Arakawa under the Bridge 9: what can fix this broken heart?
June 3, 2010
Surprisingly, episode 9 of Arakawa under the Bridge delves into the backstory of several village residents. This episode also examines different ways of handling rejection by the one you love, and is pretty funny.
This episode picks up with the results of Ric and Nino’s kiss, the result it had on Hoshi, that is. Hoshi has withdrawn, and in his depression refuses to even acknowledge his own humanity. When he sees an opportunity to extend the bitter pain of rejection to another, he tells Stella that Sister is actually in love with Maria.
Stella’s reaction is completely different from that we saw from Hoshi. She flies into a jealous rage, and hunts down Maria, with the intention of ripping her rival’s head off. Maria, of course is a master manipulator, and a deadly opponent. In short, the resolution is the worst possible for village residents, and possibly for the entire world, as Maria first humiliates Stella, proving her Alpha status, and then sweet talks Stella, thus forming the most deadly pair of yanderes imaginable.
During this segment we get a hint at some of Maria’s backstory, including the time Sister first met, and fell in love with, her. This is cut off rather abruptly, when Sister is forced to forget what he was saying. Sister is clearly an M, which is surprising if you don’t get to see him around Maria. This segment made me realize something else, though; while she appears indifferent to his feelings, Maria knows damned well that Sister is in love with her. She could have “given” him to Stella instead of fighting, and Sister and Maria have a history that predates their time in the village. Well, it doesn’t take long to figure that Maria is an S, so they make a pretty good couple.
But all of this turns out to be a prelude to a segment on Hoshi, including how he came to be a resident of the village under the bridge. Apparently Hoshi occasionally takes off his mask and heads into town. When Ric discovers this, he has a talk with Hoshi, who relates his experience of meeting Nino, and the encouragement that she gave him as a singer-songwriter, that inspired Hoshi to adopt his star mask and move into the village. Ultimately Ric isn’t sure he should believe any of it.
This was actually a pretty funny episode. lvlln noted that this episode represents a divergence from what seemed to be forward motion in the plot, as Recruit seemed to be heading for a showdown with his dad. I had earlier criticized the episode which introduced Stella for pretty much the same reason (comedy is fine, but not enough plot). This time I disagree. I would like to think it is because I have a more refined sense of how this story is developing, but the truth is, I thought this was a pretty funny episode, and with all the depressing stuff going on in the news lately, I feel grateful for an opportunity to simply laugh out loud.