Sunday, March 6, 2011

Garo 95

Garo #95, July, '71. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.
Ok, this is where it all started, back in Oct., 2009, when I decided to compare Garo with COM. I updated the Kamui summary to reflect what I now know about the characters, but otherwise this is a reprint of my original issue review.

カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #74

By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 96 pages.
First, we have a high-ranking samurai who is punishing a specific village by having the women whipped, men killed and babies hanged, when a messenger from Edo arrives and orders the whipping stopped. He then calls everyone's attention to a severely beaten man restrained in a palanquin. He cuts the palanquin open to reveal the mangled body of Shousuke. Initially the villagers are happy that Shousuke is still alive, then outraged that he was the only survivor. Since he doesn't respond to them, the villagers accuse him of betraying everyone else and start throwing stones at him. But Nana discovers that his tongue had been ripped out and tries to defend him. Finally, everything ends with a riot between the villagers and the vagrants, with the messenger standing on, watching.

The messenger turns out to be the new magistrate, and he takes the other samurai and some troops to smoke out the brigands living up in the mountains. Unfortunately for them, the leader they're after - Kokemaru - proves to be too crafty (using bear fur to panic the hunting dogs and horses into running off the edge of a cliff) and the pursuers are pretty much wiped out, with only the Magistrate left standing in a river some distance downstream, looking at the corpses floating around him.

Shichibe gets punished for having ruined so many people's lives as he clawed his way to the top, suddenly losing everything when Red Eye betrays him. In the end, Shichibe shoots Red Eye in the chest, and mourns this final loss.

A scarred and crippled shark hunter - Kushiro - goes out on the ocean to do some fishing. He sees Red Eye's body floating on the waves, then watches as a shark eats it. Kushiro happily kills the shark, shouting that the ocean is both his mother and father, his friend and enemy, and the chapter ends with the boat being tossed in the face of a growing tempest.

End of Part 1 of Kamui-den, in what had been intended to be a trilogy.

星をつかみそこねる男 (Man Who Seized the Star) #10

By Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 14 pages.
Kondo Isami and his Shinsengumi crew are searching the town for dissenters.

露骨の季節 (Outspoken Season)
By Koshi Ueno (上野昂志). 2 pages.

桜画報 (Sakura Pictorial) #3

By Genpei Akasegawa (赤瀬川原平). 16 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
A young boy and his horse have a variety of strange dreams. Very surreal, with no actual storyline.

怪人Mと少年探偵団 (Mystery Man M and the Boy's Detective Club) #3

By Sanpo Yodogawa (淀川さんぽ). 16 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
The story in this chapter is just the lead detective taunting M and making bad jokes. On the last page, the tables turn and M prepares to fight the team along with some henchmen.

勝又進 作品集 (Katsumata's Creation Collection) #54

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

探偵陰溝蝿児 (Detective Inkouyoko) #5

By Hiroyuki Ohtani (陰溝蝿児). 18 pages.
Someone looking like Vincent Price shows up in the castle, as a police detective and his assistants are trying to piece together the crimes. Vincent is killed right before their eyes, bringing the body count up to three. Flashbacks to Inkouyo show him to resemble Roddy McDowall, and the police detective sometimes looks like Charlie Chan. Unfortunately, almost the entire cast looks like Vincent in various disguises at one point or another, so I don't know if this is intentional or a flaw in the artist's style.

かんのむし (Kan no Mushi)

By Kazuichi Hanawa (花輪和一). 10 pages.
The tale starts with the boy, nicknamed "kan no mushi", tearing up a house in the countryside and the owners yelling at him and his mother for it. His mother brings him into town, where an acupuncturist sticks needles under his finger and toenails as a treatment to cure his affliction. Doesn't work, and he takes his destructive urges out on the back of his mother's head. In the last panel, he says that only time can cure him. Very off-the-wall artwork and unexplainable symbolism.

Hanawa has got a really long credit list on the Japanese wiki, but probably the one title he'll most be known for in the U.S. is "Doing Time". He had been an avid collector of old rifles, and he got caught up by Japan's no firearms law. He was convicted and sentenced in 1994 to 3 years in prison. When he got out, he created "Doing Time" to chronicle his experiences, and it ran in Garo's rival magazine, AX. It was carried in the U.S. by Fanfare in 2004.

犬ッ! (Dog!)

By Tada Hoshikawa (星川忠). 9 pages.
An arrogant cop has his daydreams of unadulterated adulation disturbed by a dog that pisses on his boot. While beating the dog, a woman tells him to stop. So, he strips her down and threatens to eat her leg ala a George Akayama manga. A man laughs at the scene and he too gets stripped down and threatened. Other police gather around and protect their partner. Pretty soon, it's a war pitting citizens against the cops, with the cops resorting to shooting tear gas shells, and both sides calling the other "inu" (dog). Eventually, all the civilians are hauled off, and the first cop says, "it's your turn next" while drooling and pointing at the reader.

紫の伝説 (Purple Legend)

By Masuzou Furukawa (古川益三). 30 pages.
We have the story of three people that meet peripherally and never really interact with each other. It starts out with a farm boy wandering into a village and seeing some paintings for sale in the square. He asks about them and is pointed to a rundown shack out in the fields where a crippled girl lives alone with her paints and easel. He follows her around, and sees her longingly watching a love affair taking place between a second young girl and a local boy. Time passes, and the couple breaks up, with the second girl crushed, lying on the beach crying. At the end, the farm boy leaves the town, the artist lies limp in her bed with the easel propped up on her stomach, and the heartbroken girl takes her clothes off and jumps deep into the lake. There's a sense that the artist would have been interested in the farm boy if he'd only talked to her.

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