Anime >> Abenobashi Magical Shopping Arcade (Vol. 2)

MASA: Aw, come on, don’t you have a sympathetic bone in your body?

BANK TELLER: No, sir, I don’t.

–Pithy Exchange in Abenobashi

I was all set to review this and give it my highest honors.

But that would be if Episode 8 were included. And since it’s not, well, I’ll have to mark off a few points. Tough.

Episode 5, involving a Tex Avery-esque chase scene in Neanderthal times or something, was a noticeably weak point in my opinion. Granted, they did choose to steal from the best with Avery, but things just didn’t cohere as wondrously as they could–and some rather grating sexual humor and cartoon violence didn’t help. Also, for those with Internet access and ability to Google… what’s with Sasshi’s view of his aunt? Honestly, the events of this episode involving both Sasshi’s aunt and the enigmatic Ms. Munemune are somewhat of a beatdown, I think.

Anyway, Episode 6 involves a witty send-up of American gangster flicks (where “the Snail Prohibition” is still in full force), with Episode 7 giving us that sweet melancholic elixir of pure drama. Heck, isn’t that how life feels sometimes… surreal comedy bracketed by sadness? Also, Ms. Munemune is revealed to be… uh… more directly related to Sasshi than previously thought. I don’t know exactly how the writers will deal with this situation, but in any case, it will be quite an exercise in narratorial finagling.

I’ll try to keep Episode 8 out of my mind as I review, but suffice it to say that this section “prepares for great things to come” (lame phrase, ain’t it?). This review is shorter than usual simply because this three-episode slice wasn’t as impacting as the former or the latter. Here’s to completing the set.

Final Grade: B+.

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