Reviews: Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai
A decent anime ruined by a bad ending
While the comedy portions of Abenobashi might not be up to par with classic parody anime like Excel Saga, and Pretty Sammy the tv series it was still pretty funny (outside of the hollywood parody that just referenced a bunch of movies without making actual jokes). I could have also done without Sasshi having the hots for his own grandmother (even after he found out). The series even picked up with the episode talking about the origin of the shopping arcade, and an extremely funny parody of dating sim games, but the series was never able to get out of its range of pretty good. The problem is that the series was never able to really decide what it wanted to be, the episode with the origin of the shopping arcade was mostly dramatic, and the characters personalities (especially Mune, and Abe No Seimei) are much more muted, this made them come off as different characters. Compare that with other episodes that where mostly comedy with no real bridging between them. This doesn't make it bad, or even mediocre just not great. Then you get to the ending. The ending simply changes paths too quickly, the entire series is a comedy about how Sasshi must grow up and stop running away from reality. Of course Sasshi never learns his lesson and instead it's revealed that his some reincarnation of a person so powerful that he can change reality instead of just going to different dimensions. They should have just revealed that he was the earthly body of Zeus, it would have been just as big an Ass Pull. The ending also reveals how little the staff thought of the cast outside of 4 characters by not even bothering having Mune actually reveal if she regrets living with the man Sasshi thought of as his grandfather (a character that's so minor you can easily forget that "Grandpa Masa" is actually Arumi's grandfather and not Sasshi's). The "solution" simply doesn't make any sense Arumi forgets her journey through the dimensions, and no one notices that Abe and his wife look exactly like the founder of the shopping arcade, and Sasshi's grandmother (they don't even bother changing their names). Its pretty easy to think of Hiroyuki Yamaga as the Japanese answer to Don Bluth when he follows up his excellent work in the 80's with anime like this.
A full-course meal of Comedy, Drama, Philosophy and more - with dessert.
Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai is hard to describe. It starts out serious, then suddenly burst at the seams with comedy, adopting a Planet Of Hats-of-the-Week format, before suddenly plunging the viewer into its hidden dephts. The main character, a hardcore Otaku, and his She Is Not My Girlfriend Tsundere, suddenly find themselves thrown from world to world, though each is modelled after the Shopping Arcade where they spend all their lives and which is now scheduled to be torn down as more and more of the old shops are closing. And all along the people they know from said arcade are reimagined in each bizarre world, completely unperturbed by what is going on (and in one instance also all Robots.) However, who is the mysterious redheaded Sex Bomb who is skipping in and out of her role in the worlds, and why is she chasing after a mysterious blue-haired monk pervert ? Expect a fireworks of otaku-theme centered comedy each episode, expect to laugh out loud, and in the end, expect your jaw to hit the floor. This was my first anime, and whilst I found some of the cultural references hard to understand, it wasn't too hard one to start on. The characters will grow to your heart (Even though we all wish we wouldn't so easiyl sympathize with the male lead), the gags will leave you guffawing, and the story packs a punch. The animation is fluid and goos and shows a range of styles and is not above an Art Shift for the Rule Of Funny. Nevertheless, by the end all plot threads are satisfyingly resolved (though some of Studio Gainax favourite Mind Screw is applied). For those looking for just fun, you'll find that and a great parade of Fanservice to go. Highly recommended, would buy.