「人手が足りない!」 (Hitode ga Tarinai!)
“Not Enough Manpower!”
Some weeks, I finish watching an anime and I just have no idea where to start. I mean what is–I don’t–huh? Randomness like that kind of blanks the rest of the episode for me. Which may be why the most significant thing this episode for me seems to be: summer uniforms! I think I still prefer the long sleeves, but the costume change is a good way to denote the passage of time. We’re about halfway through the series, there’s only 35 days left until the deadline, and Amagi Brilliant Park is crawling its way back to respectability. But with great customer base comes great personnel requirements, and the park needs more hands in a hurry (though one wonders how Seiya is funding these new hires, unless he’s paying them in bottle caps). It wouldn’t be Amaburi, though, if we didn’t also have a magical B plot, this time involving spiked curry. The two storylines collide to give us: another Isuzu episode! Isuzu x Seiya shippers, rejoice, for we’re getting 20 minutes of Isuzu literally having to suppress her inner deredere, in the only way she knows how: violence!
Staffing the madhouse
I wonder what kind of desperate people will actually choose to apply for a job at Amaburi. The various crazies I can understand, since birds of a feather and all that, but I’m surprised that well-adjusted people don’t bolt at the first sign of Amaburi’s unorthodox interviews. Surely, no one will choose to work there unless they’re similarly broken inside. They must be attracted by Amaburi’s ‘take all comers, no questions asked’ policy; it’s is like the Foreign Legion of employers. What does Seiya care for silly things like qualifications? They’re even taking walking Ebola hazards. Don’t they know we’re in the middle of a pandemic scare? But I suppose it’s anything goes for employee diversity. Seiya knows the secret of Amaburi‘s entertainment value: zany work culture.
Isuzu, dedicated tsundere
I was expecting an episode featuring a magically loose-tongued Isuzu to revolve around her inadvertently blurting out compromising secrets at awkward times. Instead, Isuzu both found the cause and punished the culprits rather quickly (but what did Moffle do? This time, I mean?). In hindsight I’m glad it didn’t; I think what we got was funnier. It was more interesting watching Isuzu suffering to suppress the truth than to watch honesty get forced onto her. It’s not (just) schadenfreude; it’s the irony of watching Isuzu try to maintain her dignity even as she destroys it. Being Isuzu is a delicious kind of suffering.
The thing is, despite all of Isuzu’s insecurities, she still has many pertinent skills that she’s not very self-aware of. She’s a good judge of character, and she’s quick at establishing the hierarchy. Everything else comes down to a matter of expression, and no matter what her faults there are at least she’s still trying in earnest. I have a soft spot for the silent struggles of stoic characters. It makes you want to give them a hug.
Oracles of the future
And so our curious little love story chugs along nicely this episode. I was afraid all the silliness would undermine Isuzu’s character, but my fears were unfounded. I should applaud Amaburi for being able to make all its characters unabashedly fun without letting comedy trivialise them. Isuzu’s conflict may have been made funny, but it remained real. The thing I enjoy about most about Isuzu, though, may be the little, understated details in her developing relationship with Seiya. For example, this episode marks the first time Isuzu’s called Seiya out on his narcissism since he took the mantle of manager. Perhaps I’m reading too much into things, but a detailed show like Amaburi seems to actively invite me to do so.
As for next week, one can always count on Amaburi to leave us with a hook. Looks like a dragon just wasn’t enough. We need to raise the stakes. Next week: Cthulhu fhtagn! Iä! Iä!