Gainax has done it again. The studio that brought us series such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and FLCL, (Fooly Cooly,) has brought us Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi. Translated and released in the US by a company which is quickly becoming one of my favorites, ADVision did a great job of not only maintaining a faithful translation of the anime, but also portraying our main characters, 12 year olds Arumi and Sashi, as being from Osaka by giving them Southern Drawls in the English dub.
A brief warning: the first episode is hard to get through, and much worse than the rest of the series. Do not let yourself be scared away from the series by this episode. This episode sets the series up as though it is about to become some sort of deep emotional story about two children about to be separated by one family moving away from the crumbling community in which they were both raised. However, this is the only part of the series that will have you thinking this. This is in fact a crazy comedy, one which will have the viewer laughing more and more depending on one’s knowledge of anime and pop culture.
Arumi and Sashi quickly discover that they are being thrust into dimension after dimension, and that the only way for them to get back home is to capture the particular goblin that got them into the situation in the first place. Each dimension is a crazy place, where they see the same faces as those in their own world, only in vastly different ways. Of course, the transsexual character would have to be one of my favorites, and she shows up constantly. Viewers should also be more than amused by the swearing Elvis that makes an appearance, played by another face we’ve become used to by the time he shows up.
The show does take a turn for the more serious towards the end, but the comedy keeps coming throughout, and this is a definite recommendation for when one is in the mood for something light and fun. Do not expect to learn a lot from this, or to think too deeply about the subject matter, only to have a great crazy romp through the multiverse!