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Anime / Earth Maiden Arjuna

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Earth Maiden Arjuna is an Anime written and directed by Shoji Kawamori and produced by Satelight and Bandai Visual. With a total of twelve episodes with an original run between January 9, 2001 - March 27, 2001 on TV Tokyo. One additional episode was included on the DVD but was included in subsequent reruns.

The story follows Juna Ariyoshi, a Japanese high school girl chosen to be the Avatar of Time and entrusted with saving the dying Earth. Opening with her trip to the beach where an accident results in her death. As Juna's spirit leaves her body, Juna sees the dying Earth, the planet's suffering is visualized by worm-like creatures, the Raaja. A young boy named Chris appears before Juna and offers to save her life if she will help the planet, she agrees and is resurrected. The series chronicles Juna's attempts to save the planet with help from international organization SEED.

Think Captain Planet and the Planeteers crossed with an existential discourse on human's role in nature note , An Inconvenient Truth and a lot of angst and Taoism. See also Blue Gender for a similar series, but in the mecha genre.

This anime provides examples of:

  • Analogy Backfire: A very visual meta version of this trope. Throughout this series the immune system and internal environment of the human body is shown as analogous to the planet environment. This is something pointed out to Juna multiple times, but she never seems to put two and two together to realize what would happen if the environment got "sick."note 
  • Author Filibuster: Chris has a checklist on Taoism and crosses subjects off the list everytime he opens his mouth.
  • Author Tract: Word of God is that this series expresses his ideas on several subjects, like, for example, natural farming and ecology.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Don't mess with Chris- he may be polite, but he is still a powerful being.
  • Big Bad: The final episode reveals that the mysterious boy Chris who gave Juna her powers is the one summoning the Raaja to save the planet from human destruction. Chris then proceeds to cause a mass blackout and nearly destroys Japan, forcing Juna to stop him and save her friends.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Juna does this a lot due to Chris's love of being cryptic. It doesn't help that, when she actually takes his statements at face value, he gets mad at her. In the final episode, the relationship turns to outright antagonism as his true intentions are revealed.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The communion scene at the end after the Heroic Sacrifice, just to stress the religious parable. Funnily enough, the symbology is Christian, while the rest of the anime is a Taoist tract (with a heroine named after a Hindu hero and lots of Hindu imagery scattered across the series, for good measure).
  • Science Is Bad: Downplayed. Technological civilization is not an intrinsically bad concept, but it will have dire consequences if humans keep using artifacts and processes that are harmful to Earth's ecology. Devastating storms, droughts, infectious disease and the poisoning of the human body are represented through a more immediate, pro-active threat in form of invisible worm Kaijus. On the other hand, the series rejects a scientific solution to the Green Aesop, and argues that trying will just make things worse.
  • Sink or Swim Mentor: Chris is rather tight-lipped on the subject of exactly what Juna's supposed to be doing or how she should accomplish it. He usually just chucks her into the action and tells her to figure it out herself, because that's the only way she will learn.
  • Space Whale Aesop: If you screw up the environment, then giant worms will rise up from the ocean, rampage across the Earth, and... provide the starving people with an alternate food source.
    • Alternatively, if you attempt to use science and technology to fix or improve the environment, giant worms will rise up from the ocean, rampage across your country, and leave your modern technology-driven civilization in ruins. Thus the moral of the story is, never try.
  • Squat's in a Name: All the Hinduist name-dropping and symbolism is just that: this Arjuna and the Hindu hero of the Baghavad Gita share nothing but being archers.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: The Meriken burgers that Juna tries and fails to eat repeatedly.
  • Transformation Sequence: Complete with Stock Footage, although it only gets used a few times.
  • Wrong Genetic Sex: One of the female ecology activists has this, with the implication that it was the result of the polluted environment.