arakawa under the bridge episode eight

So the opening monologues aren’t always philosophical; sometimes they reveal character and character background. This week we took another glimpse into Recruit’s relationship with his father. This tense relationship is one of the foundational building blocks on which Recruit was raised, and its direct impact on his values and life view are clearly visible. Though Nino (and others) have worked hard, and continue working hard to break down such emotionally stunting barriers, overcoming an obstacle as daunting as a love-stingy father.

living in your father's shadow is hard; being thrown out from under it is even harder

…To be fair, I shouldn’t judge Recruit’s father. There could be valid and credible reasoning behind his principles of child rearing. He might be emotionally void himself, and therefore unable to express emotionality with his son. He also could have received the same level of affection from his own father (Ichinomiya Grandpapa) and feeling that he grew up to be a successful man, felt that it was the proper way to raise his own offspring. I won’t judge but I won’t condone his behaviour either.

And thus Arakawa Under the Bridge cleverly brings up another big social issue (without being too in your face): Parenting. We’ve all got parents whether we know them or not. We were all raised by someone even if we don’t consider them our parents. As we continue on our own journey we either vow to do what was done to us, or to never do what was done to us… Or to never procreate. Sometimes it’s just better that way.

Ah! How good did Sister look in a man’s suit! I find it a little curious that he didn’t ask for a woman’s business suit considering how he is a “sister”. I guess Sister isn’t that different than Kappa and Nino then: Sister is as much a “Sister” as Kappa is a Kappa and Nino is Venusian. And what about Shiro-san? Anyone surprised that he was a white-collared worker until he got scared by the White Cornish Hen? These characters only get better and better.

Maria scares me though. The woman sincerely terrifies me. I think if I met her in real life, she wouldn’t have to condemn my uselessness to death, I would just die. She’s the kind of woman who really could run a business though, with her pretty face, sadistic tendencies, and insatiable need to be openly offensive. Plus she looks great in business attire. Interestingly enough, she too is beyond material possessions; she’s not interested in Recruit’s high end, brand name clothing. What she wants is to make someone feel like they’re lower than dirt! I mean, that you can take with you forever – and you don’t have to dry clean it.

We all knew that Recruit wouldn’t be able to keep the others away though. Kappa was easy enough to deal with but Nino’s unyielding stand to not play along was Recruit’s real undoing. One minute he’s trying pleading with her to go along with his lie. The next, he’s carrying her on his shoulders, chasing a dragonfly. I like that about Nino, though. Whether it was deliberate or not, she didn’t want to be known as anything else other than Recruit’s Lover; and she wasn’t interested in hiding that fact either. And she was willing to do whatever it took to prove it.

Star took that pretty poorly.

Takai’s relationship with Recruit is interesting to say the least. Yes, it’s a little creepy, but it’s also validated by the opening monologue. It’s because of how distant Recruit’s father was with him growing up – and Recruit’s subsequent distance to everyone else – that he recognized that something was missing. Attempting to fill the void, Takai tried to become Recruit’s replacement father (though his behaviour is more stereotypically mother), taking his job of personal secretary beyond the walls of work. I suppose as long as Takai was on the payroll, Recruit never thought that he was getting something that he would never be able to repay: love and affection from a parent figure. And so after seeing Nino’s overt act to prove that she and Recruit were indeed lovers, Takai realized that he was no longer needed to keep Recruit from becoming a cold recluse. Which is good since Nino is a much preferred match to Recruit than Takai (in my opinion at least; not sure if yaoi fans would really want to see Recruit x Takai).

I guess despite all his life’s training in solitude and never being indebted to anyone, Recruit could never have fully prepared for his first kiss. (Can anyone?) Seeing him run around and pretending to fly was both amusing and endearing; Nino, on the other hand, didn’t seem moved by it. Not that it wasn’t an important step in their relationship, but something makes me think that while Nino was Recruit’s first kiss, Recruit was not Nino’s. Though it makes you wonder (again) why Nino chose Recruit to be her lover. Surely he wasn’t the first man to fall off a bridge and into her life. There are obviously other men Under the Bridge that she’s just not interested in making her lover (sorry Star; it’ll never happen). Her decision seemed to have stunned everyone in her community – including Sister who wasn’t as “friendly” as he first seemed when he met Recruit. (Though, if I remember correctly, he did also hold a gun to Recruit’s head, strongly suggesting that he be a good lover to Nino.) But after some stealthy surveillance, Sister – and most everyone else Under the Bridge – comes to accept Recruit as Nino’s chosen lover. And I guess we’ll just have to wait a little longer to find out why him out of everyone else.

3 Responses to “arakawa under the bridge episode eight”

  1. 27 May 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I wonder if Ric and Nino’s relationship is doomed. The way she didn’t understand the kiss made me think Takai was right that Nini has a grade schooler’s conception of love. Ric might be getting worked up over nothing. It would be sad if the show ended up with them splitting apart.

    • 2 blindability
      28 May 2010 at 2:57 am

      I don’t think their relationship is doomed. Recruit and Nino have both overcome a lot to be lovers and they’re still continuing to grow with each others’ best interest at heart. I also get the feeling that Nino understood more about what the kiss mean than she’s letting on…

    • 28 May 2010 at 5:34 am

      I don’t think there’s a chance of that happening. The show is too light hearted to go for a dark ending like that, and the romance between Ric and Nino was emphasized as a central plot point from the start. I’m predicting that we’ll see the 2 grow and help each other grow as they overcome the obstacles of their love for each other.

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