Aliens Living in a Van Down by the River
Arakawa Under the Bridge may be the greatest 80’s sitcom that never existed. Until 2010 that is.
Something that gripes me about modern audience is how they’ve convinced themselves that certain formulas and clichés are somehow inherently bad. Anime fans don’t like the “monster of the week” format because they think there’s something intrinsically wrong with a story that has some sort of pattern to its narrative. And modern fans, whether they’re anime fans or TV fans or internet porn fans, don’t care for high concept sitcoms.
Arakawa Under the Bridge is such a high concept sitcom that you’d expect to have seen during the 80’s. Take a yuppie dude who refuses to owe anyone anything and force him to live with a bunch of nutjob homeless mental freaks and expose his yuppie lifestyle as being just as fucknuts as their illnesses. I’m surprised no one actually made this sitcom back in the day. It’s like someone cryogenically froze the staff of one of the big three networks around 1986 and thawed them out sometime last year and forced them to make an anime with SHAFT.
The very concept seems to turn off some fans, and it’s a shame that they feel “superior” to such a canned concept. It isn’t inferior to the other stuff that’s out there, it’s just different and awesome in its own right.
I love the very concept of this anime for this reasons. Such a high concept is rife with comedic potential. The whole “living with the homeless crazies” opens the doors for all sorts of awesome supporting characters. We’ve already seen a dude dressed as a kappa that genuinely believes he’s the last of a dying breed of mythical creatures. I really dig his world-weary, put-on attitude. Promo art also shows some dude with a star on/for his head, so I’m sure the whacked-out side characters will continue to issue forth.
In my little mental anime dream world, I envision Arakawa taking place in the same “universe” as Cromartie High School. Both series have a similar dry humor punctuated with “WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT” moments when the “normals” see something totally freaked out and messed up. The kappa totally needs to hang with Mechazawa. And at the same time I see both series taking place in the same universe as Astro Fighter Sunred. Again, they share a similar sense of humor and the characters would totally mesh. Nino can join in on Vamp’s cooking lessons and teach him some homeless person fish recipes or something like that.
Not much else to say here, since there’s only so much you can say about a straight-up comedy without completely dissecting and ruining the humor, but I think this is going to be yet another awesome series. This season’s shaping up to be pretty damn cool based on most of these first episodes.