Friday, 31 December 2010

Arakawa Under the Bridge x2 - Episode 13 (Completed)

While our thoughts were turning to Venus as Arakawa Under the Bridge x2 drew to a close, it seems as if the series itself was going off at a different angle entirely, stretching its "King Game" out into a second episode.

Thus, the show's finale begins as we focus upon what looks set to be a fight to the death between Sister and Maria, with everyone so desperate for the former to win (or rather, to ensure that Maria didn't win) that Ric is even willing to give blood to replenish Sister's dwindling levels.  From here, we get an action-packed few minutes (SHAFT really seem like they've been wanting to work on an action series with this show of late) before the inevitable end to this battle where Maria' razor-sharp tongue wins the day.

Luckily for most of the residents, Maria's decree isn't as bad as they had feared, with her request consisting simply of the others helping her to make clothes for her chilly sheep... apart from the men that is, who have to act like dogs and heard said sheep around.  Still, even this is preferable to most of the things you might have expected Maria to dream up, and come the end of the episode everyone happily sends their written down wishes downstream, leading to a cosy little finale between Ric and Nino.  Still no mention of Venus though, mind you.

It's this move away from tackling "the Venus issue", and with it the hope of revealing any more of Nino's back story, that has been the great disappointment of the second half of Arakawa Under the Bridge x2.  While its first season was slow to warm up before finishing incredibly strongly after improving by the week, this second season has almost reversed that trend - it started off as a great mix of hilarious asides and moments of character development, but then slid back into a world of increasingly surreal obscurity and less and less funny jokes.  That isn't to say that it's been a disappointment, as it's still been incredibly funny and also quite sweet at times, but by dodging the biggest question that the series itself posed just weeks early, its finale feels cheap and a little empty, whilst also making some of its prior instalments seem less relevant than we perhaps hoped they were.  On its day, Arakawa Under the Bridge x2 offered some great entertainment and hearty laughs though, so I can't find it within myself to be too harsh on it.

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