First Impressions are looking up: Otome Yokai Zakuro + Arakawa Under the Bridge

Otome Yokai Zakuro

Oh don't mind me, I'm just getting attacked by roses. Nice...

With everything else out this season, Otome Yokai Zakuro went way under my radar. I was half-expecting something like an already established group getting past their species difference to trust each other, with some mild adversary along the way. Not what looks like a matchmaking service, where the real problem between the characters is the unresolved sexual tension. In other words, I wasn’t expecting a full blown shoujo. With a main character so who is so bishounen he has tamed the wild forces of bishie sparkles and flowers for use in diplomatic situations.

It’s only one episode in but I’m already enjoying all 3 1/2 of the couples. A lot of them are playing towards a stereotype but seeing what’s inevitably coming adds to the humour, and you try to deny that Mr Tall, Dark and Scary’s moment with his partner wasn’t kind of sweet. And I bet that Zakuro’s moments of fancying Mr “Bishie Sparke” Agemaki is going to be constantly on her mind the whole time she’s with him, making everything really awkward. And funny.

Only recently have I realised that I actually like shoujo, so the standard shoujo plot this may develop into hasn’t grown old for me yet. The animation suits the tone of the show, though all the symbolic flower imagery in the opening has me a tad confused. My one worry is that the girls are going to do all the fighting and make the guys look stupidly lame. If the guys aren’t going to do anything, then there’s no real point in them being there except for the matchmaking.

Arakawa Under the Bridge x2

She forgot to put the fire on I thought Ric looked cool in this pic, though Arakawa has so many crazy screenshots to choose from it's hard to decide

Arakawa seems to be picking up where it left off; from the very first scene with Nino and Recruit it was like the series had never ended. The opening is just as wacky, Star is still egotistic and romantically lost, Recruit is still good looking and temperamental, Nino is possibly going to be more Nino than ever before, what’s not to look forward to?

I know that Arakawa ended well, and that a second season wasn’t really needed, but that definitely doesn’t mean that more Arakawa isn’t anything less than awesome (similar reasons make up my case behind why they should make a second season of Baccano and Mushishi). Arakawa fundamentally has an episodic format; a plot’s all well and good but the humour’s there in any situation. Daily life’s more that enough to keep me watching Arakawa, a thought out plot is an anticipated a bonus.

3 Replies to “First Impressions are looking up: Otome Yokai Zakuro + Arakawa Under the Bridge”

  1. I was also surprised by Zakuro, I hope it continues to be entertaining.

    I wouldn’t say Arakawa is principally without a plot, however. The first season showed Kou/Ric growing a lot as a person. The amount of chaos that goes on around the main plot is considerable, so I kind of understand your point, in that there is plenty to enjoy, without the plot pushing things forcefully. I do hope, however, that this season will consistently work towards the revealing/healing of Nino, in the way that the first season did for Ric. The I Ching talks about the penetrating ability of the Gentle Wind:

    Penetration produces gradual and inconspicuous effects. It should be effected not by an act of violation, but by influence that never lapses. Results of this kind are less striking to the eye than those won by surprise attack, but they are more enduring and more complete.

    I think this is a good way to think about plot in Arakawa, constant, gentle influence that has an enduring effect.

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