Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
4K UHD
International DVDs
In Theaters
Reviews by Studio
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Savant
Horror DVDs
The M.O.D. Squad
Art House
HD Talk
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum

Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

Columns




Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge: Premium Edition

Other // Unrated // February 7, 2012
List Price: $69.99 [Buy now and save at Nisamerica]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted February 29, 2012 | E-mail the Author


http-equiv="content-type">
Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge Review


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1330488858_1.png"
height="225" width="400">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">

Arakawa Under the Bridge
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> is
based
upon a Japanese manga created by Hikaru Nakamura.  
It is a long-running publication that began
with the release of volume one in 2005 and it isn't even completed yet.
The
twelfth volume is the most recent release and it was only released a
few months
ago in 2011. The anime adaptation resulted in two seasons that
emphasized only
portions of the manga series. It aired between April and December of
2011.
Season two (as made available on this Blu-ray Premium Edition set) was
entitled
Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge (to
reflect it as a second season in a creative way).


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
series essentially focuses on a group of
outcasts who are all extremely silly, serious, and everything
in-between those
realms. The central characters on the show are Recruit (Hiroshi Kamiya)
and
Nino (Maaya Sakamoto). Recruit's "real-name" is Ichinomiya Ko. I wasn't
sure
what I thought of Rec's character in the beginning but he turned out to
be a
great character. His family has a motto that says "Never be indebted to
anyone", but as Arakawa Under the Bridge
progresses it seems pretty clear that some of his views begin shifting.
He
almost died in the beginning of the series (during season one) and Nino
is a
nearby person who happens to save his life. Oh... about Nino. She's a
Venusian.
Not just your ordinary earthling.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
series focuses more on the day to day activities
of these characters and their unique viewpoints and characterizations.
It's all
in the name of getting to know the characters... though there is a huge
emphasis
on the randomness of it all as well. I was reminded by watching this
show what
it felt like to experience FLCL for the first time. I think that the
entirety
of the first season of Arakawa captures this feeling, as do many
moments that
come from Arakawa Under the Bridge x
Bridge
. This is the kind of special anime that is capable of
clicking with
certain audience members astoundingly well and it's the sort of story
one wants
to share with friends.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Nino
brings out a lot of the heart behind the
series. She's a sweet, charming, and caring character who winds up
choosing Rec
as her "lover", and the pair becomes closer to one another over the
course of
the series run. One of the best elements of the series comes from
watching the
developing romance and friendship between Nino and Rec. She's the
laidback one
while Rec seems a bit too preoccupied with being "perfect" at the start
to
completely realize what he was lacking before meeting Nino. He was too
focused
on a possibility he thought he could reach... a perfection that is
unattainable.
For everyone ultimately needs the love and support of others to carry
on. Rec's
ambitions are quite relatable but it does take him some time to
recognize some
of the other elements of humanity the way he should.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">There is
a massive supporting cast on the show. When
Rec is saved by Nino he decides (somewhat reluctantly) that he must do
whatever
she wants in order to stay out of her debt. So... he winds up living
under a
bridge with her and under that bridge he ends up meeting many strange
inhabitants
that make up an oddball family of free spirits. This doesn't sit well
with him
at first, but over the course of the series everyone becomes incredibly
close
and viewers are going to grow more familiar with the characters and
thereby
more invested in their individual stories.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1330463577_5.png"
height="225" width="400">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1330489154_1.png"
height="225" width="400">

style="">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
Chief is the leader of the group (or so some
say). He pretends to be a kappa, which is a mythological Japanese
creature, and
he wears a green suit to get the full effect. Hoshi is the wannabe rock
star
with a star-shaped happy-looking mask on his face (I loved a line where
a
characters watched him fall asleep running and said something "He's
probably
dreaming of playing at Budokan", a likely a reference to Maaya
Sakamoto's
anniversary show). Sister is... actually
a dude dressed in a nun's outfit who is the source of the group's main
spiritual
setting (and he gives out cookies all the time). He's extremely
obsessed with
body building and the power of muscle. There are so many other
additional
supporting characters that in adding up the total tally there are
easily about
ten other characters I could continue talking about (if I wanted to
drone-about endlessly). There's so much
uniqueness
on Arakawa in regards to these zany and
fun characters.  


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
first season of the show (available in a
Blu-ray/DVD combo release separate from this Arakawa Under
the Bridge x Bridge
release) was in no overestimation
a truly magnificent series and it easily earned a great spot as one of
the best
anime series in recent years. There is no doubt that it will be the
kind of
series to find new fans year after year if a fanbase forms that is
devoted
enough to making sure that newcomers are aware of it. Arakawa
Under the Bridge
is the rare anime that deserves that kind
of solid attention.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
second season just didn't manage to live up to
the potential that was in place following the conclusion of the first
season. The
episodes were still hilarious in parts (a massive and notable positive)
but the
storytelling and characterizations suffered. The biggest issue was that
the
second season doesn't resolve all of the plot or story-related ideas it
presents. A plot-line is introduced that suggests the characters might
actually
visit Venus (which isn't something that happens) and a few other
elements don't
entirely resolve by the ending.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">This
wasn't a major issue during the introductory
season and I expected the same high level of craftsmanship this time
around.
Then there's the fact that some main characters were slightly
out-of-character
during certain moments (and this was particularly noticeable for Rec as
he
become almost a caricature of his philosophical and deep self during a
multi-episode run that became increasingly weak in providing accurate
characterization
while working towards the concluding moments).


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">style=""> Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge was
a
weak season in comparison to the first. There were many moments of
brilliance
(one episode has romantic genius written all over it as more is
revealed about
Nino and Rec to one another through bizarre tape-recordings). It simply
didn't
compare to the brilliance radiating throughout the entire first season.
But it
does manage to offer some genuinely classic moments which are
"sprinkled-throughout" with some of the most memorable anime characters
regardless.
 It does stumble a bit during this second
season but a large part of that was because the manga still hasn't
finished.
Sadly, there might never be a third season, though I'd be
thrilled if
a surprise announcement arrived.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
conclusion is an open-ending (a sort of "meeting you halfway"
conclusion) and the series doesn't give off vibes of being style="font-style: italic;">completely finished. I wish there
was a third season. Even without knowing if more will ever be produced style="">Arakawa Under the Bridge and Arakawa
Under the Bridge x Bridge
are
entertaining, massively creative, and quirky good fun.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1330462812_3.jpg"
height="225" width="400">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1330462811_1.jpg"
height="225" width="400">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
Blu-ray:


align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Video:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">NIS
America continues to release anime in North America with excellent
(even
stunning) transfers. This release of Arakawa
Under the Bridge x Bridge
features an
amazing video
presentation that captures the breathtaking animation with all of its
lush
details, found within the uniquely memorable character designs and the
great
animation backdrops. Viewers won't walk away feeling disappointed by
the 1080p
High Definition visuals. The series alternates between 1.78:1 and 
2.:35:1 aspect ratios  (select scenes are presented in the wider
scope for what I assume is intended as a more poetic or thrilling
visual effect).


style="">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Please
Note:style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> The
images featured
in this review are from the DVD editions in this Blu-ray/DVD combo
release.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Audio:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
audio presentation is almost an equal match to
the video. The Uncompressed PCM lossless 2.0 audio for the Japanese
language dub
is fantastic with sharp clarity, strong depth, and decent vitality.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
music and dialogue sound incredible! Arakawa Under the
Bridge x Bridge
has
numerous sound effects that were utilized quite effectively with this
noteworthy
sound presentation. 


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Please
be aware that the English subtitles are
non-removable on these Blu-ray discs. These subtitles are larger in
comparison
to the first season's release (but it isn't hugely distracting and it
becomes
something easy to adjust to). There is also no English dub option; the
only
audio presentation available is for the Japanese audio. Don't worry
about the
dub quality though. The Japanese VA's were perfect for these characters.


style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center; line-height: normal;"
align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Extras:style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The most
notable bonus feature is arguably the fancy
packaging available to this Premium Edition product. The oversized box
makes it
something that won't fit on the shelf with the typically standard
packaging of
Blu-ray's or DVD's but it will appeal to anime collectors. It doesn't
disappoint! The art-box is beautiful with full-art on either side.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1330462812_5.jpg"
height="397" width="400">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">There is
also an art-book inside featuring character
notes, interview materials with cast members, a commentary featuring
the
original manga author, and more. This art-book contains over 30 pages
of
excellent information, artwork, and interview material. Fans should
certainly
enjoy this aspect of NIS releases. The included art-book used for this
release
of Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge was
particularly well put together and satisfying to behold.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Episode commentaries
are also included: these
featured select members of the Japanese Voice Cast on episodes 1-4 of style="">Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Rounding
out the extras are TV Promos, an
End Card Gallery
, and trailers for other NIS America
releases.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1330463577_6.png"
height="225" width="400">


style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Final
Thoughts:


style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Arakawa
Under the Bridge
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">was one
of my
favorite delights in recent anime viewing. The second season (herein
reviewed)
was entitled Arakawa Under the Bridge x
Bridge
and it didn't quite manage to equally match the first
season... it's
still a beautiful anime with an immensely lush world of remarkable
animation,
solid characters, and comedic moments.


style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
pricing for the Premium Edition Blu-ray/DVD
Combo release is expensive but worth it, and even more so considering
the
excellent video/audio presentation in combination with collector-worthy
packaging and an art-book with plenty of material.


style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Highly
Recommended.
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.


C O N T E N T

V I D E O

A U D I O

E X T R A S

R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
Highly Recommended

E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Popular Reviews
1. Spawn of the North
2. Cary Grant Collection
3. Clockwise
4. Breezy
5. The Sign of the Cross
6. A Different Story
7. First Snow
8. Carole Lombard Collection I (Fast and Loose / Man of the World / No Man of Her Own)
9. Ghost In The Shell
10. Gunsmoke Movie Collection


Sponsored Links
Sponsored Links