Monday, 12 April 2010

Arakawa Under the Bridge - Episode 2

After introducing us to the fast-changing world of Kou Ichinomiya... sorry, Recruit... last episode, this second episode of Arakawa Under the Bridge sees Ric beginning to settle into his new and unique home.

Indeed, it has to be said that Kou has made a pretty nice home for himself already, but this all becomes rather immaterial as his thoughts turn to sheer panic when he finds himself left alone with Nino for the first time, having never had a girl in his room before. Besides, just what is a guy supposed to talk to a girl from Venus about anyway?


From here, we learn the intricacies of taking a bath when you live under a bridge (which also gives Ric the opportunity to reminisce about his past a little more), see Ric enjoy a welcoming party which suddenly becomes rather less welcoming when he mentions his relationship with Nino, and perhaps most impressively of all we get introduced to the wonderful religion practised by those who reside under the bridge, served up by a "sister" who would probably be better suited to an appearance in Black Lagoon. Still, you can't go wrong with a religion based largely around guns and cookies.

If the first episode of Arakawa Under the Bridge was merely a taster of what this show is going to be all about, then this was the real deal - A bunch of vignettes that are occasionally as funny as they are surreal, while also serving as a fantastic character study of Kou and, perhaps, a broader commentary on what is wrong with the world as a whole. While Recruit sees himself as surrounded by crazy people, it leaves him completely unable to understand his own idiosyncrasies, while his interactions with those around him shows how little his status and power actually mean out in the world of ordinary people, leaving him unable to converse with Nino or even to talk about himself without a reference to said status. It's this which is perhaps the sharpest point of the episode, positing our protagonist as a kind of non-lethal Patrick Bateman for the 21st century - A man more concerned with brand names than anything of interest, and only interested in his own role in the working world than what he actually "is" as a person.

This mix of surrealist comedy and social commentary works exceedingly well, and if I was hedging my bets after the first episode I think this second instalment has me hooked.

4 comments:

abandonedfactory said...

I largely agree with you. I would just add something, as screwed up as Kou/Ric is, he has a part of him that seems to really want to change. As much as he resists the under-the-bridge community, and habitually clings to the values and standards he has learned, he has insights (more than once per episode) that he is in the wrong.

Anyways, a funny show that also makes me think, and looks really good at times: I'm liking it.

JW said...

This episode just got better and better and better. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Sebastian said...

Hooked... dang.

Hanners said...

abandonedfactory: I think that's why this series is working so well actually. Although Ric is an insensitive, self-absorbed idiot who is overly impressed by physical possessions and the like, he's actually not inherently a bad guy - He's trying his best to be a decent fellow who can blend in with this oddball community, he's just not very good at it.