The Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi box set is a three-disc DVD set that includes all 13 episodes of the series. Unfortunately, this is a rather “bare bones” release, which means that the special features from the four individual DVD releases were not included. Also, there is no labeling anywhere as to which episodes appear on which discs. I was a little frustrated when I saw that this information was missing from the packaging.

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi Box Set
English Publisher: ADV Films
Format: DVD
Release Date: January 20, 2009

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi is set in the Abenobashi commercial district in Osaka, Japan. This area is falling apart, with many of the businesses shutting down and people from the area moving away.

Sasshi and his childhood friend, Arumi, are the main characters of the series. Sasshi’s family recently shut down their bathhouse and moved into a smaller home. As part of the move Sasshi’s family made him leave items associated with his otaku habits behind, due to having less space.

Arumi’s family, excluding her grandfather, has decided to leave their restaurant and go to Hokkaido, where Arumi’s father has a job offer. Sasshi is upset and doesn’t want Arumi to leave.

Arumi’s grandfather has an accident, and Arumi and Sasshi are transported to an alternate version of Abenobashi that has sword and sorcery. After defeating the “boss” and trying to return home, they find themselves in another alternate world. The alternate worlds they visit turn out to be surreal manifestations of Sasshi’s otaku interests. These other interests include science fiction, dating sim games, war, and American movies.

These worlds are populated by analogs of their relatives and acquaintances, as well as by a couple of people they’ve never met before. One is a blue-haired stranger named Eutus, and the other is a red-haired girl with glasses named Mune. As the series progresses, it’s revealed why the two kids keep jumping to alternate worlds, and the connection that they have with Eutus and Mune.

Overall, I thought that Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi was kind of a fun and whimsical viewing experience. My favorite episode was the one where Sasshi and Arumi end up in the science fiction world, because I recognized and appreciated several Space Battleship Yamato references that appeared in it. That particular episode nearly made me bust a gut.

As I mentioned earlier in this review, this DVD box set for Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi is “bare bones.” The first disc in the set has five episodes, as well as trailers for properties that were being promoted at the time this set was released and DVD credits. The second and third discs only have four episodes on them.

Even with the fact that I was a little disappointed by the lack of special features, I still believe that this Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi DVD set is the best and most economical way to acquire the series for your anime collection. It’s also easier to find this box set than it is to track down the four individual DVDs that were originally released for this series.

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