Arakawa Under the Bridge – 04
Kamiya Hiroshi is reunited with Saitou Chiwa in another SHAFT production since Bakemonogatari, but he’s not getting any loving this time as the little orphan girl from Great Britain absolutely destroys Riku in a one-on-one “play fight” and makes him her new underling. Having hung around Sister before, I guess it’s no surprise that Stella is like that; however, it still doesn’t change the fact that she can unleash killer ground-to-air combos that happen so quickly that Riku doesn’t even know what hit him. Hilariously enough, a few seconds of his life must have been wiped from his memory as the traumatic ordeal jostled his brain and left him wondering if a grade schooler just kicked his ass. Unfortunately for Riku, he doesn’t even get the opportunity to try and forget it ever happened since Stella is quick to remind him that he can’t be no big brother of hers (i.e. in a yakuza kind of way) if he can’t beat her in a fight. Now it could just be me, but even with the whole stapler in your mouth thing, Senjougahara Hitagi is looking like sunshine and rainbows in comparison to Stella. At least Riku thought about hightailing it like everyone else when Sister asked someone to look after her for a bit, even though he was late to act.
Before things got a bit out of hand with Stella’s introduction, the continuation of Riku and Nino’s date went surprisingly normal, or at least as normal as one can expect from a date between an Earthling and a “Venusian” who live under a bridge together. Admittedly, the whole bit with Riku emphasizing the important of a sense of distance in a relationship and eventually having their hearts understand one another was pretty silly, especially with the way Nino took it in a literal sense and how Riku got swept up in her understanding of it, but there was still some good intention behind trying to carry Nino like a princess to get into the right mood. It’s just too bad Riku failed in its execution and ended up delivering a good number of knees to her ribs instead.
In contrast to that, the real romantic moment came when Riku was able to sense Nino’s unhappiness over her reed boat not making it to the ocean. I’m a bit curious as to what her attachment to that is and whether it symbolizes something else to her, but credit goes to Riku for deciding not to ask even though he was curious about it and simply jump into the water to help the boat along. That was probably one of the few things that went right in their date, along with his line about being a mere Earthling and how he’d like to be with her if she’s okay with it, which won Nino over in more ways than he’s probably aware. I wasn’t anticipating anything profound from the romance department in this series, but scenes like that have me wondering if Riku and Nino’s gag-filled relationship will actually amount to something in the end. It would be awfully cute if it does, but I’m okay with these little glimpses of romance even if it doesn’t.
Lastly, we saw the introduction of Sawashiro Miyuki‘s character in the series — a beautiful farm girl named Maria. Seeing as she runs a farm by the riverside with livestock and all, it was hard to imagine that she would be relatively normal. It didn’t take long for my suspicion to come to light though, as she’s quick to tell Riku not to bother introducing himself since it’s a waste of the Earth’s oxygen. Compound that thought with her saying she’ll teach him how to covert carbon dioxide back to oxygen and you just know she’s one messed up individual. Apparently, she only says stuff like that to get a reaction out of people, but when she’s unable to get one out of Sister yet manages to open up the stitches on his face, something is seriously not right there. Why do the pretty ones always have to be crazy?