみだ (One Tear)

By Tsuguo Kougo (向後つぐお). 10 pages.
A clown wandering into a bar off the street has this feeling that there's a woman named Hikari that he's in love with but has to kill. He's introduced to a relative of the woman, a young boy named Hikari, which confuses him. Another customer, a big burly guy, buys the clown a drink, which sets him off on a drunken rant. A glass falls off the bar onto the floor, and Hiraki the boy stabs him with a knife. The clown pieces together the fact that he'd killed the boy's mother when he was driving drunk, and she'd called out the boy's name at the time. The burly guy turns out to be a police detective, and he takes the boy away in cuffs as the clown dies on the bar floor.

Tsuguo Kougo was a prolific artist, having worked extensively with Comic Goraku, drawing adult-themed manga based on shogi and gambling in general. There's very little written up on him though, in either English or Japanese.

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #34

By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 5 pages.
Just the one part this time. 3- and 4-panel gag strips.

[変化]とは、あるいは[不変]とは ("Change", or maybe "the immutable") #48
By Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 pages.
Article. Note that the title plays on "変", meaning "change", pairing it with "化" meaning "make something" and "不" meaning "not". So, "change" and "no change".

新日本書紀 (The New Old Chronicles) #7

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

日和下駄 (Dry Weather Geta)

By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 34 pages.
This is in the Terajima tales set. Kiyoshi is playing a fighting card game (where you throw a card to the ground and try to flip over an opponent's card). His mother shows up and bops him on the head, telling him to do his homework. He's told to wash his feet before entering the house, and he notices that his mother has really weird toes. He goes up to his room to daydream. His father arrives, and accidentally spills a bucket of river eels that he'd caught to serve at the bar that evening. He jokes around with the eels, putting his wife in a good mood. She then shouts up the stairs for Kiyoshi to make himself useful and clean up the bar before it opens. He feels a drop or two on his head and thinks it's going to rain. His mother yells up the stairs again, this time to get Kazue to dress up in a kimono and prepare to serve drinks. A customer arrives, who is recognized to be a distant relative that had left the village to work in the big city. He's back, and the family is obligated to give him free drinks and river eel. Eventually, after he's gotten really drunk, the relative and Kiyoshi are sent out to visit the local baths. But, the relative keeps hitting other bars and he tells Kiyoshi to go without him. Later, it turns out that the relative had forgotten his dry weather geta at the bar. He returns for them, then leaves town again. Later, Kazue shrieks in surprise as another distant relative shows up for the first time in a while.

マンガの"情念"をめぐって (Concerning manga "passions")
By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 6 pages.
This is actually a 6-page article co-written with occasional Garo writer Junzou Ishiko, (石子順造) where Yuu and Junzou alternate writing paragraphs.

花の詩 (Flower Poem) #6

By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 16 pages.
Another installment in the "Flower" series. In this one, a young god-like man in a world where all the women have cabbages for heads, is told to go exploring for new worlds. He flies to one planet, crash landing on some bat men that are trying to molest a girl who has a ring of petals around her head. The bat men flee, and the god-like man and the flower girl have sex for a while until the guy has to leave for another planet. When he's gone, a magician tries to seduce the flower girl, and the bat men jump back on top of her. At the next planet, the god-like man crash lands in a pond occupied by a weird Japanese guy who asks where he came from.

聖灰曜日 (Seikai Youbi) #1

By Maki Sasaki (佐々木まき). 18 pages.
Start of the "Seikai Youbi" (聖灰曜日) series. Usually, "曜日" (youbi) means "day", like Getsu Youbi is Monday, and Ka Youbi is Tuesday. There is no Seikai Day in the Japanese calendar. This chapter is "選ばれたヒツジは" (Elected Sheep). It's a random collection of pictures set to random text.

青岸良吉の敗走 (Seigan Ryoukichi Running Away)

By Tadao Tsuge (つげ忠男). 16 pages.
Seigan is a manager at some company who is facing retirement. Tadao starts out by pointing out Seigan in a company photo, mentioning that he liked to take long walks to relax. The story basically shows Seigan at work and at home, with occasional flashbacks to the reconstruction period following the war. Tadao joins the company just before Seigan's retirement party, and during the party notices that Seigan is looking pretty lost at what to do next with his life. After the drinking, the two of them wander around the streets, and Seigan decides to push forward despite it all, which Tadao turns into meaning that they should try running up the big hill they're on. Tadao quickly gets winded, and when he yells out to Seigan to stop with the joke already, the old man ignores him and continues wheezing uphill.

鬼太郎夜話 (Kitaro Night Stories) #21

By Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 22 pages.
The yokai duke and Nezumi Otoko have passed out. When they come to, they're in a dark space. They go walking around, eventually discovering their own footprints and realizing that they're walking in circles. A strange creature with two torsos, four arms, four legs and no head, offers to show them to the exit. The duke and Nezumi realize that they're dead and are in purgatory. Scared, they follow the creature to the crossroads between life and death, and take the fork leading back to Kitaro's room. Oddly enough, the nameplate is back over the door and the rock attached to the clothesline is back up on the shelf in the kitchen where it belongs. The duke and Nezumi Otoko see Kitaro stepping into a refrigerator, and they chain it up shut, but Kitaro's hair escapes and tries to make it's way outside. A large mouse trap had been delivered to the house, and they use it to catch the hair, but it escapes again. The hair goes to a table, where it writes out a letter, before going into hiding again.

This story is a continuation of the 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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