「チームワークが生まれない!」 (Chīmuwāku ga Umarenai!)
“Can’t Foster Teamwork!”
Another week, another strange episode of Amagi Brilliant Park. I know I sound like a broken record by now, but it does seem that Amaburi has no regard for what genre it’s supposed to be as long as it can make people laugh. Some weeks it even decides to mix and match to create a show that swings between moods in bipolar fashion, making you sit back and question exactly what you just watched.
Despite the strangeness—keeping in mind, as always, that this is supposed to be a show about saving a theme park—the story was built out of very familiar tropes. Let’s have a show of hands—when the big red button appeared, who wasn’t expecting it to be pushed? If Latifa hadn’t strictly warned everyone not to push the button I’m sure nobody would actually have bothered with it. There’s just something about forbidden fruit. And one doesn’t just introduce a juicy Chekhov’s Gun like a big red button and leave it un-pushed. It was so blatant, in fact, that part of me suspected that it was a bit of reverse psychology on Latifa’s part, but she’s too much of an honest girl for that (or is she?). I’m glad that the button was pushed, though, because fairy-tale Maple Castle transforming into steampunk Colditz Castle was awesome. Apparently, king of Maple Land was Dr Doom. The sheer over-the-top nature of the transformation and subsequent siege had me chuckling heartily just from imagining all of it going on in suburban Tokyo. My heart went out, though, for General Moffle, who still can’t catch a break. Even breaking out a Noble Phantasm was not enough to earn him any dignity. Thus the old war adage: cannonballs do not respect rank.
Unfortunately, the ad hoc war was not the main focus of the episode (I could have watched more of that), but rather about the Elementario girls, and not even about them having to sabotage the castle from the inside, commando style. Their plot was one from an older, cheesier time, when party members had to take turns displaying their unique capabilities in completely contrived scenarios (though, ironically, none of their capabilities have anything to do with their elemental affinities). They gave some flimsy excuse for why karaoke and DDR are part of the security system, but what does typing speed have to do with entertainment? It would almost been a parody if only they didn’t play its resolution so straight. Needless to say, we aren’t supposed to take this segment too seriously, and the important part is the Power of Friendship getting them through their Prisoner’s Dilemma. It does seem, though, that none of them really overcame their weakness, and it was more of one member overcoming for the others. I’m not sure that’s how ensemble performances actually work. Really, if you can’t sing or can’t dance, then maybe this isn’t the career path for you.
Oracles of the future ~ looking ahead
And so Latifa slowly but surely claws her way back into the narrative, even if this week she mostly just served as part of the Greek chorus (but still being cute). As the princess of the castle it was suspicious how little she actually knew about it, and one wonders how long she’s actually been in this monarch job. What does Latifa hide? That’s probably going to be the big plot climax for this anime.
Notably, this week is the first in a while where we weren’t given a real hook for the next episode. All we had was Latifa and Isuzu being pensive about the secret that they apparently share. They’re keeping something from Seiya, and secrets are always a plot wild card. Is it something that will make Seiya feel betrayed? Make him question his work ethic? Send him into a traumatic coma? I suspect we’ll find out soon. Next episode may be the start of the final stretch of the plot (like, whats this tree?), but this is Amagi Brilliant Park, so I’m not taking any conclusive guesses. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me all season, shame on me.
This week’s bonus: is this code? Cryptographers of the internet, unite in fruitless effort!