Amagi Brilliant Park Ep. 9: Four girls, four trials

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Haha, this is such a lazy episode. It goes to show you that even Kyoto Animation needs to have a budget episode every now and then. Here’s the quick and dirty explanation of the episode’s premise. The Elementarios are not much of a team. On the one hand, they only became a group six months ago when the previous fairies all quit at the same time. On the other hand, six months should be enough to build some sort of team chemistry. They don’t really have a leader, though. It looks like Muse wants to be the team leader, but she doesn’t command Salama’s respect. As for Sylphy, she’s just an airhead, and I don’t actually know a damn thing about Koboli. In order to solve the Elementarios’ woes, Queen Latifah invites all four of them to dinner at her place, but she conveniently has to run to the store real quick to buy more sauce. On the way out, she warns them not to push a very important button on the wall, but of course, the button gets pushed. As a result, Latifah’s castle quickly turns into an armored fortress with the four fairies stuck on the inside. In order for them to escape, they will have to work together as a team and overcome four kooky trials. At the end of the day, this is just more silly, light-hearted fun from Amagi Brilliant Park.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’m mostly amused by the episode’s simplicity. For a good five or six minutes of the episode, we get to hear nothing but the same crappy song over and over. Yes, the first trial involves a karaoke game. Our fairies have to sing a cheesy-ass song until they earn a total of 300 points. Unfortunately, Salama sucks at singing, so to get around this problem, Muse straight-up sings for her. Well then…

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But like I’ve said, it’s just the same soul-destroying song over and over for five or six minutes. Afterwards, the Elementarios have to play something similar to Dance Dance Revolution. This time, it’s Koboli’s turn to suck, but Sylphy is somehow amazing at dancing, so she carries Koboli through the trial. But this is where the show starts to crack me up… rather unintentionally, of course.

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At one point, all we do is stare at the screen that you see above. Yeah, it’s literally just points accumulating on a screen. We also stare at Sylphy’s dancing feet, ’cause y’know, that’s fun to watch. When we do see the girls dance, they look fine, but the animation is choppy. Of course, this is certainly not a train wreck. The anime still looks better than 90% of the shows out there. At the same time, however, I suppose I just expected better from KyoAni.

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And this entire time, Kanye, Fiddy, and company are watching the four fairies undergo their trials. But every time we cut to them, they’re in this same pose over and over and over. Again, this is not very difficult to animate.

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And usually, trials would get more and more elaborate as you go on. The third trial, however, is just a typing contest! And not only that, Salama is so good at typing — ’cause she spends all her time tweeting, y’see — she gets her team through the event in one go! In the end, the third event ends up being the shortest one of all.

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The fourth trial takes the cake. I’ll just let this screenshot explain the rules to you. But despite us having just seen this same screen, we still get to hear Fiddy give the same exact explanation just mere seconds later. Are these clever ways to cut costs? Or is the episode just being lazy? Like I’ve said, the whole thing amuses me.

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At the end of the day, the episode makes it seem like Muse has a very difficult decision to make. The story wants us to think that there’s a small chance she might pick Salama to die. The sad track even starts to play and everything. Obviously, no one’s going to die. This is Amagi Brilliant Park, after all. But even then, we know nothing about the Elementarios. We also know nothing about the “bad blood” between Muse and Salama. In fact, there isn’t really any bad blood to talk about. Salama is a bit snarky, and this annoys Muse. That’s it. As a result, the scene feels like such a throwaway. We know nothing will happen, so we’re just waiting for them to get on with the rest of the story already.

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So of course, friendship prevails! Yaaaaay! I was totally sweating bullets over here!

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Then that’s it. That’s the end of the episode. I mean, we see them put on a successful show right before the credits roll. We also see Latifah tell Fiddy to keep something a secret from Kanye. Nevertheless, it still feels as though something is missing from the episode. It’s like we only got an appetizer and nothing else. On the other hand, this has pretty much typified the Amagi Brilliant Park experience since the second episode.

From time to time, the anime will even flirt with the possibility of adding depth to its story. Take, for instance, the end of last week’s episode. Fiddy is crestfallen as she witnesses the ease in which Kanye could hold a conversation with Latifah. She is, after all, in love with Kanye, and wishes she could talk to him in such a carefree way. This subplot is, however, shelved even faster than it took to introduce it in the first place. And it’s not that I even enjoy love triangles or anything, but god damn, Amagi Brilliant Park must have ADHD or something. It absolutely cannot stick to any particular plot thread. The anime has potentially cool ideas — and to beat a dead horse, I will bring up Kanye’s magical powers for the umpteenth time — but they are left lurching in the wind.

Long story short, it should say something that I actually want to see more from this show. I think the anime has a certain charm to it, half-naked girls notwithstanding. KyoAni, however, has other plans in mind. It’s actually funny if you think about it. Since I won’t read the light novels, no one else can give me the stories that I want. Only the adaptation can do it. On the other hand, if I wanted to look up naked pictures of these girls, that would be a walk in the park. A quick Google search is all I need to find fanart of Fiddy in all sorts of ridiculous positions. As such, I don’t actually need any fanservice from KyoAni’s end. Rather, I need them to give me what I can’t already get from the fans. Unfortunately, they don’t want to oblige, and that’s too bad.

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9 thoughts on “Amagi Brilliant Park Ep. 9: Four girls, four trials”

  1. ah so i wasnt the only one that felt that this was a budget ep…compared to other budget eps in anime this was still a good looking one…but not up to kyo ani standard; still good tho (animation i mean)

  2. Fan service only sells when you have decent story and likable characters.
    Or that’s how it should be anyway. Code Goose showed that all you need is the pretension of importance and the illusion of likable characters to make a fortune in figmas, nendroids, games, spin-offs, etc.

    Anyway, this episode was kinda funny in how limited and wonky it was, I agree. I wonder if that whole “which friend will you kill” thing was a genuine attempt at pathos or just the lazy nudge in its direction. Did they seriously think the audience would care and so they tried to go for more than fluff? Or did they know the audience wouldn’t care and just threw it in because they felt like it?

      1. “I think people genuinely liked Lelouch for some reason.”
        Haha That’s true, actually. Despite being obviously designed to target a demographic some people still would put up a sincere defense for him as a character.

        Reminds me of that guy who got legally married to his 3DS a few years ago because it had some dating sim he got infatuated with. The thing was clearly made to make his kokoro go dokidoki so he could buy the merch and yet he still dove heart-first into it.

      2. I’m not exactly surprised that you think that way. He’s not for commoners to like. He’s for people who lead. If you think I’m being rude, I’m not. I’m being honest. Some people are leaders and some people aren’t. Every person has their opinion. I am, however, annoyed that you are being rude to those of us who do find us in his situations, albeit not as extreme.

  3. An episode of lazy story telling.
    I have no doubt that all of us have already seen it from miles away, that these girls will come out okay and deepen their friendship.

  4. I didn’t notice any dip in animation quality (the first half even had some very nicely animated explosions and action), but I totally agree on the episode being lazily written/directed. The first part of the episode was kind of funny, with an incredibly random event leading to a random and nonsensical situation, but what was the point of the second part of the episode? There was absolutely nothing to it, it followed a repetitive formula that had no plot, twists, or humor to it. It was literally 10 minutes of cute girls dancing and singing, being all nice to each other and winking at the viewer. Was this just kyoani staying true to their core audience? Because to me this was a pointless waste of time.

    1. I didn’t notice any dip in animation quality

      I don’t think I said the animation quality went down. I’m just saying that scenes were set up in a certain way to minimize having to do too much animation.

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