Monday, June 28, 2010

Arakawa Under the Bridge 9 - 12

Stella finds out Sister is in love with Maria. Talk about scary.

EPISODE 9 - Stella finds out that Sister is in love with Maria and she is none too happy about it. So much so that she transforms into this hulking, massive, violent man-girl. She decides to charge into Maria's farm in order to get even but before doing so, she first forces Hoshi into eating "starfish sauté," much to Hoshi's consternation. When Stella next turns her rage on Kou, he runs for his life to Maria's farm only to end up being used by Maria literally as a human shield.
How Sister met Maria: A War Story

Kou attempts to get Sister to save him but even the latter is too afraid to interfere. It is revealed in a flashback that upon their first meeting, Maria shaved Sister's head, leaving only a single strand of hair. Maria eventually steps up to the plate and faces the angry Stella, overwhelming her so completely that Stella contemplates committing seppuku. Maria changes her mind and from then on, Stella becomes her loyal follower, to Kou's utter horror.
Hoshi's a bishie!

In a completely separate aside, Hoshi's back story is revealed a bit when Kou sees him (without his mask) returning from buying cigarettes at a convenience store. At first, Kou doesn't believe that Hoshi is that same guy, prompting Hoshi to tell him that he had a #1 album in the Oricon Charts. But Hoshi was disillusioned by the fact that his producer wrote all his songs while he (Hoshi) got all the credit. On his breaks, Hoshi often went to the Arakawa to play his self-written songs and it was there that he met Nino for the first time. Nino claimed to like his songs so Hoshi decided to stay.
Fire Drill under the Bridge

EPISODE 10 - Kou wakes up to a fire drill with real fire! It turns out that Sister does this quite often with everyone expected to work as a team. The Village Chief contributes very little to the entire event but that doesn't stop everyone, with the exception of Kou, from idolizing and admiring him for his "heroism." Even Sister is not above pampering the Village Chief, catering to his every whim.
Scary Daddy is scary

Meanwhile, Kou's Dad finds out about his misadventures under the Arakawa Bridge and decides to put a stop to it. The very next day, Kou receives an eviction notice from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MILT) and discovers that his father had bought up all the land under the Arakawa Bridge for development. A panic-stricken Kou runs towards Sister's church to report the matter but neither Sister nor the Village Chief is too worried about it. The Village Chief especially thinks that having the media all over the place won't be too bad for his image and also marvels at Kou's concern for their group, a fact which surprises Kou.
That Maria can drive her lessons home

The rest of the residents hears about the news and, unlike Sister or the Village Chief, are all kinds of worried. Meanwhile, a grumpy Maria wakes up to the sound of someone knocking at her door. It's the MILT man and he's got the notice of eviction for her. Maria, however, is in no mood to be tolerant and decides to teach the government employee a thing or two about proper decorum and speech, a lesson that becomes self-evident as Kou and the others later meet him in front of the church. After apologizing several times (a side effect of Maria's lessons), the MILT personnel confirms to the group that they really must leave the place. Nino, however, declares that she's never going to leave.
A noble sacrifice

EPISODE 11 - After Nino's declaration to stay, Kou is left with only one noble thing to do: he's going to leave and hope that, with him gone, his father would stop his plans of developing the land. But Nino says that she wants to stay under the bridge with Kou and everybody else and asks Kou if he doesn't want to make her happy. With this vote of confidence from his girlfriend, Kou develops a little spine and decides to use his business head to solve the problem.
Sister in disguise, Whitey in a suit, the Village Chief is serious for once -- what in the world?

Kou leaves the bridge for a few days in order to meet with his company executives and discuss his plan to compete with his father's company in the bidding for the Arakawa under the Bridge project. While he's gone, the residents are left with explicit instructions to lie low in order not to stir up trouble. But, of course, this is impossible and it's only a matter of time before Nino, who is bad at remembering people's faces, mistakes one of the Ichinomiya Group workers for Kou and stuffs his mouth with fish. This is followed by Hoshi who plays an ear-splitting song for him and Stella who gives him a "pressure point rest." It is only after the man is incapacitated that they figure out he's not Kou at all.
Wrong guy, Nino

Kou finally returns to the bridge with Takai, much to Nino's glee. However, she ends up hugging Takai, whom she mistakes for Kou. Later, Kou shows the residents his plans of developing the river bank and assures them that his company would win the bid. But instead of being pleased with his plans, the residents only give him a string of complaints. A frustrated Kou declares that the plans are final. A moment later, the contractor calls to tell him that they're backing out from the project, apparently because they're too afraid to compete directly with the Ichinomiya Group. With this unfortunate development, Kou finds that the only thing left to do is to call his father, a prospect which scares the shit out of him.
Sister says that Maria wakes up as an "S," suggesting that she's sometimes "M" but so far we find no evidence of the latter

EPISODE 12 - Everybody blames Kou for being a coward, with Nino the only one supporting him. Hoshi then takes this opportunity to show off, saying that Nino can make her wish upon a star. Maria, however, has a better idea, saying that wishes can only be made upon a shooting star. So she brings Hoshi up to the top of the bridge and orders him to shoot (jump). Kou is also there to aggravate the matter further but while the two are arguing, Maria takes Hoshi's mask off and puts it on Kou then she kicks both of them off the bridge, figuring that two shooting stars are better than one.
Like father, like son

Unknown to Kou, his own father is getting bad news regarding the project. It seems MILT doesn't want to develop the land under the Arakawa Bridge and despite his threats of withdrawing funding, the department head is unrelenting. Thinking that this is all somehow part of Kou's schemes, he decides to pay him a visit, only to end up much like Kou did on his first day at the bridge: falling victim to a bunch of pants-stealing pranksters. Nino, who happens to be there fishing, tries to give him back his pants but Kou's father refuses to do so, citing his family's motto. Then while talking to Nino, he discovers that Kou doesn't even know about the MILT's change of mind.

At that moment, his phone starts ringing and he recognizes the ring tone for Kou's but to answer it now would be to give up his adherence to his motto so he gives Nino permission to answer it for him. He leaves with the knowledge that Kou has finally developed enough guts to call him. Nino, who doesn't know anything about cellphones, runs to Kou for instructions on how to answer the call but on her way there she accidentally hits the receive button and so hears Kou's declaration of staying with Nino forever. Much later, Shimazaki bails Kou's father out of jail after having been arrested for indecent exposure.