Thursday, 1 July 2010

Arakawa Under the Bridge - Episode 13 (Completed)

This might be more of an au revoir than a goodbye to Arakawa Under the Bridge (a second season has already been giving the green light), but even then I wasn't particularly expecting to see three new characters brought forth, however briefly.

With all of the worries surrounding Kou's father and so on resolved, this episode gives us a chance to cut loose and return to abnormality with the residents under the bridge, starting with the pressing need for Nino to do something about her wayward haircut. This prompts a mass exodus to the local barber, who just happens to be a samurai, naturally. While Ric worries about being given a topknot by said Last Samurai, he probably should be worried about more pressing matters, especially once Sister becomes involved in things.

After a brief interlude featuring those other two new characters, Jacqueline and Billy (a bee and parrot respectively, if you hadn't already guessed), thoughts turn to the requirement for an amusement park after the brothers and Stella hear passers-by talking about one. Visiting a proper park is out of the question, so Kou sets to work designing one himself, only to find himself trumped by the other residents under the bridge as they unveil their own unique take on an amusement park. If you think 3D cinema is a gimmick, this episode might well change your might...

As individual episodes go, this wasn't really one of my favourites in terms of humour, although it did manage to make me cry with laughter at Takei's "Mysterious Beauty Kou Land" while the whole amusement park portion of the episode was easily the best. On a wider note, I have to confess that the first couple of episodes of Arakawa Under the Bridge didn't really grab me as much as it seemed to take a hold of others, yet as the series progressed so I found myself growing into its unique brand of humour - or perhaps it just grew into me? Like all comedy, it's a hit and miss affair and it depends very much on your unique tastes, but there is no doubt that when this series hit the spot it could be utterly hilarious, while it still found time to let its characters grow and hint at what lies beneath the largely mysterious façades they've all built up for themselves. Indeed, the series managed to be surprisingly touching on occasion, but nothing was served to the viewer on a plate, leaving us free to pursue our own thoughts about what we were seeing. Come the end of it all, this made Arakawa Under the Bridge a refreshing blend of the intelligent and the absurd, to create a finished work that was undeniably human.

1 comment:

Leanie said...

I think the best comedy parts of the series derived from the characters' warped views and interpretations of daily activities, such as their version of going to mass, going to amusement parks, etc. I felt the same way about the show in that I slowly became more acclimated towards the show's unusual brand of humor. It's really an acquired taste, but that doesn't stop it from being wildly amusing once you get used to it.