Anime Vice News

Watch & Learn: ABENOBASHI #3 + 4

Now, more than ever... what the f@#$ did I just watch?!!?

  Panty raidin' Pikachu was definitely (pun intended) stretching the limits of taste.
 Panty raidin' Pikachu was definitely (pun intended) stretching the limits of taste.

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.

  The gag about summarizing a DBZ fight to one punch was 100% spot-on.
 The gag about summarizing a DBZ fight to one punch was 100% spot-on.

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?

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon here &   here .  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk

BraveToasteron Nov. 20, 2010 at 3:29 a.m.
I'm going to have to check this out.
bustajibbon Nov. 20, 2010 at 5:35 p.m.

I was going to comment on your first "Watch and Learn" for Abenobashi, but you beat to your second review.  I watched this a long time ago and eventually bought the DVD set.   
 
Its a crazy ride that touches on many genre of movie, TV and music.  And the first time you watch you are like "what the hell???"  But as you do you will notice stuff that is a homage to some of those popular titles and themes from said genre.  And even still you are like where is this going.  All I can say is stick with it and you will unstand what each episode has to do with each other and eventually understand why the same characters keep showing up in different roles and their ties to each other and the main characters.  I might even sugest a second view of the series a year or two down the road.   
 
And about the southern accents.  If Im not mistaken the Osaka area is in a southern rural part of Japan.  The twangy accent is used in the English dub to make that apparent. 
zaldaron Nov. 20, 2010 at 8:14 p.m.
ah so we have done the one where they make fun of the rpg idea of you die and come back alive just farther back from where you started.  That had me rolling in the floor, as did this one with the mecha stuff.  The space pirate episode is good as well though not sure if you have seen enough to get that one completely.  I don't think you have watched harlock yet have you?  It eventually went of the rails for me but it takes awhile.
No_name_here staff on Nov. 21, 2010 at 9:07 p.m.
@axxol said:
" I'm going to have to check this out. "
I do heartily recommend it.
No_name_here staff on Nov. 21, 2010 at 9:10 p.m.
@bustajibb said:
 All I can say is stick with it and you will unstand what each episode has to do with each other and eventually understand why the same characters keep showing up in different roles and their ties to each other and the main characters.  I might even sugest a second view of the series a year or two down the road.            
I'm sure my impression will be drastically different if I watch this again. I'm pretty sure the same characters keep showing up for the same reason as WIZARD OF OZ.
    And about the southern accents.  If Im not mistaken the Osaka area is in a southern rural part of Japan.  The twangy accent is used in the English dub to make that apparent.  "
So I've heard. I guess I know even more about regional relationships in Japan now. It's still pretty wacky, and I like wacky.
No_name_here staff on Nov. 21, 2010 at 9:14 p.m.
@zaldar said:
" ah so we have done the one where they make fun of the rpg idea of you die and come back alive just farther back from where you started.  That had me rolling in the floor, as did this one with the mecha stuff.  The space pirate episode is good as well though not sure if you have seen enough to get that one completely.  I don't think you have watched harlock yet have you?  It eventually went of the rails for me but it takes awhile. "
I grew up on Captain Harlock. Literaly,  though. I wasn't old enough to understand it at the time.
sotyfan16on Nov. 22, 2010 at 12:30 a.m.

"Some Pokemon reject!" Haha that one got me going. Ep 3 made the girl sound like the perverted one and there was quite a bit of simple nudity. But, everything adds up to Gainax's zaniness. I got a real heavy Gurren Lagann vibe from this ep, too. As for ep 4 I loved the combination of martial arts culture, even where the Golden Claw spoke in off languages. This almost does seem like some FLCL rip but somebody has to make fun of everything that has been popular. On that thought it just came to me that a comparison would be this is the anime version of SNL and other sketch/skit shows.

Dig Deeper into Abenobashi

Two young kids named Sasshi and Arumi travel through different worlds inside the Abenobashi Shopping Arcade.

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