Sometimes when I flick on an episode of anime, my cynic side suddenly decides to shift into high gear, making it incredibly difficult to enjoy the episode and often damning the entire series as it picks apart every scene it doesn’t consider up to standard. It can be particularly fatal for an entire series when the episode is already packed full of stupid like episode 12 of Occult Academy. The only way to break through that cynic barrier is a rather simple but surprisingly difficult method: watch a really good episode. So yeah, I had cynic side turned on at the start of this episode. It quickly dissipated, but it did mean I was eye-rolling at yet another lovey dovey metaphor to open the episode.
Episode 122: Message from Venus
Why hello there Pioneer plaque. Didn’t expect to see you here. Wonder how some Venusians got hold of it. Wasn’t it supposed to have gone outside the Solar System, not back towards the inner ring planets? One thing that always bugged me about the plaque is the people being naked. If aliens did come to earth expecting to see these creatures, they’d see nothing of the sort. They would view these fully clothed creatures as some sort of evil creatures who had killed off the previous, hand-waving inhabitants and were therefore a war-mongering nation that should be destroyed at all costs. Way to go astronomers. Thanks for dooming our species.
btw since when was there a child on the plaque? Way to get basic facts wrong Shaft.
I’d say many of you have already come to the conclusion that the peolpe on the tape are Nino’s parents. Telling your child to brush your teeth and wash your hair is very parental things to do. The train of thought I’m on at the moment is the whole Venusian thing comes from Nino’s parents, who appear to be quite obviously as batty as Nino is. The tapes must be their way of keeping in touch with her. If they are still alive that is. Maybe they’re just mementos Nino keeps.
Either way, the kid on the plaque? Well, the man and women are Nino’s parents and the kid is Nino. It’s a symbol of parents sending messages to Nino using a famous reference to aliens. It all makes sense now!
You knew as soon as Recruit said this that he’d jinxed it. If there’s one thing you can be guaranteed about Arakawa, it’s that nothing will ever go exactly the way Recruit thinks it will. In fact, more often than not it will go the total opposite way. As soon as he thinks Nino won’t get too angry, she will go and do exactly that.
Also Nino’s eyes when she saw Recruit were creepy. In fact, Nino’s eyes manage some of the strangest expressions I’ve ever seen anime characters pull. For a character who’s often rather monotone and blank, her eyes really do tell you a lot of what’s going on in her mind. Albeit what’s going on in her Nino-warped mind, which means you have to read her expressions in a slightly different way to how you’d read other characters’ expressions.
Episode 123: Up the telephone pole
Angry Nino is a difficult thing to envisage. She obviously wouldn’t slap anyone or yell. That’s just not Nino. But neither do I think she would hold it up inside her with a cold silence. She needs to express her anger in some form. Perhaps pretending she was a space cruiser and shooting down Recruit? Nah, her space version has been prised open a bit here so she couldn’t resort to that. In short, her comfort zone of pretending to be from Venus has been cracked. So instead she acts like a cat who has just found out its going to be taken to the vet. The turn around and hiss as she’s running away from Recruit was fantastic.
- Only 5 seconds long
- The communion was chocolate chip cookies instead of that shitty unleavened bread
- The priests were masochists instead of pedophiles
(I swear that will be the only ‘priests are pedophiles’ joke I use for the whole year. Not because it’s tasteless or controversial, but because it’s been done to death that I no longer find any of them funny. The shock factor has long since gone, go make jokes about something else that’s been joked about less often. Like airplane food)
Episode 124: Message
Shaft making fun of crappy fanservice moe manga. Although such is the state of the industry at the moment that you’re far more likely to hear these words coming from a Light Novel. Manga doesn’t have as many moecrap coming out of it, outside of 4-komas. You’re much more likely to find the old-fashioned harem featuring large breasted girls who fall over a loser main character instead of flat-chested moeblobs who blush when they see the generic main character. Honestly, I prefer the older haremshit to this moeshit, even if it’s just the lesser of two evils.
Episode 125: Weighter than words
Now that is scary. Nino’s anger earlier on in the episode was just her desperately trying to release her feelings in what felt most natural to her. This is controlled anger Nino. This is Nino and Recruit having something akin to a couples argument. It’s strange to think of it this way, but Arakawa Under the Bridge is one of the few anime that focus on a couple’s relationship after they’ve gotten together. It’s just easy to forget about because they’re such an unconventional couple. Remember, the story doesn’t end when the couple gets together.
Think about it Recruit. What if she’s a mass murderer? Could you really accept that? What if her parents called themselves Vesuvians to hide from their child the truth behind what they were really doing? What if she genuinely was an alien sent to destroy the earth and will activate after she’s been there for 10 years? Or as soon as she loses her virginity? Or that Nino is actually a hermaphrodite? Could you really accept those kinds of facts?
Although I’m guessing what’s really on those tapes is something so stupid and trivial that Recruit will pull a shouty loud face over the whole debacle. I kinda hope it isn’t. I would like a good reason behind why Nino is so afraid of revealing her past. But I can’t see Arakawa heading in that direction.
(does this count as moe? I’m not even sure anymore)
Oh Hoshi. If you ever had even the slightest chance with Nino, all hopes have been dashed right there. That would be like someone taking my collection of downloaded anime and taping over them with ‘Home and Away’, saying he just taped over some stupid cartoons. Except 10 times worse, and that’s saying a lot.
Episode 126: Pajama Party
Forgive me for this one, but the rest of this post might be a bit of a P-ko pic spam. She stole the show for the entire second half of the episode. In an environment as bizarre as the community under the bridge, having P-ko acting like a normal women and pulling all the girls into doing women things was fantastic. Complaining about men and how they listen to what women are saying and not doing what they actually mean for them to do. Or how about her becoming the mouth of Nino, telling Recruit what Nino really wanted. Nino may be the princess for everyone under the bridge, but P-ko is the one you really need to win over if you want the women on your side.
Nothing in particular to say about this picture. Just stuck it up for the contrast between the subs and the image. Stick it up as the lead image to an /a/ thread and watch the results. I don’t want to do it. I’ve found myself reading 4chan recently. Originally it was just to read the Season Preview Chart threads to see what people were saying and how to improve them, but I found myself drifting towards other threads. I’ve got to eradicate this infection before it becomes incurable. I should be OK. I’ve caught it at a very early stage in its development.
Maria stripping for the pajama party brought to mind how Arakawa doesn’t really do fanservice, which is strange for a Shaft anime. It does occasionally like to accentuate how pretty Nino is, but normally it’s done deliberately when Recruit finds himself thinking about Nino in a sexual manner. More often, it’s just showing her lips more clearly than usual. As I said, very strange for a Shaft anime, who are often more than happy to focus in on cleavages and crotches and hugely disturbing underage lotion rubbing scenes.
P-ko taking charge. Well, Maria is hardly going to take charge. She just wants to insult men whenever they enter her vicinity. Stella is too young to take charge of anyone who isn’t one of the metal heads. Nino is totally spaced out and incapable of saying much at all. P-ko is the only one left to take charge. Good on ya P-ko! You’re a man’s worst nightmare: A girlfriend’s scary best friend. Well no, there’s plenty of things scarier than that. A girlfriends scary mother for instance. But this certainly isn’t something you’d be seeing in your more pleasant dreams. Except maybe the more adventurous sexual ones. Hmmm, I better get off this train of thought now.
Episode 127: Ric’s secret tape
It is a well known fact that bishies all look like women, but I think Recruit may have taken it a little too far in this picture. Err, I might just be seeing this in my nightmares. While I’ll be seeing that other one with P-ko and Nino in my slightly more pleasant drea-no Scamp, get off that train of thought now!
Episode 128: With a heavy heart
To get to Nino you have to first pass her three guardians. P-ko should be pretty easy to defeat. Make sure you don’t get hit by projectile gardening implements and carefully toss a banana skin in her vicinity. Victory is assured. Stella is more difficult to defeat because of her Fist of the North Stella mode, so more indirect tactics will have to be employed here. Shouldn’t be too difficult because she’s not the most emotionally stable. Tell her Sister has some cookies or something. Maria would be the toughest and only could be defeated through sheer endurance. Your only option would be to take her punishment until she got bored. Only then would you be able to save your Queen.
Nino isn’t a normal girl. Her facial reactions can’t be read the same way as you read others. But there’s still similarities there. Anger gave way to worry, but worry that she would lose the life she was currently enjoying. Which is exactly the same thing poor old Recruit was worrying about. An understanding is reached and Good End is achieved. Also, that cynic side to me that surfaced back at the start of the episode? Not sure where he’s gone by now. Probably off sulking in a corner as my love for Arakawa shoved it to one side, mumbling drearily about how you know perfectly well there’s nothing worthwhile on those tapes.
I’ve said it before, but I’d be shocked if Nino’s past did include something genuinely worth hiding. I like the idea that there’s some method behind the madness to everyone under the bridge. That Sister is here because he couldn’t fit into modern society when his brain was so war-warped. That Hoshi is here because he wanted to sing his own music. That the metal heads are escaping from a orphanage where they were bullied and treated poorly by the staff. That Nino hides her past behind a facade of being from Venus. I doubt there’s a good reason, but I really hope there is.