Thursday, April 10, 2014

History of Kitaro, #22

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.

The Shuukan Jitsuwa (Weekly True Stories) Kitaro Series.
Publications in general interest magazines, the unconventional Kitaro gang

We'll look at other intermittent publications of the Kitaro series following the end of the Weekly Shonen Sunday run. The full-blown revival in the Shuukan Jitsuwa magazine started in 1977. It is divided into 3 parts. First, in "Zoku Gegege no Kitaro" (The Gegege Kitaro Sequel), Kitaro appears in a sweater, rather than his signature chanchanko (striped vest). While attending "Haka no Shita Koukou" (High School Below the Grave), Kitaro hits puberty and is drawn as looking very gloomy.

While "Kitaro" was a unique creation, there were people that felt uncomfortable about it. Noticing this discomfort, but having differing views about it, Mizuki and the editorial department set out to produce part 2 in 1978: "Shin Gegege no Kitaro Supo-tsu-kyou Jidai - Suumo no Maki" (New Gegege Kitaro Sports World Era - The Sumo Chapter) in a daring change of pace. Tired of living in the mountains, Kitaro receives an invitation to come live with his aunt in Tokyo. Taking a sweater woven from souls, and after receiving a blood transfusion, Kitaro is turned into a normal human. From here, the story lifts parts from the "Ninja Secret Arts" rental book series "Ponta the Tanuki" chapter.

The story: Momoko, a female vampire, wants to get Kitaro's ESP powers. Kitaro fights Dracula and his minions, then without knowing why sets out to become a successful sumo wrestler. Momoko and the others succeed in draining him of half his blood and it's injected into Momoko. Following this, Momoko is chosen to become the next Miss Japan. The adventure ends with Kitaro and Momoko facing off against each other in the Sumo ring, and after a disturbance, Kitaro is banished from Sumo society. He then joins Nezumi Otoko on an aimless journey of Japan.

Part 3, "Shin Gegege no Kitaro Supo-tsu-kyou Jidai - Yakuu no Maki" (New Gegege Kitaro Sports World Era - The Baseball Chapter). Kitaro returns to the high school and joins the baseball club as their pitcher. While many of the yokai from the much earlier Kitaro works make their reappearances here, the plot is not recycled from those works. In the story, a Yakuza boss and various yokai via for Kitaro's super-human ESP abilities, and they're ultimately stunned at finding themselves being taken to Hell.

These works are an obvious example of Mizuki's motto, "Anything goes as long as it's interesting" at play. Nonetheless, after a year and a half, the experiment of bringing Kitaro-styled adventures to a general interest magazine was probably a good one.

Next time, the "Kitaro Chousen" (Kitaro Challenge) Series

Bottom right picture:
From the New Gegege Kitaro Sports World Era - Sumo Chapter. Facing off against the vampire Momoko. (Reprinted with permission from Kadokawa Books.)

Bottom left picture:
From the New Gegege Kitaro Sports World Era - Baseball Chapter. Tantanbou and Odoro Odoro also make their appearances. (Reprinted with permission from Kadokawa Books.)

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