Welcome to Amagi Brilliant Park!

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Amagi Brilliant Park, a land of broken dreams that only draws an average of 200 visitors a day to its run-down rides and attractions. As it turns out, this small amusement park is actually staffed by beings from a magical realm called Maple Land, and the magical energy that is generated by the enjoyment of its visitors is necessary for their continued existence.

However, due to reduced visitor levels, they have just three months left to attract 250,000 visitors — if they fail, Amagi will be closed and the land taken by a real estate agency. To save the park from closure, Amagi’s owner, Latifah Fleuranza hires Kanie Seiya, a good-looking perfectionist with a history in the entertainment business, to become its new manager and bring in the required number of visitors…

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There is always one constant: the visuals are gorgeous…

There are two things I recalled immediately about Amagi when I sat down to think about this post. First, that the two main characters, Kanie and Isuzu, gave me the impression that someone was trying for the main couple of Bakemonogatari (I’ve previously thought that Uchiyama Kouki reminded me a little of Kamiya Hiroshi, and Isuzu’s behaviour in the first couple of episodes was very Senjougahara-ish…) They’re not, but it was kind of unfortunate, because for me, the Bake pair are pretty difficult to beat in terms of my favourite anime couples, canon or otherwise…

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And not just for the backgrounds!

The other thing I remembered, however, makes Amagi extremely fun to watch. The key is to realise that our characters actually have some rather strange names: KANIE Seiya (NB: his first name has the kanji for West); Aisu KYUUBU is his aunt, whom he lives with; Latifah is Amagi’s owner; Isuzu SENTO is the person who becomes Kanie’s aide; and KURISU Takaya is the face of the real estate company, who keeps reminding them of the looming deadline. As you might have noticed, I’ve put the names in the relevant order as opposed to either Japanese or Western name order, because what we have in Amagi Brilliant Park is effectively, as a poster on reddit put so succinctly:

From now on the show I’m watching has Kanye West living with Ice Cube, running a theme park for Queen Latifah. He has 50 Cent for his assistant, and the main bad guy is Chris Tucker.

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And where that comic timing worked, it WORKED:
this scene almost had me in tears!

Besides the major laugh I got out of that real world connection, Amagi has some interesting things to share about people and the things we do. I really liked Kanie’s observation in the second episode that the pride that the park’s staff still had for their work could be perceived in their anger at the way he put down their visitors. Then, there was the way in which Kanie and Sento complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and the fact that Kanie acknowledged that. The dungeon and pirate episodes were also loads of fun, both in how nostalgic they were and in their send-ups of those famous Hollywood film genres. Furthermore, since the work on which it was based is a novel by the author of Full Metal Panic!, there were a few humorous ‘breaking the 4th wall’ exchanges for those in the know.

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What I can do, you can’t…but what I can’t do, you can…

Nevertheless, Amagi still hit nothing more than the middle of the pack for me. Kyoto Animation remains top when it comes to character animation, but no matter how good its animation is, a show has to have more than that. And there were shows and characters that I found funnier, more heartwarming and/or more interesting over the course of yesteryear. As for the ending…to be frank, I would like to see where the story goes, but I’m not invested enough to check out the original novel. To me, Amagi is worth a watch…but no more than one.

About karice
MAG fan, amateur translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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