Sunday, January 30, 2011

Garo Feature #56

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

Tadao Tsuge's - Ditch Road, Final Part
Kuniko Tsurita's - Misfortune

どぶ街 (Ditch Road, Final Part)

The artist from the previous chapter is out walking around the village, and meets up with some of his old companions. He eventually makes his way back to the house of his friend's girlfriend and moves in with her (since the friend is going to be in jail for a while). Simultaneously, there's a typhoon coming, and two of the guys working at a factory debate quitting and finding new work. In the end, the older of the two workers goes home after the typhoon has ended, and steals some money from his wife to go play pachinko.

災難 (Misfortune)

A young man is imprisoned with a number of killers, but he remains optimistic because he didn't do anything wrong. His cheerfulness seems to be unappreciated and he is locked up in solitary confinement. Some months later, his jailer is back, this time to take him to the gallows to hang. He repeats that he's innocent, and the hangsmen all repeat that everyone says that. The man tries to escape but is captured again. When he says that he's just one man, and that they should let him go, the jailer repeats that everyone executed up to this point was "just one man".

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Garo Feature #54

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

Ryouichi Ikegami's - Blurred World
Ryouichi Ikegami's - Slip

ぼやけた世界 (Blurred World)

Yukio is a former Japanese boxer who was KO'd during a title match against a black opponent. Several years later, he's a cheap thug who beats up drunks so that his partner can take their wallets. The partner promises to bring a new girl around to their regular haunt - a jazz club - that evening. Yukio doesn't care, because all he has any interest in is boxing, and no non-boxer could understand that. Unfortunately, one of the aftereffects of a lifetime of boxing is blurred vision and a smashed in nose. The partner arrives with the girl in tow. Her name is Rumi, and she acts impressed at Yukio's list of credits, saying that she loves strong men. Later, Yukio and the partner walk out to a park to look for another drunk to roll, and Yukio says that he couldn't go out with Rumi - she's a fan of his and he wouldn't do that to a fan. However, when Yukio starts pounding of their target, he's relentless, and the partner runs away in fear. The drunk collapses to the ground, and Yukio finds himself helpless - his glasses had fallen off and he can't find them on his own. The partner runs back to the bar to confirm something that Yukio had said - yes, she is indeed Yukiko's little sister. The partner calls her a slut, and she just laughs hysterically, tears rolling down her cheeks.

スリップ (Slip)

The story starts with a truck hitting a small boy. Then switches to a taxi dispatch center, where some of the drivers are putting snow chains on their tires in preparation for the snow storm predicted to hit the city that night. The main character, named "Te-chan", decides to not put on the chains since he doesn't need them. That night, he's driving a well-dressed female passenger when he slips into a daydream of being at home and playing with his wife and small son. They watch Tensai Bakabon on TV. Suddenly he snaps out of the reverie in time to barely avoid smashing into a telephone pole. As it is, he'd slid in sideways and cracked the sideview mirror. The passenger just explodes on him, demanding to know why he doesn't have chains on the tires, why he'd endanger the life of a valued passenger, and what he expects her to do now that they're stranded out in the middle of nowhere with no other cars nearby for her to ride back in. He envisions the small boy that had been hit by the truck at the beginning of the story, then snaps and attacks the woman, with her image reflected in the cracked mirror.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Garo Feature #48

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

Shouhei Kusunoki's - Thief
Shigeo Masai's - Mime
Tadao Tsuge's - 2 People, 3 Legs

盗っ人 (Thief)

This is kind of a rambling story that starts out with a high school student that sees someone stealing a magazine at a bookstore. Eventually, the boy himself works up the nerve to steal a pen, which he gives to his girlfriend. He starts having dreams of a fishing boat in a storm, and things escalate, with an attack on his girlfriend, and getting drunk with another punk. At the end, the hero and the drunk go past a harbor where the hero recognizes the boats from his dream. The two of them pass out in a room, but when the hero wakes up the next morning, the other guy seems to have not existed, and the hero goes out to walk along the shore.

Mime (Mime)

Shigeo's maestro character gets stuck in a maze, and ends up seeing himself reaching the end. An ambulance arrives to cart him off to the asylum.

二人三脚 (2 People, 3 Legs)

Two guys working at a factory share the same room in an apartment building to save on rent. The hero gets disgusted at the behavior of his roommate, and escapes to the factory to take a shower. The water of the communal bath is too cool, so the hero works on the boiler to bring the temperature up, but with little success. While the rest of the workers bathe, the hero plays cards with two friends, and talks about the bad behavior of the roommate. The hero wins the game and leaves to take his bath. The roommate stumbles in, stinking drunk, and makes a mess of the bath. At the end, the hero tells the roommate that he's horribly disgusting, and the guy just stands there staring, drunk and with vomit running down his chin.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Garo Feature #50

I'm not really running anything by Seiichi Hayashi this time, even though this is a special issue dedicated to him. In part it's because a lot of the stories in this issue are from the Red-Colored Elegy series, which has already been translated into English by Drawn & Quarterly, and in part because some of the material won't play well in front of children. That, and I'm not really a fan of his later works.

For the Feb., '70 issue, I'm highlighting:
Susumu Katsumata's - Nostalgic Melody

なつかしのメロディ (Nostalgic Melody)

Susumu copies Hayashi's style to highlight the majority of his characters, with no real story.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yumebi Exhibit on Shigeru Mizuki

This is a copy of the post I put on ThreeStepsOverJapan. Because of the relationship to Garo magazine, I decided to put it here also.

The Yumebi gallery in Hachioji has been a good place to see anime and manga related exhibits over the last year. They had both the Macoto, and Art of Mamoru Oshii exhibits over the Summer, and they closed out the year with The World of Mizuki Shigeru, running from Nov. 26, 2010, to Jan. 23, 2011, in part as a commemoration of Mizuki's 88th birthday. Entry is 500 yen ($6 USD) for adults.

My winter break at work continued to Jan. 5th, so on the 4th I took the opportunity to visit the Yumebi. As always, the gallery had some artwork in the front lobby, and a TV to one side for people to watch. This time, the DVD seems to have been about Mizuki's studio. I tried finding a copy in the gift shop, but it's apparently sold out. A second TV was playing episodes of "Gegege no Nyobo" (Wife of Gegege). And, the goods shop was stocked with post cards, art books and snack foods featuring the Kitaro youkai.

The exhibit itself starts out with a series of drawings of the Kitaro characters, accompanied by short written descriptions of each. There's a larger collection of paintings of various youkai that have appeared in the Kitaro and Akuma-kun manga, and a few really old Japanese books inside glass cases that have the same youkai that Shigeru apparently used as reference material. There's also 3D art, including life-sized statues of Kitaro, Oyaji, and the cement wall monster, plus models of Kitaro's tree house, and a diorama of a waterfall in the mountains occupied by all of the youkai that had been in the paintings on the gallery walls. The next section of the exhibit includes a parody of Hokusai's 36 Views of Mt. Fuji ukiyo-e woodblock prints, with the same youkai appearing in the villages and landscapes that were the focus of the original prints.

In the adjoining room, one wall has the original pencil artwork from selected pages of some Akuma-kun and Kitaro manga, including the page with the birth of Kitaro from the "Hakuba Kitaro" series. One half of the room also contained the complete set of Garo magazine issues from vol. 1 all the way up to #55. Now I know why all of the copies are missing from the Akihabara Mandarake shop. In addition, there is a section dedicated to some of the Garo manga artists that Mizuki worked with: Yoshiharu Tsuge, Ryouichi Ikegami and Sampei Shirato, with selected manga pages and photos of some of the artists. In fact, one full display case is dedicated to "Garo before Garo", a magazine created by Sampei Shirato entitled "Ninpou Hiwa" (Ninja Arts Secrets). Check out the Italian fan site for more images. It ran from 1960 to 1965, and included manga from Mizuki.

I should also mention that there's one corner with early copies of Shonen Sunday and Shonen Magajin. Both magazines started in 1959, and Mizuki had stories running in both of them from the beginning.

The rest of the exhibit includes masks of the Kitaro characters, collectors items like key chains, cell phone straps and toy figures, plus there's a long scroll drawn as an autobiographical manga showing Shigeru's life from birth up to about 1965. Naturally, the gallery doesn't allow photos within the exhibit, so I can't show you all the good stuff here. Suffice it to say that if you're in Hachioji before Jan. 24th, this is definitely worth the 500 yen to go inside. Highly recommended, especially if you're a Garo enthusiast.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Garo Feature #59

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

Shouhei Kusunoki's - Bomutsu
Tadao Tsuge's - A Current Popular Song

暮六つ (Bomutsu)

A toy maker in old Edo is suddenly visited by an old man. The two of them go out to a field where the toy maker hopes they'll be unseen by his family and friends. Unfortunately for him they all show up, and take turns either begging the old man to leave the toy maker alone, or to fight them instead. The old man doesn't respond, and finally the toymaker dresses himself up for a sword fight. They swing, and the toymaker falls dead, to everyone's shock. The old man moves on the the next village.

いざ歌謡曲 (A Current Popular Song)

A group of three guys working on a book are trying to decide on the cover art. The writer wants to use a destroyed battleship picture, while the cover artist wants a new-looking destroyer. The youngest-looking of the three wants to move into manga. The cover artist leaves, and the writer tries to convince the younger one that "having something that sells" is better than "producing art that one can be proud of". At one point, a would-be artist drops by the studio to try to sell them a manga entitled "Zenmai-shiki" that features a wind-up doll, and a cameo by Yoshiharu's "Neji-shiki" character. The magazine publisher the group is contracted to stops by, showing the upcoming issue that they'll be appearing in - the cover has the new-looking destroyer on it. The younger artist and the writer go out drinking, reminiscing about the past, and singing. The younger artist finally agrees that creating stuff that sells is probably the best philosophy.