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Narutaru: Mukuro Naru Hoshi Tama Taru Ko

During her summer holiday at her grandparents house Tamai Shiina, a young and cheerful schoolgirl, meets a strange looking creature. They befriend each other and Shiina names it "Hoshimaru: The Round Star." When Shiina returns home after the summer to go back to school, she starts meeting other kids that also have befriended a strange creature like Hoshimaru. But she soon finds out that not all these creatures and their masters are as friendly as Hoshimaru. (Source: ANN)
User Count3189
Favorites Count9
Start Date7th Jul 2003
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank2709
Rating Rank9895
Age RatingR
Age Rating Guide17+ (violence & profanity)
SubtypeTV
Statusfinished

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I can't figure "Narutaru" out - this is one strange, strange series. It succeeds to be both lighted hearted and dead creepy, and in fact, it succeeds in doing a lot of things that it's meant to do, including freaking me out, but it kind of fails as a whole because its many aspects doesn't quite come together. "Narutaru" follows the adventure of a happy-go-lucky school girl Shiina as she meets and bonds with a rather dopey looking creature. You would think this would lead to something in a similar vein to Pokemon, but no, soon after the odd encounter in the beginning, "Narutaru" then promptly switches to a kind of pedestrian, slice of life mode. This kind of thing doesn't just happen in the beginning either, as "Narutaru" is a bewildering mixture of many genres - one moment, it can be pretty normal and laid back, but then the next moment everything goes a bit crazy, only to return to the laid back state soon afterwards. If it's possible that an anime can suffer from schizophrenia, then "Narutaru" is surely one such patient.The style of the artwork in "Narutaru" suits its more laid back moments, but its animation is often flakey. Characters often seem disproportionally drawn and move around as though they are made up of elbows and knees. It works out for the main character since it appears to me that she is meant to be a lanky tomboy as opposed to a more graceful girl, but all the other characters suffer from the awkward movement issues as well. The character designs are also not distinctive enough as it took me a while before I figured out who's who.The cheesily cheerful opening credits is hugely misleading. It's either not very well thought through, or it's the production team's idea of a very sick joke. Looking at it, you would never guess how horrifyingly dark this series gets later on. In fact, I would say that the main strength of the "Narutaru" stems from the fact that its creepier side is done extraordinarily well. It's incredible at building up suspense and atmosphere. Even when everything looks to be relatively normal, hints dropped by the anime such as the eerie background music and also the creepy looking fonts used for episode titles gives it a sense of almost constant anticipation, as though it's teetering on the edge of darkness. I was not disappointed - in the last few episode it finally falls off as all the tension that had been built up to that point is finally released, and it turns into something akin to a full blown horror. The stark violence is shocking, sickening enough to tie a knot in the pit of your stomach. It makes makes "Elfen Lied" look tame in comparison, despite not being as graphical... and it was absolutely brilliant......but at the end of the day, the question still remains - just what are the creators trying to do with the show? It has a barebone premises that seems to miss out more than it reveals (it's basically crying out for a sequel); it's all over the place, trying to be a lot of things (sci-fi/fantasy, horror, slice of life and er, Pokemon) and ends up being neither here or there; it has quirky characters that are mostly undeveloped and even more under-used that their introductions seem bordering on pointless. Basically, this anime is a mess... but it does have its merits. Perhaps the horrifying and monstrous intensity of the last few episodes alone is enough to make watching this worthwhile. It's not a great anime, but it is great in places.

Summary: During hersummer holiday at her grandparents house Tamai Shiina, a young and cheerfulschoolgirl, meets a strange looking creature. They befriend each other andShiina names it "Hoshimaru: The Round Star." When Shiina returns homeafter the summer to go back to school, she starts meeting other kids that alsohave befriended a strange creature like Hoshimaru. But she soon finds out thatnot all these creatures and their masters are as friendly as Hoshimaru.   Story: The story really isn’t thatinteresting and I felt that the overall pacing was incredibly slow and boring. Ifound myself constantly looking at the time to see if the episodes were overyet.  Basically the story revolves aroundShiina who finds a creature known as a dragon and must stop other dragon usersfrom taking over the world. Its not the greatest story in the world but it reallypics up around episode 11. Were the story takes a twist to the dark side andmakes the show actually entertaining. But, the ending is a read the mangaending leaving me overall unsatisfied with the series.     Animation: The animation really isn’tanything spectacular. It doesn’t stand out and is definitely not the high pointof the series.   Sound: I personally think the dub is very mediocreas well. The cast did an ok job overall but no stand out performances whichreally did not help the show at all. Many of the delivery felt kind of blandand made the show even less interesting. The music didn’t stand out to meeither.   Characters: like the animation and soundthey just didn’t stand out. I didn’t find the main character or any of the sidecharacters all that interesting. None of them really had a very gripping storythat could draw me in.   Enjoyment: With the exception to the last 3episodes  this was one of the most boringanime that I have watched. Between the terrible pacing and un interestingcharacters I just couldn’t get into it. I would not recommend this to anyone. 

Deconstructions of a genre are not easy to pull off - some, such as NGE, manage to deconstruct a genre so well that even people not familiar with the genre can fully appreciate them.  Others, like<i> Master of Martial Hearts</i>, fail so much that they end up making fans of the genre that the show fails to deconstruct appreciate the good shows even more.  When I found out about *Narutaru*, there were 2 things that stuck out to me: the first being the fact that supposedly, it's a deconstruction of the "Mon" genre; the second being the fact that it's extremely controversial (not in the same way that, oh say, SAO is controversial; Narutaru has been banned or heavily censored in several countries).  Having finished the series, where does it fit in? Story - 3/10 The story starts off somewhat similar to *Pokemon* - a girl named Shiina discovers one of the "mon" of the series (in this case, the "mons" are called Dragon's Childs), and adopts it (I'm going to refer to her mon as an "it", since it's never stated if her mon is a he or a she), naming it Hoshimaru. Based on that first episode, I expected this series to basically be<i> Pokemon</i> meets *Mushishi*.  However, the next episode shows someone attempting suicide.  And it gets even more shocking as the story progresses - there's a lot of controversial themes, like underage pregnancy, rape with a test tube, and decapitation.  This is easily the most shocking anime I've seen - and this is coming from a fan of *Mnemosyne*. Animation - 5/10 The animation is alright.  It's decent for the time it came out, although it's near the lower end of the animation spectrum when compared to other shows that aired the same year like *Ai Yori Aoshi* or *Gunslinger Girl* (I'm not comparing it to FMA, since at the time of writing this, I have not watched it). Sound - 3/10 The soundtrack is just very jarring or forgettable - while sometimes, it does fit the mood (most notably whenever it's a very tense situation), the rest of the time...not so much.  In particular, the opening gave me whiplash near the end.  It's just too upbeat for a series like this (I would make a comparison to *Victory Gundam* based on what I've heard, but I can't, since as of writing this, I haven't seen it). Characters - 2/10 The cast ranges from tolerable to unlikable, with the most likable being our heroine, Shiina.  She kind of reminds me of a female version of Ash Ketchum.  Her best friend (aside from Hoshimaru) is Akira (unfortunately, they didn't give her a brother named Tetsuo), and she's a trainwreck - she's the character that attempts suicide.  I can't really think of anything else to say about the cast. Enjoyment - 1/10 This might have been enjoyable...if it wasn't so jarring.  Seriously, I had mental whiplash that was only cured by *Gundam 00* and *Maid-Sama!*.  If you don't want to experience the same pain that I did, don't watch this show. Overall - 1/10 The mangaka of this series also made *Borukano*, which I imagine is a much better series - so go watch that instead.  Although if you're looking for something that's shocking but enjoyable, then *Mnemosyne* is worth a shot.

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