Monday, May 5, 2014

History of Kitaro, #24

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" in the first half of the 1980's.
From the "Kitaro" of social satire to the extremely rare "Paper Wrapper Publications".

In the first half of the 80's, Mizuki was still searching for a solution for "Kitaro". "Daibora Kitaro" (Big "Bora" Kitaro) ran for 5 chapters starting with the April 18, 1980, volume of Monthly DONDON magazine. Heavily tinged with social satire, Kitaro joins the "Bakemon Kumiai" (Monster Association) and sells "Kanzen Sha" (The Perfect Car), and Nezumi Otoko becomes a "Kaiketsuya" (solutions broker) (Kaiketsu Kurozukin (Wonderman Black Hood)), discussing various worries. These works show Shigeru Mizuki's pen work aimed at adults.

Also in the same year, with the Aug. issue of Monthly Boy's Popi- (Poppy?), "Yukihime-chan to Gegege no Kitaro" (Snow Princess and Gegege Kitaro) ran for 11 chapters. The story establishes that Kitaro has a younger sister, Yuki-hime. While babysitting, Kitaro is involved with various events and his yokai power is slowly absorbed by Yuki-hime. We also get appearances by Nise-Kitaro (Fake Kitaro), a space alien and Kuso-sennin (Crap Master).

This is a fun manga that includes remakes of the rental book works "Kyuuketsuki to Nekomusume" (Vampire Tree and Cat Girl) and "Jigoku no Sampomichi" (Promenade to Hell). While there was also the special edition of Weekly Boy's King, it was discontinued in June the following year, and Mizuki's manga was inevitably canceled as well. This was unfortunate timing. In the next year, Mizuki was looking for new work in the war journal magazine Monthly Maru ("Maru" is "circle", as well as a reference to the Japanese flag). He drew 4 pages for the April, 1982, edition of "Norakuro's Big War". (Note: Norakuro (Black stray dog) is a famous military manga featuring dogs as soldiers, by Suiho Tagawa.)

In 1983, Glico, with their Gag Make Bubblegum, offered special "Obake Bungu" (Monster Stationery) pamphlets. They had 8 versions of a sales promotions paper wrapper containing 2-panel manga. Of these, 2 sheets, "Miira Otoko Konpasu" (Mummy Compass) and "Nekomata Jikanwari" (2-tailed Cat Timetable) included Kitaro in them. Probably, very few people have seen these wrappers, and it'd be a miracle if anyone actually still has copies.

Then, in May, 1985, "Shougakukan Nyuumon Hyakka Shiri-zu no Tengoku - Jugoku Nyuumon" (Elementary School Primer Study Series, Warden Kitaro's Guide to Hell) contained "Kitaro no Jigoku Meguri" (Kitaro's Circumference of Hell). Aimed at the lower school grades, Kitaro provides information about the various aspects of Jigoku (Japanese version of the afterlife). Additionally, in Aug. of the same year Getsuyo Doramarando (Monday Drama Land) televised the filming of "Gegege no Kitaro".

Regardless of the era, Kitaro remains familiar to everyone. This is verified by it's continued presence from this point.

Next time, "Kitaro from the second half of the 80's to the 90's".

Bottom right picture:
"Daibora Kitaro", from the Complete Volume. This recalls "Kareha" (Dead Leaves) from the "Salaryman Shinigami" series, and the "Shinigami and Binbogami" episode from the second anime series.

Bottom left picture:
"Yukihime-chan and Gegege Kitaro". Nise-Kitaro and "The Other World" TV special program are from the rental book "Kitaro Night Stories" chapter, "Vampire Tree and Neko Musume".

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