Narutaru Ch. 50 — The Beginning of the End of the World

oops

Ch. 50 Summary: Shiina meets a mother looking for her son, a dragon child bearer whom the American military is trying to kill. Norio is raped; Shiina dies.

And you thought things were terrible before this! Don’t worry, the first nine volumes were just the warm-up.

Norio’s Death

contrast

There’s a rather uncomfortable comparison between Tsurumaru and Norio’s rapist in this chapter. The panels alternate between the two, with them both in similar poses saying similar things. Why this comparison?

bear

Tsurumaru isn’t a rapist, but I think there’s one key trait which aligns the two. As Norio himself mentions, Norio isn’t a person to either of them. The gay rapist is only interested in those with male privates. And Tsurumaru is only interested in those who can bear children.

norio_sacrifice

The title of this chapter is Consuming Light. There’s the literal light at the end when Norio’s dragon child becomes a dragon. But there’s also this: that when your own life is thrown on the scales, the life of a stranger isn’t worth anything anymore.

norio_shiina

But Norio still saves Tsurumaru and Shiina over his own life. It’s a consuming light… As is, to an extent, Shiina’s eagerness to help everyone, even those she hasn’t seen before, just from sensing them somehow.

norio_buddha

At the head, when Norio breathes his last, we see this light(?) surrounding him. I’m not sure if it’s a metaphorical laugh or the wings of her dragon child, actually. But either way, his pose here is much like a Buddha with the circle of light around the head.

Mother and Child

Robert and Jane present an exciting conflict for Shiina and friends to be drawn into. But what do they, specifically, add to the narrative?

First of all, compare Jane and Robert’s relationship with the relationship Shiina has with her mother. They’re presumably much closer, but still, in a way, alien. Jane doesn’t understand that Robert wanted to wait for death. She doesn’t know why he is hiding. And, she claims his final thoughts conveyed his love for Shiina, not for herself.

Shiina and her own mother are even further alienated (she even named Shiina a “husk”). But in her own way, Shiina’s mother does care for Shiina. We see this when she picks her up from school, where she isn’t concerned for the rules at all, and how she warns Shiina not to get involved in anything. She isn’t as oblivious as we thought. She might actually be less oblivious than Shiina’s father.

life_or_death

The other major contribution of these two, I feel, is the decision they must face. Waiting for death, or clinging to life? I expect we’ll see more of this theme in the coming chapters…

More on Dragons

We learn a few things more dragons: specifically, that Otohime can’t intervene if it has something to do with humans. But she does intervene and take Shiina to find Akira.

soul_transfer

Note also how when the dragon child transforms into a dragon this human fetus attaches itself. Creepy.

Also, we finally learn Tsurumaru’s secret, which I’ve been alluding to for ages! Finally I don’t have to beat around the bush! Now imagine all the scenes where Hoshimaru was involved before… Oh, Tsurumaru… It’s still not clear why Tsurumaru cares so much about Shiina though. Also note that there was a hint in the name. Tsurumaru (鶴丸) —> Hoshimaru (ホシ丸).

When Shiina learns about Tsurumaru’s secret, she asks herself: “What is my role?” Tsurumaru answered this very question a while ago. That Shiina’s role is “to watch, and never forget”. To be an observer.

Further Thoughts

hoshimaru_pot

Nice catch!

shiina_house

Just liked this picture. Kitoh is great at drawing junk. Which gives this interesting feel where all his characters kind of seem like slobs.

norio

RIP Norio…

2 thoughts on “Narutaru Ch. 50 — The Beginning of the End of the World

  1. Nice review, but Norio isn’t a woman nor does the narrative imply they’re trans. Please don’t misgender them.

    1. Thanks, I wrote this eight years ago and completely forgot. Plus genders are very confusing with my limited Japanese…

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