Arakawa Under The Bridge (荒川アンダー ザ ブリッジ)

All posts tagged Arakawa Under The Bridge (荒川アンダー ザ ブリッジ)

The main male protagonist and the best character in this anime.

The audition to select the first holder of the ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title begins with my review of the first season of Arakawa Under The Bridge. This review will also allows me to take the beta version of the Windows Live Writer Wave 4 beta for a spin. A second season of this anime has already been announced, therefore below you will know if I think this anime deserved one or not.

The main male protagonist's new neighbors…

A heir to the most powerful corporation in the world found himself pant-less on a bridge after a prank went too far. Trying to retrieve his pants from high atop a steel beam, his bad luck strikes again and he fell into the river. As he fought a losing battle for his life, he was saved by a girl who happened to live nearby, under the said bridge. Therefore, to conform to his family’s motto of not ever be indebted to anyone, he agreed to her request for him to become her lover and they started to live together in sin, forever and ever, under the bridge.

I only watched this anime for 10 minutes but I can’t help but think that this anime is very similar to the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series. The story maybe vastly different, ditto for cast of characters and settings etc. but these two has this eerie feeling of similarity. The story in this anime itself revolves around the main protagonist and his interactions with his new ‘diverse’ neighbors. Instead of a harem filled with willing high-school girls who will do anything for the main protagonist, he has to deal with some crazed people that made one hell of a habitat under the bridge.

…and this is his apt description of them.

This anime has nearly none of the parodies that is one of the hallmarks of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, but there are humor aplenty throughout this anime. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the high-potential romance element that could have made the story even better isn’t really pronounced or explored, therefore no slapping the romance genre handicap tag upon this anime. But just kinda like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, the pacing of this anime is quite fast too; about just a little bit slower than the slowest Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei installment – the third season. Despite the fast pacing, this doesn’t affect the development of the story one bit as it evolves and flows around the vibrant community under the bridge.

Unfortunately, this anime also inherits one aspect that Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is bad at, and that would be character developments. To be honest, the character development in this anime is not as glacial as they are in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei’s 2nd and 3rd season, but they are very minimal. Only the main protagonist has the biggest slice of the character developments (making him the best character in this series), and even that it doesn’t compare to what the suicidal teacher in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has in its first season. About two-thirds of the regular characters (example: the two kids with lead masks, the kappa guy and the main female protagonist) doesn’t have any character development at all. You won’t have any idea who they are at all and why on earth they lived under the bridge.

The ending is where you can actually see some plots in this anime and frankly speaking, it is just ordinary. It served up it purpose of setting up the second season well though. I will definitely watch the second season because there should be more hidden gems still left within the storyline and the characters to be exploited and mined. Surely the director will do that in the next season right? Or is he/she is just as crazy as those queers that lives under the bridge?

This green (and not eco-friendly) character is just one of the queers that lives under the bridge.

Character Design:-
Character designs in this anime is good and a positive point for this anime, but IMO not as good as the one in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series. Lack of black hairs in this anime is forgiven; after all, except for the black-haired main protagonist, there are some strange people living under the bridge…

Ok I should stop ending my paragraphs that way.

The subtitle aptly describe the said queer perfectly.

Voice Acting:-
Another hallmark of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, but this anime easily matched it in this department. 3 characters come to mind; Stella (who shared the same voice actress with the best character in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei), the main male protagonist (the main protagonists of this anime and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei shared the same voice actor) and Piko. The latter is unique and the former is simply awesome. A positive point for this anime.

The OST is quite decent but none of the OP/ED theme is any good.

And here our green but not eco-friendly hero is fooling around with two of his equally bat-shit crazy buddies.

Make this anime the fourth title that uses the blurry animation techniques I have mentioned in Monochrome Factor, Nabari no Ou and in last review of this blog, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Finally, Japan has figured out the way to use that technique outside battle scenes (THIS ANIME DOESN’T HAVE ANY – THIS IS NOT A SHOUNEN TITLE – NO WORLD IS GOING TO BE SAVED), and here I initially thought that Fullmetal Alchemist’s usage of that technique outside battles is an aberration. I fear for the future where this technique will finally be deployed in normal scenes. A point docked off the final evaluation because of this.

If the said technique is ignored, this anime actually has decent animation quality even in fast-paced scenes. Choreography in this slice-of-life with plenty of humor and creep is basically non-existent. The director, which is also the same one who directs all three seasons of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei titles (hmmm… I wonder what else is the same between these two series) also has done a good job in this anime, although of course I do think his works in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei are better.

The closest thing this anime has as a parody.

At 7 out of 10, I don’t really see this anime become the first ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title holder, unlike the third season of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei that has become a surprise package last year. If somehow this anime can hold on and win the title, I will do really fear for the future of Japanese animation industry.

A hilarious yet very creepy gay moments in this anime.