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Autumn 2010 – First Impressions (Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge & Shinrei Tantei Yakumo)

October 5, 2010

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.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. adaywithoutme permalink
    October 6, 2010 1:07 am

    Shinrei Tantei Yakumo’s first episode was massively re-written from its manga form, and I think this is why the pacing was so bad – they pretty much changed everything about the murder at the center of the whole, from the number of victims to who the culprit was. If you liked the anime version even a little bit, you should check out the manga as it is much better and much more cohesive.

    • October 6, 2010 7:28 pm

      Hmmm wonder why they changed it so much. If I remain iffy about the anime after another two eps I’ll give the manga a whirl instead.

  2. October 6, 2010 5:22 am

    I completely agree with both reviews. Arakawa is BACK! Yes! I’m really looking forward to getting details on Nino’s past, and I take the elements you mentioned as evidence that Shaft knows what I want and is going to deliver.

    Yakumo was not particularly engaging, but had an interesting idea and some decent visuals. I might check out another episode, but they didn’t really hook me. The fact that that flaming building didn’t add any excitement is a bad sign, though.

    • October 6, 2010 7:31 pm

      Really thrilled to have Arakawa back – its off to a promising start too thankfully!

      I was a bit iffy about Yakumo from preview since its Bee-Train – I’m always a bit iffy about Bee-Train. Hoping it will improve though.

      • October 7, 2010 6:22 am

        I know what you mean about Bee-Train. I used to watch their shows based on having enjoyed .Hack//Sign, but they disappointed me over and over.

        • October 7, 2010 8:31 pm

          I don’t know what it is about them as a studio – something just rubs me the wrong way. Think it started when they destroyed the Tsubasa Chronicle anime adaptation.

  3. Michael permalink
    October 6, 2010 6:40 am

    I’m excited for the second season of arakawa under the bridge. The one thing that I wish they would keep from the 1st season is the ending I mean the ending “arakawa under the bridge” was amazing in the first season.. But I’m not gonna bitch about it because I’m happy that it’s back.. I am looking forward very much to this anime and I am very excited to watch it.

    • October 6, 2010 7:31 pm

      Wasn’t overly in love with the ED for S1 – usually skipped over it to the preview and eyecatch 😄

  4. October 7, 2010 10:09 pm

    Completely agree with what you said about Arakawa. Nuff said.

    Re: Yakumo, I really liked this one; wasn’t perfect, but really liked the brooding build up and the visuals and thought the two leads were solid, not least of all the fact that they’re uni students, as opposed to annoying kids. I like the dark supernatural theme, so I’m looking forward to this as, what looks like will be, an episodic style show with a framing plot threading through everything, though I agree that the intro. of the latter was a little rushed. Oh and re:

    …Daisuke Ono is always melty.

    Completely, completely, completely agree! 😀

    • October 8, 2010 5:13 pm

      I was expecting more mystery and actual detective work (a bit like a cross between Ghost Hunt and Himitsu) along with the brooding though, so was a bit disappointed at how transparent and easily resolved this first case was.

      Still, definitely agree that uni students = automatic plus point and that the show has sufficent interest to warrant another look……Day says that they took major liberties with the manga, which seems to be the reason for the dodgey pacing – perhaps that will iron out in a few episodes.

      Glad someone else shares my love of the melty voiced Ono 😄

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