Arakawa: Under the Bridge

| August 1, 2011

Arakawa: Under the Bridge is an anime series based on the manga by Hikaru Nakamura. The anime follows Ko Ichinomiya, also known as Recruit (Rec), who encounters a group of people living under a bridge in the Arakawa district of Tokyo. We first meet Rec, as he is called throughout most of the series, standing on a bridge in a compromising position. We learn that he lives by the family motto, “Never be indebted to anyone”, and because of this he turns down the help of a girl who is also on the bridge. In turning down her help, he ends up in a situation where his life is in danger. This girl, Nino, saves his life, and, to the dismay of Rec, he is indebted to her. Subsequently, we follow Rec as he tries to cope with the request Nino makes of him for repayment. Along the way we meet the other residents of the area, who are all in their own right, interesting and unique.
Arakawa: Under the Bridge brings laughs at every turn. Although there are a couple Japanese cultural jokes that may be a little hard to understand, the remainder of the jokes and situations are generally funny no matter the culture. The interactions between the inhabitants of Arakawa and Rec contributes to much of the laughter as Rec tries to come to terms with the reasons they act the way they do. The setup of most of the episodes, which center on Rec meeting members of the community, are small storylines that are finished in one or two episodes.
The art in Arakawa: Under the Bridge is beautiful. The backgrounds and characters are detailed throughout. This, accompanied by the differences in character designs, makes this a series that is visually appealing in every way. When watching it on Blu-ray, this beauty is enhanced. The lines are sharp and clear. The shadows and blacks are deep and contrasting to the colorfulness of the surrounding artwork. To accompany these great visuals, you are given equally great writing and voice acting. The Premium Edition from NIS America is respectfully presented with the Japanese audio only. This means that, with the exception of the subtitles, you are watching the anime in its original form, as even the credits have not been converted into English.
The four-disc, Blu-ray/DVD Premium Edition comes in an 8″x11″x1″ beautifully simple cardboard cover-box along with a 32-page, full-color, hard cover book. The book contains character profiles along with illustrations, messages written by the voice actors, and interviews with the voice actors behind Nino and Rec, Maaya Sakamoto and Hiroshi Kamiya, respectively. The book also contains a multi-page interview with the manga’s author, Hikaru Nakamura and series director, Akiyuki Shinbo. Other features throughout the pages are interviews and sections about the opening and ending songs, episode breakdowns, and some beautiful full-page character artwork. The special features on the discs include audio commentaries and 10 Japanese TV spots.

About the Author:

Amber is an Early Childhood Education Professional in Chicago . She is also a part of an All Female Anime Circle, Kichi Gi. This circle explores anime, manga, and Japanese culture, while also trying to make an impact within the community. Amber is also a great lover of history and has worked hard over the years to study history and all it has to teach us.
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