Shadow Star Narutaru
Central Park Media/U.S. Manga Corps
Complete Collection - 13 episodes
English/Japanese Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Toshiaki Iino
Studio - Planet
Synopsis: Shiina visits her grandparents for the summer and is rescued from drowning by an innocent-looking, star-shaped creature. She names it Hoshimaru and takes it home to live with her and her father. Hoshimaru transforms into a floating surfboard for Shiina to ride on or disguises itself as a backpack for her to wear in public. Everything is fine until she meets a girl named Akira with her own creature. Akira is profoundly depressed and suicidal due to the psychic link she shares with her creature, Ensof. Shiina's bubbly personality wins over and the two become friends.
Both girls uncover a secret group of psychic teenagers bonded to similar creatures called Dragon's Children. Each creature is different in appearance although display similar powers, but the level of control and focus varies greatly among the teens. The teens are waging a silent war against the Japanese Self-Defense Army and plan to create a better society after the grown-ups have soiled the current one.
Dragon's Children offer power to the inexperienced teens and an irresistible temptation to use it. Shiina is an innocent caught up in an incredible situation where everything she holds dear is imperiled. Can she possibly protect those she loves from the dangerous game these teens are playing?
Pros: Captivating concept, shocking revelation of the true underlying story, the contrast of Hoshimaru's innocent appearance and actions completely blindsided me!
Cons: Ending felt abrupt and not enough explanations were given, soundtrack is forgettable, pacing was slow and then rushed at the end
Conclusion: Deceptively cute at first and blindly malicious by the end, this story is definitely not for children. I put this show on for my friend's 8-year-old daughter and quickly turned it off after the third episode. Don't let the Pokemon-esque creatures fool you -- this is a dark series exploring the depths of human cruelty. The teens are largely corrupted by the power of the Dragon's Children and I enjoyed this angle to the story. It was all about contrast -- cute Shiina and Hoshimaru thrust into deadly confrontations with evil teens. This series is based on a notoriously graphic/violent manga and only covers about half the full story (which is why the ending to the show felt abrupt). Based solely on the anime I was disappointed and recommend checking out the manga instead for a more satisfying (if wholly twisted) experience.