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: 8.161 (scored by 9388 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
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Apr 15, 2014
Everybody has problems, everybody has fears, everybody needs help sometimes, but despite being as flawed as we are society seamlessly moves forward and knowingly or not we are each an important gear in advancing our culture and world.
Kuuchuu Buranko is an artistic, psychedelic expression of problems or doubts we have and getting through them or bettering ourselves. Some of us have common fears and anxieties from not being able to deal with our families and trying to run away, to maybe some stranger problems like uncontrollable erections, as well as everything in-between. Those are the types of experiences we handle in this show, I say experiences because they are 'representations' of real life problems and feel very human to the core despite being very surreal and seemingly visceral on the outside. It presents various psychological problems in a visual way, makes the unseen seen as they attempt to rip out the problem at its root.
These problems and the characters suffering from them are dealt with in an episodic, case-by-case nature giving them all the time necessary for a self-contained journey of self-realization or epiphany that is pushed along by our central characters Ichiro Irabu, an eccentric, care-free psychiatrist with an injection fetish and a generally strange method of treatment as well as Mayumi, his sexy, somewhat cold nurse. The main characters I feel however, are the patients of each episode with Irabu and Mayumi there to help guide them to the path of recovery, but not outright curing them, making every episode cathartic and full of character development. Some of the outcomes are very blatant with their problems being completely solved, some of them are more subtle and only put them on the right mindset to recovery, but each and every one of them is educational, inspiring, full of catharsis, and a batshit crazy mind-trip that may seem random but is actually very precise and well-coordinated. That isn't to say that there aren't some weaker episodes, there definitely are but they all have a great sense of purpose and still manage to give you something to think about or reflect on. The finale may not be a grand-stand that makes its episodic nature into something more but it really puts an emphasis on the themes of the show and wraps it all up very nicely. All the events are actually linked together, not in a high impact epiphanic way but in a way that's meaningful to the show's purpose and ideas.
Our characters may not be the most fleshed-out but they're very engaging, sympathizable, and most importantly, human. Some of them are defined by their problems, some of them aren't but there's always a degree of depth to them that makes up for episodes of over-arching screentime with sheer writing quality. Kuuchuu always puts it's heart and soul into its themes and characters, always lively and ambitious but never pretentious or insincere. Sometimes the writing can seem sloppy here-and-there but despite that it proves itself as a masterful work with lots of meaning, artistry, expression, and heart.
I described this show as "surreal" or as a "batshit crazy mind-trip" and that's largely to do with its art direction. It's an interesting culmination of traditional style anime with lots of vibrant colors, real-life people or backgrounds, and rotoscoping. I know when I say rotoscoping a lot of you want to run for the hills, but here it works quite nicely. It's used in more of a comedic way or to properly emit facial expression, mostly comedic though. If I made the show sound like it's entirely serious up to this point, that's definitely not the case. It's really charming and extremely goofy in presentation, while also being dark and strong on its themes, the show knows exactly when to take itself seriously and when to throw in some great satire. There's never a jarring tone-shift and its comedy really works, atleast from my perspective. Back to the art, Kuuchuu features a ton of visual metaphor and is fairly heavy on symbolism, it doesn't use its symbolism as a crutch to make sense but it certainly adds a lot of content to the show. If you're the type to look deep into those types of things then you'll definitely get a lot more out of this show. All-in-all though the show just looks great, has tons of flair and style with lots of meaning to it, it's not just trying to look different for the sake of being different.
The voice acting is stellar to say the least. Everyone gives a really convincing performance and really brings their character to life, most notably Paku Romi and Mitsuya Yuji as Irabu, he has multiple voice actors as he is represented by three different appearances according to the personality traits he's displaying, but there's assuredly other reasons as well, he's shown as: A large man in a bear outfit, a child, and kind of a middle more 'normal' form. His seiyuus really bring out his personality and capture all his little quirks perfectly, I can't imagine him with different seiyuus. Kuuchuu also features an interesting soundtrack full of music that's kind of reminiscent of eurodance or technopop including the OP and ED which are really catchy and emits the feeling of the show pretty well.
Kuuchuu Buranko is truly an artistic gem with a ton of merit. It doesn't shake off being formulaic, a problem most episodic shows have. However, it manages to be incredibly engaging despite that with it's zany narrative and art direction, human characters, solid comedy, great foreshadowing, and fantastic execution of it's themes. If you're a fan of psychological anime, willing go out of your comfort zone in terms of visuals, and don't mind episodic shows then I fully recommend this, you're in for a very powerful and different experience.
Overall: 8/10 read more
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
Nov 19, 2014
The story of Kuuchuu Buranko is an episodic one revolving around a psychiatrist by the name of Irabu who works in the psychiatric ward of the Irabu General Hospital. Each episode has another patient coming to see Irabu to have him solve their psychological problems which are represented in a really exaggerated way. One character suffers from a perma-boner while another is terrified of all sharp objects and is yet a member of the yakuza. Most of the psychological problems are presented in a really visual and crazy way in order to really express their effect of the patient’s daily life.Each story is loosely tied to the others but there is no single event that completely ties them all together like the last two episodes of Tatami Galaxy, but that being said each one stands alone very strongly and managing to be very engaging. These episodes also tend to vary in terms of tone most are somewhat comedic in an ironic sense such as the yakuza member who is scared of sharp objects that I mentioned earlier while others can be really emotional like episodes 10. Despite Irabu’s skill as a doctor he can’t always fully cure each patient’s disorder a lot of the time he just finds a way for them to effectively cope with it. Despite that each episode ends on a very cathartic note leaving the viewer with a good taste in his mouth.
The characters in Kuuchuu Buranko are very good despite the fact that most of the cast only appears for one episode. Irabu himself is a very lovable main character, he is eccentric, crazy, and somewhat psychedelic. Hell there are even parts of the anime where he seems straight up sadistic as he enjoys giving his patients vitamin shots just for the hell of it. The patients themselves are very well fleshed out individually. We get to see them have to deal with their disorders in their daily lives, struggle to realize the cause, and interact with Irabu in very personal ways growing close to him despite his eccentric and crazy demeanor. After growing close to these characters, which feel really human by the way and seeing them struggling to overcome themselves we finally get a cathartic moment at the end of each episode making us feel good for them. Despite the fact that this show is episodic and tackles a lot in a short time span nothing really feels rushed, we are given a lot of time to know each episode’s character and their innermost problems and conflicts. The whole process is just straight up brilliantly handled and never fails to entertain.
Kuuchuu Buranko was animated by studio Toei Animation and I have to say they couldn’t have done it better. The visuals reinforce the whole psychedelic nature of the show adding color and life to the abstract looking office that Irabu resides in and the characters. Irabu is animated in three different forms throughout the show, one with a bear mask on, one as a smug looking fellow with glasses, and the last as a child. An explanation for this is never given and it’s up to you to interpreted it anyway you want. The patients also have some cool visuals to them, first off their disorders are exaggerated to a very over the top degree from a visual standpoint, for example there is a man that vomits feathers. Also after Irabu administers his vitamin shot each episode the patient’s head transforms to that of an animal which in some way correlates to the character’s disorder for example perma boner man has a rhinoceros head… because well... rhinos have HORNS. The anime also focuses a lot on conveying the characters emotions in a very detailed way to show their sense of anxiety. This is mostly done through very well executed rotoscoping for the character’s faces. The world the characters reside in is also very stylistic, unimportant characters are drawn as one dimensional cardboard cutout… because they are one dimensional characters and the buildings outside have a very nice minimalist look to them.
Kuuchuu Buranko has one of the best soundtracks I have heard, and each track is used perfectly to fit with what's going on in the anime. The opening and ending theme have a really groovy sound to them and are extremely catchy. The voice acting is also done extremely well as all the voices fit the characters, specifically Irabu... he sounds as crazy as he looks.
Each episode of Kuuchuu Buranko was extremely fun to watch, and when I came back to re watch it I had just as much fun. I recommend this anime to anyone who enjoys anime with abstract visual styles, characters that get very well fleshed out, or just psychiatry.
Final Verdict: 9/10 Highly recommended read more
Nov 21, 2014
From a character standpoint we have a new case and character to focus on in almost every episode. The way the show tackles the theme of mental illness is by packaging individual malaises into a wide cast of characters which often interlink with the other characters flash fictions. Characters are introduced with the motivation to showcase the raw pain and suffering people can go through who suffer from mental issues. From sleep disorders, to obsessive compulsive disorders, to even extreme paranoia. No stone is left unturned with regards to how such afflictions can interrupt the most basic functions of living a decent life, how they can make simply speaking to parents a choir, or going into work almost impossible. But with that being said, the series is ultimately based on solving these problems that people face, if that’s an easy way of putting it. Sometimes it’s something you can solve on your own, other times you need a genuine push from someone who seems to care for you. That’s where our one and only constant of the series comes into the mix. Irabu Ichiro.
He’s like a cartoon version of the main character of House MD. A complete maverick psychiatrist with a fetish for giving his patients injections. But what makes him such a compelling main character in this setting is that he’s essentially a representation of a model in psychology. Namely the ego. He is three characters in one; a chubby bear wearing a labcoat, a slimmer human-like character with bear ears, and a young boy who carries a bear. Each of which cover the three forms which make up the model, the id, the ego, and the super-ego. The id is the instinctual part of our mind, the desires and impulses that differ between us, the sexual drive and aggressive nature we can take. The bear-version of Irabu no doubt represents that, as he is the one with the injection fetish and appears to be the most radical of the three when it comes to wants and desires. The ego is mediator between desires and reality, it’s the normal constant outlook you have on life. The tall slim version of Irabu makes up this part of the model, he’s the most human of the three characters, the most neutral and realistic in his approach to helping his patients tackle their difficulties. Then comes the super-ego, the one that aims for perfection, the most critical. That’s almost certainly the young version of Irabu. He is very serious and speaks in a profound analytical manner to his patients.
The creation of Irabu is very deft, more so than all the other characters put together, the constant changing in-between his current psyche is extremely well executed and makes for some entertaining interactions. The above observation is not necessarily correct, but it is something to think about and it would definitely contribute immensely to the series if that was their thinking. Otherwise Irabu served as a very interesting mediator between the mind and the real world that the characters struggle to find balance with.
At heart, Kuuchuu Buranko is a series deeply set in psychology, yet it is presented in a comedic manner for the most part to keep people engaged with topics that are otherwise very difficult to shed light on. The series suffers no less on the sound side than it does on the visuals. Like the perfect blend that it is, not only does it house melancholic piano tracks during the struggles of a character, but also somehow manages in moments of madness to inject bouncy eurodance songs into the background that you’d expect anywhere else but in this particular series. It truly is an experiment on all fronts, and I’d like to think that it was certainly a successful one.
My only gripe with the series, however small this is in all honesty, is the the way in which Irabu reaches a conclusion on someone’s illness. A character will describe their symptoms, which will in fact ‘fit’ into a category that suggests a mental illness, yet no further queries are made. The problem is established and it is instantly attached to an illness without properly examining the issue or talking through different scenarios with the character to gather more information. For me, this was exceptionally jarring and it reminded me somewhat of the self-doctoring people do when they look up symptoms they may be having online and deduce they’re ill with something completely unrelated to the illness they’re actually suffering from. I suppose the story of the show and the time allotment gives little space to further delve into the characters issues other than assuming they have a certain problem and looking to tackle it straight away. It fits the series but I would like to hope that viewers don’t take anything away from the diagnosis part of the series, as it is absolutely wrong on all accounts.
This series is definitely an entertaining watch if you’ve a mind capable of being warped for a short duration. From the same director as other visually powerful series such as Mononoke, it definitely shows promise even if just to take in the lush visuals.
Go step into Irabu’s office! 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
Feb 18, 2014
What those who choose to watch this series will immediately notice from the beginning sequences is that it's bizarre. It is bizarre in the sense that the animation switches between standard animation and live-action, and some of the imagery is so vivid and bright that they would think they were in a dream. Along with some scenes that don't make sense, Kuuchuu Buranko begins as a lost cause. To the unknowing, the series is just a mess of random characters doing unusual things with a single individual being guided by a doctor in a bear helmet. If one chooses to continue the series, the events that transpire within the first episode begin to unwind into a chronological system, wrapping and binding each and every character to ever visit the doctor into one central setting. Through whimsical determination, the plot of this series dances around our own image of a continuous, straight-forward story progression and shows that there are other ways to mend a conceivable plotline than previously possible. And it's all possible due to the star of Kuuchuu Buranko: Dr. Ichiro Irabu.
When thinking of doctors, one would expect them to be clean, fresh, professional, and straight to business. Dr. Irabu is the exact opposite of all of these traits, which automatically makes him a cliche character. However, this kind of cliche is easy to like, seeing as his charm comes from the combination of his uncharacteristically child-like antics and the pure intentions behind them. While his role in the show is to push the plot forward and to help his patients recover from their problems, the beautiful thing about this anime is that he isn't shown too much. When it comes down to it, he's a psychiatrist, and his job is to help his patients. By taking this role, he becomes only a side character when compared to his patients, the real stars of each individual episode. However, due to his forms of treatment, it's hard to form any sense of satisfaction after his patients find peace within themselves at the end of each episode, seeing as his methods only serve as a stepping stone to make way for the patients to figure out their quirks themselves. Again, this could be another example of his role as the doctor, which only makes him less obnoxious as a character in general. Not to mention, he's genuinely funny.
While Irabu and his patients are the driving force behind the story's progression and likability, there are notable side characters that also deserve some recognition. Mayumi, Dr. Irabu's "sexy nurse," is normally shown through live action shots, which make her more attractive... to some. She assists Dr. Irabu with giving each patient of his an injection shot, which both of them take extreme pleasure in. Basically, she's an assistant to comic relief. However, she also has individual scenes that give her a sense of humanism, albeit minimal. Then there is Fukuicchi, a doctor who spontaneously jumps out of mid-air to inform the viewer of facts that may not be apparent to everyone watching. He only serves as a fact machine and gives additional information towards each patient's condition. For the most part, the things said are interesting, but nothing more.
Probably the most noteworthy thing one could take from this series is its direction in art style and animation. It likes to mix between standard animation and live-action within each episode, usually with each patient, but Mayumi is normally live-action and Fukuicchi is always live-action. The amount of symbolism present with its unrealistic design also comes into play. With each injection given to Dr. Irabu's patients, said patient's head (or other limbs) turn into that of an animal, which appear whenever they struggle with their condition afterwards. Each animal represents the condition each patient has in some way, which makes for an entertaining watch. The most bizarre of issues arise with this, as Dr. Irabu and Mayumi can see these animalistic transformations, but seemingly no one else can. Whether this is supposed to represent that they can see the struggles that the patients go through or not has yet to be confirmed, but it would be a plausible theory. Other than this, specifically with the last episode, there are also visual phenomena that represent the struggles that each patient goes through outside of the realm of possibilities. It's usually dots, but other symbols are also used.
At first, I believed this series was so laced with symbolism that it was hard for me to concentrate on the story at hand, but with each passing scene, the story became so much harder to follow. It wasn't until the end of the second episode that I began to realize that while each episode feels formulaic in general, it also tries to take its time to create an ever-lasting ball of yarn, constricting each and every character together into a single, amassed creation of creativity and dots. The phrase, "Good things come to those who wait," is easily applicable to this kind of series, as Kuuchuu Buranko doesn't try to force its strengths upon arrival. It has just enough appeal to lure in the audience with its artistic design, and keeps the audience watching through its attention to detail and symbolism. Seeing as none of the central characters change between episodes one and eleven, it's hard for the viewer to feel impacted emotionally upon finishing the series, but it does provide an appreciative empathy for what truly matters: helping people in need. read more
Aug 30, 2014
Psychiatry deals with incredibly grave issues. Perhaps triggered by a past trauma, perhaps by the insufferable present; patients find themselves unable to cope with their daily lives. This gravity is what makes the eccentric Irabu Ichiro, certified psychiatrist, so bewildering a character. Accompanied by his seductive nurse Mayumi, he runs a psychiatric ward visited by people suffering from various mental disorders and are in need of consultation and treatment. The deceptively simple premise of Kuuchuu Buranko lays the groundwork for an extraordinary exploration of human mind and society.
As Kuuchuu Buranko starts playing, the first thing to catch people’s eyes is probably its distinctive artistic style, employing a mixture of animated art, live-action, and rotoscopy. The colours are vibrant and lively; abstract patterns overlaying various background objects work in conjunction with the palette to surround the viewers in a vivid ambience. As result, the atmosphere straddles the line between real and surreal. Far from a superficial attempt at adding to the psychological tone of the series, the unique style is appropriate for an investigation of the human psyche where reality mingles with imagination. The bizarreness does not move out of line: the realistic character designs and the sincerity of the stories both serve to ground the show in reality. The human mind can be an alien place, but the problems it may cause are nonetheless real.
Being an episode anime, each episode deals with a patient and a disorder. While the patients who consult doctor Irabu often display exaggerated traits or disorders, these are reflective of universal problems present in the general public. Insight into the viewer’s mind follows alongside the presentation and development of the character’s stories. Kuuchuu Buranko does not take the disorders lightly; they lead to predicaments of real severity as they do in reality. Yet, the comical depiction of the disorders give the viewers a laid-back and sometimes ironic view of the traits that they themselves often display to a milder degree. The seemingly detached standpoint on the veritably personal problems stresses the importance of perspective in psychiatry. Each episode ends on an uplifting note, but is not blindly optimistic as the disorders are not always cured. It is rather the outlook on the problems that change by the end of each episode. The psyche is shown as the dynamic and flexible being that it is
Much of the themes of Kuuchuu Buranko are perhaps best embodied by Dr Irabu himself, who constantly shifts forms between a patched-up teddybear, a young adult, and a child. At times eccentric, other times indifferent, each persona is characterised by a distinctive personality. He also seems to be capable of appearing at any place and time. As the only character without a realistic face, he can be seen more as a concept which drives the show’s characters and themes forward. In psychiatry, the source of the cure is always the patient, whereas doctors and drugs merely facilitate the patient’s self-discovery. Operating completely at his own whims and without regard to medical ethics, Irabu illustrates the importance of personalized and adaptive care instead of systematic approaches on patient treatment.
While the doctor is both entertaining and thematically dense, the real highlight of Kuuchuu Buranko is the rest of its cast. With the primary focus being characterization rather than plot progression, the patients show significant depth and development despite each being cast in only a single episode. Each episode takes a widespread problem, condenses it into a character, slowly provides perspective and insight into the problem, and ends on an immensely satisfying manner be it conclusive or not. Take episode ten, for example, in which a sentimental businessman struggles to relive his youth through his sense of duty and vehement patriotism. Rather than dealing solely with the often deceptive notion of youth, pride and strength, it also discusses the mismatch between the self we conceive and others’ conception of us. The issues dealt with are usually far broader than is apparent but do not suffer from the superficiality commonly resulting from broadness, due to the depth and effectiveness with which the specific issues are presented and developed. Kuuchuu Buranko is powerful because it knows us.
You don’t see the world as everyone else do. Every person has their own problems and imperfections. Even the nurse Mayumi, who seemingly exist solely for sexual gratification, is a human being with her own feelings and motives behind each action. She, just like everyone else, quietly and subtly supports others in her own way from the background. Without trying to truly understand and empathise with those around us, we will never see beyond face value. Do you, my friend, notice the chirping canaries that fly by your side?
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.
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
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.
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 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
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