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Disembowler, I choose you!

Ever know something is going to be a train wreck but you just can't help watching anyway? Even worse, it's partly because you know it's going to be horrible that it actually makes you want to see it? That's kinda how I feel about Narutaru (or Shadow Star as it's known in the US). I'd ran across warnings about this anime as one of the ultimate bait and switch shows of its time. It looks like a cutsey pokemonesque anime with an incredibly cheerful opening filled with childish crayon drawings and happy music. It gets worse....

Surely nothing this cutesy could be evil, right?

Because of the saccharine look of it, this may be one of the most perverse anime I've ever run across. It's not just dark, it's evil twisty dark. Someone described it as Pokemon meets Evangelion and that just about sums it up. It's a complete deconstruction of the whole monster familiar genre, doing for Pokemon what Mai-Hime did for magical girls. I'll be the first to admit that very similar thoughts ran through my head when I first saw Pokemon on tv. Things like, WTF? They're letting kids run around with monsters that shoot fire? and How the hell hasn't some evil government created an army of these damn things and tried to rule the world yet?

Narutaru begins innocently enough when our happy genki girl protagonist Shiina goes to visit her grandparents and finds a starfished shaped whatsit who she names Hoshimaru. It's cutsey, follows her around and seems generally benevolent. Within two episodes there's already talk of a global holocaust, suicide, mass murder, a death, and some of the most screwed up kids you'll ever run across. You see, Shiina isn't the only one who's picked up one of these 'dragnets' and either they have a preference for bonding to the the sociopathically evil/insane or it was a very poor luck of the draw. I swear to God that if you don't support late-term abortions (and by that I mean anywhere from the 50th trimester on) you will after watching this show. These are some of the most psychotic, evil kids I've seen and most of them should have been smothered in the cradle for the good of mankind. I'm not sure which is worse, the mass murder or the fact that bullying girls run around raping classmates with testtubes. This entire world is a horror story.

The anime covers only around half of the manga which I've heard is even worse. The anime is actually pretty blood adverse and realistically there should have been absolute fountains of it given what was happening. I was reading a forum where some guy was bitching about censorship in the US version of the manga and someone else linked to a file with the missing pages. I made the mistake of actually taking a look and was treated to a half dozen pages culminating in a girl being disembowled through her vagina. After watching the anime it seems she deserved it but it was still just a weee bit over the top. I'm still not sure WTF the creator of this was thinking. I hear they ran this psycho anime on a kid's channel in japan too which is just ridiculous. It's the psychological equivalent of handing out snicker's bars with AIDS infected razor blades in them.

The really scary part about this is that I'm not sure that the anime isn't actually more realism than nihilism. If all of a sudden you did give teenagers immortal monsters with which they could do anything, I'm not sure there wouldn't be an absolute blood bath and evil beyond imagining. That might be the most disturbing part of this whole venture down into the valley of the shadow of Pokemon.

It's a crapsack world.

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