One of Moe Suck’s last real prospects for the fall season dropped today. Trapeze (you may also see it listed as Kuchu Buranko) brings a lot of style, but it’s not yet clear how much substance there is to the show.
Trapeze is wild to look at, filled with bright colors, mixed media, and a preponderance of polka dots. Just watching the Mind Game-esque first episode makes me want to go ahead and declare it the genre-crushing savior of the season. In a field of shows that are so similar and so bad, it feels like because it’s so different Trapeze must be great.
Well, is it? That’s hard to say. The show’s crazy mix of reality and cartoon might be a metaphor for the differences between reality and the trapeze artist’s perception of events. The terrifying presence of the all-too-real nurse and her weirdly erotic injections could be an important subplot about sexuality. The way the trapeze artist sometimes is shown with a bird’s head might be a powerful symbol that’s meant to hint at the source of his stress.
Or the mixed media could be a cheap way to do backgrounds, the nurse could be fanservice, and the bird head could be a meaningless artistic flourish. Trapeze obviously badly wants to have a meaningful subtext, but I am not entirely convinced that it does (and E Minor is leaning towards thinking that it does not). And even if there is a consistent symbology to the show’s wild visuals, does that automatically make it smart? Or is it just regurgitating boring ideas borrowed from outdated psychiatry?
To my mind, it’s too early to tell. If future episodes have similarly interesting themes and symbols, Trapeze might prove to be an instant classic. If they end up shallow or obtuse for the sake of being obtuse, it’s could turn out to be wannabe pretentious crap that, in our desparation for good anime, we projected meaning onto. If nothing else though, I have to admit I’m very intrigued. One way or another we’ll be revisiting the show next week for some answers.