Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Arakawa Under the Bridge x2 - Episode 1

Although I loved watching it at the time as it slowly but surely grew on me, it perhaps wasn't until the first series of Arakawa Under the Bridge has finished that I realised just how much I missed the antics of its oddball cast, which held a rather unique place in my heart with its weekly dose of humour that became more marked by the week.  Thankfully, the autumn means that this show is back, now with added bridge!

While things in general under that bridge don't seem to have changed too much, we do see a chance for further progress from Ric with regard to Nino, as she ends up sleepwalking into his place and sleeping on his couch every night, seemingly on account of some strange dreams.  Seeing as she ends up there every day anyway, Ric figures that this is a perfect opportunity to ask her to come and live with him at his place, and of course he's delighted when she accepts... at least, that is, until he realises she's misunderstood and has simply agreed to swap houses instead.  Still, this swap does give us the chance to learn a few things, starting with some further insights into the life of our favourite supposed Venusian, and also how the other residents behave around her - not that the room swap has done anything to curb Nino's sleepwalking, mind you.

Surely you'd want to place Maria at the start line to encourage the participants to run fast?
Away from all of that, the second half of the episode takes in the annual Arakawa marathon, which looks set to be a sedate and fun affair until Whitey and the Mayor race off to a blazing, supersonic (literally in the latter's case) start, although other contestants seem to have gone to the other extreme of burdening themselves as much as possible.  Still, Ric seems prepared to go with the flow, until he ends up getting riled up by Star's comments, which of course sends the ever-present rivalry between them through the stratosphere as they battle to win the race.

If there was any concern about Arakawa Under the Bridge losing its way in the break between seasons, any such worries were made to look foolish in light of what was a decidedly strong opening episode to x2.  This series has never been about getting constant laughs but when it hits one, it really hits it out of the park, and it delivers consistently enough to be hugely entertaining; be it P-ko's unripened tomatoes or Ric's fantastic one-liner to Whitey mid-way through the marathon, both genuinely hilarious moments.  Even beyond its comedy, I can't help but notice how its characters and the dynamic between them all has slipped under my radar - as well as the excellent vein of humour, I've come to realise that I genuinely have a soft spot for all of the characters, which aids in helping both the show and its gags tick along nicely.  In short, it's good to be back under the bridge, and I sincerely hope nothing tries to kick us out until we've had our fill of laughter.

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