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Captain Harlock is a Russian Mafia Nun

April 12, 2010

Title almost says it all.

I knew that was a legit cross and not some crazy anime Lilith-Crucified-Beneath-NERV-HQ made up shit. At least I had a vague idea that said cross was legit when I saw it and did a quick net search to reassure my assumptions. Turns out it’s the Russian Orthodox cross.

I’m sure most anime fans had their minds wander towards Black Lagoon the instant they saw a gun-toting nun, what with the Church of Violence and everything. While my mind drifted in that drifted in that direction as well, the first thing that crossed my mind was David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises.

Namely, I was wondering if the orthodox cross has any sort of meaning when it comes to the whole Russian Mafia tattoo “code.” I did another quick search and the closest thing I could find was something about church steeples representing the number of years and/or the number of prison terms one has served. Not that we’ve seen “Sister” wearing any tattoos or anything, but once I realized it was a Russian cross my imagination ran wild with ideas of “Sister” being a former mafioso who is on the run from the Russian mob and is hiding out under the bridge as a way to escape from “her” former life.

Maybe she’ll get into a naked knife fight in a Japanese bathhouse with the dude in a kappa suit and the dude with a star for a head. I wonder if the yaoi/fujoshi fans will dig that. Probably not. What a shame.

And then there’s the whole scar-across-the-cheek bit. Yeah, totally Captain Harlock there. Thus, “Sister” is Captain Harlock in nun drag after a stint as a Russian mobster. Perfect logic.

I’m tempted to call Arakawa Under the Bridge the best series of the new season. I’m digging Heroman and Angel Beats, but Arakawa “speaks” to me more so than either of those series. It’s one of those feelings that most fans sum up in the phrase “I don’t know what it is about it that I like about it, but…,” but I think I can articulate it.

I love the ridiculous cast of characters. They’re the sort of dysfunctional cast that I enjoy. It’s like The Addams Family or The Munsters, where you have this “weird” cast of characters who have their own family structure that works perfectly fine for them. As far as they’re concerned, the people under the bridge are a normal “society.” It’s all those outsiders that are weird, just like how The Addams Family find other families odd.

This is a formula you don’t see all that often in anime. Or, at least, one you don’t see in series that get picked up by the US fanbase. And going back to my original post, this plays into the idea that Arakawa is the greatest American sitcom never made. “Fucked up family that thinks everyone else is fucked up” is a classic sitcom formula, and it blends seamlessly into the series’ high concept of “dude moves in with homeless chick living under a bridge.”

The series even has built-in “audience goes awwww” moments where Arakawa has epiphanies in which he realizes that his situation isn’t all that bad or weird. Seriously, this series would be better with a laugh track. Someone please dub one in.

It also has the best opening song of the season. Is that a Japanese female singer with a real voice? GASP! Yeah, it’s high-pitched, but it isn’t anime-character pitched. Her voice doesn’t come off as manufactured for otaku ears. It’s right up there with COBRA’s opening theme as far as best anime themes of the year go.

And much love for the live action coming attractions bits. Not as cool as what’s-his-face making an ass of himself during the end credits of Lucky Star, but still cool.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Taka permalink
    April 12, 2010 9:42 PM

    I recognized the cross because they use it in Seikon no Qwaser too. I don’t know if that’s a good connection to draw or a bad one.

    Did you see the Monster reference when he was thinking about how amazing sister must be?

  2. April 13, 2010 12:48 AM

    So now it’s Harlock becomes Russian mafia nun, and moves in with the Munsters?

    Fortunately I’m already watching that show, because I agree with you, so far Arakawa is the best thing going this season.

  3. April 14, 2010 3:21 AM

    It’s odd that they would include a detail like the Orthodox cross, yet draw the character in a Roman Catholic habit. Orthodox nuns dress in all black… But we are talking about someone who hangs out with a guy in a kappa suit here, so I guess it’s a moot point. :)

    Fascinating, the info about the Russian Mafia tattoos. I didn’t know about that at all. Cheers!

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