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Order from chaos,
This review is from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Vol. 2 (DVD)
Things take a more serious turn in volume two of "Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi," and the wild chaos of the first volume starts to take shape. Like the previous episodes,Sasshi and Arumi fling from world to world, meeting the bouncy and enthusiastic Mune Mune ("Chesty chesty" in Japanese) who adapts to each world and spurs along the craziness. This time, a new character is revealed in a mysterious blue-haired man to whom Mune Mune is inexplicably drawn.
The first episode has the kids in a dinosaur world, with Mune Mune as the jungle princess in the appropriate leopard-skin bikini. Running from danger, they meet the blue-haired man who says that their fates are linked, but he is still unsure and clouded. Wild and funny, it maintains the tone of previous episodes.
Next, a Film Noir world sees Sasshi and Arumi in grown up bodies, on opposite sides of a dangerous games of gangsters and copper. Arumi joins the short-skirted Abeno Angels police squad, while Sasshi masquerades as professional sniper Rugolgo (a parody of "Golgo 13"). Some great gags here, but the tone changes when Mune Mune comes face-to-face with the blue-haired man, and flashes with anger and rage. The blue-haired man reveals a deep secret of Sasshi's to Arumi, and things begin to become clear.
Finally, the comedy and slapstick ceases entirely, and the Studio Gainax brilliance begins to shine through in the third episode. A flashback, focusing on the founding of the Abenobashi Shopping arcade, and the Love Triangle that develops between Sasshi's grandfather, the blue-haired man and a beautiful 18-year old girl named Mune. A bittersweet episode on fate and love, it is a nice break from the wackiness and non-sequitor nature of the series.
A great DVD all in all, with three excellent episodes and the series really moving along. As with other DVDs in this series, there are actually some good special features included hilarious voice actor outtakes.
As usual, the only problem with "Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi" is the Osaka dialect, which the producers have dealt with in a few ways. The English dub is atrocious, featuring faux Southern accents in an approximation attempt. This is ridiculous, as the Osaka dialect is an urban dialect, not rural, and a thick Brooklyn accent would be more appropriate. The subtitle takes a more direct approach, but still loses the flavor of the language, and for US audiences it is difficult to so firmly set this series in Osaka as the creators intended.