「未来は誰にもわからない!」 (Mirai wa Darenimo Wakaranai!)
“Nobody Knows What the Future Holds!”
I know that technically there is an episode 13, but episode 12 did such a complete job of resolving loose ends that I’m not sure what the extra episode is going to do. As is usual with Amagi Brilliant Park, I’m not even going to try and guess; I’ll save the final impression for next episode, but I’ll treat everything here as a conclusion, more or less.
It’ll take more than my patient, free time and eyesight to count this and check if there really are 252 guests here. I’m just going to give Kyoto Animation the benefit of the doubt.
I actually enjoyed how that all worked out, actually. It wasn’t exactly a surprising solution, with no clever Seiya twist to it, but I think that’s the point. In the end, it does come down to doing whatever you can, even if what you can do seems small and insignificant. Compared to Seiya’s ruthless marketing, it was a message entirely free of cynicism, which just goes to show it ultimately takes a dose of both corporate maneuvering and straightforward earnestness to get there in the end. Appropriately, it involved little but the sacrifice of pride, and Seiya is defined by his pride. For a misanthrope like Seiya, having to rely on his school friends, such as they are, and having to squirm a bit for it, is good character development, as Isuzu knows well. And it’s good that all the earnest efforts of the cast were rewarded by people actually showing up. It shows that the Maplelanders, effectively aliens, have really formed strong bonds with the people of Earth. Building connections is part of social behaviour, and you never know who’ll answer when Gondor calls for aid.
On a related note: all you Sylphy fans out there? KyoAni knows.
It’s also good to see that, to the end, Amaburi remained true to itself and continued to be funny. Tiramie managed to be both useful and in-character at the same time, and those weren’t concepts I thought could coexist within him. Isuzu’s heroic sacrifice was also a great moment of the episode, and a great way to send off a running gag. Isuzu praying was the height of climatic tension, but the god who answered had a twisted sense of humour and brought it all crashing down again in style. Isuzu is understandably not amused, but I was. It was a reminder to never take Amaburi‘s plot too seriously. It’s not like goofy cast can maintain it for too long. They need to be released and allowed to run wild.
Magical disease magically cured
In contrast, Latifa’s midnight memory wipe was played entirely straight and entirely dramatically. For the most part, I thought it was done well. The visuals were stunning, with very pretty cherry blossom effects to highlight the scene. I genuinely felt sad for Latifa, and felt sad for her friends and family. Seiya hugging Latifa coincided with me also wanting to give her a hug. In fact, it was such a good scene that when Latifa woke up I was actually hoping she wouldn’t remember Seiya, just because I thought it would have been a proper outcome. It was all set up so effectively for tragedy that I was actually disappointed that they ducked it. Maybe I’ve been blogging to much Mushishi, but I think a hint of bittersweetness would have made the overall flavour more poignant. Perhaps there just needed to be more buildup for miraculous memory retention, instead of having it come more or less out of the blue. It was all very sad, but then suddenly we didn’t need to be. I do tend to enjoy happy endings, but this one feels a bit too… neat. I understand what they’re trying to say—that with Seiya and the cast’s hard work, and all the joy they’ve created, that they deserve that joy too—but Latifa dodging the bullet this year felt too much like an author-ex-machina here. In a way, it’s Amaburi trying to have its cake and eat it too, to want to make Latifa’s story really tragic but not wanting to follow it to its tragic conclusion.
Oracles of the future ~ looking ahead
With all that said, it still needs to be borne in mind that this is not the end. There’s still an episode left! There could be a sudden reversal! Anything could happen! I can’t really imagine what episode 13 intends to do, though, since all signs point to the narrative being concluded. The park is saved. Latifa is saved. Seiya learns some humility (though I’m sure he regrets showing it), he decides not to resign to the surprise of only these guys, the ship gets teased, one last reference to the OP, and we’re done. That’s about as clean as it gets. If there was any more to it, I would have thought that it’d be left to a sequel—and there are plenty of sequel hooks here, like spiteful wizard still being at large. What more needs to be done, and can be done, in one episode?
It’s entirely possible that episode 13 will simply be an epilogue, or even bonus omake stuff that does not need to be anchored in the current chronology. I’m leaning towards the latter, but now that I’ve said that I’m probably going to be wrong. It doesn’t really matter, though. Even if episode 12 was the last episode, I would have left rather satisfied. But getting even more Amaburi is not something I’d ever mind.