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Headscratchers / Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi

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  • What the hell happened in the last episode? It seemed like it was on its way to a decent Bittersweet Ending and Aesop about not running from reality...but then Sasshi stopped in mid-jump. By the end, not only is Arumi apparently not moving and Masa-jii's alive, but Mune-Mune's still around and young. Why? Just who is Sasshi, anyway? Talk about a Gainax Ending...
    • It's another failed attempt by Gainax to spit on logic and conventions. I was especially annoyed by how all dialouge between Sashi and Arumi in the 2nd half just kept degrading into Cannot Spit It Out.
    • But to answer the question(s)... Sasshi is an avatar of an even greater Onmyodo master than Eutus, and he is actually responsible for all the weirdness: the original "real" world is in fact one he made for himself to dream another life in, and just as Arumi accuses, he's responsible for every change. The concluding world is an "edit" of the first that he made to preserve the happiness he'd originally found there, the threatened loss of which prompted his unconscious flight across alternate realities with Arumi. (My interpretation, at least. YMMV.)
      • Still doesn't answer the question of why they decided to tack that on. There was no reason for it. The Aesop was just dumped entirely. And they missed a great chance to have Sasshi quote Shinji.
        • They dropped an Aesop about having to accept reality as it is, in favor of one that says that no matter how bad things seem, they can be changed; that even if time itself is against you, that's no reason to give up. In these days, that seems like a much better Aesop to state; things that were impossible last decade are increasingly becoming possible.
          • "No matter how bad things seem, they can be changed." That would be a great aesop for a series set in a Crapsack World, which this isn't. All the problems are caused by Sasshi himself. He's afraid of losing people (death, moving away), even though that's part of life and happens all the time.
Instead of making Sasshi overcome his internal conflict, the ending just lets him run away again.
  • Sasshi didn't cause all the problems - Mune and Eutus's unhappiness is caused by their multiple-incarnation love triangle, and Masa-ji's accident is just horrible coincidence. I actually think Sasshi does overcome his internal conflict when he stops sulking long enough to want to help solve these other problems. Once Sasshi stops focusing on saving himself from pain and starts wishing he were adult enough to help Mune, the magic stops generating Sasshi-centered dreamworlds and starts affecting the 'real world'. (This suggests that Onmyou is a Imagination-Based Superpower, limited by the user's imagination and maturity.) That would make the Aesop 'you have more power than you realize, but you won't discover it until you stop living passively through escapism.'
  • The aesop is that you have to accept that solutions have problems that might not be satisfying character development. You're the one who has to accept the reality of the ending, not Sasshi. The one who must seek character development about there not being character development is yourself. Real life does have hardships, but it also doesn't have satisfying, logical narratives, and besides which - this is an anime, not real life. That's sort of the aesop they're going for at the end.
  • I don't think I'm satisfied with that answer, considering that that would mean that Sasshi is our world's God *shudder*
  • To me, it seems more like Sasshi had a Connection or something to the Onmyou Minister Yasuchika instead of being him - it your statement All There in the Manual or Fanon ? Anyway, at the end, after his father keeps telling him that no matter how many worlds he creates, he can't escape or change the real one he says Screw Destiny and does precisely that with a little help from Abeno Seimei - he even integrates him and Mune-Mune to live the life they had wanted together.
    • Screw destiny? More like screw character development. Just when it seems he'll stop running away from the truth, he suddenly gets god powers out of nowhere and doesn't have to face reality anymore. The ending is essentially another of Sasshi's childish dream worlds, where he gets everything he wants.
  • This is my impression: Onmyodo doesn't really work unless you make a true, meaningful sacrifice to power it - this is explained in the story. So what Sasshi did was to sacrifice "himself as a child" (in other words, his "childhood innocence") in order to edit reality in a way that would make everyone happy. It's still a story about growing up, only he does it in a roundabout way.
    • "Everyone is happy"? Only from Sasshi's perspective. Keep in mind that Arumi has said on multiple occasions that she's happy to move away, because it's part of her ambitions to reach new places and new heights. Sasshi erased that from existence. I don't see how Sasshi sacrificed anything, considering he got everything he wanted.
  • This troper thought the ending was depressing: reality was not changed, because Omnyo Minister Yasuchika, Sasshi's grown-up identity, had the proper logic that Eutus says is only present in adults. He was able to create a more believable world to replace the reality where Grandpa Masa dies and Arumi moves. Eutus is a grown up and so, he was able to create the reality Sasshi and Arumi live in and where Mune and Masa were once alive—a world that caters to Eutus's own selfishness: 'grown up' does not necessarily mean mature. This also explains why Mune was jumping/creating worlds to spend one more night with Eutus. It couldn't have been the real world that Arumi wanted to return to because Abe/Eutus and Mune were there together (which they wanted and Sasshi knew they wanted), and Sasshi's dad was not (as far as we know)! So really, Sasshi didn't learn anything: he just got better at being in denial. A world where everyone is happy and kind is Sasshi's ideal world. The aesop is that grown ups are just better at making illusions.
    • It was established that souls last across lifetimes, so the "Mune" that showed up at the end isn't the same person as Mune-Mune, or Mune from the flashbacks. She was a third Mune, "reincarnated", at a time when Eutas' and her relationship wouldn't cause Masa problems. Sasshi just brought the "reincarnated" Mune back in time a bit (my own theory, as the new Mune probably wouldn't have been that old at that point) and put her with Eutas. He also prevented Masa from dying. So, "Mune" (Mune's soul) is happy, Eutas is happy, Masa is happy (and alive), Arumi's dad is happy (because he will get to work in a redeveloped and cosmopolitan Abenobashi where he can gain his independence and try new things), Sasshi's mother and sister are happy (redeveloped and cosmopolitan yada yada yada), everyone is happy, except Arumi, since she wanted to go to Hokkaido, but I feel that, while Arumi was probably genuinely bummed about not going north, she also didn't lose her grandfather, and she will experience Abenobashi's rebirth while she's still a kid, meaning she will have a new experience, and then she can do all the travelling she wants. It's not like Sasshi trapped her in Abenobashi forever. Her dream isn't to go to Hokkaido, it's to see new places, and a reborn Abenobashi will be more than enough until she's older. In my eyes, this works out even better for her, because (and all of this assumes that Abenobashi's renovation/redevelopment is successful) she will probably be in a better position to go new places if her local economy improves (i.e. if her dad makes more money). In fact, the ONLY person who isn't getting exactly what they wanted is Sasshi himself. Sure, Arumi is still around and not miserable about Masa, but the shopping arcade will become much different due to his changes, and accepting that is a grown-up thing to do...which is the whole point of the show.
  • We can go around and around about the ending in a 'meta' context but the simple truth of the matter is that this series is primarily a comedy. The writers didn't want their comedy to end on a sad note and so they employed a classic Deus Ex Machina. Magical wizard pops up and brings grandpa back to life! happy ending. Does it make sense? No. But it's a comedy so I think we can give it a little leeway.
  • The ending makes more sense if you read the core problem as an (affectionate) criticism of the state of the anime industry and Gainax in particular. Sasshi's problem isn't just that he's running away from reality; the point is that even though he has the power to create and shape worlds, his lack of experience and his unwillingness to confront reality makes him unable to do so effectively, leading him to create a series of derivative worlds with no real depth. In the ending, he accepts reality and sees the world for what it is, and this allows him to make something genuine and to cause real changes rather than the fake stuff he did before. In other words, the message isn't that anime (and pop-culture) are bad, it's that the people who make them need to look out their window more and see more of the world so they can work it into their creations, rather than just incestuously copying what came before. The "don't run from reality" message isn't aimed at the audience, it's aimed at the creators (with Sasshi's powers representing artistic talents.)