Arakawa Under the Bridge
Kou lives his life by the creed of the Ichinomiya family: be in debt to no one. It's made the family wealthy, and his father heads a large conglomerate. Kou is no slacker himself and already wealthy and powerful. Due to unusual circumstances, Kou nearly drowns in a river, but is rescued by a strange girl named Nino. A small debt is one thing, however a life owed is a huge obligation. Nino being essentially homeless, it seems like material wealth would easily fix this. Then things get weird.
Nino claims she's from Venus, and doesn't want to leave the bridge she lives under. In fact she has no interest in material things at all. When Kou asks what he could do to fulfill his obligation, she decides to have him "teach her the ways of love". Since lovers live close to each other, Kou will naturally need to live under the bridge too. Then there are the other homeless in the area... of which the girl from Venus is probably the more normal among them.
Arakawa Under the Bridge is weird, and I really like weird. I had high expectations which this one didn't live up to. The story isn't very strong, so it's more character driven. That's one way this one becomes disappointing: character driven with weak characters. As a comedy that's not a big deal but the comedy also had weaknesses.
I loved the characters at first, but often lost interest in them for various reasons. Which is strange because I think some are fascinating. How could I not love a guy dressed as a Nun, waving a machine gun around during the weekly church service? His problem is a running issue with the show, everyone is rigidly confined to their gimmick, and the anime fails to invent scenarios to leverage them. They repeat the same jokes and it often gets dull. The second season (Bridge x Bridge) has the same problem with new characters introduced that again go nowhere. Although the gangster bird-man / bee-girl romance routine never got old with me, so sometimes it works. Arakawa Under the Bridge can be very enjoyable if it clicks that way. For me it mostly didn't.
One thing almost kept me hooked: Kou notices when Nino doesn't like something, she brings up Venus. Which made me wonder what her story is. How did she end up like that under the bridge? How did any of them become that way? There are hints at good back stories, but they remain mostly unexplored. Kou on the other hand does have a story, and the theme of finding meaning in his life is good. When among oddballs, all his former achievements and traditional measures of worth are meaningless. He's forced to define himself and find true strengths as a person. The story is incomplete right now (including Kou's), but it could still go in very good directions.
Arakawa Under the Bridge has many great visuals which are imaginative and attractive -particularly the intro sequence. When added to oddball comedy, it seems like this one should be an easy hit, but it still doesn't quite hit the mark. Near the end I had episodes unwatched and little interest in the end. I finished it, but more to get it out of the way, and I think that says a lot. The comedy may carry you through, but the joke repetition made that tough for me. It's worth checking out, but I'd drop it if you don't feel the humor (or it starts to get old).
Sister: Remember, only 3 hit combos allowed for civilians
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