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Daphne in the Brilliant Blue Volume 5

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Maia has started to discover that there is a lot more to her than what she previously knew. Aside from the fact that she’s got a mysterious past with memories that confuse her somewhat, she’s recently landed a passenger plane under terrorist conditions and been half way across the world. This would be OK if you were a trained pilot, or a SAS Soldier; however, Maia is neither of these.

Welcome to the world of a Nereid’s Agent. Nerei’s is an agency that exists to serve the customer, and the customer’s request is always fulfilled – however trivial, pointless or difficult. That is, as long as there’s a hefty wage cheque afterwards. This is something that Maia has had to learn the hard way, and through Volume 5 she continues to learn lessons about life and money.

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Volume 5 kicks off with small children, well, one baby to be precise. A baby is left on Yu’s doorstep; she takes it into work with her where she was about to drop it off at the police station until Gloria objects – violently as always. However, this means that Yu’s left looking after a random baby that she doesn’t even know the name of! Of course mayhem ensues and a lot more is learnt about Yu’s character – she’s not just some uncaring semi-naked person, she has a heart and has concern for the people around her.

Which is more than what could be said for the person that Shizuka falls in love with for a few days, or the brothers Wong, Chang and Lee with their sister May who try and steal back the stolen Yomogi-1 from the Nereids team and try and use Maia as a hostage to get the girls to give the submarine back. Naturally this fails and leads Maia on to go to Siberia city where she has distant memories of an older brother. She’s determined to find out what killed her parents, and her memories.

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Volume 5 really steps the characters up into a higher gear. Whereas before in the previous volumes the characters have all been a little contrived and many of them simply a stereotype in Volume 5 the characters really start to develop. Of course, some of this character development was seen in Volume 4, but to see Yu start to care, or Gloria actually think about her actions shows that this anime is due for an interesting final volume.

Maia – the most typical and dull character actually has some guts behind her. She demands to go back to her “home” city where she destroys some public property in the search of something she doesn’t even know is real. She leaves the security of her friends and job to do this – which shows the strength of her will. Or at least would do if her lines weren’t so typically clichéd and painful to listen to. Of course, it’s not the voice actor’s fault in English or Japanese – but a bad script is a bad script and she’s got some of the most ridiculous lines in the show.

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The reintroduction of the Brothers and the Sister is an obvious way of trying to continue with the light-hearted theme and it also tries to show criminals in a more positive light as they are trying to really achieve something impossible. There’s also a level of companionship between the Brothers and their archenemies at Nereids. Although they are bungling they are endearing to view because of their mission to get to the bottom of the ocean to find the lost city that never resurfaced.

The characters are certainly starting to expand in value and although they are still semi-naked at any given opportunity the plot is getting very interesting and is clearly leading up to an interesting climax with Maia remembering more and more of her past and with no records to back up her claims it’s only a matter of time before cracks start to show.

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The animation is still as clear as ever, with the characters only really wearing one or two outfits like most cartoons. The backgrounds and the underwater scenes are particularly well drawn, whereas the characters themselves although distinct lack the uniqueness that many animes have recently managed to produce. The voice acting is as good as ever; although the more that Maia’s voice is listened to in English the more difficult it is to take her lines seriously.

Final Score

7

With the series starting to close up, there are still many unanswered questions, a possibly corrupt government to contend with and many other elements that make Daphne in the Brilliant Blue very entertaining to watch. It’s just a shame the lead characters script is so repetitive.