Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Premium Edition ReviewPosted 9:21 pm on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 by Kansta
The wacky antics of the Arakawa residents return in Nippon Ichi’s second Premium Edition with Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge. In the previous installment, Ko ichinomiya (or Recruit as designated by his fellow river denizens) is chosen by Nino, an odd, innocent, yet charming young lass, to be her lover. Because she saved his life, he is now stuck living under a bridge with its eccentric population. You can read our review of Season One here. Now, let’s dive back in with Season Two!
While the first season spent most of its time introducing various characters and development (much of which comes at the expense of Recruit’s misfortune), Season Two keeps the zaniness going with even more characters. Joining the family are Amazoness, a big burly woman from Saitama who develops a giant crush on Rec after he finds a winning Popsicle stick. Tagging behind are her three lackeys all donning tengu masks.
Next up is The Creator (or his pen name Potechi Kuwabara), a successful manga artist who escapes from the harsh grasp of his editor. He successfully infiltrates by drawing comic versions of the cast, setting them in their ideal stories. Throw in a couple of episodic gags and Arakawa 2 continues its train of gut-splitting humor. Life only gets tougher for Rec whose common sense gets flipped upside down. The show isn’t scared to embraces its own absurdity and parody a wide variety of anime cliches. Some of the jokes are even localized to recreate the same familiarity Japanese viewers enjoy. The dynamic between the characters dances on the border of awesome and outright weird. Some mini episodes even go full blown shoujo with Rec and Hoshi’s feminine instincts kick in after talking about a certain 16 year old pop sensation or when Billy, a former yakuza, makes his smoothest one-liners to his true beloved, Jacqueline. Damn does he define the meaning of bad ass. I could go on endlessly about the characters, but you certainly have to watch it yourself to experience it.
Standard with all NIS America releases now are a beautiful hardcover case with a book that contains sketches, trivia, episode guides, and even behind the scenes interview with the show’s staff, notably Akiyuki Shinbo (who directed Bakemonogatari and Puella Magi Madoka Magica) who’ve carved himself a niche amongst anime directors for his style of fast cutting and film-esque techniques. (Even things like the signature SHAFT head tilt). The voice acting job is top notch with performances by Hiroshi Kamiya (who is a veteran when it comes to quick, smart, and hysterical dialogue) and Maaya Sakamoto, whom definiately bring out Nino’s curious and innocent side. You can tell that the voice actors had the time of their lives recording the lines. In addition, audio commentary tracks are included for Episodes 1-4 in both BluRay and DVD, though I highly recommend watching in BluRay if possible as SHAFT’s bright and whimsical production values are fully realized in High Definition.
If there’s any flaw in the entire series, it’s that there’s only thirteen episodes. At one point, the show begins to developed a subplot about a trip to Venus and delves into a deeper look at Nino’s past that begs to be concluded at the finale of the season. Unfortunately, the show concludes unfinished with only little progression to the overall relationship between Rec and Nino. Other things like the Mayor’s true identity and what Rec’s father is ultimately scheming ends up lost in the chaos. The climax is decided in a Battle Royale between the river citizens and the winner gets to declare an absolute decree, which ends quite predictably. It makes sense that the manga is still in publication so I’m definitely hoping a third season will come soon. Other than that, season two continues the smart, kooky comedy nonsense I’ve come to adore. Now I’ll go buy the new single from Justin Beaver.
Hokan Lo is a contributing writer for Nerd Reactor and likes Pizza Butts and Mello Yellow. Meet the Nerd Reactor Team