Chika Gentou Gekiga: Shoujo Tsubaki


Midori

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Alternative Titles

Synonyms: Maiden Camellia, Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show
Japanese: 地下幻燈劇画 少女椿
English: Midori
More titles

Information

Type: Movie
Episodes: 1
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: May 2, 1992
Producers: Imagica
Licensors: None found, add some
Source: Manga
Genres: DramaDrama, HorrorHorror
Theme: HistoricalHistorical
Duration: 47 min.
Rating: R+ - Mild Nudity

Statistics

Score: 4.791 (scored by 2844428,444 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
Ranked: #125212
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
Popularity: #2588
Members: 54,315
Favorites: 321

External Links

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Ranked #12521Popularity #2588Members 54,315
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Synopsis

In the 1920s, a poverty-stricken 12-year-old girl named Midori resorts to selling camellias in the slums of Tokyo. Midori finds little success until, one day, she is approached by a gentleman who offers his sympathy and aid. When her bedridden mother succumbs to an illness, and with no one else to turn to, Midori visits the man's address. To her horror, she discovers that she has been conned into joining his circus troupe, Aka Neko Za—a traveling freak show consisting of vulgar and deformed performers.

Midori compares her new fairground lifestyle to hell. Not only is she responsible for caring for her colleagues and cleaning up after them, but she also is frequently belittled and cruelly abused. Suffering and uncertain of what will become of her, she finally begins to feel at ease when Wonder Masamitsu, a master illusionist, joins the lineup. Smitten by Midori's beauty and innocence, Masamitsu takes her under his wing; but even as their love grows, dark times loom ahead for Midori and her fellow freaks.

[Written by MAL Rewrite]

Background

The "Shoujo Tsubaki" or "Camellia Girl" character was a common stock protagonist regularly featured in Japanese street theater throughout the 1920s. The character typically manifested as a young and impoverished female adolescent who sold camellia flowers on the streets. One incarnation of the character features in a short story, also titled "Shouji Tsubaki," within an anthology—eventually repurposed as a full-length graphic novel by Suehiro Maruo, known as Mr. Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show in English. This, in turn, was adapted into the animated film Chika Gentou Gekiga: Shoujo Tsubaki, which roughly translates to "Underground Projected Dramatic Pictures: The Camellia Girl." The film is known simply as Midori in releases outside of Japan.

Aside from the music, sound effects, and an uncredited voice cast, the entirety of the film was created almost exclusively by Hiroshi Harada under the pseudonym "Hisaaki Etsu," who handled directing, scripting, drawing, and animating. Composer J. A. Seazer assisted with the soundtrack. Production began in 1987, the film took five years to produce, and it consists of over five thousand hand-drawn sheets of animation. Due to the film’s graphic imagery, the production received no sponsors and was instead funded using Harada’s life savings and retirement fund.

The early marketing for the film was deliberately cryptic, and Harada intended for it to only be viewed at specially held screenings. The film premiered in May 1992 under a large red tent at the Mitake Jinja Shinto Shrine in Tokyo. It was accompanied by realtime special effects, including confetti and smoke bombs. Underground theater group Aka Neko Za performed stunts from the film and interacted with the audience throughout its duration. These performances would complement the film in succeeding years, before its ban.

Chika Gentou Gekiga: Shoujo Tsubaki was screened unedited until 1994, when Japanese film censor board Eirin made 26 cuts and alterations. From 1994 to 2006, the film could only be viewed in its heavily censored state at film festival screenings and theaters. During this time, there were no home releases.

In 1999, the film was screened at the San Sebastián Horror and Fantasy Film Festival in Spain. When the tapes were returned to Japan, they were seized and destroyed by Japanese Customs at Narita Airport; it was thereafter banned from domestic imports and screenings in Japan. Nonetheless, it was specially screened at the Tokyo International Fantastic Film Festival in 2004, where it won first place in a fan vote. Directly after, a ban was placed on the film at the request of the police, which lasted eight more years in Japan.

In 2006, the French company Ciné Malta obtained the rights to release the film on DVD in its original form. This was the first time the uncensored version of Midori was accessible since screenings before 1994. The DVD also included English, Spanish, Italian, and German subtitles, as well various features—including a recorded interview with Harada and a 16-page booklet. However, the tapes initially sent to France were confiscated as "obscene material" at De Gaulle Airport due to cautionary notices attached to the shipments by Narita Airport. As of the 2010s, the film was screened frequently throughout Asia and Europe—especially the latter—but never in the United States, due to import laws regarding certain types of pornography.

In 2013, the original 16 mm negatives of the film were discovered in a warehouse belonging to Japanese post-production company IMAGICA. The film was remastered and screened in digital format, including at the Kanazawa Film Festival that same year. Regardless, Chika Gentou Gekiga: Shoujo Tsubaki will forever be notorious for its taboo content and complex history. It is in some regards considered lost media and is also considered one of the most controversial anime due to being banned almost everywhere, including in Japan.

Related Anime


Characters & Voice Actors

Snake Woman

Supporting

Jirou

Supporting

Midori's Mother

Supporting

Staff

Harada, Hiroshi
Director, Episode Director, Script, Key Animation
Maruo, Suehiro
Original Creator
Seazer, J. A.
Music
Asanuma, Kouichi
Sound Effects


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Opening Theme

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Ending Theme

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Mar 20, 2008
The movie was really great. Some people might be a little disturbed by some scenes and how the story plot goes or might not feel comfortable with the artwork, but it is to know that the director, Hiroshi Harada, drew the entire movie by himself and he wanted to make it look like a sort of japanese paper play. At first I was being dissapointed about the animation, but later it gets better and really breath takes you for some scenes. The story is wonderful , the characters are wee thought. After seing some drawings from the graphic novel it was based on ...
Oct 9, 2013
Welcome back, my friends, to horror anime month. This week I'll be looking at Midori: Shoujo Tsubaki. Yes, I know that it was supposed to be Blue Gender. My apologies, but I lost Internet service for several days and wasn't able to quite finish it. So it'll have to wait for next week. In the meantime, let's take a look at this film that was banned in Japan when it came out on account of its imagery. The film was crafted by a single man, Harada Hiroshi. Supposedly he found it impossible to gain sponsors for it and spent his life savings on the project. ...
Jul 14, 2012
Mixed Feelings
Story: 4/10

The world is not beautiful, therefore it is; a thought-provoking proverb popularized by Kino's Journey that nonetheless leaves its trail in lots of anime. Midori is in this sense the ultimate combo breaker in its determination to depict a cruel world whilst rejecting the vaguest of indications that beauty may lie around the corner. Its unpleasant worldview manifests itself perfectly in young Midori who is taken in by a group of deformed circus artists after the death of her beloved mother.

Her various experiences with these individuals are as far from beneficial as they are from being mutual and the movie is eager to explore ...

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Recent Forum Discussion

I got my hands on the lost CDROM of Midori
haydenluvsanime - Mar 16, 2021
12 replies by haydenluvsanime »»
Jul 3, 12:21 PM
Tell me I’m not alone
literally_boba - Jul 20, 2021
29 replies by MirukuSacc »»
Jul 1, 10:38 AM
Poll: Midori: Shoujo Tsubaki Episode 1 Discussion ( 1 2 )
MaxCrazy7 - Apr 27, 2011
65 replies by Xenocrisi »»
Jun 22, 2:38 AM
DO NOT WATCH THIS !!! ( 1 2 3 )
Crochax - Sep 13, 2013
100 replies by Waifuzu »»
Jun 9, 3:42 PM
Question: Any explainations about the ending?
Richardparker800 - Mar 28, 2017
4 replies by voltaxx123 »»
Apr 26, 2021 3:25 AM

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