Lines I thought I'd never hear in anime: "It's not like I just want him for his chloroplasts!" Seriously, was kind of twisted genius is Arakawa Under the Bridge, and how does it make me laugh louder every week?
Anyhow, I digress - After figuring out his vocation under the bridge last week, episode seven of the series sees Ric start up his school, although admittedly the first day's attendance doesn't look too promising, comprising at it does Nino and the Brothers. Of course, trying to teach this menagerie anything proves to be rather tougher than Ric perhaps imagined, as magnets are viewed as superpowers and Nino considers the possibility of taking a trip on a bottle rocket so that she can return to Venus, without even mentioning the difficulty in making a distinction between a distinction and a... err... distinction. Things aren't exactly helped by our favourite "kappa" and Star, with the latter in particular rushing off to pen one of his wonderful songs after being forsaken by Nino once again. I, for one, can't wait to hear the finished version of "Fuck off you student fucker" - You don't get snappy titles like that from some light music club.
Ric's "school" gets interrupted further by a visit from Stella, who is a terrifying as ever, although this actually doubles as a nice bit of character development for her, as we begin to understand why she takes on this tough mafia persona (aside from hanging out with Sister too much, that is). With classes over, Ric also has to pay an almost lethal visit to the hapless P-Ko, where he finally cottons on to her feelings for the Mayor while she actually ends up delivering a lesson to Ric on what life is really all about, shattering his illusions of common sense at what looks to be the worst possible moment.
Above all else, I can't help but focus on Arakawa Under the Bridge's sense of humour, which seems to be getting sharper and more polished by the week - There were so many big laughs here that everything else almost fades into irrelevance under the light of this kind of surreal comic genius. That said, there is more to this episode than just jokes alone, with Ric's final conversation with P-Ko really laying bare what we've been seeing for ourselves throughout this series so far - Kou thinks that he knows everything about how the normal world works and what is and isn't "correct", but finally he's coming to realise that being different doesn't necessarily make you certifiably crazy... in fact, just living your life the way you want to the best you can is arguably the definition of common sense in comparison to a world where you do a job you hate and associate with people you don't like just to fit in with society. Yes, "be yourself" is the kind of horrible cliche American movies love to churn out ad infinitum so its central message is nothing new, but damn does Arakawa Under the Bridge manages to do it with style. Style, and bringing the insult "student-fucker" into my vernacular.