Monday, September 23, 2013

History of Kitaro, #9

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.

Rental Book Era, Part 9 - "I'm a New Student" and "The Stupid Man".
Appearance of Mizuki himself in the manga.
Introduction of the last 2 rental book stories.

These two stories were also published by Satoh Pro.

"I'm a New Student": Manga artist Shigeru Mizuki gets into a disagreement with a yakuza thug in a coffee shop. Nezumi Otoko starts out the story by admonishing the two with "Stop fighting, I'm hungry". From here, Kitaro and Nezumi want to turn Mizuki's manga into a play. They move into Mizuki's house in Chofu (near Tokyo) which then gets the "Brigadoon Effect" (disappearing from the face of the Earth). A girl, Caroline, gets into a love triangle with Nezumi and Kitaro. Later, Gamoshi, a monster who wants to create a country of monsters, shows up. The heroes have a showdown against Gamoshi, who uses a "Brigadoon" monster cannon on them. At the end, Medama Oyaji reverses the cannon, and Chofu is returned back to normal in the land of the living.

In this story, Mizuki addresses the idea that in the distant past, humans and monsters had lived together but fell into discord, and the result was the creation of separate worlds for humans and yokai.

"The Stupid Man": In this, the last Kitaro rental book, the leading actor is Nezumi Otoko. A yakuza searches a hospital regarding "immortality blood". He proves that it is monster blood. Nezumi Otoko, who had sold the blood, is looking at making more money by creating a "hair restorer"... Kitaro, wanting to live in human society, starts the door-to-door selling of after-life insurance. "For a minor installment payment plan, you can guarantee that you will have happiness in the next world". At that moment, in the other world, the yokai are sending out tickets to the Yokai Olympics. Manga artist Mizuki buys one ticket. He turns into a spirit and goes to the other world to watch the games. But, when he returns to our world, he discovers Nise-Mizuki (fake-Mizuki) living in his place.

Back during that period, while society as a whole was enjoying gradually improving living conditions, Mizuki himself couldn't escape working-poverty. This resulted in a "rebellious scar in his heart", that helped him produce many bitingly satirical short stories.

Next time, From Rental Books to Magazine Serials - "The Mizuki Watershed, Part 1"

(Lower right picture)
"I'm a New Student", (publication starting in 1964). A few of the characters appearing here are altered in the rewrite, which was also turned into an anime for the first TV season.

(Lower left picture)
"The Stupid Man", (publication starting in 1964). Another version of "The Stupid Man" also exists, in which Kitaro has a little sister.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

History of Kitaro, #8

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.

Rental Book Era #7, "Secret Conversation" and "That Odd Person"
The predecessor to "Dai Kaijuu" (Big Sea Monster), and Kitaro, the Bizarre Incident Investigator.

After Izumi Books went bankrupt in 1962, Shigeru Mizuki drew a number of fantasy books and illusionary romance series installments. In 1964, his "Naisho no Hanashi" (Secret Conversation) story was released by Toukousha, "Japan's smallest publishing company". The president, Sakurai Shouichi, was a former manga artist. He was the older brother of the founder of the gekiga manga movement, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, and the model for Mizuki's bucktoothed, glasses-wearing Yamada character. Sakurai held Mizuki in great esteem, and Shigeru in turn trusted Sakurai, producing various rental book, short story and romance series manga for him, including his masterpiece "Akuma-kun". Now, let's look at "Naisho no Hanashi", and the Satoh Pro version of "Okashina Yatsu".

"Naisho no Hanashi" (Secret Conversation) - Nezumi Otoko goes to a battered old town and buys a dried-up human soul. However, Kitaro eats it and the next day his body melts. To restore him, Medama Oyaji (Father Eyeball) and Nezumi carry the liquid body up to the yokai hospital on Osore-zan mountain. On the ascent, a snowstorm hits and Medama takes refuge in the hut of a guy named Yamada. The story changes; Aomori University's genius student, Yamada, and someone named Muraoka, are participating in a scientific expedition to New Guinea to search for Geijin (or Kujira-kami - Whale God). Geijin attacks the party and pretty much wipes it out. Nezumi obtains some of Geijin's blood, and he and the surviving member, Muraoka, inject it into Yamada. Yamada immediately turns into Geijin. At the yokai hospital, Kitaro has been restored to normal. Also there is Yamada in Geijin form. Kitaro has "clean blood" injected into the patient, and Yamada turns human again. This story was later rewritten as "Dai Kaijuu" (Big Sea Monster) and serialized in Weekly Shonen Magajin.

"Okashina Yatsu" (That Odd Person) - Published by Satoh Pro. The prologue is a retelling of "Hakaba Kitaro's" birth (when he still had 2 eyes). In this story, Kitaro has a sign hung at his door announcing him as a "Bizarre Incident Investigator". This time, his client's lover has been possessed by a "suspicious person", and trapped inside a painting. What sets Kitaro apart from other manga is that we see him partaking in normal everyday activities. This story was also rewritten for magazine serialization and the scenes made more fragmented.

Next time: The Rental Book Era, Part 8 - "I'm a New Student" and "The Stupid Man"

(Picture on the right)
"Okashina Yatsu" (started in 1964). A remake of Kitaro's birth and Nezumi Otoko's first appearance. The second half was remade as "Onmaragi" (Shadow Penis Demon).

(Picture on the left)
"Naisho no Hanashi" (started in 1964). Geijin's form as a Zeuglodon shows up in "Daikaijuu" unchanged as a Basilosaurus.