Seiya Kanie is a good looking, perfectionist boy who is forced by the mysterious Isuzu Sento to visit an amusement park named Amagi Brilliant Park, which is in serious financial trouble and about to be closed forever. The park is actually staffed by refugees from a magical realm called Maple Land and the park is a facility for harvesting magical energy from visitors while they’re having fun. As such, the park is the only way the refugees can maintain their existence in the human realm.
To save the park from closing, Seiya is hired by the owner, Latifah Fleuranza, the princess of Maple Land (whom Seiya met before when he was a young boy), to become its new manager and use his skills in entertainment to save it. However, they have only four months to attract 500,000 visitors, a feat that seems impossible given the park’s current situation.
After getting held at gunpoint by a transfer student, high schooler Kanie finds himself in a dilapidated amusement park that has clearly seen better days. Even though he has no experience in business management and the park is surrounded by fantastical characters, he begrudgingly accepts the mammoth task of reaching customer quotas in order for the park to stay open and the workers to keep their livelihood.
Amagi Brilliant Park, at least at the beginning, doesn’t seem to have any interest in staging a serious story. After recruiting Kanie as their reluctant manager, the story moves swiftly on to begin introducing the mythical entertainers that try and keep the theme park alive and their idiosyncrasies and escapades. This goes on for a couple of episodes, fairly light-hearted, until Kanie hits them with the futility of their situation and everyone starts to panic. That’s when things begin to get semi-serious as they all start cooking up plans to bring in the punters.
Everything that can happen to a theme park happens to this one – from the everyday interactions and perils of working with children to antics from another world and emergency lockdowns. There’s always something entertaining happening. My personal favourite being when Kanie comes down with a summer cold due to overwork and exhaustion and Sento believes that, in order to not arouse suspicion, someone should continue to attend his school disguised as him. And so they make up a zip-up disguise (that looks exactly like Kanie, but with a gigantic zipper stuck out the top of his head) and everyday a different person has to wear the disguise – and none of them are too bothered about the pressing need to maintain Kanie’s personality and just do whatever the hell they want. Tiramy the large, pink, womanising cat mascot just wants to use Kanie’s visage to hit on high school girls, with hilarious results. Through all the silliness, however, everyone is learning to work together as a unit to to what’s best for the theme park they’re fighting to protect.
There’s also some kind of love triangle developing between Sento, Kanie and Latifah Fleuranza, the frail Princess of Maple Land, which becomes more important further on into the story when it is revealed that Latifah’s like is directly linked to the park staying open and maintaining its level of magic – and Kanie begins to feel the stress and the pressure. The final scene, where we see the entertainers and management calling everyone they could possibly think of to get the last few people through the door to meet the footfall quota before the deadline is a great scene. Watching so many people show up and support the run-down theme park in its hour of need is one of the most memorable scenes in the whole anime.
Amagi Brilliant Park, on the whole, is a rather light-hearted and entertaining anime which genuinely had moments of making me laugh out loud. I wouldn’t look too much under the surface for a deeper meaning with this one – it’s just general (and rather un-general) shenanigans surrounding the theme park. That being said, I do enjoy the character design and the range of personalities. KyoAni have done a great job, as usual, with the visuals and their use of colour plays to their advantage when most of the scenes are set in a fantasy amusement park. The music is very catchy, if no particularly memorable and the pacing suits the piece very well considering the amount of supporting characters they need to give time to, which is no mean feat. If you’re looking for an anime that manages to be entertaining and funny whilst not taxing the brain too much, I would recommend this one.