Years ago I heard about a series running on Japan’s Noitamina programming block called Welcome to Irabu’s Office (Kuuchuu Buranko). It seemed interesting at the time but I never got around to watching it and soon I forgot that it even existed until Viewster started streaming it recently which was more than enough reason for me to finally check it out.
Where does one even begin with a series like this? Let me start by warning you about a few things. This series is like Madoka Magica and Psychology Today magazine had a weird baby together. Filled with bizarre visuals and a story that will never make sense, this is that something different that anime fans have been waiting for and begging to see for years now and it amazes me that I’ve so rarely heard anyone talking about it since it premiered in 2009.
Eleven episodes filled with eleven patients over the course of one week in late December.
In this series, eleven different people who are suffering some kind of psychological malady come in to see Dr. Irabu and are treated for various illnesses… or are they? One of the interesting things that viewers will find about this series is that Dr. Irabu doesn’t cure a single one of his patients but rather just helps them get to the point where they can live with their problem and cope in their own various ways. So if you were hoping to see some hard hitting psychological medical drama, you’re going to be out of luck.
Additionally, if you were hoping to see some traditional animation or moe designs you’re going to be really out of luck. Welcome to Irabu’s Office will use anything but traditional animation styles to get its point across. Using everything from cardboard cutouts to rotoscoping, this is a series that will stick with you for days afterward as you process all of the different visual elements that it offers.
If you’re a regular reader of mine, you know that this is the part where I start a paragraph with “However…” and tell you everything that is wrong with this series. I’m not going to do that this time though because as goofy, insane and weird this series is there’s really nothing wrong with it other than it being too short and not having any sort of satisfactory conclusion. There is no strong overarching narrative to follow nor is there any grand reveal in the end.
Welcome to Irabu’s Office is a series that I can’t recommend enough to the Viewster audience. Fun, zany and just plain different; this is a solid series that I wish I could show to everyone who has ever complained that all anime is the same.
Availability (click to watch)