Monday, October 18, 2010

Yokai Autopsy 1: The Blackhair Cutter

As promised, I'm working on translations of Shigeru Mizuki's "Yokai Autopsy" Book.  This is really my first time translating anything, so I'm learning as I go, but I'm too much of a writer not to have taken some creative liberties.  Also, my apologies for the iffy image quality - I'll be looking for a scanner.  In the meantime, you can click through to get a larger version of the image from Flickr.

Here's the first one, the Kurokami Kiri, or "Blackhair Cutter":


(Note: Sorry for the wonky formatting below - I can't figure out how to fix it.)

Opening Text (Top Right): The Blackhair Cutter stealthily chases dark-haired women who travel by night, cutting their hair without ever being noticed.  Noone has ever seen the form of the Blackhair Cutter.

Inset: Magnified Diagram of the Black Tongue: Small Prickles emerge from its surface, easily holding on to hair.

Kitaro (Main character of GeGeGe no Kitaro, who appears throughout this book to provide commentary and jokes): "So it's like a trap tongue?"

Inset: The Black Nails: From the center of each finger emerge nails like razors.

Daddy Eyeball (from the cast of Kitaro): "I don't have black hair!"

Inset, Bottom of Right Page: The Blackhair Cutter lives at the edge of drainage ditches.

Rat Man (ditto): "Ditches, eh? He's dirtier than me!"

Anatomy (Clockwise from top left):

Scroll Tongue: Extends quickly to wrap up hair.

Black Brain: A dense organ occupied with trickery and the pursuit of women.

Sleeping Powder Holder: The powder produced here is blown out of the monster's mouth, and he cuts their hair while they sleep.

Black Heart: Pumps hair pigment around the monster's body.

Stomach: The stomach is small and easily filled, so the monster throws away hair that it can't eat.

Hair-Breaking Bowels: The Blackhair Cutter's digestive organ sends the nourishment and pigment from hair to the heart.

Strong Pelvis: The pelvis supports the heavy body.

Pummelling Guts: The guts are called into action to break up the hard-to-digest hair.

Strong Acid Pouch: Produces juice for dissolving hair, which it secretes to the guts.

So, in summary: A yeti-like creature who chloroforms women and eats their hair.  I'll refrain for now from digging too deep into the sexual connotations of this construct, or even less the connotations of a Black Brain occupied with trickery and the pursuit of women.

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