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Amagi Brilliant Park; The Never Ending Magic Hour

Inspiration comes in many forms & one of them is anime. Doing whatever it takes, never giving up, we’ve seen that a lot, especially in battle anime. But in a workplace drama, it’s pretty rare. Amagi Brilliant Park is that kind of show which is equally intensive and fun. It involves decision-making, character choices, development and teamwork. So why don’t we look deeper into it and see what makes this anime great.

Synopsis

After being forcefully dragged into an amusement park named Amagi Brilliant Park, Seiya Kanie is offered to be the manager of the place, because of a prophecy that said Kanie will save the place from shutting down. The amusement park is run by people from a magical world called Maple land and they need people’s joy & happiness to live here. The owner, Princess of that land, is very sick, and here is her best chance of survival. After being persuaded for a while, Kanie accepts the role and promises to bring the place back to life. But to do that, they have to bring visitors to meet the yearly quota and they only have 3 months to bring 500,000 visitors. Hence, workplace drama begins with some comedy, character decisive moments, and moments that can keep you on the edge of your sit.

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Info

  • Genre: Workplace Drama, Comedy, Fantasy
  • Episodes: 13 + 1 OVA
  • Airing season: Fall 2014
  • Studio: Kyoto Animation
  • Adaptation: Light novel by Shoji Gatoh

Setting up the stake

Setting up the perfect stake is not an easy task when writing a story. The audience can only get behind when the road to the final goal is filled with difficulties, challenges, twists and turns. Characters maturing through those challenges is the way of making the story great. Amagi Brilliant Park does that perfectly. Every episode ends in a cliffhanger and the next one brings something completely new to ponder. And in each episode, Kanie and others manage to resolve the issue at hand. One event doesn’t drag long for no reason. We see the characters maturing and making decisions that develop their characters. There are sudden twists and awe when things go wrong. There is even immeasurable joy when there’s an actual achievement in something. Seeing the characters working hard and teaming up when necessary is really inspiring.

Based on my description, some may think this is an edgy show where things go wrong often. But it’s quite the opposite. This is an amusement park after all. The show makes sure we have fun. The comedic moments aren’t corny or cringe. The dialogue hits perfectly with word puns & slang. Both English & Japanese dub sounds perfect to the characters. The slapstick comedic moments always bring a smile to the face.

Presentation: KyoAni’s masterful work

The Animation

There is something magical about this. From the visuals, animation, dialogue, and music, everything is done masterfully. KyoAni sure doesn’t pull any punches when making anime. It almost feels like we are in a fantasy world. Every frame is beautifully drawn and given a chuck full of details. The background art and animation are crisp and vibrant. Even the background characters have their animations and personality. Every location of the park is distinct and recognizable.

Character Design

The character design is another eye candy of this show. Everyone is different from each other in terms of facial expression, clothing, and demeanor. And who could forget the mascots? Each of them is memorable for its own rights. They are all modeled after different animals, so they don’t ever get mixed up. The character Moffle even makes a cameo in Shoji Gatoh‘s other light novels such as Full Metal Panic!. The voice acting also suits perfectly. Both in English & Japanese, the actors delivered a killer performance.

Songs & Music

The music is another attraction. There are 31 total soundtracks and each of them managed to set the theme of the scene playing. Some tracks express wonder & magic, some express hesitation, hastiness, relief, comedy, and express the impending deadline. Some songs are dedicated to certain characters. The Opening & Ending themes aren’t to be ignored either. The OP sets you up with an energetic theme, telling you to get to work and the ED relaxes you with a soft melody featuring the Elementario, the idol group in anime. The OP tells the story of the day-to-day routines of the cast members, shows the daily shenanigans and loads of Easter eggs to look for, and even introduces the looming threat. It always brings joy to see such playfulness in the OP. In the end, new characters get added in the final group shot each time new ones are introduced. It feels so nice when they put effort into the details.

Criticism

There should’ve been more episodes, to be honest. 3 months in world time passed so fast in only 12 episodes, it’s hard to accept that. There are so many characters, attractions, and concepts that are yet to explore, they just had to finish that in one season. At least they could’ve made 24-ish episodes. The story has certainly not ended as we only went through only one crisis. We do need another season as I mentioned in another post. But the problem in season 1 will remain. Unless they remake season 1 by adding more scenes and stories in between, which I doubt will ever happen. The only good thing is, on the chapters they adapted into anime, they never rushed them or left things unexplained. And they never skipped any here they introduced new characters. But it always feels like there’re gaps in between.

Every cast member of AmaBuri in the OP
Every cast member of AmaBuri in the OP

Conclusion

Amagi Brilliant Park is a reminder of how much anime can bring on to the table in terms of quality. It was very short, but it delivered an awesome job by KyoAni. If you are looking for a great show where you can relax, have fun and enjoy some drama, then this is it for you. You might want to go to an actual amusement park after this & think of the things behind the scenes. Who knows? You may find your own never ending magic hour.

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Written by Rurouni_XYZ

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