Arakawa Under the Bridge – 09
There’s ridiculous and then there’s Luna’s Papa from Seto no Hanayome ridiculous, which Stella takes a page right out of by buffing up on-the-fly after learning that Sister’s in love with Maria. Quite honestly, I was more disturbed than anything else by the sight of her growing to inhuman male proportions and taking out her frustration on Riku, but I was amused by how the heartbroken potato-head Hoshi just spouted out Sister’s true feelings after Riku tried to keep it from her. Riku was right to fear that another distraught individual like Hoshi would be created if Stella found out, though I truly doubt he was prepared for a monster full of pure killing intent to be come forth. The last time I checked, little girls don’t grow a hundred fold pumped full of steroids regardless of how strong their emotions are, but I guess I can see why Stella is able to recruit underlings with ease.
Absurd transformations aside, I figured the bright side of all this was how all of Stella’s hate was directed towards Maria, meaning Riku may not have to endure anymore than he already did. However, he still choose to stick his head into other people’s business, so it was pretty funny to see Maria confide in him for protection with Sister looking on. It was clearly for Maria’s personal enjoyment since she already knows Stella puts up an innocent facade, so watching Riku’s attempt at peaceful negotiations break down was a pretty good “oh snap” moment. It was only topped by Maria subsequently showing that she isn’t just any farm girl, moving at Dragon Ball Z-like instantaneous speeds and getting the jump on Stella, AFTER she already finished trimming the wool from all her sheep. That was nicely foreshadowed by Sister saying he doesn’t dare stop Maria out of fear he’ll be killed a hundred times over and followed up by him being silenced about talking about her past. I was actually looking forward to seeing Stella attempt to perform seppuku following her humiliating defeat, but watching Hoshi come in to stand up for her in light the kindness Maria showed, only to suffer from Stella’s wrath was so random yet so hilariously expected at the same time. A lot of the humor in this gag-comedy series is always right on cue with all the quirky scenarios it sets up and that was a prime example of one.
As for Hoshi, his backstory on how he was once a top artist whose success rested solely on the song writing and composition of his producer gave me a good laugh, not so much because he used to perform his own crappy songs under the bridge in a moon mask out of frustration, but because that was the moment Riku found out Hoshi isn’t in denial about wearing a mask like Sonchou is with his kappa suit. It was pretty messed up to see the situation reversed with Riku imagining that the mask itself was a parasitic organism of sorts that feasts on unsuspecting humans who stroll into “Hoshi’s” trailer before having Hoshi correct him with the logical explanation, but that was the very reason I found it so funny to begin with. In any case, it was nice seeing Nino years earlier with shorter hair, though I’m not sure what to make of her being the reason Hoshi is what he is today. No longer relying on the light of the sun (i.e. his producer) to shine brightly, he’s given up his moon mask for a star one. Symbolically speaking, it makes perfect sense, but rationally speaking, he’s still a crazy lunatic who wears a star mask.
* One-shot gag this week was Nino German suplexing Riku in her sleep.