(I have nothing witty to start this post off with. Since I’m already late on this, let’s get cracking shall we?)
Or maybe not.
I started writing. I started taking screencaps. I did my usual routine for Arakawa posts. But this episode had nothing. I mean, it was funny and everything. But nothing advanced, nothing changed and was, for all intensive purposes, ‘filler’. Which sounds hugely contradictory to call a comedy anime that. But it’s not the sitcom never-changing atmosphere of Arakawa that I love. The comedy is funny and everything, but largely boils down to Recruit playing straight man to the Arakawa residents, and through his straight man routine reveal how obviously strange he is in his own way.
What I really loved about the first season of Arakawa, the reason it’s got a place in my top 3o, is the absolute perfect construction of the series. Characters change very subtlety over the course of the series and their attitudes towards Recruit and his attitude towards them shifts ever so slightly. The deconstruction of everything he thought to be ‘common sense’ and straight into his integration under the bridge. It’s a wonderful series, even though I’m the only one who gives it quite this much praise.
This episode realised the reasons I didn’t want this second season in the first place. There were 3 directions it could have taken. The first is build an entirely new central plot piece deconstructing Nino’s past and tackling the barriers she’s built up in her society under the bridge, which it looks like to be the direction it’s taking at times, more noticeably in episodes 1 and 3. The second option would be to introduce some totally random plot point that ultimately doesn’t effect the relationships the characters have under the bridge. A filler arc, as you would say. The final option would be to have a season of unrelated episodes simply exploring the characters under the bridge’s personalities in a humorous fashion.
The second and third options are largely the same. Nothing ultimately changes and the humour remains the same. But I can’t shake the feeling that these are unnecessary. I had the exact same problem with Rainbow earlier this year. Once the centre story of the kids in prison ended, the remaining episodes felt unneeded. Sure, it would still keep a cheesy dramatic punch that Rainbow loved throughout it’s main story. But I didn’t want to see anymore. I didn’t want them to show me what happened to the characters in later years. Leave that to my imagination. You’d done such a great job constructing these characters that we didn’t need to see beyond that well-constructed story you’d originally showed us.
I’m probably the minority on this, but I feel that once you’ve constructed the perfect story, it shouldn’t be touched thereafter. We don’t need to see anymore. Maybe a special extra episode or two. But an entirely new season? (Which is basically the exact same thing Rainbow did). I’m not a fan of that. And it’s only a recent discovery that I’m not a fan of that. As fun as it is to see Sister as a schoolgirl, the experience feels hollow and tacked on.
I didn’t say much about this before because it was too early. Plus episode 3 was fantastic and hinted that we would have another deconstruction, reconstruction style story involving Nino. This was nothing though. I have nothing against plotness nonsense comedy. Just maybe not after that first season.