Thursday, August 22, 2013

History of Kitaro, #6

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 5 - "Kitaro Night Stories #4"
Finally, the conclusion of "Kitaro Night Stories", and the fabled Volume #5 is...?
"Kitaro Night Stories #4" - "Kao no Naka no Teki" (The Enemy in the Face)

From the previous volume, while Suijin-sama (Mr. Water God) fought with Kitaro and friends on a roof near the Pacific Ocean, an air ship appears with Nezumi Otoko inside. He promises to save Kitaro and Nise-Kitaro only if they both promise to be his servants for life. However, in the air, the story soon changes. Nezumi Otoko has a first love - Gama Reijou (Beautiful Daughter Frog) - and she has a second suitor, a guy named Zentoruman (Gentleman). It's a love triangle. Eventually, Zentoruman fights Suijin-sama one-on-one and uses a "make water burn" process to exterminate Suijin. Afterward, the three guys - Kitaro, Zentoruman and Nezumi Otoku take a special train to "Tama Cemetery". The story ends with the line "Everyone is powerless in the face of Kitaro and his father's spiritual energy". The entire final volume is filled with strange heart-stopping twists and turns. Incidentally, Mizuki's anger at the guaranteed contract he'd had with Izumi Books pops up in a scene where Kitaro demands that his money is returned. "Even in the case of yokai, if you borrow money, pay it back!"

Although 3 volumes were initially planned, "Kitaro Night Stories" wasn't over yet. In fact, Mizuki had already drawn #5, "The Kame Otoko Chapter" (Turtle Man). At that point, even the rental book publishers were having a hard time staying in business, and would cancel payment on manuscripts (one manuscript was worth 30,000 yen, or about $100 USD). So, Mizuki would exchange his manuscript for money in-hand. However, Sanyo's president, Katsuichi Nagai fell ill and the company failed. During a later visit, Mizuki wanted to find out what would happen to his manuscript, but was afraid they'd demand their money back, so he decided to simply not ask.

The elusive story that fans are searching for: Medama Oyaji (Kitaro's father) eats a bakudan kashi (bomb candy) and turns into a giant. Mizuki recycled this story for the manga in Weekly Shonen Sunday, 11/14/1971, issue #47, and it was turned into the anime "Shinigami" (Death God), second season, episode 30.

Next time, The Rental Book Era, Part 6 - "Izumi Book's Hakaba Kitaro"

[Picture at the bottom right] From "The Enemy in the Face"
This is Reijou Gama, Nezumi Otoko's first love, and the object of Zentoruman's affections. One of her charms is the zipper on her mouth.

Caption: "I'll close it up like this now." (sfx: zip)

[Picture at the bottom left] Last page of "The Enemy in the Face"
The afterward says "Please wait for the very interesting "Kitaro Night Stories #5", advertising the release of the next book.

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