Anime Review: Amagi Brilliant Park

This is a gem. But it’s also a case of, you might want to check out the TV Tropes page first, because the first ep does get off to a slow start. The show needs some visual space to introduce the stunning magnitude of the problems in Amagi Brilliant Park, and that takes several minutes out of the first ep. If you don’t know what’s coming, you might not take the chance to catch all the details in Isuzu’s introduction to AmaBri in its opening state of decrepitude and quiet despair.

It’s worth it. This is one of the most effective anime at drawing you in on a personal level I’ve seen in a while – up there with NagiAsu and Kabaneri for getting invested in the characters.

The problems are all real and legitimately hard to solve: a theme park beset by falling attendance, lack of maintenance, and cast morale so low it could slink under an earthworm. But the consequences are far more drastic than simple unemployment. Much of the cast is not human; they’re fay folk from the kingdom of Mapleland, and without access to human joy, they’ll cease to exist.

It turns out it’s even worse than that. But Kanie Seiya doesn’t find that out until he’s already caught up in the life-or-death struggle to get AmaBri’s visitor count past 500,000 before the deadline – less than three months away.

The visitor count is the ultimate goal, but this is a very character-driven show. I find Kanie in particular intriguing, because he personifies what another writer said: “Your weaknesses are your strengths.” And Kanie is an egotistical, narcissistic, detail-oriented perfectionist.

…He’s exactly what the park needs.

AmaBri needs someone to point out all the little details to fix, from stray trash to misaligned rails to sullen employees. They need that love of self to revitalize their battered pride, and push them to give their best efforts again. And they need that overwhelming ego to sweep them up and get them moving, against all the logic that tells them to give up in despair.

I use despair deliberately. The whole park is depressed; the grinding, paralyzing depression that comes from years of trying your best to meet a critical goal, and never quite succeeding. And like many people mired in that bleak abyss, they can’t get out of it on their own. They need help.

Arrogant, narcissistic help, mayhap. But as they say, if you can do it, it’s not bragging.

So watch it for the humor. For the magic, the quick decisions, the amazingly good business sense. Most of all, watch for the whole crazy bunch pulling together to try for a miracle.

(Who knows. Maybe if enough of us go for it, they’ll let someone translate the LNs!)

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23 thoughts on “Anime Review: Amagi Brilliant Park

  1. I think this sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out.

    I also found an author that you might enjoy. Laurence Watt-Evans. He does a good job of taking a trope and making it something different.

    In “Misenchanted Sword” a soldier gets shackled with a powerful magic sword and works (not fights) to have a good ordinary life.

    In another book, “the wizard lord,” there is a guy “Chosen One” who became so because he chose to be so. He was an adult informed of all the downsides as well before taking up the mantle. He did it anyways as it was necessary and someone had to.

    I don’t know if you’d like them, but I found them to be good reads and they kind of reminded me of your works.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. With a Single Spell is incredibly clever.

        I don’t know why LWE never got wildly famous. His books are smart and have heart, and he is prolific. But sometimes they are just hard to get into.But

        OTOH, he seems to have survived the collapse of the midlist, so he definitely is not doing badly.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s the same author. What I can’t figure out is why he named the main 3 characters after famous american rappers.

      Kanie Seiya> Kanye West

      Sento Izuzu> 50 Cent

      Latifa> Queen Latifah

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Because American rappers are alien enough to a Japanese audience that it wouldn’t throw any of his readers out of the story?

        The American sub captain in FMP (who had known Teletha’s father) was based on the Arnold whose surname I can’t recall the spelling of. The guy who played Terminator and who was governor of California.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Roight. That was brilliant. *shot*

        It’s so accurate? But wow: if Kanie was a playboy (his aunt was SO RIGHT)…

        Also, Sento with a pink handkerchief?!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Not interested doesn’t mean dead. 😀

        I wonder how they’d deal with the differences in visible ages as the decades roll by. Because let’s face it, that park is NEVER gonna be problem free–if only because the staff will cause trouble to keep him.

        Someone’s gonna have to slip him mermaid flesh.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I actually think as of the end of ep 4 Kanie is interested – though he may not have really realized it for a while. As a child star he would have seen plenty of pretty, but keeping the park from flooding? That’s competence. I’d just bet Kanie had a previously unsuspected sucker button for that.

        And heh. Yep, I could so see that. “Quick, cause a problem for our General Manager to solve! We can’t let him get away!”

        Although hopefully it’d be something other than mermaid flesh, given the odds of ravening monsters created instead!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Can you imagine if “ravening monster” meant he turned into a scaly food critic of raging!Ramsey proportions for a few months (until a counter curse is found)?

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Argh. Sento in that reminded me of Belldandy. Now I won’t be able to convince the bunnies that Amagi park isn’t the path *redacted* travels to get from Gensokyo to the world where Full Metal Panic takes place in. Like that bunny wasn’t intractable enough already. I should have just left *redacted* out of the story once I realized they didn’t at all fit, and I couldn’t have them fit in with the main cast.

        Also, I’ve been using calibre with the fanfic downloader for my reading lately and it is pretty nice.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. @coq Three scenes of Isuzu Sento banging her head, somewhat like a bowing Belldandy, followed by a shot of her praying? I’m not saying her art design was inspired by Belldandy, but there are a few features in common.

        @azhwi

        Yeah, I’m gonna have to do something about that. First thought was Nura. Most recently, the bunnies have pointed out that a cross between Tokyo Ghoul and Nagi no Asakura might produce ‘mermaid’ flesh with the necessary qualities.

        Yes, there is something wrong with my brain, why do you ask?

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Writer. ‘Nuff said.

        My bunnies have tentatively proposed their own idea for Kanie and the park, still shaking out the details. Though part of it involves 1) Takaya actually feeding on despair, and realizing the park hasn’t given him his usual hit, 2) the other magical realm parks Isuzu mentioned in the first 2 eps, and 3) Takaya getting into a magical throwdown with some other park and all kinds of magical fallout happening.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Bunnies: “Other parks? Do it. Do it. Doit.”

        One of the early design choices for that cluster-bunny was no Bleach, no Saiyuki, and no Resident Evil. Because other design choices meant it couldn’t overlap with Project, and if I didn’t omit those three, “sparks with arrancar virus” would make it too similar to Project. (It’s not as bad as it sounds, as the arrancar cognate are dead, the virus samples mostly neutered, there aren’t anywhere near canon concentrations of sparks, and intergalactic means some planets are outright safe.)

        Isuzu has Kappa ancestry, and a disappearing weapon, like Sha Gojyo. So the bunnies are arguing that Amagi’s Fairies and Saiyuki’s Youkai are a similar or the same category of being. And that it would be a shame not to have a Magus Takaya summoning Nii as Servant Caster. Argh.

        I’m not supposed to be working on this yet, and the plan is subtraction, not even more addition.

        Liked by 1 person

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