Yeah, I got a lot of explaining and making up to do. Mainly because in my anime reviewing time, I have not been fond of Kyoto Animation as a studio the last few years. I mean, I get it, they have gorgeous looking shows and I see any sakuga fan loving that but as for the content of their shows, they remain meh to who gives a fuck in my eyes. I mean, out of the ones I watched before, the ones I truly hated from them was Sound! Euphonium for being such a bore to watch and Myriad Colors Phantom World for being insultingly draining and lucky for it, it was my #2 worst show of 2016 (Taboo-Tattoo saved your ass, KyoAni). Now some others I have liked from them like Haruhi Suzumiya (well, the first season and the movie) and this year’s Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid (which might be in top 10 depending on what happens in the rest of the year).
So….I decided to actually watch one of their recent works and see how I’ll like it or not. Enter in Amagi Brilliant Park.
I remember that this show wasn’t initially on legal streaming when it premiered in the fall of 2014 and many people were not pleased on that and of course, they would turn to fansubs and when it eventually came to Crunchyroll, people did flock to it and they were loving it if I can recall.
But hey, what the hell is this show about?
When new transfer student Isuzu asks Seiya Kanie out on a date at gunpoint, he knows something odd is going on. Especially since she wants to go to Amagi Brilliant Park, where the rides are either dangerous or mind-numbingly dull and the only costumed performers who aren’t rude or apathetic are the ones who didn’t show up for work. So when Isuzu asks Seiya to take over as the park’s new manager, he knows she’s crazy. (Well, crazy-er, given the gunpoint thing.) But when Seiya learns that Amagi Brilliant Park is a REAL Magic Kingdom, that the costumed performers aren’t wearing costumes, that they live off the energy created by attendees, and that unless they can attract 250,000 attendees in three months, they’ll lose their jobs and homes… he goes a little crazy himself. But, even with the aid of scantily clad fairies, giant mice and sniper-trained sheep, can anyone rescue a park that’s sunk so low that its own bus doesn’t stop there anymore? The race is on to get the turnstiles turning and save AMAGI BRILLIANT PARK!
First things first, I did chuckle on how this started with this girl asking this guy out on a date….and she carries some kind of magical shotgun with her. Yes, she does it by gunpoint. I was skeptical but remain hopeful to see how it turns out and I have to say….I had a blast watching this. Yes, this is basically a “Save the Rec Center” anime only it’s an amusement park and magic is involved and there’s no break-dancing involved (I think?) but while they are coming up ways to get more people here, the hi-jinks and the camaraderie among the employees there. It’s equally funny and endearing and a little dumb fun. The fantasy aspect of this amusement park being a real magic kingdom is integrated well into the story and for 13 episodes, it stayed right on focus of earning enough attendees to save the park. All-in-all, 13 episodes was enough for that. It didn’t have to go any further.
And yes, this show gets dumb but it actually shows that it’s being fun. It’s not trying to go over your heads, pretending it’s something else when it’s not. That’s what makes the show genuinely entertaining.
Oh, and what makes it fun is its delightful characters and already some aspects about the characters got me laughing….and yes, it is the characters’ names.
Kanie Seiya….Seiya Kanie…..Seiya means West and Kanie sounds like Kanye…..aka Kanye West.
Isuzu Sento….Sento Isuzu….Sento is a homophone for ‘Cent’ and Sento means Fifty in Japanese…..yes, the main anime girl is basically named 50 Cent.
Yes, these are our two main leads of the show, named after two of the recognizable rappers in the game and for them as characters….I’ve enjoyed them, although it’s more Sento than Kanie because she has a few interesting character traits as she is mostly deadpan throughout but does have some emotional bits here and there and her comedic timing is excellent especially when she has that magical gun with her and shoots people when they are acting stupid. Honestly, she’s my favorite when it comes to characters in here– Well, one of my favorites. There’s some characters that definitely stand out here like the mascots, especially Moffle, Macaron and Tiramie. I always get a lot of laughs whenever they show up and their crazy antics in the park, especially in that OVA about promoting the park. Now for Kanie since I haven’t talked about him enough, he’s actually not as bland as I thought he would be. He’s a perfectionist narcissist on making sure the park doesn’t die overnight….in other words, he has an interesting personality that keep us glued to him although that power he has is briefly mentioned but not as much into the rest of the story and there’s also Latifah, the queen of the kingdom……yes, her name is Queen Latifah….and she’s more of the plot device of the story as she shows up here and there, only to see her in ailing need with everything I’ve said in the past few paragraphs.
Are there a lot of characters in there? Yes and don’t expect much development for all of them. It’s a 13-episode show but then again, I couldn’t care to go much further than I already did.
Animation and art-style and since this is KyoAni we’re talking about, of course it’s going to look gorgeous and it does. I will say the mascot designs are lot more unique and distinctive than the human designs at best……yeah, that’s it.
Music-wise, the opening theme “Extra Magic Hour” by AKINO with bless4 is quite infectious with its catchy tune and as it kicks in the “Ready for the Magic HOUR!” part, it really goes in high gear. The ending theme, “Elementario de Aimashou” by BRILLIANT4 [Sylphy (Tomoyo Kurosawa), Kobori (Shiori Mikami), Salama (Minami Tsuda), Muse (Yuuka Aisaka) is actually….one I often skip to the next episode PV and listening to it now….it’s meh.
For the dub, I have to say that it’s…..well, it’s actually good. Yeah, I know I’ve been saying that a lot in these reviews but hey, I haven’t ran into a shitty one this year so there’s that. Three particular performances got a major highlight for me and that’s Tiffany Grant, Allison Keith-Shipp, and Jessica Calvello as Moffle, Macaron & Tiramie respectively. I did ease into Molly Searcy as Sento since she does matches the character’s stoic personality and eventually I ended up liking her voice work on this.
FINAL VERDICT: Amagi Brilliant Park is a blast of excitement from beginning to end as the fantasy aspect is mixed into a “Save the Rec Center” style of anime but it’s for an amusement park that’s actually a magical kingdom and the wild antics inbetween of the more serious moments of saving the park. It’s definitely a side of KyoAni that I actually like from them…comedy that has a lot of wonderment going on and doesn’t act like it’s up its own ass.
So how brilliant do I find this show?
– SOLID B.
AMAGI BRILLIANT PARK is available to own on DVD and BLU-RAY from Sentai Filmworks. Streaming options are on Crunchyroll and on Sentai’s new streaming service HIDIVE for the sub and dub.
I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid and …….wait, Aisu Kyubu……the aunt’s name is Ice Cube!?
AMAGI BRILLIANT PARK – animated by KYOTO ANIMATION / licensed by SENTAI FILMWORKS