When beautiful high-school student Isuzu Sento asks her classmate Seiya Kanie to go on a date with her (by waving a gun in his face and threatening to shoot if he says no,) Seiya begins to form his first suspicions that there might be something just the slightest bit unusual about this girl. When they arrive at the destination she so badly wants to visit with him, an amusement park named “Amagi Brilliant Park” he becomes certain there’s something unusual about this girl. (Why on Earth would she ask him on a date to a place that deserves a prize for being the least amusing amusement park in the world? This park has broken signs, wilted plants, busted rides that are all either too fast, too slow, or criminally unsafe, and cutesy-wutesy mascot characters who sucker-punch you if they don’t like your attitude!) Around the time Isuzu calmly informs Seiya that the mascot characters in the park are in fact, not grouchy employees in goofy costumes, but actual magical creatures from another world, Seiya has decided that he’s just about reached the end of his rope. This entire park is a miserable mess. This has been the most bizarre date Seiya has ever been on. And the only good thing he can say about the day he’s just had is that at least it can’t get any weirder.
And of course, that’s when things get weirder. For their final stop before leaving the park, Isuzu takes Seiya to meet Princess Latifah, a beautiful girl in a royal dress who claims to be the ruler of the park. After talking for a bit about the experience Seiya had while visiting the park, Latifah surprises Seiya by agreeing with all of Seiya’s negative assessments about Amagi Brilliant Park’s current condition…and then telling Seiya that she would like him to become the park manager, fix the park, and transform it into a place that would bring joy and happiness to all who might visit.
When the stunned Seiya asks Latifah why she would want an ordinary high-school student like him to take charge of such an enormous (and potentially impossible) task, Seiya is subjected to the strangest experience of an already spectacularly unusual day.
Latifah calmly tells Seiya that everything Isuzu told him earlier is true. The people of Amagi Brilliant Park really are magical beings who have traveled to Earth from an enchanted fairy kingdom called Maple Land. They created this park so that they could have a place to live on Earth, as well as a place to bring joy and cheer to the people of this world. However, due to the park’s recent decay, fewer and fewer guests are coming to visit. If they cannot attract 250,000 guests in the next 3 months, the park will be closed by the city, and all the magical inhabitants who dwell within will lose their ability to live on Earth. The park’s mystical oracle has prophesized that Seiya is the chosen one who has the ability to make their park great and save them from their plight. So he is the one Latifah would like to entrust with this sacred responsibility.
Seiya is taken aback…by how phenomenally stupid, absurd, and unbelievable Princess Latifah’s story is. And he wants absolutely nothing to do with Amagi Brilliant Park or any of the crazy people in it. Realizing that Seiya is going to need some convincing, Latifah gives Seiya an enchanted kiss. At which point Seiya passes out, wakes up the next day, and quickly discovers that no matter how strange yesterday’s events may have been, today is going to be even stranger. Not only is Isuzu now living with him and his sister as a roommate, but Seiya has been imbued with magical mind-reading powers!
I think, as of episode 1, it might be a little too soon for me to make up my mind as to how I feel about Amagi Brilliant Park. I was a huge fan of the author, Shoji Gatoh’s previous work, the action/adventure mecha anime “Full Metal Panic.” And while “Amagi Brilliant Park” didn’t have the same kind of hard-hitting, high-adrenaline, grabs-your-attention-right-from-the-jump-and-refuses-to-let-go first episode Full Metal Panic did, (which makes sense, seeing as how not an action/adventure series) the show’s central premise is equally inventive and interesting. The gorgeous color palette and fluid animation brought to this show by Kyoto Animation make it a treat for the eyes. And while the comedy beats in this show didn’t necessarily cause me to break out into the same hard belly-laughs as say “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu” did, there were several elements here that I did find amusing. (Not the least of which, the author’s tendency to name his main characters after street rappers. “Kanie” is pronounced “Kanye.” “Princess Latifah” instead of “Queen Latifah.” “Isuzu Sento” can be translated as “50 Cent-o” etc.) For all these reasons and more, I’m not sure yet if I’ll end up liking ABP as much as I liked FMP, but I think I saw enough good things in the premiere episode that it’s definitely worth my while to watch a few more episodes and find out.
Kaita Mpambara works every day to try and create shows, stories, and characters that are as exciting, energizing, and entertaining as the very best works that have been given to the world by both the western and eastern animation industries. Keep up with his musings on life, the universe and everything by following him on Facebook.