Has Shoujo Tsubaki portrayed the true conditions of Circus workplace?

Has Shoujo Tsubaki portrayed the true conditions of Circus workplace

Shoujo Tsubaki is a manga and anime film which the story of a young girl named Midori who becomes involved with a bizarre and twisted traveling circus after her parents die. The circus is filled with eccentric and grotesque characters, and we advise you to watch it at your own risk. Rather than having a well-maintained plot, it’s an anime with one sadist encounter after another, staying true to its infamous reputation of being banned in every country, including Japan itself. 

The Plot of Shoujo Tsubaki

Has Shoujo Tsubaki portrayed the true conditions of Circus workplace
Shoujo Tsubaki (Image via Link Rights Studio)

While selling camellias on the street, Midori is approached by a creepy-looking man who tells her to come to his address if she needs a place to stay. When she goes home, Midori discovers that her mother was killed in her sleep. Feeling helpless, Midori goes to meet the mysterious man and discovers that his home is a traveling circus with an assortment of strange characters.

  • This is where her torturous life starts, as the circus freaks torture and abuse Midori, driving her deeper and deeper into madness.
  • Midori befriends a litter of puppies and but they are all slaughtered by Kanabun, a circus performer. She tries to run away but is stopped by a snake woman.
  • She is assaulted by the snake woman, who tells her she will never know happiness as a human being. We are introduced to a new character Wonder Masamitsu who is a dwarf from Tokyo.

He and Midori have a creepy attraction to each other. They kiss in a field of flowers and talk about getting married. Masamitsu uses his magic to turn Midori into a giant and insists on the other circus freaks being paid more. One of the pedophilic freaks professes his love for Midori, making her “husband” jealous and he kills the other pedophile by making him sink into quicksand.

Has Shoujo Tsubaki portrayed the true conditions of Circus workplace
Shoujo Tsubaki (Image via Link Rights Studio)

After this, Midori is offered a role in a film, but her Masamitsu tears up the business card and imprisons her in a glass bottle. Masamitsu then transforms the crowd into hideous creatures, and Midori waves a fond farewell to the other performers. Believe it or not, she expresses her hope to see them again someday.

On their way to their delusional happy-ever-after, Masamitsu is stabbed by a mugger and dies, driving Midori into madness and beating the circus performers to death with a stick, leaving her alone on an infinite white plane.

Does it Portray the True Conditions of the Circus Workplace?

Has Shoujo Tsubaki portrayed the true conditions of Circus workplace
Shoujo Tsubaki (Image via Link Rights Studio)

The film portrays the circus workplace as a highly exploitative and abusive environment, where the performers endure physical and emotional torment at the hands of their sadistic manager and fellow circus members. That does not mean that the true conditions of a circus differ much from the themes shown in the anime.

Reports of sexual assault and human trafficking cases are not uncommon in this industry. Closeted by the big tents and hidden behind costumes, the perpetrators take advantage of young children who are forced to work to earn a living.

It doesn’t help that there is less monitoring and lawful intervention regarding circus operations and all control is usually under the dominant authority of the circus owner, much like in this case. Aside from human abuse, the animals are not left alone either.

Has Shoujo Tsubaki portrayed the true conditions of Circus workplace
Midori and Muchisute (Image via Link Rights Studio)
  • A PETA eyewitness visited 10 different circuses and animal training facilities, where everything that was documented was nothing more than animal abuse and suffering.
  • Circus animals, like lions, bears, tigers, and monkeys among others, are abused by workers in order to perform for the public, which is reminiscent of the way Kanabun brutally slaughters the dogs that Midori was looking after.

Conclusion

It’s worth noting that Shoujo Tsubaki is infamous for its controversial and extreme content, and it has been subject to censorship and bans in various countries. As far as the portrayal of the circus goes here, it is highly exaggerated and grotesque, intended to shock and disturb the audience rather than provide an accurate representation of real-life circus conditions.

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