Somewhere during the ferris wheel scene, the episode lost me. The atmosphere had finally taken a turn for the serious. For the first time since they started working together, Kanye and Fiddy Cent were butting heads and even nearly coming to blows. Well, I don’t think Kanye would ever hit Fiddy, but the latter came close to punching him in the head. Maybe she was just bluffing, but either way… their working relationship were in tatters for a bit there. The ensuing drama, however, failed to really grab me. As far as I can tell, Kanye is firm in his leadership, but he’s also willing to adapt to any given situation — almost too well, if you’re honest about it. Whenever someone brings a problem to him, he will instantly come up with a solution. Essentially, the guy can compromise. He won’t always hit the mark a hundred percent of the time, but it seems as though he’ll get it right often enough. With the park in dire straits, this is the sort of leadership that you generally need. He gets the wheels spinning, he gets things done, so on and so forth. You just have to hope that whenever he’s wrong, he isn’t catastrophically wrong. Well, that’s what happened.
Kanye was a little too careless when one of the water pumps broke. In most cases, his solution would probably suffice; he probably didn’t think a huge storm would hit the park so soon. But one did, and the park’s two remaining water pumps couldn’t get the job done. As a result, the place was in danger of overflooding, and that would have been disastrous for a park that is desperate to pull itself out of the gutter. Thankfully, this also happened to be the perfect storm for Fiddy’s rigid, no-nonsense leadership. For once, the girl could shine, and she saved the park. Really, that was it. Unlike Kanye, Fiddy doesn’t compromise well, so the park never improved at all under her leadership. In most cases, you need a manager with a defter hand. Fiddy’s “my way or the highway” attitude only served to alienate most of the employees. She nevertheless stuck with the job because she was too afraid to fail. By not admitting defeat, however, she was just allowing both herself and the park to descend slowly into a downward spiral. So y’know, having to stand there and watch the wunderkind Kanye solve every problem at the drop of the hat, it naturally made Fiddy feel a bit inadequate.
I understood all of that, and yet, at the same time, the drama just didn’t grab me. At the moment, every episode is kind of self-contained to a certain extent. This is not a insignificant extent either. Sure, we have an overarching story — “Let’s save the park before the place is shut down and these cute mascots are forced to disappear into the ether!” — but beyond that, the episodes don’t feel super-connected to each other. So what you see in one episode doesn’t often carry over into another episode. Case in point, Fiddy’s feelings of inadequacy weren’t really something that the story had been building to. You don’t feel as though she had been stewing in her negative feelings, and Kanye’s scolding was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Instead, I felt as though Fiddy just sort of exploded out of nowhere. You can say that the hints were there, but I didn’t really feel it. More importantly, it’s the story’s job to convey those subtleties to me. If Fiddy has been struggling with her self-worth this entire time, the previous episodes’ light-hearted nature didn’t help highlight her story. If anything, they distracted from it.
Another problem with Amagi Brilliant Park is that any time a new problem arises, it will inevitably be resolved by the end of the same episode. This, in itself, isn’t a huge flaw, and in some cases, it’s not even a flaw at all. But these problems don’t occur in a vacuum. Fiddy’s angst already felt as though it came out of nowhere, but just like that, it was resolved by the end of the episode. In other words, not only did the drama fail to grab me, it couldn’t even stick around long enough to, well, do anything. It just came and went. Fiddy looked sad for a bit, then she took charge, Kanye showed her a vulnerable side to his arrogant personality, and that was that. Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. Please come again when you need another bite-sized, perfectly-portioned quickie. It all happened so fast that the illusion kind of shattered for a tiny bit. When it comes right down to it, every drama is manufactured. It’s up to the storytelling to maintain the illusion that everything occurs organically and naturally. When the conflict is introduced and resolved in such a clean and tidy fashion, however, the illusion can’t maintain itself.
Anyway, Kanye is apparently scared of heights. Who knew? Somehow, this fear ended his child star career. I don’t know, the whole backstory felt kind of weak to me. I’ve discussed Fiddy’s problems quite enough, so I won’t get into it again. I’ll just say it’s hilarious how every hot but sad anime babe must have a naked bathtub scene. Queen Latifah got some screentime, but I’ve never liked her character and I still don’t. She’s so boring. She’s perfectly cute and she’s perfectly nice, and this is why she doesn’t interest me in the slightest. I prefer someone with a little more personality. The rest of the girls don’t really do anything. At the moment, they’re kind of just there. People will say, “Oh, the story will get around to them eventually,” but I don’t like that sort of storytelling where it feels like we jump from one person’s problems to the next like some sort of shitty harem anime. So y’know, I hope it doesn’t come to that. One last note on them: why are the fairies still in their skimpy costumes when it is — in their own words — “raining cats and dogs?” Moffle toned his antagonism back a bit this week, which is good.
Anyway, the episode wasn’t a disaster, but it didn’t really work for me either.