English: Welcome to Irabu's Office
Synonyms: Kuchu Buranko, Trapeze, Flying Trapeze
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 15, 2009 to Dec 24, 2009
Duration: 25 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)L represents licensing company
Score: 8.191 (scored by 7968 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular TagsNo tags found
Dec 29, 2009
The story is of Dr. Irabu, a psychiatrist who also happens to be the vice chairman in his fathers hospital. He's an incredibly skilled doctor who welcomes many patients, and his treatment is always vitamin injections. The story revolves around the people with disorders such as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), and many others. The story takes place all within ten days, December 16th to December 25th, and all the stories somehow affect one another, whether it be minutely or dramatically. Now up to this point you may think this sounds really dreary and serious, right? Wrong. The stories are very light-hearted for the most part and the comedy is boundless. There's a case where a man has an uncontrollable boner, and the only way to cure it is by forgetting his past. Crude? Yes. Hilarious? Yes. The interwoven ten day tale of the wacky doctor and his just-as-wacky patients will surely amuse you if you give it a chance.
Well. You might hate it. You might love it. But you gotta admit, it's interesting to watch. Kenji Nakamura used the same kind of art in Trapeze as he did in Mononoke. It's really cool stuff if you're a fan of his. The terrificly strange style really does help the mood of this anime, a psychedelic off-key kind of a mood - something weird. And listen here folks, this is anime is as weird as it gets. Trapeze sometimes even incorporates live-action materials like faces and bodies, once again setting it apart from the usual anime. If you liked the art styles of anime like Mononoke, Mind Game, and Gankustuou this may be the artsy-fartsy anime for you.
Character voices for Irabu are great. Whiny and shrill, loud and fast-paced, slow and chiseling - actually three different "voices" altogether (two voice actors). When Irabu changes persona's from his middle-aged man, to his bear-mask, to his child form, his voice changes and personality slightly changes as well. A really nice touch. As for the rest of the cast, nothing out of the ordinary, good voices, but nothing historic. The opening is loose and odd and fits the anime quite well, it has a good beat you might even start to hum. The ending is really great though. It fits the anime perfectly and whenever I hear it, I just feel like dancing. The ending suits the feel you get at the end of an episode of Trapeze, and that's what really counts. You have to make your catchy songs not only be catchy, but also connect to viewers emotions for more of an impact, and that's what Trapeze does.
A new character every episode? How am I supposed to like that? I won't even care for them if they just disappear in twenty minutes! Right? Wrong. A great cast of characters, just about every single one of them memorable. The recurring cast is Irabu, who I've already touched on, Mayumi - Irabu's nonchalant maid-nurse who supplies the patients with injections (and cleavage), and Fukuicchi the live-action doctor who pops up from time to time to inform the viewer about certain things he may not be familiar with (i.e. what OCD is). The interchanging cast is the patients. All appear in more than one episode, but only one episode is mainly focused on them. There's a reporter who's afraid of causing people trouble, there's a failed child actor who still thinks he's "got it", there's a baseball star who's feeling like he's lost his touch, there's even a man afraid of sharp edges. Just check them out for yourself.
Not a single episode I didn't enjoy more than the average anime. If I had to rate each episode, I'd give nine out of eleven of them a solid 10 and two of them a 9. Not too shabby. But this rating is only mine. It's not yours. If you don't like this anime, it's not because it's bad, it's because you simply *didn't like this anime*. It's a psychological show, about emotions and personal distress and what can happen to it when left alone. It's not the kind of a show with a message that reaches the world easily. All I can ask is that you try it out, and if you didn't like it after one episode don't drop it and give it a 1 out of ten (unless you seriously hated it that much, but I'd have to question your judgment skills - only watching one eleventh of something and turning it off).
Wildly different and stunning in every sense. I'd be terribly disappointed if this anime didn't win some kind of award somewhere out there, whether it be for "Strangest Anime of All Time" or what I don't know*. But this is good. Watch it, and watch more than one episode. Why not watch two? I mean, twenty minutes won't kill you if you end up enjoying it.
I guess the point I'm trying to hit home is that a lot of people drop this anime because it isn't their cup of tea, and there's nothing wrong with that. This anime deserves more than that though, it deserves a chance for all the hard work put into it for making it as off-beat as possible and I'm just trying to supply a voice to do that. Now go forth, and witness the birth of the freak known as Trapeze!
*Actually Trapeze has won a few awards since, notably it's award for best show for young adults and "the Prize for Filming Technology by Motion Picture and Television Engineering Society of Japan." read more
Dec 29, 2009
So, why should you watch it, you ask? Trapeze is a story that dares to be drastically different, with amazing writing and strong characters, while supporting a unique and engaging art style. The voice acting is top notch, and the stories are great.
Taking place mid-to-late December, the show is mostly episodic, covering the same time frame. Characters appear in episodes other than their own, lacing the entire show together and creating a living, breathing world. The stories are all very human, and most are rather touching. Every episode is strong, focusing on a patient and following him around their everyday life, and how their mental illness debilitates them.
The real showstealer is Dr. Irabu, though. His three appearances, representing the Ego, Superego, and Id, give a variety of viewpoints, and Fukuicchi gives real medical advice (kind of).
Trapeze is a show that will never be as popular as it deserves to be, because it is so incredibly different than the norm. It will never be seen for the example of what a great show is. And that is the tragedy of this comedy. read more
Jun 10, 2011
Why? That is because Trapeze is very different, or more like unconventional… But let’s just say it’s unique. Not sci-fi unique, not harem unique, not romance unique, not slice of life unique. It is simply unique. Unique in a way that nothing like an animation such as Trapeze existed before. So how unique is Trapeze you ask? It’s like Kimi ni Todoke going to war in the world of Lucky Star while driving Gundams that uses a Death Note as their weapons with the girls of K-ON! as enemies. Well not really, but there’s nothing that could be even freakier and more bizarre as Trapeze.
Trapeze is an episodic anime about a doctor trying to cure the psychological problems of people in very unusual ways. However as it deals with psychological problems, Trapeze doesn’t stray away to being something such as an intellectually numbing anime that would leave you thinking for hours. No, it is very straightforward. It deals with problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and many more common psychological problems of common people that is accompanied by a simple explanation regarding the disease. A win-win situation as it is learning while having fun.
Being episodic, a patient-of-the-week format is followed with a total of 11 patients as there are 11 episodes. All patient consultations were done between the 16th of December to the 25th which at first all look unrelated but later on would be interwoven. As some events don’t make sense or are irrelevant at first glance, during the latter half of the show, all will be correlated making everything amazing in a way.
Having a patient-of-the-week format, surely you’re now thinking that character development is very limited. Think again. The characters, or should I say patients, though not really as memorable as others, were all dissected thoroughly. Each of these patients has a unique problem that is to be cured or if not, lessened during the span of the episode. Within the duration of their treatment, they are often represented by an animal which most likely best describes the problem that the patient is facing. A funny fact is that the animal’s head replaces their human head sometimes to represent that he is now in attack by the disorder. Some of these would be a rhinoceros that clearly says that he is horny, a chameleon which states that he is unnoticeable thus he looks like he’s under a camouflage, a whimpering dog which shows that he is tough on the outside but soft on the inside and a lot more. As Trapeze progresses, you’ll most likely notice that the patients have a somewhat relationship with one or more of the other patients.
So patients introduced, where’s the doctor? The odd looking guy who wears a green bear mascot head, polka-dotted trousers, and a lab coat is the mad doctor behind this crazy psychiatric clinic who does things in a very unorthodox way whose name is Dr. Ichiro Irabu. He is simply the most mysterious and most interesting character of Trapeze. The patients or should I say Dr. Irabu’s play things are all controlled by the palm of his hand as he is the representation of their subconscious. As Sigmund Freud’s structural model of the psyche has 3 divisions, Dr. Irabu also has 3 facets. Though highly debatable, the id of the 3 facets would be the bear head-wearing Irabu as this is the most eccentric and laidback of the three, the ego would be the long-haired middle age looking Irabu that wears glasses as this is the one who is most grounded to reality and the superego would be the child-like Irabu who is calm and happy. Psychology and mystery aside, he also has a problem as he has a fetish with giving injections when not even needed, specifically vitamins.
In a clinic, a doctor will always have an assistant thus Dr. Irabu has his lovely assistant nurse called Mayumi. If there’s anyone who is very human in Trapeze then it would be Mayumi, and I mean literally. Mayumi has an anime form but is mostly seen in her human form. Anime or not, Yumi Sugimoto voiced herself and her 2D counterpart. She is a tough chick who’s into gothic fashion as displayed by her nurse attire. In correspondence to Dr. Irabu’s mysteriousness, as his assistant, they are at the same level. Not much is revealed about her aside from not having a boyfriend; she loves injecting patients with 30mL Vitamins plus some extra dose of cleavage. Hmph!
Another character that appears on each episode is the Dr. Fukuicchi who is voiced by Fukui Kenji. He explains stuff and does the medicobabble regarding the disease. He appears almost anywhere and is represented not by an anime character, but by his real face.
One very noticeable aspect of Trapeze is its artwork. The whole screen is blemished with light and flamboyant colors, a random arrangement of crosses, and messy polka-dot patterns at almost everywhere which makes the whole atmosphere be absurd and bizarre-looking as possible. Trapeze also uses real places added with freakishly bright colors which add to the oddness of the bizarro world.
As for character designs, Trapeze also has a very weird style of animating as it uses very unorthodox character outlines (like South Park) accompanied by real body parts such as faces or hands, which just adds to the freak level of this show. The people in the background are all cardboard cut-outs, and I’m not saying it because of their personality, but I mean literally. The people are all literally flat cardboards who walk in a consistent line with a never changing expression. You can even see the insides of the cardboard when they are walking sideways.
Music-wise, it uses mostly Christmas songs as the date when the story happened was mid-December but it also has its robotic techno beats and some random tunes like graduation and wedding songs. Techno too are the opening and ending song and is made by one artist (Denki Groove). The two songs namely Upside Down (OP) and Shangri-La (ED) are simply one of the most random yet most catchy retro songs that I’ve heard from an anime. Hearing those songs, it would make anyone want to groove along.
If you’re asking if there are any dull or boring moments in Trapeze, let me tell you that there is none. Trapeze never ceases to be interesting with the use of its charm and wackiness thus making viewers to always be left hanging on the edge of their seats. As humor goes, Trapeze also has a thing or two to boast.
As Trapeze reaches its conclusion, I felt completely disappointed not because of a horrible storyline or it was rushed, but because it was just 11 episodes and it made me crave for more. Nonetheless, a weird yet a very satisfactory ending from a unique and a very enjoying anime.
A simple analogy for Trapeze is it is like wasabi. Some people might hate it some might love it. The ones who tried it and loved it will find it very addicting, and that’s what Trapeze is. So why don’t you try this new brand of wasabi called Trapeze?
There may be anime out there which are different. Genre deconstruction, avoided stereotypes, philosophy be told, whatever. But nothing and I mean nothing would be as unique as Trapeze.
Trapeze however, will never be as popular as it deserved to be. Judging by its outward appearance, most people would consider it trash and would be just easily overlooked because of first impressions. Well I tell you that it is not, and it’s not even close to that. In fact it is something that is even greater than most anime are. Try to see it for yourself and who knows, you might even find yourself as one of those people who had a standing ovation for the amazing performance of the highflying Trapeze.
Aug 4, 2011
If you doubt psychiatry to the core and question why your mental state should be cracked open by strangers who think they have the right to hide you from you, then this series will probably change your mind.
Irabu, like all psychiatrists, diagnoses his patients based on their behaviors, and like all psychiatrists, he only vaguely tells them what their problems are. Instead, he gets them involved in situations where their fear, insecurity, or hidden feelings would surface and hit them hard. This method does not always guarantee success, and in fact, not all his patients are successfully treated. However, what changed in the end is that those people who are not entirely cured came in terms with their problems. They accepted who they are.
That to me is the only thing psychiatry should and can do.
The art takes some time to get use to if you haven't seen anime with real people in it, but if you keep watch, you'll get used to it and maybe even love it like I did. There are a total 11 patients but their lives cross each other's. Most of those patients know what their problems are, and one even knows the treatment, but again, the focus of this series is not on how to specifically cure OCD, PTSD, yips, etc. Any handbook would teach that. It's more on how to come in terms with these problems that get in the way of everyday life. Another way to look at it: If you see those problems as problems, they'll always get in the way. If you don't mind them, don't mind yourself being different, then you are a healthy being. That's all there is to mental health.
I think this show voices this simple fact really well.
Jun 21, 2012
The more comical elements from the series come from the immaturity of Irabu's character who while he does seem legitimately knowledgeable about the problems plaguing his patients, he often behaves selfishly for his personal amusement or gain while leaving his patients to confront their personal problems alone. Notably, Irabu takes on three different forms while tagging along with his patients in assessing how their disorders effect their everyday lives, taking on the form of a child, adult and his mouse-head form. The series also occasionally breaks the fourth wall when a real-life psychologist will interrupt the regular story and comment on different aspects of the disorder effecting a patient such as symptoms and ways to treat it.
The animation style for Kuchu Buranko definitely sticks out with its mix of live-action and 2D animation that are implemented. Close-up shots of psychologically-effected characters usually mix in live-action facial shots to enhance key scenes of when their condition effects them. It also looks like Irabu's nurse Mayumi is entirely filmed in live-action whenever she appears onscreen to either deliver shots to patients or make witty remarks at said patients. The 2D animation features brightly-colored details and usually mixes in bizarre design patterns used to reflect either the eccentricity of Irabu's character or the problems plaguing his patients. It also makes use of different cinematic effects to enhance the dramatic effect of seeing the problems of the patients unfold, such as experiencing hallucinations or seeing the heads of the character's turn into an animal head that represents the problems they are facing. The 2D animation and live-action mix does have its moments where the live-action bits stick out prominently, but they are still effective in enhancing elements to the character stories in this series.
Kuchu Buranko certainly won't be for everyone thanks to its avant-garde animation and episodic storytelling. But if you are looking for an anime title that is free of many of the conventional elements you would find in more popular titles, then Kuchu Buranko should certainly work well for you with its unique presentation and storytelling. read more
Mar 4, 2013
At face value, Kuuchuu Buranko, or Trapeze, seems like a collection of psychological case studies. Symptoms of eleven patients are examined throughout a short span that lasts for about 9 days. Patients are each given a full episode of spotlight as we join along in their rather short, but entertaining “journeys” of trying to figure out the reasons behind their conditions. True to form, Trapeze applies the biopsychosocial approach (I’ll be referencing the three parts within this review) when examining each patient. Treatments are not limited to medicine, and as in all cases, a vitamin shot or some prescription drugs aren’t enough to solve the problem (the biological approach). Psychology is no simple matter, and director Kenji Nakamura knew that in order to properly realize Hideo Okuda’s novel, he would have to stretch the boundaries of his imagination in order to make a sensible, yet highly entertaining experience.
And boy did it play out well.
Instead of explaining everything black-and-white, the story of Trapeze has two main forms of storytelling. The first is what I would call the slice-of-life style (the social approach). We get to see how each patient lives his (all the patients are male) everyday life, and we see how his condition ultimately affects his life negatively. The second form, which is much less prevalent than the first, comes through Fukuicchi, a little “doctor” who breaks the fourth wall in order to further inform us of the situation, so that the viewer doesn’t have to pause the show and google a tidbit of information that may be more obscure than usual. Both forms are nicely incorporated together, and Fukuicchi’s fun facts (try saying that 10 times fast) seldom break the pace of an episode. Moreover, a show like this risks the chance of overloading the viewer by being pretentious, vague, or complicated; however, Trapeze finds a fitting equilibrium. Although the show was difficult to watch at times, most of the material was dealt with in a pithy, but entertaining manner.
One last thing about the story that surprised me was its continuity. Despite being episodic, patients from past or future episodes might appear from time to time. Whether by being present at the same café or through interaction between patients, Trapeze finds some way to prove that it really is a small world after all without making most of these attempts seem forced. Just as how different perspectives are important in Psychology, Trapeze also emphasizes the importance of perspective in terms of its storytelling.
Providing a wide variety of different cases with different conditions (or different variations of the same condition), the story of Trapeze is definitely a unique and memorable experience.
When it comes to art and animation, many viewers would prefer an art style they are familiar with. And why wouldn’t they? After all, familiarity tends to increase liking. In today’s market, there are probably only a few different types of art styles, most of which are centered around moe characters with huge eyes or characters with Barbie-like body proportions. In other words, they’re made to look as attractive as possible. The immediate turn-off of Trapeze’s art style is that it is different. The color palette is much more diverse and character faces are made to look realistic. Often, the art style takes actual human faces and puts them on the characters. By no means is it attractive or familiar, but for some reason, I couldn’t imagine it being presented in any other way.
The art itself is a form of storytelling. After our lovely nurse Mayumi gives the lucky patient his vitamin shot, his body takes a different form. Most of the time, it is a sort of animal. What’s interesting is the animal he “transforms” into either accurately reflects the patient’s inner personality or has some other relation to the patient’s character. Whether he turns into a rhino or a rooster, there’s always a reason behind the madness. Outside of this, the scenery is rather…flamboyant. Although I am pretty sure that I missed some obscure form of symbolism through the background’s art style, sometimes the art is over-the-top and distracting. Nonetheless, despite that and some minor issues in the fluidity of the animation, the art style of Trapeze is both different and meaningful.
When it comes to looking at the sound as a whole, there are some points where Trapeze excels at and other points where it falls short. Let’s get the bad news over with first. To me, the OST was rather uninspiring. More often than not, the BGM was unnoticeable or lacking. The only tunes that really stuck out to me were the BGM that would play when Fukuicchi would come or the BGM that would play whenever Mayumi would administer a vitamin shot. Other than that, I do not have many other glaring complaints.
In terms of voice acting, most voices were done very well. The given emotion of each character was apparent in his or her voice, and some performances, such as the eccentric bear-head Irabu, were especially memorable. Small aspects such as sound effects were also well-placed. The opening, Upside Down by Denki Groove, has a memorable and catchy tune, but the vocal parts weren’t anything special. However, the ending, Shangri-La (also by Denki Groove), is a ridiculously addicting song to listen to. Like the unorthodox art style, for some odd reason, these songs just fit the series well. Overall, the entire sound set had its ups and downs. Although the series was set back by a rather forgettable OST, the excellent voice acting makes the sound set of Trapeze one I consider to be above average.
The one aspect Trapeze prides itself in the most is the tremendous amount of depth and development given to each character despite the minute amount of screen-time each is given (around 20-30 minutes per patient). This feat is accomplished through another form of storytelling that I would argue is a branch of the slice-of-life style I mentioned earlier. As viewers, we are often exposed to the patient’s inner thoughts in order to gain a better understanding of his personality (The psychological approach, there’s all 3 now). In other words, we get to see how they perceive their everyday situations. One perk of being an anime about a Psychiatrist treating patients is that we really get to know the characters inside-out.
Additionally, what makes Trapeze’s characters more brilliant is that the cast is extremely diverse. From a teenager obsessed with texting to a renowned romance novelist with a psychogenic vomiting issue, the show never shies from diversity. Tying all of these personalities together is our oddball Psychiatrist, Dr. Ichiro Irabu and his lovely nurse Mayumi. Out of all of these characters, the most interesting of the series is without a doubt, Dr. Irabu. He comes in three different sizes: a kid form, a young adult form, and a fat bear-headed form. Although that may seem odd enough, Irabu’s three different forms have three distinct personalities, each reflecting one of the three parts of Freud’s structure of the psyche. If we are going to have an anime about Psychology, why not reference Dr. Freud himself? I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is the id, ego, or superego. As for Mayumi, the viewer gets to see tidbits of her personality through interactions with the patients, but other than that, she is a character that nicely compliments Irabu.
The many risks taken in providing this colorful and memorable cast pay dividends because ultimately, Trapeze offers one of the most entertaining casts I’ve ever seen. Although I would have loved to see a female patient or two, that is a minor, personal preference that does not take away from the excellent cast this show has to offer.
Enjoyment and Overall
This series is difficult to watch; I would be lying if I said I enjoyed every minute of it. Sometimes I got distracted by the art style, and at other times I got lost following the abrupt transitions of many episodes. For being labeled as a comedy, I wouldn’t say there were many moments that made me fall off of my chair, but there were many scenes that were worth a chuckle. Haphazardly labeled as a drama by this site for some odd reason, I would say the most dramatic it really gets is in the last episode.
Nonetheless, the overall experience was rather entertaining and – keyword – unique. This is definitely an anime I would recommend watching if not for the sake of just experiencing it, but for really enjoying what this series has to offer. If the art style or pacing turns you off after an episode, chances are you won’t enjoy the rest of the series. However, if you are willing to try and complete an anime that goes outside of your comfort zone, I would not hesitate in recommending Trapeze.
*see my rating scale under the about me section of my profile for general interpretations of my ratings*
Also forgive me for my rather juvenile references to Psychology. I’m no expert, and I don’t mean to offend anyone who is.
Nov 25, 2010
Kuuchuu Buranko is a truly brilliant and ‘different’ Anime that will blow your mind, it is a very weird show that will likely not apeal to a lot of people because it is so experimental.
It continuously repeats the dates 16th through to the 24th of December and follows Irabu a psychatrist as he deals with his patients.
There isn’t much of a story and is made up of eleven different cases spread across eleven episodes, although each episode deals with one character, they all turn up in other episodes either interacting with the episodes patient or just appearing in the background.
The artwork is rather unique, each character is drawn like you would see in a regular Anime but is also portrayed by a real live actor whos face mingles with the drawn hair and clothes, by doing this it helps give the show it surealness. Backgrounds are always drawn well and are full of different colors and shapes, you won’t find a boring grey concrete building here. people that apear on the street are drawn as cardboard cutouts as they walk. Animation is decent, for this style of show, super smooth animation is needed, there arn’t many sequences that need the animation as everything is jittery or jumpy which gives Kuuchuu Buranko its identity.
The opening song is a cool song that uses some English lines, it also has some interesting visuals, the ending theme song includes a little rap but is mostly a pop song. Background music is genrally well fitted, and although not as unique as the opening, it does help give various scenes. Voice work is ok, Irabu has three different voices all fit his weird character(s).
The characters are what really make this show, Irabu is an extremly excentric psychiatrist that appears as three different versions of himself, a fat guy with a bear head costume, a regular dude with smale bear ears, and a small child with an overly big white coat, and they miracualously change during a scene which none of the characters seem to mention, and also has a love (fetish) for injeections. Mayumi, Irabus nurse provides the patient with there injection, and as noted isn’t very good and one does wonder if she really is a trained nurse or not. The characters that come to Irabu as patients all come with various symptoms and conditions including, yips, various obbsesive compulisve dissorders, and narcissm, they each have there own backgrounds and reasons for developing the issues, they all are given an animals head after there injection which can appear at any time. We also have Fukuicchi who apears out of a cut-out door and speaks to the viewers (us) and explains various information about the cases that appear, and can also have some good advice if you happen to have any of the symptoms from the show.
Overall you will not find many shows like this, its simply unique and extremly fun to watch Irabu and how he deals with things. If you think it isn’t your kind of Anime so you will drop, that fair, but it is show that should be given a decent chance. read more
Aug 2, 2013
I'll admit that upon starting the show I was a bit apprehensive myself, but by the second episode I was hooked. The thing that probably turns most people off- the art style- quickly became one of my favorite things about the show. The style, which manages to be both realistic and surrealistic, fits the show perfectly, and I can hardly imagine any other style working as well for this series.
The show is episodic in format, with each episode following a different patient of the eccentric Dr. Irabu. In each episode, Irabu's assistant, Mayumi, gives each patient an injection which usually temporarily turns them into an animal. In any given episode it's not uncommon to see other patients and events from past episodes transpiring in the background. The different patients' cases are all very interesting and sometimes even touching, and the resolution of each episode feels satisfying and complete.
Without a doubt, though, my favorite part of the show was the two recurring characters, Dr. Irabu and Mayumi. At first I figured Irabu and Mayumi would be static characters who were simply there to spice up the show. This is not the case, though. I was delighted to find that we actually discover a few things about Mayumi and her personality, and I ended up really enjoying her character. And I think it's safe to say that Irabu is the driving force of the show, helping his patients work through their problems in unconventional but effective ways and just being delightfully strange in general.
I would say the art and characters are the most outstanding parts of this show, but it should be noted that the voice acting and opening and ending songs are excellent and that the show is just really enjoyable to watch altogether. It's sad that a show this good isn't talked about more. read more
Nov 2, 2011
Before I move on, I must mention a western comedy movie, starring Robert De Niro. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0122933/
The premise of “Analyze This” is quite similar; a mafia boss has psychological problems and his familia rush to fetch him a psychiatrist to help him deal with his issues before his rivals off him for the seat. It was an ok film, making fun of stereotypes in a light way.
Kuuchu Buranko though is not that easy to watch. In fact, it is very hard as the problems all the patients have are of deviant nature that makes them look pitiful and repulsive. You can of course like them for the problematic people they are (perfect people are extremely boring in fiction) but still they don’t escape the fact they are one-episode characters (aside from the doctor and his aids that is). That means, all the time you are given to get attached to them is approximately 20 minutes, thus once again it is very hard to get to understand and sympathize with their problems. And even if you do, you won’t be seeing them again so WHAT’S THE POINT? As for the doctor and his aids, a super sexy nurse and a weird narrator who pops up to explain disorders, you get ZERO exposition around their lives. They end up being static overseers so not even them manage to win you, apart from their quirky antiques.
Being episodic in plot, means that there barely is any story to go around. Each case is a stand-alone, and despite some tiny bits of each one affecting later characters, or each case being considered closed by the end of the episode, it is still a show where nothing interweaving and long-termed ever happens. Which was also the reason I wasn’t thrilled with the otherwise interesting premise. Psychological problems are topics that can last more episodes than a perpetual on-going shounen because of their perplexity and slow recovery, and instead I get 20 minutes? How can I possibly find the time to like it? Especially when some jokes are recurring and each case is handled with an almost identical storyboard. It is so easy to get bored.
What are definitely not boring though are the production values. Animation and artwork are extremely artistic and bizarre, and make the series to be standing out from any other anime ever made. That is not an easy thing to accomplish. Just like the patients, everything else in the show is also made to look weird. REALLY WEIRD. The characters transform to animals that is a depiction of their mentality, while live action scenes blend in with the 2D animation to make everything look trippy. The weirdest of them all is the doctor himself, who depending on the situation has no more than three different appearances. All that contribute into making you feel the madness each character has in his head, a thing which I liked a lot. Something similar can be said about the soundtrack and the voice acting, which are again very uplifting and quirky, fitting with the rest of the show perfectly.
Unfortunately, the show tends to bet too much on just its looks and sounds to win the audience, a thing which as I said earlier is a very hard thing to work for most. Most people tend to care about the characters being sympathetic and as much as this show tries, being episodic kinda ruins it. This is what makes the much older FLCL to feel superior; equally crazy visuals and weird psychological stuff all over the place but the main characters were the same all the way and by the end of the show you really felt a connection to them (good or bad) exactly because they didn’t switch every 20 minutes.
There is of course another audience who will definitely like it a lot. That would be the ones who love a show as long as they like its premise and presentation, and completely disregarding other elements, such as character presence, smooth pacing, or even directing. To the far more emotionally sensitive people, this will be a rail coaster of laughs, gasps, and nods; so sure it can work if it is shown to the proper audience. And what a coincidence, this is a NoitanimA title, which automatically means it has older teens and above women as its prime target audience. Since all us males know very well what a tsunami of emotions a woman’s psyche is, I am sure Trapeze is pressing all the proper buttons to be likable to them. As for me? Well, I am a cynical male bastard.
… and I have already watched Analyze This and FLCL. read more
Dec 9, 2013
However, if as soon as Dr. Irabu makes his/her/its entrance, you also can't help but smile, after the first few minutes of 'What is this?', 'Are they real people?', 'Is she?... Well, at least Those Are real!', chances are, you will also end up loving this show. As long as its art style doesn't become a deterrent, but rather just something refreshing and unique, most people should be able to enjoy these five hours of mildly-psychotic, everyday characters, and the way Irabu helps every one of them cope with themselves.
A story perfectly woven together, a lovable main character, an interesting premise that doesn't try too hard to be 'deep', or intellectual, when the show itself is about psychology, and a rather fitting ending to an overall enjoyable series. I do not mind writing my first review for a show I knew I loved by the time it had concluded with a rather overused, but entirely true sentence, on a black frame; and just because of that it gets a 9! As well as my unrequited love... read more