In Translation - House by Masako Watanabe

Lost for 50 years, a shoujo horror legend's adaptation of the cult classic film

In Translation - House by Masako Watanabe

Two years ago I translated the obscure manga adaptation of the 1977 cult horror comedy classic House (or Hausu, depending on the kind of person you are). Written by Mitsuru Miura, the manga was a quick twenty page rush through the plot of the film, acting as an advertisement for Nobuhiko Obayashi’s upcoming studio debut. The manga is fun and charming, a light work highlighting the plot hiding underneath the avant-garde maximalist aesthetic of the movie.

There’s just one thing…it’s not the only House manga.

Though rarely discussed in English circles, there aren’t many names more vital to shoujo manga than Masako Watanabe. Beginning her work in comics in 1952 and impossibly still working today at 95 years old, hers is a career spanning almost the entirety of modern manga history, where she helped revolutionize the field with her horror and mystery focused titles to become, for a time, one of the most successful shoujo manga artists in the country. And one only has to glance at her work to understand why: with lusciously gothic sensibilities, Watanabe seamlessly merges decadent, flowery drama with a palpable nihilistic despair, the resulting clash between aesthetics and content very often genuinely upsetting!   

To put it more simply: I’m not sure there’s ever been anybody more suited to tackling House than her.

Which all brings us to today.

the issue of Seventeen this manga was published in

After literal years of hunting, I’m very happy to present Watanabe’s adaptation of House, available for the first time in nearly fifty years, translated into English. And it is a total joy. Published in the September, 1977 issue of Seventeen magazine, this 51-page one-shot is packed with gorgeous art, tight construction, and even some twists on the House story for those who’ve seen the movie a thousand times. Combine all that with Watanabe’s own sensibilities and talents and you’ve got a great, speedy adaptation worthy of its name.


If you want to learn more about the extended House universe, check out the article I wrote about its various adaptations!

Talking movies - The many adaptations of House
The history of a cult classic that isn’t just a movie.

You can also read and download the manga on the Internet Archive, where I’ve put up both my English translation and the uncompressed, untranslated scans.

House by Masako Watanabe (Eng translation) : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
English translation for the 51-page manga adaptation of the 1977 Nobuhiko Obayashi film House (ハウス), drawn by Masako Watanabe and originally published in…
House by Masako Watanabe (Japanese) 『ハウス』わたなべまさこ : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
Uncompressed Japanese scans of Masako Watanabe’s adaptation of the 1977 Nobuhiko Obayashi film House (ハウス), originally published in the September 1977…

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Music of the Week: Kedamono no Arashi by Unicorn

Respected as something of a classic by Japanese music critics but not discussed much elsewhere, this is an album made special for anyone who digs off-kilter rock and new wave—think a sort of crossover between Sparks and XTC. Spoilers: that means it was made for me. A silly carnival of surprising shifts lovingly skewering older genres in a psychedelic swirl. You never know exactly what’s coming next here, even within the confines of a single song, but you can be sure that it’s going to surprise and delight (and get lodged in the brain).

Book of the Week: Gun Dragon Sigma by Buichi Terasawa

The pulp king creator of sexy space adventure classic, Cobra, unleashes his full freak here: an attempt to make a manga out of a synthesis between photographs of a half-naked model and early CG. Is it garish? Yes. Is it in good taste? Not at all. Is it a genuine blast? Oh, you bet it is. Even when awkwardly exploring this new style of comic, Terasawa’s innate sense of propulsive pace and action is second to none, this erotic cyberpunk actioner zooming by at a mile a minute. In almost any other hands this would be a disaster, but if you’re like me and can appreciate gonzo aesthetics like this, you’ll be in for a wild ride.

Movie of the Week: Impressions of a Sunset (dir. Suzuki Shiroyasu, 1975)

A short documentary from art-house video poet Shiroyasu chronicling a short period of his life after buying an old film camera. This is a gorgeous piece of film diary, playful and warm and sweet as can be, Shiroyasu filming his wife and newborn child with a tangible love that make the whole thing impossible to deny while musing in narration about it all. And what it quietly builds to—this touching, tinged with melancholy rumination on the connection between his life, art, and the need to create—will settle somewhere deep inside you, noticed or not. At least, it did for me.

Have thoughts about anything covered this week? Got a recommendation you’re dying to share? Want to tell me how handsome and cool I am? Leave a comment below!

oh, and here's an excellent and personal video essay about embracing the "problematic" in queer anime