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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Shigeru Mizuki's Kitaro: the newest gegika offering from D+Q!

Shigeru Mizuki is a giant in the world of manga (he is also still hale and hearty, eating burgers at work with gusto at the age of 90!). To date, Drawn + Quarterly has published two beautiful English translations of his books, 2011's Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths and last year's Nonnonba. Now, finally, D+Q brings Kitaro to English readers, offering access to Mizuki's most famous series, Gegege No Kitaro,which has been a sensation in Japan ever since its inception in 1959!


This collection of stories brings together material from 1967-1969, the classic era of Kitaro in Japan. Like Nonnonba, the focus of these strange and astonishing adventures is the world of yokai, traditional Japanese creatures that may be loosely translated as "spirits", "monsters", or just "mythological beings".


According to Matt Alt's introduction to this book, Japan is home to more than 8 million yokai, who might take on the forms of humans, animals, plants, or even inanimate objects. In Kitaro, Mizuki's outrageous storylines and mindblowing drawings offer a detailed glimpse into the goings-on in the yokai universe, in which Kitaro, the mysterious boy-yokai, is always willing to throw himself into danger's path in order to protect humans from evil and mischief.


Armed with his magical vest and click-clacking sandals, and accompanied by his father's spirit (in the form of a living eyeball who rides in Kitaro's one empty eye socket), Kitaro does battle with all manner of other yokai, and sometimes with ill-intentioned humans as well!


If you haven't yet beheld the incredible work of Mizuki, this is certainly an excellent place to begin! And if you've already fallen in love with Mizuki's work, and the world of yokai, this is a treat that should not be passed up!

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