arakawa under the bridge episode one

In a recent email exchange with my co-writer Spiral, he said this: “Looking forward to Arakawa Under the Bridge from you.”

…I didn’t know I was covering Arakawa Under the Bridge this season – but I guess I am now!

If I think about it, there isn’t really a good reason for me not to review Arakawa, and it’s one of the shows I’m actually looking forward to this season (as opposed to checking out with the high potential of dropping it), so why not. Before the anime was launched, I’d read the very few chapters of the manga I could find translated (or is “scanulated” the proper term) and really enjoyed the humour – and believe it or not, the pacing (each chapter felt “short” but certainly enjoyable). And despite having read the manga I wasn’t sure how the anime would be: would it start the same? would it pace the same? would they change the humour?

The anime starts exactly how the manga does. It paces exactly how the manga does (though they cover several chapters within an episode). And it’s just as funny as the manga is. I wouldn’t say it’s exactly the same though. Manga and anime are two different forms of media and I’m not the kind of person who compares apples to dumplings – with that being said, I won’t be comparing the anime to the manga going forward. …Plus the anime has already gone further than all the chapters I managed to find and read, haha.

I’m also not including an episode summary. I’m going to go out on a limb and be demanding and insist that everyone watch the first episode (please). Arakawa Under the Bridge deserves – at the very least – an honest try. Okay: I’m done pitching. Here’s what I thought:

I really liked it! But then again, I had a strong feeling I would. The characters are so nutty and bizarre. You’re not sure if they’re really “out of this world” or if they’re just living in a world of their own.

Nino is beautiful.

I’d forgotten that Nino was a “Venutian” and when her hair did that antenna thing, it made me wonder if she’s actually from a different planet, or if it was just bed head. She’s so calm and open – and considering she doesn’t have a lot of material possessions, very generous. She’s also not interested in obtaining more material or monetary wealth; how rare it is to find a woman (or a man) who is satisfied with what he or she has so long as they can live. She’s also sweet: While Kou thinks about how he was cheated by her after spending the entire night freezing up at the Vacation House and she was sleeping on a soft, velvet daybed, Nino challenges this thought by saying that her happiness is shared with him as her lover. Which leads Kou to think to himself from a different perspective: he’s glad Nino didn’t have to sleep out in the cold.

Kou’s temperament and reactions are priceless.

Considering his father’s – ahem – personality, and the strictness in which he was raised, I’m surprised he didn’t turn out more unusual – though he’s far from “normal” (but what is normal anyway…). His reaction and subsequent adaptation to the shock of becoming indebted to someone was interesting to follow. From becoming Nino’s boyfriend, moving into the “vacation house”, meeting the Village Chief, and having a new name assigned him, I think about how living with these new and different people (from himself; Nino and the Village Chief seem perfectly at ease with each other) will not just change the physical environment in which Kou currently lives, but how he sees the world around him.

The Village Chief is a Kappa.

They’re rare.

This first episode wasn’t laugh out loud funny, but it did keep me smiling. And I’ll certainly be watching the next episode as well. (Also going to keep looking for those manga chapters…)


19 Responses to “arakawa under the bridge episode one”

  1. 7 April 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Well can say I did give the show an honest try. Although did watch it before being asked to :). Can say I just didn’t get it. For some reason or another just didn’t end up laughing during this. Just hit me as more odd than anything else. Can understand why everyone was drawn to it, but just didn’t end up that interested by the end of the episode.

    Still not a bad group of characters. Kou is the most interesting from my view. The guy’s extreme obsession on self-reliance will surely lead to some entertaining moments. Do wonder what it means for the guy long term. I mean he can hardly go and follow the path he planned for himself if he’s living under a bridge. Though I suppose he might eventually be taken in by the lifestyle and live happily.

    • 2 blindability
      7 April 2010 at 11:29 pm

      Aww. I’m sad that you don’t enjoy Arakawa that much.

      I think Kou will learn that life can be lived differently, and that happiness comes in different forms. And if not, then it’ll at least be fun to watch as he meets more unusual characters!

  2. 7 April 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I thought it was great. I thought all the characters were funny, and I’m glad you picked up on the serious side. Nino has a very cool perspective on things that makes it easy for to puncture Kou’s bubble. He’s always obsessing (pro or con) about himself. The fact that Nino’s words get through to him means he is redeemable.

    • 4 blindability
      7 April 2010 at 11:33 pm

      It’s like Kou never thought about things in any other way than that which he was taught, and the fact that he can allow for a different perspective means he’s on his way to expanding his world view.

      I like Nino’s sustainability because these days, it’s all about consumption. It’s all about buying happiness. Even Kou tried to repay his debt by offering to buy Nino something.

  3. 7 April 2010 at 4:14 pm

    According to the blurb at the end of the episode, it appears that there isnt anymore of the manga, well none translated at least.
    Lets hope that if this is popular enough, the rest will get translated (if they exist).

    Liked the show, loved the Kappa – it was funny. Will mwatch more. 😀

  4. 7 April 2010 at 6:11 pm

    “when her hair did that antenna thing, it made me wonder if she’s actually from a different planet, or if it was just bed head”

    She’s from earth and she knows full well she’s from earth. There was that great line where she said ‘he’s as much a kappa as I’m a Vesuvian’, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about her. She knows she’s not acting normal but why take it away from someone their priveladge to act un-normal

    • 8 blindability
      7 April 2010 at 11:37 pm

      So it’s bed head.

      See I didn’t pick up on that “he’s as much a Kappa as I’m a Venutian” line, but it makes Nino all the more clever than Kou.

  5. 9 SPIRAL
    7 April 2010 at 9:30 pm

    LOL I’m sorry I “imposed” the series upon you… but I thought somebody was covering it this season on our team… XD

  6. 11 RP
    7 April 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Kou’s temperament and reactions are priceless.

    This. There were a few times I just lol’d at his reactions.

    You know, it’s funny. I was both looking forward to this and not looking forward to it at the same time. It looked like an interesting story with a good premise for a lot of laughs. But on the flip side, I was getting a little SHAFT-exhausted, which probably hit a head with Vampire Bund last season. But having watched the episode, I’m happy that feeling #1 won out.

    I really liked how they kept everything fast-paced. 8 “episodes” kept any one thing from dragging on too long. Hope they keep that setup going for the season.

    • 12 blindability
      7 April 2010 at 11:41 pm

      I hope they keep this pace up too! It’s like you’re reading a really good book and right when something spectacular happens, the chapter ends… but you don’t have to wait till next week. You get a little more before you have to (inevitably) wait, haha.

      On a side note: I know Angel Beats is fantastic, but I’m pretty happy with reviewing Arakawa (unexpected though it is).

  7. 13 nope
    7 April 2010 at 11:03 pm

    can’t see a good thing from this series -___-“

  8. 8 April 2010 at 12:15 am

    “randomly took off my pants.”

    That just seems like a suspiciously unrandom thing to do. You randomly smack someone upside the head. You have to think about depantsing someone before you do it.

    The more I read and the more I reflect, the more I like this series. I’m looking forward to more.

    • 16 blindability
      8 April 2010 at 3:04 am

      It’s those little bits of unusual – yet humourous – behaviour that really get me smiling. Though I’ve seen many random acts of “(de)pantsing”. Maybe I’m hanging out in the wrong circle of people…

  9. 17 Schnarey
    9 April 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I did a little browsing cause i realy liked the first episode of Arakawa under the bridge. It is seldom that anime nowdays can surprise me in such a good way. Throught google i end up here and i was like *wow there is realy a blog out there with nice previews AND nice comments* so i have to thank this anime twice.

    btw is it just coincedence or is their a link to Bakemonogatari?

    (soory for the bad english)

  10. 19 RAN
    9 April 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I really liked Arakawa’s first episode. I guess it’s a good thing that I am not that familiar with SHAFT’s other works. From some of the reviews I read before from other anime blogs, one of the main reasons they didn’t like this series was because they found the series similar to some of SHAFT’s other works. Beyond the comedy and silliness, there’s certainly something deeper to pick at in this series (e.g. like normalcy and eccentricity in society) Anyway, I’m really looking forward to more from this series.

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