Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Kūchū Buranko - Episode 9

Kūchū Buranko time means it's time to check another "freak of the week" into Doctor Irabu's surgery, and this time around the star of the show is quite literally that - Hiromi Yasukawa, a former child star known for one thing and one thing alone, who continues to live (or at least, try to live) off that "image" even into his adult career.

Hiromi's core issue is Narcissistic Personality Disorder, an over-bearing sense of self love and worth brought about by his fame at a young age. It's this early stardom that has convinced Hiromi that he has to protect his image at all costs, which for him seems to involve dressing like Michael Jackson (seriously, was that a knowing nod at said sadly deceased former child star?) and grinning like an idiot at all times in line with his child star persona. Of course, this façade is no help at all when it comes to getting serious acting jobs, which is why eventually Hiromi is dragged along to see Doctor Irabu for his help.

As per usual, Irabu's form of "help" seems to be anything but, as he spends much of his time flirting with Hiromi's manager and generally making life tougher for him rather than easier, but then again (and as always with this series) I suppose that's kind of the point. Eventually, Hiromi manages to "find himself" and carve out a niche that suits him after some decidedly desperate attempts to change his image with the use of clothes pegs (you have to watch it to understand), and all is well.... until Hiromi's limited persona is found out again, I would imagine.

Truth be told, this was probably one of the weaker instalments of Kūchū Buranko thus far, possibly on account of its use of a protagonist who you couldn't really feel sorry for, or indeed any similarity to, like some of the other characters depicted by this show. This might not have been such a big deal had the story itself felt as smart and well-written as previous episodes, but even this seemed to go through the motions aside from one or two genuinely funny moments, with even the ending feeling like a bit of a cop-out (which reminded me of that episode of The Simpsons, Bart Gets Famous). Still, this is but a small blemish on what has been a largely fascinating series so far, and the next episode looks really interesting to me, so I don't want to go too hard on Kūchū Buranko lest it develop an image problem.

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