Amagi Brilliant Parks’ bright color palette, aura of delightful, happy charm, and exuberant welcoming nature drew me, an otherwise sullen, jaded, and grumpy individual towards it. But absorb these kinds of shows like a sponge and this was no exception. While it initially wasn’t as testosterone driven as a comedy series like Gintama or Digagi Kashi, which is totally what I was expecting, Amagi Brilliant Park instead offers a more light novel approach without having to boast a great deal of noise and delivers a great deal of character.
STORY: I enjoy an anime that gives me the plot in a matter of minutes instead of wasting 16 minutes of the first episode only to cram a cliffhanger conclusion that forces me to watch the next episode. I should WANT to because I’m enjoying what I’m watching, not forcing myself. What’s great about the story of saving the park is the series establishes its goal right off the bat, so as a viewer, I’m immediately invested in this, and as more details follow about the importance of said plot, it makes me want to watch even more. I would go as far to say the journey to save Amagi Park is almost like watching a Kickstarter trying to reach its stretch goals, and that makes it fascinating. Each episode searches for a new way to draw more customers to the park, so I began to become more engaged and wanted ultimately for them to succeed. The frustration the cast exhibits when being pressured to overcome such insurmountable odds feels authentic. The stakes are very high for them to succeed, so when they begin to fight amongst themselves, it’s justified. Most anime I watch just have the heroes bickering amongst themselves for no legit reason, other than to stretch the drama for as long as possible (Tiger & Bunny’s second half was like trying to watch someone pedal a bicycle uphill through mud). SCORE: 7
ART: As noted, Brill Park’s (as the kids call it) deep and enriching color palette makes it very easy on the eyes. One of the things I noticed immediately is the very large ensemble of…for lack of a better phrase…interesting character designs, including (and I can’t make this up) a sentient 4 foot wrench, masked luchador security guards, and a passive, fire breathing dragon! The mascots, Moffle, Macaron, and Tirami, are incredibly adorable, though I admit, it took me about 5 episodes to figure out Tirami’s gender.
There’s a lot of great things of various shapes and sizes to look at in Amagi, but I do have a major nitpick: the main character Sanie’s overall design. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve just about had it with anime’s short, messy, black-haired protagonists. When did this become the default look for male leads? I can’t think of a more boring character template, and there’s so many sporting this same look! Why not give me something interesting to look at, at least a different hair color? Sento, the female lead, is super busty and shapely, but I can’t stop staring at her bangs. They look funny to me, as if an extra set of bangs overlap her original ones.
While Amagi’s physical gags and jokes aren’t anything I haven’t seen in the last 11 years, they are kind of funny. I wished actually that it could’ve been a bit zanier and produced new jokes, but perhaps its more reserved approach can be appreciated. SCORE: 7
CHARACTERS: I can honestly say that Sanie is the kind of lead character the anime world benefits greatly from. “Lead” is the key word, because when the opportunity is presented to him to make a change, he accepts it with great aplomb. I had hoped that the series played more on his conceited and arrogant nature, Sanie is the perfect complete character that guides a cast of characters that are essentially schtick. That isn’t particularly a knock on the cast for being shallow, but it’s a little true. The crew members of Amagi Park are a little one note, Sanie and Moffle seem to be the only two dimensional personalities among the cast. Sanie’s determination to create revenue for the park resonates throughout and he finds a way to be an inspiration for everyone. In some ways, I forgot he’s a high schooler. Moffle, whose closest to Sento and Queen Lafita, is grizzled and discouraged. While he doesn’t believe much in Sanie, he pushes onward, feeling the inevitability that the park is doomed. He’s the only park member who wears his somber expression and he bears a great weight with the task at hand. Sento, on the other hand, as a female lead brings little to the show other than breasts and a small skirt. She has moments throughout, and her laconic, by-the-books attitude is something I’ve learned to appreciate over the years, but she’s pretty much cosplay eye candy that would bring attention to the series that probably wouldn’t look otherwise. Nothing wrong with a cute girl to promote your show. SCORE: 8
IN CLOSING: Amagi Brilliant Park may not bring much new to the comedy anime table, but this show is incredibly enjoyable. Its large cast of bizarre and adorable characters, charming story, and precious conclusion makes this one of my favorite feel-good anime titles of modern times. A few things do kind of hold it back from being the treasure I think it could be (things probably explained in the manga), but this is a really good starter anime for anyone just getting into the genre. OVERALL SCORE: 8/10
PROS: A fantasic male lead. Loveable supporting cast. Straightforward story. The dramatic climax was worth a million bucks.
CONS: Comedy feels reserved and predictable.