Arakawa Under the Bridge episode 13 and final thoughts

The final episode (*sniff*) of the season introduces (huh?) three new nutters (HUH?), before the remaining ones decide that they want to visit – and build – a theme park. Only in Arakawa Land, eh…


Episode Summary:

For once, I agree with Star’s response…

Nino wakes up in Riku’s place again with some very impressive bed hair, which leads to the suggestion that she, her lover and their stalkers all go off to have a haircut. Cue intro of Last Samurai. A.K.A. the resident barber. Complete with a Samurai style chonmage to boot. As Riku and company fuss over what haircuts they want (or not in Riku’s case), Last Samurai soon blitzes through the lot of them and turfs them out in order to swing his katana at the latecoming Sister, who counter attacks with the dodge-and-apology technique. Riku goes into yell-at-‘em-and-then-leave-mode, then sees/ introduces us to two other Bridge Village residents, Billy and Jaqueline, who seem to be having a lovers’ tiff. While dressed as a giant parrot and a queen bee.

What a smoothie.

The latter half of the episode opens with Riku in Sensei-mode teaching Stella and the metal heads, when they are distracted by a passing father and son who are going on about how much they enjoyed the theme park they’ve just visited. This leads Riku’s little cherubs to persuade him to take them on a field trip there. Before said cherubs realise this means other people actually seeing them. As always, our resourceful hero has a solution. To build one himself. Only problem is he’s never been to one. Cue a solid three days of Googling for ideas, before Nino and Pi-ko come and get him. Armed with tickets to… a theme park that they and the rest of the Bridge Village have built together while Riku was sitting on his pert arse.

Cute pic, I’m guessing Pi-ko drew it?

Touched by their actions, Riku is then dragged off by the delighted kids to, er, enjoy the delights of Kappa-Chan Land, which comes complete with merry-go-round, 3-D theatre, thrill ride and creepy arse Donnie Darko-esque bunny mascot. The day ends with a brief moment on a bench with Nino while the sun sets and Riku recalls a rare day out he had with his dad, before they all enjoy the parade at the end of the day. Cue credits, a very short and random scene involving a blonde superheroine figure flanked by three minions and going on about hidden treasure, before the final monologue, or rather dialogue, delivered by Riku and Nino.


Thoughts:

Not for the last time, I agree with Riku's response.

In many ways, and as others have already mentioned, last week’s episode would have been a good place to leave the series: the threat of the evil daddy’s evil plans to demolish the Bridge Village and the bonds that Riku had forged with the others was overcome; Riku confessed his feelings to Nino and agreed to be together for ever and ever and ever; and the evil daddy semi-accepted/ gave his blessing to the couple, or at least challenged his son to try and make work what he (evil daddy) may or may not have failed to achieve for whatever reason with the lady of the locket.

However, as it stands with this epi the first half should’ve come a lot sooner in the series, then they could’ve easily referred to those three new characters peripherally if they didn’t want to worry about having to juggle too many characters and back-stories in these sole 13 epis. Or, imho, they should’ve saved ‘em for a possible (or rather, I hope, definite) second series. I don’t know about you, but I found the whole thing way too rushed, or at best lop-sided in terms of Samurai screentime Vs forbidden lovers screentime. Though I did enjoy the aloof, but smooth-talking parrot. Think Mr Darcy with feathers.

The fun fair was certainly fun, and I dig the way they used that to highlight the themes of friendship and family (more on this later). Regarding the attractions themselves, I vicariously enjoyed the merry-go-round (just cos I friggin love those), but the highlight was the 3-D theatre. Nino, Sister and the Mayor as anime versions of Luke/Leia, Darth Vader and Obi Wan complete with lightsabers was a treat, as of course was the actual 3-D. Think 3-D film worth paying extra at cinema to see in 3-D.

LOL

Overall, a good (second half of an) epi that highlighted how far Riku has, inevitably, come in terms of character development, both emotional and spiritual, as well as of course losing the brattiness and becoming more mature. With some nice shots of a sunset-soaked Nino and parade-princess Nino. Think Nino. In anything other than mobile-phone-wallpaper.

No idea who the Amazonian blonde superheroine figure was, I’m guessing maybe Stella’s or Nino’s mum or some other random nutter who will be the catalyst of a future arc involving hidden treasure. Though, as I haven’t read the manga, it may also just be a big ol’ Arakawa Gag Contest style, er, gag. Which leaves the final dialogue between Nino and Riku, talking about water. Which sounds incredibly boring, lol. However, it was a neat (if innevitable) sort-of-conclusion, in the way they used the water imagery to highlight the hitherto key plot and character development…


Final Thoughts:

Does she really have to ask?

…Falling into water. Deep water. Shallow water. Rushing water. Drowning/ drifting/ swimming in/ being rescued from water. Water softening rock. Water connecting things. And people. I could go on (don’t worry, I won’t). Though I’ll end with the final scene, which circles so prettily back to the first image that drew me to the show. That of Nino and Riku standing opposite each other on the banks of the river and beneath that arresting land-/sea-/sky-scape. Then, they represented opposites, now they (and the wider values they represent/ are associated with) are more connected, thus symbolising the power of friendship, community and love. And masks. Think… of all kinds.

Finally from me, thanks to the creators of such a treat of a show, to the readers/ commentators/ lurkers who’ve been keeping an eye on these blog posts, and to Crusader for letting me take over from blogging the series while he’s stuck in the suck. It’s been a bit of a thrill ride of Sister style proportions at times, but a definite pleasure and I, like most of you no doubt, will keep my fingers crossed for and look forward to a second series sometime in the not too distant future.

And finally from you, what were your highlights from this series?


More Pics:

Dude, you only just noticed?!


I guess the cuter they look, the weirder they are.


Atta boy Riku!


Don’t worry, you’ll think of something…


…erm…


...and that’s the way to do it Riku!


I have no words.


Now Riku, I thought you’d have learned by now….


…welcome aboard the Sister Express.


Daw…


….times two.


Looking good ladies, looking good.


Seriously, what were they thinking?


??


Well, not with you around, love.


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12 Comments

  1. Posted July 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Oddly enough, I think one of the reasons why they never introduced the three minor characters earlier was because they weren’t needed. And the only reason why they were “needed” now is to add to the numbers for the Kappa-chan parade, haha.

    The highlight of the series for myself would be Nino and Recruit’s relationship and Recruit’s subsequent integration into the community Under the Bridge and how the focus isn’t so much as Recruit “fitting in” as Recruit doing his best to be with Nino.

    • Posted July 4, 2010 at 5:28 am | Permalink

      They still weren’t needed – introducing them in the final epi when they have nothing to do with the overall plot and character development, or tying up of loose ends, just seemed rushed and lazy to me (and note the other lady at the very end of the ED who was never mentioned in this epi – in that case she could have been in the parade too). I also agree that Ms Queen Bee was useful and looked good as a parade-lady-in-waiting for Nino, so she’s forgiven. And Mr Smoothie. Whereas the Samurai should’ve used that katana to perform a Seppuku.

      Yes, I think that was a highlight for a lot of us. They were very sweet together, just the right balance of sweet (without getting sugary) and funny. All of them in fact; when you say say not about ‘fitting in’ but, by extension, I guess we could say as all of them doiing their best for each other. Daww.

  2. Elriond
    Posted July 4, 2010 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    I absolutely love this series. By far one of the best to have come out in a while. Definitely will be waiting for another season to come out. Keep up the good work, and thanks for the spot on reviews.

    • Posted July 4, 2010 at 5:33 am | Permalink

      Yes, I lost count of how many inventive and LOL moments there were. Thanks dude, glad you enjoyed ‘em.

  3. akani
    Posted July 4, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Wait, why are you keeping your fingers crossed? Wasn’t a second season announced right after this?

    • Posted July 5, 2010 at 1:55 am | Permalink

      Shows how well informed I am lol, but nonetheless – woohoo! :D

  4. Mabui
    Posted July 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    The final episode was more like a ‘Bonus’ episode then a wrap up of the season. I’d really like to see more progress for their romance in the next season – as they are only as far as kissing! The new characters were fun – but at the same time they weren’t really needed. I suppose I should take a step back and read the manga while the second season begins production.

    • Posted July 6, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      ‘…like a “Bonus” episode…’ – Yes! That’s exactly the vibe it had, well spotted. I think we’d all agree that there definitely needs to be more Riku x Nino in the next season, on an emotional level as well surface/ physical level. I think it would be good to trace that kind of deeper development in both of their characters, amidst all the zanyness that we’ve come to love of course. And yes, I might have to do the same, although the character designs (from the brief look that I had of it) seem quite different in the manga, also there weren’t many scanlated volumes out yet, but hopefully I’m wrong about that…

  5. Posted July 8, 2010 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Is this the last episode of Arakawa Under the Bride? o_o

    • Posted July 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes, last episode of the current series :(, but apparently they will be making a second series :).

  6. Otaku-san
    Posted July 26, 2010 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Awesome series, one of the best that has come out in a while. Cant wait for the next season

    • Posted July 26, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Agreed! Great fun to watch, great fun to blog :)

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