Arakawa Under the Bridge Review

59197Story:
On the edge of the Arakawa river, Ko Ichinomiya ends up indebted to a young girl who lives there. Unable to stand the idea of not paying back his debt, he readily agrees to stay with her, little knowing just how crazy this self-proclaimed “Venusian” and her friends are.

Violence:
Despite the comedy being largely slap-stick, there is quite a bit of blood (no deaths. This is a comedy, after all). Shot wounds, scars re-opening and being slammed into the ground are rather common in this show. However, it’s often so over-the-top, I doubt it would be scary to anyone. Even so, if you have a violence aversion…. steer clear.

Language:
The usual b-words and sh-ts. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

Nudity:
This is actually a pretty clean show in this department. I can’t tell you how nice it is to be seeing less nudity in shows. I wonder how long this will keep up….

Theology/mythology:
There is a supposed Catholic priest in this. I say “supposed” because he’s… kinda crazy. That said, some verses are quoted. Also a saying or two from Buddha.  Often these quotes are slightly altered for comedy’s sake or completely out of context. There’s really no message on spirituality to be had here. Just a string of jokes, each more over-the-top than the last.  (quick note: the jokes do not poke fun at the religions, but rather at the idiots who are quoting them incorrectly)

Personal impression:
This show was pretty funny. Crazy, but funny. It’s also surprisingly sweet. Most comedies tend to keep to the jokes and softer scenes are forgotten (a few exceptions exist, such as My Ordinary Life, of course). There was even a bit of character development. Sadly, the end of this show came up faster than I believe the creators intended and the build up for the MC to face his largest fear just… sizzled out. And because there was quite a bit of build up, the drop at the end was more than a little disappointing.
While this show is funny and even, at times, sweet, it still falls into the same issue so many anime do: not really going anywhere. If you need a comedic break, this is a really fun watch. But don’t get your hopes up for a strong conclusion.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 13
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Comedy, romance
Company: NIS America
Official streaming: Hulu

The Eccentric Family Review

Story:
Yasaburou is the third son in a tanuki family living in Kyoto, Japan. Aside from the usual human residents, the city is a maze of other tanuki, tengu and various “magical items” that attempt to ignore each other while also interacting on a daily basis. Despite his father having been a great leader, and his older brother’s dreams of following suit, Yasaburou really just wants his life to be interesting. Unfortunately, he might get more than he bargains for when facts concerning his father’s death come to light.

Violence:
We see a lot of slap stick stuff in here, a few bloody noses and scrapes. Nothing too serious, actually.

Language:
The usual YA stuff, d-mns, sh-ts and the occasional b-word.

Nudity:
This series almost got a WZ for this section. Aside from some crude jokes (the old man is kinda a pervert), there’s also a part where a woman strips and swims with a whale naked (no details shown) and a bath scene or two. It doesn’t quite cross the line, but when paired with the jokes it can be awkward now and again. Defiantly a YA title.

Theology/mythology:
Youkai are a common element of this series, so if that bothers you, skip this show. There are also mentions of Japanese gods here and there. Again, as common with Japan, no deep explanations or doctrines are given.

Personal impression:
I enjoyed this show, though I must admit it wasn’t the most exciting run for me. This series is very laid back and, although it’s entertaining, there were expanses where I wasn’t entirely sure if anything actually happened. By the tail end of the series, things pick up, but it’s defiantly a slow starter. It also seeks to show, don’t tell, especially with its characters. This means that not everyone is well explained and even tiny details told in passing could mean a great deal, so it’s not a show you can zone out to. Unless you want to miss import bits of info. It also has a nice run of comedy that keeps event he darker scenes bright.
The art is a bit odd and fits the tone of the show: casual. The music is rather unremarkable, though, like the art, it fits well enough.
While those deep in the anime/Japanese culture find this title spellbinding, I just simply felt it was an enjoyable watch. Not bad by any means, but I wouldn’t really call it stellar. If you like shows with a laid back vibe and artsy flare, you’ll probably enjoy this title. Just don’t come looking for a fast paced plot. It takes time for this train to get going, although, once it does, it has a very even pace.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 13
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Fantasy, comedy, drama
Company: NIS America
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screenshots:
 photo e1_zpsb760d70d.jpg photo e3_zpsb6d7aa94.jpg photo e2_zps7bca85c4.jpg

Streaming Pick of the Month: Natsume’s Book of Friends!

October is here! Time to get your creepy on as the weather cools and leaves begin transform! What’s that? You want a show that has some creepy and a touching plot? Oh and wonderful artwork too? Look no further!

Natsume has the dubious honor of inheriting both his grandmother’s mysterious Book of Friends and her horrifying ability to see Youkai, mystical creatures unseen by most mortals. This makes his life a waking nightmare where fellow humans shun him and Youkai relentlessly chase him. Or they did until Natsume comes into favor with a powerful Youkai and gains a bodyguard. Committing himself to releasing the names of the Youkai bound to the Book of Friends, Natsume and his bodyguard come into contact with every Youkai imaginable and just as many humans, their stories touching and affecting one another in complicated and wondrous ways. (See the full review here!)

The first 39 episodes of this ongoing series are available legally via Crunchyroll for viewing (a fourth season is also available). The first two seasons are now licensed for a US release this month via NIS America.
Click here to start watching!

Note: Streaming shows are not always available for free viewing. Be sure to watch the shows of your choice before they’re gone!