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Kūchū Buranko  
Author Hideo Okuda (奥田英朗)
Original title 空中ブランコ
Kūchū Buranko
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Series Seishinkai Irabu sirīzu (精神科医・伊良部シリーズ The Psychiatrist Irabu series ?)
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher Bungeishunju (JPN)
Publication date April 24, 2004
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 265 pp
ISBN 978-4-16-322870-9

Kūchū Buranko (空中ブランコ ?, "Flying trapezes") is a Japanese short novel and a title of a collection of short stories written by Hideo Okuda (奥田 英朗 Okuda Hideo ?), and is the second volume of "Seishinkai Irabu sirīzu (精神科医・伊良部シリーズ The Psychiatrist Irabu series ?)". It was originally published by Bungeishunju in 2004. It received the 131st Naoki Prize.

Kūchū Buranko has also been adapted into a TV drama, a stage play and a Japanese animated television series.

Contents

Prize

Kūchū Buranko was awarded the 131st Naoki Prize (given for a novel published in the first half of 2004).

Short stories contained in this book

  • Kūchū Buranko (空中ブランコ ?, "Flying trapezes") (the first publishing: "All Yomimono", January, 2003 issue)
  • Harinezumi (ハリネズミ ?, "Hedgehog") (the first publishing: "All Yomimono", July, 2003 issue)
  • Gifu no Zura (義父のヅラ ?, "The wig of the father-in-law") (the first publishing: "All Yomimono", October, 2003 issue, Kyōju no Zura (教授のヅラ ?, "The wig of the professor") was retitled and was corrected)
  • Hot Corner (ホットコーナー ?, "Third base")[1] (the first publishing: "All Yomimono", April, 2003 issue)
  • Joryū Sakka (女流作家 ?, "Chick-lit writer") (the first publishing: "All Yomimono", January, 2004 issue)
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Characters

Ichiro Irabu (伊良部 一郎 ?)
Irabu is a psychiatrist from the Irabu General Hospital. He is fat and pale skinned, with a fetish for administering injections to patients. An unreasonable and rather immature person, he normally ignores Yamashita's plights while challenging him to mid-air trapeze flying due to his self proclaimed "light-weightedness." During his student days, he frequently misunderstood his lectures. Treated as a general nuisance at the School of Medicine, he entered pediatrics soon after graduation. However, due to claims of his tantrums and quarrels with child patients, he switched to psychiatry instead. Doubts remain about his actual grades.
Mayumi (マユミ ?)
Mayumi is a nurse of psychiatry and an assistant of Irabu. An F Cupped beauty, she is quite taciturn and blunt. She enjoys wearing gaudy and revealing clothing; once during a house call with Irabu, she wore leopard-patterned hotpants.
Kohei Yamashita (山下 公平 ?)
Protagonist of "Kūchū Buranko." He is a member of circus troupe of seven years and is a leader of a flying trapeze team. Both parents are fellow members. After suffering repeated failures on the trapeze act he, he visits a psychiatrist on his wife's and fellow members' advice. Due to his failure during a act, he believes his partner is harassing him.
Seiji Ino (猪野 誠司 ?)
Protagonist of "Harinezumi." He is an underboss of the yakuza "Kioi family" from Shibuya. He suffers from such serious trypanophobia that he cannot use chopsticks. Instead he uses a spoon at meals. He takes a psychiatric test on his common-law wife’s advice.
Tatsuro Ikeyama (池山 達郎 ?)
Protagonist of "Gifu no Zura." He is a university lecturer and is a doctor of neurology working in a University-affiliated hospital. His father of law is the Dean of the School of Medicine, which supposedly could aid in his future employment prospects. A classmate of Irabu's during their college days. He has a type of obsessive-compulsive neurosis that compels him to force any place of tidiness into disarray. This disorder is so strong, that with just one glance at it, Ikeyama becomes agonized with the impulse of wanting to strip off his father-in-law's wig.
Shinichi Bando (坂東 真一 ?)
Protagonist of "Hot Corner." He is a pro-baseball player and is ten-year veteran third baseman. He suffered from yips, and he leaves the first team by pretending to have an injured right shoulder.
Aiko Hoshiyama (星山 愛子 ?)
Hoshiyama is a leading character of "Joryū Sakka." She is a popular novelist known for her stories which "express the subtleties of the hearts of today's urban men and women." While working on her newest story, she becomes ill at ease with writing new material. After relapsing into a continued state of compulsive vomiting which had been previously been cured for 2 years, she consults psychiatry.

TV drama

A single episode TV drama was produced and broadcast by Fuji Television on May 27, 2005.

The cast

The staff

  • Original: Kūchū Buranko (空中ブランコ Trapeze ?) written by Hideo Okuda (Bungeishunju Ltd.)
  • Planning: Akihiro Arai, Kenichiro Yasuhara(Fuji Television)
  • Script: Hiroshi Hashimoto
  • Producer: Shizuo Sekiguchi, Fumi Hashimoto(Kyodo Television
  • Direction: Masanori Murakami(Kyodo Television)
  • Production: Fuji Television, Kyodo Television

Stage play

The stage play version was performed from April 20, 2008 in Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space.

  • Sponsor: TV Asahi, Dentsu
  • Planning and Production: Atelier Duncan, Dentsu

The cast

  • Ichiro Irabu (Hiroyuki Miyasako)
  • Mayumi (Eriko Sato)
  • Kohei Yamashita (Kenji Sakamoto)

The staff

  • Original: Kūchū Buranko (空中ブランコ Trapeze ?) written by Hideo Okuda (Bungeishunju Ltd.)
  • Script: Yutaka Kuramochi
  • Direction: Masahiko Kawahara

TV anime

A TV anime version is currently airing in Fuji Television's noitamina slot. This story is a series of occurrences for about one week from the 17th to Christmas of December which happens to each characters who live in Tokyo. And it is linked with broadcast time. The chief characters of each episode appear also as a supporting player of other episode. This anime is the "hybrid animation" for which "Live-action", "Rotoscoping", "2D animation", and "The composite images of them" were used for every scene.

The staff

  • Original: In The Pool (イン・ザ・プール ?), Kūchū Buranko (空中ブランコ Trapeze ?), Chōchō Senkyo (町長選挙 Mayoral Election ?) written by Hideo Okuda (Bungeishunju Ltd.)
  • Director: Kenji Nakamura
  • Character design & Chief anime director: Takashi Hashimoto
  • Scriptwriter-in-chief: Manabu Ishikawa
  • Screenplay: Manabu Ishikawa, Isao Murayama, Tomoko Taguchi
  • Art design: Shoji Tokiwa
  • Color setting: Rumiko Nagai
  • CG director: Nobuhiro Morita
  • Photography director: Kazuhiro Yamada
  • Sound director: Yukio Nagasaki
  • Music: Hideharu Mori
  • Assistance of the direction: Kimitoshi Chioka
  • Production: Toei Animation

Theme songs

  • Opening theme: Upside Down by Denki Groove
  • Ending theme: Shangri-La (Y.Sunahara 2009 Remodel) by Denki Groove

Characters

Ichiro Irabu (伊良部 一郎 ?)
Voiced by: Yuji Mitsuya as Big & Middle Irabu
Voiced by: Romi Paku as Little Irabu
Dr. Irabu is son of the founder of the Irabu General Hospital. Irabu is a psychiatrist with a care-free and childlike personality. He changes appearance throughout scenes. In his first form, he is slightly overweight wearing bright clothes under his labcoat with a large green bear head that can change expression to suit his. "Middle Irabu" is slimmer, wearing his normal attire. In this form he has long blond hair, red glasses, and a pair of green bear ears. His personality in this form is notably effeminate. His final form is "little Irabu" (him as a boy), with an over sized lab coat, and shorts instead of trousers. He is quite mellow in this form, but can get ecstatic.
Irabu has a strange angle to his line of medicine, insisting that all his patients have a vitamin shot (Irabu has a fetish for injections) and insisting that his patients face their problems head on. He is seen by other psychiatrists as obscene and childish, although his treatments seem to work.
Mayumi (マユミ ?)
Performed by: Yumi Sugimoto
A sullen nurse who serves as Irabu's assistant. She wears a revealing nurse's uniform and uses her sex appeal to distract patients while giving injections. In the episode "friends" it's revealed that she prefers to be alone because it is easier, and that she's into men who are lone wolves, like her. She doesn't have a cell phone, but uses one at the end of episode 6 to contact with Yuta, the patient from the "Friends" episode.
Fukuicchi
A psychiatrist who is not actually part of the story but frequently halts scenes and pops in via a door-like cut from the stopped picture to provide medical commentary.
Kohei Yamashita (山下 公平 ?)
Performed by: Toshiyuki Morikawa
He is an aerialist who repeats failure.
Tetsuya Taguchi (田口 哲也 ?)
Performed by: Takahiro Sakurai
He is a public servant at the ward office who has a constantly erect penis, due to emotional issues at work and with his ex-wife.
Jun’ichi Hoshiyama (星山 純一 ?)
Performed by: Shinichiro Miki
He is a romance novelist suffering from OCD, he believes that he has already done the ideas that come to his head for new books.
Shin’ichi Bando (坂東 真一 ?)
Performed by: Daisuke Namikawa
He is a pro-baseball player troubled with yips, brought on by a younger and popular contender for his spot.
Tatsuro Ikeyama (池山 達郎 ?)
performed by: Hiroaki Hirata
He is a college lecturer and is a doctor of neurology, he has Compulsive obsessions to do destructive and strange things.
Yuta Tsuda (津田 雄太 ?)
Performed by: Miyu Irino
He is a high school student, who has a mobile phone addiction.
Seiji Ino (猪野 誠司 ?)
Performed by: Hiroki Takahashi
He is a yakuza, who has an obsessive compulsive fear of edges.
Yoshi Iwamura (岩村 義雄 ?)
Performed by: Mitsuo Iwata
He is diagnosing him as obsessive-compulsive neurosis by himself.
Hiromi Yasukawa (安川 ヒロミ ?)
Performed by: Wataru Hatano
He is an actor.
Mitsuo Tanabe (田辺 満男 ?)
Performed by: Ryotaro Okiayu
He is the representative director chairman of the newspaper publishing company.
Hideo Tsuda (津田 秀雄 ?)
Performed by: Tōru Furuya
Assistant Manager of the Paramedic Department, Irabu General Hospital. Father of Yuta Tsuda.

List of episodes

The plot of each episode follows a common thread. Irabu is consulted by a patient suffering from a psychological problem or a problem where other medical approaches have been exhausted. Each of the patients are represented as an animal which head their head will morph into in some scenes after Mayumi administered a vitamin shot to them. Each patient somehow ties into one another, for example the first patient meets with the second patient and the 7th patient, all in the first episode. Each episode is set around the dates 18-24 December.

# Title Original air date
01 "Flying trapeze"
"Kūchū Buranko" (空中ブランコ) 
October 15, 2009
Kohei Yamashita (山下 公平 ?) (voiced by: Toshiyuki Morikawa) is an aerialist who repeatedly misses his partners in his trapeze act. He blames the newly recruited foreign circus artists and grows distant and distrusting of them. Due to the stress of getting his act together for an upcoming performance he has developed a sleep disorder and anxiety problems. He is represented by a penguin
02 "keep on erecting"
"Tachippanashi" (勃ちっぱなし) 
October 22, 2009
Tetsuya Taguchi (田口 哲也 ?) (voiced by Takahiro Sakurai), public servant at the ward office, has developed an erectile dysfunction (a constantly erect penis) due to emotional issues at work and with his ex-wife. He is represented by a rhino with a dotted horn. 
03 "Romance novelist"
"Ren’ai Shōsetsuka" (恋愛小説家) 
October 29, 2009
Romance novelist Jun’ichi Hoshiyama (星山 純一 ?) (voiced by Shinichiro Miki) suffering from OCD and psychogenic induced vomiting. He believes that he has already done the ideas that come to his head for new books. His animal form is a rooster and the scenes of vomiting are overlayed by pink feathers flying through the air. 
04 "The third base"
"Hotto Kōnā" (ホットコーナー) 
November 5, 32009
Shin’ichi Bando (坂東 真一 ?) (voiced by Daisuke Namikawa), a superstar pro-baseball player and third baseman for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, is troubled by yips as he suddenly can not throw the ball anymore. This problem is brought on by a younger and more popular contender for his position on the team. He appears as a red horse with blue hair after the vitamin shot. 
05 "That of father-in-law"
"Gifu no Are" (義父のアレ) 
November 12, 2009
Tatsuro Ikeyama (池山 達郎 ?) (voiced by Hiroaki Hirata), is a neurology lecturer who has obsessive compulsions to do inappropriate things, such as: dump a dump truck's load waiting at traffic lights, Hang and swing on chandeliers, change the channel to watch baseball while his family watches kabuki, and to remove the toupee of his father-in-law who is also a lecturer. In the latter Irabu helps Tatsuro remove his father-in-law's toupee while he is asleep "supervising" students doing exams, as well as fart in a full elevator and pin the blame on another doctor. The cause towards his compulsions is the controlled and plain lifestyle of his family life and work. After his shot, Tatsuro appears as a multi-colloured chameleon. He can change his collour to make himself invisible, leaving only his clothes. 
06 "Friends"
"Furenzu" (フレンズ) 
November 19, 2009
Yuta Tsuda (津田 雄太 ?) (voiced by Miyu Irino), is a High School Student who suffers from a Mobile Phone addiction, He panics and suffers withdrawal when he is not on his phone. When Yuta gets his phone confiscated for the day, he gets a new one. Irabu starts to contact him on his phone after getting one himself, and after Yuta unsuccessfully asks Mayumi for her phone number, as she doesn't have one. After turning up to a Christmas party, Yuta starts to realize that his friends take advantage of him, and make fun of him for his mobile addiction. Yuta subsequently starts removing all his contacts out of his SIM card, when Irabu and Mayumi call from the hospital and invite him to a christmas party at Irabu's office. In this episode, Irabu mostly appears as his "big" form and shortly changes to his "little" form. This is the only episode so far where Irabu doesen't appear in his feminine "middle" form. After the Vitamin shot, Yuta turns into a pale blue woodpecker with different colloured spots. 
07 "Hedgehog"
"Harinezumi" (ハリネズミ) 
November 26, 2009
Seiji Ino (猪野 誠司 ?) (Voiced by Hiroki Takahashi), is a Yakuza (more specifically: Designated Crime Syndicate - Koi Group Underground) who has an obsessive compulsive fear of edges (belonephobia), this includes; Knives, Forks, Needles, some Fish, and even Table edges. Seiji is known in the criminal world as "the wise seiji", he shows this by saving a fellow member (his brother) from a rival group through challenging Yoshiyasu's (rival group leader) to Russian Roulette. He almost looses his mind when Irabu gets Mayumi to give him a vitamin shot. His Wife who runs a bar with Seiji puts a deposit on another bar that's owned by Yoshiyasu's syndicate, this causes more friction between the two factions. Irabu suggests that Seiji try sunglasses, as his fear is mainly getting sharp objects in the eye, he tries on some Sunglasses, but eventually purchases Ski Goggles. Seiji and his brother then negotiate the protection arrangements with Kohei from the first episode, with Irabu in tow. Seiji satisfyingly pokes his ski goggles with a pen, until he notices the table's edges. He then has a panic attack and saws off each edge of the table, then has another attack from the saw he used to neutralize the table. At home, Seiji's wife tells him that she's put down the deposit on the bar, in a panic and then logical moment, he decides to meet up with Yoshiyasu at the Restorante Pero's to retrieve the Deposit. Before meeting with his rival, he stops by Irabu General Hospital where Irabu is taking a photo of his Christmas pudding to send to Yuta. Seiji asks Irabu desprately for some medication, but instead Irabu ends up coming to Pero's with Seiji, being introduced as Irabu the Quack from Hiroshima. There, Irabu observes Yoshiyasu's own Obsessive Compulsion, that he uses his knife as a security blanket. Irabu then takes the knife away and holds onto it, allowing for Seiji to open up to Yoshiyasu and retrieve the Deposit. Christmas eve, Seiji shows signs of starting to overcome his Compulsive fear of sharp edges. Seiji appears as a small dog after the Vitamin Injection. 
08 "I couldn't sit"
"Itemo Tattemo" (いてもたっても) 
December 3, 2009

Yoshi Iwamura (岩村 義雄 ?) (Voiced by: Mitsuo Iwata) is a Newspaper/magazine journalist, who has a classic case of check Obsessive Compulsive disorder, commonly fearing he forgot to put out a cigarette, a kettle, or turn the water off. He ends up rushing back to his house to make sure he hasn't flooded or burned down his building. As a treatment, Irabu takes him to a Rival Hospital (they stole one of his patients, and are corrupt), where Irabu encourages Yoshi to throw rocks at the Hospital. Irabu points out the Hospital Directors car and suggests they loosen the tire bolts. After Irabu throws a rock, and after hesitating, Yoshi throws a rock only to break a window, they both then flee. Because of his disorder, Yoshi is moved to another magazine, this time a teen mag, popular with Girls. He is sent to investigate into a man called the "Homeless Poet" who turns out to be a fraud, and uses the article on him to lure girls. Upon finding out Yoshi gets infuriated and tracks him down, the final chase takes Yoshi running with the Homeless Poet's bag, and trying to get the hospital director to stop after worrying that Irabu has loosened the tires. He jumps in front of the car, where the homeless poet tackles him, spreading papers onto the cars windscreen, the director then crashes the car, and medical waste pours out, and upon looking at the papers that came out of the homeless poet's bag, finds out he's using his dead family records to help Illegal immigrants into Japan. Yoshi then does an article on the two Thugs and immediately becomes a famous reporter again. Irabu thanks Yoshi for exposing the corruptness of the rival hospital, and offers to let him meet Bando, Irabu tells Yoshi that his disorder did good, made him famous, and that he'd be ok if someone was home. On his way home, Yoshi finds an add for a share house.

After the Injection, Yoshi is represented as a Racoon. 
09 "Gifted child actor"
"Tensai Koyaku" (天才子役) 
December 10, 2009

Hiromi Yasukawa (安川 ヒロミ ?) (Voiced by: Wataru Hatano) Hiromi is an actor (ex-child actor) who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He now only gets roles as extras, but gets kicked out off a role as a student in a drama for smiling constantly during a tense scene. In the past, he was a popular child actor who had his own television show. His agent (who Irabu is hitting on) offers him an audition to a movie that he refuses, because theres a sex scene. He's then a guest on a Japanese live TV show, where they make fun of him for his role in the School Drama where he's smiling during a serious scene, and that his role had the name "Student-A". Hiromi gets very upset and not knowing what else to do, starts smiling, this brings an awkward silence to the audience. Afterwards, Hiromi's Agent tells him that he's going to loose his contract, and her because of his behavior. Hiromi starts to smile, and has a breakdown. Back at his apartment, Hiromi is under his covers crying. Irabu tries to cheer him up, giving him a list of other things he could do instead of acting. After Hiromi refuses, Irabu gives him the sheet for the audition for the movie. Three days later, Hiromi turns up for the Audition wearing causal clothes rather than his usual child actor attire, surprising his agent. The calendar then flashes back to the day after Irabu gives him the audition sheet. Hiromi appears at Irabu's office and the two discuss the movie role. After Irabu gives him another shot, he notices that he doesn't smile when in pain, he rushes off home where he attaches pegs to his nipples. He turns up to the Audition with the pain treatment, where he meets irabu, who plans on auditioning for the part himself. During his audition, Hiromi has a moment of panic when he's reminded about his role on the school drama as Student-A. He rips his shirt off to remove the pegs that are causing him much pain. This turns out good for him, as he realizes he can make fun of himself, and not need to worry about his image. Irabu and Hiromi both don't get the part, although Hiromi is now a Successful variety show host, where he uses some of his old Hiro-chan act. Hiromi is represented as a seal.

This episode is the first to have a slight style/music change, for example all the injection scenes are done behind a wall with an X-Ray showing the outlines of the patient, Irabu and Mayumi. 
10 "Owner"
"Ōnā" (オーナー) 
December 17, 2009

Mitsuo Tanabe (田辺 満男 ?) (voiced by Ryotaro Okiayu) is a successful businessman who owns the Great Japan Newspaper Company, and the Mighty Japan Great Powers Baseball team (that Bando is a member of) who suffers from a Panic Disorder where he gets flashbacks. When he turns up to Irabu's office after the events of the last episode, he is given an injection. Both Irabu and Mayumi are shocked that he hasn't turned into an animal. The calendar goes back to December 17th, where Bando has his first problems with his Yips, after the game Mitsuo is confronted by media that ask him questions on an apparent scandal that he has influence over the leader of a political party, and that he's made him postpone tax changes. The flashes from the journalist cameras start to disturb him, and he has flashbacks to the post war tokyo, and moments afterwards including the construction of the Tokyo Tower, and the first Bullet Train service, as well as moments in the 60's and 70's, he then faints. His doctor (Dr. Ikeyama from another episode)refers him over to Dr. Irabu.

In Irabu's office after giving him an injection, Mayumi notices that a faltering flurecent light is starting to upset Mitsuo, and she turns it off before he has an attack. Irabu then takes this chance to diagnose him with Panic Disorder and orders Mayumi to turn off all the lights. Mitsuo starts to have an attack, when a scared Irabu suddenly pounces him and Mayumi turns the lights back on. Irabu comments how he's afraid of the dark and still has a night light. Mitsuo then explains how he has visions of the past, suggesting he has PTSD, and that his Panic Disorder is brought on through his stressful role of Power. Irabu tells Mitsuo that he can wear sunglasses to soften the flashes, but that the best medicine is to retire. Mitsuo strongly disagrees, stating that he still has things to do. Later on, Irabu and Mitsuo go shopping, and he explains to Irabu that Japan is still an immature country as it depends on the US, and that he wants to change that. In the sunglasses shop, Seiji from a past episode has a panic attack while also purchasing glasses. A couple of days later, is another baseball game, where Bando throws and injures another player, after the game the media confront Mitsuo, and he is outraged that they call Bando a "terrorist". Again the media start to harass him, and he has another attack. In Mitsuo's office, after suffering an attack with the setting sun, and reading the newspapers reporting on Mitsuo's outburst, Irabu warns him that this continued problem can lead to Depression. Mitsuo's aid tells him that he needs to leave for an appointment, Irabu carries him out to his limo where the media hound him again, and again he has a delusion that a dark mass is enveloping his limo. Irabu then offers to drive him in his Porsche Boxter Convertible. Irabu and Mitsuo speed off, outrunning the tabloids on their motorcycles, escaping them. Irabu drives past Shinbashi Station, where Mitsuo has a flashback to WWII when he was a young Soldier of the recovery operation of Tokyo at the end of the war, as well as watching Baseball on an old Television set in the 50's. Then while driving past the tokyo tower, he flashes back to being a journalist, having a discussion with the workers on a lunch break. Then a N700 Series Shinkansen goes by above them, much to Irabu's inner train-spotter's joy. Then Mitsuo flashing back to watching the First Shinkansen service with his son. Irabu and Mitsuo stop to watch a baseball game, where he has a flashback to meeting his wife at a baseball game in the past. During this moment of peace, he realizes that he's been living in the past.. and that things have changed greatly already. His flashbacks start to diminish, and he starts to appear in his modern form, instead of him in the past. He has Silver Hair, and glasses. Just as Mitsuo tries to catch the ball Bando has hit after curing his Yips, Irabu abruptly intercepts, and catches it himself. The next day, Mitsuo calls a press conference where he announces his retirement. On his way home, a couple of journalists, including Yoshi Iwamura (岩村 義雄 ?) (who has appeared several times throughout this episode) ask him for advice to become good journalists. Mitsuo accepts and invites the journalists in for a drink. 
11 "Canary"
"Kanaria (カナリア)"  
December 24, 2009
 

References

  1. ^ Japanese English
  2. ^ Yasukawa is a character of Vol. 1 "In The Pool."

External links


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