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DVD Review

DVD cover

Daphne in the Brilliant Blue
Volume 1


Starring (voice): Kana Ueda, Mai Nakahara, Masumi Asano and Sayaka Ohara
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 12
Available 01 December 2008

You can tell you're having a really bad day when you fail your exams, get thrown out of your apartment, are mugged, taken hostage and then find yourself in the middle of a shoot-out. Fifteen-year-old Maia is just about to have such a day at the end of which she finds herself rescued by Rena and Shizuka two bad arsed, barely clothed, pneumatic women who belong to the help-for-hire group Nereids. Soon Maia has her own revealing costume and a taste for justice...

Daphne in the Brilliant Blue (2004) is a comedy science fiction anime set in a future world almost entirely covered with water. It was animated by the studio J.C Staff and produced by GENCO. Although the world has mostly drowned under the melted icecaps, the world of Daphne is in no way post apocalyptic. Man appears to have used his technology to create a habitable world, leaving just enough room for the usual vices.

Although pleasantly animated the show appears, initially, to exist much like Ikki Tousen did, to show fan service scantily clad young women in a variety of erotic positions. Not that this is designed to be Hentai, the eroticism is mild and aimed squarely at pubescent young men.

What did surprise me in the first two episodes was just how much effort has gone into the story. I think I was expecting the set up to be over fairly quickly so that we could have endless shots of girls panties whilst their clothes inexplicably fell off during fights. Not so here, as a lot more thought appears to have gone into the narrative than other fan service shows.

But before I get all mushy over the show, these things are relative, this is no Death Note, but then again it’s a goodly world away from the inanities of Ikki Tousen, only time will tell if the show degenerates into that sort of nonsense.

Volume 1 holds the first four episodes (Maia’s Longest Day - Parts One and Two; There’s no Business like Nereids Business and Chaka Chaka Bang Bang.) of the twenty-four episode anime Observant film fans will have worked out that the episode titles have been playfully stolen from other movies.

Maia’s Longest Day - Parts One and Two introduces us to the main characters over the initial two episodes. True there is the odd scantily covered young lady, but the writers have made some effort to make you sympathise with little orphan Maia’s position. No hard boiled fighter here, she is quite shy and, having had the disappointment of not getting into the Ocean Agency, spends much of her time trying to find work and lodgings.

It is only by accident that she ends up embroiled with Nereids Organisation, who eventually, having used her pretty much against her will to catch a thief, offer her a place to stay and a job. At this point the audience is unsure whether this is a good idea or not as Rena and Shizuki are poles apart from Maia - with their fairly amoral attitude to what lengths they will go to making money. The fact that they would place an innocent in harms way creates a nice tension between the three characters.

There’s no Business like Nereids Business, and Maia has found a home and a job with the Nereids. Though she has yet to be treated as an equal, she gets to do all the mundane work of the agency, such as retrieving lost cats and taking incriminating photographs of adulterous couples. Things change when Mr Martin turns up complaining of a theft. With her new outfit, if that’s what you can call little more that two pieces of string, its time for Maia to shine.

Chaka Chaka Bang Bang, and it’s another dull day at Nereids when Gloria hits town. Gloria is the real head of the Nereids, who has returned to town for her money - money that doesn’t exist - leading to a lot of tension between Gloria and Rena.

The show is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio with English or Japanese 2.0 with English subtitles. The print is crisp and clean and appears to be devoid of any problem. The disc contains no extras.

In conclusion this is a fan service show with average animation. That said it has put a lot more thought into creating a good story to wrap its scantily clad ladies around.


Charles Packer

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