「テコ入れが効かない!」 (Tekoire ga Kikanai!)
“Reinforcement Is Ineffective!”
True to his word of last episode, Kanie Seiya has completely taken over Amagi Brilliant Park, even sporting the new banana-republic-dictator look we’ve been seeing in the OP. It’s natural that the Maple Landers (Maplenites? Canadians?) are not very enthusiastic about his sweeping reforms, but his main opponent will always be Moffle, Amaburi’s only Arm Slave equipped with a Lambda Driver the head of cast. Much of this week’s episode is dedicated to Moffle’s own little struggles and the uneasy truce that he must forge with Seiya. The rest is a surprising amount of action and cheesecake.
Brawls and bikinis are the kind of stuff that really sell anime, but I’m interested to know: how does blatant fanservice make you feel about the episode? Do you feel that it’s cheap pandering? Or do you enjoy the low hanging fruit and would continue watching for promises of more? I don’t mean to judge you either way; I just want to know how you feel about Seiya’s managerial style.
I may be giving Amaburi too much credit here, but I found this episode incredibly clever, in being able with one stone give audience what they want (that’s why they call it ‘fanservice’) and expose them directly to what Seiya’s ruthless marketing feels like. Seiya has never run a theme park. But he’s been an actor. He knows the power of publicity. But he does not promote the quality of Amaburi’s attractions, or the wholesome family fun, or magical Disney experiences for those young at heart. Instead, a version of ‘fanservice’—his viral videos and slashed prices—is what he’s all about. Seiya cares very little about the park itself; he means to sell the sizzle, not the sausage.
Contrast Seiya with Moffle, who believes fully in the value of his work. Alas, professional pride does not sell tickets, and it only leads him to angry exchanges with unappreciative guests. Having a bit of exposure to the dread hells of customer service myself, I found myself sympathetic with Moffle. Despite what maxims say, I’ve found that the customer is seldom ever right, and are less so the more stubbornly they believe that they are. At least for adults diplomacy sometimes works. But children are malicious little psychopaths who just want to watch the world burn. Self-absorbed little brats, the lot of them.
…Er, what I should say is, I can tell where Moffle’s temper comes from. Ahem.
Oracles of the future
Having seen both Seiya and Moffle do their thing, I think I can take a guess at where Isuzu’s discontent is coming from. Having a cynical young man like Seiya as your boss—someone who has neither pride in nor attachment to your labour of love—must be demoralising. ‘If you want to make people dream, you have to start by believing in that dream yourself,’ was what Seiya said in episode 01, but he shows no sign of living by that precept. Unlike popular mascot Moffle, though, Isuzu does not really have all that much to offer the park. Sure, she’s got her magic bullets, but those are just quick fixes to structural problems. In the end Isuzu is a soldier, not an entertainer; note the little details snuck in to highlight her general awkwardness. I suspect that Isuzu’s unease will be a source of conflict in the future.
The cliffhanger ending we got this episode could well be a fake-out (I’d put equal money on it going either way), but it does remind us that Seiya knows very little about Latifa’s strange magical constitution. His callous ‘use’ of Latifa in his marketing, perhaps resulting in Real Life Consequences, reinforces the detachment he has with the personal circumstances of Maple Land. It’s unlikely that this divide can be bridged without some measure of grief first.