Sunday, December 19, 2010

Garo Feature #53

For the May, '70 issue, I'm highlighting:

Shouhei Kusunoki's - The Large Room
Tadao Tsuge's - Ditch Road, Part 2

大部屋 (The Large Room)

Note: The title, "Ohbeya", can simply mean "large room", an actor's common-use room, or a hospital ward. The story takes place in a hospital, where various patients are waiting for major surgery. The majority of the conversations revolve around the decision whether to have the surgery or not, with rumors about why any given decision would be bad. If you have the surgery in the morning, the doctor might be coming in drunk; in the afternoon the doctor is tired and making mistakes. If you don't have the surgery, you usually only have 6 months to live. If you do have it, you may overhear the nurses wondering where one of their pairs of forceps went, or that their post-surgery inventory of the needles is coming up one short. Two guys get the surgery at the same time; one comes out of it fine, the other starts coughing a few days later and dies under a post-surgery operation. Another patient comes in, saying that he'll have his surgery in a couple of months, so two of the ones that have already had their surgeries start joking about missing needles, and the new guy yells at them for making him worry, with the resulting tension about to flare into a fist-fight. Eventually, most of the people have left, with one guy who put off the idea of being operated on looking emaciated, coughing weakly, and near-death.

どぶ街 (Ditch Road, Part 2)

An artist approaching a pachinko parlor gets harassed by some local thugs protecting their turf. The thugs' leader comes out, recognizes the artist as his friend and apologizes to him. They go to a coffee shop to talk. Turns out the artist has fallen on hard times and lost his job. They depress each other, and go back out to the street. A woman happens by and asks the artist to meet up with her to go drinking. A little later, the thugs run to get their leader to announce that a rival gang is trying to get into their pachinko parlor. There's a fight and one of the enemy gets knifed and dies. Everyone scatters, but the police are summoned and they catch the leader as he flees the scene. The artist and the woman happen on the scene, and the woman runs to the leader to demand that the police let her husband go free. The artist wanders away and despondently kicks through some lumber at a demolished building site before walking off.

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