Don’t hide inside that cloud. Come down and strike me. I’m perfectly happy if you’re loud about it. I want a bolt of lightning to open my eyes, to pierce my heart. I’m the one who’s afraid. On this plain without a single tree, I have nowhere to hide.
Best opening sequence of Arakawa since episode 6. I’d love it even more if I knew exactly what it meant. It does strike me hugely as thought Nino is saying that her Venus shtick is all a barrier she’s put up, which we knew already, but more importantly that she’s desperately looking for someone to tear it down for her. She wants someone to question her Venusian roots, which is a hell of a lot different to what we’ve been given so far in the series. Maybe I’ve got it wrong though. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it. I tend to do that a lot with this series.
Episode 95: When you wish upon a star
Was there a time in the series that Recruit expressed his fear of ghosts? To me that just looks like he’s looked up the ghosts nightie to whatever unimaginable horrors lie between that ghosts legs. Nah, I bet Nino just added in the two things she’s afraid of along with Recruit’s two of Dad and peppers. Wait no, that doesn’t make sense. Nino is a fisher-women so she quite obviously isn’t afraid of bugs. I guess she just tossed in two things people are afraid of in general.
(As for the other’s under the bridge, Sister’s big fear is nukes, the Mayor is afraid of dehidration and the Iron Head brothers are afraid of lab coats.)
When Maria suggested this option, my mind first went to a shoot out between Hoshi and Recruit, cowboy style. Hoshi would look pretty darn cool in a cowboy hat and boots. However I would bet a considerable amount of money that Recruit has had arms training in his life at one point. Hoshi would try to be cool and hold the guns gansta style. Or possibly Death the Kid style. Meh, the debate is irrelevant anyway because Sister would gun them both down as they drew there weapons anyway.
Stella’s excited squeek as Hoshi and Recruit were kicked off the bridge was the highlight of the episode. As in the highlight of episode 95, not the full 24 minutes. Sorry, but the full 24 minutes were packed full of so many highlights I don’t think I can pick out one.
(One part of the episode that baffled me for a while was Recruit’s declaration that he had already jumped off the bridge twice. There was the time after Nino kissed him when he was convinced he was a bluebird, but it took me forever to remember the other time. Of course, it was episode 1 when he was after his trousers! Funny how they gae us a reminder of that first scene before what happened later on in the episode. It’s almost as though they had planned this all out beforehand! Yes, Arakawa has been perfectly planned from the start. I’ll get more onto that point later on.)
Episode 96: Phenomenon
There was a neat piece of animation here. As Daddy’s plans seem to be falling apart, the building he’s in seems to gradually fall down compared to those buildings outside the window. Not sure if that was intentional though. You never really know with Shinbo whether half the stuff he does is intentional or just him being a nutter, but it worked this time. If I’m going to call him out on his oddities, I might as well be fair and praise him when he gets something right. Besides, after marathoning my way through Tatami Galaxy, I think I’ve finally found a director who has surpassed Shinbo in the area of needless animation quirks.
The mysterious funder. Now I’m the type of guy who probably wouldn’t recognise my own voice if it was played to me, let alone someone else’s. Hence when the mysterious funder said his bit, at first I thought it sounded like Hoshi. If the guy really did top the Oricon charts then he must have a bit of money, right? However the MAL forums said it was the Mayor, which I suppose fits the traditional Japanese clothing better. Plus, he’s Mayor for a reason right. There’s a lot more to him than meets the eye. After all Recruit said, it was the Mayor who ended up saving them. The one guy Recruit could never figure out is the one guy who saves them all without them knowing. It just fits the story better, doesn’t it.
Maria kicking Hoshi and Recruit off the bridge over and over was the highlight of the episode. As in the highlight of episode 96, not the full 24 minutes. Sorry, but the full 24 minutes were packed full of so many highlights I don’t think I can pick out one.
(When they were rolling through each of the characters wishes, my mind instantly went to that famous Gundam 00 scene where each character repeats one after the other what they love most in the world, finishing on Setsuna saying ‘Gundam’. If Arakawa had done a parody of that scene with Sister repeating ‘Gundam’ then I might as well have stopped watching anime altogether. Nothing would ever top that.)
Episode 97: The man who never relies on anyone’s father
Brilliant. This is brilliant. Seriously, there was no better way to have Dad visit the bridge than for him to repeat the events from episode 1. He could have arrived with an army of bunny girls to try coax Recruit back and it wouldn’t have beaten this.
(BTW do those kids spend there time hanging around on the bridge, only to occasionally tear the trousers off random passerby’s? No wonder Nino has developed that skill with the fishing rod to retrieve the trousers from up there so efficiently. Practice makes perfect.)
I love this face-0ff. Only one of the characters realise how significant a meeting this is. The other is just her usual spacer self. Daddy is pretty intimidating and I dare say Recruit was too when he was in the real world. In a way, that’s what makes this scene work so well. They were both trying to keep there intimidation up in their ridiculous state, daring Nino to challenge them, but Nino couldn’t care less what state they were in which leaves the two Ichinomiya’s in an uncomfortable position that they aren’t used to dealing with.
(Nino~<3 You are fantastic. I go on about Sister a lot in these posts but it’s Nino who really makes the show tick. She’s the poster girl, the one who makes things happen. Recruit may be the main character, but it’s Nino that makes the story. She’s the one who’s changing him. She’s the one who has drove Recruit to devote him time to staying under the bridge. She’s such a unique character…well, there is no character in this show who isn’t really unique. If there’s one thing you can’t level against Arakawa, it’s unoriginality)
Daddy realises it too, although he doesn’t truly understand until he meets her. He knows that it’s not any of the other nutters under the bridge that changed Recruit. While his relationships with them have changed over time, it’s Nino that brought all that about. Seems to me like Daddy is running away from the problem as much as Recruit was running away from him. It’s all brought about in a circle. Like this scene, like this whole series. It’s just so well worked and this episode in particular brought that all to light.
But Nino has changed as well. It’s obviously a lot more subtle than Recruit’s change, but now she has something she cares about. With this scene in episode 1, she was pretty indifferent to everything that was going on around her. Now she’s become more grounded (in relative terms obviously. Compared to the rest of the world she’s as grounded as a dandelion seed). She’s changed Recruit and Recruit changed her. Corny stuff, but done subtly enough to never actually feel corny.
Episode 98: A father’s feelings
Next time you watch some weird fetish dominatrix porn, think about this: What about the poor Mr.Whip. Is that what he really wants to do with his life? Back in the good old days, whips were respected. They were used in prisons and feared by the inmates. They were a symbol of power. It may have been a lonely life but at least it had meaning. Now all they are used for is shady porn movies. The whips want to regain their respect. To stop selling their bodies and return to the good old days. Led by the great rope sympathiser Maria, there will be a revolution. Ropes and Whips Banzai!!!
Windmill Hair Nino makes a return! That must be why Recruit’s plans to build a power plant under the bridge were instantly dismissed. Nino’s hair could power a town with a population of 500 people, providing the population turn off their computers at night. Seriously people, turn off your computers at night time. Is it such a pain to have to wait for it to boot up in the morning?
Recruit’s mum? I did ask way earlier on in the series why there was no mention of his mum. I thought it was just the typical anime character syndrome of characters parents always living away from home, but clearly Arakawa is too smart for that. But this is great isn’t it? The dad saying that his son isn’t capable of living up to him the whole way through the series. The son constantly living in the shadow of his father’s great success, trying to mimic what he does but not being able to directly confront him. And yet, at the end of the series, without the son even realising it, he had surpassed his dad in the one place the dad was not able to succeed.
Episode 99: Conclusion
Nino running around, unable to answer the phone was the highlight of the episode. As in the highlight of episode 99, not the full 24 minutes. Sorry, but the full 24 minutes were packed full of so many highlights I don’t think I can pick out one.
(Also, definitive proof that Nino isn’t Japanese. What Japanese person doesn’t know how to use a phone?)
He’s got approval from his dad without realising it. He’s told Nino that he’s going to stay with Nino forever without realising it, although he does realise it a few seconds later. For me, that’s the perfect end to this series. Recruit has manned up. Dad approves but is too caught up in his old ways so has to leave Recruit to find his own way from now on. And Nino and Recruit have done the closest this series would ever get to a marriage proposal. In fact, can you imagine how awesome a scene this would have been if he was telling his dad he planned to propose to Nino and for Nino to reply yes while she was standing behind him?
That episode was titled ‘conclusion’ and is effectively the end of the series. The plot points were cleared up and I bet the last episode will just be a gag episode (I’ll still blog it though). So to wrap things up, while I was excited about the prospect of watching this series, no way in hell did I think it would end up quite as fantastic as it did. This episode really wrapped up things brilliantly and showed how perfectly constructed a series it was. Genuinely and frequently funny. One of the most memorable cast of nutters ever. I loved this series far more than I ever thought I would. Shaft, you deserve your break next season. You’ve won me over with Nino and co.