Posted by psgels on 27 December 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

I never watched more of the first season of Arakawa than an episode and a half, and I originally had no intention to keep up with its sequel. After hearing so many praises and requests though, I eventually decided to check out Arakawa Under the Bridge X Bridge, and surprisingly actually stuck with it for thirteen episodes. Now… was it worth it? No; I still feel like this series was a waste of my time.

I can see the intentions of this series: it’s a series in which a bunch of nutcases gather themselves under a bridge, don’t care about what anyone outside thinks of them and just are having fun with each other, all kept together by a central character Nino. As the show goes on, a potentially interesting subplot of space travel also pops up. There went quite a bit of imagination into the different character designs, from a guy with a star mask on to a washed up samurai and a little girl who can transform into a bodybuilder.

That’s all fine and dandy, but this is supposed to be a comedy. And I didn’t find it funny, at all. It perhaps got a chuckle out of me three or four times over its entire run, which is way too little. The jokes are all just horribly dull and look way too much like each other. It’s typical Shinbo esque humour of a lot of people screaming and yelling, but they fail to deliver anything actually funny. The humour also uses a ton of anti-climaxes, but they’re all so poorly timed that you can see them from miles ahead. The rest of the humour is all based on characters acting weird or acting strange, or some of the minor characters just showing off their stereotype. Everything is told in the same way, so when you’ve heard one joke, you’ve pretty much heard them all.

On top of that, this series is also horribly paced, dragging on jokes beyond belief. Every time when you think that they’ve finished with a joke, they just return to it and milk it out some more. Compare that to Squid Girl: even in its arcs, it always was changing its scenarios and really tried to not stay on the same topic for too long. This series instead has little inspiration and therefore tries to stay at the same spot for way too long. Especially the muscle jokes get over-abused, but the Amazoness also makes way too many appearances for her character to be worth it.

I tried. I really tried giving this show a chance despite my biases for Shinbo at the moment (and I do really like the different OPs and EDs of this series). But in the end, I just couldn’t find anything funny about this series. What kept me watching was the space travel subplot, but in the end this never reaches a conclusion: the characters are just randomly running around, often completely abandoning it and the final episode doesn’t resolve anything, only ending with a last-minute cheesy moral.

I haven’t watched the first season, so I can’t be sure of this, but here is one thing I want to ask of the people who did watch it: was this season really necessary? To me, I completely failed to see the point behind this sequel, like what happens with just about every Shaft Sequel that has appeared. To me, Arakawa’s biggest problem was that it got adapted by Shaft, because I had the same problem with this series that I had with a ton of their other series, simply because of how apparently Shinbo doesn’t allow his directors to have any individual style except for his own.

Storytelling: 6/10 – Very uninspired comedy, poorly paced, isn’t funny and drags its jokes out way too much.
Characters: 7/10 – Most are just to caught up in their own gimmicks and stereotypes and aren’t enjoyable to watch in the slightest and the entire cast never really gets anywhere.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Granted, some of the visuals are neat, but for a well animated Shaft series you should go to Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru.
Setting: 7/10 – Doesn’t really do much with its setting, it’s a neat idea but I don’t think that anything really stands out about it.

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru
Kuchuu Buranko
Cromartie High School

9 Responses

  1. Avatar m says:

    I cannot say that I find Nakamura’s manga to be hilarious. The characters are amusing the first time you get to know them (well, I never found the Amazoness funny, so YMMV), but as the delivery mechanisms of recurring gags they get old. I have to admit that after a while I only read it to see what would happen for plot development, which is the goal of plot hooks; keeping the suckers on the treadmill. SHAFT’s presentation doesn’t really do much to spice up the humor, unless telling the chapters out of order and zooming in on eyeballs is your cup of tea. It is a competent presentation for what it is, but I pretty much loathe SHAFT at this point, so I would defer to someone less bored with their signature.

    I don’t really know what you mean when you ask if it was ‘necessary.’ The first season didn’t exhaust the source material. For what anime costs in the domestic market, I don’t think the show was ever ‘necessary,’ because it’s just not good enough to be worthwhile. The investors and real fans probably have a different idea, and of course, SHAFT probably thinks whatever work it can get is necessary.

  2. Avatar Scamp says:

    No, this season wasn’t nessesary. First season had a plot, this one just had comedy and nothing more.

    If you liked the Nino going to space subplot, then you’d like the first season. The entire of the first season is like those episodes

  3. Avatar AKI says:

    I agree with Scamp. This season wasn’t necessary. But the first season is better than the second. You probably know this already – it’s Shaft we’re talking about. If you checked out the second season, why not review the first season and find out for yourself.

  4. Avatar Schmitt says:

    When you mention that this show is unfortunate to have been done by SHAFT I agree 100%. It seems like the ideas in this show are definitely amusing and I can see it trying to be funny, but sadly Shinbo doesn’t seem to understand comedy and so the show falls short. Had this been done by a studio adept at this style of show then I think it would have been much better.

  5. Avatar Blue Bird says:

    There’s still one episode left you know, so why you already wrote the review?

  6. Avatar Sebz says:

    because the final episode came out two days ago.

  7. Avatar Blue Bird says:

    Sorry, You’re right. It seems that the subs are late.

  8. Avatar mds says:

    m : Hikaru Nakamura’s manga not hillarious? you really need to read Saint Young Men….

  9. Avatar Gene says:

    Why the hell did you watch the second season without seeing the first?

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