OP: 「エクストラ・マジック・アワー」 (Extra Magic Hour) by AKINO with bless4
「恋心が届かない!」 (Koigokoro ga Todokanai!)
“The Love Isn’t Reaching!”
*With Amaburi‘s delayed subs, everything’s a bit late this week. My sincere apologies.
So I predicted a plot episode this week, or at least a Latifa episode. Shows what I know about anime.
In a sense, I suppose this was a Latifa episode because she does get a non-zero amount of screentime (that is, more than usual) and we do learn some tidbits about her past (indirectly, as it may be, from some poor saps hitting Seiya!Moffle’s berserk button). In fact, we get a fair bit of development in many departments, but Amaburi has always been a comedy first and foremost, and the laughs get priority. It means we have to look for those little flashes of character insight while clutching our sides, but they do sneak their way in there. And sure, it’s still a bit of ‘characters reciting their life story’ but at least it’s made funny, which elevates it from simple exposition.
I actually initially had doubts about whether the premise of this episode would actually work for me as comedy. Turns out it did, and I’m glad for it, but this was a rather strange episode of Amaburi. I know I say that every week, but this time it’s not just because of wackiness. For one, it’s the first time Amaburi‘s wandered out of its theme park setting, which is akin to releasing zoo animals into the suburbs and would result in about as many casualties. There’s also something inherently creepy about wearing someone’s skin—that’s a horror movie scenario right there—and I wasn’t sure if I’d be overcome by the squick, not to mention the extreme suspension of disbelief required to accept that the sensible Seiya would let the Stooges run his life (into the ground) for three days. Seiya must have been really sick; he’s evidently delirious.
Walk a mile in their shoes
Despite the magical gimmicks, characters swapping bodies is an old sitcom schtick. Unlike the usual routine, though, the three faeries make no effort to even pretend to be Seiya; for park mascots they operate despairingly poorly when actually in costume (which might explain some of Amaburi’s woes). I was afraid that this episode Seiya would be subject to a full scale character assassination, which is probably not something his already low reputation at school could afford. It’s a good thing his peers are such a simple and gullible bunch. That’s where a lot of the laughs came from, but it was still almost painful for me watching Tiramie go full sexual predator on the poor girl. I made it through holding fast to the faith that karmic justice would surely be delivered. Great props to girl C (names are hard) for saving the day. Her continually expanding role has been a pleasant surprise, and it was enough to make me feel a twinge of pity to see her eating lunch alone on the stairs. Also great props to Seiya’s seiyuu’s sensational display (say that ten times fast) this episode. It couldn’t have been easy for Uchimaya Kouki to do so many impressions (and impressions of impressions) this episode. While we’re at it, let’s hear it for Sakaguchi Daisuke as well for always having to play the number 2 for Kyoto Animation.
Amagi Brilliant Park: Isuzu Keeps Trying
I was glad that at least Isuzu tries to uphold the Seiya masquerade, even as she was being hunted by her natural predators. It wouldn’t be an Amaburi episode for me without Isuzu’s sincere struggles. To be fair, she actually does a surprisingly adequate job of it, though it’s all relative, I suppose. Considering how much of a misanthrope Seiya is apparently at school (and we can only wonder why), I’d argue that Isuzu makes a better Seiya than Seiya himself. Actually, with Isuzu being so easily expressive as Seiya I’d argue it makes a better Isuzu as well. Maybe I’m letting the ship carry me away, but Isuzu and Seiya complement each other rather nicely.
The Latifa x Seiya ship also picks up some steam this episode, and one can perhaps interpret some displeasure in Isuzu about this. I don’t think that’s what it’s about though; I think Isuzu is burdened by knowledge about Latifa’s MIA mother. Or not. It’s already been demonstrated that I fail at reading anything into Amaburi. Maybe she just wanted cake. I wouldn’t know.
So while next week seems to be an episode about the Elementario girls—about time, considering how they’ve been little more than comical noise since episode 01—I’m not going to make any real predictions. It could be anything. There’s no way to tell until we see it. Amaburi is the quantum physics of anime.
Bonus Round (because I’m a people pleaser)