Sunday, October 3, 2010

Garo 60

Garo #60, May, '69. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #50

By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 77 pages.
In a remote village, a band of thugs run into a one-eyed ronin who takes out their leader, and then takes the gang for his own. They're approached by Kazuma, who wants to hire them to impersonate Ryounoshin and his merry band. They happily do this, causing terror and destruction in the other villages. The real Ryounoshin finds himself being shunned by his former allies. Meanwhile, back at Yokome's camp, the vagrants are wondering what to do next, since many of the people they're now hunting down and killing were their former friends or family. Kigisu, now with a bandage wrapped over his right eye, goes to see Yokome, who's in the process of burning down his own house. Saesa's body was found and her father seems to have gone crazy over the loss. Kigisu can't believe that she's dead either, and the two fight over whether to bury her right away. Yokome wins and the wooden tub is given a shallow grave. Kigisu runs off, and Yokome's last comment is "not a chance (she's dead)".

Kokemaru has been chained up by the vagrants, but they're having a change of heart now that Yokome is preoccupied, and they cut Kokemaru free and ask him for advice. The big man tells them that if they follow him, there will no longer be a home for them. They torch their own huts and head up into the hills. A little later, the drug Saesa gave herself wears off and she pushes herself out of the dirt. Her only words being "Kamui" as she runs into the woods.

In the castle, Guntaro is given word that the fake bandit band is killing a lot of the villagers, and maybe they should be ordered to settle down a little, but the lead attache thinks that this is just a good start. Elsewhere, Gemba, Guntaro's brother, is facing off against master ninja Teburi. The battle is not even close to being fair, and after a while Teburi uses fire techniques to burn Gemba half to death. Gemba wants to be killed off, but the ninja wants him alive as an object lesson. Eventually, Kazuma rides up, and asks if this badly scarred, half-human is really his uncle. Gemba immediately takes control of himself and demands to know what the rush is. Kazuma answers that the magistrate and Guntaro have been ordered to the new lord's home.

The magistrate tells the lord about the secret pact that had been signed and hidden away (the one found by Kamui and Teburi), and he's given a short deadline to bring it to the lord. Guntaro sends assassins out, but they're all fended off by the magistrate's men (and Kamui in his loyal retainer disguise). Two of the dead attackers are approached by Teburi, who digs two metal plugs out of the corpses (apparently markers showing which side they belong to). The magistrate brings the pact back and shows it to the lord in private, while Guntaro and the other retainers sit and wait nervously in the main waiting room. Suddenly there's a shout, and Guntaro runs into the back room where the lord has his katana half-buried in the magistrate's shoulder. Guntaro pushes his lord aside and cleaves the magistrate's skull in two, finally killing his hated enemy. That night, the lord is having sex with one of his mistresses, to try to calm down. After he falls asleep, Teburi crawls through the rafters to drop the two metal plugs onto the tatami next to the lord's pillow. The woman immediately recognizes them and reaches for her sword. Teburi flees, realizing that she's a kunoinchi (female ninja).

"バリケードについて" (About "Baracade") #50
By Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 pages.

かさこ じぞう (Umbrella Wearing Statues)

By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 18 pages.
#6 in Shinji's folktale series. A young husband and wife living out in the fields have been making bamboo umbrella hats to sell to villagers in the nearest town to protect them against the winter cold. The man goes into the town, but can't sell any of the hats. That night, as he's trudging back home through a snow storm, he sees a line of six stone statues carved in the shapes of Buddhist priests (called Jizo) positioned along the road. Thinking that they're feeling cold from the snow, too, he takes his complete stock of 5 hats and ties them on the statues' heads. For the sixth statue, he puts on his own head scarf. When he gets home, he's freezing and about to come down with a cold. His wife asks what happened, and when he tells her, she answers that it's important to protect the Jizo from the snow. That night, a voice from outside asks where the house of the hat maker is. The husband and wife get up and look outside, only to discover the six statues, wearing the hats, pulling a sled carrying 3 large bushels of rice, and some young plants. The husband falls to his knees and prays (mostly out of fear), and his wife comments on the wonderful present they've just received on this New Year's Day.

(Manga Artist - Vagabond - Japan Federation of Student Associations)
By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 6 pages.
This is another one of the recent list of 2-person articles. This one by Shinji and Koshi Ueno.

花の詩 (Flower Poem)

By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 34 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
Another installment in the "Flower" series. Subtitled "花さく港" (Torn flower harbor). A woman living out in a fishing village with her young daughter has taken a lover from Tokyo. She hates Tokyo because all the men that come to the village give up and go back home eventually. But, he too decides to leave, and as he stands on the ship, the two of them hold a ribbon to show their bond with each other. The ship pulls out and the woman says "don't tear", but it does. The chapter ends with a song lyric about sad partings.

聖灰曜日 (Seikai Youbi) #3

By Maki Sasaki (佐々木まき). 18 pages.
(Subtitled: 巨大な象 (Giant Elephant, part 2)) A continuation of nonsense images, with a young man going out to find the ancient animals of Africa. One of the recurring themes is variations on the Beatle's song lyrics.

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #37

By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 8 pages.
Just the one part this time. 3- and 4-panel gag strips. Maybe I should have put in the English text for the above panels, but I forgot and so here we are. In the right strip, the title is "April Fool's". The girl says "I love you", and the boy continues with "and what you really mean is that you hate me". In the second panel, the girl says "yes" and they both laugh. In the third panel we're shown that the joke is that for April Fool's, she wasn't lying.

In the left strip, the caption refers to clean up, and the boy comments on the stench. The farmer tells the bull to be patient, then says "go ahead". The final panel is a sound effect of plopping.

思えばとおく (Distant Memories)

By Satsu Hiroo (ヒロヲ-サツ). 27 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
This is a lyrical image piece that starts out with a young family - man, woman and a small child - playing in the woods in the snow in the winter. It switches to the man sitting on a cliff, thinking. From here, it's a collage of images of the man and woman, birds and flowers, metamorphosing from sea waves to clouds and back. In with all this are tight little blocks of text of various ruminations. The story ends with a bird looking forlornly from the cliff, and the family back in the woods.

The only hits for Satsu Hiroo are references to this Garo issue. But, his art style is advanced enough that he either worked as someone's assistant, or he switched pen names later on.

捜索 (Investigation)

By Tadao Tsuge (つげ忠男). 35 pages.
Tadao is back, and Shigeru Mizuki is missing again. In this story, a man that has parts of his memory missing finds his way to a newspaper office where the editor and one reporter had been spending months trying to find him. Between them, they try to piece together exactly what the guy, Taguchi, had done, and why. Initially, he'd been an accountant for a large company, and one day he found himself the only one in the office, handling the upcoming bonus money. Since the bonuses were all handed out in cash at that time, Taguchi found himself in possession of more money than he'd ever dreamed of. He packed it up and skipped out that night. From here, his memory gets sketchy. He remembers being attracted to steam locomotives because he'd never seen one. He travels around, staying at small hotels, wearing a mask, and hanging out at a strip bar. The problem is that the account dug up by the reporter doesn't jive - he doesn't remember the mask, or the small hotels. At one place, he remembers a clear day, but the reporter arrived at about the same time and it was snowing heavily. When the newspaper needed help for leads, they'd contact Mrs. Taguchi. Again, the details don't jive.

The reporter talks about Taguchi's meeting with one particular stripper, and how when he tried to have sex with her he'd failed miserably and she'd laughed at him. Taguchi thinks the guy's just making this up, and the reporter sniffs that he works for a real newspaper, not some cheap daily rag. The editor asks if Taguchi wants them to believe that he has a double somewhere that has been doing these things in his name. The editor stops, commenting that that's an angle they'd never considered before. In any event, the editor asks Taguchi to write down whatever he can remember, and the guy refuses, saying that he can't. He comments that what he remembers and what other people say he did makes him feel like he only exists on paper. He hands his own notes over to the editor, saying that he'll think about it more then leaves. The editor asks what the reporter thinks, and he answers that there's a good chance that Taguchi will disappear again. The editor considers this, that there's no guarantee for Taguchi coming back, and lights up the reporter's cigarette, thinking.

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