Monday, June 24, 2013

Kitaro DVD Review, vol. 2

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Volume 2 of the Gegege no Kitaro TV series DVD set is now out. As with vol. 1, we get a 38-page magazine and the DVD (details below).

There's a pull out poster at the front of the magazine, and the back cover shows the full images of both the front and back of the poster.

Kitaro's father, Medamaoyaji (Old Man Eyeball), is the featured character this time. There's comparative artwork from the original manga, and the 70's series. In the manga, Kitaro was abandoned as a baby. He was thrown into a cemetery, where he hit a gravestone face-first and damaged his left eye. Elsewhere, a mummy-like yokai husband and his yokai wife were suffering from a disintegrating disease that kills the wife and is threatening the husband's life. The two had wanted a child, and the husband puts all his life-force into his own left eye. The eye falls to the floor and begins crawling to be near Kitaro. Eventually, the eye takes up residence in Kitaro's empty eye socket and the two become family.


There are 4 full-page yokai descriptions: Ashimagari (Foot Impeder), Moryo (Corpse Inhabiter), Nekomata (Forked-Tail Cat) and Akaname (Filth Licker). Each of them are traditional Japanese monsters, but given a Mizuki spin. For Nekomata, the legend goes that when a cat gets really old, it can become a bake-neko, or demon cat, and it's tail will split in two. They can then walk and dance on two legs, and manipulate the dead like puppets.

The majority of the magazine is dedicated to summarizing the DVD episodes. This time, we have Ashimagari (Foot Impeder, 11/4/71), Shijin Tsuki (Corpse User, 11/11/71), Nekomata (Forked-Tailed Cat, 11/18/71), Manmosufurawa- (Mammoth Flower, 11/25/71) and Kami-sama (Mr. Hair, 12/2/71). Plus, there's the second half of the Mizuki interview. One nice addition to the magazine this time is a fold out schedule of the upcoming DVD releases, listing each of the episodes, the original TV air dates, and the names of the yokai debuting in each episode. And, it turns out that while the advertising talks about the series only including the 1971-72 season, that only spans 45 shows. So, DVD volumes 1-11 cover 1971-72; then, volumes 12-27 will have the 65 episodes of the earlier black and white '68-'69 season.

The artwork and stories from the 70's season really are campy, and the animation is a bit limited, but it's still fun to watch. Recommended.


Julia Arsenault said...

Shijin Tsuki (Corpse User) - You sure you got that right. 'Cause I went on Google Translate and "死人つき" reads "Dead person's Luck"

TSOTE said...

Yup. If you do a search on 死人つき, you'll get the Japanese wiki page for 死人憑, which is "shibito hyou". The other names for this yokai are 死人憑き and 死人つき. Shibito is "corpse" or "dead person", and "hyou" is "evidence", "proof", "rely", "possession" or "haunt". Tsuki comes from the word "tsukau", "to use" or "to make use of". Using "tsuki" as "someone that makes use of something" (as in "maho tsuki", "magic user" or "witch"), "shibito tsuki" becomes "someone that uses dead people". This is reinforced by the latter meanings of 憑 (possession, haunt).
I think "Corpse User" is pretty descriptive for what the yokai in the TV anime does.

Julia Arsenault said...

Well I just found out that Shibito-tsuki (死人つき, ghost possession) that possesses a dead body. Once possessed, the body will have enormous power that people around it can't stop it. It'll eat and drink a lot without sleep. However, the body will be rotten day by day and eventually body fluid will come out of all the holes on the body.

TSOTE said...

Japanese ghost stories do go a bit overboard sometimes...