Amagi Brilliant Park
Seiya is forced to visit the most decrepit amusement park imaginable: Amagi Brilliant Park. Before saying farewell to the wasteland, he's invited to meet the park's manager. Princess Latifa reveals the employees are real magical creatures, and it's not an act. Amagi Brilliant Park is home for refugees from a fantasy like realm called Maple Land. As people have fun and enjoy themselves, it creates magical energy sustaining them. The park has languished for years, with attendance now hitting rock bottom. A real estate contract requires the park attract 250,000 visitors in the next three months or the park closes. Without a home to create energy, those who depend on it will disappear forever.
Seiya agrees to become the park's new manager to accomplish this nearly impossible feat. As a former child actor, he's familiar with the entertainment industry and what it takes. Seiya lived a listless existence, but time at the park changes him for the better. There's still the question of why they chose him. In fact Seiya and the park go back farther than he realized.
The premise sounded interesting to me. While this would be vomit inducing if done by Disney, as an anime I figured this had potential for fun and maybe some nice drama too. People who've seen Amagi Brilliant Park might say I'm overrating this one, but I had a set of expectations I didn't think this would live up to, yet it did so I give it props for that.
Although Amagi Brilliant Park may not be a gut busting comedy (though it certainly has hilarious moments), it's plenty of fun on a per episode basis. The theme lends itself to a mundane formula of the week setup, but this anime is well varied in content. That's impressive considering it doesn't have a single dud episode.
The characters are likable and well suited to a theme park comedy. It mainly focuses on Sento the exceptionally bodacious overly serious guard; and the lead male Seiya. He's capable and level headed, but hilariously narcissistic. Sento has feelings for him, but he's too self absorbed to notice - a nice change from the usual "clueless" guy unaware of interested girls. Others at the park offer a good mix of diversity. There's the super cute princess, the "mascot" bunch who are pretty warped, and the spaced out teen girl faeries, among many others.
Gorgeous designs, good animation, fun setup; what else could you ask for? Good drama maybe? I expected Amagi Brilliant Park to either gloss over this content, or perhaps fail at it entirely. Keeping the park open is the main struggle, but there's also the princesses curse. It's hard to have fun with ominous stuff looming in the backdrop, so staying focused on positive features keeps it upbeat. Towards the end the more serious stuff pushes forward, but it doesn't get mired in it either. I had it set in my mind Amagi Brilliant Park wouldn't have what it takes to pull off good drama, but it proved me wrong. In episode 12 the princess has to face her curse. The gentle handling of the situation coupled with great aesthetics is beautifully done. Then episode 13 wraps things up with over the top hilarity.
I hesitate to call this anime great, but it lacks anything I'd call a weakness. Aside from the look of the show, nothing else is exceptional, but the overall quality is consistently good, and the execution flawless. That's enough to say it's worth the watch, but there's also an episode with Sento in a pirate costume. You know you want to see that!
Princess Latifa's name is inspired by Queen Latifah. Understandable because practically look like twins right? @_@
Seiya: Today I look damn sharp. I'd fall for me if I could.
Seiya: If you want to make people dream, you start by believing in that dream yourself.
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