"Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi Volume 2" is all about answering questions.
Well, okay, it's not ALL about answering questions -- half is about that, and half of it is mayhem and madness, machine guns and medieval mansions. While Arumi and Sasshi are still swimming against a tide of bizarre spoofs, the writers of this cracked-out comedy anime also introduce a darker, more tragic vein to the storyline.
Sasshi and Arumi find themselves in a foggy 1930s gangster film, where Sasshi is mistaken for a legendary sniper. And Arumi is practically abducted by the Abeno Angels (police style), who are intent on stopping the Pelican Family's illicit snail trade! Then they find themselves in a world based on dating sims, where Sasshi is the beloved of all around... and Arumi is a horned goblin bullied by a chicken.
In the meantime, there's a flashback episode in which we see Grandpa Masa in his youth. The Abenobashi Shopping Arcade was being built by the mysterious Mr. Abe, who attracted the affections of the girl Masa was in love with -- a girl who looks suspiciously like Mune Mune.
When Arumi stomps off, Eutus appears to take Sasshi away with him, to a rather strange Heian-era mansion. There the blue-haired man's true identity will be revealed, along with the reason Sasshi's fate has been linked to his. And most importantly, we learn the tragic reason Sasshi never wants to go back home....
Despite all the jiggle, potty humor and wild spoofery of "Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi," the second volume becomes very serious at times -- even tragic. The storyline was kind of insubstantial before, but the clues and foreshadowing are suddenly fleshed out in a rush. The arcade, the hinted-at love triangle, and even some surprising revelations about Sasshi.
But fortunately the writers haven't lost their sense of humor -- they have lots of fun with the comic-relief bullets that shrink the victim into a cute comic relief character ("My legs... they're so short. I look like a dork!"), sim spoofery (a robot angel?), and Arumi's increasingly whacked-out behavior ("Let Sasshi know the torments of HEEEEEEEEELLLLLLL...").
These episodes also reveal just who the mysterious Eutus is, as well as the loopy half-naked redhead Mune-Mune. And Sasshi turns out to be a bit more than the geeky boy who knows his way around every world -- he learns some amazing new powers from Eutus, and his feelings for Arumi are shown in his actions. As for Arumi... she's starting to crack up. And who can blame her? She's had one fun stint in the entire series, as a torch singer.
"Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi" adds some depth to the wild spoofery and whacked-out comedy -- and leaves you wondering what Sasshi is going to do next.