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Daphne in the Brilliant Blue Volume 1

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Just a few years ago there was a big burst in the fan-service genre of girls, guns and busts. Fortunately the genre subsided; however, a new series has been released in the UK entitled Daphne in the Brilliant Blue. This series does not follow the same formulaic storylines as many other fan-service anime.

Daphne in the Brilliant Blue is set on a future Earth, although not too far ahead in the future, where Climate Change has managed to melt all of the polar ice caps. This has, as scientists predict, left the majority of the world under water and the little land that is left is inhabited by the richest of the rich in the world. The rest of the populace of the world live on floating cities; which along with the Earth’s resources and climate is run by the Ocean Agency. This prestigious agency is where the protagonist of the series: Maia Mizuki tries to get employed by. There are a number of entrance exams, and she tries to enter with her friend. It would seem that it’s a sure win for her to be the latest member of the Ocean Agency.

Much to her own surprise, and the surprise of others, she does not manage to secure a position with the prestigious agency. This comes as a huge blow to Maia as not only is she unemployed – she is now homeless and at 15 as well. At the start of the series we see that Maia is signing the papers of her home back over to the local agency as her Grandfather, who she lived with, has recently passed away. As a homeless, unemployed teenager nothing is being done to help her so she is advised to go “Down Town” to where the action is.

Whilst she is down town she comes across the Nereids. The Nereids are an agency that helps people retrieve missing items: from money, to possessions to cats stuck in trees. This agency is primarily run by four people, the Branch Manager, Rena, Shizuka and later on in the show Gloria. The Nereids are after a criminal, and Maia manages to get her caught up with this gang and is used as a bargaining weapon twice in as many days. The leader, Rena sees some potential in Maia, and offers her a job at the agency. She immediately declines the offer; however, upon reflection she accepts the offer to find that she already has a room clean and tidy for her arrival.

The scarcely clothed women manage to bribe Maia into joining their group and she manages to bungle her way through the various jobs that are given to her until Gloria shows up and tries to teach her the “better” way of getting jobs done. Gloria has some internal issues with the rest of the girls, and her “better” way of doing things actually end up costing her more of what she loves the most — money.

Throughout the show the areas are intricately designed, with the initial under water scenes being carefully planned out. Even to the point where there are instruments that help people breath underwater and these are seen being put into the characters mouths. The actual storyline is very believable and everything falls well into place. The down town area is a little disappointing as from the incredibly modern sea area, and the more expensive area dominated by the Ocean Agency is very futuristic, the down town area looks typically 20th Century. With the tenements, casinos and other “bad” things all grouped together.

Even down to the way the characters are done in each area has been well planned; the characters in the posher end of town seem to be nicer and better educated. Whereas the poorer people are not only harsher, but they aren’t as articulate it would appear.

Fanservice is the name of the game in these types of animes, and Daphne in the Brilliant Blue is no different. The girls at the Nereids agency are already in very tightly fitting, scantily clad clothing. However, when it’s time to battle they actually remove clothing leaving only their modesty lightly protected. This is turned into something of a joke in the anime, with our lead character Maia not being able to fit into the costumes due to her normal sizing.

Throughout the show the cast have acted well, focusing on humour as much as drama to portray the message and not to become too clichéd. Both casts have done a great job, however, Maia does seem a little too frail in the English version of the show. Although both the Japanese and the English cast have passion in their voices and it’s a solid performance by all. The sound quality is also very good, and it’s loud even at low volume.

The quality of the animation is high, and the overall production value is strong too. Some of the characters are a little on the plain side, but they are all distinct and vibrant with great textures and shades being used throughout.

Final Score

5

An easily watchable show with a developing plot. Just too much fanservice and a questionable lead voice actress in the English dub.