FUJIMARU book-n-record (PART 1)

posted in: 4 - Collectibles | 0

Growing up in the pre-home video era often meant the only way to relive your favorite movie or TV property was the now extinct book-n-record. I positively wore out my GI Joe, Frankenstein and Planet of the Apes comic book / 45rpm sets as a wee lad.

The Japanese had it just as good – the formats being rather similar: 8-16 page booklets featured art inspired by anime, manga, live action genre films, etc. Short, simple adventures corresponded to narration and sound effects on a 45rpm flexi-disc, with a property’s signature theme song often on the b-side.

I find the real charm of these sets to be the original artwork, produced by the licensor, sometimes with great skill in replicating the look of a famous artist, but just as often displaying some totally off-model mutations.

This set, from 1964-5, is a rather faithful adaptation of Shirato Sanpei and Hayao Miyazaki‘s collaboration Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru (aka Samurai Kid).

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'Fujimaru of the Wind' was a young ninja apprentice with a mastery of swirling wind storms. He was a chip off the old Sanpei block - hanging in the treetops in a tunic and shortpants, needing only his shortsword and a few shuriken, etc/ and so forth. He was a friend to animals, and sworn enemy of fire-breathing wizard Japusai.
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LOVE these ninja heavies!!!

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I dunno about the furry one-sy he wears, but how cool was the era when kids with swords were role models! This show was rather weapons-laden...
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And he gets to KILL ninja! Sure, no gore, but c'mon - wack a guy in the head with a Wakizashi and what's the result?

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How awesome is this nut-punch technique!
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Fujimaru's mystical gimmick was the control of wind, and whipping up a tornado of leaves was a common escape. Ninja are either extremely susceptible to allergies, or terrified of yardwork...
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Most of the sets I've seen adopt the common Japanese publishing practice of running several pages in 2-color process to save printing costs. Clever use of halftone angles and dot-pitch make subtle browns and beiges out of black and orange inks. OK, printing lesson over - quiz tomorrow.
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Fujimaru's girly pal Midori gets caught up in the inevitable hunt for the hot-potato secret scroll, aided by a somewhat Deputy Dawg-esque cast of animal sidekicks.

More kid-vs-ninja mayhem coming in PART 2!

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