Come the end of the first episode of Kūchū Buranko (or Trapeze if you'd rather), I was rather left wondering what on Earth I could write to even begin to explain what I'd just seen. In all honesty, episode two of this show that defies explanation isn't exactly helping in that regard either.
Anyhow, as per the format of the first episode, this latest instalment introduces us to one Tetsuya Taguchi, a man with a problem (and let's face it, why else would you visit a crazy doctor dressed in a mouse suit?). This isn't just any old problem either, it turns out to be a rather embarrasing affair - Tetsuya has a permanent erection. Now before you start guffawing about how that "wouldn't be so bad, nudge nudge, wink wink", needless to say it's a bit of an issue whether you're wandering around town or sat in the office at work, and of course this episode puts our protagonist firmly (sorry, I had to put that pun in) into a number of awkward situations. But what is the cause of Tetsuya's problem? The obvious reason looks likely to be his ex-wife, who left him a few years previous and who still dominates his thoughts.
This is perhaps where Kūchū Buranko proves to be so fascinating, in that although this episode resolves the protagonists problem, it doesn't explicitly show us why. We see him inwardly unleashing his rage on his "slut" ex-wife, yet we also see him outwardly congratulating her on falling pregnant with her new man, and beyond even that the final scene shows Tetsuya finally asserting himself properly at work, to the shock of his colleagues. Which (if any) of these scenarios resolved his problems? That's left strictly to the audience to decide.
While I'm still not actually sure what to make of this series, or whether I even like it, I have to give it a certain amount of kudos for at least making it thought-provoking in that way - You could call it lazy were you being negative, but anything that makes me need to sit down and re-examine what I've seen (and doing so in such a way that you can't help but include your own life and attitude into the equation) is worthy of some praise. Couple that with something which is very visually "different" to pretty much any other series you're liable to watch this year, and you have a couple of potential hooks - I doubt either facet will turn Kūchū Buranko into a classic, but it certainly makes it an interesting little series to ponder and discuss late into the night.