Anime Review: Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Episodes 2 and 3

(Originally published on Livejournal on 12/14/10)

Anime Review:
Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Episodes 2 and 3

What this is about: I have reviewed the first episode of every subtitled anime show of the Fall 2010 season. For the shows that received an initial ‘thumbs up’, I am going back and looking at the second and third episodes — which ones will survive to the next round?

Series Premise: Kou Ichinomiya is the heir to a major Japanese corporation, and destined to be one of the bright, future leaders of the country. But through a twist of fate, he has also been renamed simply as “Recruit”, living in a homeless camp under a bridge, wooing the woman he has pledged his undying love. How can he keep his sanity among the most unusual collection of misfits ever assembled, and uncover the mystery of Nino’s shadowy past?

ep.2 tl;dr review: Recruit enters the domain of the Amazons and rescues and EDF captain bent on saving the planet; Two stupid jokes flogged relentlessly to death.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new browser window:

Episode 2 Summary: Chasing after a stray baseball, Recruit enters the domain of the Amazon warrior and her tengu henchmen. In reality, it’s just another group of totally bonkers people living just up-river…or is it? Later, Recruit rescues a man left stranded at the top of the bridge. When he is awakened, they learn that he is really an Earth Defense Force captain who is charged with saving Earth from the Venusians. In a futile attempt to get rid of him (and keep him away from Nino), Recruit boldly claims he’s a Venusian; but the plan backfires when Hoshi and Kappa join in with the new guy as a fellow compatriot.

ep.3 tl;dr review: Recruit opens Pandora’s box, straining Nino’s trust in him; Yay, it’s a P-ko heavy episode!

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new browser window:

Episode 3 Summary: While cleaning out his penthouse suite, Recruit finds a box and cassette player hidden away by Nino. Like the fool he is, Recruit starts to play the tape with mysterious messages about Venusian invaders…just as Nino walks in. Gobsmacked by this betrayal, Nino runs off, shying away in an almost animalistic defensive posture. It takes all of his convincing to get the beyond-furious Nino to come down from her perch, but by then the damage has already been done to their relationship. To cheer her up, the girls throw a pajama party for Nino, and Recruit continually crashes it to try and win her back. Ultimately, he sincerely says he will remain by her side no matter what, and they are a couple again.

My Thoughts: You see those two flesh-stripped horse carcasses over there in the corner? Those are two dead horses that this show flogged to death during the second episode. One of the problems that Arakawa Under the Bridge has is they will often overplay a joke or skit beyond the point of exhaustion. It’s okay when the joke is funny, but unbearable when it’s not — ten minutes of tiresome story that you’re just waiting to finish. The intro of the Amazoness and her beyond-stupid henchmen? Three minutes tops, please. The as-yet unexplained appearance of the EDF captain wannabe? Another three minutes, I would hope. But nah, they stretch it out for the entire episode. I understand these guys will play a role in future episodes, but could they have found something more interesting than the well-worn Recruit-reacting-to-how-totally-insane-these-guys-are routine.

The third episode was better. Nino…showing emotion? UNPOSSIBLE!! I have been hoping that the main plotline of the whole second season would be a slow reveal of Nino’s past and her true nature, and it looks like we may be heading in that direction. Of course I don’t buy the whole “Venusian” bit for a minute, but given the oddball nature of this show, I wouldn’t put it past them. For now, it looks like any attempt for Recruit to dig into her past (even the faux-innocent listening of the cassette) has brought out the most extreme reaction from Nino – can she ever get to the point to trust him one little iota?

All in all, the second season is just more of the same as the first season, which is fine by me. One of the things I liked about the first season, though, was that there was actual significant character development (on Recruit’s part) and the slow build of a relationship, rather than the endless parade of cheap jokes that I feared. As long as the second season follows along the same lines (this time with the dispassionate Nino under the microscope), I’ll continue watching.

The Verdict:

PS I think that the red-haired P-ko is my favorite character of the show. Am I mistaken, or is that the same atonal voice actress that plays the lead in SoreMachi?

For more info:

My review of Episode 1:
Hanners’ review of Episode 2:
Hanners’ review of Episode 3:

Coming up next: Legend of Legendary Heroes (16-18), Shiki (16-18), Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru (4-6), My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute (4-6), Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (4-6), Psychic Detective Yakumo (4-6), Shinryaku Ika Musume (4-6), Letter Bee Reverse (4-6), Bakuman (4-6), Kuragehime (4-6)

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