Seiya Kanie, a smart and extremely narcissistic high school student, believes that the beautiful but reserved Isuzu Sento has invited him on a date at an amusement park called Amagi Brilliant Park. Much to his chagrin, not only is the location a run-down facility, the supposed date is merely a recruitment tour where Sento and Princess Latifa Fleuranza, the owner of the theme park, ask him to become the park's new manager. Their cause for desperation? As stipulated in a land-use contract, Amagi has less than three months to meet a quota of 500,000 guests, or the park will be closed for good and the land redeveloped by a greedy real-estate company.
Seiya is won over by the revelation that Amagi is no ordinary amusement park; many of its employees are Maple Landers—mysterious magical beings who live in the human world and are nourished by the energy created by people having fun. Entrusted with the hopes and dreams of this far-off enchanted land, Seiya must now use his many skills to bring Amagi back on its feet, or watch it crumble before his eyes.
The past couple years haven't been so great for KyoAni. It's hard to deny that they've lost the influence and momentum they had back in the mid-to-late 2000's, and their work as of late has largely ranged from mediocrity to the flat-out bad (yes, I'm looking at Kyoukai no Kanata). Most of these issues can be attributed to their weakness in writing drama, which, thankfully, is nearly non-existent in their most recent series, Amaburi.
Amaburi (officially "Amagi Brilliant Park", which doesn't roll off the tongue nearly as well) sticks instead to KyoAni's strengths. While it's lacking in drama and shirtless bishounens, as a light-hearted slice-of-life
about a group of idiots managing an amusement park, it's well worth a watch. It also has Isuzu, who is maybe, just maybe, one of the most attractive heroines in anime, if hot anime ladies is your sort of thing.
That said, anyone potentially interested in the show should be warned that the first episode is by far the worst. In it, the busty heroine (Isuzu) drags the cynical protagonist (Kanie) to the dilapidated amusement park that she manages, in the hopes that the former child actor, who, by the way, has absolutely zero experience in business management, will save the park from ruin. He begrudgingly accepts the offer, of course, and vows to meet the 500,000-visitors-in-four-months deadline so that the park will not be closed. At the end of the episode, Kanie also receives an abrupt kiss and a random superpower (which is not shown or mentioned again until several episodes later), because, uh, reasons?
Tell me if this sounds at all familiar, because I've seen hundreds of anime which have started off in the exact same way. I almost dropped Amaburi right there, and I'm glad I didn't, as it quickly shows it has little interest in being a serious story. Instead, it treats alcoholic, talking animals and magical powers as being completely ordinary. There's even a group of pirate walruses and a bloody dragon. Amaburi fully embraces its silly fantasy setting and cares not for realism.
But a cost of this silliness is that the show spends more time on the animals and park mascots than it does the human characters. And the mascots (who wear their costumes so frequently that they must be fused to their body) are nowhere near as interesting as Kanie or Isuzu, considering that many of them are based on a single trope. There's an otaku masquerading as some sort of squirrel-thing, an easily-angered shark who turns into a hell-demon when doused in water, a sheep who acts like a street thug, and so on and so forth. Sure, these characters add a great deal of energy to the show and make the park feel more alive, but after their second or third appearance, it's not likely you will appreciate their presence all too much. A few of them even show up dozens of times, and by that point it feels like the show is stretching its jokes way too thin. Granted, though, the commercial scene in the final episode is pretty damn hilarious.
Moffle is perhaps the one mascot who is treated as an actual character and not a running gag. He is introduced as some sort of asshole who punches his own customers when they throw a few bad words his way, and really, he's just an unlikeable jerk towards Kanie until the two start to accept each other's existence. But the reason he is a jerk makes sense: he doesn't want ruffians and other undesirables bringing danger to the park's princess, Latifa, so he plays the role of the jerk in order to protect her. It's hard not to warm up to the little guy by the end of the series.
As for Latifa, she just sort of... exists. Latifa and the park are the two main focuses of the story, except she's absent in everything that occurs in the park and is only ever relevant in the first and final episodes. She's there solely as a catalyst for drama, which means her scenes are, unsurprisingly, the weakest in the show. At least she stands there and looks pretty sometimes, I guess?
Kanie and Isuzu are far more interesting. On the surface, they're both very typical KyoAni characters (the Kyon-like protagonist who sighs and reluctantly does everything, and the big-breasted kuudere prone to hurting things), but there is at least a little bit of depth to their character. Kanie's reasons for quitting his role as a child actor is explained in one short scene, and so too is Isuzu's reason for constantly shooting people with her musket (though why a minor can legally carry a gun to school remains a mystery). The scene where their past is explained is actually handled with a surprising amount of maturity: there's no screaming and crying, no childhood trauma-- the two just accept it and move on with their lives as people normally would.
However, the fact that the two are high school kids and yet somehow able to run a massive multi-million dollar business on their own is inexcusable nonsense. I'm sorry, but 16-year-olds are nowhere near experienced enough to tackle such a huge responsibility. This is especially evident when Kanie makes asinine decisions like charging only 30yen (equivalent to 30 cents) for park admission, with all the rides being free of charge, as if this wouldn't immediately drive the park to ruin with an insurmountable amount of debt. Isuzu also occasionally shows up wearing an office lady outfit, and I couldn't help but groan every single time. If you want to write adult characters then, please, just bloody write them. It's not like it's particularly difficult to make the characters a few years older-- say, 19 or 20-- rather than forcing them to be high school students when it makes absolutely zero sense in the context of the story. It's like KyoAni is deathly afraid of writing characters past the age of seventeen (perhaps they think their fans will set fire to their studio if they dare try). I'm getting very tired of it. The world does exist outside the confines of high school.
The art is about what you would expect from any KyoAni anime, which is to say that it looks great. The sound is much more noteworthy as it is what gives the show the majority of its energy. There's a ton of classy jazz music playing in the background, and the OP is the sort of thing that will get stuck in your brain immediately after hearing it for the first time. I spent a few of my college classes with "MAGIC HEART" screaming in my head and it was both delightful and horrifying.
It's hard to get rid of the feeling that Amaburi is one long prologue to what will probably be a second season. There's subtle hints of romance between Kanie and Isuzu-- the kind that KyoAni loves to expand upon-- and the story abruptly ends with a light-hearted episode that would normally have been stuck in as an OVA. There's a lot of potential for the second season to be superior to the first, and if KyoAni doesn't create one I would be very surprised. And perhaps a little disappointed.
Amaburi is best approached with minimal expectations. If you're expecting another big hit from KyoAni, then Amaburi is certainly not going to be that. If you're OK with just having a few laughs at silly nonsense (and if you're a guy, a few erections from Isuzu's scenes), then you'll probably enjoy your time with the show. It's not a great anime, perhaps not even a good one, but there's more than enough enjoyable content in here to warrant a watch. If nothing else, at least it's not Kyoukai no Kanata.
Amagi Brilliant Park has been making waves in the anime community this season, and it's easy to see why. An intriguingly goofy premise coupled with the fact that it's a Kyoto Animation production sets up rather high expectations. And I have to say, Amagi Brilliant Park exceeded my expectations in nearly every way.
To say that Amaburi is absurd would be an understatement. Kanie Seiya, a high school student, is tasked with reviving a failing amusement park and has three months to reach its yearly quota of 500,000 guests or the park will shut down. Also, this park is inhabited by magical beings from a different
realm who rely on the fun that visitors have for their livelihood. Add the fact that the two lead characters are named after Kanye West and 50 Cent--how can you resist?
Amaburi does well with its plot, but that's not where its true strength lies. At its core, Amaburi is built on its characters. Absurd, zany, and above all, lovable, the ensemble of characters contained within the park will win you over instantly. I'm amazed at how much character development they managed to fit into 13 episodes (12 really--the last episode is just a filler). Amaburi really makes you feel the characters' emotions and their motivation to keep their park open. It's been a while since I've been this engaged by a show's characters alone. The hilarious trio of mascots, the dysfunctional dance group, Sento's insecurities despite her stoic appearance, and an arrogant, narcissistic, but ultimately big-hearted main character, as well as a plethora of other wild characters leave a lasting impact.
Huge props to the art direction team on this one. Amaburi looks absolutely stunning. The various areas of the park are bright and colorful, the characters are dynamic, and Amaburi features some of the most hysterical facial expressions I've ever seen. A great job is done with character designs (whoever designed Sento, I cannot thank you enough--you have done humanity a great favor). Appearances aren't everything, but in this department Amaburi sure has it all.
Honestly, I hardly have anything negative to say at all regarding this series. A great job of managing pacing gives it a full, complete feel despite its short length. By the story's conclusion, it's clear that Amagi Brilliant Park is more than just a goofy comedy. It's about more than just a high school kid running a magical theme park. It evokes feelings of community, friendship, and overcoming adversity that, while they may be corny, ring loud and true. Amagi Brilliant Park is far more heartwarming than its premise suggests. This is the feel-good show of the year.
LOOK AT THE SKY IT'S MAGIC HOUR.
Actually, it's half an hour in one episode, but you'll get the joke soon.
Amagi Brilliant Park is just spectacular. Some of the audience loved it, and I think it's a chance that Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) has actually redeemed themselves over the troubles they had over the past year. Watching the first episode got me hooked since it has an interesting setting to look forward. You surely have seen amusement parks in a lot of anime, but that's just depicting the characters' enjoyment. But, I'm sure you have yet to see behind the scenes of the park's operation.
The story starts
with Sento inviting Kanie to go with her to an unknown location which is Amagi Brilliant Park. Kanie wasn't pleased with the tour from Sento of the amusement park which is bad in shape and unsatisfactory. Later on, Sento introduced Latifa who then wants Kanie to become the next manager of the park and save it from being taken away. Also, this amusement park isn't just any ordinary park. Kanie learnt that it is occupied by 'fairies' from Maple Land, a magical place far from reality.
Before you are worried about KyoAni's antics, don't worry. To spoil a bit about the story, it wasn't written in a way which later it is plagued with problematic tropes. Basically throughout the whole anime, you see how Kanie is able to handle the park as the manager. He gets to learn more about the park, its attractions and the workers along the way and from there, he finds ways to improve the well-being. The anime is mostly comedic, meaning lots of moments to laugh at from episode to episode. I would say that it wasn't repetitive, making those moments unique in a sense. There are some dramatic moments which honestly, I feel that they are a bit forced and out of place from the prominent hilarious comedy. But not to fret, they don't really mess up the story much, since then the characters involved got back to their feet. There are also undeveloped romance in some relationships, but it's sweet to see some hints coming about.
What I absolutely love about the story is how the park manages to develop, thanks to Kanie's direction as a manager. The workers might be negative over his choices of attracting visitors to the park, and you may be astonished too, but he managed them. The story may also not show this result, but it also drop hints too. Overall, I think the story was almost original and doesn't not have a lot of faults. Of course, many more topics in the story can be expanded, but out of thirteen episodes, I think it's a job well done for the script-writers. There is also some fan-service included that doesn't exceed too much, but you know, it's quite astonishing for KyoAni to add some. Sure, Free! is another anime with a lot of fan-service, but ignoring that anime, it is still a nice shock.
The anime has a huge cast which is quite diverse in terms of personality. How the story introduces the characters one by one is fine, since Kanie meets a few workers in the park from episode to episode. Some of the characters have a small story behind them. But what is really good about the cast is that they are never forgotten. Once they are introduced, they will eventually pop up in the next episodes. So if you have your favourite character inside, don't feel left out.
Of course, the story do focus on some of the characters. While Kanie manages the park, Sento assists him in some ways. There is some development between the two, but not very much to the point it gets romantic. Indeed, both of them have their own faults which can cause hilarity or not, given the situation they face. They are definitely different on each other in attitude-wise, but they understand each other. However, Latifah doesn't feel like as a main character but more of a plot device to make the story more dramatic. Not much interaction is seen from her, even many of the characters that don't have a larger role get more air time than her. Also, there's the three mascots, Moffle, Macaron and Tiramie, and the four Elementario fairies, Muse, Sylphy, Kobori and Salama. While the mascots serve more as a comedy piece of the story, the Elementario fairies get more development and story. It isn't really consistent but there's one episode that show more about themselves and it's great.
Overall, the development is okay but not too great. More can be shown not only to Kanie and Sento alone, but also to Latifah and the rest. But given the thirteen-episode limit, it couldn't be helped anyway.
Knowing KyoAni's anime already, I shouldn't be disappointed by its pleasing art style for this anime. The sceneries were definitely eye-grabbing, along with the details in them, the vibrant colours chosen and the lively atmosphere portrayed by the background characters. There are a lot of visual effects shown which are great, such as magical sparkles or the rustling of leaves. You've already seen it quite a lot if you watched a lot of KyoAni anime, so it shouldn't really be a surprise, yet it is so awesome. The character designs were not really original, given that the face styles are similar to other characters from KyoAni's anime. But they are detailed and nice-looking. Some of the non-human designs are definitely cool for some, wacky for the rest. The facial expressions are well-done, and I definitely love the cartoon-ish ones to express hilarity.
The opening song, sang by AKINO with her band, has won the hearts of many with the catchy beats and groovy tunes. It's easily one of the best songs heard in this season, since it attracted a lot of attention. See that starting quote? That's the first quote in the lyrics. It's too famous indeed. I actually looped the song many times. It has a nice feel that relates to the context of the story, giving the hype for the story and the lively feel in it. The ending song is different-sounding. Sang by the voice actresses of the Elementario fairies, it is supposed to have a more calm approach. You may feel that it doesn't really match the context, but you'll get used to it. If I put it aside, it's not a bad song and it's nice. The background music is not really noticeable, but I quite like the style of it. The OST album has been released, and a quick run-through has got me interested. The voice acting is great too. Some voice actors are well-known, the rest are either new or does not have many roles.
Overall, I really loved the anime so much. Ignoring what has been giving the negative impressions of the anime, it's pretty much one of the best anime I've watched this season. A seemingly-interesting story and a diverse cast will not disappoint you definitely. To summarise this anime, it has great comedy from the characters and a good development of the park, thanks to a narcissist manager and an emotionless assistant. Of course, the thirteen episode feels more like an OVA than an actual episode. It still continues from the previous episode indeed, but honestly they can just stop airing at the twelfth episode.
Once every season, Kyoto Animation shows up and grabs the immediate attention of the entire otaku populous after announcing whatever they've been up to the past few months. Being one of the biggest and most successful animation companies in Japan, people tend to automatically just chalk down whatever they license and eagerly await it, expecting something great. But does KyoAni succeed with their latest addition, Amagi Brilliant Park? Can they truly amount to more than just their wonderfully crafted artwork?
Amagi Brilliant Park (Or Amaburi for short) follows Kanie Seiya, a narcissistic and self-centered (Wait. Kanie...Kanye...I see what you did there, KyoAni) high school student and
former child-star, as he is recruited as the new manager for a failing theme park. However, this theme park is currently owned and operated by a group of people that come from the magical world of "Maple Land". The women are beautiful and the males all look like mascots for college football teams, which is personally my ideal picture of a magic kingdom.
Even though the story seems a little odd, it does quickly become alluring when you find out the princess of Maple Land and former manager of the park has a sickness that prevents her from aging and resets her memory once every year. And so Kanye West Seiya must bring in a total of 500,000 visitors in a six month period in order for the Maple Landers to keep the park. If he does not succeed, Princess Frailty will lose her magic powers contained within the park and ultimately die a tragic death.
Amagi Brilliant Park has its ups and downs (LIKE A ROLLER COASTER. HA) but it isn't by any means bad. I found myself looking forward to it every week, just as I normally do with Kyoto Animation's stuff. But this time I didn't have to fully invest myself in the story like I had to do with sthows like Hyouka, which worked on solving mysteries and building up relationships. So, lets delve deeper as I once again break this show apart, piece by piece, to better illustrate how I feel about it.
Just like every other normal person in the world, I love clapping. The opening song to Amagi Brilliant Park utilizes clapping. Twice. That's cool, I like that. And since Kyoto Animation created the opening, the clapping looks sweet. But I digress. The anime sounds just like you'd expect a show about a theme park to sound. The music is lively and cheerful, and at the same time it delivers hope. And with Amaburi's story, that is absolutely vital. Background music isn't repetitious at all and plays an essential part in making each scene seem full. But because the music wasn't outstanding and didn't play a part in changing the way people viewed the show, it wasn't perfect and definitely could have been improved upon.
As far as characters go, Amaburi has a solid line-up. Kanie is quite different from the dense male leads you'll often find in anime today, and the rest of the cast is pretty solid as well. Sento Isuzu (Whose name I just found out comes from 50 Cent) does a great job in supporting Kanie's character throughout the duration of the show. And all of the mascot-men are there with extremely strong personalities to provide sufficient comic relief for the theme park. The thing is, even though the characters were very original and unique all across the board, the majority of them were ONLY there to serve as that comic relief I mentioned. It's great to be funny, but if that's your only personality trait in real life, you're probably going to have a hard time and you aren't a perfect character. I would have liked to see some more development in anyone apart from the leads, but it just didn't happen.
This was probably a given as soon as Kyoto Animation's name was put under the title, but Amagi Brilliant Park delivers some of the best artwork this year. Character designs were outrageous and easily memorable, and the theme park as a whole, even when it was decaying, was a sight for sore eyes. It's refreshing to see KyoAni constantly improving and not just taking advantage of their position in the industry and settling down in a "safe spot". They are constantly pushing themselves to create something better, and it has been succeeding. As a reference point, please direct your attention to the Ferris wheel above. Isn't that the best damn Ferris wheel you've ever seen in an anime? You're damn right it is. Amaburi has zero issues when it comes to appearance, and that is vital in keeping the audience's interest locked in.
What's disappointing about the story line of this show is that they throw in a lot of information that seems like it's important, but is never mentioned again. The viewers never find out what exactly happened to cause Kanie's fallout of the entertainment industry. Sento's affections never get let out and ultimately become meaningless when you look at the bigger picture. And then Kanie goes off on this rant about how he is terrified of heights and wants to hide it from everyone but it plays no part in determining how you look at the story. And then there was the whole thing with how Kanie somehow ran into the princess when he was a child and now felt like he was destined to save her life. It just started to seem forced, like the writers wanted there to be a story when in all actuality the show was just there to be fun. The idea was good, but countless attempts to make it deeper than it should have been really ruined its legitimacy.
Amagi Brilliant Park is a solid show, but it could have been much better. You'll find that the driving force in bringing you back to the next episode falls completely on the characters and artwork. It's definitely enjoyable, but one of the weaker shows KyoAni has brought forth in recent years, which may be a direct result of them setting the bar too high for themselves. Watch this if you are either an avid fan of the studio or just looking to have a few laughs and wind down. There are better options out there, but Amaburi will suffice if you don't want to look for them.