One of my loyal readers from Japan recently let me know about a new (??) Manga wrestling comic series called, according to Google Translate, “That Guy Gotch.” Here is what he wrote to me:
Hey Pal, I really like your blog. And I recently view a Japanese wrestling comic full of trample, stomp, torment, boots and muscle. Maybe you will be also interested in it. Its name is “あいつがゴッチ”
If it depicts shirtless pro wrestling in the ring, hell yes I’m interested! Here are some images that I captured from this entertaining graphic novel, but I replaced the captions (originally in Japanese) with my own interpretation of what is perhaps being said.
Our story begins with a sports reporter, the hero of the novel, going to cover his old friend’s first pro wrestling match…
I will provide the link to this free online comic below. However, I want to explain a few things about the art of Manga before you dive in:
- As mentioned above, the original text is written in Japanese. I’ve provided a reasonable guess at what they might actually be saying. If any of you read Japanese, please let us know what the story is REALLY about!
- Japanese comics are read from the right side of the right-hand page to the left — opposite of American comics. I’ve flipped everything around in this article so Western readers can follow the story better, but if you view the original work, be prepared to scan it backwards. The following illustration, depicting two pages from the original comic, explains how to follow the action:
3. The pages also turn from the left side. Normally we would click the right side of a page to advance to the next page, but in Manga, look for a triangle on the left side of the page that takes you to the next page (instead of back to the previous page.)
4. There is great detail in this 100+ page novel. The artist takes his time depicting every motion and reaction. So it may take a page-and-a-half, maybe a dozen or more panels, just to execute a Flying Elbow. So be patient and savor the artistry.
Or you can just review my summary below and still understand in general what happens…
The action in this Manga (maybe in all Mangas?) is fairly brutal, with the Heels often using Foreign Objects and drawing blood on their Baby-Face victims’ cute faces. It may just give you a boner if you’re into cartoon violence. I’m not sure what age group these comics are intended for, but an impressionable adolescent could certainly develop a fetish for pro rasslin if he were to see this hyper-violent comic at a young age…
I’m not sure why the artist named the spikey-haired hero of this novel “Gotch.” There was an American wrestler named Frank Gotch who pioneered pro wrestling in United States. Then later there was a Belgian wrestler named Karl Gotch who pioneered pro wrestling in Japan. So maybe the name is an homage to one or both of them?
The villain continues to ruthlessly punish Gotch’s friend. In a graphic novel, they can get all sadistic and brutal like this, amping up the cartoon violence and bloody destruction, letting us get our jollies without anybody actually being injured or disfigured. The brutality is only limited by the sadistic imagination of the artist.
Gotch dives on top of his friend to absorb the force of the Chairshot using his own back, risking injury to rescue his beloved friend (totally GAY! I love it…)
The Heel then turns his attention to poor Gotch and begins to assault him for getting involved.
So a lot more happens after this, but I didn’t have the time or energy to create more images. The process to create these cartoon pages was fairly time-consuming, I select, capture, and invert the panels, delete all the Japanese text, write my own captions so they fit in the little bubbles, etc. It has already been almost a week since my last upload, so I’m giving you what I have so far and moving on. You can go check out the original Manga if you want to see more.
Here is what else happens (Spoiler alert): An enraged Gotch gets in the ring with the cheater, who drags him around by the necktie. So Gotch strips off his shirt and tie to reveal a spectacular physique of his own (see below.) After enduring some devastating Clotheslines, our hero executes a German Suplex to win the match! The audience is shocked to see a reporter defeat an experienced pro wrestler.
But that’s not all. A masked villain then soars over the ropes and proceeds to Karate-Kick the hell out of poor Gotch and further bloody his face. So Gotch decides to become a pro wrestler himself and starts working out. He gets a rematch with Karate Mask (as I call him), and again endures a bunch of stunning Karate Kicks to the face. That is where Book 1 ends, with him suffering at the feet of Karate Mask, and that is where we will pick up the action when I have time to work on Book 2…