We’ve come upon the 10 year anniversary on one of anime’s most delightful and kooky little gems, the always enjoyable Arakawa Under The Bridge. Comedy in anime can sometimes be a mixed bag, but if you’re looking for a series that will keep the laughs coming while packing an unforgettable cast to boot, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you prefer to read Hikaru Nakamura’s comic or take the Akiyuki Shimbo anime adaptation route, this smorgasbord of silly is well worth your time.
Arakawa Under The Bridge follows an overly serious corporate hier, who has a name but simply gets dubbed ‘Rec’ after his code of honor forces him to move underneath a bridge in order to pay back a debt to fellow resident Nino, a girl from Venus who saved him from drowning.
Of course, there’s a whole community of weirdos underneath the titular Bridge, turning Rec’s everyday life into a series of new and confusing adventures involving psychic children, a riverside Amazoness, and a former Yakuza birdman.
Equal parts humor and spirit, Arakawa Under The Bridge harken back to a certain kind of show not often made anymore. This one is for fans of shows like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Cromartie High School, or maybe the more recent Hinamatsuri.
You can really sink your teeth into the series due to the immersive way in which it makes you feel like you’re one of this dysfunctional gang of happy misfits when you’re watching it.
Only Akiyuki Shimbo and Shaft Could Have Brought This Anime To Life
Directed by Akiyuki Shimbo and produced at Shaft, Arakawa Under The Bridge is a part of one of the most prolific and influential legacies in modern anime. The Shimbo Shaft run of shows includes some of the most beloved titles of the last decade including Puella Magi Madoka Magica, March Comes In Like A Lion, and the entire Monogatari franchise, which are some good shows for this one to be related to.
While not as much of an emotional banger as some of the Shimbo / Shaft canon, this show absolutely deserves its spot in the pantheon.
With Arakawa Under The Bridge being such a strange entity, featuring a bunch of weirdos in even weirder get-ups, it would take some inspired direction to translate the manga properly. Thankfully Akiyuki Shimbo has crafted a whole nook for himself at Shaft, pioneering a directorial style that perfectly Arakawa riverside residents and their antics to life.
Always incorporating unique aspects into the visual presentation of his works, like collaging and abstract backgrounds, the Arakawa anime pops in a way that only accentuates its oddball charm.
Make Sure To Check Out The Original Arakawa Under The Bridge Manga
As good as the Shimbo directed anime adaptation is, that’s no excuse to not sink your teeth into Hikaru Nakamura’s original manga. If you’re unfamiliar with the offer, she’s perhaps most well known for the controversial Saint Young Men, a series that revolves around both Jesus and Buddha and their life as room-mates in a small Tokyo apartment.
Nakamura’s always had a penchant for comedy that simultaneously pushes the zany envelope in clever new ways yet retains some genuine heart behind it all.
Another reason to continue on with the manga, simply, is that it goes much further than the anime. You have a whole host of new adventures to go on, and new previously unseen denizens of the river-bank to meet.
Something close to a plot eventually starts to materialize, and the idea that Arakawa Under The Bridge eventually goes somewhere pretty interesting should be enticing enough to seek it out.
What Gives Nino The Venusian Her Allure
When your neighbors include a brolic soldier turned nun who still keeps up with his training, a mayor who refuses to acknowledge he’s wearing a Kappa suit, and a guitar-playing idiot who constantly adorns a star-shaped mask, it’s got to be pretty hard to stand out.
Yet, Nino does exactly that every time she’s on the screen. Yes calling her a weirdo would be an understatement, but it’s apparent that she always means well with her incomprehensible actions.
Something akin to being the residential heartthrob though she doesn’t know it, everyone at the riverbed’s at the very least fond of Nino if not flat out in love with her. Supposedly coming from Venus, much of her charm comes from her lack of social awareness and common sense.
Not only is she beautiful and graceful, but she’ll gift you fresh-fish from the riverbed for Christmas and hand-feed them to you too.