Taruto vol. 1
Dave Merrill rates it:
Magical Meow Meow Taruto. Where to begin? I would not recommend this anime to children, adults, human beings of any age, sex, nationality, creed, religion or culture.
Taruto is a soulless piece of junk. It is entirely bereft of entertainment value on every conceivable level. Its characters are so thin as to be invisible when viewed from the side. Its art style is bland, imitative, and completely unoriginal. To call the show's plot "half-baked" would be a compliment that implies some degree of preparation or labor went into its creation, which is of course impossible. Here's a hint; it involves a magical princess who has magical powers, who is also a cat girl. Just think; people got paid to come up with this. No wonder the commies think we're soft.
The show's big stroke of genius is that it stars cats. Only they aren't cats, they're little girls who wear frilly dresses and have cat ears and tails. Fully-formed homonoculi with stockings and petticoats who are about a foot and a half tall, who wander around the house chasing bugs and eating cat food. The regular human characters in Taruto see these cat-people as just regular cats. Are they regular cats with stockings and frilly dresses and jewellery? Or are they regular cats who shit in boxes and cough up hairballs? We'll never know.
And here's where the show made its gigantic mistake. If Taruto had starred actual cats, cartoon cats who talk and have adventures and magical powers, then that would have been cute and funny, like Hamtaro, an international success enjoyed by children and adults alike. However, Taruto stars eighteen-inch tall cat girls, a plot device that can only appeal to... well, let's face it. It appeals to pedophiles and skunk-fuckers. If you're a pedophile or a skunk-fucker, you'll find this show to be so amazingly arousing it will probably distract you from any sexual assaults you may be planning, which may actually be this show's only redeeming characteristic.
Because there's nothing else to this show. The title character is a magical cat girl princess who is being chased by evil cat boys and cat girls from the magical cat-people dimension, and her owner, a brain-damaged pretty boy without a job or parents, moves into a gigantic house in a new neighborhood full of other cat-girls. That's it; that's the story. Eighteen-inch-tall girls wander around yards, drink milk and eat cookies and try out their magical powers, and occasionally the evil cat people report to their evil commander about how they've failed to catch the magical cat girl princess.
This show is thin on plot, even for episodes that are a mere 20 minutes long. 20 minutes! I've seen fistfights in movies that were longer and more entertaining. I've seen goddamn INFORMERCIALS where more happened. I've owned CEREAL BOXES that were fresher and more innovative. Go out to your car, open the glove box, take out your owner's manual, and read the part about how often you should change your oil and where the transmission fluid filter is, and you will have already entertained yourself up to a hundred and fifty times more than Taruto will ever entertain you. This is not a show that children will enjoy. There are no gags, a total of zero characters the audience will identify with or feel sympathy for, and nothing to mention in the way of story (story in episode 1: we moved into a new house. Is there a monster in the house? No, there is not a monster in the house. The end).
Maybe as the show progresses, it gets better. And maybe monkeys will learn to fly and pigs will live in trees, too. I'll never know. I only managed to watch an episode and a half of this atrocity; I love my eyes and my brain and can only justify torturing them in the name of anime reviewing for so long before common decency cries out "ENOUGH!" But who can say? Maybe in episode three every single character is brutally murdered by escaped convicts from an experimental prison where they treat recidivism with nuclear radiation, and the remainder of the series is replaced with reruns of episodes of Laverne and Shirley in Japanese - a scenario that, in comparison to the undoubtedly excremental remainder of Taruto, offers unparalleled vistas of television fun.
It's not even a good-looking show; usually even the most brain-dead anime show has slick character designs or zippy direction or some other redeeming visual quality. Not here. The characters all have big, dead, staring, fake CLAMP eyeballs, are thin as rails, and either wear little girl minidresses or frilly fake gothic lolita fetish maid wear. All the cat-girl characters are straight out of the stock catalog of harem-show girls. There's nothing visual about Taruto that separates it from two hundred and fifty million other anime shows, computer dating games, and telephone card advertisements.
As an exercise in just how little can actually happen in a single episode of a TV series, Taruto may have merit. And of course I already mentioned that the show might inadvertently be aiding society by keeping sexual predators off the streets and in front of their television sets. But by any standard of normal judgement - as entertainment, as storytelling, as camp, as kitsch, as cautionary example, as some sort of multi-colored distraction to prevent you from changing the channel- Taruto is a miserable, shocking failure.
I might add as a personal note that it is particularly insulting for Bandai to waste valuable resources on this dreck while Giant Gorg, a vastly superior series, languishes unreleased. Shame on you, Bandai Entertainment.
Added: Monday, June 27, 2005
Related Link: Bandai Entertainment