I could write another first impressions post. I could do a general review of the episode, pointing out what I thought did work and didn’t and what my thoughts for the future of the series could look like. But I would’ve thought my opinion on the series was rather given away when I wrote over 2000 words per episodic post when the first series aired. I would have thought that it was fairly clear when it held a respectable spot in my top 30 anime. I love Arakawa Under the Bridge. Absolutely love this series. And it’s back. It’s fucking back!
I’d already listened to the opening about 3 times before I watched the actual episode. I’d been feeling kind of ill recently and I’m struggling to think of an anime that cheers me up more than Arakawa. I’d put this one on about equal footing to Venus to Jesus. Both of them have the ability to grow on you over time with the sorta cutesy singing voice. Most of all, they both have this highly recognisable artistic style to them. This one has a lot more going on to it and I like how it seems to have its own little story to it. Also it has that above shot. I’m almost willing to put it above Venus to Jesus for that shot alone.
Episode 109: Trade
Oh dearie me Recruit, not a good start. Have you forgotten already? You’re a lead male character in a comedy anime where the female love interest is the poster child for the show. That means all the viewers hate you because you’re in the position they want to be in. OK, Arakawa doesn’t exactly fall into the typical anime harem with loser/personality-less male lead, but the same rules still apply. You made the female character unhappy? Cue hundreds of people demanding for your head for causing our princess undue distress.
(Yup, back in Arakawa episodic blogging territory, one episode at a time. You know the drill. Although I almost certainly have some new readers this time around. Go back and read my posts for the first season. I’m not kidding when I said they were the most amount of effort I’ve ever put into episodic blogging a series)
And aint that your main problem Recruit. Remember this is the poor guy who hadn’t any proper relationships with women beyond receiving a LOT of chocolate at Valentines day before he met Nino. Recruit needs to step up his act a bit. Who was the one that initiated the kiss? That was Nino. Who is holding who in the new opening song in a princess hold? Well, that would be Nino holding Recruit. Remember what happened when Recruit tried the Princess hold on Nino? Yeah, that didn’t end well. I know he’s dealing with Nino so she’d be totally oblivious to his attempts at flirting, but he still needs to step up his act just a bit.
Why didn’t you see this coming Scamp? I’m going to put it down to the three month gap between seasons. It’s the standard Arakawa formula. Something strange happens. Recruit freaks out. Tries to analyse it. Comes up with a solution. It appears to be working only for the inhabitants under the bridge to do what they always do and act totally contrary to his expectations. I wonder if he will ever truly understand each member under the bridge?
Ah Arakawa~! How I’ve missed you.
Episode 110: Nino’s House
Man, I wonder who that could be? Someone with a really pointy head but their hair bunched up at the side of their head? Can’t think who that could be. Or maybe Sister has a new kind of headdress that stores grenades or something. Maybe it’s Fist of the North Stella midway through her transformation sequence. Damn, I just can’t think who that is.
(That’s an aspect of Shaft anime I really like. Characters become their outlines or become part of their body. You just need the outline of Hoshi and often that’s all they show. You only need the ahoge of Arararararagi (sorry, I stuttered) to convey what he’s feeling. It’s a neat trick, in amongst many other Shaft animation oddities that often don’t work. Like zooming in on Recruit’s eye 5 times per episode)
Just in case you’d forgotten what the Mayor’s shtick was, here we are to remind you that he isn’t actually a kappa. You know, just in case you forgot that first scene with the zipper. Or the scene where he does the magical transformation into surprisingly handsome man inside the box. You know, standard re-introduction to the cast sort of thing. I suppose we have to get that much out of the way.
Episode 111: Venusian
Nooo, that’s not true! That cat who visited my house almost every day did so because it loved me! Not my warm and cosy house, even though the cat did like lying on top of the sofa (who then who roll over so you could stroke it’s belly, only to fall off the edge of the couch and look like a total idiot. That was a really dumb cat). That cat loved me and all the ham I fed it.
Yeah I’ve never owned a cat. We’ve only ever been able to have cats who technically belong to other people in the street but spend their time in our house. I really want to own a cat =(
Because that’s not suspicious at all…wait a second. Nino’s past? This season has already dropped a reference to Nino’s past? This early on? With a solid hint with that child’s dress that she actually existed as a child? Holy crap, this is exactly what I had hoped for when it came to the new season! With the perfect construction and ending of the first season, I did enter this season with a bit of trepidation. However early signs point to leaving Recruit’s story alone altogether. We’ve finished that part. Recruit has finally overcome his fear of his dad and his dad has finally accepting Recruit’s new way of life. For Nino, the first season was just about opening her up a bit and giving her something to care about. Without that groundwork we couldn’t try investigate her past. Imagine that. Imagine if Arakawa planned this season out just as well as last season.
oh who am I kidding. That’s not the end of fanboying whatsoever.
Episode 112: Over the Border
Something’s not right with this picture. Now if only I could place my finger on it…aha! Sister playing baseball! That would never work. Someone hurled a projectile at him as fast as they could and yet Sister didn’t whip out a firearm and dispose of the danger? Remember this is the guy who feels it necessary to bear arms against projectile vegetables. How the Mayor managed to convince this man to play baseball is beyond me.
I think I’ve seen this shot before. Like, about 50 times per episode. I suppose it’s better than Bakemonogatari’s obsessesion with blank cut frames showing nothing more than a red or black page with some writing in, almost as a sign to their owners that if you had given us a bigger budget, we could have filled in these spaces with actual animation.
(This is also my argument as to why Arakawa is a better anime than Bakemonogatari. At its heart, Bakemonogatari has some of the best writing of any anime ever produced and should be better than Arakawa. However Bakmono has more than its fair share of flaws and mishaps. Arakawa achieves what it sets out to do absolutely perfectly. I’m fully aware that this is not an opinion shared by most of the rest of anime fandom, but mwahahaha go my biased views go!)
Here’s a theory. What if this person is Nino’s mother? Remember how she appeared at the end of the last season with a rocket? Maybe Nino thinks she’s from Venus because her mum kept building rockets and pretending they were from Venus the whole time? Maybe Nino just naturally inherited her mums wacko gene, which is why Nino is the nutter she is today and her mum has become an Amazonian Warrior (although at least she still has her right breast, if you believe that old Amazonian archers tale). Maybe she’s spent her time between losing her daughter training up to become strong enough to see her daughter again? Maybe I should stop making up stupid theories and get back to the episode. Yeah, I’ll do that instead.
(and you thought your mother in law was scary)
Episode 113: Arakawa Marathon Contest
Oh yeah, these two are new characters! Billy and the Bee Bimbo. They’re certainly more interesting than the samurai hairdresser, whatever he’s supposed to do. I must say I’m hugely impressed by the corniness of Billy’s lines. I’ve got to start taking some of these down to use myself. Now all I’ve got to do is find myself a women who is convinced she’s a Queen Bee. Or one who’s convinced she’s a Vesuvian. With an Amazonian Warrior as a mother. I’m fine either way.
So Whitey has been here for at least 3 years. Hoshi has been here for 4 years, if you remember back to when he first met Nino. I’m not sure about anyone else though. That’s something to work with at least. We’re gradually starting to form a fairly accurate timeline of when everyone started congregating under the bridge. My guess would be it was the Mayor who started it all off. Pretending he’s a kappa is probably something he did long before the community under the bridge was set up. Maybe Nino was the catalyst for starting the community though. She does strike me as the glue that holds that place together.
Whitey does look like a druggie though, what with the hood and the ripped jumper and the fact he has no job whatsoever. That’s the real reason he’s under the bridge. He’s trying to escape from drug lords. That whole line business is a load of nonsense, I can’t believe any of us took what he said at face value.
Episode 114: Like the Wind…
Like the Clouds…
Episode 115: Last Run
You shouldn’t be asking “did Arakawa just throw out a Maria reference?”. The question you should be asking is “why did it take this long for a Mario reference”. Now all we need is for P-ko to grow some mushrooms and we have the full set!
Also, I lol’d hard at this scene. But you knew that already.
Quite a cunning tactic by the residents under the bridge. But the beauties at the end of the track as the carrot to chase for. You get the love and adoration of these three for finishing first. Not that any of the men under the bridge would take advantage of the girl’s attention. It says a lot about the residents under the bridge that Recruit is probably the most forward when it comes to romance. Hoshi lived there for 4 years and never once set foot inside Nino’s room. Sister can’t even give his crush a friggen cookie. The only time of the year Whitey actually makes an attempt is for this race. At least Recruit proposes they move in together. He has the others beat by a considerable margin.
There’s a strange appeal to Nino. She’s not a babe by any stretch of the imagination. You don’t lust after Nino and the thoughts of her in such situations are rather strange. She has a mystic appeal that you want to explore. You want to be with her simply to learn more about her. To see if being with her changes anything about the way she approaches life and the way you see life. There’s a reason I have this as a tag. I like existing and zen moments. It’s a-
We’re sorry to interrupt your fantasies about your ideal waifu Scamp, but we have breaking news.
Over 3 hours of writing and over 2000 words later. These Arakawa posts take forever to bloody write. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Arakawa is back!