Thursday, August 22, 2013

History of Kitaro, #5

Any mistakes in the translation are mine and mine alone. All rights to the translation belong to Curtis H. Hoffmann. Please do not reproduce without permission. All images used here for review purposes only.

The Rental Book Era, Part 4 - "Kitaro Night Stories #2 and #3"
Getting overwhelming fan support
The "Kitaro" masterpiece of the rental book period

During the rental book period, "Kitaro Night Stories" ran for 672 pages in 4 volumes, which is more than what 5 rental books normally contained. Saying that this body of pages had nothing to do with the competition with Kankou Takeuchi's "Hakaba Kitaro" over at Izumi Books would be a lie. Therefore, Shigeru Mizuki had the right to brag about doing all of this by himself. In his pictures, we can see him putting his energy into his brush. Additionally, Sanyo's Katsuichi Nagai's favorable payment conditions (per finished page) was a major factor.

There are many fans that say that this "Night Stories" is Shigeru's masterpiece within the "Kitaro" collection. Incidentally, during this time, both of his parents were pushing him to get married. Anyway, let's summarize "Night Stories" #2 and #3.

With "Kitaro Night Stories #2" - "Promenade in Hell" - Medama Oyaji can sense Kitaro's feelings regarding Neko (kanji reads as "Sleeping Child"; in fact, she is Neko Musume (Cat Girl), who had died in volume 1) and he helps the boy travel to Hell. However, Nise-Kitaro (Fake Kitaro) had also fallen into the same Hell along with Neko. With Neko's help, Nise-Kitaro returns to the surface world and stops misbehaving.

The story now shifts and Kitaro encounters a Beatnik (reckless young people that emerged after the war and rebelled with rude language and behavior), and in retaliation to his severe treatment, Kitaro summons a group of yokai for a "sukiyaki party" (cooked beef with vegetables; implied that the beatnik is the main course). In this way, Kitaro extracts 1,000,000 yen (at the time worth maybe $3,000 USD, now is $10,000 USD) from him, but the money is stolen by Nezumi Otoko. Nezumi uses the cash to buy back the blood-sucking tree.

In "Kitaro Night Stories #3"  - "Suijin-sama" (Mr. Water God), Kitaro has fallen on hard times and has gotten work as a debt collector. He is visiting Suijin-sama to collect payment. Using an anesthetic, and having a water-based body, Suijin breaks free and then goes on a rampage across the city. It uses heavy rain and thick mud to attack Kitaro's house - which he calls Neko-shop. With the unfolding of the story and the entangled relationships therein, the reader becomes entranced as well. So, what happens to Kitaro and friends!? At the very height of the climax, the story ends.

[Bottom right picture] "Promenade in Hell" (1960)
After meeting Neko, Nise-Kitaro returns to the living. He shaves his head and lives a life of reflection on his past ways. Notice that in the narration, the kanji for "Kitaro" is given the reading "Onitarou" (Demon Boy).

(Caption: For some reason, there's a child that looks just like Onitarou.)
(Book: Family Register)

[Bottom left picture] "Suijin-sama tears up the town" (1960)
Turning into a giant water bubble, Suijin attacks the town with a dump truck. Shigeru Mizuki personally remade this story several times.

We apologize. In volume 3, "Kame no Maki" was incorrectly written as "Kane no Maki".

Next time, the Rental Book Era, #5 - "Kitaro Night Stories #4".

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