30 CommentsArakawa Under the Bridge X Bridge / By Scamp /

Arakawa Under the Bridge X Bridge episode 1

I could write another first impressions post. I could do a general review of the episode, pointing out what I thought did work and didn’t and what my thoughts for the future of the series could look like. But I would’ve thought my opinion on the series was rather given away when I wrote over 2000 words per episodic post when the first series aired. I would have thought that it was fairly clear when it held a respectable spot in my top 30 anime. I love Arakawa Under the Bridge. Absolutely love this series. And it’s back. It’s fucking back!

I’d already listened to the opening about 3 times before I watched the actual episode. I’d been feeling kind of ill recently and I’m struggling to think of an anime that cheers me up more than Arakawa. I’d put this one on about equal footing to Venus to Jesus. Both of them have the ability to grow on you over time with the sorta cutesy singing voice. Most of all, they both have this highly recognisable artistic style to them. This one has a lot more going on to it and I like how it seems to have its own little story to it. Also it has that above shot. I’m almost willing to put it above Venus to Jesus for that shot alone.

Episode 109: Trade

Oh dearie me Recruit, not a good start. Have you forgotten already? You’re a lead male character in a comedy anime where the female love interest is the poster child for the show. That means all the viewers hate you because you’re in the position they want to be in. OK, Arakawa doesn’t exactly fall into the typical anime harem with loser/personality-less male lead, but the same rules still apply. You made the female character unhappy? Cue hundreds of people demanding for your head for causing our princess undue distress.

(Yup, back in Arakawa episodic blogging territory, one episode at a time. You know the drill. Although I almost certainly have some new readers this time around. Go back and read my posts for the first season. I’m not kidding when I said they were the most amount of effort I’ve ever put into episodic blogging a series)

And aint that your main problem Recruit. Remember this is the poor guy who hadn’t any proper relationships with women beyond receiving a LOT of chocolate at Valentines day before he met Nino. Recruit needs to step up his act a bit. Who was the one that initiated the kiss? That was Nino. Who is holding who in the new opening song in a princess hold? Well, that would be Nino holding Recruit. Remember what happened when Recruit tried the Princess hold on Nino? Yeah, that didn’t end well. I know he’s dealing with Nino so she’d be totally oblivious to his attempts at flirting, but he still needs to step up his act just a bit.

Why didn’t you see this coming Scamp? I’m going to put it down to the three month gap between seasons. It’s the standard Arakawa formula. Something strange happens. Recruit freaks out. Tries to analyse it. Comes up with a solution. It appears to be working only for the inhabitants under the bridge to do what they always do and act totally contrary to his expectations. I wonder if he will ever truly understand each member under the bridge?

Ah Arakawa~! How I’ve missed you.

Episode 110: Nino’s House

Man, I wonder who that could be?  Someone with a really pointy head but their hair bunched up at the side of their head? Can’t think who that could be. Or maybe Sister has a new kind of headdress that stores grenades or something. Maybe it’s Fist of the North Stella midway through her transformation sequence. Damn, I just can’t think who that is.

(That’s an aspect of Shaft anime I really like. Characters become their outlines or become part of their body. You just need the outline of Hoshi and often that’s all they show. You only need the ahoge of Arararararagi (sorry, I stuttered) to convey what he’s feeling. It’s a neat trick, in amongst many other Shaft animation oddities that often don’t work. Like zooming in on Recruit’s eye 5 times per episode)

Just in case you’d forgotten what the Mayor’s shtick was, here we are to remind you that he isn’t actually a kappa. You know, just in case you forgot that first scene with the zipper. Or the scene where he does the magical transformation into surprisingly handsome man inside the box. You know, standard re-introduction to the cast sort of thing. I suppose we have to get that much out of the way.

Episode 111: Venusian

Nooo, that’s not true! That cat who visited my house almost every day did so because it loved me! Not my warm and cosy house, even though the cat did like lying on top of the sofa (who then who roll over so you could stroke it’s belly, only to fall off the edge of the couch and look like a total idiot. That was a really dumb cat). That cat loved me and all the ham I fed it.

Yeah I’ve never owned a cat. We’ve only ever been able to have cats who technically belong to other people in the street but spend their time in our house. I really want to own a cat =(

Because that’s not suspicious at all…wait a second. Nino’s past? This season has already dropped a reference to Nino’s past? This early on? With a solid hint with that child’s dress that she actually existed as a child? Holy crap, this is exactly what I had hoped for when it came to the new season! With the perfect construction and ending of the first season, I did enter this season with a bit of trepidation. However early signs point to leaving Recruit’s story alone altogether. We’ve finished that part. Recruit has finally overcome his fear of his dad and his dad has finally accepting Recruit’s new way of life. For Nino, the first season was just about opening her up a bit and giving her something to care about. Without that groundwork we couldn’t try investigate her past. Imagine that. Imagine if Arakawa planned this season out just as well as last season.

/fanboying

oh who am I kidding. That’s not the end of fanboying whatsoever.

Episode 112: Over the Border

Something’s not right with this picture. Now if only I could place my finger on it…aha! Sister playing baseball! That would never work. Someone hurled a projectile at him as fast as they could and yet Sister didn’t whip out a firearm and dispose of the danger? Remember this is the guy who feels it necessary to bear arms against projectile vegetables. How the Mayor managed to convince this man to play baseball is beyond me.

I think I’ve seen this shot before. Like, about 50 times per episode. I suppose it’s better than Bakemonogatari’s obsessesion with blank cut frames showing nothing more than a red or black page with some writing in, almost as a sign to their owners that if you had given us a bigger budget, we could have filled in these spaces with actual animation.

(This is also my argument as to why Arakawa is a better anime than Bakemonogatari. At its heart, Bakemonogatari has some of the best writing of any anime ever produced and should be better than Arakawa. However Bakmono has more than its fair share of flaws and mishaps. Arakawa achieves what it sets out to do absolutely perfectly. I’m fully aware that this is not an opinion shared by most of the rest of anime fandom, but mwahahaha go my biased views go!)

Here’s a theory. What if this person is Nino’s mother? Remember how she appeared at the end of the last season with a rocket? Maybe Nino thinks she’s from Venus because her mum kept building rockets and pretending they were from Venus the whole time? Maybe Nino just naturally inherited her mums wacko gene, which is why Nino is the nutter she is today and her mum has become an Amazonian Warrior (although at least she still has her right breast, if you believe that old Amazonian archers tale). Maybe she’s spent her time between losing her daughter training up to become strong enough to see her daughter again? Maybe I should stop making up stupid theories and get back to the episode. Yeah, I’ll do that instead.

(and you thought your mother in law was scary)

Episode 113: Arakawa Marathon Contest

Oh yeah, these two are new characters! Billy and the Bee Bimbo. They’re certainly more interesting than the samurai hairdresser, whatever he’s supposed to do. I must say I’m hugely impressed by the corniness of Billy’s lines. I’ve got to start taking some of these down to use myself. Now all I’ve got to do is find myself a women who is convinced she’s a Queen Bee. Or one who’s convinced she’s a Vesuvian. With an Amazonian Warrior as a mother. I’m fine either way.

So Whitey has been here for at least 3 years. Hoshi has been here for 4 years, if you remember back to when he first met Nino. I’m not sure about anyone else though. That’s something to work with at least. We’re gradually starting to form a fairly accurate timeline of when everyone started congregating under the bridge. My guess would be it was the Mayor who started it all off. Pretending he’s a kappa is probably something he did long before the community under the bridge was set up. Maybe Nino was the catalyst for starting the community though. She does strike me as the glue that holds that place together.

I lol’d.

Whitey does look like a druggie though, what with the hood and the ripped jumper and the fact he has no job whatsoever. That’s the real reason he’s under the bridge. He’s trying to escape from drug lords. That whole line business is a load of nonsense, I can’t believe any of us took what he said at face value.

Episode 114: Like the Wind…

Like the Clouds…

Don’t mind me. Just indulging myself in anime memes. Nothing to see here.

Episode 115: Last Run

You shouldn’t be asking “did Arakawa just throw out a Maria reference?”. The question you should be asking is “why did it take this long for a Mario reference”. Now all we need is for P-ko to grow some mushrooms and we have the full set!

Also, I lol’d hard at this scene. But you knew that already.

Quite a cunning tactic by the residents under the bridge. But the beauties at the end of the track as the carrot to chase for. You get the love and adoration of these three for finishing first. Not that any of the men under the bridge would take advantage of the girl’s attention. It says a lot about the residents under the bridge that Recruit is probably the most forward when it comes to romance. Hoshi lived there for 4 years and never once set foot inside Nino’s room. Sister can’t even give his crush a friggen cookie. The only time of the year Whitey actually makes an attempt is for this race. At least Recruit proposes they move in together. He has the others beat by a considerable margin.

There’s a strange appeal to Nino. She’s not a babe by any stretch of the imagination. You don’t lust after Nino and the thoughts of her in such situations are rather strange. She has a mystic appeal that you want to explore. You want to be with her simply to learn more about her. To see if being with her changes anything about the way she approaches life and the way you see life. There’s a reason I have this as a tag. I like existing and zen moments. It’s a-

We’re sorry to interrupt your fantasies about your ideal waifu Scamp, but we have breaking news.

Nino’s parents have been spotted. I repeat. Nino’s parents have been spotted. The mother looks almost exactly like Nino while the father vaguely resembles Sister. Oh, and to top it all off

Baby Nino! Wearing the dress Recruit found under the bed! Nino’s past is officially being explored, albeit through dream sequences for now.

Over 3 hours of writing and over 2000 words later. These Arakawa posts take forever to bloody write. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Arakawa is back!

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30 Comments

  1. luffyluffy
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    FUCK YEAH, ONLY TOOK YOU FOREVER.

    Also, christ, it was 3 months since Arakawa ended? I mean shit, I missed this show so much.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 6, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      :(

      It’s new season time, my scheduele is already behind. Arakawa had to wait until I had a nice 4 hour gap in which to write it in

      • luffyluffy
        Posted October 6, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        It’s probably a testimonial to your blogging of this show that I associate it with you. So while I’m watching I think to myself, “Ahaha! Thats funny! I wonder what Scamp is gunna think about it?”

        And bollocks, if I’m watching 20 shows at once and not behind on any of them then you can too~ …Then again, I’m not a blogger…

        Oh, and I might as well tell you this too. GUESS WHO’S GOT A GANKUTSUOU SERIES BOXSET 8D

      • Scamp
        Posted October 7, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Oh god, Gankutsuou in dvd quality format.

        *is supremely jealous8

      • Scamp
        Posted October 7, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        Oh god, Gankutsuou in dvd quality format.

        *is supremely jealous*

      • luffyluffy
        Posted October 7, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

        And the best part is, it was free! I was downloading a Little Buster’s patch, and the website my friend gave me to download it from gave me a trojan. About 2 hours later and much devirusing, he felt so bad that he let me pick a boxset of my choice.

        It was only 17 dollars too :D But not 17 of my own dollars~

        IF IT HELPS, IT WAS THE S.A.V.E BOXSET, ON AMAZON.

  2. Posted October 6, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Yay, Arakawa episodics are back!

    It was because Arakawa posts take forever to write that I decided to forego blogging ep1 properly – starting again next week when the majority of 1st episode impressions posts are out of the way at last!

    I loved the OP to bits – song isn’t as immediately catchy as S1′s, but the artwork is fantastic. Also very excited by the tidbits slipped in that suggest more character development for Nino this season. Can’t wait to get stuck back into the Under Bridge randomness!

    • Scamp
      Posted October 7, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      It’s going to be pretty cool seeing the same folks who blogged season 1 back in again. Mind you, my love for Arakawa far outdoes any of your palty feelings!

      • Posted October 7, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        P-paltry feelings!?

        Although you’re probably right – Arakawa hasn’t made it into my top40 afterall (although if S2 is good enough it probably will get a promotion) XD

  3. Posted October 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Ah I missed these long-ass posts.

    I gotta say, it’s also a credit to SHAFT that they can inspire such loyal followings for the characters they present in such a limited amount of time. Sure, a lot of it is from the strength of the original material they adapt, but I can’t imagine another studio being able to instill so much love for their characters as consistently as SHAFT does. Be it the Bakemonogatari haremettes (Senjogahara, Hachikuji, Kanbaru, Nadeko, Hanekawa, Shinobu), the HidaSketch girls, Zetsubou Sensei and his class, Arashi & Jun (whatev, I liked them), or the denizens under a nondescript bridge (the mayor, P-ko, Sister, Maria, Stella, Hoshi, Whitey, & Nino). I know that my ridiculous fascination with P-ko started from just a single episode that introduced and featured her.

    And I know he’s just a gimmick character so far, but I mentioned on Hanners’ blog that I thought that the Last Samurai running the marathon completely with Iaijutsu was HILARIOUS. It was a throwaway visual gimmick that wasn’t highlighted, but gives me the impression that SHAFT likes to paint in the corners in this franchise (ironic, given their problems historically with consistent animation at times).

    • Scamp
      Posted October 7, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      I think that’s more an ability of anime in general rather than a Shaft phenomenon. It’s like the assorted Minami-ke folk who visit their house occasionally. The entire crew of the ship in Captain Tylor. The many characters in Baccano who don’t even have that much screen time (Rachel anyone?).The rest of the SSS Brigade in Angel Beats. That’s just something anime is naturally pretty damn good with.

  4. rauc6788
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Sweet Arakawa, your back!!! Yes I am very happy. These last three months have been such a downer since Arakawa left. But at least now I can get back to fanboying.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Clearly the poor summer season was down to a lack of Arakawa

  5. Posted October 6, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    The new OP looks great. Shaft truly shine when they get to put their creative energy into something with close to no restrictions (that is animating music instead of animating a story).

    And, yes! I am so glad to see that the questions about Nino’s past have been put right in the middle of the table. I’m sure we’ll spend plenty of time on the side-dishes of life under the bridge, but now we know for certain what the main course will be.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 7, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      As much as the quality of their series can vary, their opening songs are always worth a watch. Especially when you compare them to the awful genericness of so many other anime openings that just toss out assorted scenes from the anime itself

  6. Ragnarok
    Posted October 7, 2010 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    This looks very promising
    and I love arakawa
    I cant believe how much I missed this series, I can re-watch it many time without a second though.
    The opening is great and this one has all the characters including those who haven’t been introduced yet, and star’s face when Nino kisses Recruit is priceless LOL

    Who wouldn’t be fanboying over it??
    I can’t think of anyone
    Are you going to blog this series too??
    Though I may already know the answer
    Plus baby Nino is so cute

    • Scamp
      Posted October 7, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Yup, I’m blogging the series! It was the only definite before the season even began

  7. Posted October 7, 2010 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    I forget who said it, but the basic way to know you have a memorable character is that anyone can tell who it is if the character is in silhouette form. So Star and most of the other folks in Arakawa fit that.

    “Nooo, that’s not true! That cat who vis­ited my house almost every day did so because it loved me! … Yeah I’ve never owned a cat. We’ve only ever been able to have cats who tech­nic­ally belong to other people in the street but spend their time in our house. I really want to own a cat =(”

    Ore no Neko ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai?! :O

    • Scamp
      Posted October 7, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      I think having a star as a head is kinda cheating when it comes to sillouetes. It’s not like you’re capable of mixing him up with anyone else

      • Posted October 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        That’s why it’s a good character design: You’re not going to mistake Star for anyone else, are you?

        Anyway, I think I first heard the quote from Matt Groening, who (I believe) attributed it to the creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

    • Posted October 7, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      I think that it was an episode of Gintama when Gin was helping the mangaka design new characters that the sil­hou­ette thing was highlighted XD

    • luffyluffy
      Posted October 7, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      I remember that one of the things most heavily looked at by the Left 4 Dead creators were if the characters silhouettes were memorable!

  8. Posted October 7, 2010 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    If Nino looks exactly like her mom, and her dad sort of looks like Sister, who may be German but lived in England, then you could totally find yourself a woman like Nino!

    Hurrah for Bridge x Bridge. Now that it’s aired, no one will doubt the necessity of a second season because now that we’ve got it, we’ll never want to give it back.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 7, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      It’s funny how people were saying that this second season wasn’t needed but as soon as it appears everyone leaps upon it in glee

  9. Posted October 7, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I. Love. The. Opening. You could make a post how this opening shows how much Riku changed. If you compare, than the fish look really different, there are also other persons than Nino, and it’s a lot more colourful than the first opening, showing how he’s warmed up to the residents under the Arakawa Bridge. In the first opening, Riku is almost eaten by a big monster fish, here he get’s bothered by a cute… what was that… a jellyfish? (Or whatever that was.)
    Shaft really makes the most creative openings. You should do a post about your favourite openings or something. Since you already did the endings.
    P-Ko falling in the arms of the Mayor really made my happy <3

    And Arakawa has a great start! My favourite first episode for this fall season until now. Even Panty and Stockings giant poop monster can not beat this. The Mario ref­er­ence killed me.
    And Hoshi's song.
    "I love your haircut so much it makes me sick~ but~ Even if you shaved your head like a monk, I'd still really love you! Love!" (sign: love) "Really!" (sign: really) "You!" (cute drawn picture of Nino) "Lovuu~" (some rocks forming a heart)
    … Yeah, I'm totally fangirling over this.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Fangirl away~! This is the centre of english speaking Arakawa fandom on the internet

  10. Posted October 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Uh oh, I might’ve spotted some random dodgy photoshopping going on again…

    I love that second screencap too; the gloriousness of Nino-hime aside, Ric also looks great in Shiroshitsuji mode. Oh, and Nino not a babe? Did you not see her white Barbarella outfit in that OP during all those times you rewatched it?! Though, I agree that hers is a more refined beauty, inside and out.

    Aww, I’m so happy it’s back too. :)

    • Scamp
      Posted October 8, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      That’s some damn fine photoshopping I’ll have you know! You can barely tell where his hair ends and glasses begin

      Nino isn’t babe nor a beauty in the conventional way, that’s what I was trying to get across. She’s beautiful, but in a etheral sorta way. I dunno what I’m saying anymore…

  11. fathomlessblue
    Posted October 7, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Sooooo happy this is back. Little else needs to be said.

    Still, hope your wrong about the Amazonian/Wonder Woman theory. The drama in this series is pretty serious and touching; i’d be a little pissed if the most potentially heart-wrenching story involving Nino’s past is cheapened by the inclusion of that muscled freak. She may turn out to be a great character although i’ve seen few signs so far.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 8, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      I’m pretty certain Arakawa can manage a heart-warming story involving a giant clam and a window cleaner if it wanted to. An Amazonian women shouldn’t be beyond them

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