Childhood friends Arumi and Sasshi are residents of the Abenobashi commercial district in Abeno-ku, Osaka. After an accident, they find themselves transported to an alternate sword and sorcery world. Their attempt to get back to reality finds them traversing a series of nonsensical worlds built on science fiction, war, fantasy, dating sim games and American movies. Each alternate Abenobashi is a surreal manifestation of Sasshi's otaku interests, populated by analogs of the protagonist's relatives and acquaintances and a blue-haired stranger known as Eutus.
Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai is pretty much Excel Saga meets Alice in Wonderland, with a suprisingly good story line thrown in for good measure.
The story pretty much surrounds two really good friends Arumi and Sasshi. Who happen to live in a rundown project area called Abenobashi Shopping District thats on the verge of being replaced with a new develpment complex. Of course noone wants to leave but then, everything just starts to go awry quite fast. This is where the 'falling down the rabbit hole comes in' Some seasoned anime watchers will be thinking this is alot like Excel Saga but the only
connection will be that they are stuck in wierd (not random) enviroments. Beyond that everything will make sense the more you watch the show. Overall, the show manages to bring comedy, drama, action, fantasy, and even romance in to one nice fun 13 episode package.
When you hear people talk about how important having a good production company is for an anime, Abenobashi would be a perfect example. Gainax and Madhouse are two of the best companies in the businesss and watching this show you'll see why. Theres so many dfferent handpainted backgrounds, that i lost count at about 100 per episode. And the art themes and backgrounds are very different in every episode which makes this show such a joy to watch. On top of that the comedy gags are just so funny you cant help but laugh out loud. Some comedy shows can get by just by having a poor art and great characters, but if you want to see what a comedy can be like with high qualtiy art, this would be the show. I cant forget to mention that the shows characters all show such a diverse range of emotions (and body parts) that fit perfectly with every situation. They use comedy faces at the right times, drama faces at correct places, all of them are displayed with such timing and style its almost eerily perfect. Its hilarious how they manage to pull off so many anime, movie, and video game gags in such a small amount of time. Also my only gripe is that the cast sometimes talks too fast but thats also for comedy purposes
Another thing with the characters is that the voice cast are just perfect for this show, the two main characters are polar opposites from each other but sometimes on occasion they switch roles which makes them fun to watch. You'll manage to love and hate both of them in equal amounts. Most of the other characters are so hilariously good that you'll wish you can get them out of you memory banks. The ugly characters are rife with age spots and the youthful characters are filled with beautfy and sexiness. Speaking of sex theres alot of ecchi sittuations in this show, so if you don't mind a little skin with your comedy its there, Theres even a large amount of ecchi jokes that most people might find offensive but is still hilarious in their own right.
Usually when somone hears the same sound effects robbed from other places its a bad thing. But in this case, robbing or emulating the same sound effects are perfect for this show and whats makes this anime so top notch. It was so fun trying to spot all the different sound effects and spoofs and place them with their original place. The high quality sound actually carrys on to the songs. The background music cosists usually of big band style music perfect for a comedy pair such as Ayumi and Sasshi. The op song is perfect as its a very up beat fun song excellent to set you in the mood of watching the show. Whereas watching the ending song gives you almost a nostalgic feeling (complete with black and white japanese history slide show) which you should be feeling after watching one episode of Abenobashi with all the fun spoofs and such. I can safely say i've seen the op and ed every time and thats usually hard to do.
Overall, the show was paced perfectly, comedy was spot on, sight gags were more than perfect, more than enough media spoofs all throughout the show, and it was all just a generally fun ride throughout. Typically the general public views anime as a cartoon with slapstick comedy, boobs, and alot of screaming (like Akira). Thats a pretty good description of the show in a nutshell. This is one of the show's that would be perfect to show a new anime viewer. Everyone should watch this show regardless of their preference, because even if it sounds like the same formula (from Excel Saga) it is far from it.
Not a big fan of giving all 9's and 10's but that my honest feeling about this show.
Take Quantum Leap (or Sliders, your preference) and cross it with Excel Saga. That, in a nutshell, is Abenobashi Magical Shopping Arcade. A couple of kids, a bright but otherwise unexceptional girl and her male otaku neigbour and long-term friend, find themselves tumbling from one lunatic parallel world to another in what begins as simply an attempt to return to normality but becomes an attempt to make things in their own mundane yet beloved reality right. The presence of recurring characters, not only versions of people they know but people they don\'t, begin to clue them in to the method behind the
The debt this series owes to Excel Saga is obvious and considerable, and wile I love both series, to me this has the edge in my affections. Sasshi and Arumi\'s efforts take them from one genre parody to another week by week, but unlike Excel Saga\'s scattergun "just because I said so" approach, the whole affair has a coherent and moderately serious storyline running through it, tying everything together. That one can maintain a single overarching plot through an RPG world, a kung fu world, a scifi world, a gangster world, a warfare world and so on is impressive enough.
But the fact that you needn\'t follow the plot, if you don\'t want to, is also pretty smart. If you prefer, you can generally ignore the overarching plot and concentrate on the humour, of which there is lots, and it doesn\'t really let up; none of excel\'s recycling here, no "cute animal anime skit number three". The exceptions are a couple of episodes that in fact aren\'t all that funny and are mostly concerned with the overarching plot, a bit of a weakness. Perhaps with a little more polish this element could have been spread across the whole spread of episodes, and as it is, it does require some concentration to fully \'get\' the plot. No matter, I found myself laughing my ass off most of the time anyhow.
Graphically, Abenobashi Magical Shopping Arcade has nothing very special about it - but it\'s a rare comedy that dazzles the eyes too. Everything is however perfectly unobjectionable, with character design probably the most impressive aspect. All the supporting cast, the familiar faces from around the Shotengai, appear in a new form for every episode; it\'s easy to take for granted the way they all fit straight in to whatever setting, yet are instantly recogniseable, no small feat in actuality.
There\'s a mostly jazz-flavoured soundtrack, the BGM nothing incredible, generic but pleasing, and far from seeming out of kilter; like character design it is easy to take for granted its modification to fit the setting of each episode. The opening theme is infectiously catchy and great fun, one of my favourites among Hayashibara Megumi\'s many, many happy songs. The ending theme is also one of hers, and is gentle and lovely, the sort of music that makes you think of summer sunshine.
Basically, Abenobashi Magical Shopping Arcade is one of those rare things that is as complicated as you want it to be. It can be just a parody humour show, or a more complicated tale with serious points to make about urban decline and the loss of community feeling, and also about genre cliches, if you like, on top of simply being funny as hell. You gets more than you pays for, for once.
Abenobashi jumps from hamfisted comedy to serious plot moments and back again, giving the series a very uneven tone and pacing. It would have done better to excel at one or the other rather than try to do both. That being said, the plot's central premise is interesting enough to keep a viewer engaged from episode to episode, even if it does get wearying at times.
The art is bombastic and cartoony, full of bright colors. It's a more than capable vehicle for the zany humor this show presents, but it doesn't really stand out either.
This series is full of cartoony, western sound effects, adding
to the madcap style of the show. The characters are well acted and convincing. Do not watch the dub. Not because I dislike dubs; I love dubs. I watch most series with dubs but Abenobashi has the misfortune of having one that wrecks the immersion and misrepresents the characters.
The lead characters are a charming duo, who's personalities play off one another in hilarious ways. They were the main draw of the show for me. Their interactions provide a backbone for the otherwise reference-laden comedy of the show. The side characters are one-note, but suitably funny.
I enjoyed this show the most during its funnier moments and more serious character moments, but the humor was very hit and miss for me. If you enjoy referential humor and wacky sexual humor, you'll probably enjoy this show.
This show was mostly wasted potential for me. It's main characters are witty and likeable, but the plot was unsatisfying and dragged down by the show's comedic nature. It could've either been a great comedy or a great story but it took the middle road and suffered for it.
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.
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