Arakawa Under the Bridge x 2 – Episode 6: Standing on the Precipice

I just finished watching episode 6 and it was epic epic, like when Simon and crew defeated the anti-Spirals or when Mustang fought Lust or the true ending to Clannad After Story. I thought last episode’s fairly light nature meant that Shaft/Shinbou was going to lay off advancing the story further then what happened over the first four episodes. I was hoping that wasn’t the case because I didn’t want to see a repeat of the second season of Natsu no Arashi where, after the first 3 episodes, the story that made the first season so interesting was set aside in the name of random hi-jinks and pointless comedy. Episode 6 signaled that, no, it was going to stick to the story.

If you don’t want to be spoiled, stop here and just enjoy the sketch of Nino that I stitched together from this episode and then go watch the episode.

I knew this episode was coming; I knew that someday the signal that this show was ready to show the cards it’s kept hidden would happen. I just didn’t know it was going to happen in this episode and it leaves me feeling anxious, a bit worried and just plain excited.

A bit worried because I’ve come to really like (deeply love would probably be a better description) Arakawa Under the Bridge and I don’t want something to happen that’ll spoil it. Anxious because it is very conceivable that we won’t actually find anything out next time like the time that Star recorded the leech song onto Nino’s tape. Excited because it looks like we’re about to learn in Nino is a real Venusian or not and because Nino is going home. So it feels like the show is standing on the precipice, a long way up the side of a mountain, right now. A fall here would be deadly for Arakawa Under the Bridge but if it succeeds with episode 7, I think it’s got a lock on the top spot for best anime of 2010 and eventually earning a spot on my top all-time anime list.

(As a completely off-topic aside, in today’s society of instant gratification, I think it’s good that I, and everyone else, will have to wait a week for the next episode. It’s character-building and it increases the viewer appreciation of the show in question. I really believe one of the main reasons that I rank Gurren Lagann so highly is because watching it weekly allowed me to tear apart and examine each facet of each episode while waiting for next week’s episode.)

Okay, that’s enough worrying about the future; let’s look at some of the awesome parts to episode 6.

The Mayor just became one of my favorite characters in the show.

She should have heeded the Mayor’s warning 🙂

Nino and Recruit’s conversation was done just perfectly.

Commercial for the new Shaft show. It’s hard to get excited about it when your watching Arakawa Under the Bridge.

Recruit’s fantasies are showing that he’s come a long way from the start of the show.

You can’t get enough Nino smiling, it’s a proven fact.

Swapping the live-action sequence for the ending song helped make this episode feel more special.

The people at Shaft know how to appreciate the night sky.

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3 thoughts on “Arakawa Under the Bridge x 2 – Episode 6: Standing on the Precipice”

  1. The gender switch was great. Especially given the Japanese cultural theme that a man takes the lead and gets in front.

    A under bridge is very enjoyable. Often times I have to pause the episode because I’m losing too much air laughing.

    It’s too bad I can’t get some of the jokes and puns and references. Like for example, White Cornish. I know that sounds like some kind of bad thing or crime with a Japanese homonym but don’t know what it is.

    Nino’s one particular trait is the fact that she is at home in the water. So I predict that Venus is some place under water.

    It seems like there is this rather exaggerated Japanese cultural theme about school uniforms for girls being a hot item on the sexual appeal market. I don’t quite get that trend. Intellectually, I can understand where the sources come from, but emotionally it doesn’t do anything for me. It’s the same thing with people I talk to who highlight the special beauty of attractive Asian women. I can recognize that she is attractive but I don’t get the vibe that they get.

    My preference was early on, always for a more mature look, specifically the female business suit look. At this point I’m caught up on Arakawa 2.

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  2. To some extent, Arakawa reminds me of Chaos;Head.

    There’s this vague line dividing fantasy from reality so that you start to not be able to tell what is real or not real in the sense of the world’s internal consistency. Plus there is the satire. CH was a satire on otaku and eroge and mass media trends. Arakawa takes on similar subjects.

    They took it so far as to make CH’s ending part of the in joke. The normal ending route for harem drama VNs is to make it harder to get the good ending vs the bad ending. CH made the worst ending (the tragic or True Bad Ending), the one you had to work the most for to get. That was funny when I heard people talk about it.

    The Japanese make some great bitter-sweet dramatic endings. American tv these days try to get things like relationship failures or what not and make it work on the audience’s emotions, but they just end up with the emotion of pity and total sadness or a really dysfunctional view of the characters’ actions. It’s sad in a pitiful way but not quite in the admirable, regretful, heavy hearted fashion. The Ruroni Kenshin movie is a good example of an ending where you combine certain different positive and negative emotions together.

    For Planetarian they really did a good job. While I personally admired the traits shown, the depth of what I felt was amazingly high. Even for someone who doesn’t connect as deeply to what they saw, it should still be very powerful in magnitude.

    I think I got to the point where it was like Ko said his heart was about to burst. It’s a sort of painful, heavy feeling that then turns into euphoria due to the pumping of endorphines or something. The combination of bitter and sweet is such that I can’t describe which was which. What made it so powerful, I think, was how long it sustained that state of feeling. Some moments only last for a second or two. What made Planetarian powerful was that if you slow down the rate you read things, you can make the scenario have more impact simply by letting things sink in at the dramatic moments.

    Trying to get that powerful feeling to remain and develop is one of the mini games of VNs for me. Since you are playing with your own emotions, while at the same time taking a first person view of things. One of the benefits of when I learned about the different parts of the brain and what different types of “the mind” there exists is that it became easier to differentiate between them. It makes me perfect sense for me for my frontal logic lobes to consider a problem differently than the emotional/monkey cortex and both of them are alien to the lizard brain.

    For anime, I’m counting on the director’s dramatic tension skills to get things done because I don’t control the Pace. For Arakawa, it is top rate. And that’s after watching a lot of anime series, old and new.

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  3. Wow…I was really worried that season 2 of Arakawa was going to suck (in the way of being dissappointing) because the first season was so amazing. In the beginning, just as you said, everything was built up perfectly, and while I often found x Bridge funnier than Bridge it got lost somewhere along the way. I don’t know…the last couple of episodes were entertaining but frustrating…and I didn’t really think that the ending was up to par with what I’ve come to expect from Shaft. Even the quality of the animation got worse, as if Shaft was on some major time constraint (which they might be with that new show), but that really surprised me. I can usually associate Shaft with clean preciseness, but for me x Bridge kind of deflated. I don’t know…the beginning surpassed the first series…then as they got farther from Venus…the anxiety of wanting them to hurry up and leave paired with more of a reliance on gags and a lack of character development frustrated me. That being said, the “Muscle Episode” (10, I think), was probably the weirdest anime episode I’ve ever seen. Wow was that hilarious…But while Season 1 left some unanswered questions hanging more or less comfortably in the air, Season 2 just plain ripped open gaps that it never even attempted to fill. Maybe this is because the manga hasn’t caught up to the point yet? But I’ve seen a ton of anime where they just make up the story themselves to go past the manga…so that’s not really an excuse…
    I hear a lot of talk about a Season 3 or at least some kind of continuation. That would be amazing, as long as they do some damage repairs…but it’s so rare in anime.
    Aaaahhhh…this show has become one of my favorite anime of all time…but…BUT…the end of x Bridge was saddening. 😦

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