Sunday, November 28, 2010

Garo Feature #49

For the Feb., '70 issue, I'm highlighting:

Shigeru Mizuki's - Future Tokyo
Tadao Tsuge's - Certain Scenery

未来のトオキョウ (Future Tokyo)

This is a little 2-page piece showing the Tokyo of the Future as an over-built monstrosity.

或る風景 (Certain Scenery)

A man goes walking out on the roads to reach a favored fishing hole. Along the way he narrates the difficulties he'd had with his parents when he was younger, and how he'd badly injured his right foot as a child. It still hurts him now. When he gets to the fishing place, one of the other men that likes fishing there comes up and chats with him for a while. The visitor asks why the fisher is here since there's few fish in the area, and the guy answers that he likes the scenery. The visitor is surprised, since the place is fairly desolate and there's nothing scenery-wise worth looking at. They both leave and the first guy goes to his shop and opens it up for business. As he's washing down the sidewalk, a customer comes up and comments that he'd been afraid the place would be closed for the day. The owner answers that the off day is tomorrow. The customer buys some bait, and remarks on how clean the shop is. He leaves, and as other customers come by, the owner narrates again about having two younger brothers, the problems he'd had with his parents, and that when they'd died he'd inherited this grocery store out in Chiba prefecture. He goes home, where his wife says that she'd gotten a call from her mother saying that she was feeling ill, so the wife is going to go back home during the off day tomorrow. She makes up meals for her husband and asks what he'll do with his free time - he answers, "fishing". His foot bothers him, and we see that it's in bad shape. He peals dead skin from the top of it. That night they go to sleep and he wakes up with a start to see that she's staring at him. He asks why she's awake, and she answers that he'd been making weird noises in his sleep. They go back to bed, and she wakes him at 9 AM as she prepares to visit her mother. He's going to nap longer then suddenly his foot cramps up. He gets his glasses and rests his eyes while sitting up, and dreams that he's in the middle of a road, wearing just his night robe.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Garo Feature #47

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

Susumu Katsumata's - I--diot

あ~ほ (I--diot)

Actually, Katsumata is using this issue to run a full 12-page story. Essentially it's a crow's perspective on Japanese rural life, debunking various myths and explaining the real reason why crows cry. That, and that they'd rather eat chicken eggs than watermelons.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kazuo Kamimura Exhibit

For those of you that like the gekiga-style artists who may not have actually appeared in Garo, I posted a review on my other blog site of an exhibit that's running in Shimokitazawa right now, in Umezz's GAoh! gallery - for Kazuo Kamimura (illustrator on Lady Snowblood).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Garo Feature #45

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

Tamehiro Tashiro's - Painful Evening
Shigeo Masai's - Mime
Ouji Suzuki's - Helping Shou

痛かった夕暮れ (Painful Evening)

The master of the wordless manga explores new ground with a story where the characters actually talk. A regular guy tries getting a train ticket, only to be insulted and injured by the station personnel. In the end, he is forced to walk back home.

Mime (Mime)

Shigeo is going by a slightly different spelling of "Shigeo" (Shige + "fish"), and the English version of the name is just S. Masai". It's been quite a while since we last saw him, with "Demon Phone" back in Oct., 1966. A guy dressed up like a 1700's classical musician stands next to a tree and cries when the last leaf falls to the ground. His tears cause his shoes to get dirty, so when his attempts to get revenge on the tree fail he steps on the leaf, cleans his shoes, and comments on the crows flying away resembling the fleeting Autumn.

庄助あたりで (Helping Shou)

This is a selected work by a new artist. A young man visits the apartment of his friend, Shou, and notices that the friend doesn't look very healthy. Shou complains about being cold, and takes the visitor's book and reads it out loud. The visitor leaves and comes back some weeks later, only to find that Shou has sold all his belongings, is now living out of a box on the floor, and is looking very thin but strangely beautiful. Shou explains that when he'd gone out to get some cold medicine, he'd discovered a statue of a very pretty girl, who he'd been able to talk to. Over time, he spent all of his money on the medicine as an excuse to visit the shop. Shou dies a few days later, and the friend retraces Shou's steps to try to track down the statue. The pharmacy has remodeled and changed its name, but inside the building is the statue. Of a pregnant woman advertising baby formula (called "Mama Milk"). The friend is disgusted by this turn of events and leaves.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Garo Feature #44

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

Tadao Tsuge's - Rainy Season, Part 2
Shouhei Kusunoki's - Stone Worker

雨期 (Rainy Season, Part 2)

This story is largely unrelated to part 1. The art is cruder, and it looks much more amateurish than before. The basic story is that a woman running a drinking room and her friend are joined by a customer. They talk for a while and it becomes obvious that the mama-san (female bar owner) is preoccupied. The friend and the customer talk her into explaining what the problem is. Turns out that her adult daughter had been seduced by a street thug (presumably the one from part 1), and had disappeared for a few days before suddenly coming back home. When the daughter had first tried to move in with her "boyfriend", the guy's thugs had threatened her into turning tricks for them. At this point in the story, the friend and the customer get embarrassed and tell the mama-san that they've heard enough. The story ends with the approaching storm building up and getting stronger.

石匠 (Stone Worker)

This is a simple slice-of-life story with art by Shouhei, based on a story by 冬木良 (which could be read as Yoshi Fuyuki). There's nothing coming up on him in either English or Japanese, except for references to this particular story.

A tall man visits his friend, a young woman that had quit her job in order to take care of her father. The guy doesn't understand why she is so dedicated to the old man, and constantly urges her to get on with her life. While he seems to be attracted to the girl, she just treats him as a friend. But, it is true, that while they visit a cemetery, that she shows a morbid side. Later, the father talks to his daughter, and he comments that she likes a particular stone cutter named Kuroushi, and he follows this up with the comment that he can hear Kuroushi walking up in the snow. He dies, and the tall friend accompanies the woman to the funereal. The tall guy sees some round boulders in the father's studio and is inspired to carve similar boulders himself. Then, he drives to the hills, where he tracks down the woman. She's with the other stone carver, Kuroushi, who is polishing a slab of granite. He watches as the couple frolics in the grass near a flowing river.