Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Review

Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge (Season 2)
Ladies and Gentleman,

ESPers, kappas, cross dressers, Venusians, body builders, Amazons, bird people, manga artists, bikini babes, queens, empresses, and Tengu,

Do I have a series for you! Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge the long awaited second series to Arakawa has finally reach American shores thanks to NIS America. If you remember my other review of the 1st series and seen it you know your in for what a friend called "a very strange comedy anime".

Without a doubt you'll be laughing at how stupid everyone involved is. The start of the new series captivates you with excellently done dream like intros about needing someone or almost poetic pieces with the characters from the show walking in and out. I'm fond of a gashapon/capsule toy one or just the characters trying to find their significant others in a maze. This is then blown a way by a new opening intro and theme song that get you excited about the show. The animation is of a super high quality of Nino and the Arakawa Bridge people in some sort of dream scape between space and the ocean with aquatic creatures and jelly fish like aliens going around. It couldn't be Arakawa without a space battle thrown in. Then it switches to floating tea party as though the girls of the show took control of the opening and of course it explodes ending with a kiss between Nino and Rec.

This new series has an overall arc around trying to go to Venus, which is already incredibly stupid and features some funny stories about the minor characters in the show. Nino and Rec's growing love is still the main overall story, but sometimes it's like there not even there. New characters add to some extreme lunacy with a Manga artist who lost himself in his own world and a Amazoness. Amazoness, you take the cake for crazy or should I say soda popsicle.

The trouble starts in the first episode with Rec being wakened up by Nino, not in in a love dovey way, but in a wrestling sleep walking way. It seems Nino is home sick for Venus and after almost knocking Rec back to sleep we get a sitcom-esq misunderstanding about switching apartments. Rec finds mysterious tapes belonging to Nino, because of this and wants to listen to them to learn more about her. In one of the cutest and silliest actions ever, Nino stumbles upon Rec listening to them. So instead of confronting him, she zips her jacket up high to look bigger than she is like a frog and hisses at Rec, dashes to grab the tapes and runs away up an electric pole. Rec is shocked by these events. After an attempt at free cookies to get her down fails, when Nino some how has her new bird friends come and steal them for her, Rec apologizes, thus getting her down. This is all, but an average day for Rec in a world of insane people and a relationship that started when he lost his pants.

Things of course eventually get worse as Nino wishes to go to Venus and everyone under the bridge wishes to go with her at first. At first I say, because for some reason they Arakawa residents start adding real rules about known space travel like spending time with the same people for a long time and being healthy enough to travel into space, which really doesn't make any sense as there is no spaceship, nor anyway to get there, as well as humans would die instantly on Venus even with space suits. This doesn't stop Rec from having a funny day dream about meeting Nino's parent alien squid like creatures. Nor does it stop everyone from trying their best at the incredibly stupid training to get their.

"All Venusians most be stopped!", might be the thought of a strange man Rec finds in his bed one morning. Who is this weirdo? Why wasn't it Nino? Where'd he get that awesome jacket. These are all questions Rec wants to know. This is the start of some enemies for Nino. The Captain or Mangaka or Manga writer is another delusional freak that Rec doesn't want in Arakawa. Too bad that the Captain is too good at manga and bribes everyone with their own comic series. My favorite might be Rec's which is very insulting to him. In his personal manga he can't even get a job and for the perfect at everything Rec it's the ultimate insult. In one of the dumbest premises ever, The Captain believes Nino is really a Venusian and thus is his enemy, so she sadly doesn't get her own manga. Which sucks, because you can see she really wants one. The Captain's is a ludicrous Otaku that has just lost himself completely in his imagination and is is one of the funniest new additions to the series.

Amazoness will you ever find love? Another breakout weirdo and pain in Rec's side is the huge and powerful Amazoness. With one mistake in trying to retrieve a baseball turns into a meeting with this large lady it's the start of a terrible love triangle. A triangle that involves hypnosis and men dressed like Tengu that wear bikini's. Amazoness falls in love with Rec and her version of love will make you cringe . Her attempts to take Rec away from Nino are met with great displays of brain dead ideas of great stupidity.  Amazoness herself looks completely insane as a giant muscular blonde women in a metal bikini. Making it all the more funny when she talks like a Japanese version of a valley girl on a cell phone. Try to cry like Rec after watching scenes with "Amazoness!", tears in your eye.

Great character stories flow into the Arakawa about the other residents that popup and still infuriate Rec. One episode on the adorable garden cutie Pko has her trying to do a movie about love dragged everyone into their own cinematic dreams. Billy and Jacqueline's love is  questioned slightly when Billy shows up late for their anniversary and stories about a Yakuza past are revealed. The Last Samurai seems to be more than a background character this season fearing Maria and wanting to catch bikini girl action with Hoshi and Rec. Hoshi, Rec and Last Samurai have these funny moments where the anime changes style and resembles the look of a shojou or like a little girl's anime. They act very effeminate and it comes off so creepy. The Metal Brothers had me laughing so much in an episode that started off about diets and ended about muscles. Giant muscular kids in fights will have you questioning whats going on and what the Hell is "Holy Muscle". The series changes tone and into a anime fight series akin to Dragon Ball Z or Fist of the North Star for the subsequent fights, this happens more than once as the series references an old-school boxing anime that no one will get in America.There's some great nods to some video games this season with a Super Mario and Solid Snake reference too.

You might have attained from how I wrote about the intro that animation looks vibrant and colorful. The shows style can change on the fly and capture your attention on  whatever is going on be it a Haunted house or a balloon popping contest. The special collection edition again comes with a great art book and both bu-rays and DVD's to watch the episodes in a nice box. I would have liked more extras still. Possibly a clip from the live action movie or show that just came out of Japan, bu that might be a whole other licensing issue.

The only thing that saddens me is that their is no conclusion to the anime. No new third series has been announced and I don't mean brought to America, I mean it hasn't come out. It's a shame, because questions about Nino's past still remain a mystery. What isn't a mystery is how dumb and funny the Arakawa residents can be and that you should pick up theIr series now.

Aaaaaaamazoneesssssssss! Then tears.

The DVD's were provided by the publisher for review.