Editorial

The Excluded Chapters of Unico

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The Excluded Chapters of Osamu Tezuka's Unico

It's no secret that some chapters of Osamu Tezuka's works have been omitted over the years when published as collections. Black Jack, for example, had several chapters that were excluded from the rest of the manga for various reasons. Tezuka himself often omitted certain comics, as he wasn't always satisfied with them.

The First Grader version of Unico was published in the monthly magazine Shougaku Ichinensei, from April 1980 to January 1984. Each comic had six or seven fully colored pages involving the silly antics of Unico and his friends. 43 known chapters were published during that time, but they have left a few out in newer publications.

"Get Inside the Movie" Chapter

Before the Osamu Tezuka Manga Complete Works Shougaku Ichinensei Version was published in 1993, smaller books for children were released. These books often had a handful of chapters and were not a full collection. One book released on January 15, 1983, includes a chapter which has not been published since then.

“えいがの中へ入りこめ” (Get Inside the Movie) was published in the February 1981 issue of Shougaku Ichinensei magazine and in the first volume of the Color Version Elementary School Comics set of books. It's unknown if this chapter is considered "sealed" or not, or why it has not been included since then.

In the comic, Esuo and his friends are watching a film when they get into an argument about what kind of fruit they see in the film. Esuo truly believes that they are pineapple trees, but his friends disagree, telling him they're coconuts.

Believing he is correct, Esuo begs Unico to send him to where the trees are. Unico says it’s not possible and instead, sends Esuo and himself into the movie. While he’s examining the fruit, Esuo realizes the trees are neither coconut nor pineapple. A large group of tribesmen appear and tell him they are mangos. Thinking Esuo is a thief, the tribesmen say he'll be punished.

After Esuo tries to escape, the tribesmen capture and sell him to a woman running a cooking class. The recipe? Gratin with mango on a thief. Unico -- who oddly disappeared during Esuo's capture -- arrives and rescues the boy.

While being chased by the tribesman, the two reach the window to the real world and tell the father to reverse the film, making the tribesmen run backwards. Both Esuo and Unico leave the film, but not before realizing that one of the Shougaku Ichinensei magazines accidentally made it into the film. Esuo’s friend is once again upset with him, but the tribesmen look quite content reading the magazine.

"God of the North Wind" Chapter

The next chapter, 北風の神様 (God of the North Wind), published in the November 1982 issue of Shougaku Ichinensei magazine, appeared several years later in the 2004 Pika Pikka Comics collection. They released three books, each featuring 12 chapters each, with the third volume including God of the North Wind in full color.

In this chapter, Esuo receives a devastating 5 points (said as go-ten in Japanese) on a test. Embarrassed and upset with his score, he tries to hide his results. Two classmates mention they know a way to get better points on tests. They explain that if Esuo ties his test to a balloon and lets it float up to heaven and repeats the magical words, he'll receive better points.

Esuo does what they say and lets the balloon go. Realizing afterward that the two classmates were only messing with him, Esuo rushes to Unico for help. Unico changes into his adult form and the two take off to grab the balloon before anyone can see his score.

The balloon travels all over -- attaching to a bullet train and getting lost in a parade -- making it difficult for Esuo and Unico to grab it. Up above, Esuo spots the balloon and test floating toward a few clouds. When the two fly up, they're too late. The God of the North Wind has already seen Esuo's test scores.

The Wind God mentions his child had also done poorly on the school tests, but after seeing Esuo's test score, he felt like doing his best. After thanking Esuo, the Wind God asks if he'd like a palace (also said as goten), which is a terrible play on words. Esuo quickly refuses and leaves with Unico.

More About the Wind God...

It's interesting to note that the Wind God shares similar features with the Shintou God of Wind, Fuujin. Both are red-headed, green skinned, wear tiger skins, and carry a large bag of winds with them. In the comic, the bag is off to the side or behind the Wind God.

Chapter 36

Published only in Shougaku Ichinensei's May 1983 issue, the 36th chapter has yet to be republished and is hard to find. In this chapter, Esuo wants to watch TV wherever he is at, so Unico uses his magic to make the television grow feet like a dog. The TV follows Esuo around and becomes louder and more annoying. Esuo tries to get rid of the TV, but it returns and with its many noisy TV children following it.

Esuo and Unico take the TVs to a space airfield, dressed them like E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and has them all sent out to a nearby star.

It's unsure if the comic will ever appear in the future, but we hope that one day it will. Until then, we will continue to search for the specific magazine issue so we can provide more information.

For more information on the First Grader version of Unico, please see our other articles and pages:
- Manga - My Unico Fans
- Shougaku Ichinensei Manga (1980-1984) - My Unico Fans
- Shougaku Ichinensei Magazine - My Unico Fans

References:
- ユニコ(小学一年生版)|マンガ|手塚治虫 TEZUKA OSAMU OFFICIAL
- 虫ん坊 2015年9月号(162):TezukaOsamu.net(JP)
- 付録A:全集未収録作品リスト (kurata-wataru.com)


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