Monday, July 15, 2013

Kitaro DVD Review, vol. 4

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

Gegege no Kitaro Magazine DVD Series, volume 4
It's getting difficult to write anything new in these reviews because the magazine portions all follow the same pattern. There's the write-up on the featured character (Neko-musume), a two-side fold-out poster, descriptions of the 4 TV episodes on the DVD (with examples of the original manga art contrasted with the 70's TV episode versions, and the one-page description of the principal youkai for each episode) and some filler. It's all great if you like Mizuki's works, otherwise it's just more of the same.

The posters are The Great Dinosaur Bird Attack Against the World's Tallest Tower, and Dragon Shrine Battle.

Neko Musume (Cat Girl) originally appeared in the manga as one of Kitaro's classmates at school. She turns into a were-cat when angry, or in the presence of delicious dried mice. She's drowned in a river by one villain, and takes up residence in a house in hell, refusing to help save the villain's soul by allowing him to take her back to the land of the living. In the TV anime, she is one of Kitaro's closest friends, and Nezumi Otoko's greatest rival.

(The Great Dinosaur Bird Attack poster.)

The episodes are: Kai-jidousha (Mysterious Car, 01/06/1972); Gyuuki (Cow Demon, 01/13/1972); Minami kara no Maneki (Invitation from the South, 01/20/1972); and, Enkiri Mushi (Divorce Bug, 01/27/1972). The special content is the second half of the video survey showing Kitaro stuff in Chofu, the town near Tokyo where Mizuki has his studio.

(An example of "Where's Yamada". He appears several times on this DVD, including as the Divorce Bug.)

The featured monsters are Sunekusuri (a cat-like dog youkai that likes to trip then eat people), Gyuuki (a cross between a cow and a spider), Karura-sama (a divine Hindu figure with a human body and a bird's head), Gama-hito (Toad Man) and Enkiri Mushi (a bug-like youkai whose bite causes couples to break up).

(TV anime description page showing Gyuuki from the original manga, and in the TV episode.)

The filler includes photos of Kitaro-shaped snacks, a tomb where the grave stones are in the shape of Kitaro and Nezumi Otoko, and Kitaro-themed cups and bowls. The TV episodes are pretty campy, but occasionally the artwork is really impressive, especially for a show aimed at kids. Unfortunately, the stories are stripped down pretty bare in order to fit 60+ pages of manga into 20 minutes. Still, it's fun to watch and it makes great Japanese listening practice, if you're trying to learn the language.

(One-page feature describing Gyuuki.)

Sidenote: Kodansha is also planning to release all of Mizuki's manga in a 100-volume set, on A5-sized paper. The first 30 volumes are coming out now. In part to promote the set, the English Yomiuri newspaper ran two stories on Mizuki this week:
Mangaka Mizuki’s complete works published
'Mizuki's interesting philosophy'

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