First Pixar all but destroys its no sequel rule, and now KyoAni is breaking its no panty-shot rule. Terrible times we live in.
I’m probably the only guy on the planet who finds Amagi interesting to write about. Not so much in terms of what’s actually happening, but in terms of the choices the creators are taking with this adaptation. Now I’m sure people have figured out by now that instead of being a real insight into the workings of an amusement park, this show is more a comedic exaggeration of what goes on behind the scenes at said park (with some awkward dramatic bits that are thankfully more Ouran Host Club than they are Chuunibyou). And that for the next few episodes, we’re going to be getting some park side stories whilst this creative team tries to recapture what made Fumoffu one of the funniest anime comedies of all-time. Kind of wish they’d incorporate the mind-reading powers more, but I guess the author wrote himself into a corner when he made its usage more limited than a Super Soaker in a laser gun attraction.
Something I discovered online is that KyoAni only wanted to adapt the first book of the series because it’s the only one with an actual story and everything else since has been comedic slice-of-life. However, since you can’t turn one volume into a 13-episode series without stretching the material out SAO II style (bad idea) or taking huge liberties with the source (good idea if it pays off, but if it doesn’t….), the director is instead incorporating some of said side stories into the first novel’s “save the park” plot. It’s not the most lucrative of adaptation choices, but it can work.
Filler is in of itself, not a bad thing as long as the filler is good. If anything, when it’s done right, it’s the best way to overcome that stupid “this is going on for too long” problem that most anime suffer from. Cowboy Bebop itself only has a few episodes dedicated to the actual plot, but because it padded out the rest of the runtime with a bunch of interesting one-shots, most anime fans didn’t really care. Now of course, whether you consider the filler good is very dependent on the individual. For example, I can’t stand how Code Geass spins its wheels for the majority of its runtime (anymore), but a lot of people love that sort of Sunrise humor and such¹. And we all know how Gargantia fared when it lost its way, but it still has its supporters.
This is due to a little something called creativity. Whether it’s funny, insightful, or whatnot, the filler must convince the viewer that it’s a product of the imagination. However, since there’s no real standard to base that sort of stuff on, it either works for you or it doesn’t depending on what’s actually going on. For example, this week’s episode is focused on the park recruiting some more people. However, because this is Amagi Brilliant Park, said recruitments are a bunch of nutballs who grow more and more insane with each interview (and let’s not talk about the interview process itself). The only thing that’s really plot-related is that it follows up Female Fiddy’s issues from the fourth episode regarding her insecurities, except it is nowhere near as dramatic here. Sure we get some more characters, but you’ll be hard-pressed to convince me that they’ll add anything to the actual story. Basically, it wears its “adaptation expansion” heart on its sleeve.
But like the Stardust Crusaders fans who eagerly eat up the random fights, I don’t mind those issues because I was laughing quite a bit at how creatively far the show goes to recruit these people in the first place. The AV gag. The wrestling. The expressions on Tiramie’s and Macaron’s faces (those will always be funny to me). I just couldn’t not appreciate the beauty of those scenes. It’s still not at Fumoffu levels of off-the-wall hilarity (edit: although I think this episode could belong in the lesser tier of Fumoffu’s output), but this episode is solid proof that Gatoh is much better at slice-of-life than he is at serious stuff. Because unlike the typical KyoAni brand of that genre, his version of slice-of-life involves people getting shot and dry dirty humor. He could be the Rumiko Takahashi of the light novel world if he really set his mind to it. And as I said before, even in regards to stuff that I don’t care for, I can overlook alot of crap if it’s funny. Thus, I’m going to betray my usual beliefs for this show and say screw the plot for now. Bring on more slapstick stories as long as they maintain (and preferably, up) this level of quality.
Speaking of the plot, I am probably one of the few people on this planet who is actually afraid for when we have to come back to that. Because as I said earlier, serious stuff has never been either KyoAni’s or this author’s forte and I’m not sure the show can reach its ending without something stupid happening to the point that even the detractors will prefer these comedic hijinks. Plus, whilst the show has thrown out hints every now and then, I’m not sure if the transition back to that subject will run smoothly. But we’ll deal with that bridge when it comes.
By the way, I notice that next week’s episode will focus on the park’s pool situation. I’ve seen some pics of the LN beforehand whilst searching for this anime’s promo images and…well let’s just say that if I’m correct, we can expect some more swimsuit fanservice in the very near future.
¹ Yes, I’m fully aware that in addition so some unfunny filler, Geass dragged out some of its plot points way too long, particularly in R2.