Saturday, April 24, 2010

Arakawa Under the Bridge 2-3

:: posted by Lu

Hi. This is my first official post at this here blog. I know that my predecessor blogged by episodes and did episode summaries. I'm not going to do that as I am too lazy when it comes to making summaries (and pretty much everything else). Instead, I'm just going to directly give you my thoughts on the episodes I've seen. By the way, I also probably won't blog on an episode-by-episode basis because I'm again too lazy for that. Now, enough with the excuses, and let's just get on with it.

So this show is called Arakawa Under the Bridge. Jute already did her first impressions on it a while back so I won't go there any longer. I'll just say that I am a huge -- and I mean HUGE -- fan of the Shinbo/SHAFT tandem. True, I've never actually seen any of their other works like Natsu no Arashi! and Maria+Holic, which reminds me that I have got to pick up those titles one of these days. But after seeing the first three episodes of Arakawa (I can call it that, can I? The full title is too long, my laziness activates), I have to admit that I am totally sold on the Shinbo/SHAFT magic.

The series does not particularly stand out in terms of its story. I mean, it has its own twist to the traditional boy-meets-girl storyline by making the boy incredibly high-maintenance and the girl incredibly apathetic and maybe a little insane, but over all, it's not a very striking story for an anime. I may be new to anime but even I know how crazy the stories in anime can get. So....

Arakawa is basically a series of jokes. That's all it is. But I am a big fan of comedy -- especially slapstick -- so I can totally dig into this without any regrets. What am I talking about? Hell, this is the STUFF I live for!

The story about Ichinomiya Kou, nicknamed "Recruit," being a high-maintenance elite whose life philosophy is never to get indebted to anyone only to end up owing his very life to a girl (Nino) who does not want anything, is a running gag. He is the straight man in the crazy world under the Arakawa Bridge, populated by a group of not-quite friendly, not-quite hostile bizarrely costumed individuals who may very well be mental patients. The fact that he is forced to stay there in order to repay his life's debt to Nino provides the perfect situation for the round of comedy that each episode of Arakawa really is. And as if his life isn't complicated enough, Kou has to contend with the additional fact that Nino is quite attractive, if a bit demented, and the expected jealousy from passive-aggressive rivals, most prominent of whom is a guy in a star mask. Although it was Nino who suggested that she and Kou should be lovers, she is really very clueless about the meaning of the word. Kou, having been self-reliant practically his entire life, has even lesser clue about having a normal, give-and-take relationship with someone. This all adds to the comedy factor.

The story doesn't seem to progress any further than this. It's basically a sit-com so I can hardly expect any serious development of the plot. There is, of course, the point about Nino being supposedly Venusian but I don't know if that is something to be explored in future episodes or just another gag that the producers of the show can fall back on to explain some of Nino's more pronounced eccentricities. At the moment, it doesn't look like Kou and Nino are ever going to end up together. I think though that Kou will eventually transform as a character so that he and Nino can meet halfway. This is, after all, a romance. Or am I right?