Sunday, November 14, 2010

Garo 67

Garo #67, Nov., '69. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #56

By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 41 pages.
The story starts with the aftermath of the ninja battle against Kamui at the top of the rock, and follows down the river where Shousuke's body has been found by some villagers and he's nursed back to health. Shousuke tries to whip the villagers up to strike back at the samurai in the mountain camp, but they're too cowed by the village headmaster to do anything. At that moment, the headmaster enters the town on patrol and bursts into the farm house to find out why the lights are on at that time of night. However, all he sees are a bunch of revelers celebrating the harvest festival. Kind of out of season. After the headmaster leaves, most of the villagers filter out to hide in their own homes. The two that had saved Shousuke, a brother and sister, vow to do what they can. The brother traps a spy that was running to report the uprising meeting to the headmaster, and kills him. The sister takes Shousuke along a treacherous path through the mountains back to the camp that Shousuke's people had settled at. When they part, the sister is saddened to learn that this handsome, brave man already has a wife and child.

Meanwhile, the ninja battle is still going strong, with Kamui leading his pursuers through the woods and subjecting them to paralysis gas one at a time. Eventually he gets away, but when the ninja gang recovers, they sense another killing presence. Red Eye has picked the wrong time to walk the trails in his guise as Shichibe's assistant. He senses the others, and decides that the best move is to hypnotize himself into forgetting everything. When the gang catches up to him, he's just a helpless merchant. The gang attacks anyway, cutting off his arm. The gang realizes that they've made a mistake and leave, while Red Eye rolls around in pain, screaming and quickly bleeding to death.

Shousuke gets to the camp and again fails to rally any of his own friends and family against the samurai. He continues on farther south. But, behind him, Kamui's father realizes that it's time for the vagrants to take a stand against the oppressors, and he gathers a mob to march on the castle.

漂流者たち (Castaways)

By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 22 pages.
Another in the Dansan series, but this time set in modern Tokyo. Two investigators discover an old man that they've been trying to find, and accompany him to a run down apartment outside of Shinjuku. They convince the old guy to talk and explain why he left behind his business empire worth a few million dollars. He starts out by saying that they won't believe him. He then continues, telling them that he'd found out he had cancer, and went out to "find himself". Apparently at a specific point, he died, but continued living. He then asks the other two if they had experienced anything similar, and they both had. Realizing that life is too short, the investigators go back to Tokyo, letting the old man continue on with his own travels.

港のマリー (Mary of the Harbor)

By Maki Sasaki (佐々木まき). 8 pages.
More nonsense, with the word "Mary" showing up at random.

赤いハンカチ (Red Handkerchief)

By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 8 pages.
More nonsense, but more controlled this time, featuring a young girl bouncing the head of an old man, rather than the more traditional paper ball, and people gleefully shooting each other.

痛かった夕暮れ (Painful Evening)

By Tamehiro Tashiro (田代為寛). 7 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
The master of the wordless manga explores new ground with a story where the characters actually talk. A regular guy tries getting a train ticket, only to be insulted and injured by the station personnel. In the end, he is forced to walk back home.

[空しさ]の方向性を問う (Questioning the trend to "the sky")
By Jirou Iwata (岩田二郎). 2 pages.

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #43

By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 12 pages.
3 and 4 panel gags.

ぬけられます (Escaped)

By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 26 pages.
One of the most amazing elements of Yuu's storytelling is his ability to capture the time and place for his settings. Denki Bran (Electric Brandy) was once a popular liquor, and is still sold in stores today. There's also a chindon-ya appearing in the middle of the story, advertising some shop.

In Stand Don, Kiyoshi's sister is trading off-color jokes with two of the regulars. A third guy comes in, orders a shot of Denki Bran, and then asks where the toilet is. A few minutes later, another guy comes into the bar and asks if they'd seen the man with a mole under his nose. The family says "yes", and the new visitor answers that the man with the mole is a swindler that just conned another shop out of some money. The family checks and the toilet's empty. Kiyoshi is about to go outside and his mother yells at him, asking why. The boy replies that his geta are missing. Turns out that the swindler pulled a drink-and-run on them and took the geta as well, to avoid walking barefoot.

The family then spends the rest of the following day trying to find the villain. He, by the way, is in his girlfriend's apartment, deciding what to do next. Kiyoshi finds his geta on a fence in another neighborhood, the thongs all stretched out of shape. The following night, the guy that had been chasing the swindler comes into the bar for a drink, claims to see the thief and runs out without paying his tab. The family is left confused by all of this.

白い鳥 (White Bird)

By Yoshiko Naka (仲佳子). 18 pages.
More nonsense, this time with a bunch of people that refuse to show their faces, accompanied by a small girl running around trying to find her mother. No real story, and nothing happens in the end.

Mime (Mime)

By Shigeo Masai (正井しげ魚). 8 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
Shigeo is going by a slightly different spelling of "Shigeo" (Shige + "fish"), and the English version of the name is just S. Masai". It's been quite a while since we last saw him, with "Demon Phone" back in Oct., 1966. A guy dressed up like a 1700's classical musician stands next to a tree and cries when the last leaf falls to the ground. His tears cause his shoes to get dirty, so when his attempts to get revenge on the tree fail he steps on the leaf, cleans his shoes, and comments on the crows flying away resembling the fleeting Autumn.

庄助あたりで (Helping Shou)

By Ouji Suzuki (鈴木翁二). 15 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
This is a selected work by a new artist. A young man visits the apartment of his friend, Shou, and notices that the friend doesn't look very healthy. Shou complains about being cold, and takes the visitor's book and reads it out loud. The visitor leaves and comes back some weeks later, only to find that Shou has sold all his belongings, is now living out of a box on the floor, and is looking very thin but strangely beautiful. Shou explains that when he'd gone out to get some cold medicine, he'd discovered a statue of a very pretty girl, who he'd been able to talk to. Over time, he spent all of his money on the medicine as an excuse to visit the shop. Shou dies a few days later, and the friend retraces Shou's steps to try to track down the statue. The pharmacy has remodeled and changed its name, but inside the building is the statue. Of a pregnant woman advertising baby formula (called "Mama Milk"). The friend is disgusted by this turn of events and leaves.

According to the Japanese wiki, Ouji Suzuki (1949-) started drawing manga while in school and finally was accepted in Garo with his debut work, "Helping Shou". After this, he was brought on as one of Shigeru Mizuki's assistants. He's credited with almost 20 titles, including "Tokyo Goodbye", "Autobike Girl", "Sea Touch", "Story of a Match" and "Twinkling Book". There's almost nothing on him in English, outside of a couple examples of his artwork. Most of his stuff (apparently including music CD covers) can still be found on

哀れふるさと (Miserable Village)

By Tsuguo Kougo (向後つぐお). 24 pages.
An old cop about to retire is talking to his partner at a bar. The two return to the older one's house, which is in a rundown, miserable part of town. They discuss his last, unclosed case, which was the killing of his second wife. While he's out, a young man with a mole on his face drops by the cop's house and encounters his daughter from his second marriage. The visitor seems to have known the girl's father's first wife, and the fact that the girl's own mother was murdered. He then says that there's no reason to hang about and leaves. When the cop gets home, the girl relates what had happened and the cop runs to the cemetery, making a call for his partner to join him. The daughter notices that her father has forgotten something and tries to catch up with him. At the cemetery, the guy with the mole is crying in front of the first wife's grave marker. Seems that he was the cop's son from the first marriage and had killed the cop's second wife for some reason. He's very remorseful about it now. The cop hears a bell ringing and asks what time it is. The partner answers "midnight". The cop is now officially retired and he asks his partner to make the arrest for him. At that moment, the daughter runs up with her father's forgotten item - his service revolver. She aims and shoots at the prisoner, as the cop steps forward to protect him. The old cop is hit in the chest. As he bleeds on the ground, he comments again about how miserable this town is.

雪国 (Snow Country)

By Ryouichi Ikegami (池上遼一). 28 pages.
During the winter, a young man visiting northern Japan from Tokyo encounters two loud drunks on the train. One of the drunks threatens to start a fight with a group of revelers, and the young man knocks him down. The drunk vows revenge. The young man returns to his family's home to pay respects to his recently dead father. His mother notices that her son is acting weird and wants him to abandon Tokyo. She'll work until she dies to support him. The son had had a dream about a former classmate, and soon after had met her on the train up from Tokyo. He has another dream, of snow and his own blood. He decides to go out for a drink and runs into the two drunks from the train. The one recognizes him and sends his partner off ahead of him. The drunk pulls out a knife and attacks the young man, cutting up his hand, and he thinks that his dream is about to play out. The drunk slips and falls, there's a struggle for the knife, and the young man wins, stabbing the drunk several times and killing him. The young man then stands over the corpse, watching, as the falling snow covers both of them.

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