Sunday, February 2, 2014

History of Kitaro, #17

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.

Variations on the "Birth of Kitaro"
Different ways the "Kitaro Birth" scene has been drawn

Even though the same episode has shown up occasionally in the past, it has been told differently each time. This issue, we will look at the variations more closely.

I've tried to think of the best "Kitaro birth" scene , for example, the first scene in "Youkiden (Strange Mysteries) #2, Yuurei Ikke, Hakaba Kitaro (Spirit Family, Graveyard Kitaro)". This is a long work, tightly written with a solid prologue. In the scene where he saves Kitaro by putting a rope around his neck , Medama Oyaji says, "I've been causing you hardships from the time I was created..." Who else would be able to say something like this?

Continuing, with Sanyo Publishing's "Kitaro Night Stories (1) - The Vampire and Neko Musume", the birth scene is a 20-page flashback, a third of which was reused in "Youkiden #2, Yuurei Ikke, Hakaba Kitaro". The main speech there was, "Buckle up - you're the last of the Spirit Family line".

Then, on page 39 of the prologue for "Okashina Yatsu" (The Strange Fellow), on a grander scale, the young man named Mizuki throws the newly born Kitaro at a gravestone, the corner of which destroys one of Kitaro's eyes. The speech here is, "I've been causing you trouble since I was born (sob)", and it's given a softer nuance.

Again, in the "Children's Manga Award Celebratory Special Issue" of Monthly Garo - "Birth of Kitaro", there's a 54-page story. This time, the one-eyed Kitaro lives in the house of the young Mizuki (who isn't the artist writing himself into the story), until leaving at age 6. The full compilation has been released in book form by Kodama Press as "Gem Collection: Hakaba no Kitaro". This was a complete remake of the rental book version. From here, "Kitaro" is slowly being accepted by the rest of the world.

In the Aug., 1968, issue of "Summer Vacation Fun Special Issue, Bessatsu Shonen Magajin", half of the Garo birth story was removed and rewritten with 22 all-new pages. Although the original manuscript for the Garo story has been lost, there has been a reprint with the release of the "Complete Works of Shigeru Mizuki" last Fall, in the "Garo Kitaro Night Stories, Parts 1 and 2" volume.

Next time: The airing of the "Gegege no Kitaro" TV anime

Bottom Right Picture:
Sanyo Publishing's "Kitaro Night Stories #1 - The Vampire and Neko Musume". With a recycling of 27 panels of the 20-page, 81-panel "Youkiden #2 - Yuurei Ikke, Hakaba Kitaro" story.

Bottom Left Picture:
Kitaro's birth scene from the rental book version of "Youkiden #2 - Yuurei Ikke, Hakaba Kitaro". All subsequent Kitaro birth scenes are based on this one.