34 CommentsArakawa Under the Bridge X Bridge / By Scamp /

There is no Arakawa sequel

There’s an anime series airing right now called Arakawa Under the Bridge X Bridge. It’s a pretty amusing story about a bunch of misfits living under a bridge. It’s worth a pop if you want some laughs and like absurdest humour. Some people seem to think it’s a sequel to Arakawa Under the Bridge, and I can certainly understand where the confusion lies. They have similar names and similar characters, with pretty much the same premise. However Bridge X Bridge isn’t related. I guess it drew inspiration from the former and likes to think of itself as a sort of alternate universe version of Arakawa under the Bridge, but it’s not a sequel.

If it was a sequel (and it’s not) it would be an exercise in slowly unravelling everything that was good about the first season. This may be hard to understand from the casual fan, but for someone who got so absorbed by the narrative in Arakawa Under the Bridge, taking this as a sequel would be horrible. The points are so little that mentioning them almost feels silly. Little things, like Whitey’s wife being understanding of his predicament, carefully peeling away the idea that people were escaping to the society under the bridge, which is what the first season spent so much time carefully constructing. These points build up and up, tearing away everything I loved about the first season, leaving a mess of a comedy with no underlying structure beyond it’s absurdest baseline.

That is, if it was a sequel. Which it’s not. Just so we’re all on the same page here.

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  1. Posted December 11, 2010 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    And people thought I was weird when I said I didn’t think a sequel to Arakawa would be as good. =3=
    Sequels, why do you do this to us?

    • Scamp
      Posted December 11, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      I said that too! Back in the season preview I said that. It sure can be depressing when you’re right all the time

      • Posted December 11, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        Gosh, Scamp, stop being so all-knowing!

  2. Posted December 11, 2010 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    Actually that’s true, as the things seem to be going this is not a real sequel, I have no idea what shaft is doing and I don’t want to know.

    So far the only good episodes of this series (which is not sequel of arakawa under the bridge) are the ones that I’ve seen already in the manga (no spoilers) and I’ve seen a lot of material that shaft hasn’t used why?
    The only reason why the original arakawa was a success goes beyond animation studios but source material.

  3. Milfeulle
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 2:56 am | Permalink


  4. Rio
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    I agree, there is no sequel or if there is one it has completely let me down. On the other hand, I still find the manga enjoying to read, but for now I lost my hope in this sequel.

  5. Posted December 11, 2010 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    I never watched the sequel. Good thing it never existed. I was going to brag about my foresight, but then I read mefloraine’s comment and figured it wasn’t too hard to figure out.

  6. fred
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 3:27 am | Permalink

    Except all the episodes were in the source material, just in much later chapters. Shaft has had the habit of jumbling up the chapters as they see fit.

    No, the manga wasn’t much better either.

  7. BlueYoshi
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    As the only one here that hasn’t watched the first season or that similar anime with the same title but with an X added in, the only words I can come up with for a comment is “OH I SEE….ok”.

    • Scamp
      Posted December 11, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Watch the first season. It’s glorious, in my totally biased opinion

      • Posted December 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, except for the last episode (i.e. epis 1-12, as epi 13 was more like epi 1 of a certain sequel, if said sequel were to exist, of course).

  8. ~xxx
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Oh well.

  9. Gutts
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Now I feel pain. I haven’t started Arakawa’s look alike because I like to start watching a series after it has finished airing but after reading this, I feel disappointment even before watching it. Arakawa has become one of my favorite anime and for this look alike, which I have very much been looking forward to watch, to let me down, is a shame.

  10. Posted December 11, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Are you guys by chance all on crack or are you all privy to meta I’m not? I have to say I like the second season better than the first. Perhaps I finally got used to the humour, perhaps the jokes have more punch this season; most likely it’s a combination of both. I like this season’s narrative better as well, and the realization the Arakawa river bed is just a place where awesome people gather and cool stuff happens.

    • Scamp
      Posted December 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      If you didn’t like the first season, then I can totally understand why you wouldn’t understand what my problem is. This season is still funny, but what it does that pains me is the breaking apart of what I liked about the first season. The very fact that you called the Arakawa river bed “just a place where awe­some people gather and cool stuff happens” tells me all I need to know

      • Posted December 11, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        I skipped on commenting that part because I feared of being shunned off for being too serious, when everyone was high on meta. No, I believe you missed the point of this series. All people have problems, so why should we glorify the problems of Ko and the rest of the gang? Escapism has an ironic part to it: you can’t simply continue living in your escapist fantasy, you’re obliged to come back. Ko has graduated from his family, he won’t be returning to that mindset. Whitey has never left his wife to begin with, Ninosan in the end shrugged off her wish to reveal her past. We might learn of it eventually, but I don’t see it as anything but an afterthought.

        No, Arakawa residents stay there exactly because it’s inhabited by extraordinary individuals. They became themselves there when society didn’t want any of it. I don’t know what you guys are smoking, but a show talking about how cool it is to live in a fantasy sounds pretty lame to me. I don’t think escapist fantasies offer self-actualization as bonus though, but that can remain a matter of dispute.

        Furthermore, they influenced their past social circles by being there. Escapism is an indulgence,

      • Scamp
        Posted December 12, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        huh. OK, I get that.

        I disagree, as you could probably guess. I don’t think Ko graduated from his family. It was only through the escapist world under the bridge that revealed the hypocrisy in his everyday life. They are all still escaping under the bridge. Hoshi is, Sister is, the Ironhead brothers are. What you’re suggesting is that they aren’t indulging in escapism in anyway at all. I believe the show is glorifying escapism in a way, and you’re letting a personal dislike of escapism get in the way.

        Er, I don’t feel I’m doing this argument much justice. Here’s two better posts on the subject

  11. luffyluffy
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I guess you’ll be dropping then?

    • Scamp
      Posted December 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      From blogging, yes.

      From watching, no. They might return to the Nino going to Venus storyline. Hey, a man can hope, can’t he?

      • luffyluffy
        Posted December 11, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        If they do, start blogging it again.

  12. Posted December 11, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Why do they even bother is what I would like to ask

  13. Posted December 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    … I like the second season. The first was better. I agree with you on that. But I acknowledge it as a sequel. Because I like it.
    You disappoint me Scamp. Before you put up with shitty and unfunny Chibitalia episodes for I think more than a year. Now you whine if Whitey’s wife is a bit too understanding. *sigh* Don’t make it too dramatic. I think that they will put out some other awesome episodes at the end. Also, in this sequel, Nino warms up to Ric. I find that pretty heartwarming. And if both seasons were to come out at Germany, I would buy them both, because I love both. Ah, sorry, just an angry fangirl rant. Ignore me, if you think my opinion sucks.

    • Scamp
      Posted December 12, 2010 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Whut? You’re disappointed that I’m making a complaint about a series? I do that all the friggen time on this blog! And I’m pretty sure I did not ‘put up’ with Chibitalia one bit. I spent most of the time pretending it didn’t exist either. And it’s not like I cared about Hetalia anywhere near as much as I care Arakawa

  14. Posted December 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad that someone stepped forward to clear the confusion. I feel much better knowing that Arakawa Under the Bridge has been publicly separated from Arakawa Bridge x Bridge.

    On a completely unrelated note than, that Sister character in Bridge x Bridge is really something. He reminds me of someone else in another series that’s really fantastic…

  15. romulus
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Sure, something was off with this season but I didn’t understand why are you criticising it this heavily. Now you made it clear what was in my mind too.
    When I watched the very first episode i was impressed by the faint but awesome criticism of our hard-working society failing to notice the small miracles of life in front of us. Back then the characters bore a connotation, for example Kou symbolised the man in the street discovering a den of weird but cheerful people. The field under the bridge is our long-lost paradise, where everyone is free to be free – race,religion,wealt,occupation doesn’t matter, many of them are wearing a mask. The act of getting a new name upon joining is also symbolic. And the outside world can go f*** themselves.
    But that secondary meaning was lost in the second season. From this viewpoint it’s inexplicable how Shimazaki fell in love with Shiro and many more little things.
    Of course it’s still a great comedy and i enjoy it much as it’s one of the best shows i’m following this season, the lowest score i could give was 4.5 out of 5 @ the 9th episode (i was in a bad mood). You are right to treat it as a different anime, I hope your opinion of it will improve this way. If you need a substitute to satisfy your expectations, go watch Kuragehime. That show has some content beyond amusement.

  16. fathomlessblue
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I think you’re being a wee bit melodramatic. Granted, I’ll agree that this season has been pretty disappointing in places and the social commentary has been toned down too much in contrast with the perfect balance the first achieved, but even so, denying it as a legitimate sequel and refusing to blog it is more than a tad harsh. Even series one wasn’t perfect and had poor sections; ok, not on the the scale of this, but still enough to be apparent.

    I think the part of this post that bothered me the most is the assumption that people to aren’t as vocal/bothered with the citicisms are probably, as you put it “casual” fans. I remember a reply for an earlier post (ep 4 I think) where you stated that you watched the series in a different manner to others and probably loved it more than most other people. Maybe I’m interpreting it wrong but such comments gall me a little and seem to reek of arrogance.

    Now I’m not trying to pick a fight or anything, or dispute how much you love the show, the size of your S1 posts and the reasons you’re so disappointed in this season are clear enough to me. But I don’t think labelling fans that aren’t as openly annoyed as somewhat less passionate about/invested in the show is necessarrily right. Who’s to say that someone who equally loves the show is more willing to accept the bad with the good? Perhaps others love the show and aren’t disappointed in the sections that would bother you or me? that It all boils down to how personal individually, how they watch the show and the enthusiasm they have, as opposed to how vocal they are in discussing it’s +/- points. At least that’s what I think.

    Episode 9 was a bag of wank though XD.

    • Posted December 11, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      You put it all in the rights words. That is what I wanted to say too.

    • Scamp
      Posted December 12, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Sorry if I sounded arrogant, that wasn’t how I was meant to appear. The reason I said that is because of the amount of people that take Arakawa mainly as an absurdist comedy. To them, this season has kept the same basic appeal, if not quite as funny. As I said in the post, it’s kept the absurdist baseline. I’ve gotten plenty of people with baffled reactions to how I describe to show.

      That’s what I mean by ‘getting involved with the narrative’. A lot of people watching Arakawa aren’t really involved with the narrative at all

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted December 13, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Fair enough, apologies if I came across a bit preachy, just reminding you some of us still deeply care about the show (Leah-san and myself obviously among them XD). I remember the winter anime preview where you mentioned your potential issues with a second Arakawa season, it’s just a shame they’ve been validated, at least for you personally.

  17. Edvardaz
    Posted December 11, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Well, both the first an the second season have managed to create a style of their own. Yes, they are pretty different and it doesn’t look like the second season is a sequel to the first, but it is still great on it’s own style.

    I would like if they decided to make another season that would continue wtih the same base and style that had the first season.

  18. circleman
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    As a guy who read all 11 volumes of the manga, I feel that they did a better job in picking which chapters to animate in season 1 than season 2.

    Their decisions this season is really random (at least to me) and I often wonder “Why the heck did they animate this instead of that?”. There is so much good materials being missed out.

    And as a result they probably wouldn’t even get to the part which I think is a great way to close this season…

  19. Posted December 12, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for those links. I do have to clarify my position on escapism though. It’s necessary healing, and anyone who’s heavily invested in his hobbies should probably know that. I mean, it beats jumping off a bridge (no pun intended). I might already be nitpicking here, but I feel that the Venusberg comparison isn’t valid and those bloggers took it a bit too far in romanticizing escapism. Or maybe you did, I’m not sure.

  20. blissfullynaive
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Aww.. this is just sad. But it’s good that you’re still watching it. I do hope you’ll pick it up again. Cause like, it’s Arakawa. Good and not-so-good, it’s still Arakawa.

    @Whitey’s wife: For some reason, that package made me think that it’s from Whitey himself, and not really from his family.

    I just had an “Amazoness ga konna ni kawaii wake ga nai!” moment at ep 11. Just saying.. :V

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