The collection is Okuda’s second book featuring the psychiatrist protagonist Ichirō Irabu and his various patients — the title refers to the first story about a circus artist who can no longer perform. The book won the prestigious 131st Naoki Prize in 2004.

Television anime adaptation of Hideo Okuda’s Kūchū Buranko (Aerial Swing) short story collection has been scheduled to premier in October in Fuji TV’s popular late-night Noitamina timeslot (ANN).


Now, it seems that ANN got the occupation of the protagonist wrong.

In today’s Japan, image-conscious people just can’t be seen going to a therapist. Instead they visit “doctors of neurology” like Dr. Ichiro Irabu. What makes the good doctor unique is his penchant for sharing his patients’ stress-related ailments, aiding and abetting their compulsions… and making them much worse before they get better. (Source PDF).

Moreover, the doctor has his own issues as well…

Doctor Ichiro Irabu is an obese, eccentric neurologist with an injection fetish, an Oedipus complex. and a pea-green Porsche.

“No, no, no. I don’t do any of that fancy-pants sort of thing… Some counselor listening to a patient’s worries, then giving him wise words of encourage-ment. Perfectly useless.”
Dr. Ichiro Irabu

Much of the philosophy of Irabu’s style is based on the work of Dr. Morita Masatake, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud who taught that accepting your feelings was more important than trying to battle them. Or as Oscar Wilde put it, “the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” This is were the deceptive part comes in. At first Irabu’s solutions seem to cause more harm than help, as he pushes his patients deeper and deeper into their psychosis until they burn them out. There is a method to his madness.

Further Reading:


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