31 Dec 2010

Arakawa under the Bridge × Bridge (Anime) Review

Arakawa under the Bridge × Bridge (2010)
Format: TV Series, 13 X 24 minutes
Studio: Shaft
Director: Akiyuki Shinbo
Score: 2 stars
Summary: Always hinting at a more mature storyline, this series ends up not delivering at all. The humour (and culture behind this type of comedy) does not translate well into other languages. For fans of Manzai perhaps?

As with the first season, Arakawa 2 manages to get a few chuckles here and there, but majority of the jokes just fly by. Manzai is a traditional Japanese comedy style where you have a straight man (tsukkomi) and the funny man (boke). The funny man does something funny and the straight man corrects him or slacks his head for acting silly. For most of the series, Ichinomiya Kou (aka Recruit) plays the boke, chastising the weird and unreasonable residents of the Arakawa river bank. Nino plays Recruit's lover, Hoshi is the love rival, and everyone else from season 1 is back. Additions to the cast include a samurai, a bird-man, a bee-lady, and Amazoness. These new characters change things up a bit, with samurai joining the usual gang of guys, while Amazoness triggers the romantic comedy side of things.

However, if you exact any major changes, you will be disappointed. It's pretty much the same as it had been during season 1, except we get some better scenes between Nino and Recruit. I absolutely love those scenes, as they are the only indication of the ONLY character growth among the large and diverse cast. Even then, things move at such a snails pace that there is hardly any development at all. It's a 4-koma comedy with hardly any plot and unfunny humour.

Again, we have Shaft and Shinbo doing yet another series this season. All the small hints of a plot and drama litter throughout season 1 made me try this season out. Season 2 continued to do the same, littering hints here and there, but ultimately there was nothing. Even the final episode was bad. None of the drama or comedy from the better episodes made it into the last episode, so it finished off on a whimper.

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