Author: Suehiro Maruo
Publisher: Blast Books
First Published: September 25, 1984
Genres: Ero Guro, Horror
Source: Read Online
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.
The story revolves around an innocent 12-year-old orphan named Midori, who is tricked into becoming a slave for a carnival freak show. She is regularly assaulted and abused by the performers of the freak show acts. After the arrival of a magician that treats her kindly and sweeps her off her feet, he becomes a beacon to the impressionable and naive young girl. This manga can easily be surmised as uncomfortable debauchery as one outrage after another is put on full display.
“You’re nothing but a bunch of cowards! You’re just curiosity seekers.”
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 other, but I can still appreciate it as a defining work of the genre.
It is also worth noting that there has been both an anime and live-action adaptation of this manga simply titled Midori that speaks to the infamy of this work. It is baffling how this has been adapted given the subject matter, but I feel it is deserving of some merit for this.
Warnings: graphic sex, sexual assault, child abuse, grooming, pedophilia, violence, nudity, animal abuse, gore, disturbing content