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)