Anime Recommendation: Shadow Star Narutaru
Narutaru is one of those series that is hard to put into words. It’s about an energetic thirteen year old schoolgirl named Shiina that finds a mysterious star shaped creature called a “dragon child”. She names this cute and cuddly creature Hoshimaru and decides to take it home with her. And even though Hoshimaru seems to completely lack emotions, personality and the ability to speak; it becomes obvious that it is not only peaceful, but also “somewhat” intelligent and legitimately loyal. As the story progresses, Shiina comes in contact with more and more children that have companions of their own, and it soon becomes clear that most dragon children have almost no free will at all. In a sense, they are not even individuals. They are only extensions of their owner, and act on whatever thoughts and emotions that are going through their master’s head. But unlike everyone else, Shiina and Hoshimaru seem incapable of making such a deep mental connection. This actually turns out to be a great advantage for Shiina, and saves her from the burdens of having a dragon child. Normally, whenever a dragon child is attacked, all the pain that it receives is transferred to its owner. Since the dragon children are immortal, this allows for its owner to feel a seemingly infinite amount of pain without actually dying. This enormous drawback seems to be the only weakness of the group of teenagers that have developed their dragon children, and seek to use them and their destructive powers to conquer the world. So basically, it’s up to Shiina and Hoshimaru to stop them by whatever means necessary. And sometimes, the means are pretty extreme.
Now, if you think that I just summed up the basis of the story, you are completely wrong. Really, the storyline has little to do with the overall plot. Out of the 13 episodes of the series, only the 1st 1/2 of them relates to what I just described. And to make matters worse, most of the plot is never even explained. It’s like the director had a plot in mind, finished half the series, decided to change the plot without changing the previous episodes, but lost interest in the new plot and decided to make a series finale that has nothing to do with either of them. The fans of this anime are desperately crying out for a season 2, but there is currently no word on whether there is even one in the works. And since this anime came out quite a few years ago, as sequel seems unlikely.
But even though the storyline lacks completion, this is still a pretty good anime. Anybody that’s seen this show will tell you that the story isn’t what makes it special. What makes Narutaru good is that everything about this show from the opening song to the ending credits screams out that it is meant for little kids. The shocking truth is that this is one of the most “NOT FOR KIDS ANIME” that I have ever seen. The violence in this show is so disturbing that I can’t recommend this show to anyone under the age of fifteen. For example: The scene towards episode 12 was just so violent that when I saw it, I was literally frozen with disbelief. Even though the violence was not directly seen, it’s impossible not to understand what happened. After seeing what the characters are capable of doing, you feel compelled to watch the next episode because you actually have no idea what to expect. The fact that Shiina seems to be one of the very few mentally stable characters in the series opens the door for the unimaginable to happen. The show’s unpredictability is actually the main reason why I enjoyed watching it. Even though I wish that more of the plot had been explained, I can honestly say that Narutaru is a great anime series. All that it needs is a second season that expands on the existing story, and I would definitely list it as one of my favorites. But like I said before, this is not a show for kids. The human children remorselessly direct brutal murders, terrorist attacks and mass genocide while the creatures unemotionally stab, poison and slaughter people as young as twelve years old. This is definitely one of those shows where you have to mentally prepare yourself before you watch certain episodes.