「プールが危ない!」 (Pūru ga Abunai!)
“The Pool Is Unsafe!”
This week, Amagi Brilliant Park gets invaded by pirates.
That’s it. What else is there to say? I should just end this post right here. Go home, guys and girls. We’re done.
This episode caught me off guard in multiple ways. For one thing, it started off so…normal. After two episodes of hijinks seeing the three faeries actually doing their job was a bizarre experience. For a moment I thought the plot would be about the Stooges having been kidnapped by aliens and replaced by unconvincing fakes. Instead, we’re introduced to forbidden things sealed beneath the water, and how can that not be a Lovecraftian horror? Though we do get plenty of tentacles, dead Cthulhu did not emerge from his house of R’lyeh. Instead, it was supposed to be a gateway back to the magic world. Okay, I could see potential in that. A way back home is an avenue for drama, and perhaps a chance for the Maple Landers to do some serious introspection.
I should have known better.
At its core, this week is simply Amaburi‘s version of the Obligatory Beach Episode, but simple swimsuits are apparently far too tame for Amaburi. Which is why, pirates! Spielberg parodies! Gleeful seal clubbing! Since they’ve got this huge, insane cast, they might as well do something insane with them.
Utilising new characters
I wasn’t expecting more out of last week’s hires, since we have so many characters already, but I’m glad they weren’t just a single-episode plot device. Sure, it was only girls A, B and C, but even by themselves they offer an interesting look into how mundane humans manage to deal with the magical Maple Landers. Props to them for managing to roll with all the crazy, though that’s probably reflective of the state of their own sanity. I was hoping some of the other loons would make an appearance, but I suppose we only have 20 minutes, after all. It does mean we missed out on a fateful pirates vs ninja confrontation, which is probably my only disappointment of the episode (though I’m sure at least one person was disappointed that Isuzu didn’t get her turn in the tentacle pit).
Despite the the increasing number of characters competing for attention, Amaburi continues to add to its bloating cast. I didn’t expect the shark to ever have a role, and now he even has his own troupe with the newly added
Jabba the Hutt Ironbeard (Tanaka Mashiko). And the mole rats from episode 05 make a reappearance (but not the dragon though; shame on KyoAni for not giving us dragon vs pirates either), and I certainly wasn’t expecting them to remain relevant. The cast keeps growing! I’m going to have to update the OP at some point.
Old characters are still here
Of course, we can’t neglect our core members either, and even with all that went on this week they still managed to squeeze in development for them, as Amaburi has shown itself to be adept at doing. In fact, the Elementario girls may have gotten more development this episode than they have since episode 01. Koboli is a closet fujoshi. Salama has a minimum of one fan. Sylphy practices tai chi (and of course the wind faerie is a master of qigong. Hurray for foreign language jokes!). Meanwhile, Isuzu keeps trying (and really, this anime could easily be titled Isuzu Keeps Trying and lose nothing). I can’t tell if she’s getting better, but at least she’s getting somewhere; the IsuzuSeiya ship has officially progressed to the blush awkwardly in each others’ presence phase. Also: Isuzu, crack shot with an un-rifled gun with no depth perception. That’s more useful than all of the Elementario powers combined.
The only on who really loses out this episode was Latifa, who was very cute but was ultimately just a damsel in distress. It did make me smile to see Seiya go out of his way to console her, but that was more Seiya’s scene than Latifa’s. Fortunately, this episode also marks the brief reappearance of Kurisu Takaya (who loses and regains his glasses in between shots; they really are magical). This may be a signal for forward momentum in the plot—we’re more than halfway through, after all—and with it a larger role for the princess of Maple Land.
Oracles of the future
The reappearance of the antagonist—even if he does nothing except show up—should signify a shift in the plot, perhaps towards the serious. He’s a reminder that despite Seiya’s commendable efforts it’s still going to take a lot more to attract the required number of guests to satisfy the quota. Seiya needs to pull a bigger rabbit out of his hat, and along the way deal with the issues in his past, and probably Latifa’s past too.
The hook for next week, though, seems to involve some kind of Isuzu doppelganger. Or whatever. I’ve given up on trying to second-guess Amaburi at this point. I’ll settle for being open-minded. Come on, Amaburi. Hit me with anything.