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Arakawa Under the Bridge Episode 1

April 7, 2010

When you’re the heir to a massive company and born with a proverbial silver spoon in your mouth, it would be easy to simply sit back and enjoy life’s rich pickings. That isn’t how things work for Kou Ichinomiya however, who despite being just such an heir to a life of fortune has been brought up in a family who dedicate themselves never to owing anybody anything.The trouble is, no matter who you are there are moments in life when you need a little help from your friends… or simply some help from some crazy girl who happens to nearby. Such is Kou’s dilemma when he ends up half-way up a girder without any pants on before being plunged into the watery depths below… A dilemma where he has no choice but to find himself saved by the aforementioned bonkers person.
This is, of course, only the beginning of Ko’s problems, as he now finds himself desperately needing to repay this girl. Does she need a house? No…. All she needs is love apparently, and so Kou ends up agreeing to love this person who purports to be from Venus and lives under a bridge in return for her having saved his life. If that doesn’t seem crazy enough, things are about to get all the more bizarre as this opening episode of Arakawa Under the Bridge progresses.

If there’s one thing to be said about this opener, its that it’s blatantly obvious why SHAFT picked it up – The plot and concept oozes the kind of ideas you’d imagine would appeal to them, and although this animation studio’s trademark aesthetic doesn’t quite work as well as you might hope here it does a good enough job to be passable. That aside, it’s difficult to read exactly how this show is going to progress and move on, but in a way that’s exactly what makes it somewhat fascinating – It’s really quite random, yet at the same time you get the feeling that it knows exactly what it’s doing from the very start. Certainly, if nothing else this first episode has done a great job of positing Kou as the can’t of guy you can love to hate – In many ways he’s well-meaning, but at the same time he’s so wrapped up in himself and the major tenet he lives by that it makes him a pretty aloof and unlikeable individual. How Arakawa Under the Bridge handles Kou’s new life, Nino’s odd behaviour and so on will make or break this series in the long-term, but for now I’m quite happy to come along for the ride. This doesn’t look likely to be a work of comic genius or anything of that sort, but in terms of concept alone it’s one of this season’s more entertaining offerings thus far.

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