18 CommentsArakawa Under the Bridge, First Impressions / By Scamp /

Arakawa Under the Bridge episode 1

Arakawa Under the Bridge is yet another creation by the clearly jaded Shaft anime production team. But lets leave aside the rushed and overworked Shaft team for a second and praise a fantastic piece of witty scripting and dialogue that manages to deliver the crushingly cutting statements intertwined with general craziness. Because Arakawa Under the Bridge hit my expectations as the fantastic piece of comedy that I figured it could be simply from reading the first chapter of the manga. And yes, this works better in anime form.

The best part about Arakawa’s humour is these little digs is jabs in here and there. Hidden behind the ridiculous exterior is a brain that uses over the top character traits to toss in these gem lines. I know it’s cheap to compare this to Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei but it has that obvious similarity beyond just the Shaft appeal. While SZS is all about shoving these social commentary lines in your face directly, Arakawa is a lot more subtle about it. That’s not to say SZS is worse off for doing that. I have my problems with SZS but this is simply a comparison in humour approach. Where SZS fell down is in its horrible repetitiveness as it totally failed to expand beyond its admittedly glorious premise. Arakawa could quite easily fall into the same, although at least Arakawa has plot, or at least the illusion of one.

Ah, I love lines like this. Casual racism is something I absolutely love. People get so uptight about anything borderline racist that I love it whenever something draws attention to the inherent racism that people have without realising it. Anyone who’s watched Time of Eve will know that fantastic episode 4 where the two kids find themselves in stitches at the faulty robot trying to act like a human only to get their dismissive attitude shoved in their face. Most of the time racism is depicted as something only ebul backward people are so to treat it as a normal reaction or everyday statement you realise how dismissive you were yourself. It’s an amazingly smart thing to do, especially when you combine it with the delicious irony that the main character is just as much of a weirdo as anyone else living under this bridge.

And here you get to the bones of what makes Arakawa such a great comedy. The show is basically about a guy who thinks these group of people living under a bridge are a bunch of absolute nutters but it’s only in his conversations with them, both through his own gloriously hypocritical statements and the occasional cutting remark from Nino do you realise that he is as much of a weirdo as the rest of them, without the main character realising it himself. It’s smart, it’s witty, it’s a bit hit-or-miss at times but there’s never a quick-fire comedy that isn’t.

Now Shaft. Honestly, there was no better studio around to adapt this, there is absolutely no denying that. With Vampire Bund it just stunk of helpless confusion and total lack of knowledge how to handle the show. Arakawa is right up there road and in no way do I think this could’ve been done better by anyone else. And there’s some great touches to the episode, most notably the fantastic way they’ve portrayed the place this entire show will be set. It’s got a fantastic atmosphere, as if it’s a world of its own. It’s very similar to the way they shot Bakemonogatari. In that, the endless backgrounds of repeated desks and signs gave this great impression that this was a world just for Arararagi. In Arakawa they’ve set the scene with the orange-palette as though they’ve set up a beautiful romantic hideaway for the main two.

The problem I have with Shaft though is they’re jaded. It’s the same animation techniques they used for every other series mashed together in Arakawa. The poor guy needs to replenish his mana. This is too much work for the directorial team and at least this season he’s only got one anime in production with none coming up next season as far as I’m aware. At least, not yet. And good for them. Shaft are a quality studio if they gave each series the attention it bloody deserves. As good as Arakawa was, I can’t help shake the feeling that if they weren’t on the back on having done 2 series last season, they’d have pulled a better job on this series.

So success for the first episode of Arakawa which gives the current season a score of 2 and 3/4 out of 6 (Angel Beat and Arakawa are one score a piece. Hetalia World Series is only a quarter length and I’m only half sure if I’ll watch the next episode of B Gata). Which is pretty good for the season so far, especially since no anime thus far has dropped considerably below my expectations. Admittedly there’s no surprise hits either but hey, there’s still plenty to come…if anyone actually subbed them anyway. Please, we only need one of you subbing K-ON. Someone please sub Giant Killing!

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  1. luffyluffy
    Posted April 6, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Our tastes are really different.. haha! This.. Ehhh… it dragged for me :/ it’s on my watch list, but I dunno..

  2. Posted April 6, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    What’d I do for Giant Killing subs…

    I’m onboard for this show, at least for now. Nino is awesome.

  3. Posted April 6, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    The little jabs were the parts of the episode I enjoyed and what convinced me to stick with the show for now. I especially enjoyed the second line you highlighted. We like our high horses, but we also like our snap judgments. :p

    I also laughed at Kou’s screwed up background. His dad might be the weirdest person in the show.

  4. Posted April 7, 2010 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    Megami Anime announced Giant Killing subs yesterday. They’re working with bare minimum staff though, so expect delays. :/

    I didn’t quite “get” Arakawa when I first watched it. It hit me when I got out of bed this morning. Better late than never, I suppose. I’ll be watching the next episodes.

  5. fmaestri90
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Does anybody know, when is it going to be subbed the last episode of Bund?. maybe it’s already out and I havent found it, but at least in watchanimeon.com it has like a week in raw.

  6. Posted April 7, 2010 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    I really liked this show, but I’ve enjoyed many past Shinbo/Shaft productions, and tend to give people points for reaching past their limits, rather than churning out the same thing everyone else makes. I also think Shaft has really refined some of the signature Shinbo treatment, and Arakawa is the beneficiary.

    Well, when it comes down to it, this is a comedy show, and has some very fine source material. Personally, I found the humor translated really well, and am very much looking forward to future episodes.

  7. Posted April 7, 2010 at 3:47 am | Permalink

    Darn it, Scamp, you’re making me want to look into this.

  8. vucubcaquix
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry, but I have to say this:


  9. Freya
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    When Kou was speaking all I could think was ‘Zetsubou Sensei, Zetsubou sensei~’. Kamiyas voice sounds almost exactly the same as it did in SZS for Nozomu. Other than that little distraction I found the episode very enjoyable, and I agree, Shaft is the perfect studio for the series. Definitely watching to see how this turns out.

  10. Scamp
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Permalink


    That’s a complaint I’ve seen around quite a bit which is why this post is less humourous and more explanations of the humour. Not particularly amusing to read but it might at least encourage people to see the show in a different light


    That was exactly my aim~


    That annoyed me actually. It’s the exact same as Zetsubo sensei and the exact same as Arararagi. The guy needs a new tone or please could you get a different person to voice your male leads Shaft

  11. Scheniziel Lackward
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Guess this anime is fitting my bill, it’s pretty good and i love it~ But the main character little bit same with Araragi at Bakemonogatari…

  12. Posted April 7, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Definitely hit-or-miss, I didn’t find it that witty though.

    The casual racism is uhh, pretty normal. After all, East Asians are probably the most racism people in the world anywhere outside a formal environment. I more or less just shrugged it off as soon as they said it. I guess it’s just weird to see it actually scripted onto a TV broadcast—

    SHAFT’s art style is one of their unique attributes, they can’t alter that one! =O

  13. cyberpixie
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    ah i love this anime! the comedy blends in and the music fits just right. the character designs are also nice, and the scenery! and don’t forget our awesome character, Kappa! lol look at his greeny body, i nearly burst my drink when look at it

  14. Scamp
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    @Scheniziel Lackward

    It’s just the voice really, although that is annoying how similar it is


    It’s the deconstruction and pointing out of the prejudice that makes it so smart. I love it when any form of entertainment does that, anime especially because of how a lot of anime have the inherrant xenophobic attitude behind it, it’s nice when one deconstructs that as well as Arakawa did


    Glad to see you’re enjoying it as much as I do~

  15. Taka
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Everyone’s a little bit racist…sometimes
    Doesn’t mean we go around committing hate criiimes

  16. Scamp
    Posted April 10, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink


    Ah, Avenue Q~

  17. Posted December 24, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

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