Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Kūchū Buranko - Episode 7

Seiji Ino is, quite simply, a Yakuza badass - The kind of guy capable of pulling out a gun, loading a single bullet in it and playing Russian Roulette with himself. And winning - Derren Brown eat your heart out. Oh, and he has a tattoo as well. Yep, definitely a badass.

At least, he is until any sharp edges come into sight. Yes, that's right, Seiji Ino is Doctor Irabu's latest patient, suffering from an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder known as belonephobia, otherwise known as a fear of sharp and/or pointed objects - Everything from the obvious (knives and needles) to the less obvious (mackerel and Pocky, in Ino's case). Trying to work through the problem by facing his fears doesn't look likely to work, so Irabu's next suggestion to Seiji is to wear sunglasses so that his eyes are protected, leaving him feeling safer in the presence of pointy things - A great idea, expect the glasses attach over your ears via... you guessed it - pointy things.

Thus, we're left with the ridiculous vision of a hardened Yakuza wandering around wearing ski goggles, at which point you may recognise this hapless fellow as the one we first saw jabbing himself with a pen in episode one, a scene we get to see replayed and extended here. In fact, that particular scene had me waiting and hoping that this particular character would get an episode to himself, and I wasn't left disappointed, as this instalment enters some decidedly comical and slapstick territory more so than any previous episode of Kūchū Buranko.

Overall, I have to say that this episode was comic genius from beginning to end, from Ino's facial expressions throughout and over-reactions to the sight of sharp objects through to his final "battle" with a rival Yakuza in which Irabu ends up reigning supreme in this world of dysfunctional gangsters. While I imagine that anyone suffering from belonephobia would probably be disgusted by the light-hearted treatment what must be a genuinely debilitating disorder received here, from the outside looking in this episode was truly hilarious and brilliantly played (overplayed, even) from beginning to end. It's a big departure in many ways from what this series has presented us with before, but I absolutely lapped it up - A very sharp and pointed piece of comic brpadcasting, with every pun intended.

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