Monday, September 20, 2010

Garo 58

Garo #58, Apr., '69. Cover by Sampei Shirato. ??? pages.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #49

By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 68 pages.
Shousuke has cracked. In with all of the torture, kidnappings, and being beaten up by fellow villagers, he has no self-will and no idea of what to do next. As Kokemaru and Ryounoshin lead the rabid mobs towards the castle, Shousuke lies huddled in the mud. Finally, his wife, Nana, approaches him with their son. He grabs on to her feverishly, and with dead eyes she tells him that they at least have each other, and that she will always be there for him. This is all he needs.

Meanwhile, fortifications have been constructed around the castle, and hundreds of troops armed with rifles are stationed in along the barricades. Inside, Guntaro and Dai Kuraya are watching on in satisfaction as fires start springing up around the villages. The swarm of villagers reach one of the rivers, where they discover the swollen bodies of women and children that they'd left behind at home. The slaughter is catching up to them, and they're getting so inflamed that Ryounoshin can't control them. Battles break out when groups from different villages encounter each other. One small group takes some women hostage and retreats to a fortified house, where they demand rice and horses to make their escape. Ryounoshin is helpless here, and it's only when Shousuke arrives that someone can go up into the house to negotiate. The group's leader recognizes Shousuke, and is willing to listen to him. Nana volunteers to take the place of the hostages, and the result is that the stand off ends peacefully, and more people have respect for Shousuke's skills. The hostage takers reach Shichibe's boats, where the merchant is waiting to accept refugees.

Gemba is wandering around the barren battlefields, picking his way through the corpses, when one corpse throws a dagger at him. Teburi was lying in wait, and the two square off to fight. And still the exodus of villagers continues, as more and more of the starving and ill pack the roads. One group reaches one of the fortified gates, and demands to be let through to continue on to the sea. The leader of the guards warns them that he'll shoot if they don't return home, but Kamui (in his vagrant outfit) steps forward and asks if the guards have enough bullets to take them ALL out. The guards open the gates and the first batch walks through peacefully. When the next batch of travelers arrives, the guards give up and run back to their garrison. Ryounoshin, watching all of this, fires off an arrow with a message to the magistrate informing him of what's happening. Then, the magistrate is called to a meeting with the new lord, who's coming home to the fief in the next day.

Out at sea, Shichibe is happily taking all the villagers and treating them as refugees. Red Eye asks if this is going to work out ok, and the merchant smiles, saying that he can easily put everyone to work as underpaid labor in the fields or the iron mines. Red Eye gets nervous, not liking the way Shichibe is starting to think.

昭和ご詠歌 (Showa-era Poem)

By Tadao Tsuge (つげ忠男). 40 pages.
This one is a simple story of a poor family post-war trying to survive. The main character is the youngest of 3 brothers. The older two have moved out and found jobs, while the youngest one still lives with his parents and his mother's father. It's basically a story of abuse. The grandfather waits until the boy's mother looks away, then takes a swipe at him with a pair of iron tongs, or rips off some of his hair. When asked why the old man does this, the mother is told that it's actually a way to keep the boy's father from doing something even worse. The father has come down with some kind of illness and spends most of his time in bed. Finally, things come to a head when the two older brothers visit the house and notice that a neighbor's house is on fire. The youngest boy wants to go outside with them, but the father barks out that he has to stay and eat dinner with him. The boy doesn't immediately behave, and the father punches him in the nose and draws blood. The grandfather gets in the act, along with the mother, and soon they're at each other's throats. When the dust settles, the wife is holding her husband back, and the oldest brother is restraining the grandfather. The father disowns everyone, then starts coughing up blood, but refuses to see a doctor. The middle brother runs to the hospital to get someone, and the youngest one escapes the house to lose himself in the frenzy of the nightlife in the red light district.

One interesting element in this story is that one of the characters notices Sabu walking around the streets (Sabu was featured in an earlier story by Tadao).

何が"甘い"のか 東大闘争1周年をむかえて (What's "too easy"? A look 1 Year after the Todai Strife) #49
By Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 pages.
Todai is Tokyo Daigaku (Tokyo University). Just as the U.S. had student riots in the 60's, so did Japan. Regarding "甘い" (amai) - while "amai" can mean "sweet", it can also be used to refer to someone who is too naive, obvious or easy-going.

新日本書紀 (The New Old Chronicles) #8

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

エジソンバンド (Edison Band)

By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 34 pages.
Part of the Terajima series. The story starts out with Kiyoshi watching a pool game from the window of the building. A young girl that he has become smitten with is sitting in one corner keeping score over the game. The girl's father comes in with a pool cue and wearing an "Edison band". He tries playing pool, but is really bad at it. Kiyoshi snickers and gets chased away from the building. He gets home, where the garbage is piling up and insects are starting to be attracted. He thinks that no one's home, but his mother yells at him from the shadows of one room, telling him to do homework. His sister comes down the stairs, angry and refusing to speak to her mother. Kiyoshi asks what's wrong and no one will say. Upstairs, Kiyoshi discovers his grandmother reading a Norakuro manga (Norakuro was really popular both before and after W II). The boy grabs the manga and escapes through the second floor window to return it to the friend that had loaned it to him, but gets distracted after seeing the pool hall girl across the street, and he gives the manga to her to read instead. His mother discovers him, and Kiyoshi is sent to clean up the bar again.

Along the away, Kiyoshi ends up explaining the Edison band to his grandmother. According to the advertising, Thomas Edison had a special headband that had ice in it, which kept his brain cool and let him be more creative. The pool hall owner bought one to improve his pool game. Finally, we get to see why Kiyoshi's mother is in such a foul mood - the bar is infested with rats, and she's hiding in the dark to bring them out so she can skewer them. Kiyoshi sees her in action and gets weak in the knees at seeing one of the corpses. Kiyoshi escapes back to the streets, where his sister discovers him and takes him out to eat snacks. Because there's a really generous customer coming to the bar that night, everyone's tempers have settled down and no one remembers what they were angry over any more. At the end, the pool hall owner has destroyed every one of his tables with his bad play; and, Kiyoshi discovers that his family has set sushi out for him for dinner.

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #35

By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 6 pages.
Just the one part this time. 3- and 4-panel gag strips.

花の詩 (Flower Poem) #7

By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 24 pages.
This is a continuation from the last chapter, where the man has been sent out to explore new women and new worlds. The one he's landed on this time has a weird little kid with a stalk of grass in his mouth. The guy chases the kid to a hut containing a beautiful young woman. The two adults seduce each other. Later, the kid is seen standing over a big jar that contains his tears. The guy sees the kid running off and follows him again, but then finds the woman, with a stalk of grass in her mouth. At one point, the guy sees the woman, but she's visible only in one pane of glass in a glass wall, and the scene she's in is upside down. The kid arrives, ready to kill the man, and the guy opens the door only to find himself looking down on another world, filled with floating flower petals. His mind snaps and we just get some random weird pictures.

聖灰曜日 (Seikai Youbi) #2

By Maki Sasaki (佐々木まき). 16 pages.
This chapter is "巨大な象" - The Giant Elephant, part 1. Nonsense images, with occasional variations on big, flabby elephants with human hands.

長持唄考 (Lingering Song)

By Takao Takahashi (高橋高雄). 16 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week. "唄" is "song", and "考" is "thoughts" or "report on". There's no direct translation in my dictionary for the two kanji combined. I'm using "Lingering Song" as a working title for the moment.

A middle aged man is walking through modern day Japan, looking at the fashionable young women out shopping and enjoying themselves. He suddenly flashes back to a court case where a woman is under trial. We then flash back to the events regarding the woman, and it looks like we've jumped back to old Edo (or at least to a very rural village that hadn't been modernized yet). The woman was at home, tending to her young daughter, when the rice kettle exploded and burned half the girl's face. This destroys the woman's sanity, but she spends the next few years caring for the girl. The girl grows up to be very cheerful, and at about age 7 or 9, happens upon a traditional Japanese wedding. The girl dreams of getting married, but the mother discovers her in the crowd and drags the girl out to a temple in the woods. As the woman works up her courage, the girl realizes that something's wrong and runs away. The mother chases after her and eventually kills the girl, supposedly as a way of saving her from the grief of becoming an unweddable adult. After the fact, the mother breaks down and cries over the girl's body. The scene switches to the modern court room, where the woman is also crying. The scene returns again to the man on the street, who is still looking at the people around him, and telling himself that he doesn't understand what the woman had been thinking.

According to the Japanese wiki, Takao Takahashi is the birth name of the manga artist who later went by the name "矢口 高雄" - Takao Yaguchi. Yaguchi (1939-) was an essayist as well as an artist, and his most famous work was "Sampei the fisherman". "Lingering Song" is very reminiscent of Sampei Shirato's work, especially in the designs of the young girl. The older men look like they may have come from Golgo 13. Just simply looking at the cover art for "Sampei the Fisherman", there's nothing of that playfulness in "Sampei" in "Lingering Song". The German Aniki Info page indicates that "Lingering Song" was Yaguchi's debut work. Interestingly, while Yaguchi and "Sampei the fisherman" are very popular in Japan, very little about them has been written up in English. As of right now, there's no English wiki page on him.

鬼太郎夜話 (Kitaro Night Stories) #22

By Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 13 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
This is marked as the last chapter of the series. The duke sees Kitaro's hair and shoots at it. The hair escapes, but there's a trail of blood indicating that it's been hit. The duke finds the note the hair had written, but is more surprised that hair can write kanji than at the message telling them to leave the house. That night, as the duke is sleeping, the hair crawls down from the ceiling and suffocates him. It gets a knife and cuts the rope holding the fridge closed and lets Kitaro out. The hair then chases after Nezumi Otoko, who runs out into a field and collapses. When he recovers, Nezumi goes back into the house, where he finds Kitaro and his eyeball father taking a nice warm bath (the fridge had been very cold). Nezumi sees the dead duke (identified again as the werewolf) and is offended at overhearing Kitaro and his father joking that Nezumi may also have been killed. Nezumi enters the kitchen, and Kitaro reminds him that he'd been the one that initially tried to kill Kitaro. Nezumi excuses himself, saying that he'd just wanted to find a place to live. Kitaro leaves the house, saying that Nezumi can have this place. Nezumi asks where Kitaro is going, and the boy says "some place you don't know".

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