Sunday, March 9, 2014

History of Kitaro, #20

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.

Kitaro appears in Weekly Shonen Sunday.  
Sunday Publishing starts running Kitaro in preparation for the color anime series release.

From the end of the 1960's and into 1970, Mizuki's body was suffering from the pressures of overwork. Finally, he reached his breaking point, and in '71 he collapsed. Astonishingly, though, he was back at work after only one week of recuperation.

At that time, Toei Douga was preparing a promotion tape for the color anime version of Kitaro to lay the groundwork for the new TV series. While the first series was popular, they were running out of existing material for new stories. So, although they had the "go sign" to start season 2, there would be problems if they kept working with Shonen Magazine at that rate. In 1971, the serialized stories from Shonen Magazine had been used up, and the production window on Kitaro was being relaxed. Enter Weekly Shonen Sunday.

In those days, Weekly Shonen Sunday had a much greater circulation than Weekly Shonen Magajin.  It was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of that difference. Gegege no Kitaro then started serialization in the Sept. 26, 1971, issue (#40) of Shonen Sunday, as well as making appearances in 7 other Sunday magazines; Yoiko (Good Child), Youchien (Kindergarten), and Shougaku Year 1 through Shougaku Year 5. However, the series didn't last long, and Sunday Publications only printed 13 chapters with a total 231 page count. Having "Conclusion" printed at the end of the last chapter was very unusual, and made the ending more final.  We can guess that this was Mizuki's way of saying "I'm not going to draw Kitaro for a while".

This feeling is enhanced when, after being swallowed by the yokai Yakanjiru, Kitaro tells Konaki Jiji, "It's been a good 7 years". With the limited amount of new stories to work with, the second season color anime TV series did run about 1 year, but was padded with Mizuki's other non-Kitaro work.

Incidentally, in the summer of '71, "Takarazuka Family Land" (present day Takarazuka Garden Fields) opened the "Obake Taikai" (Ghost Rally) exhibit, which then continued running for over 20 years. Conversely, Mizuki himself escaped to his beloved island of New Britain in New Papua Guinea and deepened his friendships there.

Next time: "Shigami Oosenki" (The Big Shigami War Records) and "Kitaro no Obake Sekai Ryokou" (Kitaro's Trip to the Ghost World).

Bottom right picture:
One scene from the new serialization starting with the Sept. 26, 1971, issue (#40) of Weekly Shonen Sunday. Many of the regular yokai make their appearances. The episode is "Narikama" (Ringing Kettle).

Bottom left picture:
From the last chapter from Sunday Publishing, "Akuma Bueru" (Demon Buel). Kitaro and his father are swallowed by Yakanjiru. Do we take this to mean "I'm not going to draw Kitaro for a while"?

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