Monday, May 19, 2014

History of Kitaro, #25

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 during the 80's and 90's
The hugely successful third season anime, and the freewheeling "Kuni Touri Monogatari" (Country Stealing Story)

One month after the airing of the "Gegege no Kitaro" TV series, in the summer of 1985, Mizuki Pro started drawing "Saishinban Gegege no Kitaro" (The Latest Version of Gegege Kitaro) for Monthly Comic Bonbon. "Saishinban" was used in the name because, at that time, there were multiple versions available in tankoubon (collected book) form.

Then, in October, 1985, season 3 of the TV anime started. There was an increase in heroic action, and Kitaro's character became more rounded and competent in multiple fields. It was a big hit, with a peak TV rating of 29.6%. This was followed by the beginning of "Shinpen Gegege no Kitaro" (New Edition Gegege Kitaro) with the May 7, 1986, issue of Weekly Shonen Magazine. Here, the story returned to the extermination of malevolent yokai, and the introduction of many new enemies.

"Kitaro Jigoku-pen" (Kitaro Hell Edition) ran with the June, 1987, issue of Monthly Shonen Magajin, for a total of 180 pages and 4 chapters. Kitaro is established as being half-human, half-yokai, and he plans on traveling to hell (the after world) to visit his mother. While Nezumi Otoko is not a half-yokai, the two of them secretly change birth statuses (trans. note: not sure about this part).

With the Nov., 1990, issue of Monthly Comic Bonbon, we get the 17 chapter, 527 page "Kitaro Kuni Touri Monogatari" (Kitaro Country Stealing Story), then continued in Monthly Comic Bonbon Deluxe with the May, 1992, issue for another 331 pages (11 chapters). In this series, we're introduced to Netarou ("Ne" is the kanji for "sleep"), a yokai relative treated as Kitaro's older brother. Plus, we get mole people, Gaikotsu Bebi- (Skeleton Baby) and other highly individual characters. Kitaro wants to visit the underground empire of Mu, there's the reappearance of Nurarihon, and lots of wild hijinks.

Additionally, with the Feb., 1992, issue of Terebi (TV) Magazine, we get the 35 chapter "Gegege no Kitaro Yokai Fushigi Hanashi" (Gegege Kitaro Curious Yokai Stories). These were short 2-3 page emaki (set up like picture scrolls) aimed at lower school-grade readers. At this time, Shigeru Mizuki founded the "Koufuku Kansatsu Gakkai" (Happiness Observation Association) for the worldwide research of yokai, and participated in a variety of other activities.

There were plans to start work on the fourth series of the TV anime in 1991, but these fell through. This series did actually begin in 1996; however, since it was not in collaboration with any of the magazine manga, the stories were all original to the anime.

Next time: The Final Chapter - Kitaro from "Kitaro Raidan" (Kitaro Spirit Group) on up.

Bottom right picture: From the Monthly Shonen Magajin Kitaro Jigoku-pen. This episode was created for the third season TV series, and ran for 7 shows in the 1988 anime.

Bottom left picture: Kitaro and gang make plans for the trip to the underground empire of Mu in Kitaro Kuni Touri Monogatari. There's a yokai sumo showdown, among other wild events.

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