The Laughing Salesman

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The Laughing Salesman
The Laughing Salesman Manga Cover.jpg
Volume 1 of the manga The Laughing Salesman.
笑ゥせぇるすまん
(Warau Serusuman)
Genre Horror, Psychological thriller, Drama
Manga
Written by Fujiko Fujio A
Published by Shogakukan (one-shot)
Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Big Comic
Manga Sunday
Original run 19681971
Volumes 5
Anime television series
Directed by Yoshitomo Yonetani
Written by Yasuo Tanami
Music by Kōhei Tanaka
Studio Shin-Ei Animation
Original network TBS
Original run 17 October 1989 24 March 1992
Episodes 103
Game
Developer Compile
Publisher Compile
Genre Visual Novel
Platform MSX2
NEC PC-9801
Released 1991
Game
Developer Compile
Publisher Sega
Genre Visual Novel
Platform Sega CD
Released 17 September 1993
Television drama
Produced by Masaru Takahashi
Gō Nakajima
Original network TV Asahi
Original run June 26, 1999 September 18, 1999
Episodes 10
Anime television series
The Laughing Salesman NEW
Directed by Hirofumi Ogura
Written by Naohiro Fukushima
Asami Ishikawa
Midori Natsu
Music by Kohei Tanaka
Studio Shin-Ei Animation
Licensed by
Original network Tokyo MX, Yomiuri TV, BS11, Animax
Original run April 3, 2017 June 19, 2017
Episodes 12
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

The Laughing Salesman (Japanese: 笑ゥせぇるすまん, Hepburn: Warau Serusuman) is a horror manga created by duo Fujiko Fujio, and later, Fujiko Fujio A. The manga began as a one-shot series serialized in Shogakukan's Big Comic magazine on 1968, later becoming a full-fledged series published by Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha's Manga Sunday magazine from 1969 to 1971. The manga tells the story of a salesman named Moguro Fukuzo, whose job is to help people fill gaps in their soul. However, in reality, he ruins people's lives if his clients backstab him or never ask him for help.

It is notable in Japan as the only series by Fujiko Fujio to be darker and more mature in its themes as opposed to their previous works, focusing more on psychological drama, suspense, and horror, providing a dark satire on regular workers and life living in Japan. An anime adaptation was produced by Shin-Ei Animation, directed by Yoshitomo Yonetani and written by Yasuo Tanami. It aired on TBS from October 17, 1989 to March 24, 1992 with a total of 103 episodes. A second anime adaptation was announced and aired on Tokyo MX from April 3, 2017 to June 19, 2017.

Plot[edit]

In a society filled with people who do whatever with their lives, there are some who struggle with it or never achieved their goals. The story focuses on individuals who meet a shadowy and ominous salesman, Moguro Fukuzo (喪黒 福造), who promises them a better life if they follow his advice. However, the clients that Moguro meet often cheat, refuse to rely on his help, or worse - deny that they received assistance at all. When this invariably happens, Fukuzo punishes his clients by using their reliance on his aid against them. With their lives ruined, he is satisfied with his job and looks for more potential clients.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Co-creator Motoo Abiko first created the manga as a one-shot in Shogakukan's Big Comic magazine in 1968. However the manga was deemed too scary for the publisher, and he ended up publishing the work in Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha's Manga Sunday magazine from 1969 to 1971.

A bilingual (Japanese-English) volume has been released as The Salesman Returns.[1]

Anime[edit]

An anime adaptation of the manga was produced by Shin-Ei Animation and aired on TBS from October 17, 1989 to March 24, 1992. It was directed by Yoshitomo Yonetani and written by Yasuo Tanami, while Kōhei Tanaka handled the music composition. The opening song is titled Kodoku no Uta (孤独の唄, lit. Song of Loneliness) while the ending is titled Kokoro no Uta (ココロの唄, lit. Song of the Heart), both performed by Tomio Umezawa.

A DVD box set of the series was released by Pony Canyon on March 20, 2013.

Episode List: Season 1[edit]

Each episode is 10 minutes in length.

No. Titles Release date
0 "Prologue"
(プロローグ) 
October 10, 1989
1 "A Face You Can Depend On"
(たのもしい顔) 
October 17, 1989
A handsome man crumbles under the pressure of the expectations of those around him and eventually seeks comfort in the bosom of a Buddha-like woman. 
2 "Easy Driver"
(イージー・ドライバー) 
October 24, 1989
A salaryman takes driving lessons but is a terrible driver. Moguro gives him private lessons, letting him drive however he likes and enjoys the joke when the man causes a huge amount of damage. 
3 "The Friend Salesman"
(ともだち屋) 
October 31, 1989
Moguro sets up an unpopular and lonely salaryman with a lady by correspondence. When they meet in a park at night frequented by perverts, she turns out to be a mannequin whom Moguro causes to scream for help. The salaryman is then beaten up by citizens and arrested. 
4 "The Man in Disguise"
(化けた男) 
November 7, 1989
A married salaryman with a wife and child has a mundane life and wishes for some adventure. Moguro encourages him to wear a disguise and have nights out on the town, but then gives him a new life, in a small apartment with a wife and four children. 
5 "The View from the 47th Floor"
(47階からの眺め) 
November 21, 1989
Moguro encourages a student to observe life from the top of a building and he falls in love with a woman he sees in an apartment building. Moguro sets up a meeting between them, but also tells her husband, a gang boss, who arrives and beats up the student. 
6 "In Valor There is Waste"
(勇気は損気) 
November 28, 1989
A cowardly illustrator dreams of being a hero so Moguro encourages him to be brave. The young cartoonist eventually summons enough courage to stop a robber, but is stabbed in his right arm, preventing him from ever drawing again. 
7 "Sloth"
(ナマケモノ) 
December 5, 1989
A slothful salesman is very unsuccessful so Moguro offers to help. Moguro sells many properties on his behalf, however he keeps the deposits, causing the salesman to have a breakdown and really behave like a sloth. 
8 "The Separator"
(手切れ屋) 
December 12, 1989
A young celebrity does not want to marry his girlfriend, so Moguro says he will convince her to stay away, but he must never see her again. However the celebrity misses her and sees her again so Moguro joins them together permanently. 
9 "Woman on the Platform"
(プラットホームの女) 
December 19, 1989
A dull young banker falls in love with a woman wearing a medical face mask he sees every day on the train. Moguro arranges a meeting, but demands that he does not love her only for her looks. The banker agrees, but then is horrified when she reveals her true disfigured face that is the result of failed plastic surgery. 
10 "The Sure Winner"
(的中屋) 
December 26, 1989
A student bets away his allowance at the horse races. After helping him win once, Moguro offers to help him one more time, as long as he never bets again. Later, after bragging about his win, the student is forced to accept ten million yen from a gangster in a bar to bet at the races. However, before he meets Moguro on the next race day, he gambles all the money and loses. 
11 "Closet Man"
(押入れ男) 
January 9, 1990
A struggling manga writer is having trouble creating and paying his rent. Moguro offers to move in to his apartment as long as the artist stays in the closet. The artist is so happy in the closet he creates such good manga that the becomes popular and Moguro moves him to a purpose-built closet. However, eventually the artist wants to leave and enjoy his success, but he can no longer live in the sunlight. 
12 "Daydream"
(白昼夢) 
January 16, 1990
A salaryman always eats last night's leftovers for lunch. Moguro treats him to and exotic lunch at the Daydream Club in the basement. The salaryman enjoys it so much he and a workmate spend all afternoon the next day drinking there, but they return to work after 5pm and are both fired. 
Special 1 "Pitfalls of a Spider"
(ユスリの落とし穴) 
January 23, 1990
13 "Golf 101"
(ゴルフ入門) 
January 30, 1990
An unconfident salaryman feels left out at work, so he tries to learn golf after hours. He improves after lessons from Moguro where he learns to imagine the ball as someone he hates. Later, he joins in the work golf competition but, under pressure, instead of hitting the ball he hits the co-worker he hates. 
14 "The Woman Who Wants to Marry"
(結婚したい女) 
February 6, 1990
An ambitious woman office-worker is only interested in tall, educated, wealthy men to the exclusion of all others. Moguro sends her on an island trip for singles where she meets and falls for a man who fits her criteria, however he is a fake and she is horrified when she finds out. 
15 "Cutting"
(切る) 
February 13, 1990
A trainee hairdresser is too scared to hold a razor, so Moguro gives him a box of medicated cigarettes to increase his confidence. He improves his shaving skills, but is distraught when the other hairdressers smoke them all on a mahjong night, not realizing that only the first cigarette was medicated. When called on to shave the boss, he makes a fatal slip. 
16 "Mr. Pervert"
(チ漢さん) 
February 20, 1990
A grumpy old man is encouraged by Moguro to become a pervert. 
17 "Part-Time Confidential"
(アルバイト㊙情報) 
February 27, 1990
A college student is offered high-paying part-time jobs by Moguro and takes one offered by an old man to go out and have a good time on his behalf, as long as the money is not spent on something pointless. Unfortunately he loses a fortune to some thugs back at a mahjong club and when he goes back to the old man's house with the thugs to get more money, they find that he's gone. 
18 "After the Dream"
(夢のあと) 
March 6, 1990
Urashima Taichi, a middle-aged salaryman has a dream of to stay in a deluxe hotel at least once. Moguro convinces him to try it, and tricks him into going with a young woman who he thinks is his wife. When he finally leaves and goes home, he finds that a long time has passed, and someone else has been living in his house for the past 10 years. The story is based on the legend of Urishima Tarō
19 "The Guardsman"
(ザ・ガードマン) 
March 13, 1990
A salaryman calculates how much he has lost playing mahjong and decided to quit. Moguro offers to protect him from ever playing again, but he relapses and Moguro finds him playing mahjong again. The next night when he comes home, he finds Moguro has turned his wife into a mahjong addict. 
20 "Her First Love"
(初恋の人) 
March 20, 1990
A housewife regrets not marrying a potter in her youth and complains about her neglectful husband and disobedient daughter. Moguro reunites her with the potter and they run away to live together, however their new life together is not as idyllic as they imagined. 
Special 2 "Out of Bounds Spouses: The Husband’s Case / The Wife’s Case"
(OB夫婦-夫のケース- / OB夫婦-妻のケース-) 
March 27, 1990

(1) A married company worker, Mushimi Ichirou, has a dull existence and his wife is often out in the evenings. Moguro encourages him to take up golf, and gives him a valuable classic golf club, but make him promise not to obtain any other classic clubs. However the man becomes obsessed and buys other clubs, eventually breaking into a golf store to steal one and is caught.

(2) Mushimi Chouko, Ichirou's wife, takes up golf and Moguro promises to find her a coach to improve her game. The coach, Hiyodori Shinako, is a young attractive woman who greatly improves her game such that spends more time golfing. However, Moguro warns her not to neglect her wifely duties. When her husband is sick, she decides to play golf instead of staying home, but feels guilty and plays badly so Shinako dumps her. When she arrives home, she finds her husband has left. 
21 "The Path to Karate"
(空手道) 
April 10, 1990
Moguro saves a young salaryman from being beaten by thugs and convinces him to learn karate every day with a tough master. The salaryman finds it difficult but perseveres for a few lessons. When he meets the same thugs in an alley, he tries to fight them, but is badly beaten up. 
22 "The Man-Hater"
(男ぎらい) 
April 17, 1990
A career woman is harassed by her boss and Moguro arranges for him to be fired for sexual harassment on a train. In return the woman must focus on her work and not become involved with a man, but she does. When her boyfriend surprises her on a railway platform, she overreacts and accidentally pushes him in front of a train. 
23 "House Lights"
(家の灯) 
April 24, 1990
A middle-aged salaryman has an unhappy home life, so spends his evenings aimlessly killing time. Moguro offers him an apartment as long as invites no women there, however he lets a female neighbour in, and so breaks his promise. His family find out and he is thrown out, and then is also prevented from entering the apartment. Eventually he is back home, in the doghouse. 
24 "The Man in the Back Seat"
(後部座席の男) 
May 1, 1990
Moguro convinces a company driver to give him stock tips so that he can buy shares and split the profits on the condition that the driver must not trade himself. However the driver gets a hot tip, and uses company money to buy shares himself and is then arrested for fraud and embezzlement. 
25 "Lady Killer Warning"
(モテモテご注意) 
May 8, 1990
An office worker leads a dull life and women ignore him, so Moguro gives him a makeover but Moguro makes him promise to be prudent in his relationships with women. The worker finally dates a woman at work, but then takes another woman out to lunch. Moguro calls his girlfriend who turns up at the restaurant and makes a scene. 

Episode List: The Laughing Salesman NEW[edit]

A second anime adaptation titled The Laughing Salesman NEW (Japanese: 笑ゥせぇるすまんNEW, Hepburn: Warau seerusuman NEW) has been released, Hirofumi Ogura directed at Shin-Ei Animation. Naohiro Fukushima, Asami Ishikawa and Midori Natsu written scripts. Fujio Suzuki drawn the character designs and is also the chief animation director. Minoru Nishida is the art director, and Akiko Inoue is in charge of color design and Kohei Tanaka composed the music. It aired on Tokyo MX from April 3, 2017 to June 19, 2017.[2][3][4] It was streaming on Crunchyroll, marking it as the first The Laughing Salesman material available outside Japan.[5] The opening song is titled "Don't" by NakamuraEri while the ending theme is titled "Don! Yara re Chatta Setsu" (ドーン!やられちゃった節, Dōn! Yara re chatta setsu, "Don! Incomplete Section") by Mike Sugiyama.

Each episode is 20 minutes in length and consists of two separate, unrelated stories. Some episodes contain remakes of stories shown in the earlier series.

No. Titles Release date[6]
1 "Daydream / Make A Budget And Stick To It"
(白昼夢 / ご利用は計画的に) 
April 3, 2017

(1) A young salaryman is introduced to a hidden Daydream Club by his workmates then Moguro encourages him to spend more time there which costs a fortune and makes him and his friend risk their jobs.

(2) An office lady who is unpopular and unhappy at work loves shopping but runs out of money. Moguro gives her an unlimited credit card, although anything purchased with the card will be repossessed the next day. When she uses the card for beauty treatments, she wakes up the next day as an ugly hag. 
2 "Hot Spring Eccentricity / Fantasy Company"
(温泉奇行 / マボロシガイシャ) 
April 10, 2017

(1) A mature salaryman with a liking for hot springs is encouraged by Moguro to indulge his passion but it ends up costing a fortune.

(2) A young employee quits his job after being bullied by his boss. Moguro introduces him to a Fantasy Company where people change roles each day. He ends up behaving just as badly as his former boss, so Moguro condemns him to work there forever. 
3 "Bento Wars / Ah, My Beloved 583-series"
(弁当戦争 / ああ、愛しの583系) 
April 17, 2017

(1) A young salaryman lives with his mother who makes a traditional bento lunch each day but his girlfriend also makes one for him. Moguro gives him a magic powder that makes his mother's bento taste delicious to his girlfriend. However, when it runs out he is forced to finally decide between his mother and his girlfriend.

(2) A middle-aged salesman is a train fanatic, but his sales estimates are poor. Moguro gives him a once-only chance to ride on his favorite 583 series train, however after he boards the train again he is condemned to stay on it forever. 
4 "The Woman On The Platform / Runner’s Paradise"
(プラットホームの女 / 走行者天国) 
April 24, 2017

(1) A dull young banker falls in love with a woman wearing a medical face mask he sees every day on the train. Moguro arranges a meeting with her, but demands that he does not love her only for her looks. He agrees, but then is horrified when she reveals her true ugly face that is the result of failed plastic surgery.

(2) A salaryman runs to relieve stress, but is continually frustrated by obstacles and pedestrians. He runs into Moguro who offers him Runners' Paradise pass to keep his path clear, however he must keep it a secret. When he meets a beautiful woman runner who wants to run with him he makes a copy of the pass for her, but she shares it on social media rendering his copy invalid. 
5 "Sunday Club /The Woman Who Throws Away"
(日曜クラブ / 捨てちゃう女) 
May 1, 2017

(1) An old salaryman is tired of his boring existence, so Moguro introduces him to a Sunday Club where he is treated like a king, but is only allowed to go once a month. When he returns to the club too soon, Moguro makes him an eternal member.

(2) A housewife has a house full of clutter from her husband's train collection and her son's trophies. Moguro helps her to start de-cluttering, but she ends up throwing out almost everything, so her husband and son leave home. 
6 "I’ll Lease This Monster / Tonight’s Another Awesome Night"
(かいぶつかします / 今夜も最高) 
May 8, 2017

(1) A physically huge actor has trouble getting work. Moguro provides a scary disguise so that he can get work in monster roles, but freaks out when he realizes that the mask won't come off.

(2) A night-owl college student gets a sleeping potion from Moguro so he can enjoy the daytime with his girlfriend. Unfortunately he lapses and stays out all night with his friends so Moguro makes him a permanent day person, however his girlfriend tells him she has just got a night job. 
7 "The Man Who Transformed / The Rule of Mommy Friends"
(化けた男 / ママ友のおきて) 
May 15, 2017

(1) A salaryman with a wife and child has a mundane life and wishes for some adventure. Moguro encourages him to wear a disguise and have nights out on the town, but then Moguro really gives him a new life, in a small apartment with a wife and four children.

(2) A housewife and part-time worker, is unhappy about Oniyo, a domineering head of their mothers' group in her apartment building. Moguro grants Nozomi's wish to make Oniyo's proposals come true, but then Oniyo suggests that Nozomi move out because her son is too boisterous. 
8 "A Man Chased By His Dreams / Mustache Taxi"
(夢に追われる男 / ひげタクシー) 
May 22, 2017

(1) A middle-aged scriptwriter has nightmares of being chased, so Moguro gives him some Pleasant Dreams Candy, but warns him to take only one per night. However, in his new dream he meets a beautiful young woman who falls in love with him. He takes more candy to complete the dream, but it turns into another type of nightmare.

(2) A timid young taxi driver has difficulty in dealing with troublesome customers and is the lowest earner. Moguro gives him a mustache to make him look less timid, but warns him to only use it when necessary. However, he leaves the mostache on and becomes too aggressive. When he picks up two bank robbers who say they are in a hurry, he drives aggressively and is arrested for helping them escape. 
9 "The Nostalgic Bathhouse Tour / The Researcher’s Melancholy"
(懐かしの銭湯ツアー / 研究者はユウウツ) 
May 29, 2017

1) An unemployed man has a passion for old style bathhouses with classic paintings, and meets Moguro who offers to help him in his quest. Moguro takes him to a members-only bathhouse, which is not only in the classic style, has a painting with three key visual elements, but also a beautiful young female attendant. The man pleads to go again saying that he is only interested in the painting, so Moguro gives him the entry pass. However when the man enters, the place shows all the signs of being abandoned, and instead of the young attendant he is confronted by a ghost of the long-dead attendant.

(2) Towani, a mature part-time researcher is frustrated by the lack of time to produce results and is bitter that his ex-girlfriend submitted his research before he did. Moguro offers him and his team a modern lab in which he can stay if he can produce results in 3 months but he must concentrate on his research. After 3 months, his research shows no positive results, but he overhears that one of his team has better results by using a more radical approach. Towani, accesses the research and publishes it his own name, reaping the benefits, however Moguro accuses him of cheating, and he loses all credibility. 
10 "The Person in the Acquired Film / Fake Grandchild"
(拾ったフィルムのヒト / ウソ孫) 
June 5, 2017

(1) A building foreman wants to meet a woman, Michiko, whose photographs were processed instead of his own when their cameras were accidentally switched. Moguro arranges a meeting with Michiko, but the foreman ends up with her pushy, overweight friend Nobue instead. The forman continues seeing Nobue hoping to connect with Michiko, but Moguro warns him to stop if he still desires Michiko. However, lonely after a drinking late, he spends the night with Nobue. Moguro then arranges for him to spend the rest of his life with Nobue.

(2) A recently retired grandfather misses his grandchild. Moguro puts a messaging service on his mobile phone that appears to be about his grandson but warns him not to try to contact the family. After initial skepticism, he embraces the service and it becomes part of his life. However after he tries to approach the family, Moguro sentences him to become just one more lonely man in a long line of grandfathers delivering presents to the family. 
11 "Destructive Tendencies / I’m An Idol"
(破滅症患者 / 私はアイドル) 
June 12, 2017

(1) A high-performing salaryman with a perfect home life secretly desires some risk in his life and has self-destructive thoughts. Moguro encourages him to test his resolve, but, confronted with the reality of real risk in a bar in a seedy part of town, he realizes that it endangers his current happy life. However he goes to the bar again and then has to be taken home by his wife after becoming extremely drunk.

(2) A stage mom with high ambitions for her performing daughter is horrified when her daughter wants to be a normal girl instead of an idol. Moguro gives the mother charms that will make her daughter obey her, but they have a time limit. When the mother exceeds the time limit Moguro condemns her to be an over-age eternal idol contestant herself. 
12 "The King of the Chat Room / Japan Overseas Trip"
(チャットルームの王様 / ニッポン海外旅行) 
June 19, 2017

(1) A young freelancer is banned from a chat room after flaming with an internet troll. He joins another chat room where he meets Moguro who gives him some software to track any user’s comments in other Chat Rooms, but is cautioned to only use it if being attacked. However he uses it excessively and becomes a Troll himself. Moguro then exposes all of his personal data online, forcing him out of Chat Rooms forever.

(2) A lonely office lady wants to go on a overseas trip where she hopes to meet a boyfriend but cannot afford it. Moguro offers her a very cheap trip and she jumps at the offer. However, she finds that he misled her and they just dine in a French restaurant in Tokyo, but she does meet a charming French man there. 

Video games[edit]

A Visual Novel of the series was released on the Sega CD in Japan on September 17, 1993. It was developed by Compile and published by Sega, adapting three episodes of the anime.

Fukuzō Moguro makes an appearance as a guest character in the 2012 game Girls RPG Cinderelife developed by Level-5 for the Nintendo 3DS.[7]

Live-Action Drama[edit]

A live action adaptation was produced by TV Asahi, which stars Shirō Itō as Moguro Fukuzo. It aired from June 26 to September 18, 1999.

Reception[edit]

In June 1999, the manga sold more than 3.5 million copies in Japan alone.[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]