The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi

Title: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi aka Abenobashi Mahou Soutengai
Genre: Comedy/Action
Company: Gainax/Madhouse Studios
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 4 Apr 2002 – 27 Jun 2002

Synopis: Arumi and Sashi are two kids who grew up together in Abenobashi, a shopping area in Osaka, Japan, that has seen better days. When the news comes that Arumi and her family will be moving, Sashi becomes depressed and wishes that Arumi didn’t have to move. After one of Abenobashi’s Chinese directional gods statues accidentally breaks, Arumi and Sashi are transported to another Abenobashi that is nothing like their own. Maybe Sashi got his wish after all…

The Highlights
Comedy: Hilarious parodies, but has some dry episodes.
Concept: Original.
Ending: Fails to answer some important questions.

Abenobashi begins with a typical “Embarkment to Cythera”, of young Arumi and Sashi. However, the many “Cytheras” they embark to, are anything but typical. From an RPG world, to prehistoric times, to a world made up of parodies of American movies, the many different situations Arumi and Sashi find themselves in are very creative and unique. And who better to animate it, in all its creative glory, than Madhouse Studios. With Gainax at the helm, creativity is guaranteed and Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi is no exception.

But there’s always a chance of having a “typical Gainax ending” in which the anime dissolves into utter chaos topped off with an ending that comes out of left field. Unfortunately, Gainax didn’t break with the latter tradition this time. The plot of Abenobashi builds solidly enough around the origins of Abenobashi, Eutus, and Mune-Mune, but comes crumbling down in the final few episodes. While many things are resolved, the plot doesn’t give enough insight into why things happen the way they did. Some will not be bothered by the ending, but then again some people worship everything Gainax creates.

The parodies, like all parodies, are hit or miss. Some episodes will have you laughing your head off, while others will have you staring at Miss Mune-Mune’s breasts (which you will see more of than you ever wanted to), while you wait for the end credits to finally roll. There is nothing more awful to watch than comedy that just doesn’t click, and several of Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi‘s episodes are just that. I just couldn’t bring myself to laugh at the war episode or the high school episode, to name two.

With only a few episodes to go, Abenobashi tries to be more than it is, and ends disappointingly. To those who love parodies, fan service, or anything Gainax has been involved in, Abenobashi is for you. To everyone else, I recommend you take a different boat to Cythera.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: Kuma

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