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File:Arakawa-ub 3403.jpg

Kou Ichinomiya, heir to the prestigious Ichinomiya Company has only one mission in life: to not owe a favor to anyone. He's lived that way for 21 years. Until one day when, his pants hung up on top of a bridge, he ends up falling, with the bridge pillar, into the river down below. Nino, a girl who lives under the bridge, saves his life. Kou wants to pay her back, but Nino desires nothing except for a boyfriend; so Kou winds up living in strange community under the bridge with Nino, who also claims to be from Venus, now under the name of Recruit ("Ric" for short).

Originally a manga by Hikaru Nakamura, an anime adaptation aired in the spring of 2010, animated by Studio Shaft. A second season, Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge (or Arakawa Under the Bridge x 2), aired in the fall of that year. Not to be confused with Hiromu Arakawa, creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, who presumably doesn't live under a bridge, though she may live in a nearby field...

Tropes used in Arakawa Under the Bridge include:
  • 3D Movie — Sure, it's a Mockbuster of Star Wars, but the 3D is very realistic. Painfully realistic.
  • Actor Allusion — In episode 10 of Season 2 P-ko talks about a human soul while wielding a scythe. Kou also mention how he's in despair.
    • The reference to despair is only in the subs, although the way Kou says it is very similar to Itoshiki's catchphrase.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys — And apparently a parrot head doesn't affect manliness.
  • Art Evolution
  • Art Shift — The fifth episode's opening. Even without the apparent rotoscoping, the art has a rather different look.
    • And every once in a while, Ric shifts into a very shoujo manga look. For example, when he's imagining being Nino's bride (yes, not the other way around), or when he's under "Kameari syndrome" — along with Hoshi and Last Samurai.
  • Artificial Riverbank — The series takes place on one of these.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking — Hilariously averted in the case of Mayor, who is highly respected among the riverbank's society with Riku only pointing out he hasn't got any qualifications for this. Also played straight with Sister and invoked by Stella.
  • Banana Peel — Averted when Kou doesn't even notice that he's walked over them until P-ko points them out. He even goes to point out that nobody slips on them in comedies nowadays. However, it is played straight in the most exaggerated manner shortly after when P-ko steps on a peel and goes on a Slippery Skid forwards and backwards onto more peels before slamming into a wall.
  • Berserk Button — Calling Kou a leech is the only thing that has managed to make him really rage so far, causing him to slip into a Kansai Regional Accent.
    • Maria's inability to snark at the guys causes her to snap on poor P-Ko in Episode 7 of Season 2.
  • Be Yourself — The bridge dwellers seem to center their lives around this rule.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing — Maria, bonus points for keeping actual sheep in her farm. She doesn't bother too much with hiding it, though, as her looks and warm smile work at people who should know better...
  • Blank White Eyes
  • Booby Trap — P-ko tries them around her vegetable garden, but apparently cannot make them work on anyone besides herself. At episode 11 Sister sets some on the riverbank with more success (and the credit going to Ichinomiya Company).
  • Brainwashed — Kou throughout most of episode 8. Maybe those "tengu" aren't just weird guys in masks.
  • Butt Monkey — Most of the characters get their share, but Kou as the outsider of the riverbank society and (deliberately) Only Sane Man gets the prize.
    • P-ko becomes the unfortunate target of Maria's wrath.
  • Cast of Snowflakes
  • Confessional — Between Kou, Hoshi and Sister, though it's closer to an interrogation if anything.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends — Amazoness eventually falls for Hoshi.
  • Cloudcuckooland — The Arakawa riverbank.
  • Cloudcuckoolander — All of the characters.
  • Cool Big SisMaria, bordering even at Onee-Sama territory, although exclusively for the girls and children. The male part of the riverbank society usually receives a solid portion of bitchiness hidden behind a beautiful smile.
  • Comedic Sociopathy
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass — the Mayor... sort of. Also Shiro of all of people in the marathon episode.
  • Crazy Homeless People — Though they're friendly crazy homeless people...mostly.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy — Hoshi over Nino. She barely even notices.
  • Credits Brand Products — In the opening.
  • Cross Counter — Between the Mayor and P-ko of all people in Episode 12 of Season 2.
  • A Day in the Limelight — Last Samurai, Billy and Jacqueline, the only members of the bridge who the audience had not seen at all, get some screentime in the final episode of the first season. Lampshaded, of course.
  • Debt Detester — The protagonist has always lived by this principle, paying all debts as quickly as possible, but he finds himself in a quandry when a crazy woman who lives under a bridge saves his life.
  • Deliberately Cute Child — Stella. She's actually a Cute Bruiser who can and will beat you up.
  • Do Wrong Right — When Stella is mercilessly beating up Kou, which she thinks of as a game, Sister steps inform her she can only get a 3-move combo in. Anything else would be overkill.
  • Dojikko — P-ko. She falls for her own Banana Peel too well.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything? — Ko's morning narrative in episode 8 talks about two toothbrushes (one blue and one pink) "lining up cozily on the window".
  • Ear Worm — The openings and endings of both seasons.
  • Expressive Hair — Nino's hair sometimes has a life of its own.
    • P-ko's also tends to react with her emotions.
  • Expressive Mask — The Iron Brothers' and Hoshi's masks.
  • Fan Service — Episode 4 had the girls in pajamas. And in Maria's case, had them changing into pajamas.
  • Fauxlosophic Narration — Kou starts most episodes with one of these.
  • Festival Episode — Episode 11 of season 2. As well as a Beach Episode.
  • First Kiss — Kou and Nino in Episode 8, much to the dismay of Hoshi and Takai.
  • Fish Out of Water — Kou. Talk about an Incredibly Lame Pun.
  • Force Feeding — Nino's idea of hospitality.
  • Fun T-Shirt — Hoshi wears these.
  • Generation Xerox — Ric's dad gets his trousers stolen on top of the bridge, and refuses Nino's help. This time, however, Nino has already retrieved the trousers with her fishing pole, forcing Ric's dad to walk off without them just to avoid a debt.
  • Giver of Lame Names: The kappa.
  • Gosh Hornet — In episode 5 of season 2 Jacqueline accidentally hits a beehive while trying to grab a bird.
  • Gratuitous English — Stella. She is from England.
  • Ho Yay — Takai is sometimes the Team Dad, but at other times he's got a serious crush on Kou. He has a Kou body pillow.
    • And it squicks even the most insane of the local bridge residents who noticed.
    • In episode 11 of season 2 the first part of the Beach Episode.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl — Both played straight and inverted with Sister and Stella. Sometimes even in the same scene.
    • With Sister's height, this trope works even with the Tall, Dark and Bishoujo Maria, not to mention putting him next to Nino or P-ko...
  • Hulking Out — Stella.
    • And later the Tetsujin brothers in episode 10 of season 2.
  • Human Aliens — Nino, if the Venusian thing is true.
  • Imagine Spot — Kou is sometimes hitting Hosaka's level with his. Especially wild one occurs in episode 6 of the second season, granted with Naughty Tentacles.
  • In the Blood — Kou picked up most of his habits from his father. Whenever his father did something for him, he would always make him pay it back.
  • I Owe You My Life — The premise.
  • Jerkass — Hoshi acts like rather petty and visibly ineffectual Jerk Jock from high school and Rival-wannabe towards Riku.
    • Maria, though she's more of a sadist.
  • Limited WardrobeNino's jersey, well, under the bridge Hoshi seems to be the only one changing his clothes regularly. Although Sister, Kappa and Riku's cases can be justified, and Ric apparently owns plenty of identical clothing.
  • Line-of-Sight Name — How the kappa names people. For example, "Nino-san" comes from the 2-3 on the tag of her track outfit (2 is ni, the dash is no, 3 is san).
  • Live Action Adaptation — Both a TV series and a film have been announced.
  • Living Lie Detector — Sister.
  • Love Martyr — Sister, towards Maria.
  • Mad Bomber — Sister again.
  • Maintain the Lie — Kou has told representatives from his company that he's set up a power generator under the bridge and started a new company around it. The problem begins when the representatives come to check on him.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin — Well, Kou is. Probably has something to do with his 'I won't owe anything to anyone' obsession...
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl — Nino fills the role, though her personality doesn't fit very well.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy — When it comes to romance, Kou and Nino to some extent, as she is The Stoic and he has a bit of a Shoujo heroine's heart. In chapter 162 / episode 7, Kou has an Imagine Spot with Nino wearing a tuxedo and himself wearing a bridal dress, wondering how it got to that point.
  • Medium Blending — Every "On the Next..." (and the first preview of the series) has a live-action man in a kappa suit, and, as of Season 2, a man with a star for a head.
  • Modesty Towel — Nino, much to Kou's surprise.
  • Not a Morning Person — Maria changes from a happy Jerkass to a monster when woken up too early.
  • Nun-Too-Holy — Sister, a man in a nun's habit with a large scar who holds Mass at gunpoint. Actually acts pretty close to a nun too, save for the idiosyncrasies.
  • Only Sane Man — Kou plays this role in the series. However, he can't really be considered "sane" if you consider how far he'll go to avoid debts.
  • Out of Focus — Although the concept of the series is based around Kou and Nino (they even get actor credits in the opening, which is extremely rare in anime), after the first couple of episodes in the anime, Nino shows up no more often than any of the minor characters. This seems to be just to remind the audience that she exists.
  • Pair the Spares — Played straight (albeit a bit bizarrely) with Hoshi and Amazoness.
  • People in Rubber Suits — The mayor, who's very obviously a man in a Kappa suit, but denies it.
    • Jacequline borrows one in episode 7
  • Perpetual Frowner — Sister, though Nino barely avoids this status.
  • Phenotype Stereotype — Sister and Stella are blond and blue-eyed (Sister is also very tall).
    • And so is Nino. May be a Venusian phenotype...
  • Phlebotinum Rebel — It's hinted that the Iron Brothers are this.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia — Ko was completely frozen and beet red at first from his First Kiss. The next few scenes he's running and jumping and screaming like crazy.
  • Power Limiter — The brothers' masks. Although we never see them not wearing them...there's also the scene where they make Kou wear one.
  • Precocious Crush — Stella on Sister.
  • Pretty Freeloaders — Nino regularly stays the night at Kou's place, which Hoshi immediately mistakes for being something else.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
  • Refuge in Audacity
  • Rule of Funny — Pretty much how the entire series runs.
  • Samurai — Last Samurai, obviously. He's also a hair stylist.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses — Kou's father. So scary, that Kou ends up scaring himself by accidentally looking at the mirror when bespectacled.
  • Skepticism Failure — Inverted, at their first meeting, Kou believes, at least for a few minutes, that the man in the green suit is indeed a Kappa.
    • He comes up with the idea of Hoshi being a star-shaped monster feeding itself with heads of young men to posses their corpses and control it, rather than him being a young man himself and wearing a mask. Arakawa Riverbank's logic's sank into him indeed.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely — Nino is stunning in that dress.
    • Also Amazoness, though this is a case of literally cleaning off her makeup.
  • Ship Tease — Think about dream man bare minimum Maria's looking for in episode 3 of second season.
  • Shout-Out — Several, such as to Doraemon (Kou's imagine spot during Nino's bath).
    • One particularly noticeable one was in the first episode in regards to Phoenix Wright
    • In the first episode of the second season, Hoshi's head becomes an invincibility star.
    • Sister apparently owes some thanks for his knife skills to an old snake.
    • From his commentary during P-ko and the Mayor's fight, apparently both Ric and the Mayor are fans of Ashita no Joe.
    • When Amazoness displays the box containing "treasure" in the second episode of season two, Kou wonders if there's any O-Parts inside.
      • Also from the same episode, Amazoness says "And doesn't this makeup make me look like Avril?"
  • Souvenir Land — Never trust the Arakawa bridge community to build a theme park.
  • Space Is an Ocean — Taken literally in the second season OP.
  • Squeaky Eyes — Frequently, especially when the focus is Kou's eyes. P-ko used the "plonk! plink!" sound usually found in Western animation.
  • The Stoic — Sister.
    • Not So Stoic — Which results in High-Pressure Blood spraying from the scar on his cheek.
    • Nino is also one. Kou has a tough time reading her emotions, since her face never changes.
  • Invisible to Gaydar — Underneath that manly suit, Takai's actually very crazy for Ko.
  • Super OCD — Whitey is obsessed with standing on white lines to the point where he actually lugs around a portable line-maker wherever he goes. It is unknown what happens when he is taken off a white line, but during the Arakawa sumo tournament mini-arc both Sister and Maria withdrew from the finals because they did not want to find out.
  • Surreal Theme Tune — The OP, par for the course for Shaft.

A princess in clown's lipstick wakes you up from your nap...