If you thought we'd seen the last of our Earth Defence Force commander in Arakawa Under the Bridge x2 then think again, as he crops up in this fifth episode of the series.... in Ric's bed of all places.
Despite turning tail and running last time around, it appears that this spaceship fleet commander has taken a liking to this world under the bridge and wants to make it his home, and he's even prepared a bunch of doujinshi manga for the various residents to "grease the wheels" of his progress towards becoming part of this rather oddball society. Given his manga-making talents, it doesn't take long for Ric to realise just what this individual is running from, and before you can say "hey, this guy should have a cameo in Bakuman" Ric has extracted his pen name from him, done some research online and called his editor to take him away, proving that he isn't some kind of business prodigy for nothing. If nothing else, our manga author's experience gives him some new inspiration for his future work, although creating a manga about a bunch of loopy misfits appears not to curry favour with his fans - as if a series about crazy people would ever get an anime adaptation or anything!
For the second half of the episode, we take a peek (quite literally, thanks mainly to P-ko's nosiness) into the life of Billy and Jacqueline on what is supposedly a special anniversary for them, although Billy's absence from the scene is immediately apparent. What follows is some kind of gang warfare, mobster drama that, to be honest, tries a little too hard for my liking, and aside from a few little giggles it provided probably the least amusing segment of any episode of Arakawa Under the Bridge x2 thus far. Oh well, you can't win them all...
To be honest, that probably sums up my feelings about this episode as a whole - perhaps I'm just in the wrong mood to enjoy this show's madcap humour today, but a lot of it didn't work for me this time around, although it still offered up more genuine laughs than a number of other comedy anime shows. I can't really put a finger on what went wrong for me here, but maybe these two sub-stories just tried to push the boat out a little too far, and this isn't helped by some of the show's newer characters not having quite the same comic potential as the well-established members of the cast. Still, as I say there were still enough decent moments here for this episode not to be a complete write-off for me, and given how fantastic every other instalment has been up to now I can begrudge Arakawa Under the Bridge x2 a bad episode this time I think.