Maria gets her own opening which leads into the continuation of Maria versus Sister and their unusual relationship. I wouldn’t go as far as to consider them a couple, but I think Maria and Sister both like each other. Maria obviously gets a kick out of causing Sister blood loss (though she seems to get a kick out of demeaning anyone) and as Sister mentioned in the previous episode, insults are Maria’s way of showing affection. (Makes you wonder what she does when she doesn’t like someone.) Sister takes his defamation stoically; the only give away that Maria’s words have any impact is through the opening of his old battle scars – which is just too funny to watch. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but Maria’s words can cause death.
(This was my second choice as an opening image.)
We meet a new character – another agriculturalist specializing in vegetables. P-Ko is the epitome of klutz and seems to expect everyone to be at her level of klutziness. Her banana trap was a true classic trumped only by her slipping on them in chain reaction form – straight into a wall. And then getting soba dumped on her head from above. I think what made it especially enjoyable to watch was her expression as she consecutively slid on all those peels! She completely expected to slip on the banana peels – well, not exactly expected I guess since she’d thought they were “broken” when Recruit didn’t slip on them. It’s true though: only one with the skill of a master ninja could evade such a well laid trap like an entire line of banana peels. Even Mario Kart uses banana peels as offensive artillery. This episode only fortifies my use of banana peels to protect myself. It beats paying for a home security system. Plus it ensures my electrolytes are regularly replenished.
With the introduction of P-Ko, we learn that most people Under the Bridge have “jobs”. Nino fishes (though considering the size of her catch, it seems like an understatement), Star Head plays music at parties, The Iron Brothers run the public oil-drum bath, P-Ko grows vegetables, Maria has her farm, etc. The only two people without jobs are Recruit and Whitey. And this makes Recruit uncomfortable, falling back on the mantra of his family. As Nino’s lover, not working makes him dependent on her and all the more indebted to her. Star Head takes this opportunity to rub Recruit’s uselessness in his face.
Star’s plan sort of backfires though when Recruit reveals that he’s quite proficient in music. Episode ends with the two facing off in a musical battle – to be continued next week! And I have to admit, I’m pretty excited for that, haha. Part of me wants to see Star shine – literally – at something. He’s been quite… disappointing. Not that his character isn’t great, but as a character, he’s pretty disappointing. He’s practically in love with Nino but has never really gathered the courage to pursue her. He couldn’t confront Recruit himself previously about the nature of his relationship with Nino, and even used Sister to arrange a meeting. Although I wanted to point out that Star Head’s the only one who gets a new outfit every now and then, which is interesting since everyone else is seen wearing exactly the same thing.
I wanted to take a little bit of time to focus on Recruit’s dream about his father repeating “leech” or talking about “leeches”. It’s obvious through the dream that Recruit had regular contact with his father through work – which makes me wonder what his father’s thinking since Recruit’s been living Under the Bridge (and not working at the Ichinomiya Company) for a while now. I think it also shows just how deeply etched Recruit’s values are in his being which makes it unsurprisingly difficult for him to keep up with everything new he’s learned since becoming Nino’s lover – most recently understanding how someone can do something because they want to or for the sole benefit of others.
There’s something very heart-warming about the community Under the Bridge. Nino fishes for the village because she wants to; not because she has to. P-Ko grows vegetables for each and every person Under the Bridge and even takes Recruit into consideration despite her dislike for him. Her metaphor with the peppers was interesting: it’s not about forcing someone into something they don’t like; it’s about making that something really great so that the person will come to like it on their own. It goes to show that Recruit isn’t the only working and changing to adapt to life Under the Bridge; the others are working alongside to work him into the fabric of their community.