Based off of writer Hideo Okuda’s three novels “In the Pool,” “Kūchū Buranko” (Flying Trapeze) and “Chōchō Senkyo” (Mayoral Election,) Toei brought out the strange stories into a visual and psychological adventure. Each of the 11 episodes follow a unique patient seen by the psychiatrist Dr. Irabu. Nothing the good doctor did was routine, especially with the help of his scantily clad nurse Mayumi. After a vitamin injection, the patient head transformed into an animal that represented their problems whether it’s a penguin for anxiety, chameleon for repressed compulsion or a dog for a fear of sharp edges. It was Dr. Irabu’s job to find the best fitting treatment for every case, even if unorthodox and obscure.

Fitting for such a bizarre series, Toei mixed in rotoscoped scenes by having live action shots drawn over. While some may not appreciate this older form of animation, it helped with the emphasis of the some of the patient’s struggling grip on reality. Fans of anime “Mononoke” would easily spot out character designer and artistic director Takashi Hashimoto’s work as it turned Japan into a technicolor wonderland. Those with an interest in psychology will also appreciate the fourth wall breaks of psychiatrist Fukuitchi who gives supplemental medical facts along with some of the other references of theories. A handful of episodes dealt with mature content, but the artistic team censored with relative symbols. Still younger viewers should be warned before seeing “Irabu.”

Streaming service Viewster has “Welcome to Irabu’s Office” with English subtitles along with several other anime series for free. Visit the site for more information.

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