Major developments for all you plot-watchers this week. Of course, by ‘plot’, I mean the what’s-the-deal-with-Nino’s-past plot. And we also get to see (well, sort of) our favourite kappa in Badass Mode. And Nino x Ric in Couple Mode. And all three of them in Manly Mode. Wait.
The Evil Daddy reappears [YAY!/ BOO!] and is seen checking in on the ‘phone with that sneaky and pretty assistant lady whose name I forget to dig up some dirt on his son’s lover, only to have a certain mysterious green kimono clad man who sounds exactly like the Mayor turn up and threaten to kill her. Later, the Mayor hands over a new tape to Nino, who flips out with Ric, before eventually telling him that her parents have contacted her and that she wants to go back home to Venus, but doesn’t want to leave him, and thus asks him to go with her. Ric, after some rather impressive daydreaming, decides to say yes. Along with the rest of the eavesdropping Villagers. Except the unknown pathogens-fearing Space Captain, who has been manga-documenting/ stalking Nino. The epi ends with him saying to himself that he needs to finish an underwater scene with Nino by taking another tank of air with him next time he follows her…
Well, I can certainly see why P-Ko likes the Mayor so much. Honestly, the threat of violence against women has never looked so good. Seriously, though, that opening was suitably awesome on the tension-building front, both highlighting the mysterious Ninja-like power and influence of the Mayor and leaving us wanting to know more. At least he confirmed that Nino has been left under his protection, and the remainder of the epi, with him handing over a new tape to Nino and then Nino flipping out and behaving even more weirdly than normal with Ric before they discuss their future, was suitably serious-slash-bizarre-slash-sweet-slash-hilarious. And thus one of the best epis so far.
Picking up from the equally awesome epi 3, we see an even more distressed Nino (sad times) discussing her past and her wish for Ric’s continued presence in her life (good times). I thought that these ‘bonding’ scenes were excellent, as we got to learn more about Nino and also see how much she and Ric love each other (in case you weren’t sure, the tears and the heartbreak imagery were a clue). And of course we got some more is-she-isn’t-she-an-alien fuel to add to the fire of our speculations on that front. At this stage, I’ll say that there’s clearly plenty of strong evidence to suggest that Nino is both 1) just another Earthling/ possible illegal immigrant with a dodgy past that has resulted in her being better off under the secluded shelter of the Bridge Village, and 2) an alien, complete with an impressively vast lexicon of spacey technobabble and the ability to hold her breath for a freaking enormously long time. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Unlike epi 3, though, (or rather having learned from his behaviour in it) Ric does a much better job of manning up, by agreeing to Nino’s ‘come live with me and be my love’-style request, by promising to follow her to the ends of the Earth and then some. Venus, to be exact. Of course, by ‘manning-up’, I mean turning into a great big girl. Well, to be fair, he does try the whole uber-confident-manly-man thing, but his daydreams can’t quite seem to compete with the sheer enthusiasm of Nino’s I’ll-grab-your-hand-first-thank-you-very-much-while-quite-clearly-proposing-to-you-even-though-I-haven’t-said-anything-about-marriage thing. Either way, I quite enjoyed Ric in both his (imaginary) Manly Mode and in his Blushing Fair Maiden Mode.
And just in case all that emotion was too much for ya, we have the village idiots turn up eager to blindly tag along on the rocket ride to Venus. A typically bathetic ending, sure, but I DEFINITELY enjoyed Hoshi’s jealous RAEG face at the thought of Nino sweeping Ric off his feet (take that, yer five pointed prick). It’s just a shame that we’ll probably have to wait another several epis before we find out anything else about Nino… but then again hopefully not, seeing as Nino’s move seems to be imminent…
A final thought on some of the other randomness: I assume Shiro in sexy suit wearing mode was a coincidence while he bumped into the pretty lady/ spy. Then again, with the awesomeness that is the Mayor in the picture, he probably knew she’d come snooping and set the apparent prince a white line on her tail. And a good thing too; not least of all for those of us who like our Arakawa men to be randomly bishified and in a suit. Or in a schoolgirls mini-skirt.