Arakawa Under the Bridge (Spring 2010) – A New Life

We live in a society, we live in a society. No system is safe, no system is safe. Surely, these sentences are currently a trend in this millennial era, especially on the internet. However, I don’t know how this happened. Well, we know how it could be because it’s the internet. It would be like saying something silly but meaningless while both words have meaning. Unfortunately, the sentence became toxic due to the yesterday edgy boys in the afternoon.

As we grow older, we realize we will soon be plunging into the sphere of society. There are two things it makes us why we are driven by a system. First, parents and second, society. No matter how bad or how bad you don’t enjoy all that, we never understand how this system works. Society doesn’t even really understand what they really want.

Poor and rich people. There is no such thing as half-poor and half-rich people. You see, in this world, there are two kinds of people: those with loaded guns and those who dig. As simple as which, there is no such thing as “average” or “in the middle”. It’s yin and yang, black and white, good and bad, and others. What makes me feel about “Arakawa Under the Bridge” isn’t its absurdity, comedy, or other unique yet comical characters. But, it’s truly questioning our mutual relationship between the two. On the other hand, this anime explores it absurdly, weirdly, but still in context.

“Arakawa Under the Bridge” is about Kou Ichinomiya (Hiroshi Kamiya), a capitalist guy with a well-respected in society. He is the most perfect guy as a rich person. He owns everything, with his ideology if returning the favor to others means having a lifetime of debt. This is what makes him have to live under a bridge in order to risk debts for life. After Nino (Maaya Sakamoto) rescues Kou who fell from the entanglement, she only has one wish, which is to make her fall in love with him. The only way is he must stay under the bridge.

In a nutshell, this is a romance story between Kou and Nino as a girl from Venus. Aside from this is a romance, this is a show about the daily lives of residents under the Arakawa bridge. Under the bridge, you can find strange people but it is this oddity that makes them live peacefully; they really difficult to understand by normal people or society in general. At first, Kou only often acts with his common sense, always introducing himself as a rich person who has everything. However, he was nothing when he had another identity as an Arakawa citizen under the bridge.

At the final question, after the people under the bridge accept him, Kou asks what exactly was common sense? He forgot everything, he forgot his normal identity, but there is one thing he never realized. He lives peacefully under a bridge, feels free like people under such a bridge. You can see how Kou is developing, always seeing these people as a wrong action whatsoever. However, they all have a reason as well as Kou, which is why he became a passenger under the bridge.

Overanalyzing about what’s the meaning of this anime in a deep way is just a little strange as if I didn’t know this anime was comedy or philosophical. Maybe I’m just crazy in here I mean, everyone might view this show as an absurd comedy. Anyway, the main uniqueness and point about this show is a comedy with these picturesque characters interacting and acting in unique ways. They have several tones, several designs, kinds of like diversity, not looking at what you are, how strange you are, but you are a living creature. They all are unique to each other so we don’t always judge this character as a bad or good guy.

Although this isn’t a slice of life anime with its storytelling like an absurd sketch comedy, all of these characters are lack of development. We don’t really get much of why they can be like which or how it all started. The first season just gives us a basic picture of why these characters are and why they exist in the first place. But, their designs are just unique. Shaft is one of my favorite studios. I love all their work from “Nisekoi”, “March Comes in Like a Lion“, “Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei”, “Monogatari”, and “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”. Sure, it’s really hard for everyone who is new to the art style of Shaft. But, I like how they still keep their art style still absurd yet in a unique and beautiful way.

The soundtrack is average, I mean, even though the voice actors did great jobs, it was just not too special and also pretty average. It’s the same as the opening and ending theme song regardless of I love the concept of the first opening theme song. On the other hand, this is a hard show where sometimes, I’m not really enjoying what this is. The comedy is sometimes funny and unfunny yet stupid. It just drags you along until one segment changes to another segment. You got random cut, random characters, random moments, everything in this show is random.

“Arakawa Under the Bridge” is a random show, everything is random in terms of characters, jokes, stories, I mean, everything. It’s really hard to determine or how this show actually is. You get so much attention to it. It just threw you off like that, with such randomness, you don’t know. Yet, this is a great anime actually. It’s not really for everyone who wants a comedy show, Shaft’s works, or romance as well. It has mixed feelings for it; a mixed bag!

4 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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