In the second episode, we see a girl put an old-fashoined razor-blade against her wrists -- we're definately not in Happy Fun-Fun Land anymore! And things start to get worse: lots of kids end up dead (some in quite gruesome ways), and lots of adults die too. It turns into a trip to the darker recesses of the Japanese teenage mind, detailing quite cruel bullying, mindless boredom and complete alienation from the rest of society.
It's hard to single out a specific occurrence to illustrate just how messed-up this series is.
Anyway, the main idea behind the series is that dragon 'larva' attach themselves to a human child. The human can control the actions of their 'dragonet', but they also feel the pain the dragonet feels. Dragonets have some pretty neat powers, like matter absorption and matter creation -- which also means that a fight between dragonets is pointless.
The kids 'use' the powers of the dragonets for their own nefarious plans. One group, led by a boy with a serious messiah-complex want to destroy society and re-create a 'better' society. There's a girl who uses her dragonet to go on a brutal killing spree, and so on.
There is also a price to pay: when the dragonet 'matures', it takes the human with it, and they 'pass on' into a new sort of existence.
The dragonets are very powerful, but the evil they perpetrate are not the evil acts of the dragons: they merely act out the evil that is in the hearts of men. I think that is what NARUTARU wants to show us: that there are dark things lurking into the cracks of the mind, and that it only takes raw power for these urges to come to the surface.
Strange thing is, that Shiina maintains her open character and friendliness thoughout all these things...
- Shows the dark side of Japanese life;
- Interesting premise.
- Rather graphic and gruesome;
- Lacklustre design and animation;
- Almost no resolution: it's a manga adaptation.
I'm at a loss as to giving this series a grade. While I didn't enjoy the messed-up world depicted in the series, I did keep watching it -- so presumably there is some sort of appeal. I think I'll give it a 6.5.