Sunday, November 17, 2013

History of Kitaro, #13

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 1
Finally, the beginning of serialization of "Kitaro" in a boy's magazine

Weekly Shonen Magajin quietly began the irregular serialization of "Hakaba Kitaro" at the back half of the magazine. At the time, Kitaro would wander the country and resolve various incidents. Shigeru Mizuki used Kunio Yanagita's Youkai Discourse as the source of the names of his good yokai, and Sekien Toriyama's Illustrated Night Parade of a Hundred Demons for the bad yokai. Additionally, as part of the plan to tie in with the TV anime, "Akuma-kun" also began serialization in Magajin in 1966, and filming started on the TV series.

The "Kyuuketsuki" (Vampire Tree) storyline started in the April 3, 1966 issue, based on "Suijin-Sama ga machi e yattekita" (Mr. Water-god Goes to Town) from volume 3 of the Kitaro Night Stories rental books. Then from April 17, 1966 (issue 15), Hakaba Kitaro started gaining traction. Also with volume 4, in the long-running "Yokai Daisakusen" (Yokai Big War), we get the concept of "Kitaro's Family", although the characters don't yet demonstrate definable individual traits. "Daikaijuu" (Big Sea Monster), which ran from May 22nd (issue 20) to issue 7 (of the following year) was a "power-up" of the "Naisho no Monogatari" (Secret Conversation). The frontispiece for this story is a classic masterpiece for a boy's magazine. His popularity slowly growing, Mizuki scored the cover of the June 12, #23 issue. "Youkai Jou" (Yokai Castle) appeared in issues 40 and 41, and included the exquisite yokai army of Niguchi Onna (2-mouthed woman), Kamaitachi (Weasel Trio) and Tantanbou (Violent Boy). The deft interweaving of the Nezumi Otoko-Chanchanko (Japanese Vest) storyline went over well with the readers. The drawing of the castle is so well-done that even now it feels like the monsters are really going to step out of the page. Young readers actively anticipated the release of the next issue. 20 chapters for Kitaro appeared in Weekly Shonen Magajin from 1965 to '66, totaling 326 pages.

From there, after nearly half a century has passed, there have been "Kitaro Booms", which have probably surprised even its creator. Through the interweaving of different people's fates, the impact of Shigeru Mizuki's character and personality on others has grown.

Next issue, Weekly Shonen Magajin - Kitaro, part 2

Picture on bottom right: Weekly Shonen Magajin, April 3rd, 1966, issue #13, with the publication of Vampire Tree. A reworking of Mr. Water-God Goes to Town, from the Kitaro Night Stories rental book.

Picture on bottom left: Weekly Shonen Magajin, Oct. 9th, 1966, issue #40. Niguchi Onna (2-Mouthed Woman) was renamed Ooguchi Onna (Big-Mouthed Woman) for the 1960's TV anime series.

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.