Less than 3 minutes in and a Phoenix Wright reference? This one's a keeper.

Kou is a very wealthy man who lives with a very strict policy on life – to never be in debt to anyone, to do everything himself and to never have anyone do him in a favour. He lives eccentrically like this in pride, until one day a series of mishaps results in him falling in a river where his life is saved by the mysterious girl Nino, who lives under the bridge and says quite non-chalantly that she comes from Venus.
Kou is devastated at being in debt to someone so tries to make it up to her somehow as soon as possible – however, when he asks what Nino would like, she wants a boyfriend. Thus in order to keep his ridiculous ‘honour’ intact, Kou becomes Nino’s boyfriend – and by extension must live with her under the bridge. Nino, however, is not the only one there, there seems to be other oddballs that Kou will have to contend with.

It's that grass again - it's SHAFT alright.

Okay SHAFT, let’s put the past behind us. I’ll forget that Dance in the Vampire Bund exists and we can be best friends forever again.
This show has been getting mixed reviews all over the place – some have found it gut-wrenchingly loltacular and others are saying it tries too hard and falls flat, others still say it doesn’t try at all.  And as for me, after this episode I can pretty much say I’m in that first category. After an incredibly underwhelming start to the new season based on the titles I picked first, I really was waiting to see something that would get me excited. And Arakawa is it.
It’s stupid and ridiculous. Kou goes into asthma attacks when he realizes he’s in someone’s debt. The ‘mayor’ of under the bridge is a guy in a kappa suit. Judging from the promo pictures, that guy is one of the least weird characters I am going to see. You know how you get lots of anime that try to be funny by just being stupid and random? Arakawa is random and stupid as hell, but that’s not why it was so funny to me. It’s stupid, but it’s also…smart. The comic timing and the way the punchlines are delivered just brought a smile to my face each time. It just has very clever writing, and it’s very hard to explain what makes this show good. It’s something that needs to be experienced.
The animation is crisp enough with Shaft’s usual flair, however they avoid going completely over the top this time. Only enough to be visually interesting without being Bakemonogatari-pretentious (as much as I love Bakemonogatari).
Nino also has a very appealing design – and her strange aloofness is quite cute. Whether she’s really from Venus or not is up for speculation right now. If his voice actor didn’t give it away, Kou is very Zetsubou-Sensei-esque in terms of sheer ridiculousness. In fact I’m going to forward the theory that he’s one of Nozomu’s longlost relatives.
Welcome to the blog, Arakawa.


Out of 5,