Arakawa Under the Bridge – 12
The metaphoric-like scenes shown prior to the opening sequence tend to depict this series in a more serious and almost surreal light, but this showdown between Kou and his father turned out to be just as good when the latter experiences a repeat of what started Kou’s life under the bridge. While everyone was busy wishing upon on a pair of Riku and Hoshi shooting stars care of Maria’s sadistic efforts, Sonchou proved to be a heavyweight in the world who can get the government to put a stop to the Ichinomiya group’s plans. That of course is when he’s not busy frolicking around in a kappa suit and trying to douse fires with whatever little water is on his head. As a result, Nino’s wish for everyone to stay together came true, even though it wasn’t due to Riku and Hoshi’s sacrifices. In Hoshi’s case, he got what he deserved for boasting about how Nino likes to wish upon a star, but Riku had the unfortunate pleasure of getting dragged into it. As a pair of idiots fighting over Nino’s love though, it was pretty funny seeing them continue talking smack until Maria eventually booted them off the pillar.
Somewhat overshadowed by the usual gags of Maria getting under Sister’s skin and everyone making wishes from Riku and Hoshi’s endless suffering was the small resemblance to a love story upon Seki’s arrival. He was only concerned about trying to figure out what kind of strings Kou pulled to put a stop to his plan and ended up realizing that his son didn’t do anything, but his discussion with Nino was oddly familiar to the one she originally had with Kou. In particular, the way Nino responded to the Ichinomiya family motto regarding debts by saying how she gets enjoyment from feeding Riku and how he’s working for their sake to prevent them from getting evicted. Instead of making Seki indebted to her, Nino’s kindness reminded him of who I imagine to be Kou’s mother, whom he doesn’t seem to be with any longer.
Upon hearing Seki’s cell phone ring from Kou’s call for the first time ever (indicated by the unique ringtone he assigned his number), I was really hoping Seki would answer it just to see how their conversation would go. Unfortunately, he proved to be too proud to the very end and left his pants and phone with Nino, but hearing him encourage Kou to try and do what he wasn’t able to with his mother was almost like he acknowledged his decision to be with Nino. The real love story-like moment came when Nino answered the call and heard Riku trying to tell his father that he wants to be with her forever even if he has to leave his life under the bridge. His indirect love confession was kind of sweet despite how it came off as frantic, desperate, and full of fear of his father.
For a series primarily focused about the gags, it’s nice to see the subtle story elements come together in some way. While the actual things that take place are pretty random and just plain silly, the time Riku spends with everyone under the bridge has been unassumingly advancing things along with Nino. Not a whole lot happens between them each episode, but whenever Nino speaks up about something, she generally surprises both Riku and myself. She’s a bit of a marvel that I can’t help but take notice to and it looks like Riku and his father Seki sort of feel the same way. That said, with the risk of getting evicted out of the way, I hope the series finale next week will give a little more focus to Riku and Nino, amidst the plentiful jokes that will surely come with it.