Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Review

arakawa under the bridge x bridge nino yk vintage

Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge, as the sequel to Arakawa Under the Bridge (season one), once again follows the whimsical lifestyles of the residents under the bridge through the eyes of Recruit. Recruit, after chancing upon a community with wildly different societal expectations, challenges his own sense of normality and eventually integrates into this odd world. Much of the acceptance is facilitated by his lover, Nino, who claims to be a Venusian. Season one both introduces this fun world with its players and sets up a blossoming relationship between Recruit and Nino. Bridge x Bridge (season two) further develops both the supporting cast and the romance.

arakawa under the bridge maria ryoko

Under the bridge lives a large cast of curious characters in a very rich society. Bridge x Bridge does a very thorough job in giving all the quirky people their own spotlights. Even those with few passing appearances in season one, such as Billy and Jacqueline, get considerable back story and development. Of course, the old favorites – Maria, P-ko, Chief, Hoshi, and the rest of the gang – all return with more silly antics and more substance.

Arakawa Under the Bridge Nino Ichinomiya Kou Princess Carry deco

Similarly, Bridge x Bridge delves further into the lead characters. Whereas season one focused mostly on Recruit’s back story, his struggles with father issues, and his growth, season two focuses more on Nino. In the second season, Nino shows more dynamic emotions than her usual one-note blanket reactions, such as happiness, anger, and fear. In addition, her eccentricities are accentuated and her mysterious past explored. The arc in which Recruit listens to Nino’s hidden tape is especially notable. Not only are we charmed by Nino’s incredibly adorable behaviors, we also realize the length Nino would go to hide her past.

arakawa bridge kikuchi nino

Yet, although Nino became much more fascinating, neither her peculiarities nor her past is explained. Bridge x Bridge leaves the audience with more questions than answers. In fact, nothing set up in the first or the second season is resolved by the end of the season – not the romance, Nino’s past, nor the planned trip to Venus, the major plot of the last arc. Bridge x Bridge leaves much to be desired in its plot.

Arakawa Bridge x Bridge season 2 Amazoness

In that sense, this season is very similar to the first. While each comedic sketch builds a little more to the characters such that they all pop as well defined, unique personalities by the end, the anime has little space to progress the plot. It is especially difficult because the myriad of characters all have extremely diverse and complex oddities. Adding two new characters, Amazoness and the mangaka, only exacerbates this situation.

Arakawa Bridge x Bridge season 2 muscle stella iron brother

Still, we must not forget that Arakawa Under the Bridge is, at its core, a sketch comedy. And it is brilliant at being just that. Bridge x Bridge, much like season one, is hilarious. This is one of very few anime that consistently tickles me. The various exaggerated fighting sequences, wild behaviors, and faulty logic are fantastic. I also love the distorted parodies of other genre, mostly gar and shoujo. A feminine Hoshi and Recruit and muscular loli Stella and iron brothers are so awkwardly inconsistent with the ordinary. It is quite a trip.

arakawa under the bridge nino kappa hoshi ichinoiya kou iron brothers masanori

Further, through nonsense, exaggerations, and genre parodies, the series creates a very light, funny, crazy atmosphere that blurs the line between social familiarity and abnormality, and between reality and imagination. Indeed, at times, I might even be so caught up in a sketch to temporarily believe that Nino is an alien. Trying not to make sense of this whimsical anime is incredibly fun.

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Side notes:

  1. Because Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge is very similar in theme to the first season, it might be nice to also read my season one review, in which I discuss a little more about the potential commentaries this series provides, the visual styles, and other relevant topics: Arakawa Under the Bridge Review
  2. This post might also be a good further reading: Typography Under the Bridge – Wordplay in Arakawa
  3. The sadistic Maria is still my favorite! And I would still love to be abused.
  4. Yakushimaru Etsuko is so lovely.

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More anime and manga reviews

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p.s. Some things have happened in my personal life recently. I have always tried to keep this blog and things really lighthearted and warm, but sometimes, I do just need a place to vent. Please forgive some of my more negative posts and tweets before and to come.
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38 Responses to Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Review

  1. SilentSerenata says:

    Brilliant review, it definitely blew me away. I have yet to watch the Under the Bridge x Bridge series even the comedy seems to be hilarious as. Hopefully I’ll get to watch this for myself sometime soon ~

    • Yi says:

      I hope you enjoy it. It’s really good, albeit a bit unresolved at the end of season two. That was my only gripe against it. Hopefully, there will be a season three that helps to explain things.

      • SilentSerenata says:

        I wouldn’t have my hopes on a season three, but yes, that would definitely be mega awesome🙂 The fans would be undoubtedly pleased to the point of screaming like hell.

        Oh, and good luck with the yaoi. Hopefully it’ll somehow work out ~

        • Yi says:

          I wrote the review with an expectation for a season three. If there isn’t one, than Arakawa Bridge^2 is pretty bad. The loose ends are too many and the story way too unresolved. It would be a story that had a wonderful set up and plenty of build up, but absolutely zero climax and denouement, which is just terrible. I guess we’ll see eventually.

          Also, I’m actually liking this yaoi manga much more than I thought I would.

        • Yeah I suppose it all depends on time – perhaps if the fans get really rabid they’re start begging for a season 3.

          Judging from what you’ve just said (cause I have yet to watch the series myself), then perhaps it’s one of those series which purposely leaves an open/imcomplete ending so that its fans would move onto the manga? Or novels…whichever. Either that, or a third season is on its way cause of rabid fans🙂

          And hooray! So yaoi doesn’t bore the yuri fan ~
          Though I do agree with the fact that it was kind of rushed since it was afterall, originally meant as a one-shot. But even so, Satoru’s character was far too cute to ignore >< And yeah, definitely similiar to Sawako's.

        • Yi says:

          Do we really need to beg for a third season? I hope Shaft has a little more sense than that.

  2. ~xxx says:

    Arakawa under the bridge x bridge is Really good.

    Even though I skipped watching the first season… I think due to this season, I would watch the first one sooner after I got my money and funds.

    • Yi says:

      Yea, it’s definitely one of the better ones from this past year. I had a lot of fun. I hope you’ll be able to get to the first season soon. ^ ^ Good luck with stuff!

  3. EmperorG says:

    As I expected, this season is more of the same as the 1st season. whether you liked the 1st season or not will determine how you’ll feel about season 2. Well said Yi-san. Another great review. I’ll most definitely finish this show when I get the chance. I wonder if the sales will be enough to give a green light for a 3rd season?

    • Yi says:

      I gave Bridge x Bridge a lot of flack because I thought it, as a second season released months after the first, should have moved onto the next narrative arc. I wanted it to really progress the plot and try to resolve things. Instead, we have a lot more of season one, where things about the characters are still being revealed slowly. However, my complaint is really just splitting hairs. I probably wouldn’t have cared about the lack of plot progression if Bridge x Bridge was lumped together with season one for a 26 episode run. “Season two” is just an arbitrary label.

      I guess as long as things are eventually resolved in the future, Arakawa will end up as a very solid show. Essentially, please let there be more to come!

      • EmperorG says:

        Indeed. Should there be a 3rd season, there are two directions this show could go:
        1: Finish the story and bring the tale of Recruit and Nino to a close.
        2: Become a Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei clone and end up being a basic comedy with no solid conclusion whatsoever.

        There you have it. Let’s see what will happen in the future.

        • Yi says:

          If there isn’t a season three, my opinions on this anime would be completely different. I wrote the review with the thought that there will be another season. Arakawa has spent so much time building up the characters and this romance that we need to see how it resolves, even if just haphazardly. Without explaining Nino’s past, this anime is terrible.

          I guess we’ll see.

  4. Ristlin says:

    This show really was one of my favorate of 2010. The crazy crazy comedy remains high class and funny without using many of the settings and stories that we normally see in these types of comedy animes.

    • Yi says:

      Yep yep. It was one of my favorites of 2010 as well. I really appreciated how the comedy is of a very crazy, silly sort, but the anime still kept it fairly elegant in feel. It doesn’t resort to anything too disgusting in its various parodies and slapstick humor. The community under the bridge is also immensely intricate and fun by itself.

  5. Swordwind says:

    So, in a sense, it was charming… but not spectacular?

    • Yi says:

      I think that’s an apt description, although it depends on what your spectacular entails. I’m pretty generous with stuff like “I love” and such, so I’d call this spectacular. It’s not a masterpiece though and there are definitely some flaws. Still overall, highly enjoyable.

      I think I gave it a 7/10 on myanimelist, which is a very solid recommendation.

      Anyway, very very charming indeed!

      • Swordwind says:

        mmh.

        • Yi says:

          Sorry for the wishy-washy response. Because this series felt so much like a work in progress, it’s hard for me to evaluate. 7/10 for me is a very decent score, but only if there is a third season.

          Otherwise, without a resolution, I’d probably rate this a 5/10, which is neither positive nor negative… a lukewarm response to a series with some good points and some serious flaws.

        • Swordwind says:

          Ah? Sorry for the completely incomprehensible reply…I meant to say something of the effect of “Oh, I see. Thanks for taking the time to reply. Too bad my assumption was wrong.”

          But, you were kind enough to reply again, regardless. Thanks🙂

        • Yi says:

          No need to apologize or thank me. ^ ^

          And you’re not wrong to say it was charming but not spectacular. I think most would find that very apt for the series.

  6. necro says:

    The sadistic Maria is still my favorite! And I would still love to be abused. – thats kinda ouch thou i like Maria as well, thou i need to finish season 1, before watching season 2 but ist sounds interesting, anyway i have exams now, so i just watch puelli magica, which is awesome, i love everything about it, music, scenography, characters, seiyuu, story looks really wise, well wonder if it will continue on this level, i went offtopic, nino looks cool, thou the society is so weird that i had hat and become all confused^^. Still i found funny in first season how star guy was jealouse over Recruit.^^ Nameing is awesome as well recruit sounds cruel to main character, its like u got stomped.^^

    • Yi says:

      That is kind of ouch, but that’s why it’s good. j/k ^ ^
      Nino and the characters are all pretty quirky and charming. I like almost everyone (except the mangaka). I loved the rivalry between Recruit and Hoshi too. It’s kind of fun to see Hoshi get so jealous sometimes.

      Madoka is pretty awesome too, but I’ve only seen the first episode so far. Yuki Kajiura is amazing as always!

      Good luck on your exams. ^ ^

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  8. bluedrakon says:

    If anything, I need to watch this for a laugh (which I need right now). But hearing that there is a sadistic character, well that may just make me even more happier

  9. Nopy says:

    It is incredibly funny, but I hope they make a third season where all of our questions are answered. I really want to see Nino and Recruit get further into their relationship too.

    • Yi says:

      Agreed. Arakawa really needs another season to finish all the wonderful stuff it built up in season one and two, especially the relationship between Nino and Recruit.

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  13. hoshiko says:

    I never watch Arakawa Under the Bridge before but after reading your post here, it makes me feel like I should pick it up. It sounds a lot like an anime I would enjoy. =)

    Gosh, my anime list is just growing longer and longer. Haha.

    • Yi says:

      If you do pick it up, I hope you like it. It might be best to wait until there is another season first though, because it doesn’t really have a resolved ending at all right now.

      Anyway, I’ve long since given up on catching up with my backlog that’s growing quickly out of control.

  14. rockleelotus says:

    i loved this series! and i have to thank you because i picked it up after reading all your posts about it😀 Nino is an adorable character, i love her crazy morning and windmill hair lol

    hope there will be a third season, i still want to see more development of the story!

    • Yi says:

      I almost forgot about Nino’s windmill hair. So weird but so adorable. She can even fly with that thing!

      Anyway, agreed about a third season.

  15. Fabrice says:

    Despite the main plot progressing very slowly, a unique story with unique characters and even stranger presentation (as per SHAFT) are several reasons why Bridge x Bridge kept me excited every week to see a new episode. for those who enjoyed the first season, the second season is highly recommended as well. I’d recommend the entire Arakawa Under the Bridge series to anyone looking for an original, funny anime that isn’t afraid to stand apart from the conventions of typical anime characters.

    • Yi says:

      Agreed. The strange unique presentation and wacky comedy keeps me watching week after week. Unconventional and unafraid. There is much to like about Arakawa. Second season felt a lot more of the same as the first, so hopefully, there’s going to be a third to tie things up.

  16. lovelyduckie says:

    Definitely a series I’m going to try put at some point.

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