Autumn 2010 – First Impressions (Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge & Shinrei Tantei Yakumo)
Last two reviews from me tonight, and this time its shows that I was actually looking forward to! So onward to Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge and Shinrei Tantei Yakumo.
Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge
Arakawa has lost none of its charm in this second season – we’re straight back into the randomness of Under the Bridge in this episode. Nino and Ric are still taking baby-steps in their relationship, but at least Ric is now completely aware of his feelings and tries to get closer to Nino. Already this sequel seems to be hinting that we’ll be getting more on Nino’s past this time round – that was the major thing I wanted some information on by the end of S1; its small things like Nino’s dream, the clothing in her room and the other older residents attitude towards her, that hint Nino will be getting some character development soon. Other than that the episode had the same flavour as any other episode of Arakawa and easily reintroduced the familiar characters as well as gave us another brief scene of the Amazon seen at the end of S1.
Production values seem to be just as high as ever, Arakawa has always been a really attractive series and this episode has some lovely shots and some brilliant facial expressions. The fantastic cast is back and joined by Yuu Kobayashi as the Amazon (absolutely perfect choice for that role). The OP animation was inspired – loads of space themed stuff this time rather than the underwater stuff in S1’s OP. The accompanying song ‘Cosmos Vs Alien’ has the same vibe as S1’s ‘Venus to Jesus’ and it’s just basically a really fun OP. No ED this week, and the previews now have a live action Hoshi rather than last seasons live action Mayor – great stuff.
Very pleased to have Arakawa back, I really did love the first season – hopefully the show continues in this vein and we get the same mix of brilliant comedy, gorgeous animation and touching character development that made the show such a return to form for SHAFT. I’ll definitely be blogging this series again.
Shinrei Tantei Yakumo (Psychic Detective Yakumo)
Ah yes, this was very Bee-Train – the case was resolved extremely quickly yet somehow the episode felt slow, full of long expositionary dialogues and expressive music that sometimes seems mismatched to the scene, and then suddenly exciting camera angles and Mr ‘hello I am your antagonist’ in the last-minute or so…..really weird pacing going on here. Also exceptionally stupid scenes like our titular protagonist and his newly recruited sidekick having a nice touching heart to heart – on the roof of a burning building! and this weeks badguy being frightened out of attempted murder by Yakumo’s funky red eye – I mean it’s not like the eye glows or has lasers shooting out of it or anything – it’s just red. I have loads of issues with this episode, but there is still potential here – I do like the premise and even though the characters are pretty bog standard for this type of show, they’re still reasonably interesting.
Production isn’t wonderful – clearly Bee-Train hasn’t been given much of a budget for this show. The backgrounds are bland, character designs decent but unexciting – there are some nice shots, but they’re few and far between. Sound design is weird – Bee-Train always seem to have very expressive, grandiose BGM and this is no exception – although some of the choices are a bit random and it skirts the line of actually being jarring in some scenes. I did really like the ED though, but the OP will take a few more listens – it was interesting though, liked the animation too. Voice cast is sound – Daisuke Ono is always melty.
So mixed feelings about this, I’ll definitely need a few more episodes before I make my mind up about it. The premise has potential, but I have issues with the pacing, production and some stupid scenes – Yakumo is getting a trial run.