Review of Abenobashi Magical Shopping District (2002)

Moving picture, 5.0 hours

Yamaga Hiroyuki (director), Kojima Masayuki (director).

The “Abe’s bridge” open mall is going out of business, shop by shop. An old man falls from a rickety platform. His granddaughter sees him caught miraculously before hitting the ground, which marks the beginning of a great escape from reality. The granddaughter and a boy make a journey through a series of alternate Abenobashis. At first they chase a goblin who seems to know how to navigate, but they soon realize that every bizarre new world the couple enters is a geeky fascination made real.

The Engrish in the opening theme ranks right up there with classics like Hellsing (2001). Loads of allusions (as always) and genre destruction. Zombie Masa-ji-Plissken-Brown was particularly amusing and this was the first time I’d seen Monty Python copied in Japanese animation. More coherence and maturity, and less mindless fan service, would have helped a lot.

References here: Mahoromatic: Automatic Maiden (2001), SSSS Gridman (2018).

moving picture Gainax Japanese production animation fiction series