Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi

The series just started airing on Tech TV (now G4TTV) but late at night (1 am, or 2 AM here.) Having heard good things about it, I taped it, and my first reaction was-

-YUCK! WHAT IS THIS?? It’s one of those wacky/perverted animes where nothing makes sense, everything ‘superdeforms’, people SCREAM all the time, the pacing is blinding and jokes about things like panties, urination and (especially) boobs abound! I was VERY disappointed, and I ALMOST decided to ignore it-

-EXCEPT, being the slick anime fan I am, I had a feeling there MIGHT be a good story buried here, so I went to TVTOME.COM to read about it, and found out EVERYTHING about the story. And indeed, it SOUNDS like it gets better, even touching, later on… so I will continue to follow it- for now. (Remember, spoilers don’t prevent ME from enjoying a story.) :ah-ha!:

For those of you who might not know about the show, here’s a spoiler-free synopsis:

Succhi and Arumi are two kids from a poor japanese neighborhood (The Arcade of the title) who are saddened by recent events in their lives, especially the fact that her family is moving away, which means the two friends might never see each other again. But suddenly, the two are transported to an alternate-reality version of Abenobashi, with alternate versions of their friends and relatives (but not them.) They discover they must capture a pokemon-like creature in order to return to the real world. They succeed, but for some reason, keep being sent to alternate Abenobashis, and must continue to find the critter to move on.

The alternate realities are based on Fan-favorite genres, like Sci-Fi or Fantasy RPGs. That is the surface appeal: the wacky parodies full of pop culture references (it’s kinda like Fairly Oddparents, but more frisky.) Despite appearances, there IS a story here and it DOES progress between episodes. Looks like the plan was, besides exploiting Otaku tastes, to surprise people by starting really dumb and then slowly getting more serious. If it manages to pull it off, it would be REALLY cool. BUT, I’ll wait to see it fully before I decide if it does.

Anybody else seen it, or plan to see it? Opinions?

I saw the third & fourth episodes. So far I like it, but I think 11 year olds can get entertained easier than a 38 year old person soooo…

Don’t be too sure about that, Catgirl! ^_~

I’ve seen eps 2 and 4 (missed 1 and 3 due to errors in my VCR settings) ::dekar!:: and just like I suspected, the episodes vary wildly in tone. That DOES make sense, since the whole concept of the show is “people who refuse to deal with reality.” I see what they’re trying to do here, and it’s a great idea, but can they pull it off? I’ll keep you posted about my opinion.

Edit: Correction, I saw episodes 3 and 7, I just checked at the TechTV boards. They’re airing multiple episodes each night- and out of order! ARGH!! :ark:

But I’m still watching them. Lucky I don’t mind spoilers, eh?

It sounds perfect for us here at RPGC. I want to watch it, but I keep forgeting.

Seen it all. It gets better, for YOU, in the end. Personally, the parodies, although perverted, were damn funny.

When the Arcadia crashed into the space station, we all marked out.

While I don’t care for the perv jokes, I DO like the multiple anime references. In fact, here’s the ones I spotted in the Sci-Fi episode, for those of you who didn’t catch them (obviously, if you want to guess them by yourselves, DON’T read the following list!


  1. The Space Station was in the form of Ultraman’s head.
  2. The little oni was in a Pikachu- like form.
  3. The evolution scene was inspired by 2001: a Space Odyssey (Hey! American Sci-Fi reference!) :slight_smile:
  4. The female superheroes were based on The Hyper Dolls.
  5. The Giant Monsters looked like one of the Angels from Evangelion (I think.)
  6. The Giant Robot was based on the Shogun Warriors.
  7. The Space Pirates were based on Captain Harlock.
  8. The transformed pirate ship was in the form of the Great Dragon from Gaiking (with motion guns from Space Cruiser Yamato).
  9. The Turtle House was in Gamera’s shape. [/SPOILER]

I probably missed a few others.

That’s pretty much all of them. In the martial arts episode, however, there’s about as much references.

Later on, the references go away to make place for more plot. As I said, you’ll enjoy it, but I know our group didn’t because the plot, well, it made no real sense unless you thought about it long and hard.

Ok, I have become fully obsessed with this…must…find…way…to…look…like…ARUMI!!! Ok, I’m done.

Oh, and while CookieMaster was at my house today we kept dancing to the opening.

Kiro: Don’t let your parents see the naughty jokes! (Actually, they’re no big deal, but you know how oversensitive people on this part of the World can be.) :open_mouth:

Iga: The plot makes sense to me ALREADY, but I’m used to this kinda thing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like it in Anime before, thought, which is why I find Abenobashi interesting. Hmm… I’ve been thinking that maybe other people might need help understanding what’s going on… maybe I should post an explanation (properly spoiler-proofed, of course.) What do you people think?

(And darn TTV for airing episodes out of order! Ah well, at least I know they’ll reair the series like 500 times before they’re done with it, so I’ll catch any missing episodes later.)

The thing is, when we first started to actually watch the series, the first five or so episodes parodied a lot of anime we had seen, and to see those parodies made us laugh a lot. However, in the middloe of the series, they make a whole 180 and then it becomes a sweet tale of childhood romance or something like that.

Personally, I think it’s too damn late in a series to switch the series’s goal like that.

Iga: That WAS the concept of the series: it tricks you into thinking it’s just a wacky parody, but then reveals a more complex, touching story. And it makes sense when you find out that the first Worlds were based on Succhi’s Otaku imagination. And childhood romance is just part of it; the main theme is the tragedies of Life, and how some people refuse to deal with them. I especially like how the whole thing starts as SOMEBODY ELSE’S sin, but ends up involving Succhi and Arumi, who then have their own reasons to not accept reality.

Like I said, I haven’t quite seen anything like this in Anime before. Of course, many animes have tried to be surrealistic/mysterious CoughEvaCough and have failed to handle things well. THAT is why I want to see the whole series, despite already knowing the story- I want to see if they pull it off believably.

It’s pulled off correctly, that’s all I’ll say.

However, from a scriptwriter’s point of view, Abenobashi is a train wreck, because tricking your viewers is the last thing you want to do, since it changes the target demographic from guys that are completely drunk to crying sensitive men and little girls.

The art style kinda reminded me of flcl. So far I’ve only seen the first few episodes they aired, and I want to see more of them. My dad likes the show too ^^

Iga: You’re probably right. As I mentioned, I almost gave up on Abenobashi, but I was curious enough to research it. Most fans don’t do that.

Still, I want to see ALL the episodes, so I can judge for myself if they successfully pull out the story and its message. Hey, at least it’s more to my taste than most of the other Animes TTV has aired recently!

CURSES, still posting as Makko!! thud :thud:

Wilfredo Martinez,
idiot poster :hahaha;

I saw a few. It was pretty funny. The rpg one when the monsters where just the same girl dressing in different costumes was comical.

Oh man, last night I saw the Hollywood World episode and just couldn’t stop laughing. Of course, it’s easier to get the references since they’re mainly from American movies. I’ll have to watch it again to get them all (another bad thing about the series is that all the homages fly by too fast!) but I’ll list the ones I remember:


  1. The part were they arrive naked is, of course, from TERMINATOR.

  2. The black-and-white segment must be a homage to some old japanese samurai movie (not sure which.)

  3. The scene with the biplane pursuing the kid is from the movie NORTH BY NORTHWEST (wow, now THAT’S an obscure reference!)

  4. The gay guy turned into Robocop (duh.)

  5. The truck that chased them is from DUEL (early Steven Spielberg movie.)

  6. The human head with legs is from THE THING (modern version).

  7. The scene with the guy poking his face thru a hole made on a door is from THE SHINING (too bad he didn’t say, HEEEERE’S JOHNNY!!)

  8. I think the zombie killer is supposed to be Ash from the EVIL DEAD movies.

  9. The masked guy with the pumpkin is of course, Micheal Mayers from the HALLOWEEN movies.

  10. And of course, the lightning-powered “car” sequence is from BACK TO THE FUTURE (Jumping gigawatts!!)[/SPOILER]

There were more, but I can’t remember them now. I’ll update this later!


  • KITT from KNIGHT RIDER does a cameo (But that was never a movie, was it?)
  • Succhi, of course, turned into Indiana Jones (Duuh, how could I forget that?)
  • There’s asegment that combines JAWS and THE TOWERING INFERNO!
  • While falling, Arumi and Succhi make a TITANIC reference.
  • That wasn’t Ultraman, it was Spectreman, an UM rip-off.
  • Doc Brown turns into Snake Plissken! (ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK!)

There are still more!

OK, I’ve seen the ending by now- but I’m still am missing several episodes, no thanks to TTV! Oh well, I’ll catch them all soon.

I’d like to comment on the ending. (Spoilers will be tagged.)

The whole point of MAA, as I said, is that it was about how some people escape reality, because they can’t stand it, usually by submerging themselves in fantasy. Like many of us Otaku do. It was also an opportunity to mock/do homage to a LOT of fannish stuff, of course! It was supposed to be a story with a lot of wackyness (and a LOT of fanservice!) but with a moving side.

Did it succeed?

Well, for the most part, yes. It IS funny. And it IS moving. [SPOILER]But the ending makes no sense, because it betrays what the series itself constantly kept saying: That you can’t escape reality forever, and that you must accept it in the end.

That didn’t happen. It looks like Sacchi succeeded in creating a perfect reality after all, apparently by changing the REAL World- or maybe created one so real nobody can tell the difference. Arumi and Sacchi’s father seem to have forgotten the truth. So, it is a happy ending… but it feels tacked on.[/SPOILER]

Another observation: Abenobashi isn’t really a series- it’s ONE story, just one told over several episodes. There’s a definite beginning, middle and ending. Few series can do that well, but MAA does.

In short, MAA was an unusual, but very good, Anime. It DOES have its problems- the blinding pace of the story, some episodes being TOO wacky, the dialogue not explaining things well, and of course, too much adult humor. But in general, I liked it, and I’ll continue to recommend it.

Is there more Abenobashi stuff? Other animes or Mangas? I feel there is still room to expand the story, or develop related ones.

PS: I updated the list of references for the Movie World episode. Check it out above!

I don’t really watch TechTv’s anime…it tends to suck…besiges, I HATE G4TV. I want them to burn as much as Microsoft.

I DID hear good things about this…& by what I have read here, looks like I’ll have to watch this one…maybe I’ll go buy the DVD or something…

Gil: Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just tape them off the air? DVDs are cooler, of course, but I would advise you to make sure you like it before you spend money on it. Remember that the story switches tone, from wacky to serious, between episodes.

Here are some references from the Martial Art episodes. Sadly, I don’t know much about MA movies, so I’m sure I’m missing a lot of them:

*Succhi is given a suit once worn by Bruce Lee (and actually changes into Lee at one point.)
*The Giant Panda MA teacher is from RANMA 1/2, of course (anime, not movie.)
*Succhi turns into Kenshiro from FIST OF THE NORTH STAR briefly.
*Succhi does a Kamehameha attack from DRAGONBALL (big duuh!)
*The doll was a homage to chinese ghost movies (note the similarity to Ling-Ling from the Darkstalkers game.)

Anybody else caught more?

:ulty: Yes, I do believe I caught two more in the MA episode. The first one (you may have caught it) was a Legend of Drunken Master or some kind of drunken MA referene. The second one, and I KNOW you didn’t mention it was Street Fighter II and other related viedo games (he does a Super Flash Kick, for cryin’ out loud!) And it turns into a video game screeen when he does it.

I, too, hate G4 for their abuse of TechTV. I also avoided the anime. Betterman warped my mind :thud: