(Originally published on Livejournal on 6/18/10)
Arakawa Under the Bridge Episode 6
tl;dr review: Recruit decides his job under the bridge will to become a teacher and explain to everyone ‘common sense’.
About The Series: Kou Ichinomiya has it all: a bright future, a spot at Tokyo University, a penthouse suite. But his life is turned upside-down when he is saved from drowning by Nino, a homeless girl who lives under a bridge. To repay the debt, he becomes Nino’s lover at her request and moves in to live under the bridge himself. As the newcomer, he is renamed Recruit by the ‘Village Chief’ (a man dressed in a kappa suit), and does his best to retain his sanity among the unlikely group that makes their life along the riverbanks.
In This Episode: It’s a musical duel between Hoshi and Recruit, as they face off against each other in the battle for Nino. Hoshi does his best with his guitar, but Recruit is a maestro on the violin — Hoshi admits defeat and snaps, creating a song on the spot about being a “gigolo”, which unexpectedly gets everyone’s interest. Later, Recruit is trying to find out what he can do under the bridge, when he comes across Nino teaching the two metal-helmeted kids to swim. Nino is totally clueless on how to show them, so Recruit steps in as instructor…and quickly learns they cannot float because of their metal helmets (which the kids refuse to remove, or they’ll start flying around and travelling in time, getting the attention of the scientists). Ultimately, Recruit is able to teach them to swim with the help of styrofoam kickboards, and they comment on what a wonderful teacher he is.
Then Recruit meets the kids stoking the flames for bathing barrel, and finds Chief Kappa inside. Even when bathing, he continues to wear his kappa suit, and Chief Kappa and the kids manage to catch a bit of a cold. Recruit quickly expounds upon how they can fight their colds with some common-sense advice, and they promptly thank him, telling him what a great teacher he is, and immediately go against his advice. Recruit them imagines what it would be like if everyone under the bridge began to exhibit common sense, and he comes to a revelation: His job in the community will be to teach them all common sense, since he sees himself as the only sane one in the group. But he feels that he’s missing one little important thing, he just can’t put his finger on it…
My Thoughts: Recruit finally has a goal: Spread the Word of Common Sense! As the only “normal” person under the bridge, he’s the only one that can teach them how to be “normal”. There’s only one little thing that escapes his attention, and it takes the innocent question of a small little girl passing above to point it out: Everyone under the bridge is batshiat insane, and have no desire to be “normal”. Recruit’s inability to recognize that everything operates under different rules here, and his obstinate refusal to accept those rules only highlights that his attempts (while sure to be hilarious) will end in failure.
This episode continues to show just how much Recruit seems himself as an outsider, always viewing everyone else under the bridge as different from him. Makes you wonder how much longer he can maintain hold on his sanity before snapping. Then again, once he figures out that he’s really part of the community, that sort of takes away most of the comedic potential of the show, no?
The Verdict: – I’m not crazy! You’re the one that’s crazy!
Up Next: Giant Killing and The Tatami Galaxy.