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Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi Vol. 1 (2003)

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Studio: ADV Films
Genre: Anime, Comedy Anime
Running Time: 100 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
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Arumi Asahina says that "Bein' human, havin' your health... that's the most important thing." Try telling that to her twelve-year-old friend Sasshi Imamiya. He's lost his home, lost the toy collection that defined his very geekdom, and he's about to lose his best friend, Arumi. Reality is closing in on him. That is, until they discover that their neighborhood shopping district is actually a portal to a series of parallel existences. Reality decides to take a vacation -- an extended vacation -- as Arumi and Sasshi suddenly find themselves in a world like their own... only not. And as they try to fight their way back to the real world, they'll face menacing mushrooms, big-breasted space pirates, killer kung-fu fighters, a tripped-out transvestite, a sorcerer who seems to be in some sort of midlife crisis... and that's just the beginning of this wacky series! They say there's no place like home, but this ain't exactly Oz, and it sure as heck ain't Kansas!

Contains 4 complete episodes.

Special Features:

  • Commentary with Voice Actresses Luci Christian and Jessica Boone
  • AD Vid-Notes
  • Clean opening and closing animation

GreenCine Member Reviews

Know Your Genre Allusions by WTaube September 25, 2009 - 6:48 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Abenobashi is a brilliantly witty anime that focuses on poking fun at various kinds of video games, animes, and geek movies. The first episode sets up a basic plot that has very little to do with the humor and serves more as an excuse for what's happening, but that doesn't really take anything away from the show. The major problem western viewers may encounter is that most satirizing is done with references to well-known examples of whatever genre. Many of these well-known examples are better known in Japan.

However, if you're familiar with most major anime and video games (old school and knew), not much should be lost on you. This first disc mocks old school JRPGs (most resembling Dragon Warrior to the NEs), sci-fi movies (such as 2001: Space Odyssey), gundam animes (like Voltron), and fighting tournament games.

On the bright side, Ad-Vid commentary in Special Features will explain some things to the viewer as the episodes play, but the information bubbles do run very fast. There's also just the problem that most jokes aren't as funny if you have to explain them, but some of the cultural facts are interesting.

I didn't watch the dubbed version, because the English cast interpretted the Osakan dialect as a thick southern drawl, and it drives me crazy. Unfortunately, the subtitles may flow a little too fast for some people. Overall, it's a highly entertaining anime.

Moments of beauty, but a weak story by Calafragious June 1, 2004 - 9:28 AM PDT
6 out of 9 members found this review helpful
This review refers to the complete 13 episode series. Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi is one of those frustrating projects that start with a great idea but seem to come out half baked. The show is blessed with charming character designs, better than average production values and the ravishingly beautiful backgrounds and scenery that we expect from GAINAX, however, after a very intriguing and exciting first episode, the story descends into parody and slapstick, and the characters don't really grow or realize their potential. Almost every episode has scenes and moments that are worth watching, but overall the production seems thin and confused, the jokes frenetic, panic-stricken and not funny -- like Chevy Chase as a talk show host. If GAINAX was -- as many fans assume -- trying to produce their own take on the "Excel Saga" concept, the result seems like when F. Scott Fitzgerald tried to write for Hollywood movies; a lot of fabulous talent spent self-consciously trying -- and failing -- to imitate the low parody that less thoughtful creators produce easily. The high comedy and magic of "FLCL" are almost completely absent here. If you like the second and third episodes of the first disk, you'll like the entire show. If you finish those two eps hoping the show will get better later on, I've got bad news.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.25)
160 Votes
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