Sunday, October 31, 2010

Garo 65


Garo #65, Sept., '69. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.


カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #54


By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 38 pages.
Three of the workers at the mountain camp attempt to escape. They are eventually hunted down and dragged back. At about this time, Red Eye arrives at the camp on behalf of Shichibe, and he witnesses in disgust the way the mining merchant joins in with the mountain town attache in abusing the workers. One of the escapees is beheaded, and then the other two are given clubs and told that only the one living will be forgiven for trying to leave. This of course turns out to be a lie and the survivor is torn apart by the dogs. As the guards and merchants leave afterward, Red Eye notices some glinting metal on the ground near the sluice gates, and he pockets some samples.

The other workers notice Shousuke and Gon plotting their next steps, and start pelting the two with rocks, accusing them of being spies. The big bully, Kuzure, stops the abuse, saying that he knows who the spy is. Later, Kuzure approaches Shousuke and Gon, asking if they have an escape plan yet. They answer that they want to get more information, and that they're going to be patient and await an opening. Life in the mines is bitter and painful, as the guards whip the workers to death to keep them motivated. The work is simple - haul buckets of water up ladders to the top of the sluice gates, and then go get more water. One man slips from the ladder, falls and breaks his neck on the ground below. The guards toss the body to the side to get it out of the way of everyone else. At the end of the day, as the workers head back to the enclosure, Shousuke notices someone that looks like Kamui, but when the guy turns around it's obviously a case of mistaken identity. On the surface. Actually, it is Kamui in disguise. The next day, the ceiling caves in and Kamui has to use all of his skills to avoid getting crushed.

The cave-in is the last straw. The workers stage a sit-down strike. The attache, merchant and guards rush in to threaten them, but with death being the only two choices - death from the attache or death from the mines - they're not budging. Even after the attache kills two of the workers to show that he's serious. In desperation, the attache grabs Shousuke to be the next victim, causing Gon, Kuzure and Kamui to poise for an offensive. On the last page, the narrator comments that Kamui knows that if he tries to save Shousuke, it'll be like marking himself for death.


えんがみみとんがった (Enga Mimi Tongatta)


By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 34 pages.
Kiyoshi and two of his friends are playing in the street when a vendor walks by with a horse pulling a wagon cart. The boys jump on the cart for a free ride, but try running away when the vendor yells at them. That is, they all fall on the slippery dirt road when they land, with Kiyoshi getting his hands in a horse dropping. He washes his hands off at a nearby faucet, but the others taunt him for having cooties, which prompts the start of a game of tag. A neighborhood girl happens by and gets tagged, and she taps Kiyoshi before running away in embarrassment. The girl turns out to be a dish washer for a restaurant that caters to the neighborhood, and she goes around picking up used dishes to take back for washing. Along the way, she gets a rock stuck between the risers of her geta (wooden sandals) and when she tries to knock it free, trips and falls into the mud in front of two of the boys, who laugh at her. Meanwhile, Kiyoshi and some of his friends go to the public bath, where they horse around and get yelled at by the other customers. The next day, Kiyoshi is running home when suddenly he gets a rock jammed between the risers of his geta. He bangs the geta against the ground, and the rock bounces away to stop at the feet of the girl. She smiles at him, and Kiyoshi's face turns red as he continues running.


"寺島町奇譚"をめぐって (Revisiting "Terajima Neighborhood Mystery Story")
By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 8 pages.
This is a 6 page analysis of Yuu's "Terajima" series, which includes Yuu, Mieko Kanai (金井美恵子) and the host Asajirou Kikuchi (菊地浅次郎). Mieko (1947-) is a fiction writer, poet and literary critic. There's little coming up on Asajirou.


"乱世"における解放区 ("Troubled Times" in the Liberated Zone) #53
By Sankichi Nomoto (野本三吉). 2 pages.
Again, the essay this time is written by someone other than Ueno. Sankichi Nomoto (1941-) is a sociologist and writer. There's nothing coming up for the illustrator, Tetsu Kitamura (北村跌), whose illustration is largely ignorable anyway.


新日本書紀 (The New Old Chronicles) #11


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


サマーコース (Summer Course)


By Maki Sasaki (佐々木まき). 12 pages.
More nonsense and surrealistic imagery.


トッテチッテター (Totte Chitte Tar)


By Mitsuo Fujisawa (ふじ沢光男). 13 pages.
It's been quite a while since we last saw anything from Fujisawa. This one is a surreal mix of characters eating peanuts and attacking each other. It's mostly toilet humor, which ends with one character kicking their geta into the air. The geta lands on the moon, where an alien wearing the stars and stripes says in English "Oh, no Japan".

Mitsuo originally wrote under a slightly different spelling of his name (藤沢光男), but with the same pronunciation. His earlier work was the "Aozora Tarou's Picture Diary" series.


勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #41


By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 5 pages.
More 3-4 panel gags.


ぶんぶんぶん (Bun bun bun)


By Teppu Hoshikawa (星川てっぷ). 8 pages.
Bun is the sound made by a fly, and "bun^3" is very similar to something that Fujisawa would do, although the artwork is a little less developed that Fujisawa's. A man is too tired to wake up one morning, and his wife kicks him out of the house to go to work. He falls asleep on the way, then returns home to get something to eat. His wife slaps him with a fly swatter, and he now thinks that he's a fly. He does succeed at flying up into his office, and bangs into his boss, before going to the toilet and getting something to snack on. But, he gets careless and is caught in a spiderweb. The spider has his wife's face and she says "welcome home, darling".

Nothing much coming up on Teppu. There's some hits for etchi DVDs but no Japanese wiki page, and nothing in English. He did appear in Garo once before, back in 1965, as a new artist.


花火は上がらず (Fireworks Do Not Shoot Up)


By Tsuguo Kougo (向後つぐお). 21 pages.
A young man is driving a stolen car out into the countryside, with a woman sitting in the passenger seat. He's terrified and wants to know how he got into this situation. He'd slept with the woman as a joke and then afterward she started commanding him as a slave. He steals the car, and when they get to an abandoned house, they break in. Turns out it's not unoccupied. There's a blind girl being cared for by her overprotective older brother. The woman chain smokes, and when the brother asks her to stop for the sake of his sister, the woman barks at him and asks who he thinks she is. The girl gets confused and calls for her brother, accidentally approaching the car thief. The brother goes into a rage and throws his fishing trident at the thief, ordering both of them out of the house.

There's a commotion outside. Apparently, a child got hit by a car and an ambulance is summoned. The thief tries to take this chance to run away, then realizes that he'd left the car keys on the table in the house. He goes back into the house. The brother and the woman watch on as some kid, who really hadn't been hit by a car, is taken to the hospital. There's a scream from the house, and the two run back in thinking the thief had tried to make a move on the girl, except that he's lying on the ground, bleeding from a gut wound and the girl is holding a knife saying it was an accident. The thief warns the older brother to beware of the woman and then he dies. Later, the older brother and the girl are out on the beach, where the brother wants to light up a roman candle. Unfortunately, the fireworks turns out to be a dud. The girl asks where the woman went, and the brother doesn't answer, but it's hinted at that she may be buried in the sand under the roman candle.


少年 (Boy)


By Sanpo Yodogawa (淀川さんぽ). 28 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
A pair of young boys are out walking along a river near some bridges. One, kind of a beaver-face and wearing a helmet, tells the other, a young version of the Three Stooges' Moe, that he's found a place where there are a lot of fish. "Moe", the leader of a secret club of boys, is referred to as "oyabun" (boss), and he orders helmet head to go back to the club house to round up the others. Helmet head goes to the club house, and gets "doc" and the rest. Doc gets out a fireworks rocket, and Helmet Head puts a frog in it - they launch the rocket to let oyabun know they're ready - the explosion at the end is fairly rough on the frog. They go out and catch a bunch of fish. Along the way, Helmet Head encounters Yomi-chan, a girl that is friends with the group. Helmet Head tries to use a dragon fly that he notices in order to put the moves on Yomi, but she's not interested. HH invites Yomi to explore the flood gate control room located near the river, and everything is fine until the control system automatically opens up the sluice gates and Yomi is swept into the water. Oyabun hears the cries for help and dives into the river to rescue the girl. Finally, everyone is back in the club house and HH recovers consciousness. Yomi is in the arms of her rescuer, and oyabun is basking in the moment. HH is so jealous, he goes over to an insect cage, and sets two spiders against each other. The one HH labels "oyabun" loses in the battle, and HH wishes death on his leader.

We now have the appearance of Yodogawa Sampo. The artwork is very crude and people's arms and legs grow disproportionately depending on Sampo's mood. The character designs are often very similar to that of Kazuo Umezu (AKA: Umezz, ref. "The Drifting Classroom").

"Yodogawa Sampo" is a parody of "Edogawa Rampo", which in turn was adopted by a mystery writer using the Japanized version of "Edgar Allan Poe". Little is written on Sampo, but he goes on to be a regular contributor for Garo for at least the next 2 years. Actually, there are a couple Japanese fan pages dedicated to him, but it's hard to get useful information from them. "Shonen" (Boy) was his debut work.


赤い鳥小鳥 (Red Bird, Little Bird)


By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 8 pages.
Another nonsense story. In this one, it's implied that some man has killed some woman. A different man walks around with an empty bird cage, and the one bird that is seen at some point also gets killed. The final text is "red bird, little bird, why, why, is it red..."


河童の居る川 (River with Kappas)


By Tadao Tsuge (つげ忠男). 39 pages.
An old man likes to fish. A younger coworker also likes fishing in the same area, but refuses to give away his secret fishing hole. At work, the older guy gets abused by his other coworkers, but the group as a whole is kind of dysfunctional. One night, after a drinking party where the older one confuses everyone with a strange pre-War reminiscence, the two fishermen travel out to the older one's station (Edogawa-dai, in Chiba, northeast of Tokyo), which is far from the city, but close to the fishing river. The older one continues on home, where his wife is uncharacteristically awake and up waiting for him. The couple has been married so long that there's no mysteries between them anymore. When she goes to bed, he has a revelation. After this, the older guy stops going to work. The younger one decides to go out fishing again as a pretext to find out what happened to his coworker. At the final train station, the younger worker encounters the older one's wife, who says that her husband has taken up photographing kappa (mythological river spirits). The guy continues to the river, puzzled by what the woman had said. He sets up his rod and reel and eventually the older guy arrives. When the younger one tries to ask what's going on, the older one yells out "kappa!, there's a kappa!" and runs into the tall grass along the riverbank.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Akihabara station renovation



There are several entrances/exits in the JR Akihabara station. The one we care about today is the one facing the UDX building. Billed as the north exit for Denki Town (Electric Town), most of this part of the building has been under renovations for well over a year. They finally took the last of the security fencing down a few days ago, giving us a full view of the new facade.



Given that Akihabara is a major center for electronics, games, anime DVDs, manga and maid cafes, you'd think that the new design would reflect its surroundings in some shape or form. Instead, what we get is something generic and bland. Sigh.



At least there's another Starbucks. Now we don't have to walk the 1 full block to get to the Starbucks already at the other side of the station. (Not to make fun of the consumerism inherent in all of this. On the other side of the tracks to the left of the station there are two 7-11s one block apart, and within a 1 block radius of 2 other convenience stores.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Movie posters



Advertising poster for the new Pokemon Zoroark movie, in Shinjuku station. About 6 feet by 20 feet.


Found in Akihabara station. Pokemon Best Wishes.




This one was on the front window of the UDX information office. The Tokyo Animation Center up on the fourth floor had the Inzauma 11 DVD release exhibit a few weeks ago. Now, there's a live-action version of the movie. Unfortunately, the lighting was always wrong when I tried to take the photo, so it's a little washed out by the morning sky behind me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

TAC Exhibit - Studio 4C



The Umasou exhibit didn't stick around very long. It was quickly replaced by "Genius Party - Beyond" (until Nov. 7). Actually, this exhibit is more about the various works from Studio 4C, which just includes Genius Party - Beyond, as well as the original Genius Party. Some of the works displayed here include "Tekkon Kinkreet", "Memories" and "Spriggan". I'd seen "Genius Party" in the theaters, which seemed like an interesting experiment but largely a waste of money. Only 2 or 3 segments really worked, and most of them seemed to be unfinished parts of larger wholes. The French philosophical segment was just pure dreck. So, I didn't bother with "Beyond". I have seen "Memories", which I really liked (based on Otomo's works), and they've also contributed to the Animatrix anthology.

The Studio 4C website is pretty cool.















(A TV screen and DVD player were set up to show Beyond.)











Wednesday, October 27, 2010

TAC - Umasou, Part 2



Because the TIAF event was held in the same building as the Tokyo Anime Center, I decided to pop by and drop off the URL for my FFF museum photos page with the manager, in case he was curious how the museum construction is going. I took the opportunity to watch the "omae, umasou da yo" video running on the DVD player near the information desk. I then learned that not only does the title refer to the little dinosaur's tastiness level, but "umasou" is actually the name the big dinosaur gives to the baby that adopts him as his "papa" (so, the title can also translate to "You are Umasou"). It was funny, watching "papa" chasing off the baby, then sadly saying "good luck, Umasou" (good luck, tasty tidbit). In Japanese, descriptives can turn into names, such as "glasses", "uni-brow" and "straw hat". We can now add to this list "tasty bits".



Later, the TAC manager brought out a box of "Umasou Dino Biscuits" and gave me a 4-packet package. He was amused by the fact that the anime promoters had written "tabete kudasai" on the top of the box ("please eat"). Don't need to tell me twice, Umasou.

(Note that the package advertises 64 different images printed on the biscuits.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bruce Lee Protein Water Keitai Straps



Back in September, bartman905 wrote about some of the keitai straps he'd picked up that were freebies packaged along various soft drinks. Basically, in Japan cell phones (called keitai denwa, or "wireless phones") have a small hole in the corner of the case designed to allow you to attach the dangly of your choice. Some people have wanted to attach so many danglies that extender straps were developed to give you more places to hang stuff on. Obviously, when you're done, there's no way that an "adorned" cell phone will fit in your pocket anymore. Well, given that Japanese teenagers have the phones surgically attached to their hands for texting, taking photos and listening to music, there's no reason for them to want to set the phone down at any point of the day, much less put them in their pockets.



Jason's was unloading Suntory's Protein Water (basically a Calpis-like yogurt-based drink) for 58 yen (68 cents) a bottle (less than half the regular price) and I needed something to take in to the office to drink during the weekend. So I picked up two bottles. There are 6 different Bruce Lee designs, generally with each one holding a bottle of Protein Water in one hand, and a weapon in the other. Not sure if the Protein Water is being considered to be a lethal poison here or not.



A couple of days later, I decided to pick up a few more bottles, just because they're cheap and I wanted a photo of the other figure poses. On a whim, I decided to give the extra cell phone straps to some co-workers, who were all happy to take them. One co-worker immediately recognized the product and started talking about the weird ads they have. Turns out I've actually seen a couple of the ads on TV and had no idea what they were trying to promote. I tried playing the game, but didn't have the patience to get past stage 2.





Monday, October 25, 2010

Moe Sake

I may be coming to this particular game late, but I just recently learned about "moe sake". I was at the Tokyo Anime Center last week, taking pictures of some of the new exhibit items for the "You Look Delicious" anime, when I got to talking with the manager there. He mentioned the (at the time) upcoming Tokyo International Anime Festival in the UDX building and then followed this up with a flier for moe sake, which had a showing on the 24th, also in the UDX building.



Turns out that moe sake is regular sake produced by Kaito Otokoyama Brewery, in Fukushima, and then given an entire backstory involving cute female characters, including the fairy of sake brewing. Much of the website is bilingual, but the character descriptions aren't available in English yet. Naturally, you're paying extra for the "moe" artwork. Prices run from 1000 yen to 2000 yen depending on the flavor. Sill, after having seen someone selling "moe rice" last year, it's only natural that "moe sake" would follow.



Ok, Oct. 24th comes and goes, and I figure that I might as well drop by during my lunch break. There was more of a crowd around the back of the UDX than I'd have expected for a sake event, and that's when I realized that they were doing a combined event with the Cosplay Summit people that seem to be meeting there about every 3 months. Not as many cosplayers as last time, but that may have been because the weather was cool and threatening to rain all day.


(Moe Umeshu)


(Moe fruit juice)

The sake portion of the event consisted of a number of tables, not just for Tomulier, selling sake, fruit juice, cosplay wigs and accessories, and more sake. There was even a table set up for sampling. Each label was represented. A small container held the sake, and a plastic squeeze bulb. You filled the bulb and then squeezed it into your sampling cup. Just enough drops to be able to get a taste for each label, but not enough to say that you actually had a drink of it. I stayed at the low end of the price range, at 1200 to 1500 yen. The majority of the bottles were at 2000 yen, and some for as much as 3000 yen. Most of the cheaper labels tasted cheap - you're just buying them for the artwork. I did like the ume shuu (plum wine) enough to get a bottle for 1200 yen. It's blended with grapes and other fruit, so it's not as sweet and "plummy" as regular ume shuu, and at 8% alcohol, it's not as strong, either. But it mixes well with club soda to make a decent wine spritzer. On the other hand, it's not a very big bottle, so it's easy to empty quickly.



Some of the women running the tables were dressed up as the characters from the sake labels, and they encouraged photos. Some of the cosplayers weren't as camera-shy as normal, either. Overall, it was a fun event, and if you bought some of the sake you were eligible for some kind of drawing at the end, but I had to return to work before that so I missed out on the drawing. Still, there were more people hanging around and enjoying themselves than there were at the same time the day before at the TIAF event. I wonder why.




(Some of the cosplayers at the back of the UDX building for photo shoots.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Garo 64


Garo #64, Aug., '69. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.


カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #53


By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 87 pages.
A summons is sent to the new feudal lord, who wants to get advice from Guntaro. But, the former attache is currently at Dai Kuraya's mansion living it up with a mistress and a bottle of sake. Suddenly, the messenger arrives at the mansion, sending Guntaro into a rage. He returns to the feudal lord's house where they talk about a new problem that is looming over them. The messenger from the now-dead magistrate's household made it to Edo, and the samurai leaders there (probably the bakufu, the Shogun's military advisers) are getting involved. A large number of people are being summoned to Edo to sit before the court.

The woods bandit leader learns that rather than being tortured, he too is being sent to Edo. He ends up riding in the feudal lord's palanquin, while the lord walks along outside. This strange arrangement attracts Kokemaru's attention and he manages to speak to the bandit during a toilet break. Finally, in Edo, all parties gather in front of the court. This includes the lord and Guntaro; various villagers that have been hit by natural disasters; Ukon, Atena and their supporter; and the bandit and a friend the bandit met in the Edo prison. (There's a little confusion here. While the bandit leader had been referred to as Ryounoshin up to this point, and the one that's in the Edo prison looks like Ikkaku, the word balloons are now switched around and it seems that the bandit is really Ikkaku pretending to be Ryonoshin, although this could be a ploy on the part of the real Ikkaku to make it look like the last of Ryounoshin's family has finally been wiped out. Either way, the one prisoner keeps calling the bandit leader "Ikkaku".)

Through the deliberations, the new feudal lord is humiliated by accusations of his cowardice, while Guntaro sits nearby, gloating visibly. Ukon and Atena say what they've observed in Hanamaki village, the bandit leader speaks on his own behalf, and the villagers and village women plead their cases. After about a week, the sentences are handed out. One samurai is ordered to commit seppuku, which he does, and another commits seppuku secretly and bleeds all over the tatami mats before the council notices and beheads him out of sympathy. The prisoner that looks like Ikkaku laughs at his death sentence, and before anyone can attack him, rushes to the stage to take out as many advisers as he can. The guards recover their senses and skewer the prisoner. He says that this is the way a samurai should go out - fighting, and he dies. The bandit leader, now referred to as Ikkaku, sits near the blood stain and mourns his friend.

The feudal lord is just fined some money and has to send certain documents to Edo, which he does happily when he gets home. Guntaro, on the other hand, gets to his mansion only to find that his wife has been slain. His retainers surround him, telling him that he'd embarrassed his lord, and if he doesn't open his stomach up himself, they'll do it for him. Guntaro collapses in fear and the retainers cut him into pieces. He dies. Back at the lord's place, Otomaru suggests that the two of them go to a specific point on the river to do some fishing. However, during the trip, Otomaru tips the boat and the lord goes flying into the water. She jumps after him, and that's the last of them that's seen by the two peasants standing on the shore. Back at the lord's mansion, the lord stumbles into the house, cold and wet, and asks Otomaru to accompany him into the baths, where he then drowns her. As she struggles, she demands to know who the man really is, and he takes off his mask to reveal one of the vassals, Sabu. She dies, and Sabu throws her into the river. Later, the authorities pull out the two bodies - the lord and Otomaru, while the peasants tell everyone that they'd seen the two fall out of the boat and they never surfaced again. Nearby, two masked priests stand and watch. One, a basket priest, is Teburi. The other is Otomaru. They comment that it looks like the ninja council is taking action and killing fellow ninja, with her being one of the targets. Otomaru recognizes one of the pallbearers as Sabu, and Teburi tells her to wait and bide her time until they get more answers. The two of them leave together, while the narrator explains that the dead woman lying next to the dead lord was the random woman that Teburi had hypnotized in the last chapter and had ordered her to act as Otomaru's stand-in, while the woman that had actually killed the lord was another ninja.

Finally, Gon and Shousuke are working the fields of their new village. They decide to go out to the hills to visit another village. The lord there lets them into the courtyard, where they meet some of their former friends from Hanamaki, but it's a trap and a pack of dogs are released on them. The lord says that this is one village where when you arrive, you can never leave. Gon and Shousuke kill a couple of the dogs, then climb over the bamboo fence to join the other prisoners. Unfortunately, one of the prisoners is a bully that had had a run in with them before, and is very happy to have them in his clutches now.



萬古屋事件始末 (The Story of the Manko-ya Incident)


By Yuu Takita (滝田ゆう). 35 pages.
Ok, I'll admit upfront that I had trouble understanding this episode, because of the kanji and cultural references involved. The basic gist is that a customer at the bar (Stand Don), apparently named Bunko Kiken (bunko is usually read as "bunshi", meaning molecule or particle, and kiken is "danger") is at the bar, talking up the other customers and suggesting that they check out some other shop - Manko-ya. After Bunko leaves, the other customers make fun of him. This is followed by a snatch-and-grab theft against some other customer coming out of another bar. The rumors start flying that Bunko was the culprit. It doesn't help that the shop he'd mentioned is now surrounded by police looking for suspicious characters.

The following day, Kiyoshi and friends are playing drums and flutes as amateur chindon-ya (noise makers to advertise a sponsor) to attract kids to watch a kamishibai drama (in kamishibai a street performer recites a story while showing illustrated picture cards to the audience; this was a very popular form of entertainment following WW II). His mother sees him and knocks him on the head for not studying before telling him to take a note to the shop mentioned by Bunko. But, when the two of them get near the shop, they see all the soldiers and his mother gets cold feet and they head the other way. Later, Kiyoshi furtively dodges the soldiers and gets inside the shop only to find that the note had fallen through a hole in his pocket. All he can do is tell the confused old man running the shop "my mother said 'hi'". When he gets back home, his mother asks what happened, and Kiyoshi answers "he said 'hi'".

Bunko is shown lying low in a girlfriend's apartment, and when he goes through his pockets, finds the receipts for Stand Don. He tells his girlfriend that he's never been there and he doesn't know how those receipts got in his pocket. He's thirsty, and upset that the new laws prevent bars from selling drinks early in the day. But, he decides to go to Don later. When he does get to Stand Don, it's empty. Kiyoshi's mother hustles him into the back room, which is a good thing since a soldier sticks his head in a few minutes afterward and doesn't see anyone. The family pushes Bunko out the back door and locks it behind him. Finally, an older man that seems to be Bunko's father or uncle or something, drops by and says that everything had all been a big mistake. He also hands the note back to Kiyoshi's mother, saying that he'd found it on the ground and it apparently came from her. She yells for Kiyoshi, but he's outside drumming up new customers for the kamishibai storyteller.

------

What's interesting to me about Yuu Takita's work here is just how much cultural content he packs into his stories, from the nightlife in the bar district, to the games the kids play on the streets, from the clothes the people wear (street clothes and fancy kimono) and the snacks they eat. Even though the artwork is pretty crude, the buildings are detailed, and we get these city layouts that almost allow us to draw full maps of the town. The kids hang out with each other, playing marbles, watching movies at the local cinema, eat dango and watch kamishibai. While Yoshiharu and Tadao Tsuge are lauded for their "everyman" stories, I think that Yuu comes closer to actually showing what life was like following the War.



勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #40


By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 6 pages.
Rather than the standard 3- and 4-panel gag strips, we get a guitar-player going around drumming up business for a hostess club, and basically ridiculing the customers. One such customer goes to the bar and finds two of his sons standing outside. They argue then commiserate with each other before leaving. This is then followed by just two 4-panel gag strips.



LoVe CHimE (LoVe CHimE)


By Maki Sasaki (佐々木まき). 12 pages.
More nonsense and surrealistic imagery.



戦後の生の重み (Dignity of Life after the War)
By Tadao Tsuge (つげ忠男). 6 pages.
This is another one of those paired up dialogs, this time with Tadao Tsuge and Susumu Gondou (権藤晋, real name: 高野 慎三 = Shinzou Takano ). As Gondou, Takano drew a number of manga according to the Japanese wiki entry, but there's really nothing on him in English.



雨期 (Rainy Season, Part 1)


By Tadao Tsuge (つげ忠男). 35 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
Some time ago, a group of punks ruled the street. Years pass, and two of the punks get together again, one of them being the former leader. They reminisce about the old days. Time has not been kind to them, and the leader wants a bar to sit down at and talk. But, the younger one doesn't understand what the deal is. The younger one also suddenly gets sick and throws up. The leader comments on the smell of blood on him, and the younger one answers that he'd been working at a shop carving up body parts for medical analysis. It's a horrible job and he can't do it any more. The two of them nervously talk around various subjects and the leader finally gets them into a secluded bar. His ulterior motive to to show this nasty growth or wound over his right shoulder blade and upper back. He tells the younger guy to touch it and it feels cold. Another customer at the bar laughs, but quickly looks away. The two leave the bar and head for an unprotected rail crossing where one of them had witnessed a suicide years before. They stand there, thinking about how the town changed, how they don't fit in any more and how convenient it would be to end everything. The last train of the night comes barreling up, and it looks like they decided not to stay in the middle of the tracks after all.



壮烈無土国血戦記 (Brave Bloody Battle of Mutokoku Chronicles) #2


By Kuniko Tsurita (つりたくにこ). 32 pages.
The credits now state that the story is by 二宮修子 with art and inking by Tsurita Kuniko. However, there is still nothing in Japanese for anyone by the name "二宮修子" other than mentions of this particular story appearing in Garo. This is the second half of the story. The travelers set up a campsite on the island and treat it all as a big picnic. The Japanese navy arrives and orders them to go back home and they refuse. By accident, the fat rich kid stumbles on a rock on a hilltop, triggering an avalanche that crashes down on the destroyer. This starts a war with the navy using their big guns, and the travelers using slingshots, swords and a spear. One woman, the one with a spear that loves Edo-period dramas, starts out thinking that if she's going to die here that she'd rather do it by her own hand. However, she pulls her head out of the noose and decides that she'd rather die in a hail of bullets. She gets shot, and dies thinking that neither choice was really all that preferable. A small boat arrives with two men and a lot of film equipment. The travelers think they've been saved, but rather than helping out, the two newbies start filming the battle, and asking people to do a better job of looking good when they die. The prophet that started all of this pulls out his katana to show how a real samurai fights, but he turns out to be incompetent. The prophet tells his assistant to fight for him, and the boy lights the fuse to a pile of gunpowder kegs and bombs. The island blows up, killing everyone but the itinerant priest. The priest turns away, muttering a prayer to the souls of the dead, and he leaves.
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There are a couple sight gags here, including cameo appearances by Tezuka's "pig character", and Fujio Akatsuka's Nyarome cat.



赤地点 (Red Background)


By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 10 pages.
This is a surreal set of images that are connected primarily by dialog speculating on "him" (where is "he", is "he" alive or dead, when will "he" arrive", is "he" already here?). In the final panel, there is a hand shown opening a sliding door, with a bright 5-pointed star in the background. You could read in a reference to Communist China if you like.