First Impressions: Arakawa Under the Bridge – Sorry I tripped, multiple times

I already knew that the three words wtf were going to be included as I laid my eyes on Arakawa under the bridge at it was going to be testing my liking for trippy shows once again. By now just about everyone should be familiar with Shaft’s formula of sticking Kamiya as the quirky main character with another even more eccentric character, combined with those clever you-better-be-a-damn-fast-reader dialogues and also with witty comebacks ranging from different levels.  Hopefully good enough to not make you close your video player.

One of the  things I immediately noticed were the beautiful backgrounds this time around, which Bakemonogatari seemed to be lacked. I’m glad that to see that they’ve put extra work in the background aspect seeing that the show will take place outdoors most of the time. It’s guaranteed that we’ll be treated to some spectacular sighting in addition to past-pace dialogues  viewers are already well used to. Under the bridge is what one would expect of Shinbou/Shaft work. You can take this simple yet true remark as either something positive or negative.

having his name taken away has left Kou in despair

Already common in these shows the main character is quirky to the point he should definitely have something checked out up there.  And I don’t mean his sight. Every now and then the looming overly dramatic ZETSUBOU SHITA effect is almost brought back whenever Kamiya’s voice reaches the highest pitch to express massive exasperation after being left in despair. Although Kamiya is a great VA it’s really hard to not associate him with his despair teacher character. For what we can see, Shaft has no intention of changing this trend anytime soon.

The story is original despite the very much evident Shaft touch in it. The main character’s weirdness and his obsession with following this ‘code’  to ‘not rely on anyone’ will play a great part in the comedy aspect of the show. But it wouldn’t be feel complete without the rest of the characters who are without a doubt even weirder than the main protagonist. Nino, strange blonde girl, who Kou finds coolly chilling at the bridge provides large amount of  entertainment with her uninterested and much detached from reality demeanor. This time around Maaya Sakamoto with the return of her sexy deep voice (Shiki!) claims to be an alien from the planet Venus and she is just your average not really kudere hobo. Last, there’s a freaky kappa cosplayer (Fujiwara Keiji) just chilling at the very same river. It just so happens that this even crazier guy is the boss around this place. It’s note worthy that he fails at giving names and at reality but not at general randomness. Arakawa under the bridge presents us some bizarre characters and promises to get even more oddballs as the show goes on. I think they’ve partially already succeeded in that and covered up the remaining weirdness for the Spring. Those interested in that type of thing we’ll see plenty here.

I think I know this eye more than I do my own

As is cleared, Shaft is back and so are what makes it that way – the good and the bad. You know, one of these days I’m going to virtually poke Shaft in the eye just for the heck of it. Shaft’s trademark (some maybe call it fetish) to incorporate their cyclops eye (as I’m officially dubbing them that way as of now) in their work is also back for those who can’t get enough of it.  In addition to these glaring techniques, the unusual (and redundant) use of the splash screens to separate chapters was in my opinion, without a doubt, overused even if it served to separate sections of the story. Those who aren’t familiar with the original manga  like myself won’t see any difference if Shaft just goes ahead and remove them altogether.  They don’t actually do much for the show. Those types of effects are clearly better suited and better handled for works such as Hidamari Sketch. For those who grow tired of these effects altogether and wish to stick to Arakawa under the bridge, better bear with it.

The formula continues with the dialogues which Shinbo’s works are known for. These shows featuring these ‘My turn, your turn. Ha. See what I just did there’ are clearly dominant in Under the Bridge too. Hopefully, it’ll be witty and actually funny and won’t be as  verbose as others forcing some viewers to unnecessarily rewind more than once. I, for one, not expecting Arakawa under the bridge to reach Bakemonogatari’s level on the whole battle of wits, but it might as well try while is at it. Keeping it clever and more importantly weird and wacky is what Shaft does best. Whenever they manage to pull it off successfully they’ll be looking to another big hit for the season and not another DinTV lackluster.

Thoughts: The show has potential, however, it could surely step up the comedy a couple of notches. It won’t hurt to stick around and how this turns out. Shinbou’s detractors will still think otherwise and those who enjoy his work will still do. If you enjoy Shaft’s already well known wacky formula you’ll probably enjoy Arakawa under the bridge even if it reminds of  previous Shaft shows. Who might not enjoy it? Those who already had enough of Shaft’s familiar formula and possibly actual hobos.

Interest: Medium(+)


8 thoughts on “First Impressions: Arakawa Under the Bridge – Sorry I tripped, multiple times

  1. I’m expecting this one to just get weirder. Personally, I loved the first episode, but have seen some complaints around the ‘Net that it is just too crazy. Kind of a shame that most of those folks won’t stick around and have their minds blown. Heh heh.

    Although Kou does get despairing at times, I think he is funny because he seems to have no real control over his emotions at all. That is, unlike Kamiya Hiroshi’s famously depressed teacher, Kou has his uncontrolled moments of happiness. One such moment was in the very beginning as he realized that he didn’t owe the kids who stole his pants anything. He got all happy and rose-colored in the cheeks. Also, shortly after that, while explaining his childhood, he becomes overwhelmed by nostalgia.

    Simply put, this is on my watch list.

    • You are comment #666 or so my dashboard says. Congratulations!!

      Being crazy is what these shows are all about. I wouldn’t say that any of these shows have reached the levels of being so crazy that I felt put off by it. Actually, I’m surprised that people who are already well used to Shaft shows making such claims.

      I’m kinda liking Kou even though he reminds me too much of his past reincarnations as Itoshiki, Araragi, [here insert Shaft show] The nostalgia part also got me too. When they reminiscenced the part where his father is asking him to pay him back utterly explains why he’s so weird in the head. Like whoa, really?

      Under the bridge has potential so I’ll keep watching too.

  2. I watched it earlier today. It was pretty meh today. I’m starting to believe that SHAFT can’t deliver a good show, and they’ve been releasing what, a show per season for the last years? I totally dropped Bakemonogatari, with its stupid Kanji jokes which I couldn’t found funny. Mario+Holic started as fun, then got boring with so many episodes focused on a single character per episode. And then there’s dance in the vampire bund, which wasn’t bad, and I actually enjoy, but I still wouldn’t recommend it to anybody unless they’re bored and have nothing else to watch.

    As for this episode, I found it pretty meh like I said. You might see a smile one or twice during this episode, but it’s never past that. And this episode being divided in “episodes” in itself is just stupid. It’s weird at the beginning, but by “episode 5” you just find this stops stupid, and pointless since they continue in exactly the same place as they left.

    I’m hoping this becomes better, but given the premise of the show and the studio behind it…I’m not sure I’ll enjoy this show.

    • Out of those, Vampire Bund is the only one that was terrible enough for me to drop it. Yuri Holic wasn’t as horrible as they say but it could’ve been fine without a lot of things. Bakemonogatari was (is) far from perfect but it HAZ Senjougahara in it making it awesome for many reasons. Actually, you only watch BK for Yanderehara. Nah, she isn’t tsundere. Whoever says that, is wrong.

      I’m feeling like I accomplished much that day by marathoring 10 eps in one go! Seriously, they need to lay off those effects. Like I said, it may work on other Shaft works but it’s plain annoying here. I’d encourage you to keep watching but seeing Shaft isn’t doing it for you, it may be wise to sit this one out.

      • I’ll be checking the next episodes to see if it’s worth it, but I think you and me have opposite tastes when it comes to SHAFT lol

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