(Contains spoilers, but this thing is like 2 minutes long anyway so who cares)
Here's an odd little thing that not many people have heard of that I felt compelled to write a review on.
I first saw Natsumi Step when I was very, very young, maybe around 11 years old. I thought the video was cute and had a positive message about leaving behind your sadness and looking forward to the future. Nothing special at all, just a cute thing to waste 2 minutes on.
The flash animation starts with our protagonist, Natsumi, boarding on a transportation device in a happy, cartoony place. Said place is filled
with odd yet cute animals, and Natsumi likes them so much that she gets off the ride to frolic with them. Flashbacks are shown from time to time, along with a necklace that Natsumi seems fond of.
The cat driver soon discovers that Natsumi has left, and goes back to pick her up. Natsumi waves goodbye to all the animals as she rides away into the sunset, where she throws the necklace into the sea. Then, the video is over, and you may feel that your time was utterly wasted on a lame flash video from 2003.
But as the synopsis so ominously says, "Things are not what it seems." At its surface it may seem childish and cute, but the real message behind it is a lot darker and not positive at all.
So what's the real story? Believe it or not, suicide and possible murder of Natsumi's ex-boyfriend.
It's heavily hinted that Natsumi committed suicide by jumping off at a train station after her boyfriend broke up with her, as shown in one of the flashbacks. The animation details her ride through heaven and eventual departure to hell.
It doesn't end there. The official website features an omake swf file of Natsumi crying. Her arms shake, then the video appears to end. However, if you right-click and click "play"... she raises a crowbar, her figure gets darker and expression more serious. Many people have taken this to mean that she killed her boyfriend with the crowbar before killing herself.
The art may be outdated and music too cutesy for some peoples' tastes, but the hidden lore surrounding the video is surprisingly interesting. Sure, the video's no masterpiece, but everyone's got 2 minutes to spare. Might as well spend it on a flash animation of a suicidal yandere girl.