Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show - 1984 - Suehiro Maruo

Written by Suehiro Maruo
Published in 1984

Alternative titles
Camellia Girl
La Jeune Fille aux camélias
Midori: La Niña de las Camelias
Shojo Tsubaki

Shōjo Tsubaki was a stock protagonist of kamishibai during its revival in early Shōwa period Japan attributed to a creator known as Seiun, though the plagiarism and retelling in sundry variants that was the norm for popular-proving tales make its origin uncertain. Generally speaking, the character is a stereotypical adolescent or preadolescent ingénue, a daughter of a penniless family who goes from the frying pan of selling camellias on the streets to the fire of being bought and sold and forced to perform in a revue show.

Storyline -  Midori, a twelve year old orphan, has been taken in by a travelling freak show. She is exploited and bullied both by the freak show's proprietor (Mr Arashi) and by the freaks themselves who also subject her to harrowing sexual abuse. When a dwarf magician named Masamitsu the Bottled Wonder joins the show he initially shows Midori kindness and protects her from the others but his paedophilic attention, domineering personality and violent temper prove to be no better a replacement for the unconditional love of her lost parents than the extended "family" of the freak show.

The freak show includes such unsavory characters as a mummyman, a snake woman, and a drooling man with no limbs. The owner of the freak show, the eponymous Mr. Arashi, is a strict man who allows his freaks very little freedom or joy in life. He is especially cruel to Midori, our heroine. Midori works, not as a freak since she is normal, but as a sort of caretaker of the freaks.

In 1992 Hiroshi Harada made a Japanese independent ero guro film based on Suehiro Maruo's comic version of the kamishibai standard. The film, which Harada scripted and directed under the pseudonym of Hisaaki Etsu and whom he presents as a lost filmmaker he worked on it under, consists primarily of paintings and cels of drawings by Harada held, panned or zoomed over with music, sound effects and voice acting and occasional touches of traditional animation.

Take 5 years to animate the entire movie, the movie was ‘performed’ as an underground freak show, where people were given maps, giving them directions through a maze of eerie fogs, where one would arrive at an atmospheric screening room.

The film was single handedly created by Hiroshi Harada. Given the subject matter, Harada had found it impossible to gain sponsors. He then used all of his life savings to make the film over a five-year period. Over 5000 separate sheets of animation were hand drawn by Harada.

See Hiroshi Harada's film based on Maruo's version Here

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