Sunday, November 21, 2010

Garo 69

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

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #57

By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 70 pages.
The samurai lords over the mountain district are notified of the situation at Gon's camp in the mines, and they debate whether taking any action will endanger the life of the attache being held hostage. Meanwhile, Gon is trying to talk Kuzure into waiting for Shousuke to get back. Their hand is forced when they see yet another messenger leaving the samurai camp. Kuzure issues orders for an impending attack, telling one group to grab up all the gunpowder used for blowing up boulders in the mines, and prepare it for attacks against the fortified watch towers. The hostage is placed on a horse and sent charging at the lines held by the gold merchant. The fighting is bloody. A second group sets out to destroy the sluice chutes, and some of the workers plead to leave the chutes alone given the work put into them. Gon sees this as undermining the rebellion's energy and gets up on the roof of a building to yell at them to keep working. He's hit in the back by multiple arrows and eventually falls. Part of the idea is to keep fires burning along the hills to alert the villagers in the surrounding areas to their efforts. Some miners on horses try to flee the area and the gold merchant orders the riflemen to not leave one of them alive. It looks like he's gaining the upper hand, when one of the watch towers suddenly blows up.

Back at Shousuke's new village, Akemi realizes that she's married the wrong man and wants to go join Gon. Gorou accuses her of such and she laughs that she's more of a man than he is. When one of the other villagers insults her, Gorou hits him and dares anyone to bad mouth his wife. He runs to catch up to her. They're followed by Gon's "children's gang" of inventors (all of them at either teenagers now or entering their early 20's), who realize where their talents are most needed. Slowly, one by one, the villagers commit to the insurrection.

And, at the village where the brother and sister had rescued Shousuke, there's a revolt by those two and some of their friends against the headsman. Initially, the headsman blusters at them, then collapses and pleads for his life when he realizes that the threat is real. Shousuke comes riding up with reinforcements from the south, and announces that they're going to burn down the houses here to deprive the enemy from using those resources.

More messengers are sent to the domain's lord, where the lord is reacting to the news poorly. He snaps at the next messenger, only to eat his own words when he sees that behind the messenger is a general who'd come down from Edo to quell the noise. The various rebel forces converge on the headsman's village, including Shousuke, Kamui's father, Akemi and Gorou, and the rest. The headsman runs to a secret shed to pull out a cannon, but someone shoots him and he falls dead. The local forces turn to fire on the newcomers and are also cut down. The Edo general rides forward and the fighting immediately stops as everyone is overcome with awe. The general announces that the local samurai have been naughty and that things are going to be righted now. Shichibe has been given control of the mines, and to make amends, gives the rebels three large chests of gold coins. Everyone involved thinks that this is a good deal.

Later, Shousuke runs around looking for Gon, but finds Kuzure instead. The big man looks like a pincushion, and he dies in Shousuke's arms. Shousuke keeps looking and eventually discovers a fragment of Gon's clothing on the ground. He collapses and cries in grief, as Gon's friends and companions gather around. A little ways away, Shichibe is looking at the body parts on the ground, chuckling at his own good fortune, suddenly increasing his wealth with the new possession of the gold mines.

[裸族]の歌が聞える (Hearing the Song of "Naked People")
By Sankichi Nomoto (野本三吉). 2 pages.
article. Illustration by 北村跌.

マンガを解放するマンガ (Manga that Sets Manga Free)
By Hiroshi Nakamura (中村宏). 6 pages.
Another tag-team article featuring discussion between Hiroshi Nakamura and Maki Sasaki. There's very little information on Hiroshi (1932-) in English, and not much more in the Japanese wiki. He's not to be confused with Hiroshi Nakamura, the convicted dissident.

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #44

By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 4 pages.
3 and 4 panel gags. Katsumata is starting to branch out into slightly longer stories, though, that take up one or two pages at a stretch.

巴義 作品集 (Hagi's Creation Collection)

By Hagi (巴義). 6 pages.
3 and 4 panel gags. Hagi was attempting to follow in Katsumata's footsteps, but with a mix of influences that seem to include early Yuu Takita. There's no information on him in Japanese or English, and he only seems to have appeared in this one issue of Garo.

春の盗賊 (The Robber of the Spring)

By Tsuguo Kougo (向後つぐお). 21 pages.
I can't really get into Tsugou's works. His art style is clean enough, and he's obviously been drawing manga for a long time. But, the characters have flaws or emotional kinks that aren't really explained or supported by the story. If he'd settle down and run a continuous storyline that let him lay out the characters' backstories, that could possibly help. As it is, I prefer to just skim his stuff.

A young man comes into his room one day to find the place looking rifled. He yells that he's been burgled. He meets up with a friend that promises to hook him up with the friend's sister, but since they have no money now, they have to get jobs working at a bar. The sister fails to show up, so the guy goes back home, and sees a young woman standing around holding a suitcase. The guy asks if she's the runaway sister of his friend and the woman acts confused. She asks for a place to stay for the night and the guy decides to put her up in his room. There's a noise outside, and the guy sees his friend yelling at the friend's sister, then hitting her. The guy runs outside, but the sister and his friend both knock him over and kick mud up on him. The friend realizes what he's done and apologizes. The guy goes back into his room, and finds that the woman has stolen his remaining money and run away. In the last panel, the guy is unhappily working in the bar again.

身体検査 (Health Inspection)

By Sanpo Yodogawa (淀川さんぽ). 18 pages.
Sanpo has a very crude, heavy line style in his drawings. He comes across as self-taught, artistically, but his stories are fairly adventurous in scope (in that he's trying to tell stories that most other people of the time weren't) and he does eventually improve with practice. That said, the manga here is really just a series of crude gags and toilet humor. A young boy argues with his layabout mother about not having clean trousers and having to go to school in his father's pants. The woman is busy sitting in front of the TV eating crackers and doesn't have time to do laundry. The boy goes to school, where all the students are being given medical checks. The boy knocks out the doctor, then makes up the names of diseases to be assigned to the other kids. After everyone piles on to the scales to see if they can break them, they go over to the girls' side of the school. One of the boys is lucky enough to see some of the girls naked, before the group is busted by the lead female teacher. That night, the boy returns home and is scolded for his behavior by his mother, but his father sides with him since it's not good to waste your youth. The father and son go to the public baths, and along the way the boy asks the most important question to him - why hasn't his pubic hair grown out yet?

あ~ほ (I--diot)

By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 12 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
Actually, Katsumata is using this issue to run a full 12-page story. Essentially it's a crow's perspective on Japanese rural life, debunking various myths and explaining the real reason why crows cry. That, and that they'd rather eat chicken eggs than watermelons.

赤とんぼの里 (Dragonfly Neighborhood)

By Takao Takahashi (橋高雄). 30 pages.
Takao is going by "Takao Hashi" in this issue. In an old house out in the countryside, a young woman, Chiyo, returns home and collapses in the doorway. She's greeted by her younger brother, Masaji, and some older relatives, but her grandfather orders her to leave. She refuses to go back, and Masaji sneaks up on the old man to attack him, but their grandfather angrily throws him off before demanding more sake. The next day, some villagers comment on Chiyo's situation. She was taken in by the family and then married off to some suitor. During the wedding, Masaji had run away to sulk in the woods, thinking that his sister was abandoning him. The marriage turned sour, and Chiyo escaped to return home to get away from the abuse. That night, Masaji dreams about the wedding and it turns into a nightmare where he's playing with dragonflies, but the dragonflies amass and fly off, carrying Chiyo with them. He wakes up in Chiyo's arms, and makes her promise that she will never leave again. The next day, Chiyo is talking to someone like an older sister or young aunt, and is told that the life of a woman has always been like this. They have no choice when the family elders decide to arrange a marriage. They agree that it's a good thing that Masaji was born male. Chiyo gains strength from her aunt's speech, which is necessary because the family immediately agrees to send her off with another prospective suitor. Nearby, Masaji cries to himself, calling his sister a liar. In the final panel, the narrator says that when the boy grew older, he finally understood his sister's plight.

雨期 (完) (Rainy Season (End))

By Tadao Tsuge (つげ忠男). 50 pages.
Tadao's art style is really degrading from what first showed up in the "Van Gogh" chapter. I'm only following him now because Yoshiharu's been absent from the magazine for so long. I miss the guys from the previous year - Mizuki and Yoshiharu. I know that Mizuki will start up a new storyline towards the end of 1970, so I have that to look forward to. But Yoshiharu seems to be going through a dry spell, as far as Garo is concerned. Sampei Shirato is the only one doing an ongoing story worth reading, and the other artists are either getting lost in the ether with nonsense stuff, or are doing attempts at horror that come across as juvenile now.

A group of wasters hang around the betting gates waiting to throw their money away on the horses. Two workers in the building get to talking about a third member that the younger one has been sharing a room with. The third member is a street punk that the young one had initially encountered one night in the middle of a brawl. The kid tried to break the fight up, and the punk took a liking to him, so they decided to share a small room to reduce their rents. The kid is watching the events of the 1960's unfolding around him, including the protests against the companies, and the growing groups of people donating blood for money, and it confuses him. One night, the punk comes home covered in bruises. The kid puts bactine on the bigger scrapes, and the punk decides to thank him by taking him out drinking. They'd shared the same room for a year and he's just now noticing that they've never actually sat down to talk.

At a bar that the punk has only visited once or twice, they share jokes with the female owner. Then the punk is asked why he likes to fight so much. He can't really answer, outside of the fact that sometimes it's unavoidable, and other times because he just wants to. He adds that the one thing he hates the most is Japanese salarymen, who waste their lives on dead-end jobs and their money on horses and pachinko, without ever expressing their true thoughts. The bar owner makes a self-deprecating joke about how much she's sweating in the hot weather and it falls flat, making the punk and the kid want to head out to find another bar. Along the way they find the three thugs that had fought the punk earlier that day, and he jumps them, quickly sending them flying to the ground. The kid gets excited and wants to join in, but the punk notices this and yells at him to run away. A couple of blocks away, they catch their breathes, and the punk decides that he's going to go to Osaka to hang out for a while.

Later, the kid meets up with the older guy from the beginning of the chapter, and the older one asks why the punk hasn't been seen around lately. The two of them encounter a mob, and the older one's words get drowned out by the crowd noises as he's pulled into the throng. The kid moves forward to hear him, and sees a mountain of salarymen hoisting a flag and protesting the government. Overwhelmed, he returns home as the first rains of the season start. He lies in bed thinking that he could stay like this for the rest of the summer.

No comments: