Sunday, June 1, 2014

History of Kitaro, #26

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" from "Kitaro Reidan"  (Kitaro Ghost Troupe) on up.
Kitaro's weirdness in all forms of media.

The 90's TV anime series got its impetus from the release of the hit 1995 summer movie, "Gakkou no Kaidan" (School Ghost Stories). From this point, the occult genre, which had been declining in popularity, got refanned somewhat and the 4th season "Gegege no Kitaro" anime started in Jan., 1996. Once again, the public could hear the sound of clopping geta (wooden sandals). This time, though, instead of being based on Mizuki's manga, various scriptwriters were allowed to put their own spin on his yokai characters in each episode.

In the first half of the 90's, Mizuki ran "Fushigi Shiri-zu" (Mysterious Series) and "Youkai Henka Shiri-zu" (The Monstrous Apparitions Series) in Big Gold magazine (from Shogakkan), while, after a short break, the editorial department announced the upcoming publication of "Kitaro Reidan - Abenohou Rensou" (Kitaro Ghost Troupe - Abenohou Association). In this story, Kitaro and friends work to maintain the balance of happiness on Earth. The plan was for Nezumi Otoko to act while no one could see him... However, the story violated a TV anime copyright and it was canceled.

Then, Mizuki fans, developed from the different Kitaro variants, started to despair. Shuukan Manga Sande- (Monthly Manga Sunday) from Jitsugyo no Nihonsha, started running "Sekuhara Youkai Iyami" (Iyami, the Sexual Harassment Yokai) in their March 4th, 1997, issue. It totaled 50 pages. Actually, this was the second chapter of the canceled "Kitaro Reidan" story, and may have been intended as a service to Mizuki's fans following the roughly 1-year gap in the stories.

Additionally, "Gegege no Kitaro Special Yokai Hyakkusen" (100 Yokai Battles) was serialized with the July, 1996, issue of Monthly Comic Bonbon (Kodansha Publishing) as an illustrated story, continuing to the April, 1998, issue. This was the last of the Kitaro manga to-date.

Starting as kamishibai, from rental books, through manga, as TV anime, and then to movies, from its birth 50 years ago Kitaro has appeared in all forms of media, making it an historically unique manga. No matter how much time passes, Kitaro will continue to be with us. While it's just one of Mizuki's many creations, it's one that I still want to enjoy.

Bottom right picture: From "Kitaro Reidan - Abenohou Rensou". The Kitaro group is pretty much absent from the first half of the story. In the second half, the characters appear in Mizuki's dreams.

Bottom left picture: From Monthy Manga Sunday's "Sekuhara Youkai Iyami". The yokai Iyami manipulates its victims through their sexual desires. The plan is to use "Yoroke electricity" to enhance sekuhara force. (Translator's note: The closest I can get for "yoroke" is "to stagger".)


Well, this is the last Kitaro History entry. The DVD series only ran for 27 volumes (and one volume didn't have the history page). If you want to check out the full list of DVD reviews, click here.

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