Time Of The Season.

You know, there are lots of spooks and spirits, goblins and ghosts and devils and demons but there are very few Zombie-esque Yōkai in this particular book.

Since Osakabe looks a tad undead and I can't find much info on her (in English), I'm going to consider her amongst the unliving.

I'm sure that  Fudakaeshi is more a spirit than a Romero-reject but she sure looks like she belongs in one of his movies.

がしゃどくろ (Gashadokuro) is a giant skeleton made from the collected bones of people who have died from starvation. You have to run quick or they’ll pluck you off the ground and bite your head off. I would assume that the biting off of one's head infers that one's brains would be consumed, so this guy fits the bill. Unfortunately, this awesome looking skeleton is not within this particular book of Shigeru Mizuki's creations, so I had to scam him from this guy who has done a darned good job of anglicizing his characters.

Watch this and you'll see what I mean...

"Why the sudden interest in Zombies and their ilk today?", you might ask. Tonight I saw the best Kabuki-Zombie-Comedy-Musical ever made (it may be the only KZCM but that's not the point.) Though I couldn't comprehend 90% of the language (they use a lot of classical Japanese and talk really really fast), I found it fascinating.

This is what your typical Kabuki play looks like.

Now picture that filled with slow-moving, slurring Living Dead (slow-moving when they aren't dancing, that is.)

Originally a stage play, they filmed it and I caught the last night of a limited (and overpriced) engagement here in Sendai. 大江戸りびんぐでっど (Oo-Edo Living Dead-that link will take you to the website) takes place in ancient Edo (now called Tokyo) and it follows a love story between our two leads, a fishmonger and his wife and several classical Kabuki artisans that they meet along the way.

The fishmonger has discovered a stinky ointment that he uses to preserve his rotting fish and accidentally covers himself in it. This proves to be quite fortuitous considering the Zombies are repelled by it.

There are some good gags in it, such as: when the protagonist is trying to communicate with the mumbling undead, he splashes it with water and draws the kanji for 水 in its palm (The Miracle Worker); there's a good running gag with an obese zombie who is always chowing down on something, whether it's a cat, a lower human torso or a pig's head; several traditional Kabuki heroes arrive to save the day and are quickly dispatched by the brain-sucking hordes. The makeup varies from dime-store scabs to full on eye-popping, brain dripping, arm-rending effects and the choreography is wonderful. You'll want to dance along with them.

Here is the teaser I saw last summer, watch it and you'll see why I was so intrigued.

I may have been the only one in the theatre to notice this (all 11 of us), but do you think that the theme song bears an uncanny resemblance to the following?

Since I'm linking to old 60's music, how about some Zombies with today's post's title?


The Frog Queen said...

Wow, I am completely jealous that looks like so much fun!!

Not enough live action zombie plays/musicals in the world for my liking :D

Thanks that was an awesome post.


Michael Jones said...

It was such a fun movie, I only wish it was given more promo. Few people knew of it and less than a dozen showed up for the final night. Hopefully it did better in Tokyo, Osaka, etc. It deserves an international release. I will definitely be awaiting a dvd.


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