Sunday, October 17, 2010

Garo Feature #40

For the July, '69 issue, I'm highlighting:

Shouhei Kusunoki's - Jeeze
Takao Takahashi's - One Night
Masuzou Furukawa's - Field Bath

チェッ (Jeeze)

I really do prefer Shouhei's Edo-era dramedies. His modern-life stories don't work as well. In any case, "Jeeze" centers on a young man that seems to have a fixation for ramming into people with his shoulder and then apologizing for it. The guy gets a job as a mover for a transport company and spends his day listening to rude jokes by the driver. At one point they go to a public bath, where the other customers notice the nasty scar the guy has on his shoulder. He initially says that he got it from a 5-on-1 fight against some yakuza, then claims that he's joking and that it was actually a machine accident. Another night, out on the street walking home with 3 other people, the guy has to jump to one side to avoid being hit by a racing motorbike taking a corner too tight, and all four of them bash into each other and ending up apologizing. Finally, the guy trips into one businessman who actually ignores him. The guy follows the businessman out to a secluded area and pulls a knife on him. The businessman just stares at him, and the guy laughs before running away. When out of sight, he stops and gasps for air out of terror.

ひとつねた (One Night)

Takao Takahashi (高橋高雄) ("Lingering Song", "Sampei the Fisherman") is writing under the name Takao Hashi(橋高雄) this time. An old man is caring for his two young grand children, and the narration is kind of reminiscent of a children's rhyme. The children's father had to leave the town to find work, and he never comes back. The mother works the fields of their farm, gets sick and dies. A natural disaster hits the town, and everyone else leaves to find employment as migrant workers. This just leaves the old man and the two children alone to fend for themselves. One scene shows them with angel's wings, implying that they may also be dead right now, or that it will happen eventually. With all of the catastrophes that have plagued them, though, they're not scared. What's a lot scarier is the grandfather's ghost stories. On the last page, the old man thinks "If I die, who will take care of these children?"

野風呂 (Field Bath)

This is a very silly, fairly crudely-drawn tale of Pon-tarou, a young tanuki (racoon dog) out on a stroll on his own. His mother told him that it's ok to wander away from the house to play, just stay away from humans. Unfortunately, Pon forgets her warning, and eventually discovers a hot tub in the middle of a field. He crawls inside and enjoys a hot bath, until the old man that built the tub comes along. Pon remembers his mother's words, and tries to shapeshift. However, he's never been able to shift before, so the best he can do now is turn into a fish. The old man gets into the tub and after a while starts noticing a tickling. Since fish are not commonly found in hot tubs, he becomes curious and tries to catch it. Pon is overcome by the heat and stress, and reverts to tanuki form. The old man is amazed by this, but Pon is sweating so heavily, he throws the creature away. Pon recovers and runs happily back home to tell his mother than he can shapeshift now.

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