Niko Niko Manga

Hmm, not posted on here for ages… so lets take a look at some more random antique mangae!┬áThis one appears to be from the late 1940’s, and is interesting in that it’s “full colour” – though not every colour is on every page! And there’s only 8 pages anyway.

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Niko Niko Manga appears to be the “overall” title. This particular one is called Hikoza Bakuseu Douchuu – which appears to be “A country boy’s funny journey”, though some of the readings of the kanji (as given by the katakana furigana beneath them) appear to be misspelt or obsolete (“za” should be “zai”, for instance).

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The story is broken up into a lot of smaller, funny segments, a number of them revolving around a trumpet. Here it blows some cakes into a dog’s mouth, by accident. Later on, a chicken gets it stuck over her head, wakes the guys, and runs off with it XD.

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There’s also a sumo sequence. The older of the two main guys winning by flipping himself over and tickling his opponents feet. Later a robber attacks them, so they prove how tough they are by appearing to stab a rock with a sword. When the thief tries it, his sword bends. They didn’t tell him their own sword only had half a blade!

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Later on, it snows. They stand still and get covered with snow. A guy comes along, so they scare him by pretending to be living snowmen, then steal his belongings, like ya do. The “Police”, carrying lanterns, come and arrest them, bringing them before some local official.

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Some guy in the palace recognises them, and everybody starts bowing to them and letting them go. The guy in question might be the (formerly masked) thief from earlier. Anyway, after that they decide to trip up a monkey to steal his bananas, but he uses his tail to hook onto a branch and pull them back up. Then… the story just ends XD.

At the time, Britain had a lot of similar short, fun comics with often rushed-looking artwork. The late 40’s saw a huge range of quickly-published short-runs and one-shots, pumped out by dodgy spivs who had somehow got hold of some still-tightly-rationed paper. (Back then, a comic was something that was guaranteed to sell out – unfortunately, that’s far from the case today). Niko Niko Manga reminded me of a British publication called Comicolour, published by Gerald G. Swan, who was the “third” comic publisher to Britain’s “Big Two”, in those days.

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I only have an annual, I doubt the ‘regular’ Comicolour had full-colour covers

The interior art has the same red-green and red-blue colouring as Niko Niko Manga. Though in this one, every story is separate. Nearly all drawn by the same artist, though! The super-prolific “Bang”, AKA Harry Banger.

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