Sunday, September 5, 2010

Garo Feature #34

For the Feb., '69 issue, I'm highlighting:

Maki Sasaki's - Sad Tree (?)
Ryouichi Ikegami's - Electric Artificial Arm

かなしいまっくす (Sad Tree (?))

More surrealism that doesn't really say anything. Interestingly, though, the last panel of this manga is a modified photo of a jazz trumpeter, which plays right into the next manga, by Ikegami.

電動式義手 (Electric Artificial Arm)

A young man with an artificial right arm is playing jazz trumpet in his room. His landlady comes in to complain that she doesn't like jazz. Although she can understand his situation, his playing trumpet from morning til night has been irritating the neighbors and affecting those that work nights or are trying to study for exams. The woman looks at the doorway where a pair of woman's shoes have been set next to the door, and she comments that she knows there's a girl hiding in the room. The landlady leaves, and her daughter, a university student, is shown standing behind the door. The girl opens the curtains and remarks how it's so strange, with the drapes closed, that you can't tell that there's a huge factory so close by spewing out clouds of pollution. She hates this place and wants to leave. Later, she goes to her own apartment, where her mother the landlady asks how her studies are going.

The boy goes into a flashback. He was an aspiring jazz player, a member of a good band. As he was crossing over a bridge, the driver of an oncoming car lost control and swerved right at him. The car stopped short, but he'd fallen over the railing onto the tracks of an oncoming train. A few months later, the driver confronts the boy, profusely apologizing for the accident, and mentioning that he's a design engineer for a prosthetics company and he wants the boy to be the first one to use their new artificial electronic arm. It'd be just like his own. The boy then practices using the arm for 2 years leading up to a big live performance of his band at a night club. The engineer has been given a personal invitation, but that day he spends his time drinking at a bar, unable to get his courage up. The engineer is convinced that the arm was a poor first attempt. That night, the boy goes into a rage, trashing the stage. The other members try to calm him down, but give up and return to their hotel. The boy staggers out into the middle of the street, where the engineer sees him as he drives up. The engineer apologizes again, saying that his claim that the arm would be good enough was just his way of assuaging his guilt. The boy claims that the arm is perfect, when it suddenly grabs the engineer by the throat under its own accord and starts choking him. The engineer wheezes out to cut the power, but it's too late.

At the end, the engineer is lying on the ground, the detached arm still squeezing tightly. The boy wanders over to the factory district where the girl finds him. Initially she's overjoyed to see him, but then notices his empty sleeve. The boy says that he'll go to the police, and then try to get a better arm. The girl looks at the factory in the background and says that it's too scary being here.


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