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Daphne in the Brilliant Blue Volume 3

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Daphne in the Brilliant Blue is set long into the future of Earth’s history when the world has suffered incredibly. Global Warming has caused the entire planet to be covered in the melted polar icecaps. The remaining people left on Earth live on floating cities and the rich live on the very peaks of the mountains that are tall enough to exist above the sea.

Even though there is little land left, and people live in strange new worlds the basic staples of humanity still exist, compassion, relationships and crime. Fortunately for the girls at Nereids, this means that they won’t be going out of business any time soon. However, to make sure that they are all fit for service all Nereid’s staff have to go through an annual health check. This is where Volume 3 of Daphne in the Brilliant Blue starts, and as always there is a misunderstanding that leads Gloria to believe she’s got a limited time left on this earth. As she believes she’s due to die, Gloria’s character becomes a lot more human and she opens up to Mia about her desires and wishes in life. The team try and fulfil some of these desires, but it ends up with a girl in drag on a date with Gloria.

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This misunderstanding is the start of a Volume that opens up a lot of new background to Mia’s life and divulges a lot of the backstory that has previously been left unanswered. With the misunderstanding around Gloria, the team manage to secure tickets to Siberia City – where the majority of this volume takes place. Siberia City is as the name suggests where Siberia currently exists; however, as the world suffers from Global Warming the city is a tropical get-away.

In Siberia City the team all go their separate ways to enjoy themselves the best way that they know how. Mia isn’t confident on her own, so she goes on Shizuka’s dream holiday: eating local cuisine. As the pair are often in restaurants some locals approach them for a date; however, Shizuka’s drink is spiked and she is kidnapped. Date rape is usually a very serious subject in most countries and in media that deals with this, there’s normally a very solemn tone taken to it. Daphne is a not a serious anime, and this is dealt with in the standard fare.

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Although during this, Mia discovers she knows her way around Siberia City very well, and she just doesn’t know why. She then unveils to the Nereid’s team that she has amnesia and has done for many years. Whilst the team try to help her, they are also celebrating the anniversary of the world they currently know. It’s been 100 years since the cities formed under the open sky and the story is given a lot of depth during this volume.

Previously Daphne in the Brilliant Blue has been easy watching. With characters who are just different enough not to be cookie-cutter standard and with fair animation quality, the series was nothing but enjoyable. With Volume 3, all of these elements remain but a possibly serious world has started to develop. Dealing with amnesia, death and the creation of worlds the characters take everything so lightly that until one stops to think about the show it’s easy to dismiss all of these crucial plot thickening and character developing occurrences.

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Throughout Volume 3 the majority of the only two characters that really develop at all are Gloria and Mia. A lot of history is opened up about their lives and their attitudes to life are slightly altered after each revelation is made – this is clear by the way they start to deal with other people in the show. Unfortunately Shizuka still seems to be nothing more than a method to appease the otaku male audience, as she’s still a geeky, food-loving girl with no opinion on anything.

As has always been the case, the animation quality is a fair standard and it’s still the backdrops that really make the show stand out. With glimmering oceans and interesting foreign lands the show is really made distinct by its locations. The actors are also starting to sound more confident in their work. There’s a lot less forced voice work, and this goes for both the Japanese and the English cast.

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One annoyance is the lack of translation of the majority of the writing on the show. There’s some hardsubbed subtitles in Siberia City in Japanese and there’s no attempt to show this in the English version of the show. The other to some fans may be the lack of any extras on this DVD at all. Not even the standard trailer fare.

Final Score

6

A developing plotline moves Daphne and the Brilliant Blue from being a show made for fanservice, into something that's a little deeper.