Frasier Crane’s Audience Hatred as Explained in Obocchama-Kun

This short article appeared in an issue of Incredibly Strange Games as part of an evening of Strange Games held on March 25th, 2017 at Seattle’s Fuse Box.

Kelsey Grammer is a right-wing sociopath who hates his audience. On Frasier, he plays a liberal elitist who fumbles his way through life thanks to his pampered upbringing and thought himself a “doctor” who practices the “art” of “psychology” and never seems to be able to cure anyone, least of all himself. It is Grammer slyly mocking those he loathes. If you haven’t read the origin of the theme song, let composer Bruce Miller summarize it for you:

“Hey baby I hear the blues a-callin”-refers to patients with troubles calling into the radio show
“Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs”
“But maybe I seem a bit confused”-Frasier’s personality was a bit????
“Maybe, but I got you pegged”-Frasier does understand these people and helps them.
“But I don’t know what to do with those Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs”-it’s a tough business….gotta deal with these “crazies” every day.
“They’re calling again”-oh, oh….should be self explanatory.

Right, so Grammer hates his audience. And the character he plays, Dr. Frasier Crane, hates his audience, too.

Yoshinori Kobayashi is a right-wing sociopath who hates his audience. His manga Neo Gōmanism Manifesto Special – On War was an overt reactionary piece of revisionist history, denying Japanese atrocities in World War II and justifying 9/11. But before he made his manifesto, he–like Grammer–slyly mocked his audience in a work ostensibly for children called Obocchama-kun.

Obocchama-kun (“little princeling”) is about a spoiled rich kid in Japan’s 1980s bubble economy who displays all of the worst of Japanese society. He abuses the elderly, throws tantrums until he gets his way, lies and steals.

Of course they made a game about it!

On the surface it looks like a “wacky” Japanese platformers for the PC-Engine. It seems pretty standard, but Strange things abound: pressing down turns our hero into a strange dog-like creature who moves fast. Pressing up makes him shake his eyebrows menacingly. There’s a jump and a way to shoot something out of his forehead. Each level is prefaced with a haunting tune and intros of the two enemies for the stage, along with psychedelic strobing colors. The enemies are weird, like a half cat/half truck, or a duck thing making a thumbs down gesture.

If you find a turtle shell, press up and you’ll karaoke. Doing this turns fruit into magic items, which do strange things like summon a crying punk who throws bottles. Or maybe your dad will show up. He’s a helicopter with the face of Fidel Castro on the front and he’ll shoot enemies for you.

My friend and I drank a bunch of beer and beat it one afternoon. At the end, the screen goes black and white Japanese text slowly crawls up the screen. It goes on for minutes, hours, probably forever. We’re pretty sure it looped, but we don’t speak Japanese. It was the author’s manifesto, which bubbled and seethed unseen beneath bright colors and a bouncy music, and he hates us for even reading it.

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