Kanie Seiya, an extremely narcissistic human being, is asked on a date by Sento Isuzu to an amusement park. At gun point. Turns out Amagi Brilliant Park has a secret and Kanie Seiya is the only hope the inhabitants have.
Right from the start it is obvious that this anime is more interested in setting up punch lines than in delivering quality characters or plot developments. The whole saving the park thing really does become setting more than an actual driver of tension throughout the series. And while many of the jokes and punchlines are repetitive and flat, this show still somehow manages to make it work.
I’m not going to argue that Amagi Brilliant Park is actually a brilliant anime or a work of comedic genius. It is neither and to be honest it isn’t trying to be. What it does is simple. It takes characters where each has one fundamental personality trait that is inherently funny (or can be played for laughs) and they find reasons again and again to put the characters in situations where the humour can be found. By that description, I shouldn’t like this series. The story exists but is hardly compelling and the characters are all stereotypes that are played for laughs. Somehow though, Amagi makes me smile.
Actually, the story is at its weakest when it tries to play for drama. Particularly toward the end of the series when time is running out for the magic theme park. While we finally see some actual character development from our narcissist, to be honest by that point you just don’t care. And this is what stops the story from being brilliant. They don’t manage to combine the comedic energy they enfuse in some scenes with the drama that should exist throughout the entire series. Saving the park means life or death but the focus doesn’t manage to convey that convincingly to the audience. Instead, while we know that there are consequences for not saving the park, the characters’ absolute lack of progress is played for laughs.
The question is: How many absurd schemes can you have to save a magical amusement park from going bankrupt?
Discount tickets? Bikini clad girls for advertising campaigns? Sell off part of the property? Close the park for forced maintenance? When all else fails, host a sporting event?
In the meantime, have characters who hate each other and can’t cooperate, performers who are hopeless at their jobs, mascot characters who hate kids, oh and the park can get attacked by pirates because why not.
If you are looking for something with depth, move on. However, if you are after some cheap laughs (and a large number of direct references to other anime), and you don’t mind cliché characters and situations, Amagi is kind of all right. It never pretends to be something it isn’t and that works. Although I guess ‘kind of all right’ is not exactly a glowing recommendation.
Amagi Brilliant Park is available on AnimeLab if you haven’t seen it before.