No philosophical message, no plot advancing revelations, no introspective analysis into the psyche of the characters. All we got was a discussion as to whether Sister would be able to eat Hoshi. Which is a defunct argument anyway because we all know Sister could anything he bloody well wanted.
Episode 70: Present
Hoshi without his Star head. His mask is made up of two parts. The Star and the potato. The potato layer must be for insular reasons, to let the air breath around his head. Otherwise his face would end up all horrible and wrinkly. He’s clearly put effort into this design of his. Wonder if he made it himself or bought it off a mask enthusiast. Why am I even asking this question? Why must I analyse the most random and insignificant of aspects of Arakawa in my posts?
No Arakawa! Please please please don’t turn down the path of the pedophiles. Surely Shaft got that out of their system with Vampire Bund. In fact, anime fandom got more than enough underage wank material out of that shitty anime.
P.S. Vampire Bund is a terrible anime. Arakawa is awesome. This shall be the last time I mention these two anime in the same sentence.
Aaaand the world is back to normal. Well, normal for Arakawa Under the Bridge. Which is pretty far from what you’d normally consider normal I suppose. At least there weren’t rockets firing out from those pads. For some reason I was expecting that to happen. Hey, it makes more sense then what happens later on in this episode.
Episode 71: Embers
That’s a strangely cute image. Sister makes his cookies for Maria like a high school girl does to offer to the boy she likes. However he can never summon up the courage to give her the cookies himself so instead he hands them out at mass. Or maybe handing cookies out at mass is a ruse so he can give cookies to Maria. I wonder if Maria attends mass? I don’t remember seeing her there in the earlier episodes. Then again, they blacked out all the characters that we didn’t already know.
And it was here that Arakawa stopped making any sense whatsoever. The mangaka must have picked up an old copy of Fist of the North Star while halfway through writing this chapter and modified his character designs to fit his newfound obsession. It could have been worse I suppose. He could have become obsessed with Strike Witches.
(For the uninitiated, Fist of the North Star is an old manga and anime series aimed at children. Therefore it has extremely manly men who have six packs on their six packs and biceps on their biceps. It involves exploding heads, amongst other things)
(For the uninitiated, Strike Witches is a relatively recent anime aimed at bachelors. Therefore it has underage girls flying around in a world with no pants. 12 months later the studio who created it, Gonzo, stopped making anime)
Episode 72: MDS (Mad Shot-down Brothers)
Look at that. This is a disgrace. Remember at how lovely her eyebrows used to be? They were all small and curved and cute. Now they’re these ugly, bushy looking caterpillars that look like they’re running away from each other. Where can we go now to get our doses of lovely eyebrows. You’ve ruined it now Arakawa.
It’s like Street Fighter, Tekken or whatever one-on-one fighter game you grew up with. You’ve just unlocked a difficulty level beyond legendary by entering a cheat code you found online. In this difficulty level your character is Mr.Potato Head. Your first match is against Fist of the North Stella. Who then proceeds to serve you a slice of your own face.
Episode 73: Tyrant
With my two-year anniversary coming up soon, I’ve been looking for a new avatar to celebrate the occasion. I could use Fist of the North Stella I suppose. However she has the unfortunate flaw of ever having driven a cart. As a blog called The Cart Driver, I feel my character should have a certain degree of cart driving capabilities. At least Recruit pushed a trolley with Sister on. That’s kinda like driving a cart.
(Have Stella’s eyebrows gotten ever worse? Now they look like caterpillars on fire)
Maria in ‘P-ko-gazing-upon-the-Mayor’ vision. Out of the women under the bridge she’s probably my least favourite. First would be Nino, followed by P-ko then Maria. Stella doesn’t count. At this point in the episode, Stella is no longer classified as a female. She is now a freak of nature caused upon by the author reading too many manly manga. Case point: this picture.
This could just be an honest assessment of the strength of Stella’s character (who is no longer Fist of the North Stella). It could just be a well thought out method of making Stella feel better about herself. However, my shipping swaying ways likes to think that this is a call-out to Sister to actually admit that he likes her. Or even better, an admittance that she likes Sister but can’t bring herself to be honest about her feelings, while being jealous that Stella has the endless power of youth to drive her passion forward. Sister and Maria. I wonder if any of these couples will get together before the end of the show.
Episode 74: True Form
Oh no, a normal person is going under the bridge! I better warn him not to go any further or else he might meet some extremely strange people. I’m the most normal person here so I’ll lead him away. Yup, totally normal person with plenty of common sense. make sure he doesn’t go near Man-eating starfishes that only exist in my warped imagination. Or Fist of the North Stella. I’m not sure which one is scarier.
(Stop it Arakawa. Your irony is beginning to hurt my insides more than Halfadeckshort’s horrible puns in his poetry)
Episode 75: First Magnitude Star
One thing that I like about Arakawa is that it’s still grounded in reality.For the most part, these characters are real people who could really exist. Hoshi, the Mayor, Nino and Whitey all work like that. They’re just stuck under the bridge due to personality defects. Sister is probably on the run or something, or at least thinks he is. P-ko feels that under the bridge is the only society she fits into. People like the Iron Head brothers live under there because nobody is willing to question why they aren’t somewhere else. These are all normal people with certain personality defects. Which is why Fist of the North Stella bugged me. It was just a bit too much.
(Actually it’s a banana. Looking like a banana is never cool. I’ve discussed this before)
Nino with short hair is surprisingly better than long-haired Nino, and this is coming from someone who generally prefers long hair. Also, this is Nino when she was 5 years younger. To my surprise, she’s already living under the bridge, which blows my theory that she only started living there roughly two years ago. But it confirm my idea that she’s roughly 20 years old, around the same age as Recruit. She’s definitely a high-schooler in that picture. Old enough to interest Star but still relatively young. I wonder if she went to school. In fact, I’m still wondering about pretty much everything in her past. I really, really want to know.
And so Hoshi’s story was all a lie. Well no, but certainly a fabrecated version of the truth. It’s like those strawberry tasting sweets. They probably had a trace of strawberry in them once, but it’s been beaten down by all the artificial crap.
I’ll be blunt: This wasn’t the greatest installment of Arakawa. Every episode until now felt like it had advanced the plot. Recruit’s attitude to people under the bridge would evolve, as would his relationship with Nino. This felt like a filler episode more than anything, to flesh out a few side characters before the ending. It still made me grin a lot but it lacked the punch of a real episode of Arakawa. Ah well, maybe the next episode will return to form once again.