Arakawa Under the Bridge – 02
Bring on the messed up homeless people living by the riverside! If you thought the Village Chief was bad, wait till you see the rest of the gang that Riku (formerly known as Ichinomiya Kou) gets introduced to this time around. In this episode alone, we have the star-head Hoshi (Sugita Tomokazu), the red-hooded “can’t step out of the white line game” Shiro (Ootsuka Houchuu), the uzi-touting and clearly male Sister (Koyasu Takehito), and the iron head siblings, Tetsuo (Sanpei Yuuko) and Tetsuro (Shinitani Ryouko). I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top that in the “WTF” character introductions category, but surprisingly, there are more to come later on. Even without the others, I have to say that I feel for Riku in this new life under the bridge as the only one with his sanity in check, but that doesn’t stop me from taking enjoyment in his misfortune either. =)
So much like last time, things were broken up into mini episodes, with the first one being about Riku’s newly renovated pad down under. Not too shabby to say the least, until he looks outside and remembers where the hell he is. It doesn’t help that he freezes his ass off when Nino comes through the door either, but at least she’s nice enough to bring him some fish to eat straight from the river. A pretty girl bringing you a home cooked meal? Even Riku wasn’t dumb enough to let that pass, but he was still too useless to strike up some conversation that might get him anywhere in this relationship (if you can even call it one). As far as I’m concerned, he should have just gone with the Venus talk idea, because if he’s going to make this work, he may as well go along with the severely messed up flow. You can’t go wrong with crazy here!
The latter portions of the episode made for some good laughs as Riku tried “very hard” to cover his eyes as Nino got out of the drum can bath, as well as his ever-so-awesome welcome party. In the latter case, things were going fairly well until Riku decided to introduce himself as Ichinomiya Kou instead of his new “street name” under the bridge, which got him a nice “KAPPA KIIIIIICK!!!” to the face. But hmm, some of the others weren’t too happy about him introducing himself as Nino’s new lover either, so I guess he can’t win. Out of the new bunch however, Sister and his record-breaking five second mass had to be one of the funnier moments here. All he had to do was raise his gun and ask if there was anyone here who did something bad and then the religious service was a done deal. Now that’s what you call efficient preaching.
As you can probably tell from the screenshots, this was another gag-filled affair much like the first showing. I enjoyed the quirky randomness of it all, but didn’t find it hilariously funny. Still, I can’t get enough of Riku’s outbursts as he tries to comprehend insanity and of Nino in general, particularly with how Shaft manages to make her look really really good in some shots. It’s not often I can say that given Shaft’s inconsistent production lately, so hopefully this is a step in the right direction for the studio as a whole. Other than that, included in this episode were the opening and ending sequences missing from last week. The opening sequence with “Venus & Jesus” is notoriously Shaft/Shinbou Akiyuki‘s style (with Tatsuwa Naoyuki directing it), whereas the ending is much simpler. Surprisingly, it features a song by Suneohair, whose music I instinctively associate with Honey & Clover, throwing the whole gag thing off.