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.
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…)