This day and age? Swimsuits = instant draw hasn’t been true for a while, Moffle. You remember that Umisho anime back in 2007? No? There’s a reason for that, despite swimsuits and skinny dipping galore.
My main problem with Amagi is that “slapstick drama” label it’s been saddled with and how both parts need to work together well in order to succeed. Without the slapstick, the drama can devolve into Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu-level garbage. Remove the drama however, and you have no real reason to continue watching the show at all. There are some comedy anime that can pull off the “no-story” schtick, but even they’re conflict-driven for the most part. Remove it and you just get a bunch of pointless fluff or potentially amusing bits with no real weight to hold it up.
However, there’s a difference between having the two complement each other and just getting in each other’s way. And I think that’s where the latest episode slipped up, because it was honestly struggling to hold my attention compared to the first two episodes.
Let’s address the elephant in the room first: this amusement park is goddamn awful in both a very funny and very dumb way. You know the reason why it’s so rundown? Because the staff contains some of the most incompetent fuckwits to ever exist. I mean what kind of amusement park policy is this? You never close without any advance notice? You’re not open on Fridays or evenings? Ever heard of something called evolving with the times? My own blog would run out of the little views I get if I didn’t bother to change up my writing style. Sure a lot of those changes failed and I don’t have much riding on this hobby, but oh my fucking god I couldn’t stop laughing at the board meeting.
On the bright side though, it’s a pretty clever way to get the entire show’s conflict to exist in the first place. Hell, I can’t think of another reason for the park’s downfall that would have been more satisfying. Evil corporations is way too cheesy, and given how Female 50 Cent shot all the park managers they asked for help, it’s no surprise these guys suck so much.
My biggest problem with the show though is Moffle. I never thought I’d say this about a rat with a hat, but he’s easily the most problematic character of the show because his anger issues aren’t coming across very naturally. He gets mad at some of the dumbest things due to his pride and the comedy that results isn’t nearly funny enough to compensate for that, partly because they try to instill seriousness afterwards. The only times it really worked was when he got drunk off his ass with his co-workers or when he was bragging to Kanye that the video of him punching the gangster dude got more hits than the swimsuit video – and even those ended up transitioning to more serious fare.
I talked about the importance of drama before regarding Shirobako and how that show fails because it has too little, but Amagi has the opposite problem in that it’s trying to instill too much drama when it’s not required¹. Yeah, I know that the characters will die if they can’t get this theme park to run properly and that asshole family was asking for it and Moffle probably has some past with Kanye that makes him so distrustful of him and all that. I don’t even mind Moffle getting mad at Kanye filming Latifah in a bikini because A) leaving her home is dangerous for her B) what kind of uncle wouldn’t get mad at his family member posing lewd for the camera? That’s all fine on a conceptual level.
The thing is, the show needs good transitions from slapstick to drama in order to carry that out right. I won’t go into detail, but I thought last week had some really good transitions between the two. Here? Not so much. There’s also the fact that Latifah hasn’t really been interesting so far, so why should I really care about this week’s cliffhanger apart from how it affects the story? The stuff revolving around her makes sense conceptually, but style is just as important as substance, and thus I can only look forward to the next episode with impending dread. Although given this show’s record so far, (hopefully) said cliffhanger will be wrapped up in a few minutes before jumping into the next issue at hand. Even more hopefully, let’s hope the next issue will be handled better.
By the way, the funniest thing to happen in this episode was when the kid got head shot. Sure he didn’t die, but bwahahaha!
¹ To be fair, I think it’s more Adventure Time levels of serious than the typical KyoAni forced saccharine. But good by comparison is still not good. By the way, I just figured out how to use these special characters.