“This isn’t mission difficult, it’s mission impossible. ‘Difficult’ should be a walk in the park for you.” —Mission Impossible II
I’ve finally caught up with Amagi Brilliant Park now. After three episodes, I’ve seen the state the park is in, and quite personally, it’s not an amusement park I would visit (although I’m not a frequent visitor of amusement parks anyways). Armed with the task of bringing in two hundred and fifty thousand visitors, under the pain of the park being closed, Seiya Kanie must now turn his considerable talents towards restoring the park’s condition and promoting the public’s interest in it. Together with Isuzu Sento and the park’s staff, Seiya sets out on a journey to do the impossible, introducing methods that surprise and outrage the amusement park’s staff. This is what I’ve seen so far, and Amagi Brilliant Park would have been a reasonably straightforward anime from that premise alone. The inclusion of faeries from Maple Land and magic also adds a new dimension of ridiculousness to Amagi Brilliant Park, reinforcing that despite its premise, things are meant to be comical. This does seem to be Kyoto Animation’s speciality as of late: in Amagi Brilliant Park, they manage to weave in the magic and comedy with the weight presented by the threat of their park closing, and what I am looking forwards to seeing is the changes that this participation will wrought in Seiya. Presented as an overwhelmingly narcissist individual, Seiya is remarkably difficult to get along with (says the blog’s author, who sometimes, albeit jokingly, refers to his ability in the same manner). His decision to help Amagi Brilliant Park and Latifah Fullanza (the park’s director) is motivated by yet unknown motives, but it is quite possible that his actions may eventually lead him to care more greatly about others than he was previously accustomed to. Should this be the case, it’s not difficult to imagine Amagi Brilliant Park as having the potential to take viewers on a fabulous journey to save an amusement park that turns into helping Seiya become a more respectable individual.
- What do you do, when you’re person like Seiya and you’re forced at gunpoint to go on a date with a girl? There’s nothing left to do but go on that date. Apparently, Isuzu Sento’s name was inspired by that of Fifty Cent, and her magic ability is being able to summon muskets at will. (Update: as of January 17, 2015, I’ve got a review for the entire series here).
- I wonder if Shoji Gatoh’s original light novel was actually inspired by Nara Dreamland’s fate, although in Amagi Brilliant Park, the objective will be saving the eponymous amusement park before it succumbs to the same fate that Nara Dreamland succumbed to.
- Moffle and Seiya immediately hit one another rather than hit it off. His appearance is identical to that of Full Metal Metal Panic Fumoffu, a spin-off of the Full Metal Panic series. This brings to mind the old showdown between Full Metal Panic‘s Arbalest and Gundam 00‘s Exia, as well as their respective show’s protagonists. One website out there put things overwhelmingly in favour of the Arbalest, but after being counteracted by some devastating counter-arguments, the entire website was shut down.
- A website that disappears after a handful of counterarguments probably wasn’t one that would be successful. Returning back to Amagi Brilliant Park, it appears that Isuzu has all of the goods on Seiya, much to his irritation. However, despite an overwhelmingly disappointing day, he finds the croquettes are excellent, far surpassing everything else the theme park has to offer. For clarity’s sake, the italicised form will refer to the anime, and all other appearances of the name “Amagi Brilliant Park” will refer to the theme park itself.
- Latifah Fullanza is a princess hailing from Maple Land, a fantastical world that has insofar not been depicted within Amagi Brilliant Park. Kindhearted and ever-hopeful that Amagi Brilliant Park will recover, she recruits Seiya’s help; it appears the two already know one another from before, and this may have led Seiya to quit the entertainment industry.
- Takaya Kurisu is an employee of Amagi Development, a company that is looking to purchase the land Amagi Brilliant Park is on. He is the one who informs Seiya of Amagi Brilliant Park’s future if they fail to meet attendance quotas within the next three months. While he might be seen as an antagonist by some, the true conflict in Amagi Brilliant Park will likely be character-vs-self.
- Seiya initially expresses limited desire to lend any efforts towards saving Amagi Brilliant Park from being shut down, although he later changes his mind. The reason for this change is unknown, but in this scene, Seiya demonstrates usage of the Fermi Approximation, a method to make approximations without data. This method fuels the Drake Equation, and I’ve used it to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar before.
- Capitalising on the moment, Seiya decides to use reverse-psychology to rile up Amagi Brilliant Park’s employees against him, with the aim of both testing their resolve and providing them with someone to openly work hard to disprove. Such tactics are always a gamble, since there’s always the risk that the approach could lead others to simply undermine the individual. However, Amagi Brilliant Park’s employees demonstrate devotion to their park, enough to follow Seiya’s orders.
- Ironically, sufficiently desperate parties and societies have turned to strongmen in the past before in the face of social and economic collapse, and that led to some of the world’s most oppressive dictatorships being formed. Seiya, however, is significantly more honest: his speech makes no use of scapegoats to shift the blame. Its effectiveness will probably be seen in some of the upcoming episodes.
- Seiya oversees the engineers’ repair of park attractions and equipment. His decision to close the park for a day to allow for repairs is a rational one, although Moffle expresses outrage at Seiya’s tactics. However, the park is in terrible condition, and repairs could do it much good. The fact that some parts are better maintained than others suggests that the employees responsible for those sections still care greatly about their workplace and occupation, an admirable outlook.
The premise of a decaying amusement park drew my attention rather quickly: I’ve long been a fan of haikyo, or Japanese ruins. These ruins arose from the Japanese price asset bubble, when investors were able to construct properties for business. However, once the bubble burst, maintaining these facilities no longer became viable, and many have been left to nature as their owners abandoned them. Nara Dreamland is perhaps one of the most well-known haikyo. Inspired by Disneyland California, it was constructed in 1961 and closed permanently in 2006 as a result of dwindling attendance. The parks’ infrastructure was just left there to be reclaimed by nature, and several well-known urban explorers have visited Nara Dreamland. They note that such a location is quite eerie and haunting, as what was intended to be a place of amusement is now devoid of human activity. Amagi Brilliant Park has not quite reached these levels yet, although going from what the anime depicts, the park’s state is falling dangerously close to the environment at Nara Dreamland. While the park closing would probably not have been a big deal from a business perspective, Amagi Brilliant Park chooses to include magical beings to emphasise the weight of what could potentially happen should Seiya fail; their presence is a little jarring, but they’re present for good reason.
- Isuzu commonly relies on her magical musket to set Seiya and Moffle in line whenever the two get into a fist fight. The presence of giant white bandages reinforces the notion that Amagi Brilliant Park is a comedy; official sources designate this as a romance comedy, so if a common rhetoric is to be believed about the first girl introduced, one could reasonably expect Isuzu and Seiya to develop feelings for one another as the series progresses.
- In a meeting with the staff, Seiya declares that he will make three new changes to the park, altering the hours of operation so it closes later (and installation of appropriate fixtures to ensure its operation into the night hours), doing away with the Fridays-off previously observed and charging a pittance for admissions and services. The first two changes bring Amagi Brilliant Park closer to the operational practises of most amusement parks, but the last change is a little unusual.
- Ashe is Amagi Brilliant Park’s accountant, and bears a degree of resemblance to Gundam Build Fighters‘ Baker. Ashe’s role in Amagi Brilliant Park has been quite limited insofar, and here, she objects to Seiya’s third item. While Seiya understands the ramifications of doing so, he cites that profitability is secondary to attendance and thus, continues as planned.
- The Elementario are a group of faerie performers at the amusement park. There are four faeries, each with a unique personality: here, Salama (the faerie of fire) captures a fight between Moffle and a family of troublemakers. While she’s typically unmotivated, Salama enjoys making use of social media platforms off her phone.
- I imagine that Seiya’s move to have Amagi Brilliant Park’s female employees to don swimwear and perform a cheerleading routine was probably the episode’s highlight: even Latifah joins in, although most of the employees are visibly embarrassed by the setup.
- It probably shouldn’t take a terrible amount of effort to explain why Isuzu is perhaps one of the more interesting characters from initial impressions. She’s stoic, and isn’t particularly good at expressing her emotions, delivering most of her dialogue with a quiet, deadpan approach.
- Despite appearances, there is a noticeable lack of physics in this scene, reflecting on the fact that Amagi Brilliant Park is not fanservice driven. Now that I think about it, the last Kyoto Animation show I watched in completion was K-On! The Movie, although I’m making my way through Hyouka right now.
- Moffle gloats about his video’s success over Seiya’s, until Seiya reveals he was the one who uploaded both. I’m beginning to like the dynamics between Seiya and Moffle a great deal.
- At the time of writing, I picked up the common cold from the shift in temperatures and tiredness: the last two nights have been nightmarish, as I continued dreaming about Amagi Brilliant Park and somehow took on Seiya’s job. If memory serves, I was able to completely optimise operations, but it ultimately felt like I’ve watched around sixteen hours of the anime, even though only four episodes are out. As such, I probably won’t watch any more Amagi Brilliant Park episodes until this cold passes, and my dreams return to normal: every time I get sick, my dreams turn into protracted, tedious periods of existence that torture me until I wake up, leaving behind a terrible feeling that words don’t seem adequate for.
- Well, that’s pretty much it for this post. Up next is a talk on Sora no Method, and following that will be Shirobako. My copy of the Tamako Love Story has also arrived, so I’ll get a talk on that once I finished watching the movie.
What happens next is probably not too difficult to predict: one imagines that over the anime’s run, Seiya will continue running the park in his own manner, encountering minor successes and setbacks as the series progresses. He will probably become more positively-viewed amongst the park’s staff as the series wears on, probably after brining the park back from the brink of destruction (except maybe Moffle, whose trust will only be earnt after he does something significant). Along the way, Seiya may even discover something about the park and turn that to everyone’s advantage, drawing in crowds. By the end of the series, it’s not difficult to see Amagi Brilliant Park meet the minimum requirements and perhaps even prosper. Such speculation is not based on anything beyond Kyoto Animation’s style, which leans towards happy endings. Naturally, I will continue watching Amagi Brilliant Park to see how Seiya saves the theme park, as well as changes in his character as he’s carrying out his assignment. In the meantime, my blog seems to be suffering the same fate as the Amagi Brilliant Park itself regarding traffic, perhaps signalling that its twilight has come. I’ll worry about this site’s fate if the need demands it.