Amagi Brilliant Park - A Review
Last week, I reviewed The Irregular at Magic Highschool, which is, undoubtedly, one of my favorites. This week, and sticking with the magic theme, I'll be reviewing Amagi Brilliant Park
(The cast of Amagi Brilliant Park)
The light novel series, written by Shoji Gatoh, follows Seiya Kanie (a retired child actor), who is forced by the mysterious Isuzu Sento, to visit an amusement park called Amagi Brilliant Park. Her aim is to recruit Seiya as the next General Manager of the park, which is discovered to be on the verge of closing down. Isuzu and her employer hope he will be able to save it.
The Plot, Setting & Characters
Amagi Brilliant Park is classified as a romantic, fantasy comedy series. While there are a few female characters surrounding Seiya, I wouldn't classify it as a harem. (Thankfully. I suppose you can probably tell I don't have a thing for harems.) The romance isn't too prominent in the beginning of the anime either.
Anyway, the park is staffed by people from a magical world called Maple Land (I know...) Ridiculous as it sounds, the seriousness of the plot balances out the comedic names of the characters and places.
(From left to right: Isuzu, Seiya & Latifah)
The central characters surrounding Seiya are Isuzu, a royal guard from Maple Land who is stern, stoic and serious about her duty. She wields a magical gun, capable of using different bullets that deal different kinds of damage. Her favorite, "pain bringer", which she uses constantly, usually leads to comedic reactions from her victims(Seiya, Moffle, Tiramie & Macaron for the most part). Next is Latifah, the princess of Maple Land. She is the actual General Manager of Amagi Brilliant Park, but due to her mysteriously frail body and 14-year-old appearance, she is hardly capable of running the park. She is kind and earnest in her endeavor to keep the park from closing down. The next three characters are Moffle, Tiramie and Macaron, fairies from Maple land who look like mascots. Moffle has the appearance of a mouse, while Tiramie and Macaron look like a dog and sheep respectively. Surrounding these characters are various other staff (called cast members).
(A subdued moment for the cast)
Initially, Seiya refuses the offer, even at the personal request of Latifah, but after overhearing the dire conversation between Latifah and her cast members, where she tells them that the park will soon close, Seiya steps in and takes over the reigns. He soon learns that the purpose of the park is to produce Animus, which is the life force that grants the people of Maple Land, and Maple Land itself, life. This is generated through the fun and happy emotions that the guests feel and experience when visiting the park. As a result of dwindling visitors, the park has become rundown, and the Animus supply is running dangerously low. On top of that, the Park needs to have 250 000 visitors within a 3 month period, if it is to stay open. Needless to say, Seiya has his work cut out for him!
(From left to right: Macaron, Tiramie & Moffle)
What makes this anime series good is the balance between the serious moments and the comedy. We also get to see glimpses of the cast's past. A dark secret haunts Latifah, and her uncle, Moffle, stays by her side to protect the daughter of his unrequited love. He initially harbors a strong dislike towards Seiya, who is narcissistic and bossy. The two often come to blows, and Isuzu is forced to separate them using her trusty shotgun. Macaron is a divorcee who deeply adores his child, and tries to keep the enmity between him and his ex-wife from seeping into that father-child relationship (he's actually a really cool dad!) Tiramie, a huge pervert, is actually... no, I don't have any good points for Tiramie. He's comedic relief. Disgustingly so. And never hesitates to turn on his friends, for which he is usually punished. He and Macaron like to prank other cast members, especially Isuzu and the girls from Elementario, a fairy dance quartet.
(From left to right: Muse, Sylphy, Kobori & Salama)
Running an amusement park is no small feet, and while the antics of the cast more often than not create setbacks, Seiya is capable of doing it. But he will need to know the whole truth if he is able to succeed.
(Narcissist himself, Seiya Kanie)
I must admit, Tiramie and Macaron grated on my nerves at times. The standalone subplot episodes during the beginning and middle of the series, made it feel like the ending was a bit rushed, and there are still a few loose ends to tie up (watch it as to discover what they are). Plus, the English dub was good, until I heard Isuzu's voice, so definitely watch it in the original Japanese language first.
I love how Seiya tries to keep himself distant from the cast, but ends up truly fighting for them. He's blossoming tsundere feelings for Latifah are adorable. Moffle's devotion to his niece is heartwarming, while the way he looks at her and sees her lost mother, is heartbreaking. Isuzu's awkwardness and feelings of displacement show a vulnerability that this strong warrior tries to hide desperately. The casts journey from fear of unemployment, non-existence, and depression, to relief, determination and happiness was inspiring. I think the base message here would be that through hard work and determination, you can succeed at the most impossible of tasks.
I hope I haven't revealed to much about Amagi Brilliant Park. But even so, it's definitely a good one to watch. While the plot only truly comes together in the last couple of episodes, it is fun to see how Seiya takes this enormous challenge and turns it into something positive during the many problems that arise throughout the series. The animation is clear, and colouful, the comedic moments serve to temper the serious ones, and the voice acting (Japanese version) is solid. I give Amagi Brilliant Park 7 out of 10 Pulses.
Be on the lookout for my next review, which will be on Hyoka, a slice-of-life mystery anime in a highschool setting.