English: Abenobashi Magical Shopping District
Synonyms: Abenobashi Magic Shopping District, Abenobashi Mahoh Shotengai, Magical Shopping Street Abenobashi, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 4, 2002 to Jun 27, 2002
24 min. per episode
R+ - Mild Nudity
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.441 (scored by 16646 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
comedy ecchi fantasy parody
SynopsisImamiya Satoshi, "Sasshi" to his friends, has grown up in the Abenobashi Shopping Arcade in Osaka, along with his childhood friend, Asahina Arumi. Now, all that was stable in his life is in ruins. His family's bath house has closed and been torn down, and Arumi's family is moving to Hokkaido - and taking her with them. In the midst of all this, something happens to the framework of reality, and Sasshi and Arumi slip into a weird parallel world. It's still Abenobashi, but not their Abenobashi. Strange things are afoot, and Sasshi must find out their meaning, in order to reach a goal that he barely understands.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Abenobashi Mahou☆Shoutengai
Characters & Voice Actors
Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai
First when I heard this anime's name, it made me think of a bunch of cute magical girls with pink hair and super round eyes casting spells and fighting against evil. Something I totally wouldn't watch. Then I noticed the producer is Gainax, which immidiately made me intrested of the series. So, watched it and I'm happy I did.
Abenobashi tells a story of two childhood friends, Arumi and Sasshi. They live in the peaceful city of Osaka spending time with each other and just hanging around. However, Arumi is going to move to Hokkaido with her family and Sasshi's pretty shocked when he finds it out. After few strange incidents these kids get sucked in different worlds. Time and period changes every time but the city and the people in it remain, although their settings change. Only Arumi and Sasshi can remember their 'real' world, everyone else are living their lives like it has always been the same. Arumi and Sasshi are trying to figure out why they are shuffling these weird paradox-worlds and how they can get back to their original world.
Abenobashi has many movie references from famous American films which is a funny twist when you recognize them. Each episode contains a different world with different set-ups, varying from fairyland to a world of war. Even the art style changes making you really wait for the next episode. It’s a story about life and changes that come along with it.
As I am a big fan of Gainax productions, I really enjoyed this art. It reminds me of FLCL, maybe being a bit more mellow and pastel-colored. Still it has those little details and fast paced movements that makes it super-enjoyable in my eyes. I wish there would be more animes made with this same style.
The atmosphere is mostly created by the art and dialogue/storytelling, so the music mostly stays in the background. The music isn’t that intense but it fits in nicely. Voice actors in the other hand are extremely good choices! None of them made me irritated, they fit really well with their characters. Sometimes it's really a pain in the ass when you find a good series but the voice actors suck so bad it makes you not even want to watch it at all. Gladly that's not the case in this one.
The main characters are really good friends with each other. Sasshi’s a good example of a teenage boy who’s still a bit childish with his dreams and behavior, while Arumi is a bit more mature and she easily gets mad by Sasshi’s ‘stupid’ actions. We get a peek of their familiesl and their pasts as well, which makes you understand the main characters and their intensions better. All of the characters are unique persons, they have their own story and goals to reach. In every episode the background-characters positions change, though they still manage to remain their personalities.
If you have watched FLCL and liked it, you totally need to watch this. Abenobashi’s wacky, energetic and humorous. It makes you laugh and smile but some episodes might make you cry and leave you with chills. Because of the jumping from world to world, this anime has a little bit of something to everyone. You should watch it, even if only once.
“The times, they are a changin’” once sang Bob Dylan, in a song about a revolution against the old guard of established capitalists, about to be replaced by the creative and political youth. They would bring about a change for the better and create a world where the common man remains in control and the Capitalists are kept on a short leash. Needless to say Dylan was, as every generation since has been: completely wrong. The vanguard of Capitalism is now more powerful and in more control than it ever was, and the common man who has yet to file within its ranks is being squashed and squeezed by its weight.
Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai is about a community about to fall victim to the turning wheel of progress- a small group of local kids whose parents all work in the aging local shopping arcade, shortly to be made redundant by the construction of a new megamall in the vicinity. Some recognise the inevitable and opt to move away- such as the Asahina family, who run a French restaurant within the Shoutengai. Recognising the imminent destruction of their way of life, their father decides to resettle the family in rural Hokkaido. However, this has rather unfortunate consequences for daughter Arumi and her best friend Saashi, who have grown up together within the shopping arcade but are now set to be separated forever. The blameless victims of a ruthless economic system out with their comprehension, Arumi and Saashi have precious little childhood left- that glorious time spent living in a bubble untouched by the harsher realities of life and sheltered from the workings of the wider world.
It can be forgiven in such circumstances, particularly of children, to want to retreat into the realm of fantasy. Millions of people will buy lottery tickets this week, even though only a handful of them will win, because of the potent fantasy that wealth will solve all of life’s problems. Saashi and Arumi are children however and so do not imagine a solution to the problem, but instead imagine a reality where there is no longer a problem. They enter a series of parallel universes where the shopping arcade exists in a different theme, each one an homage to a different genre of fiction. The residents of the shopping arcade are there too- with different roles in each new dimension. One re-imagines the Shoutengai as a fantasy castle; another as a space ship; yet another as a film noir influenced detective story. Each one is an excellent homage to the genre it portrays, with all the usual tropes included and plenty of jokes and references to season them.
The whole experience is lots of fun for Saashi, a geek at heart, getting to experience for himself the worlds of fiction that he has immersed himself in throughout his childhood. Simpler worlds where the stake is greater but so are the odds, and where the enemy is a man with a moustache rather than a recurring trend in an economic system. His character is a representation of those of us who are passionate about fiction, and his experiences a metaphor for why we immerse ourselves in fiction. On the face of it, because we like the stories that are told and the wacky worlds we encounter- but deep down because of a desire to escape the tedious complexities of reality.
Antagonistic to this trait is his best friend Arumi, who despite being the same age as Saashi is a great deal more mature than he is. When the two are transported to the parallel universes of the Shoutengai, Arumi maintains a level head and demands that the two of them return home, despite recognising what the consequences of doing so are for the two of them. This conflict between the two adds an interesting dimension to the story and drives the development of the two characters. Arumi’s character is also, by the standards of the medium, something of a feminist icon. Young girls in anime are portrayed in such a fashion that even intelligence is turned into a sexual fetish rather than a single aspect of a complicated personality. Arumi is different; she isn’t just an archetype, she has the qualities of a real person and while her level of maturity and pragmatism are perhaps a little exaggerated for someone her age, we should ask ourselves whether Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai is really about the behaviour of children, or about the behaviour of adults.
That is not to say that the rest of Abenobashi is feminist, however. It contains the usual perverse humour that is prevalent throughout the genres depicted. In particular, one of the main characters has breasts on the anatomically impossible side of enormous, and this is played for laughs frequently. For those who have matured since their younger teenage years, or those who are female, this is not particularly funny and certainly not original. Similarly offensive is its depiction of the local drag queen, which is neither clever nor amusing. It is probably best to sideline these transgressions as stylistic elements, intended to play off the wackiness of the rest of the production.
Depicting multiple universes provides Abenobashi with ample opportunity to experiment with different art styles while remaining cohesive and studio GAINAX use this to their advantage. Throughout the series: every new setting comes with a new artistic style and each one is brilliant in its own way. No expense is spared on animation either, and movement is smooth throughout the series. The character designs are cartoonish and exaggerated, yet versatile enough to fit the wide range of different settings that appear throughout the series.
In short there are many aspects of this series that are of exceptional quality and worthy of high praise, but there is one specific element of the storyline which is liable to sour one’s opinion of this otherwise clever and humorous production. If you are familiar with the anything else from the Gainax catalogue, no doubt you will be able to guess what that might be.
The conclusion of Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai is a rather bitter pill to swallow. The development of the series until that point leads one to expect a certain conclusion, until suddenly changing direction dramatically and going somewhere completely unexpected. It usually feels a lot less satisfactory than the obvious ending envisioned, which is frustrating. At the time, I believe my exact words were:
However, if one spends time afterward to mull over it, you can start to appreciate the qualities of the ending presented to us. While having our expectations realised would have been a satisfying experience, to have them dashed at the last moments prompts us to think about the production more without actually having lost anything; for if we so firmly expect a certain conclusion that we are outraged when it is not satisfied, we know already how it would have played out had that been the conclusion shown. Derailing it means we must not only ponder the significance of the alternative, but why the creators decided to use the alternative.
To anger the audience, I hear some of you say. That was my initial impression, but on reflection I have started to doubt it. While the series is presented as a parody, but the underlying storyline is about escapism and its central themes are the end of childhood and, crucially, the relationship between a story and its audience. If Saashi is a representation of the audience, which I believe is self-evident, Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai’s conclusion begins to make sense. For when like Saashi, we are faced with a dark and threatening side of reality which we are powerless to stop, we just cover our heads, avert our eyes and disappear into our own little worlds of fantasy.
Both series are insanely fun, insanely awesome or just insane. Both seem like some screwed up story which turns out to be more than just nonsense.
Same studio and a good amount of parody in both titles.
alot of the same zany and wild comic approach. it you like comedys then you'll love abenobashi
Both animes are full of wacky situations, fast-paced animation, similar characters, and just a ton of fun randomness! Abenobashi has all the things that made FLCL awesome just with double the amount of episodes, way more allusions, a bit more ecchi, and Osaka accents. Can't go wrong with that. :]
wow, the comparison is so close that i thought this was a continuation of FLCL some how.
Abenobashi features some great animation direction from Gainax animators like Hiroyuki Imaishi, who made his first big splash with the mind-blowing visuals in FLCL. Both series also follow a boy's emotional growth, though Abenobashi's development is considerably less bombastic and blunt than FLCL's. And of course, both are full of hilarious otaku-centered humor.
If you like twisted plots, and funny scenes all the time. You'll like this series. It's made by Gainax too, and have many references to many pop cultural manga & anime stuff. It's a weird comedy, but you'll have a good time with Abenobashi.
Both are similarly ridiculous and have crazy art styles. There is some sort of underlying story in both, but i think Abenobashi's is more prominent.
First of all, both of these are not very mainstream, not the most original thing ever or anything, mut not mainstream either.
FLCL and Abenobashi look pretty similar, they both have kinda same kind of drawing style and stuff. Animation looks pretty much the same, both have pretty awesome animation, smooth but still very rapid at times. And on fast scenes there happens a lot of stuff and you have to be sharp to see everything.
If you liked FLCL, but thought it was a bit too confusing and you really kind of didn't get what it was about, Abenobashi might be the right one for you.
Also if you liked the humour on one, you'd propably like it on the other one. The way the humour is told is very similar too.
Similarities are propably because both of these are made by studio Gainax, studio that has produced NGE and PSG also. FLCL and Abenobashi are very stylish ones too, definitely worth watching, especially if you loved the other one of these.
Colorful, pretty absurd atmosphere and explosive characters. :)
The flow of how the story is told and unravels is similar.
Both stories also seems to be surreal, yet still have some ties to what used to be reality.
Both are Gainex coming of age stories with the same wacky atmosphere.
Both have a very similar humor and near identical amount of randomness. Abenobashi is much more story driven, but they both deliver a lot of confused laughs, and have a surprisingly dark tone at times.
Opening Theme"Treat or Goblins" by Megumi Hayashibara
Ending Theme"Anata no kokoro ni" by Megumi Hayashibara
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