Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Review (Anime)

After enjoying the first season, I was looking forward to revisiting the cast of Arakawa Under the Bridge and their over-the-top, funny antics, and it delivers more of the same with season two.

Straight from the beginning it’s familiar, with Rec trying to further his relationship with Nino but as she’s so oblivious to how love works, she takes his invitation to move in with him as an offer to trade places as she prefers his home and so they trade places. If you didn’t enjoy the first season then this won’t change your mind, but if you did then season two offers much more in the way of characters and crazy, eccentric humour. A famous mangaka and an amazonian are introduced – the mankaga’s character is great and fits in perfectly, and the amazonian is just as crazy but not quite as likeable.

There’s not a strong story to drive Arakawa forward, with the characters wanting to go to Venus as Nino is a self-proclaimed Venusian, but the show chooses to focus on the characters and their actions that lead the people under the bridge into strange situations; one of these is hitting a ball so far away and making Rec look for the ball, and then he’s surrounded by an amazonian and three tengu who are protecting their sacred treasure – ice cream. Season Two does delve a little more into the pasts of some characters, although only very briefly, and there’s still much left unanswered.

Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Review

Arakawa is very much a character-driven show bundled with humour and the cast’s over-the-top yet heartwarming personalities haven’t been altered in anyway, with each character clearly hiding things away from the others but enjoy spending time with each other. What drives someone away from usual life to living under a bridge in a kappa costume? Questions like this are constantly teased but Arakawa isn’t interested in answering them, leaving me wanting to know more as I genuinely like the characters and want to know more about them – season three one day, maybe? On the bright side there’s more P-Ko this time around!

I did feel as if the second season was a little slower than the first, most likely because I was expecting more in the way of character development after falling in love with them during the first season, but it is essentially more of the same. This isn’t a bad thing but the constant teasing is a reminder that there’s plenty to learn about the characters, it’s just that we don’t know when we’ll find out. You’ll love this season if you enjoyed the first, just don’t go in hoping for answers to the many questions presented.

As I’ve said before, I’m not the biggest fan of Shaft when it comes to animation. I find that their quality varies from show to show and that they play with bright, sparkly effects and contrasting colours to detract from their sometimes bland and lifeless environments in favour of more detailed characters. It’s undeniable that they’ve got some great talent animating their shows – most evident in Nisekoi – and Arakawa, despite being the most ‘random’ of their shows, doesn’t use their trademark staples half as often as I’m used to them using. There’re varying close-ups and a few head tilts that any Shaft fan will be familiar with but they seem to have been kept in check for Arakawa.

Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Review

Visually, Arakawa excels most in its character design which is as unexplainable as many of the shows events. So, you’ve got a guy in a kappa costume, someone else is wearing a star-shaped mask that they never remove, a little girl turns into a hulking beast, a male nun obsessed with war and a girl who sprouts buds from her head. Yeah, it’s crazy, but they’re written in such a way that their quirks are easily acceptable and even if I don’t know why yet, there’s a reason as to why every member under the bridge is the way that they are.

That OP. That ED. I loved the first two and Season Two isn’t willing to lower the quality with its catchy tunes. I preferred the visuals in Season One but the second ED is interesting as it depicts a realistic Hoshi playing his guitar, with his strange star-shaped head creeping me out with its eternal scowl; there’s an ED change near the end too which sees Takai pining over Rec. The OST itself makes for good listening too with mostly upbeat and bouncy tunes; there’s not much drama or action in Arakawa, so the OST doesn’t vary much. The voice-acting is top-notch with only Japanese voice-over included, but P-Ko and Hoshi really stand out to me and I adore P-Ko’s voice-actress – her voice is adorable!

As you’ve most likely gathered, Arakawa thrives on its characters and if you don’t like them then Arakawa offers nothing for you – even the humour is played off from the characters. It’s easy to chill out under the bridge with the cast and watch a couple of episodes but I struggled to watch several in one sitting due to the lack of story content; I never felt the need to know what’s going to happen next as I knew to expect another humour-filled episode more so than anything else.

Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Review

If you want to watch something carefree and easy-going then yeah, you should give Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge a go and whilst they’re may more in the way of character development in the future, you shouldn’t be expecting it now. Take it for what it is – a light-hearted, humourous show with some genuinely heartwarming and touching moments and you won’t be disappointed.

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