Hansel & Gretel (manga)

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Hansel & GretelHenzeru to Gureeteru is a 1981 manga graphic novel written and illustrated by Katsuhiro Otomo.

The volume was Otomo's third manga collection, following 1979's Short Peace and Highway Star. It is an anthology of twenty-one short subjects, most of them only a few pages in length[1], that had originally appeared in various magazines between 1978 and 1981.

There is no overall narrative, but the contents are thematically linked: all but one are parodies of classic works of Western literature and fairy tales.[2][3] Some of the contents were later republished in Otomo's KABA artbooks.

Stories

  • Hansel and Gretel ("Hensel to Gretel," 1978, 28 pages)

Fairly straightforward adaptation of the Grimm tale, though adding a certain amount of gore and nudity; the children are semi-feral, and the cannibalistic "witch" (of indeterminate gender) lives in a hollow tree rather than a candy-cane house, mutilates Hansel to keep him from escaping, and is itself eaten by the children after Gretel tricks it into falling into its own cauldron.

  • Little Red Riding Hood ("Shakuzu," 1979, 2 pages)

Very brief retelling, in which a wolf doubles ahead of the titular girl bringing food to her grandmother who lives in a shack in the woods. When Riding Hood arrives, she peeks into the shack and sees her feral, emaciated grandmother gnawing on the dead wolf; running away, she reflects on her mother's rejoinder not to look inside, as the family had not sent any food in a month.

  • The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids ("Ookami to Nanahiki No Koyagi," 1979, 2 pages)

Adaptation of the comparatively obscure Grimm story of The Wolf and the Seven Young Goats, in which the wolf's attempt to bluff his way into the house to eat the kids is frustrated when their mother returns home early - but it doesn't matter, as eight little wolf cubs are already inside the house and have eaten the kids.

  • The Boy Who Cried Wolf ("Ookami Shounen," 1979, 2 pages)

A boy runs into a village, yelling that a wolf is coming. He is however not lying, as the wolf is running right alongside him. The villagers express annoyance that he does this every day.

  • Three Little Pigs ("Sampiki No Kobuta," 1979, 2 pages)

The wolf blows down the pigs' straw and wooden houses, each successively smaller. At the brick house, which is barely suitcase-sized, the wolf pauses to express incredulity that the pigs can fit inside it.

  • Jack and the Beanstalk ("Jack to Mame No Ki," 1979, 2 pages)

As in the Jack and the original, Jack trades his mother's last cow for a magic bean - which is however nearly the size of the cow.

  • The Honest Woodcutter ("Kane No Ono, Gin No Ono," 1979, 2 pages)

A version of Aesop's fable. A woodcutter accidentally throws his axe in the pond, only to be confronted by an irate, corpulent angel with two axes lodged in her head and chest, angrily demanding to know which one is his. The woodcutter is spared from having to answer when the tree he had been felling falls on the angel's head.

  • The Frog and the Ox ("Ushi to Kaeru," 1979, 2 pages)

Another of Aesop's fables, in which a frog's vainglorious attempt to inflate itself to the size of an ox keeps being sidetracked when bystander frogs keep critiquing its lack of overall resemblance to an ox.

  • The Little Match Girl ("Macchi Uri No Shonen," 1980, 2 pages)

The match girl is unable to sell her product, as everyone has upgraded to lighters. Unlike Hans Christian Andersen's original, the girl does not freeze; instead she goes home, where her parents decide that better marketing is needed. They make her a mascot-type full-body costume in the shape of a giant match (but expend all their matchmaking supplies in the process.)

  • Snow White ("Shiroyuki Ime," 1980, 2 pages)

Version of the Grimm tale in which an unexplained air of confusion predominates: the Seven Dwarfs find themselves unable to do a proper headcount, Snow White can't figure out how to set the table, and the crone can't remember which one of her apples is the poisoned one.

  • The Life and Strange Suprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe ("Robinson Kurusoo Hyooryuu Shiru," 1980, 2 pages)

As in Daniel Defoe's 1719 novel, Robinson Crusoe meets a native he names "Friday"; here, this encounter is followed by several dozen others, and Crusoe has to resort to much of the calendar ("Third Wednesday of November") for names.

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ("Fushigigi No Koku No Arisu," 1980, 5 pages)

The Wonderland that Alice visits is based on Chinese mythology, with untranslated dialogue in Mandarin and the White Rabbit wearing a Mao suit. The layout is experimental, with the number of panels doubling on each subsequent page.

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ("Ozu No Mahooshi," 1980, 5 pages)

On the road to Oz, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and Cowardly Lion (who looks like a glam rocker in Kiss (band)|Kiss makeup), all of whom develop comically-large erections when she keeps innocently flashing her panties at them.

  • Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves ("Aribaba to Yojuunin No Tozoku," 1981, 5 pages)

Ali Baba cannot remember the password to the cave and - in increasing frustration - runs through a laundry list of various fruits and vegetables. The correct one turns out to be "eggplant," not "sesame," but when the cave doors open Ali Baba is crushed under an avalanche of eggplant.

  • Cinderella; or, the Little Glass Slipper ("Cendrillon," 1981, 5 pages)

Two drunks on the streets of a sleeping town witness Cinderella furiously racing her carriage home before the spell wears off at the strike of midnight.

  • Moby-Dick; or, The Whale ("Hakugei," 1980, 5 pages)

As Ahab rages against Moby-Dick from his whaling boat, another white whale appears, then another and another, leaving the captain incredulous. The whales - Moby-Dick's wife and family - disregard the humans entirely, cheerfully swimming away while debating about which ocean they should visit next.

  • The Blue Bird ("Aoi Tori," 1981, 5 pages)

Bears little resemblance to the source material by Maurice Maeterlinck. A pair of young siblings wander a primeval forest in search of the Blue Bird of Happiness; when they come upon it, though, their attempt to capture it goes awry and they accidentally kill it instead. Being tired and famished, they proceed to roast and eat it.

  • The Wolf Man ("Ookami Otoko," 1980, 5 pages)Horrified by his condition, a lycanthrope tries to keep his wife and daughter from seeing him in his transformed state. After they remonstrate with him and promise to love him no matter what, he tearfully opens the door, only to discover that both of them are werewolves as well.
  • The Sleeping Beauty ("Nemureru Mori No Bijoo," 1981, 5 pages)

The princess is sleeping in an overgrown castle, with no action except for her rolling over in bed. A caption advises the reader that the prince is not due for another 150 years.

  • The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha ("Don Quijote," 1981, 12 pages)

A wordless story in which Don Quixote drives through a wasteland in a motorcycle, with Sancho Panza in his sidecar. The two stop to refuel in a settlement and learn of a dragon living nearby. Heading in the direction indicated, they discover only a gigantic skeleton, but Sancho Panza finds an egg in the sand, which hatches into a lizard-sized baby dragon. Don Quixote unceremoniously slays it with his lance, and the duo drive away.

  • I・N・R・I ("I・N・R・I," 1980, 12 pages)

A horror version of the Christian Gospels, in which an evil version of Jesus starts an orgiastic cult dedicated to sexual depravity, torture and murder. He is eventually arrested by the authorities; Pilate and the High Priest both plead with him to repent of his crimes or at least show remorse, but he remains silent and is crucified.

References

  1. "Otomo Katsuhiro's Hansel And Gretel Comic Book". Halcyon Realms.
  2. "ComicAlt review".
  3. "HENSEL TO GRETEL" (in français). Gérald Ligonnet.

External links

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Hansel & Gretel
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Genrefairy tale, parody, horror
Manga
Written byKatsuhiro Otomo
Published byCBS - Sony
DemographicSeinen manga
MagazineWeekly Young Comic, Rockin’on, Pop Corn, Just Comic, Akushon Zoukan, Vampirella, Starlog
Published25 Oct 1981
Volumes1