Three Eights: God Only Knows, Arakawa, Arterial

The World God Only Knows 8 is a silly filler episode in 3-4 parts which intertwine, but it doesn’t work very well.

In part one Elsie has quite rightly realized she’s pretty useless and decides to counterattack by making Teima a delicious strawberry cake, using her own ingredients. I don’t bake much, but I can understand how frustrating it is when one of the eggs you were going to use hatches to reveal a fearsome mandragon which proceeds to wreak havoc.

We then follow Teima through the same timeline, wondering where Elsie went, playing his games and being harassed by his teacher. There’s nothing much to this. He spends a lot of time reacting to the residue of Elsie’s cooking adventures and wondering why the world keeps dumping on him. And we move on to his mother, who spots the mandragon and later hears a burglar and brains Keima with a vase. The mandragon chases away the annoying teacher, the mandragon gets eaten by Elsie’s bento, and that’s it. The series’ previous filler episode was much better.

Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge 8 reintroduces us to the tall, strong, yet girly Amazoness. At first Rec is overjoyed because no one believed he ever saw her. Then things take a troubling turn when her assistants hypnotize him into falling in love with her.

P-ko and Hoshi are appalled, though naturally Hoshi sees this as a way to break Rec and Nino up. Nino doesn’t get it. It takes the Amazoness’s next step to push things to crisis mode, as, under the hypnotism, he learns that she has been arrested, and that could only mean a cry for help, right? So he runs off to Amazon jail, rescues, and marries her. Here’s where it gets interesting. Nino rightfully punches him, then squares off against her giant rival. We wonder what sort of battle they’ll have. Naturally, it’s a weird one.

Nino then adds height to size and Rec’s lecture on volume in a container (which she attended) now makes sense. Her love is HUGE. Plus, she is too confident and big-hearted to hate the Amazoness, and proves it by giving her a hand when the Amazoness collapses. The Amazoness tells her that if she is sickly, Rec would protect her. Nino replies that she protects Rec. So we see another sweet angle of the Rec/Nino relationship.

Last week Fortune Arterial finally started working on the plot, and by the end of episode 8 it has tangled up much of what we’ve seen before into a bizarre knot. We start with Erika having unpleasant vampire dreams, and a girl spots a vampire jumping around campus. Soon the student body is frightened. Okay, so Erika is doing vampire-y stuff in her sleep, right? Even Erika seems to think this possible. But it’s not that simple. We learn who the vampire is.

Nice curveball.

Someone I did not suspect: Kiriha Kuze. Okay, she’s had some time in the spotlight, but mostly she’s been on the outside of events. A cold person, but decent. It didn’t occur to me to suspect her. What’s more, she isn’t just jumping around getting vampire exercise, she seems to be seeking a master, or something. We don’t get explanation, but since the next episode is named “Servant” I don’t think we’ll have to wait long. But the story’s just getting started. Haruna hears a noise, sees Erika chasing Kiriha, and, in typical horror-victim fashion, goes out to investigate, only to run into Erika in her glowing-eyed vampire mode. Erika is exposed as a vampire! Another complication! The series is making up for lost time.

And they’re STILL not done! As good a friend as Haruna is, the vampires know they can’t take the risk of being discovered. It’s one of the few times I’ve seen Lori so serious about anything. So it’s time for the memory-loss trick. Erika, if you please? And we get a new whammy. This isn’t the first time Erika has taken her memories away. In fact, it’s the reason Haruna cannot remember Kohei’s first visit to the island. Geez, the episode is dumping EVERYTHING on us! And then we have the moral dilemma. Erika doesn’t want to do it, but she must. Kohei pleads with her. How can she do that to a trusted friend? This leads to an absolutely lovely moment I won’t spoil here. I’ll just say that Fortune Arterial, to my surprise, can indeed deliver big plot points and make them work. I don’t know if it makes up for the wasted episodes but it’ll keep me watching next week.

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