To be honest, I only considered watching Amagi Brilliant Park because it’s Kyoto Animation. But what kept me watching is my love for theme parks.
I really thought Amaburi would be an exposition, showing its viewers true-to-life behind the scenes and nitty-gritty aspects of a particular object (in this case, a theme park) – something like Shirobako with anime making – plus an added fantasy in the side. I suppose it is that kind of anime in its own way. Only, most of the elements you encounter are improbable. It’s a fantasy anime, no doubt about it.
Amaburi‘s art is its most dazzling feat. It’s nothing less from KyoAni. Its visuals are colorful, vibrant, and fluid befitting that of a theme park. KyoAni hasn’t innovated its character design that much but it still packs a punch in Amaburi. Kanie’s, for example, can put the Iwatobi boys’ to shame.
Where the series suffers the most is the story. The first two episodes give us a trajectory. The setting may be cliche in its execution but it gave us a clear goal.
Afterwards, the succeeding episodes are loaded with filler stories that may or may not make sense and only give the slightest intent of ever reaching that goal. They may give us an inkling of what is needed to run a theme park but they’re nothing more than run-of-the-mill antics with a touch of the improbable. I honestly think KyoAni could have done a better job if they put a little more thought and effort in building the fillers.
The overarching story is put back in focus in the last five episodes. The series manages to save itself as it slowly unfolds a cute, charming little story amusing enough to keep me watching until the last episode. It is the biggest plus side after that mess of a middle. Save for a few plot holes and open-endings, I can say that Amaburi ended well enough.
With its characterization, Amaburi keeps it simple. But with its diversity of characters, development was disordered. For some characters, you’ll see them grow as the series progresses and for the others, there is almost no development at all.
It hits most of what we can expect from an effort by KyoAni – consistent visuals, top-notch character design, and a whole lot of fan service. After Free! and Kyoukai no Kanata, I would have asked for more. But with its variety of scenes, AmaBuri proves how versatile the studio is.
All in all, Amagi Brilliant Park is a roller coaster ride. It takes you up and down and through the unexpected and ends abruptly enough for you to want more. It may not be the best of what KyoAni has to offer but it is a good addition to their opus. I would recommend this to anyone looking for lighthearted entertainment.
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