Kuuchuu Buranko – Episode 2

Let’s get back to Kuuchuu Buranko! My experience with this show’s first episode was… messy. It felt like the show was embracing mixed-media visual experimentation purely for the sake of experimentation, and not in a way that facilitated any of its dramatic goals. On top of that, the show’s approach to mixed media, and its overall visual design, were just kinda ugly on the whole. “Garish” would be the generous description – the show’s incredibly loud mixture of colors and styles felt like a continuous assault on the eyes, meaning the choices that seemed to exist purely for their own visual sake didn’t even really result in a satisfying visual result. The episode felt like the results of giving a young visionary with plenty of ideas but not the most sense a blank check, which may well have been how this show started.

That said, the premiere also had to spend some time setting up its overall premise, which cut into the time that could be dedicated to instilling its narrative with some dramatic weight. If Kuuchuu Buranko can apply its wild stylistic digressions to a story with some real emotional heft to it, we might actually have a reasonable show here. Let’s see if episode two fits the bill!

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Kuuchuu Buranko – Episode 1

Alright, let’s start on an entirely new project! Today we’ll be exploring the first episode of Kuuchuu Buranko, also known as Trapeze. I’ve never watched any of Trapeze before, but I do know it’s an original project by Kenji Nakamura, he of Gatchaman Crowds/Mononoke/Tsuritama fame. I also know it’s focused on some sort of clinic where people go to get their life sorted out, that the central doctor is a little girl in a ridiculous bear costume, and that it’s possibly Nakamura’s most visually experimental work, incorporating live action footage and dramatic style digressions and all manner of other weird tricks. My own experience with Nakamura has been limited to Gatchaman Crowds, which was certainly visually compelling, but more noteworthy for its piercing exploration of modern society. That show’s political laser focus makes me assume this show will be using its episodic cases to poke at society in different ways, but I won’t know until I watch. Let’s get right to it!

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