Sunday, October 17, 2010

Garo 62

Garo #62, July, '69. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.

One comment about this issue. Recently there has been an increase in the number of nonsense stories in Garo with more of the new artists immediately starting out surreal. Maki Sasaki has long created stories with little connection to reality, but now, with Seiichi Hayashi and Tsuguo Kougo appearing together in the same issue, it's getting to be a bit much. Fortunately, "Kamui-den" does still anchor the magazine with it's drama, but Shigeru Mizuki's absence is sorely felt.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #52

By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 32 pages.
With the magistrate dead, the rest of his household debates what to do next. The decision is taken out of their hands when Guntaro sends troops in to wipe out everyone. One messenger on his way to Edo to seek help escapes an ambush with the aid of a female ninja, supposedly Otomaru, the woman that had been sleeping with the new feudal lord. Teburi is watching on, hidden in the trees, and he's trying to decide what to do with Otomaru, and whether she's related to Kamui in some way. Finally, when Otomaru stops at a hot spring to take a bath, Teburi hypnotizes a random woman by using flute magic. As he plays the flute, the woman attacks Otomaru, strangling her. The flute magic allows the woman to ignore the killing blows to her sides inflicted by Otomaru, and the female ninja is brought back to the tree where Teburi is waiting.

うぬぼれ鏡 (Pretentious Mirror)

By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 34 pages.
Kiyoshi is playing marbles with some friends when a dango (rice pounded into soft mochi, rolled up into balls, cooked over a fire on wooden skewers and lightly coated with sauce) vendor arrives. The others going running off to get something to eat, leaving Kiyoshi with nothing to do. His mother finds him, but rather than yelling at him to go home, just treats him nicely and gives him some change to spend on snacks. She's dressed up in a kimono, with her hair styled and lacquered, and acting out of character. Eventually, it turns out that she's got a date. However, the guy is late arriving at the bar, so she sends Kiyoshi to go get him. The boy arrives at the right apartment, but there's no answer from inside. He checks the keyhole and sees a cigarette burning in the darkness. Back at home, his mother yells at him for not finding her date and she goes to the apartment herself. Unfortunately, a young woman comes out of the apartment, followed by the date. Kiyoshi's mother is devastated and takes out her rage on Kiyoshi for having told her that the apartment was empty.

That night, Kiyoshi gets up to go to the toilet. In a darkened room, he encounters his mother. He turns on the light, and is shocked to see her hair down, face without makeup, and looking really rumpled. She just turns around and returns to her room.

うらしま (Urashima)

By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 18 pages.
A husband and wife live next to the ocean. One day, the husband declares that there's not enough farmland near the beach to make a living, so he's going to travel to a big city to find work and make money. They promise to wait for each other, and he leaves. In the city, he carries wood, does odd chores, etc. When he has built up his savings, he heads for his cottage, but is jumped by bandits who rob him. Dispirited, he goes back to the city and works even more. Finally, he makes his way back to the cottage, where his wife greets him and the money happily. They sleep together that night, but the next morning, the farmer discovers that the house is rundown, and he's been holding a pillow in his arms all night. He finds an old man on the beach and asks what's going on. Turns out that there had been a battle on the beach while the farmer was gone, and all the neighbors had fled into the hills, except the one woman who'd stayed in the house waiting for her husband and was killed. Which had occurred 5 years ago. The farmer is stunned to realize what had happened, and as some children go running by, playing, he turns into an old man, dies, and his corpse turns to dust.

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #39

By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 8 pages.
Just the one part this time. 3- and 4-panel gag strips. The gag about the fish dying in the summer hear seems rather appropriate giving the number of record hot days Tokyo had this year.

(Children's Reading Materials and One's Own Affairs) #52
By Jirou Iwata (岩田二郎). 2 pages.
Article. Looks like there may have been a change in authors here. The writing credits are for Jirou Iwata (岩田二郎), and art (basically just some minor scribbles) by Shin Ishiguro (石黒清). There's no real information on either of them in either English or Japanese for writing or art. There is a Jirou Iwata listed as a professional mahjong player, but it may not be the same person.

新日本書紀 (The New Old Chronicles) #10

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

聖灰曜日 (Seikai Youbi) #4

By Maki Sasaki (佐々木まき). 13 pages.
(Subtitled: ナンニモナカッタワナンニモ... (It's Nothing, Nothing...)) A continuation of nonsense images.

チェッ (Jeeze)

By Shouhei Kusunoki (楠勝平). 24 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
I really do prefer Shouhei's Edo-era dramedies. His modern-life stories don't work as well. In any case, "Jeeze" centers on a young man that seems to have a fixation for ramming into people with his shoulder and then apologizing for it. The guy gets a job as a mover for a transport company and spends his day listening to rude jokes by the driver. At one point they go to a public bath, where the other customers notice the nasty scar the guy has on his shoulder. He initially says that he got it from a 5-on-1 fight against some yakuza, then claims that he's joking and that it was actually a machine accident. Another night, out on the street walking home with 3 other people, the guy has to jump to one side to avoid being hit by a racing motorbike taking a corner too tight, and all four of them bash into each other and ending up apologizing. Finally, the guy trips into one businessman who actually ignores him. The guy follows the businessman out to a secluded area and pulls a knife on him. The businessman just stares at him, and the guy laughs before running away. When out of sight, he stops and gasps for air out of terror.

壮烈無土国血戦記 (Brave Bloody Battle of Mutokoku Chronicles) #1

By Kuniko Tsurita (つりたくにこ). 24 pages.
While the credits claim that the story is by 二宮修子 and the art by 釣田邦子 (this last name can be read as Tsurita Kuniko), this is actually another of Kuniko's "passion plays". In this prologue, various people are introduced - some beatniks, a prophet, some music lovers, and a fat rich kid who is tended by two starving minions. They all converge on a street corner where the prophet urges them to follow him to a deserted island. They do, and when they get there they encounter a basket priest out on a pilgrimage. Obviously the island isn't deserted enough, but the visitors relent and allow the priest to stay there anyway.

おおきな手 (Big Hands)

By Tsuguo Kougo (向後つぐお). 12 pages.
The artist of "One Tear" and "The Snow is Falling" is back. A horny man seduces a woman with a form of hypnotic suggestion revolving around his praise of her long body. He tells her to kill another woman, then convinces her that it was actually 3 chindo-ya (drum and flute players often hired to act as a walking advertisement for the sponsor) who did it and that they must also die. In the end, the tall woman is apparently in prison, the three chindon-ya walk away free, and we're left with a dead bird lying on the ground.

This is a nonsense story, if you couldn't figure that much out.

ひとつねた (One Night)

By Takao Takahashi (橋高雄). 15 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
Takao Takahashi (高橋高雄) ("Lingering Song", "Sampei the Fisherman") is writing under the name Takao Hashi (橋高雄) this time. An old man is caring for his two young grand children, and the narration is kind of reminiscent of a children's rhyme. The children's father had to leave the town to find work, and he never comes back. The mother works the fields of their farm, gets sick and dies. A natural disaster hits the town, and everyone else leaves to find employment as migrant workers. This just leaves the old man and the two children alone to fend for themselves. One scene shows them with angel's wings, implying that they may also be dead right now, or that it will happen eventually. With all of the catastrophes that have plagued them, though, they're not scared. What's a lot scarier is the grandfather's ghost stories. On the last page, the old man thinks "If I die, who will take care of these children?"

野風呂 (Field Bath)

By Masuzou Furukawa (古川益三). 16 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
This is a very silly, fairly crudely-drawn tale of Pon-tarou, a young tanuki (racoon dog) out on a stroll on his own. His mother told him that it's ok to wander away from the house to play, just stay away from humans. Unfortunately, Pon forgets her warning, and eventually discovers a hot tub in the middle of a field. He crawls inside and enjoys a hot bath, until the old man that built the tub comes along. Pon remembers his mother's words, and tries to shapeshift. However, he's never been able to shift before, so the best he can do now is turn into a fish. The old man gets into the tub and after a while starts noticing a tickling. Since fish are not commonly found in hot tubs, he becomes curious and tries to catch it. Pon is overcome by the heat and stress, and reverts to tanuki form. The old man is amazed by this, but Pon is sweating so heavily, he throws the creature away. Pon recovers and runs happily back home to tell his mother than he can shapeshift now.

Masuzou Furukawa (1950-) is notable, if for no other reason, for having founded the Mandarake used bookstore chain, with the first shop opening on the second floor of the Broadway department store in Nakano (west of Shinjuku a few miles) in 1980. "Field Bath" was his debut work, and shortly afterward he joined Mizuki Pro in July, 1970, as an assistant artist. He worked various part-time jobs to supplement his income as an artist from roughly 1971 to 1980, which included a stint at another bookstore, which prompted him to open Mandarake. Various sources, including Anime News Network, identify Furukawa as one of Garo's "1-2-3" artists of the '70s and '80s, along with Oji Suzuki and Shin'ichi Abe (supposedly the second syllable of each artist's name sounds like "one", "two" and "three" when taken in order). We'll see Furukawa show up again in July, 1971, with "Violet Legend".

まっかっかロック (Deep Red Rock)

By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 14 pages.
A singing Elvis comes to a town inhabited by a girl of the night. The girl invites him in to her room to sing for a while. However, there's also a dangerous hitman with poker-chip sunglasses that is shooting everyone just to watch them die. Poker-chip shoots Elvis, Elvis stabs poker-chip. In the end, everyone goes back to doing what they had been.

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