Trapeze 02: Rhino
Tetsuya, a government worker, is in a state of permanent erection. That’s the short (?) of it. The long, well…
It’s complicated. There are so many things going on here it’s hard keep track. Events are occurring around the same time as the first “circus” episode and the tale looks both back to that installment, as Tetsuya is charged with paperwork for the circus show, and to the next episode, which involves a novelist.
That is, at the beginning of the episode Tetsuya wakes up from a naughty dream (his ex-wife having sex and apologizing at the same time), gets up, slips on a magazine lying around on the floor (with a baseball player on the cover who’ll be featured in ep 04), bumps himself against a bookshelf, making a book entitled “Tomorrow” fall on his fully erect organ…ouch! Apparently this book was written by the novelist who will become Dr. Irabu’s patient in episode 03…all a rich tapestry.
Tetsuya goes to a regular doctor and gets told to wait, as the erection will probably fade within 180 days…
Even more twisted, when Tetsuya walks into Irabu’s office, announcer Fukuicchi pops out [from where, reality??] to state that permanent erections are not rooted in psychological issues and one should visit a medical doctor for treatment. Immediately after he leaves, though, we have Irabu making a lightning-flash psychological diagnosis of Irabu’s problem: “Something must be bothering you”. Later on, when Tetsuya reveals that his woman left him for a man in her office, the psychiatrist comes to the conclusion that: “You are repressing your feelings about what happened with your ex and so your penis is acting up instead [to compensate]”.
Nurse Mayumi, who’s appropriately reading the book “Tomorrow”, comes over and injects Tetsuya with one of her vitamin shots, but alas, it doesn’t seem to work.
When embarrassed, Tetsuya grows a rhinoceros head. I’m still not clear on why the trapeze artist in the first episode sported a penguin head, but the rhino’s horn is clear here, right?
While Irabu tries to get his patient to confront his ex, who lives in a tall, tall, building [!], he gets roped into doing all sorts of things at the office, including going and filming a synchro swimming club at a high school. He seems to be doing well until people notice that he won’t take his coat off and is sweating profusely. When his lady boss orders him to take it off he slips on a puddle of his own sweat and falls into the pool. Brother…
I enjoyed the resolution: Tetsuya manages to stop stalking his ex and actually ask her to a restaurant. There, with Kid Irabu and puppet by his side, he daydreams of exposing his condition to her and venting all of his anger to the thunderous applause of the crowd; in reality, though, he’s just about to start his rant when the woman tells him that she knows he’s been going around to her building, and that she’s 3 months pregnant. Right after this she apologizes for her actions, taking the wind off of Tetsuya’s urge for vengeance.
Tetsuya leaves the restaurant, with his ex wanting to talk more, and Irabu being angry that the patient hasn’t vented at all. When Tetsuya turns around, he disappoints Irabu by telling his ex “Congratulations” and then walking on.
But Tetsuya has learned his lesson: he’s a pushover, and has been one for a long time. Sure, when his ex decided to dump him he should have vented his anger at her, but now that she’s expecting a child is not the time. Instead, Tetsuya makes it a point of telling his co-workers that he won’t just do stuff for them anymore. He’s changing his future, which is what’s important!
And his erection fades as he reasserts himself.
The formula from episode 01 is still here: wacky and twisted visuals and references with a simple, straight storyline. Good stuff!