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Anime Moment: Kawaii on Crack, Demons and Deadlines, and a Monkey God

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Vol. 3 DVD cover art
Tactics, Vol. 1
Saiyuki Reload Gunlock, Vol. 1 DVD cover art

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, that madcap place where world-hopping and imagination are the only rules, takes another look at the intriguing, remarkable worlds imagined by Sasshi, starting with a world startlingly like a dating sim, where all the girls are beautiful and Sasshi is the only real male. He has a lot of fun until Arumi shows up with her oni horn to spoil his fun. Eutus also shows up and whisks Sasshi off to learn more about this promising young man, and this discussion provides us a bit more of the backstory and how Abenobashi came into being to begin with. The final episode gets really wacky as Sasshi, trying to master his powers, creates a world specifically for Arumi, filled with the quasi-kawaii things he thinks girls like. Be afraid, be very afraid. Again, ADV’s “Vid-Notes” are very cool, providing interesting and useful information about the show. (Buy it from Amazon)

[ad#longpost]Next, is the striking art of the new show Tactics, Based on the manga series by Sakura Kinoshita. This historical show chronicles the adventures of a writer/supernatural detective who makes feudal Japan safe, one demon, ghost, or creature at a time, while also never disappointing his editor. This first disc in the series introduces the world and Kentaro, the sleith, along with a host of demons, including the Icicle Woman, an evil dollmaker (is there any other kind?), the child-eating God of the Mountain, a mysterious but beautiful heiress, and more. The show has a picaresque nature to the episodes, which lends itself more to an adventure show than anything with deep philosophical insight; however, the art makes this one slightly above average. Besides, it’s a bit more than simply a detective show: Kentaro is struggling to prove that this other world exists to the oh-so-modern world of the 20th century, and he’s also hoping to bring some harmony to the two worlds, so that supernatural creatures can perhaps live in peace with humans. It’ll be interesting to see how much emphasis there is on this in future episodes. Some cool extras, including a clean opening plus closing and interviews, spice up the release. Any anime fan will like this one, as will anyone who enjoys supernatural and/or detective tales. (Buy it from Amazon)

Third, we have the first disc of the second season of the Saiyuki reboot, Saiyuki Reload Gunlock. The epic journey to the West continues, inspired by Japanese legend, as Sanzo, Goku, and the rest continue on towards India, with, of course, danger at every turn. In these four episodes, we encounter a corrupt temple full of evil, a pack of cranky bears, and more wickedness than you can shake a shakujou at. Meanwhile, the opponents of Our Heroes are turning the already-powerful Kougaiji into an unstoppable juggernaut of death. This bodes ill for heroic health in future episodes. The guys never seem to get anywhere, but at least the gods notice this also and help to get our team back on track. Sort of. Fans of the franchise will want to have this, but even those who loved the first Saiyuki may be a bit weary of the endless trek at this point. (Buy it from Amazon)