Original Run: October 7, 2014 - December 26, 2014 Number of Episodes: 13 Genre: Comedy, Fantasy Based on the Series Created By: Shoji Gatoh and Yuka Nakajima
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Amagi Brilliant Park. Reader discretion is advised.***
One day, Seiya Kanie (voiced by Kouki Uchiyama), a vain, stuck-up, full-of-himself high schooler, is confronted by new transfer student Isuzu Sento (voiced by Ai Kakuma). Isuzu tells Seiya (at gunpoint) to join her for a day at the rundown Amagi Brilliant Park. While there, Seiya is appalled by the dilapidated state of a place.
Isuzu can’t argue with Seiya’s criticism and tells him that the park will be closed in two months unless it miraculously brings in 500,000 guests. Amazingly, though, Isuzu tells Seiya that Amagi Brilliant Park is much more than a business; it is the home for the residents of the magical kingdom Maple Land. Therefore, if the park closes, all the people and creatures who reside there will be on the streets.
Isuzu asked Seiya to come in hopes of him agreeing to take over as manager. Although Seiya has a big head, he is the only person who has any real chance of saving the park, and he isn’t cruel enough to turn a blind eye to someone who can use his help.
Seiya agrees to take over management, and the full challenges of running Amagi Brilliant Park are truly unimaginable.
I have seen Amagi Brilliant Park before. Returning to it, I was interested, as well as a little worried. I don’t know if I have ever run into another series that I both liked and found immensely disappointing. I am aware that this show does have quite the following, so I’m curious how many people I’ve just angered by saying that. Hopefully, by the end of this review, I will make it clear why I still think this is, sadly, wasted potential.
Okay, admittedly, that was a bit harsh, and I don’t want to be like that because there was a lot of good to Amagi Brilliant Park – and that has a lot to do with why it ended up being underwhelming.
First off, this series was beautifully animated. Then again, why wouldn’t it have been, seeing how the studio that made it was Kyoto Animation. And if that fact alone doesn’t automatically get your system excited, let me explain why it should.
Essentially, Kyoto Animation is one of the best (if not the best) animation studio out there. What they always try to do is put in the proper amount of effort to better ensure every frame is as good as it can possibly be. Looking at Amagi Brilliant Park alone, colors, expressions, movements, absolutely everything was fluid and vibrant.
But although Kyoto Animation’s quality assurance is top-notch, that isn’t what makes it so great. You see, a Kyoto Animation’s production can put in the time needed to flush out details because it is one of the few — and I mean one of the very few — studios that treats its employees like human beings. Staff at Kyoto Animation are paid an actual hourly wage and are, therefore, not required to pump-out as sub-par material to meet a quota.
I know I am always saying that animation isn’t what makes a series worth watching. Kyoto Animation has had an occasional stumble (it’s also had masterpieces such as Nichijou, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Violet Evergarden, but that’s neither here nor there). Amagi Brilliant Park isn’t what I would call a stumble, but there were some glaring storytelling issues with it.
Granted, the first half of this series was outstanding.
Episodes one to about — let’s say — seven are insanely addicting. It is so easy to lose yourself in this show’s fun. The comedy is on point, the situations are interesting, and the characters are absurdly entertaining, specifically the mascots Moffle, Macaron, and Tiramie (voiced respectively by Ayako Kawasumi, Ryouko Shiraishi, and Ai Nonaka).
Amagi Brilliant Park not only had plenty of imagination, but it also had enough personality and energy to make that imagination a blast to sit through.
Now, I limited the range of this show’s peak from episodes one to seven because starting at around episode eight, you start to realize that the end is drawing near. Not just the end of the series, but the conclusion of the story was at hand. At that point, you’ll also notice Amagi Brilliant Park won’t feel anywhere close to finished.
The ending to Amagi Brilliant Park was this series’ Achilles’ Heel. The trouble this show ran into was trying to shove all its dramatic elements into the last few episodes. And for a story that was entirely silly and goofy up to that point, adding even a little bit of tension felt off.
I don’t want to give anything away, but I also do want to talk about this. So to maintain as few spoilers as possible, there was a complication that was added late into the series. This complication was perpetrated by someone, and this someone was why the titular Amagai Brilliant Park came into existence. The thing was, the complication and the someone had no baring throughout the majority of this show.
To be fair, the complication made sense. It wasn’t strange why this one particular detail was saved for later use. The someone, on the other hand, was merely an excuse for this series to have some sort of last-minute twist. The someone came out of nowhere and added nothing. Actually, no, that’s not entirely true.
The one thing the someone added was the desperate need for an Amagi Brilliant Park 2. Why this series doesn’t have a sequel is beyond me. There is still plenty of material for this story to work with, and one go is not enough.
It also didn’t help that Amagi Brilliant Park, a thirteen-episode anime, ended in episode twelve. This made episode thirteen pointless, which shouldn’t have been the case because it meant there was time for the narrative to stretch out a little bit longer, and that might have allowed the finale to not be the rush job that it was.
Having now watched this series twice, I can say that I liked it. I can also say that I wish there were more, and I think that pretty much sums up this show.
The animation was outstanding; the characters were incredibly fun; the comedy was on point; there was so much to enjoy out of this series. Throughout the majority of it, you’ll be hooked. Then suddenly, it just ends.
For some reason, this story came to a dead stop when it could have gone much, much further. Nevertheless, where it went was good.
Amagi Brilliant Park has earned a recommendation.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Amagi Brilliant Park? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
If you liked what you have read, be sure to follow Anime Hajime on our social media sights so that you never miss a post or update. Also, please share this review across the internet to help add to the discussion.
For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.