Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 2 – 05 – Kyun Kyuun!

The Strong, Silent Type—That’s what Nishikata aims to be one day, not giving Takagi an opening to tease him, like the Dandy of the Old West, another show he watches. Of course, Nishikata always has an opening: his ticklish sides.

Also, Takagi is a fan of Dandy too, so the two play a game involving questions: the first person who can’t answer gets a bang—in this case, more tickling. Takagi asks loaded questions about her crush, who naturally can’t answer them.

In a short aside, Mina (who also watches Dandy) is thought by Yukari and Sanae to be kind due to her thick eyebrows, but since she initially thinks they’re mocking her, she says something very unkind about Yukari’s bangs that can’t really be taken back!

When Yukari has to flag Nishikata down for after-school committee activities, she feels bad about separating him and Takagi. When she sees him counting on his hand, she imagines he’s lamenting how many days he hasn’t been able to walk home with Takagi; in reality, he’s counting how many times she’s teased him, which is lower than usual due to their being apart.

Still, they don’t stay apart long, as when Nishikata’s birthday arrives and he’s sent out to pick up his birthday cake from the bakery, who does he run into but Takagi, once again resplendent in street clothes. Nishikata thinks going to get your own cake is pathetic, so tries to lie about where he’s going, but fails, because Takagi is headed to the same place.

Nishikata lets Takagi go ahead of him at the counter, hoping, for a moment, she’ll pick up her order and leave. Then he suddenly realizes it’s highly unlikely she’d actually do that! Instead, she takes his hand and places her order in it; it’s for him, as a gift for correctly guessing she was headed for the cake shop (But also because she knew it was his birthday, since she’d ordered ahead of time).

Once home, Nishikata rushes to his room to see what Takagi got him: some personalized cat-themed cookies and a talking 100% Unrequited Love keychain that goes “Kyun Kyuun”. Two sweet, thoughtful gifts from someone who knows him almost better than he knows himself. Daaaawwww.

The final segment involves sneezing, or rather, how people in Japan sneeze whenever someone’s talking about them. In a clever sequence, one sneeze is followed by the mention of someone else, who is then the next to sneeze, eventually looping back to Takagi, whom Nishikata almost notes has a cute sneeze, but holds his tongue.

But even if he can’t call Takagi cute to her face (and that’s how he’d truly beat her, by the way) he at least has the wherewithal to properly thank her for her gift. As Takagi tells him he’s welcome, she walks ahead of him. He can’t see it, but she’s blushing from his thanks. Kyun Kyuun indeed!

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 2 – 04 – Brains Beat BOSS-Drinking Brawn

Nishikata is the best arm wrestler in his class, due to the fact he does three push-ups for every time Takagi teases him during the day. But all that extra brawn is for naught as long as he doesn’t exercise that most important of “muscles”—his head.

Case in point: Takagi genially challenges him to arm wrestle, and in the first round starts she pretends to be far weaker than him, and simply waits for him to let his guard down. In round two, Nishikata is done playing around, but is then flustered when she asks if he wants to hold hands walking home.

In both cases, Nishikata’s superior strength is neutralized by Takagi’s mind games. And yet all Nishikata will do as a result of his losses is do more push-ups. After all, he simply can’t predict every trick Takagi has up her sleeve. He could plan 100 moves in advance and she’d be ready with Move 101.

After Hina tries to make a big display of how mature and grown-up she is by staring out the window, sighing, and talking about the impermanence of things (mostly foods) which only leads to Yukari and Sanae laughing at her, Nishikata decides to show Takagi how mature he is by taking the advice of one of his guy mates (never a good idea) and drinking the bitterest coffee he can buy.

That coffee, clearly a non-copyright-infringing stand-in for Suntory BOSS, proves way too bitter for him to not make all the faces one expects of someone who hates coffee, and in addition to being a Teasing Master Takagi is also mastered reading Nishikata’s face.

She does the practical (and truly mature) thing and buys a delicious melon soda, and offers Nishikata a sip, pointing out it would be an indirect kiss. To accept her offer would actually show maturity on his part, since an indirect kiss shouldn’t be a big deal to a grown-up.

Not to mention Takagi isn’t about to stop teasing him even if he convincingly enjoyed a can of BOSS; she’d simply devise new ways to tease him. It’s what she does.

Finally, Takagi meets Nishikata for their walk to school, but for once without her bike. He recalls her saying something about the brakes on their last walk, and assumes that’s the reason why, but Takagi warns him that if he guesses wrong it’s an “instant loss,” so he ponders other reasons as they take detours not possible with a bike.

Ultimately, Nishikata sticks with his brake answer, thinking Takagi was throwing a bunch of other potential reasons (stairs, hopscotch, cats) as a distraction. But of course, he’s wrong. Takagi actually had two genuine reasons that he did not consider. One, she didn’t bring her bike because she wanted to watch him struggle to determine the reason. Two, she actually did, and does, want to hold hands with Nishikata, hence no bike.

Of course, whether it’s dropping her -san or sipping from her can or holding her hand, Nishikata remains nervously reticent, despite now being a second-year. Because he makes her laugh so much, this doesn’t seem to bother Takagi so much, but as Hina says, nothing lasts forever, so one would hope that applies to Takagi’s patience.

At some point, Nishikata is going to have to reckon with the fact a girl likes him, and he likes her back, and pursuing that is more important than winning and losing silly games.

Amagi Brilliant Park – 09


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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


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



Amagi Brilliant Park – 08


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…


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.


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…


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.

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…


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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).


Amagi Brilliant Park – 07


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


Amagi Brilliant Park – 06


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



Amagi Brilliant Park – 05


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!


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.


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.


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!


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.


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!


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.


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…


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.


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.



Amagi Brilliant Park – 04


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.


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!


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.


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.


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!


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!


Amagi Brilliant Park – 03


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!

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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


Amagi Brilliant Park – 02


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.


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.


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.


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!


Amagi Brilliant Park – 01


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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