Anime >> Abenobashi Magical Shopping Arcade (Vol. 4)
It’s no use, Sasshi. No matter how big a tantrum a kid like you throws, nothin’s gonna be changed or resolved by it. The only thing that changes is what’s in your head, in your imaginary world. But this is reality, and you can talk about all the Omryou science and spells you want, but it won’t move a single pebble. In the end, it’s nothin’ but a toy… and you’re just a kid who stayed out too late playin’ in the dark after the sun’s gone down.
–Sasshi’s Dad, Delivering the Serious Closer Lines Every Comedy Must By Law Contain
This volume begins with a witty realization of the emotional battle between the two protagonists into a literal war in Episode 11, in which almost every other major character in the realm of Abenobashi is implied to have lost their life due to the hellish nature of their conflict. You’ve got your tanks, your World War II-era fighter planes and, of course Sasshi fighting his way through a Catch-22-style military bureaucracy from hell.1 Extremely entertaining though annoyingly rough around the edges would be a good way to describe this set-up to the tragic failure that Episode 12 becomes. Ostensibly a wry look at those retarded Americans and their wacky cinema, Episode 12 quickly devolves into a wheels-off debacle that invites more pity than anything else.2
Good God, I actually frowned while watching this episode… not a good sign!
Episode 13 brings us back around to the underdeveloped “serious side of Abenobashi” and the repeated conflicts related to Sasshi’s profound selfishness and his attempts to shield Arumi from the harshness of reality, even though she seems far more capable of handling it than he is. I won’t spoil too much, but the quote box at the top of this article plus an in depth understanding of the prefix “meta-“ should help guide you in the right direction.
What really, really annoyed me about the ending of this series was not that it “was too sad,” but that it almost validates Sasshi’s douchebaggery to some extent. For one, he actually succeeds in reversing Grandpa’s death in the “real world” (yeah right), keeping the shopping arcade open, and even keeping Arumi in Osaka.
ARUMI: It’s a shame I won’t be moving to Hokkaido. I was really looking forward to it!
SASSHI: I see..
See that? He wasn’t even able to make her truly happy! That little b*****d ran amok through at least fifteen different universes and learned absolutely nothing!
And what line did it end on? Something like, “Well, at least you’ve got your health”?
Had enough yet?
Final Grade: C+.