Sunday, November 3, 2013

History of Kitaro, #12

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.

Before and After Winning the Kodansha Award for Children's Manga
The irregular serialization of "Hakaba Kitaro" in Weekly Shonen Magajin

With the switch of the title from "Graveyard Kitaro" to "Gegege no Kitaro", the subject matter also changed and was gradually geared more for children. Then, world-wide interest shifted to monster and ghost fads, and the timing was finally right for "Kitaro" to find its niche.

At the time, there were two fans of Shigeru Mizuki's who wanted to call more attention to his rental book manga. They started up a newspaper column, which led to the following related episode. The day after they collected data on Mizuki for the article, suddenly Shigeru himself appeared in the newspaper offices. He then said "I can't go back to doing rental book manga, so stop bad-mouthing my publishers and editors", and he left. Three days later, he said the same thing at a print shop. The reason was that his "Terebi-kun" manga had been nominated for a Kodansha children's manga award, and he was worried that Kodansha would start paying closer attention to articles being written about him. "Like waking up after last night's dream, I was afraid of losing my shot at the award." Therefore, after looking at the newspaper galleys, he was reassured, and left with his bag over his left shoulder.

After getting the award, he was suddenly in great demand and his works were appearing everywhere. Rather than turning down any of the offers for contracts, he was ultimately forced to break up his workload.

Therefore, from Aug. 1, 1965 (vol. 32) on up, "Hakaba Kitaro" ran sporadically in Weekly Shonen Magajin. We know that Mizuki would remake certain stories that kept his interest. The irregular manga were: #32, "Hand" (手), a reworking of the rental book title "Bizarre One-Round Contest" (怪奇一番勝負). #38, "Yasha" (夜叉) came from "Hakaba Kitaro (2) - Lodging House" (墓場鬼太郎(2)・下宿屋). #42, "Cruising to Hell" (地獄流し) was originally "Black Magazine (2) - World in the Water Drop" (黒のマガジン(2)・水品玉の世界). Also, "Cat Sage" (猫仙人"), which ran in issues #44 and #45, was mixed together from "Plastic Man", "Strong Man (4) - Plastic Boy" (プラスチックマン and 鉄人(4)・プラスチックボーイ), and the concept from "That Odd Person" (おかしな奴). You should compare them side-by-side with the original rental books. The sporadic Kitaro release ended with the original story "Obake Nighter" (おばけナイター) in issue 46.

Next up: "Weekly Shonen Magazine - Kitaro (1)"

Picture at bottom right:
One of the remakes, this one from the "Plastic Man" rental book. Plastic Man moves like rubber towards Neko Sennin (Cat Sage).

Picture at bottom left:
From Weekly Shonen Magazine #46, "Obake Nighter". It wasn't based on an earlier work, but it was turned into the first TV episode for season 1.

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