In theaters this weekend is the adaptation of popular manga and later j-drama series, Arakawa Under the Bridge THE MOVIE.
Arakawa is a drama-comedy following the story of rich boy, Riku, who has been tasked to survey the site of a new development project by his father’s company.
Riku finds that the site, located on the Arakawa River, is already occupied by a strange community of people: a “mayor” who dresses in a kappa suit, a musician who wears a star shaped mask, a former soldier-for-hire who dresses as a nun, and more. At first, he’s taken aback by the odd bunch. Over time, through interacting with them, he begins to understand and grow attached to them, despite the fact that the inevitable date when these quirky residents must be kicked out looms ahead.
The entire cast of the popular drama that aired in the summer of 2011 reprise their roles in this film: Hayashi Kento plays Riku, Oguri Shun plays the kappa, Yamada Takayuki plays the star-headed musician, and Kiritani Mirei plays the beautiful heroine.
As you can see, Arakawa features some of Japan’s heavy-hitters: Oguri Shun of Hana yori dango and Yamada Takayuki of Densha Otoko or Train Man. However, instead of placing them in leading roles, they’re relegated to supporting characters and wearing humiliating costumes. Oguri and Yamada take their parts seriously, though, and deliver passionate, sometimes hilarious performances. This is one of Arakawa’s charms.
The drama’s success lay in its inventive characters and unexpectedly heartwarming plot. The film promises to bring back all the elements that made the drama so popular, as well as tell stories original to the film. There’s something to look forward to for new audiences and old fans.
Arakawa Under the Bridge THE MOVIE hits theaters in Japan on February 4th. Let us know in the comments what you think of the trailer and more.