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Manga / Copernicus Breathing

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Also known as "Coponicus no Kokyuu" and "Breath of Copernicus," this 2002 manga by Asumiko Nakamura is an interesting one. Set in a Parisian circus in The '70s, this manga has anything but a happy carnival feel.

The main character "Bird's Nest" is an ex-trapeze artist gone clown after the falling death of his younger brother, who may or not be a ghost following his every move. Under the control of a ring master who pimps out his performers, a burning desire to both escape the circus life and get back on the trapeze, a terminal case of angst, and the hypnotic and trippy atmosphere of the circus tent, it's a wonder Bird's Nest isn't more crazy than he proves himself to be in this unique, dizzying, and raw story.

Tropes for this Manga include:

  • Bungled Suicide: Mina lets herself fall from the trapeze so that she will no longer have to work as a prostitute. She does not die from the fall, however, and goes on to teach at a circus and trapeze school.
  • Circus Brat: Bird's Nest and his brother Michel were both born and raised in a traveling circus.
  • Driven to Suicide: Mina and Coco both attempt suicide.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Michel isn't pleased when he finds Bird's Nest's stash of what appears to be acid.
  • Functional Addict: Bird's Nest uses them so he does not envision his dead brother.
  • Intimate Psychotherapy: The basis of Bird's Nest and Michel's relationship, specially whenever Bird's Nest has Freak Outs when he remembers his brother's death.