Amagi Brilliant Park – 13 (Fin)

abp131

Zane here, first-time ABP writer, long-time watcher (I’m actually watching it a second time around, it’s so good), just sticking my head in to offer some thoughts on the final episode. Oigakkosan will be along with his assessment.

I can sum up this episode with the phrase “Tricen makes a PV (promotional video) for the park.” No evil wizard redux; no new park crisis. It’s essentially a means for the excellent sprawling cast to take a curtain call.

abp132

As both Kanie and Moffle note verbatim (proving that like minds often spar), Tricen can’t help but project his own bland personality onto the initial video. Kanie puts Sento in charge of helping Tri spice the video up, which they attempt to do by asking for everyone’s suggestions about what to put in the video.

abp133

Moffle wants more explosions and action, Macaron wants better music, Tiramie wants more female skin (from his collection of covert skinpics), Koboli wants more male skin, Muse wants water, and Salama offers footage of Salama sleeping.

Tricen throws all this stuff into the video without any effort to mesh the wildly varying themes. Even as an art film, it’s a bit awkward. Then Latifah suggests he add video of the lower-tier cast members’ hobbies…and things get a bit weird:

abp134

Whoa. (For the record, I couldn’t stop laughing at this scene. Who would’ve thought the mute dogu would be the most visionary of the bunch?)

abp135

From Ashe’s skydive ironing, to Dornell’s dam enthusiast club video (and there are pictures of dams on the wall of his hideout way back in episode 5; nice continuity!), to Adachi’s footage of a horse giving birth, everything Tricen is given is put in, with no regard whatsoever for coherence.

abp136

Predictably, Kanie is appalled by the resulting ‘masterpiece’ even as Sento weeps from the emotional impact. Frankly, Kanie should have remembered that while he’s softened her edges somewhat, Sento is still an imperial guard, and the wrong choice to assist Tricen. Not that there was a better alternative!

Kanie goes with Tricen’s original milquetoast cut, which underwhelms the cast, who is miffed their suggestions weren’t included. But Tricen gets the last laugh when he tells Kanie he uploaded the ‘unofficial remix’ to the web, where it went viral.

abp137

There was thankfully no more Evil Wizard this week, but the possible negative fallout from the PV can’t be considered real conflict in this, the final episode. ABP seems to be running smoothly with Kanie at the helm and Sento by his side.

No, this was more a final check-in with the characters, who brought us to the table in the first place and kept us there with rapt attention as they worked their way through various dilemmas. I personally enjoyed this inconsequential but still entertaining epilogue.

8_ses

Advertisements

Amagi Brilliant Park – 12

abp124

ABP comes to a satisfying, if not a fairly typical storybook ending this week. Except I don’t believe this is the final episode, which means next week is going to be an interesting experiment in how to end a show, after you’ve ended a show…

abp122

The Summary: with time running out, everyone at the park whips out their phones and calls everyone they can think of. Muse gets her grandmother, Tiramie gets a ton of angry husbands and wives, Sylphy gets her weird internet fans and Kanie-kun gets the girls who are still angry at him from the previous high school fiasco. Even a pizza guy is called, just to get him through the turnstile. With the three little boys who hunger fiercely for Sento, the park crosses the 500,000 mark and the day is won!

Then love wins out (or something) and Latifah doesn’t forget who she is and Kanie-kun decides to stay. We even learn the evil Developer was actually the evil wizard in disguise all this time!

abp123

The GoodABP knows we wanted a happy ending and it gave it to us. And it gave it to us clean, without any magic tricks our nonsense pulled out of the hat. Everyone has friends and, in a pinch, those friends came through. It was a good feeling.

Moreover, the reveal that the parcel of land that the park must sell to the south is going to a major grocery chain (‘Moll Mart’) that will provide great synergy to the park for years to come was a lovely, un-silly cherry on top.

abp128

The episode doesn’t forget any of the small details either. The three pervert boys are an obvious addition, but I love that the boy who always asks his mom about adult content and gets told to ignore it was in the background too.

And that’s nothing compared to the delightfully silly mute-statue that some how moves around the park. When the going got tough, even he called someone on the phone…except he doesn’t talk so they keep asking who’s called them!

abp125

The not as goods – Well… that evil wizard plot came out of nowhere a few weeks back and the sudden reveal that the blonde developer was the wizard all along felt even more out of left field. Underdeveloped, abrupt, and poorly integrated with the story.

I guess ABP avoids a major problem with it only because the story is so tangential and on the sidelines. So, at least his evil laugh (and plot) was mere seconds long and then we were done with it.

abp121

The Verdict – This was a lovely feel-good resolution that felt earned by a big cast of characters I’ve fallen in love with. Yes, I don’t care about the princess nor the wizard and yes, her love triangle with Sento hasn’t gone anywhere, but none of those elements were really the point of the show.

abp127

My only concern is for next week. Next week will either focus on the evil wizard, who’s plot was never part of the story in a meaningful way OR it will just be happy after the facts and no conflict.

In either case, it risks feeling tacked on and irrelevant. Who knows though, ABP is a fantastic show and I look forward to being proved wrong.

9_ogk

Amagi Brilliant Park – 11

abp110

ABP is a little gem of a show that doesn’t quite make it into my book of best-ever anime. However, it remains the most consistent and (consistently excellent) show of the season.

This week is no exception and gave us a text-book perfect final push before next week’s conclusion. No time was wasted, the characters we love and know double their efforts, and a final kink blocks their path to victory.

apb113

The Summary: Kanie-kun’s final play is to invite a real-world soccer team to use the abandoned stadium on the final day of the season. It’s a near guaranteed 50,000 bump to the park’s guests counter and, with the help of some magic and mole people, it’s well within their grasp to get it done.

The lines are long, the guests are constant and, exhausted or not, the cast pounds through show after show. But, as the last bus of soccer fans walks through the gates, the park is short a few hundred of their goal. With three hours to go, it’s panic time!

abp111

The Good – while Kanie-kun’s psychic power has gone a bit under utilized this season, I appreciate that it didn’t get over used either and this week uses it just enough to bend the rules in the park’s favor.

I also appreciated that 500,000 guests may not be practical for the park even at the best of times. Sweat by the bucket and fatigue aside, the high volume of guests bring with them long and slow moving lines. Amagi just doesn’t have enough content for that many people all at the same time.

abp115

However, the single best element of the episode was the closing, where the cast is so close yet we have no idea (and they have no idea) how the gap will get closed. This is exactly what the lead up to a finally needs.

No new threats from left field, no distractions, just hard work from your cast and the thrill of seeing how they defeat the long challenge they’ve faced all season.

116

The not as goods – I have no real gripes this week. Rather, season-long issues. I remain …tepid?… about Latifah. She’s not a very interesting character and I think the show runners know this. (since they haven’t given her all that much screen time, relatively speaking)

Likewise, it’s been weeks since we’ve seen the dream-girl-trio. They were so well integrated for the two episodes immediately after their mid-season introduction but now? If they turn into a fix-all at the end, it will feel too hand-wavy and if they don’t appear at all? Well… then why were they introduced in the first place?

abp114

The Verdict – Another 9. Honestly, if you liked what this show has done leading up to now, you will like what it did here. It’s ramped up the tension, without losing its focus.

It remains to be seen if it can pull it all off in the finale. I’m confident it can — even confident that it may finally land a perfect 10 but, there’s always a potential for surprise… in the other direction!

9_ogk

Amagi Brilliant Park – 10

abp101

Late season episodes always run the risk of dragging out the pre-finale tension too much and, while no major revelations came to ABP this week, its tenth episode was way more successful than most other shows’.

This shouldn’t be that surprising, really. ABP’s brightly colored, wacky characters of many shapes and sizes, its lush environment, and it’s finely crafted sense of humor are naturally a pleasure to watch. That said, I was a little nervous after the faerie quartet’s rather silly, plot unproductive outing last week…

abp102

The Summary: The park’s cast and attractions have hit their stride. Some cast members are even trying new things to make themselves more interactive: Macaron has a head-banging rock show, Tirame’s flowers try to eat people, and Moffle’s old light gun challenge has been replaced by airsoft and mech fighting. The park is even open at night now.

Attendance is not only up but everyone is happy and excited about what is going on. Everyone except Seiya Kanie-kun, who’s losing his pleasant edge over the stress of doing so well, but falling short of their goal.

abp103

Unfortunately, the princess is still barely holding herself together and Kanie-kun is finally told why: she was cursed when her father betrayed a mage and she requires a large quantity of human joy to survive. Worse, even if she survives, Latifah loses her memory (and physical growth) of the previous 12 months at the beginning of August each year.

Kanie also remembers that he met her before and tried to cheer her up, but failed. It’s safe to assume he hasn’t remembered everything yet, either, since the show has implied his fear of heights and falling also stem from that same encounter…

abp104

The GoodABP knows how to keep it’s characters developing. Kanie and Moffle have grown closer (maybe even to a point where they respect each other now) over their mutual support of the princess. The side cast too continues to shine and the double-whammy of the princess dying if the park closes AND not remembering anyone even if she survives sets the stakes quite nicely.

As for smaller details, the whole opening segment with Macaron’s rock show and the schoolgirls being super-happy to play-fight the Orcs in the dungeon attraction were super cute. It does what all the best fantasy shows do: it makes you wish you could go there and join in on the fun.

abp105

The not as goods – my only notable criticism is that Latifah’s story isn’t that interesting. Rather, she’s been a side character for most of the show, with no episode-to-episode presence. It certainly works as a second binder to hold the ‘save the park’ plot together, but, as cute and lovely a little girl as Latifah is, and as much as we’ve seen Kanie come to care for her, all the other relationships are more interesting.

The only other item of note is the lack of Kanie’s fake-harem trio. I appreciated that they were integrated in the Pirate and Body Swap episodes, and not really forced into the foreground but… they need to be in the show at least a little or risk becoming extraneous.

abp106

The Verdict – I really enjoy this show and I’ve even broken the will of my fellow reviewers to the point where they not only excitedly watch the show too but aggressively hunt me down when I’ve been slow to review it each week. It’s surprisingly good, each and every week and even more so when you compare it to the rest of the top 5.

Sure, with one exception, I don’t see ABP as a perfect score kinda show but it’s so very reliable, I may well consider it my favorite show of the fall season regardless. Episode 10 just continues that… so you should probably be watching this show?

abp107

We’re entering the final run. Next week will pick up with the Triceratops telling Kanie that he found The Thing, and finally let us know what that thing is and how it will save the park from being closed.

I have my guesses but this isn’t the kind of show where narrative surprises do the heavy lifting. That’s done by the characters themselves, their drama, and a witty (and very Western) sense of comedic timing. Kudos!

9_ogk

Amagi Brilliant Park – 09

abp93

Amagi Brilliant Park 9 is kind of a let down, honestly. Where last week was an original feeling, tightly packed narrative that developed Kanie-kun through the characters around him and was also exploding with funny, this week was… even more tightly packed, but cliche and focused on the Faerie quartette: Windy Sylphy, Earthy Koboli, the leader girl who’s name I never remember and Fiery Salama.

Episode 8 was knowingly cliche, in that the main cast spent most of the episode watching and giving critical commentary on the Faeries’ ordeal but… it just wasn’t that funny. Just commenting on cliches isn’t interesting unless there’s a twist and, by the closing credits, the twist seems to be that it really was a cliche all along.

abp90

To sum up: the Faeries are having a hard time bringing their dance act together and Princess Latifah plots to solve their differences with a fake sukiyaki dinner party that almost immediately turns into a team-building exercise to save the park and become true friends.

abp900

Latifah literally tells them that the big red button in the corner must not be pushed or something really bad will happen. Then she walks out of the room to get more sauce for dinner and the girls accidentally end up pushing it.

abp94

So Latifah’s castle turns into an awesome steam-punk fortress, bristling with cannons and the only way it can be turned off without shutting down the park all Saturday is for the Faeries to accomplish 4 challenges together and push another red button.

abp91

The first challenge is karaoke, the second is a DDR game, the third is a typing game and the last is a game of death…

abp97

Aside from the game of death, each game is tailored to one faerie being really good at it and another being really bad, and that it must be resolved by the really good one working extra hard to make up the bad player’s slack. I’m not actually sure this would be a positive experience, really, since one player is always really really terrible at it and doesn’t get better…

As for the death game, all I can say is what? I know that’s the point, but it’s weird that the green faerie doesn’t get her own challenge and the finale is just about self sacrifice. It somehow misses it’s own conventions and isn’t even parody anymore.

abp95

The good: As always, ABP looks as good as you can look without having Fate/Stay Night’s budget. The castle was especially good looking too.

And don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of humorous parts and plenty for all the side characters we’ve built up during the season to do.

abp92

The bad: putting the funniest characters in a room together and having them MST3K/Rifftrax an episode sounds like a good idea but doesn’t work here. The simple problem is ABP is funny because it’s smart and plays with conventions… it’s never been funny because it’s so dumb.

abp98

Likewise, choosing to develop characters who aren’t plot central — who actually worked very well as second or third tier characters — felt like wasted effort. Unnecessary.

abp96

I greatly respect what this episode was doing. I mean, Mystery Science Theatre is a great idea and something I don’t think I’ve seen trickle into anime humor before. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work with ABP’s style.

In hindsight, it probably would have worked marvelously if Chuujou Shiina and the other new hires from Sento’s nightmare had been chosen instead of the faeries. There’s more emotional attachment to them and more mystery. Oh well…

abp99

In closing, ABP8 is the flip side of last week’s coin: where last week I probably could have rated it a 10, this week I could probably have rated it an 8. I won’t retcon last week’s rating so we’ll leave this as a 9, the absolute minimum of a 9, and call it even ;0

9_ogk

Special ‘variation enabled’ precision rating for Preston (aka SVEPRfP) 9.01 (down .98 from last week)

 

 

Amagi Brilliant Park – 08

abp85

Amagi Brilliant Park’s eighth episode is a hilarious tale of body swapping, unintended consequences, and everyone making a royal mess of Seiya Kanie-kun’s life. It was a joyous romp, the best ABP so far, and so very very close to scoring a fully perfect 10.

So how did ABP turn a classic body swap/impostor identity trope into something brilliant? For starters, no one is really stuck…

abp80

It is easy to forget how difficult these past weeks have been for Kanie-kun. Between his confident smile and the park’s growing success, only the low attendance numbers at the end of each episode are there to remind us how dire the situation is — and even though success means life or death for many cast members, Seiya takes it the most seriously.

That stress finally gets the better of him and he passes out right at the beginning.

abp81

Stressing out and succumbing to a summer cold is hardly unique, though. Nor is Seiya’s conflicting need to attend (and do well in) high school while simultaneously working at the park.

If you had to guess how the episode would play out from Princess Latifah’s ‘get some sleep and go to school’ scene, I couldn’t fault your assumption that we were in for seeing the park take a dangerous backseat in Seiya’s life for half an episode before coming up with a brilliant (or hand wavy) solution by the end.

This even seems likely when Sento comes to visit the infirmary…

abp82

Except Sento opens up with her true romantic feelings and makes aggressive sexual advances on Kanie-kun. Then he notices Sento has a zipper sticking out of her head and Tiramie pops out laughing.

Practical jokes aside, Tiramie and Macaron have a solution for Kanie’s attendance problem: make a Kanie-suit using the mole peoples’ technology and let some of the cast members go to school for him.

abp83
I thought these students were holding hands and that a progressive yuri couple was hiding in plain sight. On closer inspection, It’s drawn a little weirdly but probably not…

I’m not actually sure why Kanie-kun agrees to this but he does, and Sento takes the first shift. Maybe he agrees because Sento is taking the first shift or maybe he agrees with Macaron that he has so few friends that no one will notice at school.

Regardless, Sento stumbles right out of the gate when she gives a friendly greeting to Chuujou Shiina, the red-twin-tail who also works at the park. Chuujou is immediately suspicious, as Kanie always ignores her and is not a particularly warm person…

abp86

While troubled by Kanie’s apparent indifference to Chuujou, Sento is even less prepared for the confession letter waiting in Kanie’s locker. In short, while Sento is touched that Tsuchida Kanae admits to putting it here accidentally (she’d intended the letter for Kimura of class 5) her supportive and pleasant nature is very out of Kanie-kun-character.

Worse, Sento’s kind words confuse Tsuchida’s own feelings, something that Sento completely fails to pick up on and does not report to Macaron when they trade off the following morning.

abp87
Like the zipper on his head, people quickly get over Kanie-kun’s head falling off when it’s hit by a baseball…

In the best case scenario, Macaron was going to make a complete mess of things anyway. He’s a grown man (sheep) who has fond memories of his wild time in high school (especially getting into fights) and he’s also a dad and a divorcee.

So, when he hears a hurt Kimura and Tsuchida fighting over her no longer wanting to confess to him, he steps in and gives Kimura some advanced level girl winning advice.

abp88

Macaron’s advice is actually pretty reasonable, if obviously out of character for Seiya. He tells Kimura to back off and give the girl space — ignore her even — to make her want to get his attention and he tells Tsuchida to stop apologizing for everything and raise her sense of self worth.

Like Sento, Macaron doesn’t realize how much impact he’s had on Tsuchida’s feelings for Seiya, nor does he give Tiramie any heads up the following day.

abp89

At this point, everyone knows something is off about Kanie-kun. Zipper and personality differences aside, he’s made references to being divorced and suddenly develops Tiramie and Moffle’s vocal tics.

Tiramie takes Kanie’s life even further off the rails by skipping class, being mean to a teacher and, because he hasn’t been given any background on Tsuchida, making advances on her.

abp891

Unfortunately (or not), Tiramie is a horrible person and his creepy, aggressive nature quickly implodes any chances he has with Tsuchida. In fact, he’s specific enough that Chuujou guesses what’s going on and storms off to tell Kanie herself.

Tsuchida’s rejection scene is fantastic in itself. As she’s starting to suspect Kanie is a womanizer (she misunderstands his familiarity with Chuujou and has heard he’s close to Sento) she won’t let him touch her and the animation of her tight dodges is playful and impressive.

ABP892

So Moffle puts on Kanie for the fourth day and before he can screw anything up in his own unique way, he’s confronted by Tsuchida’s friends over treating her badly and there’s nothing even Sento can do to keep things peaceful.

Thankfully, before Moffle can destroy everyone for being called a ‘fake,’ Kimura shows up and explains that Kanie (as Moffle) has acted crazy all week to help him get back together with Tsuchida and that all should be forgiven.

And, with a bow, all is forgiven.

ABP893

Later, Chuujou and Kanie (who’s partially stripped out of a Kimura skin suit) have a nice chat and, this time, it’s Kanie’s own fault for turning a girl’s heart towards him. She’s never seen beneath his cold and calculating exterior and never known that his pragmatism is guided by kindness.

He’s not angry with anyone for what they did because he knew they all did it to help him and, even though he’ll have to explain this crazy story to Kimura in the morning, no lasting harm was done.

Well, except Sento has a new competitor for his affections…

abp84

The whole story was funny as hell but it was also touching. The pacing for the gags was on even footing with the pacing and delivery of the romantic developments. Heck, even relative newcomer Chuujou got developed, along with the non-park world the park exists in.

Not a single things was out of place or unnecessary or out of balance. Well…except the women-hungry kindergartners but we’ve at least seen them before.

The most touching message of the whole episode is that Kanie-kun is surrounded by many people who would like him and make him very happy, if he himself was more obviously happy.

ABP894

Rating Amagi Brilliant Park is tremendously frustrating this week. On one hand, episode 8 was the funniest, most tightly woven plot the show has produced to date. On the other, I’m not sure I can justify giving it a perfect 10.

How about I leave you with “This is the best a show can do without actually hitting a perfect 10?” If you haven’t followed this show from the beginning, I strongly urge you to o back and watch from the beginning. (Especially if you followed InoBato’s but have lost interest each time that show falls off message).

9_ogk

Amagi Brilliant Park – 07

abp70

Amagi Brilliant Park gave us a lovely, wacky, riotous seventh episode set in the water theme part of the park this week. Almost everyone in the cast that has had screen time was there — including the trio of ‘normal’ girls hired last week.

In addition to the joyously absurd and funny story it told, episode seven’s biggest achievement may be in how well it juggled all of it’s characters. That I even knew who they all were and could give you more than a sentence about what they were doing in the park, their social relationships, and what mysteries each presents us with at this point in the series is nothing short of amazing.

abp74

Shirobako is the only other show with such a large cast and, by comparison, I couldn’t even tell you who 75% of those characters are without constant name blocks popping up and even then, and all but two or three of them are one-line-worthy archetypical characters.

That’s not the case here, and I can’t quite explain why. Maybe it’s just the advantage of the mascot theme character design? Maybe it’s that each character is part of the park’s structure AND that the park’s cast have a family / societal relationship?

Whatever the reason, ABP’s cast just works and, as I understand a lot of details about all of them, I care for them in addition more than just a source of silly jokes.

abp72

So what happened?

Macaron, Moffle and Tiramie are entertaining the kids at the water park and Kanie-kun tries to spice it up by sending in Sento and the Fairy Quartet to play fight in sexy pirate gear.

Unfortunately, Sento’s acting range is limited (she is a Royal Guard after all) and only the quartet’s resident airhead Sylphy brings any passion to the table — and even she’s off-target with her creepy shark hand puppets instead of a gun or cutlass and random Chinese(?) sayings.

Also Jaw the Shark mascot apparently turns into an actual, horrifyingly-realistic shark when he gets wet.

abp71

Then all hell breaks loose when the gate that connects the Magic Land and earth ruptures. Jaw and Chuujou Shiina, who’s still pronouncing everything wrong and dirty, are swept away.

Then real magical Pirates emerge from the gate, intent on launching a raid into the park.

abp73

The real pirates make quick work of the pretend pirates, subdue Moffle and Macaron (Tiramie immediately betrays them at the prospect of lady slaves), and even captures Princess Latifah, who was just passing by.

All the while, Adachi Eiko is narrating the events and translating the fairy and mascot chatter to the guests, who’ve been tied up and are confused but generally enjoying themselves. She’s delightful and her come-hither/kid-friendly hybrid voice is perfect for the loopy goings-on. (more mystery: Adachi appears to understand all these different languages…she’s no ordinary AV-starring human!)

abp78

After grabbing the mole people, Kanie-kun saves the day using the pirates’ own ship and their fear of Jaw against them. In addition to the pirates being seals, who instinctively fear sharks, Jaw is much scarier than usual because he’s wet, and a red-snow-cone-syrup-covered Bandou Biino happens to end up stuck in his mouth).

All’s well that ends well and the day ends very well for the park: They’ve gained a new attraction, more cast members (the subdued pirates) and above all else the guests were very excited about the day’s visit. Even Jaw wins, as he’s promoted to the new pirate cast’s boss, earning him a place of respect and purpose at last.

abp75

Amagi Brilliant Park is the 4th best show airing this season but what does that mean? What makes it less impressive than Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (#1/2) but more impressive than InoBato (#5)?

Obviously, ABP is very well-crafted. Its art is vibrant and drawn well, and has space to breathe and depth. It’s story holds a steady pace, the characters and humor are quirky but clear. It even knows how to slow down and give us quiet, thoughtful breaks to develop its characters and emphasize the moments of action.

But those points only explain why it’s a great show, not it’s relative place.

abp79

What sets it above is InoBato is a clear sense of purpose. Wacky it is along the way, but we’re reminded at the end of every week, if these people don’t improve the park’s attendance, tragedy will strike. It just has more purpose than InoBato’s harem target-of-the-week format with occasional tangents.

In fact, it can be argued that the wacky antics and happy framework around this conflict create a subtle underlying dread beneath everything. That’s not even getting into Latifah’s mysterious (and hinted at: sad) backstory with Seiya nor Sento’s desperate bid to win his love and respect, park be damned.

abp77

However, this same clear, purposeful but nuanced structure loses out against Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso’s relentlessly emotional, focused story of loss and unfulfilled love. ABP’s characters are rich, interesting, and specific, but they aren’t believably real people.

And ABP may be well drawn and full of lively action, the extremes of that action (within the confines of real space and peoples’ imaginations) lack Uso’s masterfully personal touch.

abp76

Regardless, this week was so funny it made my sides hurt. Moffle and Tiramie remain high marks for the juxtaposition of their happy kid-friendly/adorbs exteriors and deeply deranged adult interiors.

Even without them, the show continues to add mystery without feeling bloated and string us along with the good stuff. Humor and tragedy. Longing and satisfaction. ABP remains great stuff!

9_ogk

Amagi Brilliant Park – 06

abp61

Amagi Brilliant Park episode 6 is just delightful. Its premise is simple: the park is understaffed and Sento has been drugged with a ‘wear your heart on your sleeve’ magic pill, which makes the interview process even more ridiculous than it would otherwise be.

Between Sento banging her head on the desk to avoid telling Kanie-kun her true feelings about him, Sento’s premonition-dream about three of the female applicants, and the totally absurd group of applicants not including those three, episode 6 keeps its jokes fast and plentiful.

abp63

Sento dreams that Kanie-kun will hire three lovely ladies and replace her. The idea of this is so distressing that she wakes up, having shot a hole through the roof of the dorm building!

Then, at breakfast, Macaron the lamb mascot slips a magic pill into her curry and the day goes downhill fast.

abp65

When Sento figures out she’s been Heartsleeve’d, and it obviously doesn’t take her long to figure out she’s spilling her guts to everyone, she brings her frustrations down on the culprits with both barrels. Poor Tiramie wasn’t even involved! (even though he was going to ask her some compromising questions if he had the chance)

Unfortunately, Kanie-kun doesn’t get what’s going on and doesn’t let Sento excuse herself from the interview process.

abp69

The interviews are generally outrageous. A former mayor who lost his bid for reelection, a failed baseballer, a Luchador, and a ninja are among the few looking for work, whom Kanie-kun hires without a second thought.

On top of that, all three girls that Sento dreamed about show up for interviews and she just loses it.

abp62

Adachi Eiko is a mature woman from the film industry. She’s done ‘AV,’ which Moffle and Kanie-kun take to mean Adult Video and have trouble responding to her. It’s later revealed to Sento that AV actually means Animal Videos, but its a fun situation to watch unravel.

Bandou Biino has recently been stabbed by her older brother. The brother actually shows up with stockings over his face and also naked and gets destroyed by Moffle in a fight.

Chuujou Shiina is a twin-tail high schooler who stutters and is nervous. She barely gets screen time, due to Biino-chan’s commotion, but is also hired because whatever. They need staff.

abp66

What a gaggle of weirdos!

Great gags, character development and more time with the terrible creatures known as Tiramie and Macaron. There isn’t much more I could ask for and, while it certainly isn’t tight enough or unusual enough for a perfect 10, episode 6 gives us yet another perfectly great experience.

Bravo!

9_ogk

Amagi Brilliant Park – 05

abp5_0

Amagi Brilliant Park episode 5 wants us to know the park is totally broke! ‘Good job with that 30 yen special, Seiya-kun!’ ‘Now we can’t even pay our cast members!’ (and, according to the episode’s ending head count, attendance hasn’t edged up much either)

It’s desperation time and everything is on the table though, and Seiya hears the senior staff out. From turning the park into a Red Light District, to starting a Fight Club, to betting everything they’ve got left on horse races, their ideas are, predictably, stupid or illegal or both!

abp5_1

Perhaps the stupidest idea comes from Moffle, who recalls gossip about a magic cave filled with treasure in the southern part of the park. They are desperate though and Seiya hasn’t seen that part of the park yet…

The Southern part of the park is huge, and almost entirely empty save for the unfinished stadium that was built during the economic boom. A whole sports theme sub-park would have been here and you can see the gears spinning in Seiya’s head, but for now the magic cave is what he has to deal with.

abp5_9

In brief, 10 years ago a cast member named Dornell got drunk and was dared to explore the cave. He entered and was never seen again. The cast members who followed him returned, barely alive, rambling crazy stories of endless tunnels, traps, and an unreachable treasure.

Even though Seiya assumes this will be crap, the cave does turn out to be the mouth of a vast dungeon…which Tiramie (the pink cat) immediately traps them in.

abp5_4

Tiramie is a bright spot on the cast. Selfish, utterly absurd, probably a pervert, knowledgeable about weapons and endowed with the best facial expression range you can imagine on a pink cat-mascot, he’s (is he a he?) a joy to watch on any occasion.

Episode 5’s Indiana Jones-style antics dials his opportunities to the max. He’s the best, most totally insignificant side character ever!

abp5_3

From the get-go I knew the cave was an attraction. Between the silly switch that opened the stone wall and the Gate Keeper that looked like an animatronic toy and the silly ‘weapons’ hidden in each player’s coffin, it was all too staged. Too hand-built feeling.

Sento even gets cell service deep in the cave — and regularly texts the Fairy quartet back at base with their progress. Though she’s terribly cryptic about it and the fairies have no agency to help, even if they understood what she wanted.

abp5_5

Still, the Orcs were pretty convincing and, it probably wasn’t in their best interest to give Molotov Cocktails (or a shovel, a chain and a bent aluminum bat) to their ‘guests…’

abp5_10Dornell didn’t disapear because he’s a popular ‘girl’ who plays MMOs. Nice!

Regardless, the mystery wasn’t really the point of this episode.  Nor was it surprising that Dornell had lived in the attraction for 10 years, secretly adventuring in MMOs, reading Manga, watching Anime, and building model kits.

Episode 5 was all about fun, building on the core casts interactions, and making fun of how little Seiya cares about his plush companions. When Sento falls into a pit trap, he screams Sento! with longing. When the sheep falls in after her, he looks over, then back and screams Sento! again, with longing.

It’s deliciously funny and spectacular, and the parodies were a huge treat.

abp5_17There’s even an emergency exit in the dragon boss fight room. it has a sign guys!

The fun and silliness of it never came off as jarring or out of tone because none of the ‘sane’ people entering the cave ever showed signs of worry. Even face to face with a dragon seemed more like a funny challenge to Seiya. At least it was a chance for him to use his psychic powers again — for laughs!

abp5_19

Finally, after defeating the dragon, we learn the whole southern section was built as a cover story to hide the Digerries (mole people) from the Polytia Empire. They’ve been there, waiting for guests this whole time, without official purpose or oversight.

Sadly, they’ve spent all their treasure so the cast will have to survive another way.

abp5_16

Obviously the mole people and the dragon join the cast and Dornell’s collection of manga and video games gets sold to buy them a little time. But what to do about the long-term financial problem? What to do about the attendance problem that’s even more important than that?

For now, we end with Seiya looking away and a pan to the unfinished stadium…

abp5_11

Ep 5 was the funniest episode of Amagi Brilliant Park to date. The timing and the facial expressions (and the situation itself) were outrageous and I loved every second.

Some of the humor even transcended the predictable: where shows like DGnHs simply parody or drop homages to tropes and convention, ABP seemed to parody the parody of those tropes.

abp5_2We’d like to order crepes? Hello? Are you…are you a statue??

Over all, ABP continues to showcase why it deserves to be the second highest rated show of the wacky, slightly tragic, magical teen rom-com genre this season.

Not only is it the second best looking, with remarkably well designed and rendered characters of every shape and size, it’s physically large and broadly colored environment gives those characters a greater amount of space to breath than the hallways, class rooms and bed rooms so standard to the genre.

Only Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso competes with it visually, and only that surpasses its energy and character sincerity.

abp5_20

But I can’t and won’t give it a 10. For all it’s majesty, it lacks that flawless charm so intrinsic to the genre’s best of the best. (Tamako MarketChu2Koi’s first season, and Uchouten Kazoku)

Is it just missing a strong and frontal love story? Is it just not Rom enough to be a Rom-Com?? Maybe. It’s still a top of the 9’s in my book.

SENTO! SENTO SENTO! 

9_ogk

Amagi Brilliant Park – 04

abp4_2

From sun up to sun down, Seiya-kun is amazing. He knows the full day’s schedule without needing reminders, knows what he wants to do before his staff members even have a chance to bring up worries, and makes snap decisions when they need to be in order to keep things moving along.

abp4_0

Unfortunately, his great success only makes Izumi’s failure as acting manager for a year all the more painful for her. Worse, when Izumi ‘plays it calm’ and just threatens Moffle and the other costumed mascots with her gun instead of listening to them, Seiya has to step in and point our her inadequacies, which only makes her feel worse!

abp4_3

However, one of Seiya’s snap decisions comes back to bite the park in the butt, hard. In unusually strong rains, the flood prevention pumps give out because Seiya had the reserve pump, which was falling apart, shut down.

Not that he had much other choice, but ABP’s underground facilities are on the verge of overflow and they could lose a month to repairs and tons of money for all the merchandise, costumes, and materials.

abp4_1

As an Imperial Guard, Izumi is ready. Her command center is set up and communication lines are open. Staff is sent out with the firefighting equipment being repurposed as make-shift pumps and, where those can’t be spared, cast members are sent with buckets.

Izumi is sharp, precise and cold-hearted but this disaster brings out the best in her. More importantly, the cast sees it and all her fears about being hated melt away as the park is saved to carry on another day.

abp4_6

Amagi Brilliant Park week 4 dropped much of the previous three’s gags for a focused Seiya/Izumi focused emotional affair. We got to see both characters’ ticks and strengths and came out the other side with some growth and a few hints of the mystery plot too. Giving the skimpy-clad fairies more screen time helped keep it tokidoki too!

abp4_5

Over all, it was a pretty, exciting, early middle season episode. Conflict, character development, and success before a true adversary can raise its head — and It had my attention and admiration all the way through!

9_ogk

Amagi Brilliant Park – 03

abp3_9

Seiya takes heat from Moffle for closing the park on his first day. It hasn’t been done in years and Moffle is worried that it will ruin the park’s relationship with customers, so Seiya sends him to the front gate to entertain anyone who shows up but would otherwise be turned away.

On our way to the staff meeting, we get to see all the wacky cast members going about their business. At least they look like they are fixing things. Lets hope they do a good (safe) job!

abp3_0
ABP has a HUGE cast — these are just the named senior staffers!

On the Left: A Sri Lankan statue named Codain (Escet Land cast leader), a bored-looking woman named Chief of General Affairs (Chief of General Affairs), an Indiana Jones-looking man named Jack Randy (Wild Valley Cast Leader), a globe named  Future-kun (Astro City Cast Leader), a grouchy chef with a head made of meat named Meatt (Food Service Chief), Moffle (Sorcerers’ Hill cast leader).

In the middle: Seiya and Isuzu

On the Right: a dolphin wearing samurai gear named Genjuurou-Kun (Splash Ocean cast leader), an oddly reddish skinned blonde woman in a suit named Ashe (Chief of Accounting), a triceratops who has glasses and a green tie named Toriken (Chief of Sales), a wrench with eyes named Wrench-kun (Chief of Engineering), a red cash register named Mer-chan (Chief of Merchandising) and a big man in a Lucha mask named Okuro (Chief of Security)

Don’t worry, I’m not going to remember all those names either.

abp3_4

While there is resistance at the senior staff meeting, Seiya’s three rules are grudgingly agreed to. First, they will take no days off until after July 31st; second, they will extend their closing time from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm (until they can install lighting that will allow them to run until 9:00 pm)

Third and finally, they will only charge 30 yen for admittance and each ride. This is a compromise to Seiya’s ‘everything for free’ idea, and a good one since they can disguise their desperation as celebrating for the park’s 30th anniversary.

abp3_1

Out front, Moffle’s day takes a turn for the worse when a punk kid treats him badly, only to have the kid’s mom act worse, and his yakuza/thug looking father start a fight. The fist fight isn’t really the problem — Moffle destroys the thug — it’s the potential PR crisis that could be bad for business.

Fortunately, Isuzu shoots everyone with memory erasing bullets.

abp3_2

Fortunately for everyone, the fight plays into Seiya’s bigger plans and he uses a video of the beatdown to side-step clicks to another video he shot announcing the park’s reduced prices. Neither of these things makes Moffle very happy but he’s most upset that Latifah was used in the announcement video (in a bikini, no less!).

However, he backs down when faced with Seiya’s dominating presence and effective planning.

abp3_3

Our episode comes to an end with 223 guests trickling in. It’s not much — it’s not even enough — but it is a start.

Amagi Brilliant Park continues its confident stride. It looks good, sounds good, shows us fun characters who do silly things and it has heart. I really get the sense that everyone in the cast cares about what they are doing. That’s a big deal to me because that sense is not all that so easy for an animation to sell.

Good job ABP. No…Great Job!

9_ogk

Amagi Brilliant Park – 02

abp2_1

Seiya quickly gets over the annoyance of his new-found telepathic ability. Not only is it fairly limited, in that he can most likely only use it once per-person, he’s got more important tasks to resolve: Kurisu Takaya of Amagi Development wants the park closed, pronto.

While Seiya holds his own in the meeting — he totally blindsides Kurisu with superior mental math skills and a blase attitude — Amagi’s deadline is set in stone. They have until the first week of August to hit 250,000 visitors.

And no one, not even the park’s magical residents, think that’s going to happen.

abp2_2

As stated last week, Latifah wants Seiya to become the park’s manager because a seer has prophesied it to be so. And it’s not like Seiya isn’t competent — Amagi Development even offers him a job — but it’s a tall order to drop on a high school student who doesn’t know you.

More importantly, the park really frustrates him. Little details stand out as kind and thoughtful, but their priorities are all wrong. They take too many days off, they don’t run a long enough day, and too many attractions are broken.

abp2_4

Ultimately, he decides to help them in the most efficient way possible: by becoming the villain and kicking the tar out of the cast himself. They need a change and they need focus and no one else can give it to them.

So, while many of the furry cast members go off to drink, Seiya stays and crunches the numbers and, to everyone’s horror, he chooses to close the park for repairs the following day.

abp2_3

Another great episode from a series that knows what it’s doing: it is giving us variety and sincerity. Comedy and sadness. Action and calm introspection. Hope and fear.

Amagi has a lot of heart, it’s drawn very nicely, and there’s plenty of nice things to look at. If you’re feeling a little down from your normal routine of slapstick, fanservice and/or by-the-book nonsense, take a break of give this show a watch. I think you’re going to like it a lot!

9_ogk

Amagi Brilliant Park – 01

ABP_10

Amagi Brilliant Park is a fantastic show I thought Preston or Zane was reviewing but now I learn it’s all mine!  Seriously, this is the best heartfelt comedy I’ve seen this season, magical high school slice of life sub-tags aside.

What’s more, ABP’s steady stream of witty banter (and relationship red herring) is the perfect fuel for date-night style anime. I mean I love it, but my wife loves it even more.

ABP_6

Our story opens with slightly aloof but handsome and possibly brilliant Seiya Kanie being asked on a date by Isuzu Sento, a persistent transfer student he’s never even spoken to. When Seiya tries to decline her request, Isuzu pulls a muzzle loading flint lock from no where and makes the request a bit more forceful.

What follows is a mostly terrible date at an amusement park, where everything is run down and Isuzu seems to have way too much specific knowledge…

ABP_2Nope. That is a love hotel.

From it’s bus stop being the wrong name (the bus stop with it’s name is actually a stop for a love hotel that’s castle themed) to the light-gun game in the happy candy shop where you must ‘kill’ mice, to the unaligned rails in the flower-love ride that threaten to kill the riders, everything wrong with the park is chuckle-worthy and pretty charming.

It’s certainly clear to Seiya that the park is managed by someone who doesn’t even know what’s wrong about what they are doing.

ABP_8

Cutting to the chase, Isuzu introduces Seiya to Latifah the park manager, a lovely little girl who is the princess of a particular magical kingdom. She needs to get 250,000 attendees over the next 3 months or the park will close and, without a place for her people to live and collect the happy energy of people as food, all her people will die.

And an oracle has chosen Seiya as their savior. As the next manager of their park.

ABP_7try these croquettes. they be AMAZING!

Seiya isn’t ready to accept this responsibility anymore than he is willing to accept the existence of magic. So Latifah kisses him and blesses him with magic.

And a vague flash back to young Seiya being mean to young Latifah in the past.

ABP_9

The next day, he awakes and then walks in on Isuzu changing in the bathroom. Then he learns that he’s telepathic, but that it only works once per person he uses it on.

ABP_11I love it when a mascot spits in disgust when asked to take my picture

Seiya is voiced by Kōki Uchiyama, who voiced Banagher Links in Gundam Unicorn and he brings a solid, grounded voice to the character. Thank goodness he’s a less whiny character than Banagher though. Ugh. Banagher!

Isuzu is voiced by Ai Kakuma, who did Nina in Aldnoah.Zero last season. I swear she did work in Bakemongatari (that would be Saito Chiwa – ed.) but she has not. But man, she does that pseudo-tsundere voice well and has great banter with Uchiyama-san.

ABP_1

Episode one was full of delightful dialogue and precious details in its setting. Additionally, of all the ‘accidentally sexually objectify women’ moments in this season, Seiya’s interruption of Isuzu was the most natural, surprising, and least objectifying.

After three boob grabs a day last week, I really appreciate that.

9_ogk top_ogk