Arakawa under the Bridge (episode 4)
April 27, 2010
In the fourth episode of Arakawa under the Bridge, Recruit takes Nino out on their first date, he also meets two new characters, and in the process is physically and emotionally abused. Who knew that there were two character’s dangerous enough to be a threat to the otherwise invincible Sister?
Ric and Nino go out on their date, but neither of them really know how to make it work. Fortunately Ric seems genuinely interested in Nino’s happiness, and manages to touch her heart, despite most of his clumsy attempts.
Back at the bridge, Sister is providing the residents with her form of religious instruction when a cute little child appears. Recruit takes responsibility for watching her for a while, and in the process, gets beaten up and demoted to younger brother. Unfortunately, this doesn’t turn out to be the worst part of his day. He goes with Sister to get some cake baking supplies, and meets the pink-haired woman glimpsed briefly at the end of last week’s episode. It turns out that Maria has a cruel streak and a tongue sharp enough to open Sister’s old war wound. Ric ends the episode ranked lower than a blade of grass.
Quite frankly, I would say this episode shows Arakawa at its worst. This episode could be summed up as, “Kou encounters wacky people under the bridge.” We already know the folks under the bridge are wacky, so there is nothing new there, and time spent introducing new characters doesn’t advance the plotlines of Kou’s and Nino’s relationship, or the development of their characters. The story-boarding was also some of the weakest this show has delivered yet. A lot of the scenes were delivered with characters/action in a small portion in the center of the screen (referred to as an “extreme long shot”, or a “very wide shot”). That would be fine for an establishing shot, or on occasion to give us some context, or just variety. The two problems these shots have is that they have a tendency to generate very uninteresting compositions, and they are emotionally very cold.
Hopefully this will turn out to have been the worst episode in the show. It wasn’t a complete waste, but much better episodes have already been seen, episodes that were funny, were psychologically or sociologically revealing, and were visually much more engaging.