Sunday, October 31, 2010

Garo Feature #43

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

Sanpo Yodogawa's - Boy
Tadao Tsuge's - River with Kappas

少年 (Boy)

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.

河童の居る川 (River with Kappas)

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. 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.

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