Amagi Brilliant Park Ep. 2: She’s a fixer-upper

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If you’ll recall, I was on the fence regarding four shows. I knew I wanted to dedicate a weekly post to one of them, but I didn’t know which. As a result, I asked you guys to help me out. With 40% of the votes, Cross Ange won the poll. This didn’t surprise me, though. If there’s anything I know about the majority of my readers, they usually want me to cover absolute train wrecks. Naturally, Cross Ange looks to deliver on that front. Since I have steadfastly refused to watch the WIXOSS sequel this season — and really, I’ve had enough of Mari Okada for one year — I guess I’ll have to indulge people by covering Cross Ange instead. I was moderately surprised, however, to see that Amagi Brilliant Park wasn’t far behind on the poll. In fact, it got 32% of the votes. Certainly, the show’s first episode wasn’t exactly the strongest episode, especially in a season full of solid first episodes. Nevertheless,  I actually think Kanye’s1 powers could actually lead to some interesting episodes. So sure, I’ll try my hand at blogging the show. I won’t promise to stick with it since I don’t believe I’ve ever blogged a Kyoto Animation show from start to finish, but who knows? There’s a first time for everything.

Unfortunately, I think I picked the worst episode to start blogging Amagi Brilliant Park. If the first episode’s job was to give us a taste of what the story will be like, the second episode’s job is to lay the foundation. And as expected, it’s an ugly, glamorless job. You know KyoAni’s serious about it too, because there’s hardly any fanservice in this week’s episode. Sure, the four fairies are as scantily-clad and moe2 as ever, but no random naked Fiddy Cent to feast your eyes on this time around. Hell, it almost feels like she only got buck-naked because, again, it’s the first episode’s job to give us a taste of what’s to come. In that case, what’s better than a young girl’s pale and shiny ass? But I digress. You can pretty much break this week’s episode up into three significant, foundation-laying chunks. First, Kanye learns all about the park’s magical inhabitants. Apparently, Maple Land is really, truly magical. Something about animus and Argels, but hey, I’ll just leave it at that. After all, the episode just got finished infodumping all over my face, so far be for me to turn around and do the same to you guys. I guess I’m just kind of surprised that, well, these amusement parks and its mascots really are as magical as they claim to be.

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In fact, Queen Latifah, 50 Cent, and the rest of them will literally cease to exist if Kanye doesn’t succeed in helping the park reach 500,000 visitors in less than three months. That’s kind of heavy, if you think about it. Their fates rest entirely in his hands. No one man should have all that power, y’know? But what’s the big deal? Just make the park a kick-ass place to visit and everything will be solved, right? Well, here’s where the second major chunk comes in: establishing the folks from Amagi Development as the primary antagonists of the show. Basically, they’re just a bunch of suits eager to obtain the rights to the park. What will they then do with the park? Probably destroy it and turn it into some prime real estate. We obviously can’t do that, because parks are wonderful places and they make kids happy! Plus, all these mascots we hardly know will disappear! Hm, that’s pretty weak, right? I find it a bit difficult to get too worked about these suits, so that’s probably why the story lays it on thick. The suits are thus a bunch of super-arrogant assholes to convince the audience to hate them. And in general, there isn’t too much subtlety at work here.

In the final and the longest chunk of the episode, Kanye has a change of heart and decides to accept the job. But first things first, he has to rile the dejected employees up. He has lift their flagging spirits. Really, it’s amazing. He’s the reason everyone’s fired up this evening. But of course, there’s a point to all this. As cute as these guys are, they’re really major fuck-ups. They’ve had more than four years to turn this ship around, and they’ve only managed get roughly half of the required visitors. So of course Kanye’s going to come in with guns blazing. Of course, he’s going to say it’s his way or the highway. This is where we stumble upon the first really annoying thing about the story though, and that’s Moffle. Yeah, yeah, he’s cute, but he’s also really stupid. For instance, he gets all pissed that the park has to be shut down the very next day, but there’s a reason for this. The place is a fucking dump! Of course you’re going to clean it up. Who the hell wants to go to a dirty park? More importantly, who the hell wants to bring their kids to a dirty park? So what the hell is Moffle even mad about? But like the asshole suits, it feels like Amagi Brilliant Park has to force the drama, y’know?

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Moffle has to butt heads with Kanye, because what else are we going to do? Have another boring show where everyone peacefully works together? Episodes after episodes of mundane slice-of-life drudgery where they fix the park up and thus live happily ever after? Yeah, no thanks. I’ve had enough of KyoAni’s brand of slice-of-life anime. So I don’t know what to make of the drama. On the one hand, like I’ve said, it feels forced. What was yesterday’s visitor count? Oh right, a majestic count of 203. Look at all those 200-ish visitors they’ll miss out on, because they decided to close shop for one whole day. Seriously, I just don’t get Moffle’s problem. Again, they only have three months left, so what have they got to lose? May as well just do everything that Kan likes. But on the other hand, this forced drama might end up being the less of two evils. After all, this anime is a self-proclaimed “slapstick drama.” Take away the drama and what would we have left? A bunch of KyoAni’s patented moe girls, basically. Oh, I’m sure that’s enough for some people, but c’mon, let’s pretend to at least have a story. Then when it’s all said and done, I can at least claim I had watched Amagi Brilliant Park from start to finish for the juicy plot.

1 Oh yeah, I read that the main characters’ names are inspired by rap artists, so I’m just going to start referring to them as those rap artists. ‘Cause hey, I actually enjoy Kanye West’s music.
2 What an idiot.

15 Replies to “Amagi Brilliant Park Ep. 2: She’s a fixer-upper”

  1. It’s weird cuz, you know, the show already HAS a conflict – the need to save the park from closing – from which one presumes drama can arise. They can do stuff, try to get things rolling, stumble along the way, seem like they’re going to fail, lose faith in whether Kanye truly is the greatest genius of his age, Kanye can question himself and whether he’s doing things the right way, then everybody comes together to save the park at the last possible minute. It’s basically an 80s movie plot, but it could totally work entirely utilizing the dramatic points that arise from that sort of plot structure! Hell, the fact that everybody’s going to DIE if they don’t save the park seems like more than enough drama to me.

    But in fairness, 80s movie plots also tended to have a bunch of stupid forced drama subplots or diversions in them, so in that sense maybe Amagi’s not that far off the mark.

    1. The thing is, you can’t depend on that one conflict to carry you throughout the entire series and fill the rest with happy go-lucky work hard (not sure what E. Minor thought of Shirobako, but let’s just say I have nothing but contempt for its first episode and how “that” show introduced its premise). That may be acceptable as a movie, but for a series, it’s best to have (actual) conflicts from episode to episode. Even Planetes’ slice-of-life section had decent conflicts before it shifted into drama, y’know? Obviously, being an “actual” conflict doesn’t translate to being a “good conflict”. Amagi may be better than most of KyoAni’s resume so far, but that’s not good enough (Second Raid is in their upper tier, but I don’t really consider it a good anime). Low bar or not, products need to stand on their own to be considered good.

      Anyways, I didn’t mind the drama because in addition to being the lesser of two evils, I like how it’s dealt with enough levity so it doesn’t become cry-porn (I actually laughed at how Kanye turned the crying into a farce). I’m not too worried that the show will lose track of the plot, but I am worried that the show will become another Second Raid (in terms of trying to adapt one story into a full-length series. Not the actual content). Holy shit was that needlessly drawn out.

  2. Moffu is mad about the park being closed because the park has NEVER been closed. Ever. He has pride in the place being open 7 days a week, every week, for 30 years. Misplaced pride, sure, but still pride.

  3. Mate I wasn’t ready for that image under “What an idiot”
    I had to watch the episode just to make sure.
    I lost it. Hahaha!

    Anyway, it’d be funny if this Toy Story Furngully tale ended with the park just getting bulldozed over. Just once I wish I could see a story like this end like that.

    Also, I don’t know if I or you or anyone mentioned this before, but isn’t that the bear from Full Metal Panic?

  4. I loved playing Zoo Tycoon, Park Tycoon, etc in the past, so this anime totally works for me.
    The main plot was very obvious since the start, with how this moe violent girl dragging the main dude into to garbage dump park as if it’s some great place. Lol.
    I highly doubt it will be getting bulldozed over in the end though.
    While that’s non cliche, it will also piss off all the watchers.

  5. To be frank, I thought the Black Rapper name inspiration was 30 million times funnier than this show.

    So now I’ll just be imagining a buncha rappin’ gangstas in a very run down japanese amusement park that is the home to various multi-dimensional beings.

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