Arakawa Under the Bridge – 05
I wasn’t expecting any addition opening sequences in this series, but I’m not complaining or anything when it’s Sawashiro Miyuki performing the theme. It’s just too bad we’re not getting really catchy songs like in Bakemonogatari. With a name that translates to “Think of a Title Yourself”, this Maria character song doesn’t really match up to Miyuki’s performance of Tsuruga Kanbara’s character song “ambivalent world”, but I always like hearing her vocals regardless. The addition of a new opening here has me wondering if we’re in store for any more, as I sure as hell wouldn’t mind hearing songs performed by Nino (Sakamoto Maaya), Stella (Saitou Chiwa), Hoshi (Sugita Tomokazu), and the newly introduced P-ko (Omigawa Chiaki, Maka in SOUL EATER). I doubt we’ll get anything like “staple stable” out of Chiwa this time around, especially if it’s going to be a Stella character song, but I can always hope.
Regarding the episode itself, it was funny seeing the follow-up to Sister’s collapse at the sound of Maria’s comment about him being boring. Humorously enough, it turns out that all his previous training to resist torture as a mercenary before can’t prepare him for Maria speaking ill of him because he happens to like her. It was a bit surprising to learn that at first, but I actually got more of a kick out of the fact that the heavy thing that Sister needed Riku’s help with carrying back in the wagon turned out to be Sister himself. This evidently isn’t the first time his facial wound has been reopened by Maria’s words nor is it even close to being the last, as a lolicon comment gets the blood gushing out again later on. That said, I wouldn’t have guessed that Sister would be so embarrassed about his feelings towards Maria that he would throw a hand grenade just to avoid getting into a conversation on it. Who would’ve thunk that the cross-dressing ex-mercenary is actually a shy boy?
As mentioned above, the big thing this episode was the introduction of the redhead P-ko who takes care of a vegetable field. Seeing as Maria runs a farm with livestock and all, a vegetable field actually sounds a lot more reasonable for a bunch of weirdos living underneath a bridge. In P-ko’s case, I wasn’t sure what to make of her other than she’s a dojikko (i.e. air-headed/clumsy), whose severity entails setting up banana peel traps in this day and age, accusing Riku of being a ninja for avoiding them, and managing to set them all off herself in a chain reaction faction. Other than that display of clumsiness, she’s more or less just a cute girl who loves piment (a.k.a. green bell peppers), which probably explains why her name means “P Kid”. Naturally, things don’t go so well when Riku says he hates bell peppers, but her destructive nature still pales in comparison to Stella’s.
Comedy-wise, the real gags picked up during Stella’s welcome party when the village chief deemed it unnecessary to give her a new name, despite how much Riku insisted to try and expose her true nature. His attempt to play the pity card for Stella not getting in on the “awesome” renaming fell short, but I don’t think he would’ve had a chance against Stella’s deceptive nature anyway. The best part was when Riku found out that everyone actually has jobs as a bunch of homeless weirdos, with Nino’s being a fisherman. Watching Riku’s reaction to being called a “himo” (a man who is financially dependent on a woman) by Maria was the icing on the cake, as he’s obviously the wealthiest one there. The thought of being indebted to all their services naturally didn’t sit well with him, especially when he was lowered to being a freeloader like Shiro, so I thought it was funny how Riku continued to get ridiculed about letting Nino be the provider in their relationship. This includes Hoshi rubbing it in his face about how a musician like him will win over Nino from his himo ass, until Riku decides to show him up with his own musical talents.
Given how things concluded here, the next episode should be fun with the continuation of the music battle over Nino’s heart, plus we’re undoubtedly going to hop around to various other mini chapters as well. So far, this adaptation has been using material right out of the manga with little to no changes except the order of things, which I’m rather pleased about since the jokes there are pretty good to begin with. Shaft is still skipping a lot of material, but I feel they’ve been doing a good job at keeping the flow between both the mini chapters and episodes themselves pretty seamless so kudos to them.