Sunday, November 28, 2010

Garo 71

Garo #71, Feb., '70. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #58

By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 68 pages.
A basket priest reaches an old castle. As he walks through it, he comments on the damage and absence of people. Suddenly, a gong starts banging and the priest prepares to fight. But it's just the madman Koroku, who comes in and pisses on everything. He's got an incredible bladder because he hits every room on several floors. The priest leaves and passes by a wood-carrying peasant sitting on the side of the road, smoking a pipe. In the forest, more trees are being cut down for lumber to build a new town. The people of Hanamaki have decided to settle down again. Nearby, a small bandit band terrorizes a village and the peasants are afraid to react. The priest arrives and calmly dispatches all of the bad guys. He notices someone on a roof and throws a dagger at him, but it is easily deflected by what looks like the pipe smoking peasant from earlier on the road. Later, two bandits are demanding a toll for people to cross a bridge, but they bolt and run when they recognize the priest approaching them. Another bandit band sees the priest leaving, and most of them go against their bosses orders to leave the villagers alone. The bandits are spotted rushing forward and an alarm is sent out. Hundreds of farmers, led by Kokemaru and Kamui's father gather up and tear the bad guys to pieces. The bandit leader is sitting on a horse, watching the carnage from a hilltop, and he gets approached by the basket priest. The priest refuses to leave him alone, so there is a fight and the priest wins. He walks past Shousuke, who notices that he's missing his two little fingers on his left hand. The smoking peasant is hiding behind some rocks, watching, and he runs off. He's followed by two thugs, who he dispatches with throwing daggers.

In the rice paddies, work progresses, with merchants working alongside the villagers. People that Shousuke met on his travels start arriving at the village and are welcomed. Shousuke's son, Ichitaro, gets into trouble, pissing on people and jumping into the mud. He has a ball and string toy that eventually gets dropped onto the ground unnoticed. Shousuke and Nana comment on how the farmers and vagrants are working and living together, bringing his dream closer to reality. But it's still a fragile situation.

A messenger arrives at the village and puts up a sign summoning everyone to the castle. When they get there, they are introduced to the new lord. An attractive-looking man in expensive robes, and missing two fingers on his left hand. It's Ryounoshin, now bestowed with a new noble name - Ikkaku Sasa (a combination of his former friend's name, and "bamboo grass"). He promises to help the villagers in any way he can. Things are looking up for everyone involved. However, hidden in the trees, the smoking peasant takes off his disguise, revealing Yokome, who drops Ichitarou's ball and string toy on the ground as he walks off, swearing.

やなぎ屋主人 (掲載開始) (Weeping Willow Shopkeeper (First Half))

By Yoshiharu Tsuge (つげ義春). 17 pages.
This is a rambling piece about a guy who looks like Jimmy Stewart. He meets up with a streetwalker, but after watching her take off her clothes, he bolts and runs outside. He wanders around for a while then returns to the woman's room. They talk and he leaves without taking his clothes off. He gets to a train station and asks one of the employees about how to get to a specific destination. When he arrives at the Weeping Willow shop, the story ends with nothing resolved.

戦争体験と戦後精神 (Experience of War, versus Post-War Intentions)

By Jirou Iwata (岩田二郎). 2 pages.

未来のトオキョウ (Future Tokyo)

By Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 2 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
This is a little 2-page piece showing the Tokyo of the Future as an over-built monstrosity.

さそり (Scorpion)

By Yoshihiro Tatsumi (辰巳ヨシヒロ). 20 pages.
This may be the first story Yoshihiro has in Garo. It certainly seems to be the first one I've read. There are a couple common threads in this story. First is that the main character keeps repeating the phrase "who are you, why are you here?" Second is that everyone cheats on each other. The protagonist is a shop worker who keeps a scorpion in a tin can. He sleeps in the apartment of his girlfriend, a prostitute. One day at work, the guy sees his boss paying off a mistress and telling her to not come back. The protagonist decides to commiserate with the mistress and they eventually go out, get drunk and have sex. The guy returns to his girlfriend's apartment, and she tells him that she has to go out of town for a while. On a whim, the guy puts the scorpion in her handbag. Later, he has a flashback of a time when he tried climbing over the fence into a U.S. Army base and got caught. The soldier at the time asked him in English and Japanese, "Who are you, why are you here?" He was interrogated but said nothing so the Americans let him go. Back in the apartment, he reads a newspaper story about his girlfriend, who had died mysteriously along with an older businessman customer, from some kind of poison. The guy takes a knife from his shop and prepares to kill his boss, but he sees him making up with the mistress. The protagonist then sees himself reflected in a window, and he asks himself, "who are you, why are you here?"

Yoshihiro Tatsumi (1935-) is credited with being the person that coined the word "gekiga" (dramatic pictures) and is in at least one way responsible for the creation of Garo, in as much that this magazine was created to give an outlet to gekiga manga. He's been translated by Drawn&Quarterly, and his most well-known story in the west may be his A Drifting Life.

平凡死 (Common Death)

By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 8 pages.
Yuu has decided to get into the pointless surrealism game with an 8-page series of random images. A couple are fairly interesting, anyway.

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #46

By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 7 pages.
3 and 4 panel gags.

赤色エレジー (2) (Red Elegy (2))

By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 13 pages.
Seiichi continues his brand of surrealism. The overt imagery concerns a man and woman living and arguing together, and the woman's occasional conversations with her parents before making back up with the guy.

流星 (Falling Star)

By Hiroyuki Ohtani (大谷弘行). 14 pages.
No real hits on Ohtani outside of references to Garo back issues. A man with a knife surreptitiously stalks the city. Newspapers describe a serial killer. Two detectives search for the suspect but have no clear leads. The man approaches a woman at a bus stop and threatens her, but she's suicidal and welcomes the promise of death. The knife man and the bus stop girl walk past the detectives, who happen upon the real killer in the middle of trying to rape his next victim. The knife man and the bus stop girl go to a darkened apartment and the girl asks for the knife to peal an apple, and it turns out that the blade has no edge. She returns the knife and the guy continues posing as a killer.

白い顔 (White Face)

By Yoshiko Naka (仲佳子). 10 pages.
More surrealism from Yoshiko, with people walking around and saying things to each other that don't always match up with the context.

万燈流し、夜学生 (Mantounagashi & Nightschool Student)

By Masuzou Furukawa (古川益三). 10 pages.
This is part of the "紫の伝説" (Purple Legend) series. Furukawa was first seen with "Field Bath". As a side note, Mantou is an event held around Shimodate, Japan. The Tourou Nagashi involves floating (nagashi) paper lanterns (tourou) down a river to commemorate the victims of the Great Kanto earthquake, as well as the victims of later wars. These are actually two separate stories. In the first, two children on a pier watch paper lanterns floating on the river. The scene changes to follow the lanterns as they go over a waterfall. In the second story, a boy walking through the hills goes past a house where a school student is studying late into the night. They don't talk to each other, and the boy keeps walking on out of town.

少年夢遊篇 (Boy Dream Play Compilation)

By Ouji Suzuki (鈴木翁二). 17 pages.
Ouji was first seen with "Helping Shou". A boy wakes up in the morning, smells his breath and goes to wash his teeth. There's an image of a rose, and one of its leaves falls off. The radio clock alarm turns on at full blast and he rushes to silence it to make sure that the landlord doesn't catch him slumming in the room. He goes outside and debates what to eat for lunch, walking past a bookstore and commenting on how pretty the girl working there is. He stops to buy a glass jar, then gets some rice, sliced pork, gyouza and beer at a small restaurant stand. He reads some Fujio Akatsuka manga and talks a bit with the waitress before returning home. He lies on the floor in the dark, staring at the glass jar. When the landlady arrives and bangs on the door to see if he's in the room, he freezes. She opens the door but the room's empty. The camera focuses on the small jar, and the impression is that the boy has hidden himself inside it somehow. The last shot is a closeup of the jar, and the words "good night".

As a sidenote, "夢遊" doesn't show up in my dictionary, but "夢遊病" is "sleep walking sickness".

或る風景 (Certain Scenery)

By Tadao Tsuge (つげ忠男). 30 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
A man goes walking out on the roads to reach a favored fishing hole. Along the way he narrates the difficulties he'd had with his parents when he was younger, and how he'd badly injured his right foot as a child. It still hurts him now. When he gets to the fishing place, one of the other men that likes fishing there comes up and chats with him for a while. The visitor asks why the fisher is here since there's few fish in the area, and the guy answers that he likes the scenery. The visitor is surprised, since the place is fairly desolate and there's nothing scenery-wise worth looking at. They both leave and the first guy goes to his shop and opens it up for business. As he's washing down the sidewalk, a customer comes up and comments that he'd been afraid the place would be closed for the day. The owner answers that the off day is tomorrow. The customer buys some bait, and remarks on how clean the shop is. He leaves, and as other customers come by, the owner narrates again about having two younger brothers, the problems he'd had with his parents, and that when they'd died he'd inherited this grocery store out in Chiba prefecture. He goes home, where his wife says that she'd gotten a call from her mother saying that she was feeling ill, so the wife is going to go back home during the off day tomorrow. She makes up meals for her husband and asks what he'll do with his free time - he answers, "fishing". His foot bothers him, and we see that it's in bad shape. He peals dead skin from the top of it. That night they go to sleep and he wakes up with a start to see that she's staring at him. He asks why she's awake, and she answers that he'd been making weird noises in his sleep. They go back to bed, and she wakes him at 9 AM as she prepares to visit her mother. He's going to nap longer then suddenly his foot cramps up. He gets his glasses and rests his eyes while sitting up, and dreams that he's in the middle of a road, wearing just his night robe.

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