If you read my top 10 anime of all time that I posted earlier in the week, you would have noticed this anime at number 3. I have come across a lot of people who have never seen this anime before, so today I am going to try to explain why Arakawa Under the Bridge is my favorite comedy anime of all time. I will be only focusing on the first Arakawa series, and not Arakawa Under the Bridge X Bridge because the first series comedy is superior in every way.
Kou Ichinomiya is a man who tries to do everything by himself. Even since he was born he has followed his fathers one rule, to never be indebted to any other person. One day after getting his pants stolen he falls into Arakawa River and when he is about to drown a girl named Nino rescues him, a girl who lives under the Arakawa Bridge. He feels indebted to her and he asks her how he can repay her. She asks him to love her and with that it is the beginning of Kou life where he is living under the bridge. Kou thinks it will be easy but he soon finds out that Arakawa is a place full of strange, crazy people who are lost in their own worlds.
Arakawa is another Studio Shaft work, but on that note it is one of Shaft’s tamer more realistic looking works. Unlike shows like Bakemonogatari that have strange backgrounds you would never find in nature, Arakawa has a beautiful realistic setting. The backgrounds are bright and flashy while the characters design takes on a world of its own. The designs are very interesting and original, and they fit the characters abnormal personalities perfectly. Being a Shaft production there is a lot of flashed animation in the background. There are different words displayed on the Arakawa Bridge and in the characters eyes. To people who can’t read fast or hate flashing animation it isn’t too much of an issue within Arakawa. Compared to other shows like Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei that gave me a headache, Arakawa’s flashy animation is nothing to worry about and easy to read and understand.
Arakawa has strange characters, and I mean strange. They range from Sister, a British man in his mid twenties who dresses up as a church sister who is also a gangster, to Star a famous musician who wears a yellow star on his head. Kou the protagonist likes to think that he is the normal one; he is a college graduate and a wealthy man. He doesn’t fit in at all with the rest of the cast. Throughout the 13 episodes he really develops into a much less judgmental and understanding man. Also Kou and Nino’s relationship is very well-developed through the series. I have found that a lot of comedies skimp on the characters development but Arakawa does a great job developing several characters really well. Arakawa’s characters are what really makes the show really special, they are extremely original for the most part and laugh out load hilarious.
They cast Arakawa extremely well, Hiroshi Kamiya, probably my favorite male voice actor, who has voiced characters such as Araragi from Bakemonogatari and Otanashi from Angel Beats plays Kou. Another standout was Tomokazu Sugita who plays Star, his voice is unbelievably crazy and he fits the roll so well. The opening music is really weird but fits the show so well. The background music isn’t very noticeable but it helps portray different mood especially when right before some major crazy is about to start.
Arakawa Under the Bridge is first an outrageous comedy and second a serious romantic/family drama. It is able to portray both fairly well, but it tends to focus much more on absurdist comedy, which is executed very well. The more serious aspects of the plot focus on Kou strained relationship with his father and his romance with Nino, it nice to see such a ridiculous show have very important and serious underlying theme.
Overall Arakawa Under the Bridge is a crazy comedy series that can be serious when it has to be. The characters are fun and the animation is great. If you like Arakawa’s strange humor from the beginning, you are going to love this series, so make sure you give it a chance. Thanks for reading, if anybody wants me to review a specific series just let me know below and I will try to review it for you!