Sunday, December 26, 2010

Garo Feature #41

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

Shinji Nagashima's - Boy's Summer
Shinji Nagashima's - New Ugetsu Story

少年の夏 (Boy's Summer)

The story is set at a beach, where a young boy walks in the sand before sitting down. Crowds come in to enjoy playing in the ocean, and then leave, with trash scattered all across the sand behind them. Suddenly the scene jumps to a hospital office where an old man with a cigar is telling a younger, thinner guy something about cancer, the amount of money involved, the idea that the money might stay in the family, etc. Then the scene shifts back with the boy standing up, brushing the sand off his seat and walking back home.

新雨月物語 (New Ugetsu Story)

This is a combination of three short stories. It's related to the ghost story "Ugetsu Monogatari", which among other things was turned into a movie in 1953. In Shinji's version, we first have a hobo and his son and a dog, walking the countryside before they find a massive tree. The hobo settles down and starts carving the tree into a Buddha statue. The man dies and his son grows up and takes over the carving. But, he turns the statue into a modern art sculpture. He too dies of old age, and a passing traveler chops the remaining parts of the tree up to make crosses for the bodies of the boy and the dog, then uses the rest of the tree for firewood. In part 2, a young boy standing outside of a girl's house, holding a bunch of flowers, waits so long that his corpse ends up wrapped in with the ivy vines that grew up the outer wall. In part 3, a man dressed up as a clown and holding a sign advertising a coffee shop, watches as people pass him by on the sidewalk. At night, he goes home, takes off the makeup, and sits in front of an easel where he does oil painting. Over time he watches as one girl grows up, meeting a boyfriend, getting married and having a child. Just about when the painting of her is finished, the clown dies. The painting is put on display at an art gallery. The woman visits the gallery, sees herself in the painting and cries, remembering the clown that used to stand outside on the sidewalk.

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