Anime >> Abenobashi Magical Shopping Arcade (Vol. 3)

ARUMI: Yeah, but that outfit is totally dumb…

SASSHI: STOP SAYIN’ THAT! Now listen carefully: this is an excellent costume based on geomancy and mystical physics! Its first awesome feature is the number of paper dolls you can carry with ya at all times–50! That’s an amazing 1.5 times the amount of previous costumes…. What’s more, you get the Demon’s Gate and Rear Demon’s Gate at your disposal, plus this all-directional gyroscope comes standard. Not only that, the size is adjustable, and extra urethane makes this baby completely airtight! Wait, hold the phone… it’s even reversible! [Awkward Pause] ARUMI, WAKE UP!!!

ARUMI: Alright, alright, I get it. So now you’re an honest-to-God Omryou mystic, right? Well how about shakin’ a leg and gettin’ us back to our own world?!

SASSHI: Well, uh, I could, but…

–No Sale in Abenobashi

Volume 3 sees Abenobashi Magical Shopping Arcade1 hit its stride once more, not only in comedy, but in heartbreaking tragedy as well. **SPOILER:** Yes, Grandpa Masa is actually dead from his fall in Volume 1. **SPOILER:** Ms. Munemune (whom Sasshi crassly refers to as “that boobalicious babe”) is, in reality, his grandmother. If there was ever a time to use my “THE TRAP” tag, it would be now.

Look, without getting into specifics, Eutus is in fact the original Mr. Abeno, a powerful 10th-century expert in the purported science of “Omryou mysticism” and the space-time architect of the Abenobashi Shopping Arcade. Since Omryou mystics are in the business of diverting horrific fates, we learn that the entire reason the shopping arcade was built on these grounds (and the only reason all this gobbledygook continues to happen) is to avoid past-Masa from killing himself and past-Munemune once he finds out the affair she and past-Abeno have attempted. Thus, when the shopping arcade was built in like the 1950s or something, Abeno, Masa, and Munemune were reincarnated around its construction. Thus, the events of Episode 7 are explained. Got all that?

Apparently, this all justifies why various friends and relatives of Sasshi keep on showing up in the young lad’s wacky dreamworlds: as an Omryou mystic lite, he has been attempting to deny the impending fates of both Arumi moving away to Hokkaido2 and Masa’s tragic fall to his death. With all the cast and characters assembled by Abeno for his original purpose, Sasshi has plenty of material to work with as he inadvertently warps reality into various shopping arcade “worlds.”

Phew!

Anyway, that’s basically what happens before they converge with wacky satire once more in Episode 10, a conventional parody of the easily lampooned “magical girl” genre.3 Whoops, almost forgot about Episode 8, this gloriously bizarre send-up of not only dating sims, but a classic revelation of Arumi’s jealousy of Sasshi and her pervasive hatred of the worlds that are inevitably for only his pleasure and no one else’s… High drama fer shure, I know. Some have sniped at what they view as an overwrought mythology behind the series, but hey, I like my dark drama and high comedy mixed together as closely as possible. In sum, this critical mass definitely qualifies as grounds for an A+. Congratulations, Abenobashi: you just accrued an Epic Win.

Final Grade: A+.

1Say that three times fast.

2Apparently they haven’t discovered e-mail yet.

3“Where’d you get this flimsy outfit?” “At a thrift store! But that’s not important now!”

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