When faced with an off-the-charts crisis, one of the first things we do is try to understand it -- that's why Japan's nuclear crisis has made a lot of us into instant experts on fuel rods, containment vessels, and cooling systems. For kids who can't master the details, though, Japanese animators have created "Nuclear Boy," which explains the problem by -- wait for it -- substituting poop for nuclear material.
The Nuclear Boy character was created by a Japanese artist, Hachiya Kazuhiko; in a New York Times interview, he explains that after he posted about Nuclear Boy on Twitter, one reader turned it into a comic strip. Then an anonymous professional animator turned the story into an animated short. (According to the website The Daily What, it's been shown on Japanese national TV. I can't confirm that, but it has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube.)
The cartoon is actually a pretty good explanation of what's going on with the reactors; the video even compares Nuclear Boy to Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Personifying the reactors as "Nuclear Boy" does lend the whole presentation a surreal feeling, though. "I will pray for people in Fukushima that peace will come to them soon," the video concludes. "That's the least we can do for receiving Nuclear Boy's energy for so many years."
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