Abenobashi: Magical Shopping Arcade Vol. #02 - Mania.com

Anime/Manga Reviews

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-591827-914
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Abenobashi: Magical Shopping Arcade Vol. #02

By Eduardo M. Chavez     July 17, 2005
Release Date: November 09, 2004

Abenobashi: Magical Shopping Arcade Vol.#02

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Akahori Satoru/Deguchi Ryusei
Translated by:Beni Axia Hirayama
Adapted by:

What They Say
The delirious adventures continue! Sasshi and Arumi take a roller coaster ride through a bizarre world of forgotten manga characters, where they discover the bold, the beautiful, and the bodacious versions of themselves. Buckle-up and don't look back during the nonstop thrills, eye-popping fantasy and even more eye-popping girls!

The Review
In the final volume of Abenobashi, Sasshi begins to understand that he cannot run away from what he fears. He has held back his feelings for too long and even if opening his heart means being hurt, it is not as bad as hurting those who he loves.

TOKYOPOP does a good job with Abenobashi. They use some of the original cover art here, focusing on the character piece featuring the main characters, Arumi, Mune-mune and Sasshi. TP placed this image over blue-toned panel art. Above the image is the logo, which is set up like ADV anime logo, including five-point star on the "O" (nice). The opposite cover has images from two chapter headers beneath the volume description. Both are a little etchi, but I'll be honest this whole series is a little etchi.

Inside, the printing is pretty good. As this GN is smaller than the original, there are some alignment issues, but nothing serious. TOKYOPOP decided not to use color pages here, and those pages look very nice. At the end of the GN, there is a short ato-gaki and a thank you page followed by ads for Instant Teen, Battle Vixens, Legal Drug and Crazy Love Story.

Deguchi’s art is misleading. As the writing parodies anime and otaku culture, the art does the same. When Deguchi needs the art to be detailed and intricate, he does it. He can clean up his line work and tighten up his sense of form, making his characters look more realistic. If he needs additional comical effect, he goes into SD. If he needs mechanical art, he does that and continues to maintain the comical theme of the series.

Backgrounds are consistently good. They have a good amount of detail and are present when needed. The layout is not great. At times, I found myself lost due to poor panel placement and strange perspective.

The translation is not bad. Not only are personalities well established but the humor comes out well, also. TOKYOPOP has a tough situation with the puns involved, and their versions tend to work smoothly. TP also uses honorifics with good effect, as it confirms the relationships within the cast. This series has a ton of references from all over - sports, movies, anime, etc - but TOKYOPOP has researched them all well, which is more than I can say for other publishers.
SFX are not translated, which is frustrating but is standard for TOKYOPOP manga.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The concepts of time and space seem to have broken free from the laws of science when it comes to Sasshi and Arumi. They and their neighbors have been sent through multiple dimensions all coming from the mind of one young person. That little fact was not apparent to our two heroes until now. What they thought was strange phenomena caused by demons and the fall of the celestial beings that protected Abenobashi, was much more complicated than that. There is a deeper connection to the two who are able to actually move through these worlds. These worlds were created by the mind of one person, to protect the heart of that same person.

Sasshi does not want to be alone and he has done what many wish they could do. He created a world/s for he and his closest friend to live together in.

He made a world filled with amusement rides to have a fun time with Arumi. He creates a world filled with magic. Witches and wizards like in those books that is popular right now. A world of sports to keep them entertained. A horror world to bring them together.

None of that worked!

Sasshi, these are your dream worlds, man. Arumi does not want a dream world; she wants to go home, wherever that is. All this trekking through time is fun; however, she has a family to go back to. She has so much to experience and as much as she likes Sasshi, she cannot give up on the rest of her life right now.

So onward home. Hopefully, there is a home to go to.

I am sure everyone has had friendships that we wished never ended. They were very important and to see friends leave might not have meant the end of the friendship but it was the likely the beginning of something we did not want to consider before. The transformation of a relationship that was so close and so accessible to one that is so distant and out of control, can be painful and scary. The distance makes everything obviously be farther apart, but it also puts an unconscious emotional rift between people as well. People must make more of an effort. They have to make the time. They have to understand they can no longer just come over. Phones, email, letters and pictures can do so much, but being there with a friend or someone you love can mean so much more in a relationship.

Sasshi is going through this. His way to avoid this from happening is completely out of the imagination of an otaku. That was fun while it lasted, but he is seeing the negative effects. He cannot run forever. That is just too selfish to even consider really. Is living with an unhappy Arumi better than not living with a happy Arumi? Tough call.

At the same time, Sasshi tried his hardest to create worlds to hopefully slow down the process. Sports, mystery, prehistoric or whatever could have done it; however, these were all from the heart and mind of Sasshi for Sasshi. None of it was exclusively for Arumi that would prevent her from accepting her future. Sasshi should not have tried but he should have thought about someone else besides himself.

But for all of its soul searching Sasshi and Abenobashi come up short on many things. The manga does the parody better, but the anime actually makes sense and has something resembling a plot. This version tries to toss one in and it is confusing and contrite. There appeared to be a shortsighted attitude towards this title for this could have gone much longer but it seemed to be cut short possibly to coincide with the anime. Equally as frustrating is how little we get to know the characters. Yeah Abenobashi is about the journeys, but asking for the rest should not have been a challenge. The relationships seem like a joke. Ochi's friendship with Sasshi definitely is and Mune's with Eutus is honorable but rather absurd. I still do not entirely get the correlation the manga makes for them and Sasshi/Arumi (which was more clearly defined in the anime). But that goes back to how little focus there is on the characters, so Mune and Eutus's motivations are not explained very well here.

If I were to choose, I would go with the anime. The bits of random might be done better here, but Gainax seemed to know what they were doing with the anime. With Akihori writing the manga, characters were forgotten and the magical arcade took center stage. That might work for Sasshi, but I grew up and wanted something more.


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