At the moment, I’m probably more satisfied with the anime I’m following than I have been for a long time. Whenever a new season begins there’s always the temptation to try to see as much as possible, particularly as an anime blogger with the self-inflicted responsibility to talk about this stuff ad nauseum, but for the autumn at least, I resolved to take things at a slightly slower pace.
The truth is that I’m not good at following anime week-in, week-out anyway, and quite frankly, I’d much rather enjoy the anime I’m watching than to make some token effort just to keep up with everyone else. There’s definitely some new series that I’m really itching to see, but it can all wait until it’s finished.
Well, there is but one exception. I mentioned before that I’m watching Trapeze (also known as Kuchu Buranko.)
Totally the opposite of the above, this is a series I’ll watch every week without fail. It is episodic and set-up just like Bartender, but with a psychiatrist instead; each new episode brings with it a new patient and their mental illness, yet where Bartender was all about smoky, dark rooms and healing knackered office-workers, Trapeze is… different.
A quick glance may suggest that someone barfed a pack or two of M&Ms all over the screen (and that’s a good thing by the way) but better still is the integration of live action into the animation; each new patient has a stop-frame ‘real face’ (contorted, weird-looking and just plain funny) glued atop his animated body, while the pinku-esqe nurse Mayumi appears on screen as either a straight up live-action actress (played by Yumi Sugimoto) or as a blocky video-game CG mannequin circa 2004!
The aesthetic is simply outstanding in a thrift-store, punky kind of way, as if spliced together in someone’s bedroom in a matter of hours. I love how eccentric it is, how down-right funny it looks, but one should not ignore Trapeze‘s emotional qualities either. All of its absurdity is rooted within an episodic parade of very human (and occasionally, very embarrassing) disorders like obsessive-compulsiveness and… priapism!
In episode 5, a man is constantly fighting his ever-growing urge to do something embarrassing and extreme in-front of Japan’s legions of Serious Adults and uptight co-workers. It’s not often that I’ll heartily laugh at anime comedy, but this episode especially had me in stitches, and while I realise comedy is a very subjective thing, I’m sure I can’t be the only one laughing at this show, right?
Trapeze works for me every week because it is episodic; each further installment ends with a certain, dramatic finality. There are no ‘to be continued’ cliff-hangers or frustrating plot mysteries to be solved many moons later, it’s just a short, sharp injection of colour and fun, best administered in small, managable doses (The nurse Mayumi has fun with her injections, too!)