Region: 2 - UK
Volume: 1 of 4
Length: 100 minutes
English 5.1 Surround
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
Sasshi Imamiya and Arumi Asahina seem like normal 12 year old kids, hanging out in the school holidays. But life is changing for the two as Sasshi's family bathhouse in the Abenobashi shopping arcade has been demolished, and rumour has it that Arumi's father is talking about moving away to be a chef at a hotel! However, when an accident happens at Arumi's grandfather’s restaurant, things start to change like never before, and Sasshi and Arumi are flung into a whole new world - literally! Now they have to deal with a terrible transvestite, a busty nutcase, and a mad scientist that seems to be going through some sort of mid-life crisis. Together they must unlock the secret of their predicament, if they hope to stand a chance of getting home.
Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi is a bizarre parody Anime that packs a new world into each episode at a frantic pace, leaving it seeming like the mutant lovechild of Excel Saga and the sci-fi series Sliders. Most comic Anime take a passing shot at other genres for a quick laugh, however Abenobashi doesn't so much "take a passing shot" as it does pull out a huge heat-seeking rocket launcher, aim it at point-black range at its target and pull the trigger. Each episode is a self contained world that lampoons one genre, be it sci-fi, kung-fu movies or role playing games, by trying to get as many sight gags, references, and jokes as it can into it in 25 minutes.
As far as visuals go, Abenobashi moves at an incredible pace, the animation style changing from second to second as the series charges through another episode, and while it will never win any awards for quality, something this hectic probably couldn't have been realised in any other way. The sound in the show is excellent from the title theme that you could easily find yourself humming or singing at work/school/rodeo (delete as appropriate), to the in-show incidental music, that is either taken from the genre that is being lampooned or a very, very close copy.
Both the subtitled and dubbed versions on the disk are exactly what we have come to expect from ADV, including the Texan-for-Oaskan swap from the voice actors.
You really can't help but laugh out at this series, watching the two kids as they try to work out how each version of the shopping arcade works and find the one thing that can send them home, a tiny goblin (but not a particularly effective goblin). There really is something here for everyone, no matter what your taste in comedy, even a splash of fan service and toilet humour (where else can you find someone marvelling at how cool it is to be urinating into space?). If you like manic comedy series such as Excel Saga, you'll probably love this.