Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge – 08
So this episode brings back the Amazoness and her Tengu lackies – I wasn’t really expecting the weirdness that was to follow though!
So it seems Ric is still running his school under the bridge – we haven’t seen that classroom in quite a while so I nearly forgot that that was the role Ric carved out for himself. Ric gets himself a new student this week, in the shape of a 7ft tall scantily clad blonde; yes the Amazoness makes her return to Arakawa and it seems she’s taken a shine to Ric! This was not the way I imagined the Amazoness returning to the series – I thought she would be some sort of antagonist, but didn’t think it would take the form of stealing Ric from Nino.
Ric for his part seems one part glad that the Amazoness & Tengu weren’t a fragment of his imagination and six parts disturbed by the weirdness of these characters…….well before he gets hypnotised by the tengu into thinking the Amazoness is some sort of fragile flower he needs to protect.
I was surprised that Ric was so susceptible to hypnotic suggestion. The fella is normally completely devoted to Nino, but it seemed remarkably easy for the Tengu to steer his affections in the Amazoness’ direction – they even managed to get him to marry her! As amusing as it was to see Ric get progressively more shoujo-filtered and sparkly over the course of the episode, it still kind of irritated me that more time wasn’t spent on Nino X Ric – I felt a bit annoyed that the Amazoness dared to interfere in their relationship.
It was nice to see Nino be honest about her feelings though. Her fight with the Amazoness may have been extremely childish in nature (all those circles!) but the sentiment behind the action came from a very sincere place in her heart – she really does care an awful lot for Ric. It was the depth and sincerity of her feelings that go through to the Amazoness too, and she admitted defeat to Nino.
I did like that Ric’s subconscious was still fixated on Nino, even with the Tengu’s working their magic on him constantly. Ric’s internal struggle to reach that warm little bubble that surrounds Nino, shows that that feeling of closeness and community is what he desires from the bottom of his heart – it would be lonely for him to just be with one person for the rest of his life. What Ric seems to be constantly reaching for is the family his strange upbringing denied him – he’s found that feeling in his life under the bridge. Ric is completely ready to dedicate his entire life to Nino, he really would marry her in a heartbeat……however this being Nino she completely misinterprets the word ‘marriage’ to mean drinking milk on a sofa. I have absolutely no idea how she managed that, but guess its some sort of wordplay in japanese.
I liked the fact Hoshi wasn’t a complete bastard this week. It would have been so easy to have him jump in and help the Tengu with their hypnosis song to keep Ric in the Amazoness’ grasp, however he refused to do so once he realised what was going on, and saw Nino fighting it out with the Amazoness. Hoshi does act like a complete prick at times, but he genuinely does care for Nino and has forged a weird friendly rivalry with Ric – they both wish each other physical harm on a daily basis, but at the end of the day, in this Under Bridge community the two of them are the closest they have to a best friend.
There were some fantastic reaction faces this week – P-Ko’s utter disbelief at the sparkly spectacle the Amazoness & Ric were putting on was highly amusing, but Nino’s faces are always the best; the girl really has some fantastic expressions. I also have to mention Yuu Kobayashi’s vocal performance as the Amazoness – how many weird and wonderful noises can that woman make with her voice!? It’s a truly bizarre performance, but really fits the strange personality & design of the Amazoness…….I’m fascinated to hear what other voices Kobayashi comes up with for this character!
The pre-op reflection this week was rather nice. It’s so true that as children we have no qualms about reaching for whatever strikes our fancy – constantly proclaiming ‘when I grow up I’m going to do X, Y or Z’ without any hesitation. However once we’re adults its much harder to proclaim out dreams and wishes, second guessing ourselves and trying to fit into the pigeon-hole society dictates for us. For Ric, Nino is a living, breathing example of how to live life without these shackles – she’s a breath of fresh air to his stale life and through his meeting her Ric remembers that there is more to life than what society expects of you and he starts to dream and reach for things again. I really love how Arakawa slips in these little reflections.
So a strange episode this week – I wasn’t expecting a full episode of the Amazoness essentially gate crashing the Under Bridge community, but it served to further develop Nino & Ric’s relationship in an odd way. The Amazoness herself turned out to be a very odd character – she’s got lots of different sides to her, but still needs lots of development as at the moment she feels like a caricature and we know nothing of her motivations/background. Hoping next week carries on the Venus plotline!