Back when I started doing reviews for Anime Vice, this column was called “What the F@#$ Did I Just Watch?!?!” It's been a long time since I've felt compelled to say that, but ABENOBASHI warrants it because this show is nutty. The teenage ennui should've been an early clue, but I'm feeling like this is Gainax's spiritual sequel to FLCL. Once again, I'm reminded a whole hell of a lot of Rob Schrab's manic brand of pop culture mashing because, once again, the craziness comes so quickly that this would've been impossible to follow subbed.
Seriously, I know this is just loaded with references to other anime, and I'm probably only catching about 40% of them. The third episode was really overwhelming in how dense it was with that stuff, but the fourth went at a little more manageable clip. Then again, there might've been a lot of stuff in there I didn't even realize was a homage. I noticed DBZ , Jackie Chan (circa DRUNKEN MASTER ,) Bruce Lee (circa his whole career,) the dramatic music from EVA , 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY , AKIRA on the pyramid chart, a perverted panty-snatching Pikachu and then mecha suits looking like those in GUNDAM and basically every super-sentai show.
I've got the gist that each episode takes place in a different pop milieu. The first world was RPG/fantasy, the second was mecha and sci-fi in general (which they even spelled-out, literally) and the third was kung-fu and wuxia movies. I suppose the next one's going to take place at some all-girl's prviate school that somehow manages to have one boy in it? I continue to be charmed by the crossed-wires of the Texan accents, especially when they start trying to sound Chinese. It makes me wonder what Chinese-accented Japanese sounds like to the trained ear.
Still goes to show how standards and practices are different in Japan. First, we get the boy draining the lizard, full-out, on screen (and, somehow, even more graphically than a CONKER game.) Then, there’s a whole episode about the girl losing her panties and them being groped (in so many ways) by the little goblin. She, of course, was frequently in danger of flashing her naked naughty bits (a danger that was often fulfilled) and, truthfully, that started crossing the line as she’s supposed to be a 13 year old.But hey, when you're in Abenobashi, you don't argue with Abenobashi's mores, right?