Midori, a little girl from a run-down family, sells paper flowers in the streets. She wishes that if she makes enough money, she can perhaps join her classmates in the school picnic. Late one night, she returns home to find her ailing mother dead -- what's more, [[{{Squick}} rats are gnawing at her private parts.]] With no one to turn to, she tries the address one customer gave her -- and comes to a seedy [[TheFreakshow freak show]] run by a money-hungry Mr. Arashi. Midori is degraded, brutalised, and forced to perform fetishistic acts on stage, until a midget illusionist comes along and takes Midori under his wings. Will Midori at last find true love and happiness? ... Well, what kind of story you think you're reading, my friend?

''Shōjo Tsubaki'' (少女椿), also known as ''Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show'', is Creator/SuehiroMaruo's most famous manga, and the work that has cemented his reputation in the west. A crude but very faithful animated adaptation has been made through the effort of one single person: Hiroshi Harada. 2016 saw to a live-action movie adaption of the story, combining real-life footage with the grotesque and surreal designs of the original manga and cartoon.
!! This work provides examples of:

* ArtShift: Midori's fever dream is partly rendered in a rounded, simplistic style common in girl mangas. The shift is quite noticeably disturbing.
* BloodSplatteredInnocents: The notorious chicken scene.
* BreakTheCutie
* CircusOfFear: Especially when the midget illusionist is angry...
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler: Midori and the midget leave the freak show for good. But he is later stabbed to death by the hermaphrodite (who had walked away from the troupe while the other members were waving Midori goodbye) when he went looking for food. An anguished Midori searches for the midget, but when she cannot find him, she believes he abandoned her. She then has a vision of the members of the freak show and the midget laughing at her. This proves to be the last straw for her and she has a vision of herself killing them. She is then left completely alone and despairing, crying all alone. The End.]]
** [[spoiler: The lyrics of the credits song imply that Midori commits suicide afterwards.]]
* EyeScream: This is by Creator/SuehiroMaruo, after all.
* FlowerMotifs: The original Japanese title "Carmelia Girl" comes from a Japanese nursery rhyme, which Midori sings at the onset.
* {{Gorn}}: It is actually quite tame by the standard of Creator/SuehiroMaruo.
* {{Hermaphrodite}}: The boy-girl, one of the members of the troupe.
* HopeSpot: There are two: the first is when a talent scout seeks out Midori; the second when she and the midget leave the freak show for good.
* InnocentFlowerGirl: Midori ''almost'' qualifies, if not for the thing she does to Mr. Arashi.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: The Snake Woman is cruel to Midori, but when other members want to lay hands on Midori, she stands out for her. Indeed, most people in the troupe are not irredeemably evil; their hearts are merely hardened by the harsh circumstances.
* KickTheDog: Literally: not only kicked, but stepped on and [[EatTheDog cooked]].
* MasterOfIllusion: Masamitsu the midget.
* ParentalAbandonment: Midori's father has walked out of the family long before the story starts.
* PublicDomainCharacter: The story is actually just one of many variations of the stock character of "[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shojo_tsubaki The Carmelia Girl]]", where the girl is sold into the circus by her parents and suffers all sorts of inconveniences there.
* RapeAsDrama
* VomitIndiscretionShot
* YankTheDogsChain: The reason for the DownerEnding.