Japanese: 荒川アンダー ザ ブリッジ
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 5, 2010 to Jun 28, 2010
Premiered: Spring 2010
Licensors: NIS America, Inc.
Duration: 24 min. per ep.
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
Score: 7.741 (scored by 66,197 users)
1 indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
Yes, from a very young age, most of us will be told to continue the flow of society's ideas, and to never question them. But, what makes these ideas right?
This is the question that we are faced with while watching Arakawa Under the Bridge, a story about, well, living under a bridge. A bridge under which almost no laws will ever reach you, with the possible exception of public indecency...
We see a romance that blossoms under this bridge, as Ko, a man whose parents who have installed far beyond just the rule that society is always correct, is pulled into entering a relationship with Nino, a person who claims to be a Venusian, on his belief that anything that anyone does is solely for gain and must be repaid. This belief that his father installed in him, however, quickly begins to fade as he subconsciously begins to reject the notion that society is always correct, and slowly embraces his new life under the bridge.
Our story continues, with him continuing to meet more people under the bridge, and slowly coming to realize, yet again, that he can't really know what exactly is "right" and "wrong". Indeed, our story continues to progress in this vein, with Ko growing to accept the actions of the others all living under the bridge.
All of the residents of this area also have to have a job (with the acceptation of a couple), and they all help each other in whatever sane ways they can, before their actions degrade into insanity, one of the real main sources for comedy in Arakawa Under the Bridge. Indeed, one of the most enjoyable elements of the show was all of our unique characters interacting in unique ways.
All of these unique characters served to bring something special to the show; they all served a function for the community, while also bringing interesting elements the the show. They all have some kind of eccentricity that is very much ingrained in their character, or at least something that would render them unable to live in a regular society. These eccentricities were again, the source of nearly 100% of the comedy for the show, and the main thing that kept it interesting.
However, what really disappoints is how often the characters are left completely untouched in terms of development. We don't get any back story on some of the characters, and on others, we only get tantalizing hints. This is, for some, the most irritating element in the entire show; we can almost never figure out the pasts of some of the most unique characters that we have ever seen. It is truly disappointing.
If lack of characters development holds down the show the most, the next most irritating element is the art style. As it's shaft, we can really expect to see insanity in the rat as well, and so we do. It's really quite irritating to those who don't enjoy the Shaft animation style to b subjected to these incredibly well drawn scenes being forced down to mediocrity by terrible illustrations, which can really limit and interfere with the show for those who are not true connoisseurs of the Shaft art style.
Sound also was only a slight break from the weaker elements of this show. It was really fair: there wasn't anything that really weighed it down , but there wasn't anything that really aided it in this department either. The voice actors were average, the sound effects were average; everything really failed to go beyond the average bound. Our opening and ending were also really, well, average, leaving the anime with average sound.
While sound did not contribute to my enjoyment of the show, it certainly didn't hurt it. This show was highly enjoyable to anyone who liked the style of comedy, wasn't valued away by Shaft's art, and in general likes comedies and romances. I had a great deal of enjoyment from this show.
So, now the question is, will you enjoy it? The best way to determine that is, especially if it sounds interesting, watch a couple of episodes. By that point, you will have gotten a good taste of the random art interferences and random characters that contribute to the general eccentricity of the show. You will have also seen the types of jokes told; if they seem like they'll get old, then you should leave. The jokes will often repeat, especially if the are part of a character's intrinsic personality. In other words, you will like this show if you like the first couple of episodes, aren't thrown off by the random art you see there, like the characters, and don't mind the general premise of the show in this regard. If it sounds interesting, give it a try.
So long Arakawa Under the Bridge. It's been awesome!! read more
The story of Arakawa Under The Bridge is something that tends to turn many people off due to it's nonlinear approach. The story goes as follows; a guy who believes in never owing anybody anything gets his life saved after falling off a bridge by a strange girl. This creates a debt the size of well, his life! In order to repay this girl, he must show her what it means to love thus making him her lover. This sudden turn of events begins as he lives with the girl under the bridge where she and a bunch of other strange folk coincidentally happens to live! Sounds a lot to swallow? Don't worry, the story is way easier to grasp than what it seems.You see, to show someone what it means to love is such a universal topic that the entire series tends to be just about the guy and all the residents of Arakawa Bridge doing miscellaneous things each episodes. The series is jam packed with tons of comedy but also without realizing it, full of many other things. This leads me back to what I previously said; this show is FULL of charm. What Arakawa does best is to add heavy themes such as Acceptance, Regret, or being yourself while still keeping things to a lighthearted, comedic level. I loved when a funny situation would occur but at that exact same time, the main protagonist may learn something new about himself, or slowly, the girl would realize bit by bit what it truly means to love. Because of this, swallowing the insanity surrounding the show is much less a chore and much more a joy!
Despite this: although I found the story one of the greatest aspects of the show, the opposite can be said for some. For starters, as previously said, this story is non linear to a tee. There is no single episode dedicated to, "What it means to love." Instead the story is really told through the character's every day encounters and actions with the members of the Arakawa River. While I found it interesting, this in turn can make people not want to watch the show if they were looking for a more direct plot. Furthermore, when the story did try to create a straightforward scenario near the last quarter of the series, I found that to be the weakest part of the series and I was anxiously waiting when that encounter can be settled and got back to more random tasks with the residents. Also, the outrageous surrounding of the show is of course not for everyone. This is indeed a WAAY over the top comedy, with no bars held back and if that's not your cup of tea, than this show won't change your mind otherwise.
The Art of the show in general would be classed as standard fair for the anime at that time. However, since "Shaft" were the developers for this show, (Madoka Magica, Bakemonogatari) you can expect to get some eye popping, over the top art work. the opening theme is especially easy to notice; full of vivid colors and beautiful scenery. Overall, the outrageous art of the show only added to fit the whole tone the show was trying to portray. Quickly though, the live action segments with the Kappa at the end of each episode is probably some of the most hilarious scenes I have ever seen. PERIOD.
The sound of Arakawa under the bridge is not anything spectacular. There were no background music that particulary stood out to me, and instead I found myself simply engrossed in the dialogue to even notice. The opening and endings on the other hand is definitely worth mentioning. The opening theme of the show, Venus To Jesus is a light, moderate pace tune which is easily a good listen and can be enjoyed without any context. It definitely fits the lightheartedness of the show. The ending, Sakasama Bridge is a personal favorite. this once again, is a light, moderate paced song, but the melancholic feeling it gives off, really helps to describe the feel of those more heartfelt scenes in the show. Plus it's by Suneohair, whose also done works in shows such as, Honey and Clover! Last, without spoiling anything, there's a song titled, "Losers Wail" and if the title alone doesn't convince you how funny it is, than prepare to wail yourself if you do get the chance to listen to it!
Talking about the characters in Arakawa under the bridge is difficult. You see, each resident of the Arakawa River is strange in it's own way, but only adds to the charm. For instance, you have a a Church Sister (who's not really a sister) that came from the military and acts like the Terminator, but with more dialogue. Not satisfied? You also have a Rock Star with a Star for a head, as well as Kappa (A frog like person). At first, these different personalities might be unsettling, but really, these Character really help to bring this story to life. You see, one of the main themes that Arakawa Under The Bridge tries to tell is acceptance no matter who you are. Despite these crazy appearances, I found myself genuinely liking these characters because of just how well the chemistry these social misfits had with one another. Whether they had a comedic relationship or a serious one, I enjoyed each one of them.
A flaw to these characters however is that they're really isn't that much character development. Aside from our main lovers, Ko and Nino; despite how much screen time the rest of the cast received, they remained static from start to beginning. You may get a bit of story from the individual characters, but they don't really grow as a person. If there was a particular person you might not have liked then unfortunately they will most likely stay that way until it's comedic conclusion.
Arakawa Under the Bridge is INSANE! (In the good way of course!) Going into the show, I was a bit skeptical due to the amount of pure outragousness it posed. While it was still there, everything seemed bearable and in fact, better than what I expected it to be. I was also anxious to figure out what the crazy people of under the Arakawa Bridge would do next, and even though it's not genre breaking, it's originality and heart should be something that grabs viewers and drops them into unfamiliar, but wonderful territory! Welcome to Arakawa Under the Bridge!
Lets start with the characters. Arakawa has a vast array of characters, adding new ones almost every episode to add to the viewers pleasure. Every character is, at first glance, rather one dimensional. As is standard with most comedies, every character will have some sort of "gag" around them that is generally hyped upon every time you meet that character. For example, the main character has an issue with owing people favors, and as such, there are many scenes in which he will need to rely on someone and will go to any great lengths to repay the favour, and really almost every character is like this in their own way. Now really, for a comedy this isn't a bad thing, the laughs may be a little obvious but its still always funny to see the guy freak out at having to pay back Nino for saving his life or whatever the favor of the moment is.
That being said, there is something peculiarly special about the cast of Arakawa. As the series progresses, little "hints" thrown about a lot, about the past of the character in question. This is especially prominent in Nino, the heroine, but is noticeable in many of the side characters as well (Sister's apparent past war ties, or the school kids apparently being experimented on). Whenever I notice one of these hints, I like to imagine what was it that brought this person to live under a bridge. What was his / her past life truly like? Was it a long journey to finally find this home? These questions build up and will probably remain forever un-answered but that's just part of the charm. The bit of mystery surrounding each character really helps build a strong connection with them, and greatly increases the viewing experience.
One final thing that really showed me a better side to Arakawa is the plot of the thing. Now you could say, "But how is watching the daily lives of some quirky characters living under a bridge that exciting. As far as anime goes, its not exactly revolutionary." And while this is true, the plot isn't going to wow anyone, does one thing right, and that's make one reflect on their own life. As you sink into this show, you begin to see that a lot of it is comparing normal life to the random lifestyle that the folks under the bridge follow. This is particularly emphasized by the fact that the protagonist is a Rich boy at the head of society. When comparing the two, one starts to realize that maybe this insane, random lifestyle of weird people in funny masks is really the less "insane" of the two. It shows us, that really, life should be lived how you want it to be, not whats necessarily best for you. We see that Kuo is at the head of the world, rich, handsome, with a silver tongue, he seems to have it all. And yet, which does he enjoy more, teaching under this god forsaken bridge, or following in his father's footsteps. Well its only 7 episodes in as I write this review so only time can tell, but I can be certain that this is the main message of the anime: Look at yourself and decide what you want to do... then do it!
Now no show is perfect and of course Arakawa is no exception. The music isn't that exciting, and the art is a little weird at times (but still pretty decent). While the cast is many, the amount does bite it in the behind a little bit due to being only 13 episodes long, meaning that each character doesn't get quite as much screen time as one may like. The humor for the most part is funny, with a few exceptions, but most likely you'll get a good few chuckles out of it by the end. If I had to hate one thing about this anime, I'd say its the constant cuts to a close up of Kuo's eye... seriously its kinda unsettling whenever they do that.
Anyways, enough rambling from this coot, I'll finish off by saying that I will always recommend this anime no matter how bad the ending may turn out to be. Its funny, the characters are lovable, the premise is interesting, and overall, it holds together extremely well. Enjoy read more
Arakawa ("Rough River" in kanji) is a major river that runs through Tokyo. This is the river you have to cross to get to Saitama, and I can tell you it's very wide river that you do not want to fall into.
I must admit that my expectation for this show after the first episode was really high because the setting of an elite suddenly living the poor man's lifestyle, and the general atmosphere was really similar to 'Koi ni Ochitara', a dorama series that's very dear to me. I found 'Arakawa's setting to be very intriguing with both Ichinomiya and Nino having interesting personality, and a funny encounter.
The story and character setting had a great potential. This show could've gone three directions:
1. Focus on Ichinomiya and Nino's relationship as a romance anime.
2. Focus on Ichinomiya alone for discovery of small joys in life and gradual change of character belief, slice of life.
3. Focus on side characters for pure comedy.
Instead, they went for no focus or central theme. Just a bunch of weirdos doing random things in the riverbank with very limited story or character development. Humor in this show was mostly physical, unintelligent slapstick, but wasn't really funny because the pacing is too slow for that. The side characters were a ridiculous bunch that had no distinct personalities that made them particularly lovable. They were all cardboard characters who received zero character developments. In the end, it seemed like the author was trying too hard to make unique characters just to make this show different.
I have to say episodes 1, 4, 8, 12 where they focused on romance (#1) or slice of life (#2) were very strong and moving episodes, but otherwise all fillers. Story and character development was way too slow to be interesting.
General animation by Shaft, there are lots of eye zoom-ins, but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary. The peaceful atmosphere of Arakawa riverside with vivid, light colors was visually pleasing.
Animation quality was very inconsistent though. Episode 1 and some slow, dramatic scenes have movie-grade background detail and attractive characters, but the rest is super-simple (difference especially noticeable in sky grass texture).
The two main characters seem somewhat realistic despite simplicity. The style is really similar to 'Nodame Cantabile', but the character designs for 'Arakawa' is actually better. The rest, while they are supposed to look out of place... never grew on me. It just seemed like a cosplay contest in a really unlikely place.
Ridiculous number of big-name and experienced cast, even for the minor characters. Overall, voice acting is pretty good, but it doesn't really sound like any of them really put in too much effort.
BGM is pretty average, but used in all the right places.
Theme songs, on the other hand, were excellent. OP was cute and fun with retro graphics that worked really well to boost Nino's character. ED is a really good song that makes you reflect back on the episode.
'Arakawa Under the Bridge' had the potential to become a really touching and inspiring show if only they just focused on romance or slice of life. Instead, it became something I can't exactly describe, in a bad way.
Something went really wrong with series composition that ruined a good original work.
Pretty much only 4 episodes of material was in the first season, dragging on to the next. This is one of a rare non-prime-time anime series that I actually wished was shorter. I will be watching the next season in hope of a major turnaround. read more
At least this is the case for Kou, a self-proclaimed part of the “elite.” From the day he was born Kou was taught to never be indebted to someone. For the most part Kou does a pretty good job of it too, that is until he loses his pants and falls into the Arakawa River. Now we have one indebted Kou, and a savior named Nino that wants Kou to help her experience love. He accepts, and begins living under the Arakawa Bridge with a group of bizarre social misfits.
It sounds a bit absurd I know; but this absurdity is what makes it so great. Arakawa Under the Bridge uses a unique mix of absurdism and slapstick humor with a few deeper messages added along the way to bring you a really nice comedic experience overall. The story itself is lacking as show isn't episodic but can appear to be that way at times because of the absurd things happening. The story really takes the backseat and suffers to let everything shine through in this anime.
As for the artwork found throughout this series... well, this is SHAFT we are talking about here. They are a studio known for their odd visuals and cinematography. You know, the people that brought you Bakemonogatari and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. Although it is less experimental in art style than the previously mentioned series, it is still up to standard with any of their works and at times can even make for some really nice scenery porn.
The Arakawa Bridge is called home by a village chief that thinks he is a Kappa, a killer nun, a literal rock-star, a Martian, two runaway guinea pigs from a laboratory, and of course the main character Kou. All of the characters are as absurd as they sound and maybe even more. They are the focal point in which many, if not all of the jokes in Arakawa come from. As you can tell the cast of characters found throughout Arakawa are not your average run of the mill people, and although they lack depth they are definitely the highlight of the show.
The sound in Arakawa Under the Bridge is suiting. The soundtrack wasn’t mind-bogglingly amazing but it was still good. The background music enhanced the comedic moments so they did their job quite nicely. The opening of Arakawa Under the Bridge is definitely more satisfying visually than musically and I felt the same way about the ending too. As far as sound goes the voice acting was definitely the highlight, the voice actors did an absolutely incredible job making the jokes told in the show that much more memorable.
It is true that people often think of themselves as “the normal one.” But after watching Arakawa Under the Bridge I think it is safe to say that normality is relative. It constantly wears this theme on its sleeve while presenting is odd, yet surprisingly pleasant form of absurdist comedy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first to say that I don’t like absurdist comedies. I have just never found them that funny, but Arakawa Under the Bridge was a pleasant surprise. I found myself laughing from the beginning of one episode to the end, which is a huge win in my book. I strongly believe this anime is a must watch for all comedy lovers.
That could be the end of my review right there, but there's always more to talk about. For example, the art. The art is great. It is produced by shaft, directed by Akiyuki Shinbou, and is typical of Shinbou/shaft. If you are unfamiliar with shaft/Shinbou style artwork (most famous for Bakemonogatari), it is basically a collage of unconventional anime styles, that shifts around depending on the story. Lots of random fast cuts to land/city-scapes, sudden changes in the detail of animation, etc. It all is used in a way that seems to compliment the zany and random story. Also, in a great innovation, we now have windmill hair!!!
The music is fun, even though the lyrics are silly. I'm a huge fan of the OP, not just for the song, but for the artwork that goes with it. The characters? Well, they are a bit cardboard, more or less used as gags to perpetuate the random humor. The story? Once again, just used to perpetuate the random humor. There is an underlying message in this show, that we don't have to do what society tells us, and sometimes it's better just to be ourselves, no matter how crazy that is :) Not a particularly deep message, but it goes well with the focus of the show.
Enjoyment? Well, here's our problem. Everything in this show is sacrificed for the sake of random humor. Now personally, I wasn't too amused. I have trouble finding stuff amusing just because it is random. I mean, sure, when it's completely left-field, randomness is funny, but in this case it became a constant barrage of randomness and ceased to be terribly funny. It was still often funny despite this, but just as often it was stupid. My brain definitely turned off as I watched this.
Many have recommended it to all Bakemonogatari fans, and I can't really agree with that. Bakemonogatari was a much smarter, character driven, and creative anime. Many fans will be dissapointed. That said, if you like Bakemonogatari, you might like this, so give it a chance. If you like random humor, then you will love this show. If you only like intelligent anime, then this show isn't for you. read more
Kou Ichinomiya was raised by his stern father to be the perfect businessman. At the young age of 22, he already leads his own company and has mass amounts of wealth. He obsessively follows his family's motto, which is written across his tie, of never being indebted to anyone for even the smallest of deeds. Unfortunately, one person's helpful deed changes Ichinomiya's daily life completely. After getting his pants stolen on a bridge, a blonde haired girl named Nino returns it to him; however, because of his family's motto, Ichinomiya insists upon some form of repayment - a new house, a million yen, a new car, anything. Nino requests for the young prodigee to be her lover. And so begins the crazy story that is Arakawa Under the Bridge. Kou moves into a new place under the bridge, where he is forced to communicate with the strange residents.
The first he comes into contact with is of course the blonde-haired Nino. Her strangeness stems from her belief that she is a Venusian - and thus, doesn't understand certain human acts. The two of them have a strange relationship as lovers due to this lack of understanding. Next is the village chief, a man dressed in a kappa outfit who thinks himself a real kappa. The village chief is in charge of giving the residents their names, and as a twisted joke, he gives the name "Recruit" to Ichinomiya. There is also Hoshi, a man who wears a star-shaped mask and plays a guitar... badly.
Among the most interesting characters of the crew, are Sister and Maria. Sister is a nun, a male nun... from England... who was a mercenary that fought in wars. He runs the village's "Church" where he hands out cookies while blasting his gun that he always keeps tucked under his nun uniform. Maria is a seemingly sweet lady who runs the village's farm. Her true nature is anything but sweet though, as she says the harshest things imaginable to the other villagers making them feel lower than dirt. Basically, her personality gives off the impression that she thinks the lives of others are worth less than the grass they stand on, and that they are not worthy of taking in the oxygen around her.
Other characters include P-Ko, Stella, the Brothers, and Shirai. P-ko is a clumsy red haired girl who has a fascination with vegetables. Stella is an orphaned kid who Sister took care of back in England where he also taught her how to wrestle, making Stella a little girl to avoid. The Tetsujin brothers are apparently on the run from men from the "laboratory". They hide their faces with metal cans to conceal their identities and/or super powers.
The story follows Recruit (Ichinomiya) as he learns how to deal with the unusual residents under the bridge. It is through these characters that Arakawa is given life; however, there isn't much else to the story since it is a comedy. The art direction isn't far off from other SHAFT titles, but don't expect anything as visually appealing as the vibrant eye-candy of Bakemonogatari. The music is also good; nothing really special though.
Arakawa Under the Bridge shows that Akiyuki Shinbou and SHAFT continue to lead the anime industry in creating dark comedies as well as unique casts of characters. The humor is entertaining and certainly unique, just as was Bakemonogatari for those familiar. Unlike Bakemonogatari though, Arakawa focuses a lot more on the comedy that it doesn't create a strong lasting impression. It was a very enjoyable watch, but it is hard to give the show high praises because it did not leave this heavy impact. The characters were superb, the animation and music decent, the comedy golden, but something was missing that could have made this show much, much stronger. The thing is, the staff probably wasn't aiming for something strong - it is a comedy after all - and it is in that section that Arakawa shines. I look forward to season two.
One last tip: There's a reason why Nutbladder's subs appear first, and that group's work is clearly a speed sub. I'm hardly in the place to criticize anyone's work, and speed is a factor too, but I would watch another group's fansubs for better translation of finer grammatical points. I'm watching with Formula subs right now and rewatching the first ten minutes of the first episode, there's a pretty vast difference in quality. I haven't checked out other groups' fansubs, but I'll eventually get around to it and let you guys know. read more
There is a character that has a "normal" outlook on life, but has one major restriction on how he lives it, and another who is anything but normal, and is unintentionally abusing his restriction on life. As such the entire show thus far is Set-up, Gag, WTF, Gag, Set-up, Gag, WTF, Gag.............
If they could actually keep that up for 13 episodes I would be genuinely surprised, I expect this show to tank after around 3 or 4 eps, but the this first one was certainly interesting, and worth watching, and worth checking out episode 2 when it comes out. read more
Of course, Hiroshi Kamiya and Maaya Sakomoto are total win under the skins of Rec and Nino. Being the main pair, they still have a lot of ground to cover around each other as Nino's a Venusian(!) and Kou's a stickler for not being indebted. I even like the supporting characters: Star, Chief, Sister, Maria, Stella and P-ko - not in any particular order.
This is for those who enjoy something different that is much more situation driven rather than character driven. There's lots of comedy and funny moments that make you LOL more than you thought it would.
So, overall 9 for personal liking of the show.
Story - 8
Art - 8.5
Sound - 8
Characters - 9
Enjoyment - 9
Firstly I would like to say that this is a review of both seasons one and two of Arakawa Under the Bridge. Originally I was considering doing one review of just the first season, but I decided in the end that both seasons weren't different enough from each other to warrant that. That being said Arakawa Under the Bridge originally aired from April 4th, 2010, to June 27th, 2010. Soon afterwards that series was followed up with a second season airing from October 3rd, 2010 to December 26th, 2010. Both series were animated and produced by studio SHAFT, so that means it was, as usual, directed by the loli-con Akiyuki Shinbo. With this short information divulged, let us dive straight under the Arakawa bridge and enter the strange land beneath it!
The story for this show is really simple. It all starts one strange day when Kou Ichinomiya, a strapping, young, and successful business man, gets his pants stolen and falls off the Arakawa bridge. Luckily, a young homeless girl living under the bridge named Nino saves him from drowning. However this is less than ideal for Kou, since his family has always lived by the motto, "Never be indebted to anyone." So in order to get his debt over and done with, he agrees to become Nino's lover and joins the strange Arakawa society... And that's it! From there he meets wacky characters, grows in his relationship with the bizarre Venusian Nino, integrates with the society under the bridge, and just overall gets into some generally "crazy" scenarios.
Now I'm not going to lie, this show's story, if you could even that call it that, is extremely nonexistent. The plot here is extremely thin and is mostly set up into multiple stand alone arcs in each episode. There isn't really much of an overarching storyline throughout the show and it instead focuses on short skit-like events. For example, there's an arc where Kou meets up with his secretary Takai to check up with his business, and also so his father can spy on Kou... And that's it, don't expect anything else from it story wise.
These arcs are really there to just serve the purpose of getting the characters into comedic situations; this is a comedy series after all. However, like all comedies, the humor presented in this show is subjective, and how funny it will be will vary from person to person. Personally I find the humor in Arakawa Under the Bridge very annoying. It's the type of humor that relies solely on wacky character interactions. Every character is meant to fill the spot of a wacky archetype and our main character is supposed to be utterly shocked by the strangeness of everyone around him. If that sounds hilarious to you, well then that's good, you'll love this show, but I personally think it reeks of laziness on the writer's part. The jokes here aren't really clever and the characters, as I said before, are just one tired phrase or joke which gets repeated in different situations to provoke laughter. There isn't any originality or creativity put into these jokes, and all they do is use the same type of humor with a new paint of coat.
Now there are exceptions to this, for example some of the situations themselves can be interesting and it also sometimes plays on our expectations of the characters. A good example of this is episode 10 of season 2, where the previously harmless and strange Tetsujin twins become muscle hungry and lust for power. That's clever because it changes up the character's main joke, but honestly these occasions were pretty rare for me. I rarely laughed very much, but then again maybe you shouldn't trust me because I rarely laugh at anything comedic. However I like to believe I can at least recognize good comedy when I see it, and in my opinion there wasn't much to this show's dynamic. It was repetitive with only the situations evolving, not the humor which was already full of bare bones "laugh at the weird people" jokes.
In fact I found this show more heartwarming than anything else, though even that is a little bit of an overstatement. The main plot of this show is actually more focused on the society under the Arakawa bridge and the developing relationship between the two main lovers Nino and Kou. Once again, this plot is extremely thin, and really only serves the purpose of creating comedy. However, there were many cute moments throughout the series. Nino and Kou's relationship develops very nicely over the course of the show, starting off as obligation it slowly turns into mutual feelings, and eventually their first date and kiss. These moments are very sweet, and it continues at a steady pace throughout the show.
However, the second season only has one major development in their character relationship, one which is made kind of minuet by the fact the show doesn't ever really show how their decision ended up going. Did Kou's choice to be with her forever end up being a good one? Does it cause anymore strain in their relationship than the little bit of it we saw in episode 4 of season 2? We'll never know, and frankly the show doesn't seem to care much.
This is a little bit of a problem since these types of character relationships throughout the show are really the only things that made it remotely interesting to watch for me. Instead we get an open ending with no resolution to the event/conflict they set up in the first few episodes; and since there hasn't been a new season for 4 years, I can safely say that it will most likely never be concluded.
Despite the loose ends on the two main lover's relationship, we still do get a relatively nice conclusion for the relationship between Kou and the society under the Arakawa bridge. At the beginning of the show Kou's very annoyed and confused by the baffling nature of the strange citizens. A guy in a kappa suit, a girl obsessed with vegetables, a man who only walks on white lines, these people weird him out, and he initially doesn't like them very much. By the end of the show his relationship with the society's citizens has definitely changed for the better, while he still finds them weird, he now views them more as neighbors and friends than anything else; and in the finale he promises to stay with them and Nino forever. It's a heartwarming character development, and while I would have preferred a better conclusion on the lover's conflict introduced in season 2, it was still pretty good. I mean at the end of the day anything's better than season 1's filler ending.
I previously said all the characters boil down to one joke, and I seriously mean it. Every single side character here, and even our main lovers at points, have very limited development and really are only there to be something to laugh at. Hoshi is a man with a star mask, how wacky! Stella is a little girl who can turn into a big muscular war machine, how hilarious! Sister is a boy nun who's really a soldier, isn't that a knee slapper!? This is honestly the most I got out many characters throughout the series, which is a shame because some of them do have some potential, the key word here is "some." Sister the nun is in love with sadistic Maria for example, to me that is ripe for a hilarious back story, but we never get it; much like every other character in the show. I mean the creators have all these weird and quirky side characters, and you're not even going to flesh them out? You had twenty six episodes across your two season show! Why didn't you do that!? The best back stories we get are Jacqueline the Bee and Billy the Bird's (Ha ha, Birds and the Bees in love, get it?) epic love story and Hoshi's rock star background, but they're mostly just played for laughs.
Now that being said the best characters are, hands down, Kou and Nino. Not only because their main relationship drives the story, but also because they're the only ones with any real depth. Yes they still are confined to their one joke, Kou is uptight and thinks he's perfect and Nino is a airheaded person who believes she's an alien, but they are made more human by, not only their relationship, but their screen time character exploration. The main lead Kou especially gets some nice character moments throughout the series. Since I've already talked about his great character development with Nino and the Arakawa society, I'll instead talk about the exploration of the relationship between him and his father. Kou is very much like his father, successful, hardworking, arrogant to the extreme, and is extremely devoted to the family motto of never being indebted to anyone. However, Kou is also very afraid of his father. His father has always been cold and distant, and while he looks up to him, talking to him is very nerve racking for Kou. So when in the first season his father tries to separate Nino and him, he's too afraid to even tell him that he needs to stop. It's a nice exploration, and while it ultimately is very light weight, and mostly played up for comedic affect, it's better than anything else the series has to offer.
I'd also like to briefly mention Nino's character development which is much the same. In the second season we get some exploration into how she misses being on Venus, and her conflicting desires between returning to her true home or staying in Arakawa with the people she loves. Once again, it's very light weight, but it's better than nothing.
Since this a SHAFT production you can expect one thing, and one thing only: Akiyuki Shinbo. As I have said in previous SHAFT reviews, he basically owns and is involved with everything the studio churns out, so you can expect his signature styling's throughout Arakawa Under the Bridge. There's the head tilts, quick cuts, low and close up shots, interspersing of subtitles, etc. Now I've never really loved Shinbo's style, I find he often uses it in the wrong ways and is mostly just put in his shows to catch people's eyes and make them think there is something deeper under the surface of its content. Basically it's there to make things look and seem artsy.
Personally I find this a little insulting, because, at the end of the day, there isn't really any substantial material to really warrant this. Yes there have been exceptions here and there, like Madoka Magica, but overall if he's going to use his style well in otaku bait anime it all depends on the tone and content. Luckily it fits here in Arakawa Under the Bridge and it makes for a rather nice experience rather than a grating one, COUGH COUGH Mekakucity Actors. The quirky tone of the material in question really lends itself well to Shinbo's bizarre style, and the comedic timing and pacing of the animation is spot on in most scenes. The animation isn't the best I've seen from SHAFT, it's definitely lower budget and can be rather stiff and clunky, but it's still very colorful and nice to look at; so no complaints there. Overall though I can safely say this is one of Akiyuki Shinbo's better direction jobs, but that's not saying much.
To finish things off we must take a look at the soundtrack... Boy is it bland! The tracks composed here Masaru Yokoyama aren't bad by any means, the songs themselves are well fitting for their scenes and overall sound good, but they are sure repeated infinitely. The soundtrack constantly reuses songs in similar scenes to mediocre effect, and eventually you'll know what type of scene you're in due to that track. Once again, the songs aren't bad, but the fact they're used so often doesn't really make the score very good.
The openings and endings however are quite great. For our two openings we have beautiful and crazy visuals, and not to mention some great songs that perfectly capture the nonsensical nature of the show. The ending themes on the other hand are very calming and help you wind back after an episode of high-jinks and capture the softer and more heartwarming side of the show. The animation for all these openings and endings are a lot of fun to watch, and are arguably the best animated things in the show. Overall, killer openings and endings, but a lame and limited soundtrack.
Arakawa Under the Bridge isn't a very good show in most respects. I personally found it very bland as a comedy and since that was its main purpose, well it should be more than a failure. However I was surprised by how heartwarming and charming some aspects of it were, and it was also a big surprise to see Akiyuki Shinbo actually use his style correctly throughout the show. Overall I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it just a little, so I guess I'll put it low in the recommendation zone.
Arakawa Under the Bridge is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu, though on Crunchyroll you'll have to have a Premium Membership to watch all of it. It's also been licensed and released subbed only by NISA America.
- Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
- Pani Poni Dash
First and foremost, this is a character driven show. By no means will anything happen beyond the two main conflicts (the main character's acceptance into the community, and the other big one, which I won't mention for the sake of those who have yet to see "Under the Bridge"), and your enjoyment of this series will rest solely on your ability to enjoy this type of show.
If shows like "Azumanga Daioh", "K-On!/!" or "Minami-ke" were your cup of tea, then by all means hop right into AUtB. However, if you fall into the group of individuals who found these shows completely pointless and a waste of your time, you might want to sit this one out. Having said that, this one in particular is heavy on the comedy, and if it can't make even the most stone faced of otaku crack a smile, then give up on life. Or lighten up, life doesn't always have to be about epic battles and heart-wrenching love stories. read more
A synopsis from the Preview list looked interesting but has Arakawa Under the Bridge lived up to what i hoped for... no, but in some aspects they have good things (Characters/Sound) shame that one half is doing well but the rest is doing quite badly (Art Style/Story) but with many more episodes to go its hard to judge how this will pan out, but lets say i have less optimisium than i did before this show started.
I don't get some people, how is this series funny it tries to be i cant remember one part i've laughed at, and the OP is pointless (animation wise) the music is alright but still why is the graphic style of this series feel soo retro (in a bad way) it looks horrible in 720p.
Overall another dissapointing episode the only good thing i compliment them on is the character development is quite good with the main characters (Recruit/Nino) and even the subcharacters (Star, Sister) I like this aspect of Arakawa but the rest is lacking a once bright and unique synopsis has not really developed (plot wise) all that much.
(Good character development from learning the male protagonists past (Recruit), Nino is a very enjoyable character and some other characters have good promise (Sister,Star) and with the good development they still want the viewer to keep wondering "Why is Nino living there", so yeah nothing really to complain about "Character" wise its just all the rest thats the problem.
Art Style 6.5
(Too much re-used footage, i've seen that eye blink close up about 400 times its soo pointless, also do they think the grass strands look really good? im still puzzled on why is soo prominent from the undergrouth if they only used the same few grass textures surely they would of made a good one! which this one isn't!!!!!!!!
(Nice voicing from especially Nino and Recruit, cant really fault them on this apart from the little Brothers with the metal masks is a bit too annoying thats about it.
Overal: 7.5 - Nothing special by all means but in places they have good things going for them, but this is in short supply, it seems this reaches people with a Young sense of humour (which is a person who laughts histerically at a Penguin falling over) i mean im only 20 so not too old but this Humour is very poor and would only be thought of as "Funny" to little kids.
So if your a little kid and cant put up many bad points (Art Style) etc... i would somewhat recommend this to you.
(Note scored are different i just rounded up/down accordinally)
(Also Sorry, people do find "Mid Reviews" a bit annoying but i just had to make this review im tired of seeing the 2 reviews being a 9, which is FAR TOO high for this show as it's average at best and i want to hopefully not let people hoping for a series that scored a 9 and seems a interesting synopsis to get fooled by the promise) read more
But, and I think most other people will agree, some of the best comedy is stuff that actually has an underlying message to it. When humor can actively facilitate an overall message that the work in question has, then it all works on multiple fronts. And, well, this is something that Arakawa Under The Bridge does well.
Arakawa starts with the protagonist, Ichinomiya Kou, standing on a bridge completely pants-less. It is here when he meets a rather strange girl known as Nino and it is also here where we learn of his fear of owing anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to anyone what so ever. It is readily apparent from the on set that Kou has some rather deep sitting issues with his father, almost a sort of phobia if you will.
Now, don't get me wrong. Arakawa is most definitely a comedy first and foremost, but themes such as running away from problems, parental issues, and so on are lightly, and rather effectively, touched upon during the course of the series. But, it certainly never becomes heavy handed in this matter at all.
Visually, Arakawa is a treat with very well done character design, particularly Nino and the other female characters, and just overall interesting visual touches here and there. Shaft has the usual visual touch, but not quite as heavily as Sayanora Sensei, EF, or their other works.
Sound wise, the musics generally pretty good. But, the voice work in particular is striking with some very big names in the series particularly Sugita Tomokazu (Haruhi, Gintama), Fujiwara Keiji (Baccano, FMA), and many more.
The characters are very likable, with pretty much every one of them having some sort of..personality quirk. Whether you have the cross dressing "Sister", The Kappa costume wearing Village Chief, The rockstar wanna be Star shaped mask wearing Hoshi, the insult throwing Maria, and so on..it's almost guaranteed that you'll find something to amuse you in some form.
Which brings me to my biggest issue with the series, the characters don't change and we just don't learn anything at all about the vast majority of them. Not that Kou doesn't try to learn, it's just that the other characters either avoid his questions or outright lie to him. It's arguable, of course, whether or not this is an actual fault or not...it's just the way these people live their lives and it effectively ties into the central plot point. But, it still hurt my enjoyment a little bit.
At it's heart Arakawa Under The Bridge is a sort of coming of age story in which Kou tries to come out from under his fathers shadow and live his own life under the bridge. Some of the comedy is random in nature, but most of it seems to hit on the underlying message. It isn't deep stuff, but this series did very effectively what it intended to.
Well done character designs, good background art, and very consistent animation. The Shaft "style" isn't quite as glaringly obvious as most of the shows from the company, except for the OP, ED, and a few other instances.
It has to be said that Nino is probably one of the most obviously beautiful female characters I've seen. The other female characters are well designed as well.
Solid music, with well know voice actors doing the same great work they always do. Not much to complain about here. Though, there also isn't anything particularly amazing in this compartment, either.
The characters are likable, memorable, funny, and just overall well done. Unfortunately, they go out of their way not to talk about themselves and Kou is pretty much the only character to go through some form of change. Still, nothing to complain about.
Consistently funny unlike most comedy series I've seen and the characters are very likable. I enjoyed the message this series brought to the table as well. An easy series to marathon.
Memorable, funny, and many other things. Arakawa is a great comedy series up there with stuff such as FMP: Fumofu, Minami-ke, and a few others. Definitely recommended for those looking for a good time. read more
SHAFT is the producer of Bakemonogatari, and uses similar presentation methods in this series. The problem is: Bakemonogatari is more of occult, suspense and mystery while Arakawa Under the Bridge is something like gag humour.
Note: After ep 2, the anime seems to fare better in its own style.
To be honest ep 1 and 2 gave me a headache. A wide variety of characters introduced, the main characters were presented, and tons of poorly used impact-scenes. From ep 3-5 the story seems more smooth and less gag-likke. Which is good, since some fundamentals had finally been touched on.
Unfortunately, too many characters had been introduced right from the start, some airtime for each side character sometimes are only a few secs or none at all. Control of characters were pretty good, although overall, the story just seems to be too unstable. Scenes sometimes skipped here and there, little coninuation at times and most importantly, travelling too much between gag, slice of life and romance.
Normal for SHAFT I believe. Good graphics and animation. But why do bubbles seem to come out anywhere and everywhere? Eye scene is overused, reminds of Bakemonogatari. Certain impact (animation aspect) destroyed the mood for laughter (aka light mood).
OP: Ep1-4's OP's animation was unique, and light, but made relatively no sense in contrast to the series' storyline. Song was good. Ep 5
s OP seems to be made in a jokingly manner, but was really interesting, some ppl might download the scene and worship it (lols).
ED: Both animation and song were good. It introduces several characters from "under the bridge".
Voice acting was mostly good, but sometimes were over-done, especially the cries of shock from "Recruit".
Sound usage is gradually getting better.
Interesting. But interesting doesn't cut it. Most characters aren't unique in their own right (As in they are not defined by their personalities, more of their physical differences). But some character development has already being done on "Recruit", and his past slightly explored into. This is a huge bonus, since we will be seeing him often in the series.
Up to episode 5, we can see some unique personalities, but as usual, side characters get very little scene coverage, as the storyline jumps here and there still. Bad thing here is that too many characters seem to be introduced, and some were rarely utilised. Character development seems to be slowing down.
Yes, knowing their personalities is good, but I would prefer to see a deeper character formed than many shallow ones.
Up to ep 2, I really didn't like it much. Cause of the very choppy manner the show was presented. A lot of things were unexplained, impact was used a bit too much, and most importantly, it seemed like serious gag humour.
Ep3-5 gradually included more serious scenes, and the story has become much stable (compared to till ep2). More work still needs to be done though, since this show is moving in a few ways, can't decide what genre is it focusing on.
Overall, I do wonder how does Recruit live his outside world. Lol, in realistic terms that is completely impossible, since he's a CEO or something.
On a side note, I may have wrote my previous review (up to ep 2) a bit too harshly. I do hope this updated review would give you readers a better insight into this series.
Thank you for reading;) read more
Absolutely hilarious; I would recommend watching just for the comedy factor. There was also an interesting back story for the main character, Rec, as well as for his love interest, Nino. However, I felt like the second season ended without much resolution. I was left with so many questions still unanswered. I wish there was a third season!
Decent. There were some pretty moments, especially when it came to the scenery in the background, but the art for the characters was nothing extraordinary. Still, I've seen far worse.
This is mainly a comedy, so the intro and credit music were nothing stunning, just funny and up-beat to fit the mood.
Again, I felt that Rec and Nino began to be developed into interesting, dynamic characters, but I think the series ended just short of its full potential. The supporting characters were hilarious and charming, though.
Watching Arakawa is a great way to pass an afternoon. I was amused the entire time and I laughed a lot.
I would recommend watching this anime as long as you are looking for something light-hearted and quick. Definitely worth your time. read more
Story: I found the premise of the show to be very intriguing. After the first episode, however, it's clear that the main focus of the story is the people who live under the bridge. While Ko and Nino bond throughout the series, Ko's interactions with the secondary characters are the main attraction. The short mini-story format to each episode helps keep the whole feeling of the show light and easy-going.
Art: An interesting mix of styles are used throughout the series. You have some very beautiful backgrounds and character portrayal during the more moving parts, and silly faces for almost every other time. The constant switching suits the zany feel of the show. The character designs are all varied, and interesting.
Sound: The opening song is very upbeat and cute. The background music and sound effects were suitable for the various situations Ko found himself in. The voice acting was excellent, and I think the actors captured the feeling of their characters perfectly.
Character: The cast is an interesting collection of weirdos. I loved the different histories, personalities and energy each player brought to the show. Whether it was Star's constant competing with Ko, or Sister's "badass nun with guns and cookies" attitude, each character was a pleasure to watch. I was not surprised by the lack of character development, since the crew is so zany; any attempt to change them would take away form the fact that they are all so strange. Ko goes through some development, and the second-to-last episode was very touching.
Overall: Not really reading anything about the show, I went into it thinking it would be more dramatic, or romantic. I was happily surprised by the more comical, slice-of-life approach. I was laughing every episode, and I really enjoyed watching Arakawa!
TL;DR 5 words/phrases to describe Arakawa Under the Bridge:
hilarious, random, silly, weird, touching read more
Common sense. It is the set of knowledge and comprehension of the world that society expects you to have. Now imagine a place containing a seemingly jumbled society of unique characters where common sense is naught. The phrase itself hasn’t even entered its lexicon. And yet, strangely, the society is perfectly functional. This is the Arakawa riverbed.
Arakawa Under the Bridge starts off as a rather bizarre romance. Ichinomiya Kou, a self-proclaimed elite, all-around prodigy, falls into the Arakawa River and nearly drowns. He is saved by Nino, an enigmatic young woman who proclaims that she is a Venusian. However, Kou was always taught to never be indebted to another person, and now, he owes the biggest debt of all to Nino for saving his life. As a result, Nino has a simple yet imposing request: to fall in love and live with her under the bridge. Thus begins one of the most unique romances in anime history.
Well, it had the potential to be anyway. Alas, the romance is awkwardly paced and its progress is minimal. The series is mainly an absurdist gag comedy fueled by the ridiculous antics of its equally ridiculous (but far from unfunny) characters. Despite its interesting, auspicious premise, there really isn’t much of a plot. It just follows the daily lives of the citizens of the Arakawa riverbed. Sure, the second season features the “trip to Venus” plot, but it was abandoned midway and was rather unfulfilling. That said though, the comedy, on the other hand, is hilarious. Over time, the humor did begin to either stale, feel forced, or just become plain stupid, even by Arakawa’s standards. Certain jokes began to feel predictable. However, at its best, Arakawa had a number of side-splitting moments (in both seasons) where I just burst out laughing uncontrollably. Few anime can do that to me, so I commend Arakawa for that.
The show has an eclectic assortment of interesting and peculiar supporting characters. The Village Chief, a man in a green costume who claims to be a 620-year old kappa, despite the obvious zipper running down his back, and also gives each person living in the Arakawa riverbed their name (Kou becomes “Recruit” or “Ric”). Sister, a bellicose yet ironically calm muscle-man who dresses like a nun. Hoshi, a man wearing a star-shaped mask who vies for Nino’s affection. These are just some of the oddities you’ll find in Arakawa, and most of them, save a few (such as the Amazoness), are endearing characters. A few characters do get tiring after a while though, especially since some of the gags become overused.
The character development is fairly limited. Kou gets the most since he’s the one forced to adapt to new conditions, and we also learn quite a bit about Hoshi, but no one else other than Nino, who ultimately remains an enigma even after the second season, gets much development. Given the nature of the show, that’s fine, but I really would have liked to see more from the Chief and Nino. You see, Arakawa contains some unexpectedly dark implicit themes. They are subtle, but they include failure, rejection, and disillusionment from society and reality. These are people living under a bridge, away from society, after all. They must have some sort of dark past, as evidenced by Hoshi. Understanding the Chief’s reasons for establishing this place and deliberately lying about his true self is key to understanding this society. Maybe that’s too deep for a comedy as outrageous as this, but Arakawa also likes to insert some philosophical crap in the beginning of each episode, so maybe not…? Either way, with its premise, I definitely wanted to learn about Nino’s past and the truth behind her Venusian origins. Unfortunately, the second season never resolves what it starts and the Venus storyline is instead replaced by a shitty fighting tournament.
Anyway, the animation is a bit inconsistent. It can be crisp and beautiful, but it can also be dull and uninspired at times. Also, whenever a character is walking directly towards or away from the camera, they never seem to gain any distance. I know this has been a problem in many anime in the past, but you would think animation studios would have figured out how to correct this by now. Furthermore, there’s an odd tendency for the animators to zoom in on people’s eyes, especially Kou’s. As for the music, it’s average and very forgettable, except for the OP’s and ED’s. I don’t generally care much for OP’s and ED’s, but these ones are notable. The two ED’s by Suneohair are fantastic indie rock songs, and in fact, I have one of the songs, “Sakasama Bridge” from the first season, on my iPod, one of only two songs from anime on it. The OP’s are both decent pop listens as well.
Ultimately, Arakawa is a hilarious comedy with an enjoyable, intriguing cast of characters. The humor of the second season does drop in quality and become more hit-or-miss, but there are still a few laugh-out-loud moments that are sure to please. As a comedy, this is one of the funniest anime I’ve seen. But if you’re expecting the mystery behind Nino to be answered, you’re in for a disappointment. While the possibility for a third season is viable, since the manga is still ongoing, I don’t think the humor can take another hit.
Enjoyment: 8 read more
But when I watch the first episode, the story was totally ridiculous.
But in the fun way.
There's a lot of weird people under the bridge.
Although, some of them looked normal.
You'll totally laugh after watching this anime. Their stupidity is the best!
All the charcters are well create.
Their attitude is somewhat unique.
All their past life is a mystery.
Don't know where they come from, who are they, what's their background, and why did they live under the bridge?!
The story of 'Arakawa under the bridge' revolves around male protagonist Ichinomiya Ko, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, an elite of society in every regard (good at everything), and has strong family tradition to never rely on anyone. The opening episode is him on this bridge crossing over the river. Much like how he is progressing forward, but crossing over what true "life" is.
In an unexpected turn of events, Ko meets the female protagonist Nino who saves his life. Feeling indebted to Nino, Ko attempts to pay her back and follow the family policy of never relying on anyone. Oddly enough, Love becomes the one thing that bind Ko to Nino. The other residents of the river are slowly introduced and thus begins the crazy daily happenings of Life under the bridge as Ko learns about himself and people under the bridge, develops to a different human being, and as he fights of his father's plots to take him back.
The only flaws to the story I found was that it didn't quite settle on a solid "plot" or a "slice of life" direction. Many episodes seemed to be uncorrelated and had no continues plot, while other had more serious plot ideas (ie. v.s the Ichinomiya group). If there was a more serious direction it may have been more easy to follow.
The art for the series is quite beautifully and uniquely done, particularly as it involved drawing irregular characters, like buff nuns, frequently. Directed by Akiyuki Shinobu (Negima!, Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei), and animated by Shaft Studio (Monogatari, Negima!, Sayonary Zetsubo Sensei) I expected no less than absolute quality, which they did deliver.
The clarity of the animation style (thicker outlines) combined with the environmental designs had me hooked from the beginning. The detail used in the setting (the bridge, river, grass) was exceptional, but cannot be compared to Makoto Shinkai (5cm per second). Overall, I really enjoyed Shaft's output and consistency in animating the odd characters while maintaining environmental clarity and integrity.
The only issues i found with the animation was the lack of diversity in environment. This may be a "me only" thing, but I found that they used the same settings for pretty much everything, that the "backdrop" for a scene "here" or scene "there" would be used over and over. It'd barely noticeable, but for me I'd like to have a larger diversity of areas.
The sound for the series never disappointed me. To begin, OP "Venus to Jesus" by Etsuko Yakushimary caught my ear. The opening had a very unique feel to it and the song is a bit awkward but yet sounds great. It caught me unexpectedly as I'm usually exposed to the more cliché opening (ie. j-rock/hip). Aside from the tender opening, the ending was interesting as well with "upside-down bridge" by Suneohair producing a contrast from the opening, but really helped to close the episode off. The random OP in a certain episode also added to the comedy.
The sound throughout the series was great, background themes worked well and weren't over used, coupled with the character voicing that were consistent with the characters made this series have the irregular slice of life atmosphere I appreciate. It also helped to mediate the plot in areas where silence or other themes would've been awkward.
The only issues I found with the "sound" was that nothing really "stood out" beyond what is said above. There isn't the strong immortalized emotional melodies during emotional scenes, or distinct "theme" music for characters per se.
The characters were a broad and diverse bunch who carried unique pasts (most of which we'll never know about) and who provide very critical social commentary. A brief introduction of the characters will prove to show the diversity and commentary.
Protagonist Ichinomiya Ko, nicknamed "Ric" or "recruit" is the new addition to the riverbank and the story flows showing his development as he expressed the usual and societal ideologies of "life" and "values". Being, in reality, a super successful elite, he represents what regular people aspire to. Oddly enough in the upsidedown world of Arakawa, he is meerly the a "leech" in the least. His confrontations with his short comings and with other things he finds valuable in life are the key points of his developement and will keep you thinking. Voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya (Teiria-Gundam00, Izaya-Durara, etc), the expressions of Ko to situations is diverse and draws attention and sympathies.
Female protagonist, Nino, is the self proclaimed Venusian who brings Ko, as a lover into the group. Little is known about her and her past. But she expresses the purest form of humanity, much like a child she accepts things and takes things oddly seriously. Her love for Ko is uniquely expressed and her lack of expression makes her very interesting to watch. She directly contrasts Ko in both values and traditions as she knows seemingly nothing of the surface world, or its values. She knows of love and caring for other people, sometimes blissfully ignorant of many facts. Her comments about Ko's responses to kindness, or forcing him to show it provide insightful commentary for how society perceives those around them.
The village chief, or the kappa, is a self proclaimed Kappa who is obviously some guy in a costume. The general hilarity of seeing a character completely believing in their own decided existence makes him fun to watch, particularly how his character does not change. Kappa, dare I say represents nature or the earth. Part of life, yet barely recognized (and recognized less and less though the years).
Hoshi, or Star, is the rival of Ko for the love of Nino. He is also a musician. The comedy of him and Ko's onesided rivalry is fun to watch in itself. But, truly it is his expressions in situations and how he completely delves into the world of Arakawa and combines it into his rivalry that is the most interesting. I think he is a major reason that Ko is able to integrate into the community, and an even greater reason that Ko is able to truly appreciate Nino. Hoshi represents one extreme of expressionism, muscianship. In society, those that pursue music to an over extent are critqued and excluded.
Other characters that are introduced each present their own very unique expressions of reality and uniqueness. Each commenting on individual ghosts of past and on societal reconciliation with said people. For the sake of length, I've excluded an indepth analysis of the other Characters:
- Sister (the Military male Nun)
- P-ko (the cute gardener girl)
- Iron Twins (the two kids with iron helmets)
- Maria ( sadist, and farmer)
- Stella (the little girl)
and other minor characters (Takai, Billy, Jacqueline, Last Samurai, Shimazaki, father Ichinomiya, etc).
If you'd like to hear my opinion about these characters please PM me.
The only flaw I found was that the characters were used very "on and off" the only character that was used consistently was Ko (expectedly). There are episodes that will no even touch upon characters for a long time. Billy, Jacqueline, and Last Samurai for example, do not even get fully introduced until the last episode of this season.
I really enjoyed this series, not only because it had me laughing, crying, or nervous at the right times, but rather because of it's awkward uniqueness that resonates with the human soul. I started this series hoping for nice rom-com, which is supplies, but I found a deeper social commentary in the series. I was, throughout the series, reflecting on where my sympathies lie, and like any other anime fan ... What would I do if I met these characters in reality?
The abnormalities of the people in the series, in real life, would be the people we deem to be crazy, that we can't spend another day with. Indeed, having done lots of work with people in poverty, there are many people with delusions out there. In reality, we cast them aside, or rather acknowledge their insanity. Even though they live in crazy communities, we neglect their reality.
So when did crazy become so normal? I don't know at what point in the series that I finally accepted the Mayor as being a Kappa, or that Hoshi was a star, or Nino was actually from Venus. In fact, near the end I became part of Arakawa, finding Ko's surface level ignorance to be odd, finding that Ko was the crazy one.
So this was most enjoyable to me because It actually made me realize how immersed is was in the world or Arakawa.
Overall, an amazing first season. PM me if you have any thoughts or comments about my review. I hope you check this series out.