Author: Suehiro Maruo
Publisher: Blast Books
First Published: September 25, 1984
Genres: Ero Guro, Erotic Horror
Suehiro Marou's astonishing and powerful illustrations create a masterpiece of surrealism in his retelling of this classic Japanese tale of a little lost orphan ensnared in a traveling freak show. Suehiro Maruo lives in Tokyo, and MR. ARASHI'S AMAZING FREAK SHOW is the first of his works to be translated into English.
There is no genre of manga that is more avant-garde than the ero guro movement. Ero Guro nansensu is a movement famed for depicting extreme gorey horror with themes of sexual violence. No ero guro manga is more famous than Shoujo Tsubaki, translated to Mr. Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show in the west.
You’re nothing but a bunch of cowards! You’re just curiosity seekers.
The story revolves around an innocent 12-year-old orphan named Midori, who is tricked into becoming a slave for a carnival freak show. The girl is regularly assaulted and abused by the performers of the freak show acts until the arrival of a magician that treats her kindly and sweeps her off her feet. He becomes a beacon of hope and goodness to the impressionable and naive young girl, but he too is a danger. This manga can easily be surmised as uncomfortable debauchery as one outrage after another is put on full display.
The ero guro genre and in particular the works of Suehiro Maruo challenge the absolute corruption of society and the evils that are enacted upon children. Maruo’s artwork is beautiful in all of its grotesque glory despite the abominable subject matter. There is nothing pleasurable about reading this manga, but instead, it arouses disgust and discomfort when faced with unfiltered deviancy. The only way to approach it is with objectivity and to separate the story and the art with the ideas that it represents. This isn’t a manga that I can rightfully give a subjective rating to nor recommend to anyone either, but I can still appreciate it as a defining work of the genre.
Trigger Warning: Graphic Sex, Sexual Assault, Child Abuse, Grooming, Pedophilia, Violence, Nudity, Animal Abuse, Animal Death, Gore, Disturbing Content