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Arakawa Under the Bridge – 13 (END)

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「13 BRIDGE」

With the announcement of a second season following the airing of this finale, SHAFT’s taken the opportunity to introduce some of the other characters they opted not to earlier on. After being shown glimpses of them in the ending sequence and in the series itself, we finally have the resident hairstylist Last Samurai (Nakamura Yuuichi) and odd couple Billy (Tachiki Fumihiko) and Jacqueline (Gotou Yuuko) making their formal series debut. Given the way things concluded last episode with the threat from Riku’s father resolved for the time being, this final episode actually felt more like a kick-off to a second season more than anything else. The new character introductions alone made it come off as such, featuring a clinic on Last Samurai’s instantaneous hair-cutting technique that not only solved Nino’s bed hair but also left Riku wondering what the hell just happened. As amusing as his jaw-dropping reaction was compared to everyone else’s lack of one, learning why Sister is a difficult customer turned out to be the really funny surprise in all this.

At first, I figured it was merely a height thing that prevented Last Samurai from lining him up nicely with everyone else and make swift work with his katana, but evidently P-ko’s tiny stature didn’t hamper him one bit. Instead, it was Sister’s instinctive reflexes to avoid his hair-cutting “attacks”, making their hair-cut session seem more like a battle to the death. I found myself laughing pretty hard at the sight of Last Samurai swinging away at Sister like he was trying to take his head off shortly after he tried to land a preemptive strike. All this time, Sister was apologizing for dodging too, making it even funnier to see. The introduction of Billy the parrot and Jacqueline the bee’s adultery relationship was odd to say the least, given how the latter was talking about her tens of thousands of children back at the hive. Billy on the other hand turned out to be a parrot who’s “graduated” from repeating other people’s words, yet is able to convey his feelings for Jacqueline in his own arrogant way. I could only imagine what Riku would’ve gotten himself into for cutting into their conversation upon feeling sorry for Jacqueline, but he knew better than to stick his head into other people’s business under the bridge.

The remainder of the episode with Riku thinking he could get an amusement park up and running for Stella and the Testujin brothers wasn’t too shabby for a finale either. I mean, it did start off with his students wanting to go to one, only for them to angrily respond to Riku’s offer to do so by saying they’ll never leave the riverbed and risk getting captured by some research facility. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but it looked like Tetsuro gave Riku the middle finger too. In any case, after Riku burns out trying to devise a plan to create an amusement park under the bridge in a mere week and learns that everyone else set one up for him, I must say I enjoyed Riku telling Tetsuro and Tetsuo to beat the crap out of Sonchou in his mascot outfit out of spite for him wearing it on top of his kappa one. The best attraction however had to be the 3D theater they set up, because their parody of Star Wars was so real that bullets actually came flying at the audience. I couldn’t stop laughing after Riku realized what was actually going on and didn’t even bother to duck and take cover. Compared to that, I really didn’t know how to react to Sister’s iron maiden “coaster ride”, other than thinking you need to be a pure masochist to possibly get a thrill from that.

Anyway, after all the gags at the amusement park, it was nice to see some focus given back to Riku and Nino, where the former recalled some happy memories with his father. I really love the background track used in that scene, which always makes the series seem like anything but a gag comedy thanks to the ambiance it gives of. The parade that followed suit did make this episode feel somewhat like a finale, plus they slipped in a short scene with Amazoness (Kobayashi Yuu) before wrapping up with another figurative one between Riku and Nino.

 

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Final Impressions:

Coming into this series, I had my usual reservations about director Shinbou Akiyuki and SHAFT, but ever since the first episode I was pleasantly surprised by how nice it looked. In addition, Shinbou’s stylistic touches were used in a way that helped compliment the humor rather become the focal point of it, which together with the good production values subsided all my initial concerns about the “Shinbou Shaft”. Most of the material in this adaptation was straight out of the manga and worked extremely well without any major changes aside from selecting which chapters to animate and in what order, so that was nice to see as well. I’m not a manga purist by any means, but I enjoyed what I read there and was looking forward to seeing it animated with the cast they had lined up when I wrote up the Spring 2010 Preview. Incidentally, SHAFT did take some liberties by adding their own anime original spin on things, which was most prominent in the metaphoric-filled scenes that started showing up before the opening sequence every episode. Along with the music showcased in this series, some of those gave the relationship between Riku and Nino a surreal fairy tale-like feel and changed my perspective of the series amidst all the gags, so I felt they were a really nice addition.

Just so there’s no confusion, I don’t have anything against SHAFT nor Shinbou and actually like some of their previous works; however, I am wary of their projects due to string of fairly lackluster ones as of late. With their most recent work here starting out on the right foot and maintaining production values consistently over the course of the series’ entire run though, I have renewed faith in them. SHAFT is generally known to take on series that are fairly heavy on dialogue, so it’s good to know that things are looking up for their studio following the production of this series. The green light given for a second season of this series sort of serves as a testament to that fact too, so if you’re looking for a gag-filled series with a wide variety of very weird characters to drive the comedy, you can’t really go wrong with this series about an unbelievable rich heir who spends his time under the bridge with a beautiful girl. Things get pretty nonsensical and pretty over-the-top at times, but it almost always leads to pretty hilarious results. What’s even better is that there is a genuine love story taking place alongside all the laughs, so you get the best of both worlds in this romantic comedy that’s very unlike your typical ones. I’ll be looking forward to the second season whenever it shows up, but for now I’m actually happy about this taking a break with the new summer shows coming up.

June 27, 2010 at 11:27 pm
23 comments »
  • June 27, 2010 at 11:46 pmPw3age

    SEASON 2! SEASON 2! This is got to be one of the best shows in the Spring 2010. I was hesitant at first, but now I regret nothing.

  • June 28, 2010 at 12:24 amAznCoffee

    I was getting pretty sad seeing (END) after (END) xD;
    But knowing Arakawa Under the Bridge’s gettin’ a 2nd season is awwwwright. |D

    And seriously, Red and Blue 3D glasses? How far is Japan behind?

    • June 28, 2010 at 6:43 amRockmanshii

      They were so further advanced than us that they entered a technology loop and they started from zero again.

  • June 28, 2010 at 12:29 amcrazystudyguy

    Hopefully the second season is better

  • June 28, 2010 at 1:21 amお化け屋敷の主人

    Last time I checked on the DVD sales of this on Oricon, it was ranked among the top 10, so it’s not a surprise to see a second season. I wonder how far has the manga got because I really want to know how the romance turns out for Riku and Nino, as well as to learn the past of the characters who live under the bridge.

  • June 28, 2010 at 2:56 amquigonkenny

    Great series, but the best thing about it had to have been Hoshi. Tomokazu Sugita makes everything better…

    Himo…himo himo himo…
    Himo himo himo himo…
    Himo himo…

  • June 28, 2010 at 4:13 amAlvord12

    Awesome series, a bit sad to see that I’ll not be getting my weekly dose of Kappa, Hoshi, Stella, Sister, Maria and all the others! :’(
    By the way, when will Season 2 begin, this year or 2011?

  • June 28, 2010 at 5:31 amcutemi2

    at last, final episode, and soon, 2nd season, next year or more
    http://randomc.net/image/Arakawa%20Under%20the%20Bridge/Arakawa%20Under%20the%20Bridge%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2013.jpg
    lovebirds….

  • June 28, 2010 at 5:36 amraosne0104

    this series is weird
    but that is what i liked about it

    • July 5, 2010 at 5:53 am1Lau

      It’s not weird, just Gold!
      The last episode was done splendidly.

  • June 28, 2010 at 6:47 amRockmanshii

    Second season–>More Maria–>I can die happy.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this show along with Angel Beats! and Mayoi Neko, this season have been the one were I laughed the most.
    This show is so awesome on so many levels.And the quality was consistent during the whole show, I have more and more faith in SHAFT too.

  • June 28, 2010 at 8:04 ampia

    this gotta be the show that i enjoyed the most this season
    i hope season 2 turns out to be even better!

    btw,thanks divine for covering this show

  • June 28, 2010 at 9:39 amJustin2010

    the most interesting n comedy show that i havent seen for a long time

  • June 28, 2010 at 11:10 amWrenleos

    I really enjoyed this series mainly because of the randomness of the characters though I didnt like the fact that the ending didnt really feel like an ending. Basically I would just have liked a bit more closure even if there is going to be a second season.

    Also thank goodness this show didnt get reeeeeeeeally far behind like a certain other show by ShaftXShinbou that I enjoyed.

  • June 28, 2010 at 2:48 pmCroosboy

    and again it ends here( at least for this season).

  • June 28, 2010 at 4:53 pmRei

    Aw it’s over ;_; I loved the quirkiness of the series and the unique comedy and how random it was at times, but it all worked. Nino and Riku make sucha cute couple. BUT YES SEASON TWO!!
    I think this definitely makes up for Dance in the Vampire Bund coz I was dearly disappointed with it and still can’t believe I sat through all those episodes and cursed Shinbo. But now he has in my eyes redeemed himself and I’m going to overlook Dance :]

  • June 28, 2010 at 11:26 pmJustsomeguy

    Hooray for season 2!!
    This has goes to my list of rewatching!
    ARAKAWA UNDER THE BRIDGE MARATHON any1?

  • June 29, 2010 at 9:31 amIsland Esper

    Nino!!!!! Maria!!!! I’ll miss you !!!!
    For me this series started weird with the micro chapter format inside the episodes. Once I got used to it; it was pure fun. Now the addition of the serious part felt so strong being short and sweet. That remembrance Riku had of his father and him having a great time got me tear eyed. ( Dad I miss you so much!!!!) This is the second series this season that bring new character in the end (working was the other) I have mix feelings about this because I feel robbed because they are just so short intros that don’t give justice to the character. At the same time is exciting because you know we get more of them and of the series as a whole.
    Great series for lots of laugh, waiting for more !!!!!!

  • June 29, 2010 at 2:16 pmRika

    I didn’t know this was the final episode by the looks of it…if there wasn’t a second season I won’t accept this as a good ending (since it’s just like all the other episodes). But it is still a fun-filled anime to watch. ^_^ (BTW what was that scene with the amazon about?)

  • June 29, 2010 at 3:54 pmShanku

  • June 30, 2010 at 6:43 amAlcohol

    This really is the best series this season. I tried it because, you know, a manga author’s surname in an anime title is quite catchy XD. I’m surprised at how entertaining the gags are, and I really like how they open every episode with surreal NinoxRiku scenes. And I’m happy the last episode didn’t look like the last, because endings are typically sad to watch :(. I’m looking forward to the 2nd season and I hope you’ll blog about it too, Divine. :)

    And please someone tell me if they’re going to release a BGM album or sumthn! I really really really want it! D:

  • June 30, 2010 at 8:30 pmlvlln

    Nino’s hair really is one of the wonders of the universe. If I could wake up to her bed head like that every day, I would be happy. Riku is one lucky man.

    And I thought the voice of that mysterious woman at the end seemed familiar. Shaft and Yuu Kobayashi seem to have a good working relationship.

  • July 10, 2010 at 5:37 pmdamian

    WonderWoman at the end? WTF