Starving Anonymous introduces us to Ie, arguably one of the most useless protagonists I’ve ever come across. He wants to be an artist and has a photographic memory, making him 5% useful. On a bus with his ride or die Kazu, they’re both drugged and wake up in a facility called “the Cradle” full of nude people being fattened for the slaughter. Literally. Humans are being bred and fed to giant, insect-like creatures for unknown reasons.
Never fear – plot armor keeps Ie alive long enough to be saved several times by Natsune, a six year old grown man who can regenerate his body parts and wants to kill all 1000000+ insects singlehandedly, and Yamabuki, a bisexual genius who gets turned on by people being eaten by those… insects.
What follows is loads of gore as Ie and the squad unsuccessfully attempt to escape the Cradle amidst a slew of corruption and human evil. Of course we have a classic mad scientist experimenting on humans for the evulz who exists solely to add more misery to an already miserable tale, but a good chunk of the bad guys attempt to justify what they’re doing by saying it’s for the good of humanity… which it sort of was.
Anyway, all escape attempts are futile. Ie gets captured, rescued by
plot armor Natsune, and eventually things take a turn from the worst after the HBIC of insects manages to free them all and eradicate 40% of humanity in the process. Also Trump makes an appearance, which I found hilarious.
Natsune and Yamabuki (who can give birth to baby Natsunes by eating his flesh?????) hatch a wild plan to give birth to a bunch of… baby Natsunes and feed them to the insects, dooming Natsune to a life of eternal regeneration and pain as he’s eaten alive but effectively sealing all the creatures inside the Cradle because they have an endless supply of… food… It’s incredibly hard to explain what happens, which is why I won’t really bother.
The plan works. The creatures all return to the Cradle once their eternal meal ticket arrives, Yamabuki gives birth until he dies (??) High-key bizarre but at this point I was far too invested in this foolishness to quit.
Ie, who has been useless up to this point, remains in character and leaves Natsune to his fate as forever replicating human meat. The Cradle is eventually destroyed by the government and humanity slowly recovers from the alien insect apocalypse.
3 years later, Ie returns to the Cradle’s ruins still guilt-ridden
over how utterly useless he was over leaving Natsune and starts digging up the ground I assume in an attempt to dig his friend out (who definitely couldn’t have liked died of oxygen deprivation or something). He fails, faints, chats with a talking lizard, and has a dream in which Natsune and Yamabuki are alive and well; they explain some weird pseudoscience that eventually Natsune’s ever regenerating body got some disease, which became deadly to the alien insects and killed them all, which was the plan all along. Ie is happy and invites them home, but it’s very clear they’re both dead and he’s hallucinating.
Ie wakes up and his homeboy, Kazu, is like “where were you, bro, I was worried but I knew you’d be here.” The story ends full circle, more or less, with the bus having just arrived. Hopefully, they won’t be going back to another fake nuclear facility full of human eating insects (though apparently there is a sequel…).
Starving Anonymous dances with some interesting themes, the main being is it okay to sacrifice some for the sake of many? Shockingly, the government isn’t completely useless and evil as is typical in fiction and real life, but instead are attempting to appease these alien insectoids insatiable appetites in exchange for preventing global warming and presumably the destruction of humanity. Alien critters whose own greed and bottomless appetites ironically destroyed their own world after they consumed everything on it.
The story is full of several twists, but unfortunately falls prey to “edgy for the sake of being edgy” of which as I read, I was like “Yes, these creatures l o v e ripping people limb from limb and tossing their guts and heads across the floor, much to the shock of the MC who does nothing but gawk. Can we move on to the actual plot now?” Like 20 chapters probably could’ve been cut from this with no real loss given that the plot seemed to lose itself about halfway through.
Furthermore, much of the world building was done via flashbacks, the characters were semi-fleshed out but could’ve all been more interesting. There appeared to be a slight attempt at some sort of commentary on capitalism and the exploitation of a few for the benefit of many, as well as the perils of greed and climate change, but the execution of these ideas ultimately got loss in a festoon of guts, blood, and assault.
Nevertheless, the story ends on a sweetly bitter note that’s oddly satisfactory and if you’re a depraved soul like myself, you’ll probably be entertained.
Starving Anonymous Rating: 7/10.