Sunday, February 27, 2011

Garo Feature #68

For the Apr., '71 issue, I'm highlighting:

Shouhei Kusunoki's - Soybean
Hiroyuki Ohtani's - Detective Inkouyoko

まめ (Soybean)

A poor Edo family is running out of things to eat, leaving a rooster and some soybeans. The father goes out to conduct business, leaving the kids at home to play games. When they get hungry, they're told to eat the raw beans. The next day, the mother prepares a big stew, and the family can't eat it because they're already filled up on soybeans. Later, a neighborhood woman complements the family for the delicious food she got from them (probably the stew leftovers), while the family just stares at her, with a single bird feather fluttering by (implying that they'd cooked the rooster but weren't hungry enough to eat it.)

探偵陰溝蝿児 (Detective Inkouyoko) #3

Inkouyo pulls out a knife and threatens the gay family member, who is suddenly guarded by the thug that had the tree fall on him (Eli). Eli takes Inkouyou out to the garden, and from a tree branch they watch a hooded figure enter the woman's room and do stuff to her. Later, the head of the family gives Inkouyou cash to leave the house and not talk to anyone about what's going on there, but Inkouyou hears a strange moaning coming from somewhere and follows it through a secret passage into a dungeon where the gay member is being tortured. Eli shoots the victim before he can talk. Inkouyou then rushes to the woman's room and tries to get her to go with him to freedom. He discovers her secret - she's actually a guy in drag, and "she" bites her tongue off. As she dies in Inkouyou's arms, Eli enters the room and shoots Inkouyou in the chest.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Garo Feature #66

For the Mar., '71 issue, I'm highlighting:

Shinichi Abe's - Miyoko Asagaya's Feeling
Tadao Tsuge's - Back West Village

美代子阿佐ヶ谷気分 (Miyoko Asagaya's Feeling) #1

A woman wakes up one morning and prepares herself for the day, putting on makeup, eating breakfast and playing guitar. At the end of the day, she says "time to go back", and climbs through a hole in the ceiling in the storage space used for keeping the futon mattresses.

うらにしの里 (Back West Village)

This looks like a travelogue story, but this time from Tadao. He takes a bus up into the mountains, but finds that the people he encounters there dislike strangers. He reaches a Shinto shrine, but the priest running the place has gotten fed-up with tourists and won't let Tadao stick around long enough to even catch his breath. In the end he finds himself walking down the other side of the mountains.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Garo Feature #61

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

Shigeru Mizuki's - Man Who Seized the Star
Tadao Tsuge's - Easy-going Night

星をつかみそこねる男 (Man Who Seized the Star) #2

Shigeru is starting up a new series. In chapter 2, our "hero" is a 16-year-old boy who lives at his father's kendo dojo. A "dojo hunter" drops by to challenge the master to a fight. A medicine delivery boy steps in to defeat the dojo hunter, but is in turn defeated by the other students. The hero asks his father why someone so weak can be so strong and the father's answer is in the form of a riddle. The delivery boy wants to join the dojo, and the hero's father agrees, but only if the boy can hit the hero three times with a wooden sword. The hero just stands in place and allows himself to be hit, later telling the boy that he lost because the other boy is so strong. The hero sees some friends standing around looking at a piece of paper with a drawing of some foreign steam ships. They all want to go look at the ships in Yokohama, where the real thing is even more awe-inspiring than the fanciful drawings were. However, they encounter a very clean-cut samurai who comments on the dangers the foreigners could bring to their isolated world. Note: The splash page is a ukiyo-e-style drawing of Commodore Perry.

夜よゆるやかに (Easy-going Night)

A father living with his wife and idiot son starts suffering flashbacks to when he was serving in the Japanese Army during WW II. His wife and son live a fairly carefree life, but they insult the father a bit too much. He, meanwhile, visits a doctor, who diagnoses him with a heart condition. He continues on to his job at a factory, where his boss is trying to force him to take a shorter vacation this year to allow everyone else to take off instead. Later, the guy is heading back home when he bumps into a woman that works as a dancer in a nightclub. She talks him into buying her coffee, but she then complains about how dark and brooding he is. He says that he's just been fired, and he doesn't want to face the wife and son right now. After it gets dark, the girl decides to walk out to an abandoned field where she tries to get the guy to loosen up and dance with her. He keeps asking her if she really wants to be out in a secluded place like this with a strange man she's just met, and she ignores the question. Finally, he assaults her and forces himself on her, while asking why she's not shouting for help. Eventually, a middle-aged woman that had followed them to the field and watched them having sex, waits until they're finished and starts shouting about a rape and calling for someone to come help. The girl gets upset at having been seen, and takes this moment to call for help as well while trying to run away. The guy chases after her, demanding to know why she hadn't tried to stop him earlier. When he finally catches her, she laughs and he holds on to her for dear life, thinking that his heart condition is going to flair up.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The world according to Kiyoshi

Sorry, but there's nothing in particular I feel like highlighting for the Aug., '70 issue.

Instead, I'd like to talk about Yuu Takita a little more. One of the things that I really respect about his Terajima stories is how he tries so hard to capture the feel of the time period his manga is set in. Kiyoshi, the boy protagonist of the series, seems to be immersed in the era, with various cultural elements showing up continuously that should really appeal to the amateur manga historian.

Kiyoshi's mother has just come from the public baths. She is carrying her bath bucket, towel and soap. Then it starts to rain and she broods over how she's just thrown her money away on a bath, now that she's getting soaked all over again.

Kiyoshi's books mostly consist of manga, including a rental book copy of Norakuro.

At the kabuki theater.

Wood-covered sewage ditches along side the streets.

A genmai pan (rice bread) seller.

Playing cards. The idea here is to make your opponent's card flip over when you throw your card down.


Picking destinations to run to as part of a chase game.

An odango (pounded rice balls with flavored sauces on top) salesman.

Horse droppings.

Around 1931, a patent was issued for a reflective-style projector, called the REFCY. Unlike regular film projectors, the REFCY used a paper roll. Light from a bulb bounced off the paper and was then focused through a lens onto the projector screen. These were very popular projectors in Japan for a long time, and we have one such pictured here. The film being shown is a very famous samurai drama.

The word "chindon-ya" literally translates to "tweet + bang + shop". A chindon-ya was a person paid to play music on the streets to call attention to some product or store that hired them. At a minimum, you need a drummer and a flute player. Chindon-ya are still used occasionally in Tokyo to advertise pachinko parlors.

School punishment. Kiyoshi and his classmate got into a tussle while practicing kanji drawing in class.

An old-style kitchen. The problem is that the cat may occasionally use the rice cooker as a litter box...

Playing with tops. Battle tops are still popular in anime on TV in Japan. The two ways to fight it out in the past were in seeing whose top could knock the other out of the ring, or which would spin the longest.