Sunday, December 15, 2013

History of Kitaro, #14

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.

Weekly Shonen Magajin "Kitaro", Part 2.
Magajin and Toei: Mizuki's tenacity pays off with the release of the anime

With the completion of the Kitaro "Youkai Jou" (Yokai Castle) story, an opening arose with Bessatsu Shonen Magajin, so "Kyuuketsuki no Eri-to no maki" (Elite the Vampire Volume) started with the April 7th, 1967, issue. This story was a remake combining the rental book stories "Kiri no Naka no Joni-" (Johnny in the Mist) and "Naisho no Hanashi" (Secret Conversation), which was a masterpiece at 7 chapters and 120 pages. During its peak, Kitaro and the Yokai Castle were featured on the cover of the June 18, 1967, issue (#25). In that same year, Kitaro appeared on the covers of issues 32, 34 and 41. These issues are now expensive collector's items at antique bookshops.

(Translator's Note: I previously wrote "Naisho no Hanashi" out as "Naisho no Monogatari", which was a mistake on my part.)

At the same time, Weekly Shonen Magajin was promoting both Akuma-kun and Hakaba no Kitaro. As Akuma-kun was being serialized, the anime version was being produced to boost Mizuki's popularity in preparation for the production of the Kitaro anime. All was going according to Magajin chief editor Katsu Uchida's plans. Finally, Toei Douga (now, Toei Animation) got the rights to Kitaro and Akuma-kun began airing on NET (now Asahi TV).  But, the Kitaro anime was delayed because of objections to having "Hakaba" (Graveyard) in the title.

However, Uchida did not give up. In order to change the title, he followed a daring plan. According to Mizuki later, "televising the show was more important than just maintaining the title".  The new title became Gegege no Kitaro, and Fuji TV kept the rights to televise it. To remain consistent, Magajin changed the manga title to Gegege no Kitaro starting with the Nov. 12, 1967, (#46) issue and the beginning of a new story. To digress, in breaking new ground with the airing of Kitaro, Toei Douga developed much stronger ties with Fuji TV, turning out successive hits. The success of the Gegege no Kitaro anime was a big triumph for Toei.

Next time, Weekly Shonen Magajin, "Kitaro" Part 3.

Picture bottom right: Cover of the June 18, 1967, (#25) issue of Weekly Shonen Magajin. It includes Kitaro and the Yokai Castle. Incidentally, this was when chapter 7 of the "Elite the Vampire Volume" was published.

Picture bottom left: Beginning of the serialization of Akuma-kun, and the cover of the Jan. 1, 1966 (#1) issue of Weekly Shonen Magajin. This is when Kitaro started running intermittently.