One of 2004's best-regarded series is back, now in a beautiful thinpak set! 12 year old Arumi and Sashi stumble onto a dimensional portal that sends them careening between parallel worlds like their own?only not.
Antonio D. Paolucci | Beaver Falls, PA | 11/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On my first attempt at watching Abenobashi, I was only able to see the first two episodes and the last two episodes, so I saw the extent of the comedy as well as the drama that makes-up this show. I was convinced, in seeing these four episodes, that this was as close an FLCL copy as there was, and quite a good copy at that. But, in only seeing the episodes I did, I was left quite confused. I realized only after purchasing the box set that I had missed a lot.
Abenobashi is about two childhood friends, Sasshi and Arumi, who live in a shopping center in the southern Japanese area of Osaka (the accents of the characters seem to play on the American interpretation of north and south). We join their story as Sasshi is exploring the ruins of a bathhouse his family once owned and he's getting the news from his friend Arumi that her and her family are moving to Hokkaido so that her father can live his dream. But, on their way back to her family's place of business, a small French restaurant, her grandfather has a fall and is hospitalized. Thus starts a series of events in many magical worlds of Sasshi's creation, and the conflict comes in discovering just why they keep ending up in these strange worlds and why no matter how much they try they can't get back to their home world.
These worlds are mostly parodies of popular forms of entertainment, namely anime, video games, and Hollywood movies. Sasshi and Arumi must play the game in each world to its fullest extent in order to make the next "jump." And in each world, there is the common cast of characters, all regulars of the normal day Abenobashi, with the exception of Mune Mune, a character-parody of fan-service, and Mister Eutus, who seems to actually know what is happening to Sasshi and Arumi. Both of these characters have a dramatic roles that are revealed later.
The episodes of parody are hilarious, with funny dialogue happening between the characters and recognizable stereotypes in which the characters play off of. It's always interesting to see what will come out of Sasshi's head and mouth next. The rules in each world are different, as are the settings (though always based in Abenobashi), and even with different artistic styles of drawing. Every parody is as unique as the next.
Then there are those four episodes that are purely dramatic. These are what caught me off my guard. In my original viewing of the first four episodes, I got the feeling that everything between episode one and thirteen were purely satirical and comedic. Yet the middle episodes were as serious as possible, explaining the apparent history of Abenobashi, along with the history of Sasshi and Arumi's family. And then we find out the true reason for Sasshi's creation of these parody worlds, and Abenobashi takes a serious dramatic turn.
When all is said and done, you'll realize that, while it parodies a lot of what we know as anime fans, the story itself has plenty of morals and themes. It's more about a boy wanting to protect his best friend from the worst, and only realizing in the end that he might not be able to do it. It's also about the significant power of friendship and what one can accomplish with someone behind them. It's a great story, nowhere near as hectic or comedic as FLCL, with undertones that are meant to jab at the human soul, and not only at our funny bone.
I recommend this for anyone who enjoyed FLCL, as it's made by the same people and has a lot of the same themes and animation style. I also recommend Abenobashi for anyone who enjoys experimentation in their anime, as well as good, plot driven stories. Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi ends up being one of those smart anime that needs further interpretation in order to understand it."
Go for the individual DVDs
R. Cobb | Omaha, NE | 01/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"You're missing out on some hilarious outakes and the ADVidnotes if you get the thin pack version. I'd originally borrowed the DVDs from a friend and watch thru twice (with Vidnotes the second time). When the thin pack came out I picked it up, pretty much just to have. While going thru my collection recently, I popped in the first DVD and was disappointed that none of the extras were included. I'm probably going to trade in the thin-pack set and order the series here.
Anyways, the series itself is funny in its own right. Much like Excel Saga, Abenobashi takes an irreverent stab at many anime genres and pop culture."
Gabbi White | Chicago, IL | 01/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am surprised no one wrote a review about this anime. It is hilariously funny. Like the description says, it all starts out when Arumi and Sasshi jump into different worlds. They aren't sure how they get there but there are a few connecting facotrs about each world. Each world is a parody or spoof of some video game, anime or movie genre. It is worth watching if you want to laugh. I sponser an anime club and I brought this anime for the club to watch. The members in the club were 14-17 year olds and they couldn't stop laughing."
Great series--both funny and sad
Nimbus | 12/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What I liked best about this series is that it parodied a lot of the genres included in anime cartoons--caveman, fantasy castle, mystery, WWII, etc. It was fun to guess which world the two kids would fall into next....and then be surprised by a sudden sprinkling of a serious episode that would explain why they are going from one world to the next. ...The animation could have been better (especially the water balloon episode--ugh!), but I think it was drawn a little hastily at times on purpose, for humor. ...I was actually kind of sad while watching the last episode; I didn't want it to end. Great series!"
All the fun of every anime in one show
Ronnie Clay | Winnsboro, Louisiana | 09/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As pronounced here in America "Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi" is the most off the wall anime I have ever seen. *SLIGHT SPOILER AHEAD*. Main characters Sasshi and Arame go on adventures... many of them. Most of the adventures make fun of other Anime. This is also about Sasshi and Arame trying to get bakc at their own dimension. Every dimension is pretty much a different anime. They get to these dimensions by Pokemon like Goblins [You have to see it to believe it.] And lastly... there is a great story about how The Magical Shopping Arcade came to be. At first it can be confusing but it's great."