Anime Review: Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Episodes 4, 5, and 6

(Originally published and formatted for Livejournal on 12/23/10)

Anime Review:
Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Episodes 4, 5, and 6

Series Premise: Kou Ichinomiya is the heir to a major Japanese corporation, and destined to be one of the bright, future leaders of the country. But through a twist of fate, he has also been renamed simply as “Recruit”, living in a homeless camp under a bridge, wooing the woman he has pledged his undying love. How can he keep his sanity among the most unusual collection of misfits ever assembled, and uncover the mystery of Nino’s shadowy past?

ep.4 tl;dr review: P-ko stars in her own movie; Recruit scares himself in the haunted house.

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Episode 4 Summary: P-ko wants to star in her own movie, and gets Recruit to be the director in her endeavor. As he gets into his role, he soon discover that the casting choices are somewhat suspect, as the Kappa Mayor, Last Samurai and Hoshi totally go off script. When the movie debuts, everyone is stunned when Kou-worshipping flunkie Takai reveals his edited version. Later, the Under the Bridge residents hold their annual haunted house, happy to finally have someone (Recruit) to scare. But the one thing that scares Recruit the most is when he sees himself in a mirror wearing glasses, and sees the reflection as a spitting image of his father.

ep.5 tl;dr review: Potato-Chip manga artist wants to join the group; Billy and Jacqueline’s yakuza past is exposed.

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Episode 5 Summary: The EDF Captain wishes to become a full-time Under the Bridge resident, and bribes everyone by drawing manga stories featuring each person as a heroic character. But Recruit is suspicious at the quality of the art, and reveals him to actually be a famous manga artist known as Potato-Chip Kuwabara. While he ran away from his job so he could have freedom to draw what he wants, he soon realizes that he’s put himself in the same position Under the Bridge as well. Recruit calls on his editor, who agrees to let Potato-Chip draw whatever he likes, much to his fans’ confusion. Later, Billy and Jacqueline have an anniversary meeting, and Recruit learns that Billy used to be a member of the yakuza.

ep.6 tl;dr review: Nino has to leave and return home…to Venus; She invites Recruit along for the ride.

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Episode 6 Summary: Nino is anxious and acting weird (well, even weirder than usual), and tells Recruit she has to talk to him privately. Nino reveals that she has been contacted by her parents, and that she has to leave. In fact, she’s known she had to leave since before she met Recruit, and has always been conflicted over that. Nino asks Recruit to return back home with her to Venus; realizing she is totally serious, he decides to take it seriously as well, imagining life on Venus (but not really buying into Nino’s delusion). When he agrees, he believes this is something special between the two of them. But various others overhear and want to come along as well. Nino is overjoyed, but Recruit is deflated.

My Thoughts: What’s more to be said about Arakawa that hasn’t been covered before? After all, we’re halfway through the second season, if you’re still watching at this point it’s not like you’re unfamiliar with the show. Recruit is still the only “normal” person trying to maintain his sanity in the madhouse. Recruit is still fully aware of all the stupid, nonsensical situations he finds himself in, it’s not like he’s expecting P-ko’s movie to turn out just fine, or everyone to see his side of things regarding the manga artist. But he’s so susceptible to getting caught up in the excitement of the situation, allowing himself to get overly excited about becoming the director of the movie to the point that he *wants* to believe it will be a masterpiece. Of course it’s doomed to failure.

And now Nino’s dropped the bombshell: She has to return to Venus. She believes it with all her heart, just as much as Recruit thinks she is actually delusional. But seeing how serious she is, Recruit feels he has to take it seriously as well, going so far as imagining actually meeting her alien parents. Silly, yes — but in for a penny, in for a pound, there’s no turning back now. Of course I don’t think Nino is from Venus, but given the over-the-top nature of this series, I wouldn’t put it past them at this point.

A few quick thoughts:
– So…where did the Amazons go? One quick comedy sketch a few episodes back, and then…nothing?
– What about the secret man in the shadows that threatens the secretary from investigating Nino further? Another mystery!
– As with all sketch comedies, some skits work, some don’t. The whole Billy/Jacqueline routine was unnecessarily tiresome, for example.
– P-ko remains my favorite. What a nut!
– How much you wanna bet that some marketing droid in Japan has thought about releasing a CD of Hoshi’s Greatest Hits? Hey, it couldn’t do any worse than William Hung.

The Verdict:

Coming up next: Tatami Galaxy Special, Shin Koihime Musou OVA, Bungaku Shoujo Memoire (2), Hairyoru Nyaruani Series (1), Princess Resurrection OVA (1), Battle Spirits Brave (1)

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