Geneon // 2004 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // April 28th, 2005
Beautiful, dangerous, and desperate for work...
In the not too distant future (not sure exactly how not too distant, but all the cars fly), the Earth's oceans have risen and covered every square inch of dry land (not sure about the cause, but I imagine global warming led to the melting of the ice caps). A young girl named Maia dreams of joining the elite Ocean Agency, the Japanese government's prestigious ecological department. Unfortunately for Maia, things don't work out as she hopes, and she soon finds herself without a job or a home. So what's a girl like Maia to do? Accept a job with a group of scantily clad bounty hunters, of course.
This first volume of the anime series Daphne in the Brilliant Blue contains four episodes. Here's a brief rundown:
* "Maia's Longest Day (Part 1)"
Upon completion of her Ocean Agency examinations, Maia heads to a small café. She barely has time to sit down before she witnesses a pair of strange women pursuing a couple of bank-robbing brothers. The following day, she learns her application has been rejected by the Ocean Agency. She again runs across the two strange women and one of the thieves, only this time she is attacked by the robber and zapped by one of the women attempting to apprehend him.
* "Maia's Longest Day (Part 2)"
A dazed Maia comes to and discovers that she has been taken to the offices of the Nereids, a group of mercenaries/bounty hunters/detectives. Without so much as an apology for having zapped her, Rena, the senior Nereid, decides to use Maia as bait to capture the brother of the thief they already have in custody. Rena later offers the young girl a job, but Maia refuses, only to change her mind once she discovers she's been evicted from the house she shared with her recently deceased grandfather.
* "There's No Business Like Nereids Business?"
Maia's first assignments as a Nereid include such thankless tasks as chasing down an errant cat, taking photos of a cheating husband, and attempting to collect past-due rent. She later joins Shizuka, Rena's lieutenant, on a mission to retrieve stolen loan money for a father who had planned to use the funds to pay for his daughter's upcoming wedding.
* "Chaka Chaka Bang Bang"
The Nereids go to meet a potential client, but the meeting turns out to be a trap set by Gloria, a former Nereid who believes Rena has stiffed her for some money. Shizuka bonks Gloria over the head, and the Nereids take their former compatriot back to their headquarters. Gloria, who won't listen to reason, refuses to leave until she gets her money; in the meantime, she takes Maia under her wing, hoping to teach the young girl that you can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone. Some crooks mistake Rena for Gloria and kidnap her, at which time Gloria reluctantly agrees to help Maia and Shizuka rescue their boss.
I have to admit that I wasn't expecting to enjoy this series as much as I did; in fact, I wasn't really expecting to enjoy it at all. I took one look at the case, assumed I was in for another "dumb babe saves the day" anime, and reluctantly sat down to watch it. I'm now happy to say that while it's no masterpiece, Daphne in the Brilliant Blue is a fun, funny, and fast-paced piece of nonsense. It's nice to see a young anime heroine who, rather than goofing around and falling ass backwards into success, is actually proactive. Sure, she's (illogically) running around half-naked much of the time, and quite often she's more than a little in over her head, but Maia is nonetheless a rather intelligent girl who gets things done. The fact that she carries a big freaking gun doesn't hurt, either.
The presentation here lives up to Geneon's high standards. The transfer is nearly flawless, with colors that are bold and vibrant. This series almost cries out for a surround mix, but the stereo options here do the job nicely. There's a good spread between the channels and a fair amount of bass activity. The mixes in the English dub and the original Japanese track are virtually identical, although the dub plays slightly louder. (Unless you're dead set against listening to the Japanese track, you should avoid the truly awful dub; the main characters are all made to sound like bubble-headed, helium-sucking bimbos, which is a definite mistake.) The only extras are a creditless version of the show's opening sequence and previews for other Geneon titles.
A lot of action, a gang of cute, gun-toting chicks, and a boatload of gags -- a lot of similar titles are on the market, but Daphne in the Brilliant Blue is one of the few that actually work. Check it out.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Creditless Opening
* Anime News Network Page
* Official Site