Arakawa Under the Bridge – 08
This was a great episode. Not only did we get some more character development for Ric and some development on Ric & Nino’s relationship, but we also got some great laughs! Truly my faith in SHAFT has been restored. Anyway, this episode shows what happens when Ric’s employee’s try to see what he’s been up to under the Bridge.
I really quite liked Takai, he actually seems like the kind of person that would fit in quite well under the Bridge (although his Kou obsession was a touch much). Takai really only wants what best for Kou having seen that the young Kou was sorely missing a proper father figure. Kou may have claimed that he wanted to be just like his father, but really all Kou wanted was some affection and acknowledgement from Daddy-Ichinomiya. I really can’t help but feel sorry for Kou, he may have lived a privileged life and be blessed with intelligence and good looks; but he’s starved of one of the most basic of human needs – affection. Takai attempted to give him that, but kind of missed the point by putting Kou on a pedestal and worshipping him. Kou is shown to be all alone in a crowd – he immersed himself in work and didn’t take time to get to know his classmates. What a lonely childhood – I just can’t imagine it. It’s not a bit of wonder Kou seems much older than his 21years in some ways, and childlike in others. Takai recognises this when he sees Kou interacting with Nino – Daddy-Ichinomiya’s parenting skills have completely stunted Kou’s emotional growth. It will be very interesting to see what happens when Daddy-Ichinomiya arrives under the Bridge.
The comedy value of putting the Bridge residents in suits and trying to pass them off as Ric’s employees of his latest business venture (a power plant under the Bridge!) was great. I was quite surprised Kou managed to convince Sister and Maria to help him out (although Maria turned out to have done it for her own sadistic enjoyment!). Weirdly the resident who performed best was Shiro, who had been an office worker before the whole chicken/white line thing landed him under the Bridge. Sister in a suit was all kinds of awesome – although Sister looks awesome no matter what you put him in (tis a gifted character that can pull off a nuns habit without emotionally scarring me :lol:).
The arrival of Hoshi, the Mayor and Nino quickly derails any progress Shiro’s performance may have made with Kou’s employees. I laughed when the scene steadily unraveled as Nino got distracted by a dragonfly, Hoshi produced his guitar and Maria and Sister seemed to get bored with their act……weirdly Ric got caught up in Nino’s dragonfly chase yet no one seemed to pass any remarks on that!
Nino’s utter rejection of pretending to be something like Kou’s secretary and flatly pointing out that she’s not a secretary she’s Ric’s lover, was just pure Nino. The girl will not do anything she doesn’t want too – pretending to be a secretary does not sit well with Nino as she wants to be true to herself.
I also got a kick out of Ric & Takai’s slice-of-life segment which may have scarred Hoshi for life……and me actually. Even Inner Yaoi Fangirl did not want to see such cosy scenes between Ric and Takai – hopefully there will never be any doujin’s made of this pairing (or if there are I hope I never see them!). Takai’s adoration of Ric is a touch disturbing, however I can see why the man poured so much energy into looking after Ric. Being a complete workaholic his wife left him and all he was left with was work. Being charged with looking after the young scion of the Ichinomiya corporation was something he could wholeheartedly devote himself too. Seeing Ric’s rather lonely upbringing seemed to bring out Takai’s paternal side, although it got warped by his intense work ethic.
The best thing to come out of Takai’s meddling was Nino and Ric finally sharing their first kiss – I actually cheered. However Nino’s utter lack of understanding at how this was a major step up in their relationship was a touch frustrating. Sister shows himself to be probably the most together resident of Under the Bridge as he really seems to understand Nino and care’s about her wellbeing (to the extent that he stalked Ric for a week prior to properly meeting him!). Ric’s complete over-reaction and sheer elation over a simple kiss once again highlights his emotional immaturity and affection starved psyche – more hugs and kisses for that man!!
I’m really enjoying Arakawa, I’m pleased that its managing a linear plot mixed in with all the random comedy – it’s a hard balance to get right, but Shinbo/SHAFT are really pulling it off in this series. Really looking forward to seeing how things progress over the next few episodes – hopefully the arrival of Daddy-Ichinomiya under the Bridge won’t undo all the progress Ric has made so far.