Daphne in the Brilliant Blue Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Daphne in the Brilliant Blue

Daphne in the Brilliant Blue Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     May 24, 2005
Release Date: May 24, 2005


Daphne in the Brilliant Blue Vol. #2
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
"Beautiful, Dangerous, and Desperate for work..." Nereides' sexy female agents will take on any job for the right price, no matter how dangerous or demanding. Yu Park, a deadly martial arts expert, returns to Nereides. She has been serving time for causing injuries to more than 20 bystanders just for trying to capture a petty thief. She is the close range combat specialist of the team, and rumored to be as dangerous barehanded than Gloria with machineguns. Until her private investigator license is reissued, she is put under house arrest, and Maia is ordered to watch over her. . . But can Maia keep Yu under control by herself?!

The Review!
Maia starts to get more comfortable with her job though she has to deal with yet another old member returning to the fold that even Gloria hates.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. The series sports a fairly active stereo mix that has a number of good moments of directionality both in action sequences, notably with the guns and sniping style shots, but also with a fair bit of dialogue that moves across the screen. The mix isn't completely immersive but it's well done and a bit more active than we're used to hearing since so many shows are dialogue driven these days. In listening to both tracks, we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Being such a recent show and one that deals heavily in water, the blues in it are very lush and layered well, both when it comes to the water sequences and to the skyline sequences. They do a wonderful job of fading it into a lighter color as it goes farther into the horizon. Some of the material at times looks a bit like it's lifting off of the background but most of the time the meshing is pretty well done and the show maintains a good solid feel to it. The transfer is essentially problem free as there's hardly anything noticeable for aliasing, cross coloration or even the gradient problem. Add in no noticeable blocking during the large areas of color and you get a pretty solid looking show.

Packaging:
Using the artwork from the regular edition of the Japanese release, Rena gets the entire cover to herself here with a slight up-look at her so it shows off plenty of skin and cleavage as well as the kind of near smirk that she always has. The background is fairly indistinct and just shapes and colors that have little to do with anything but the overall look and layout of the artwork and border looks really nice and is appealing with its simple lines and curves. The back cover provides a large illustration shot of Gloria showing off her ample assets while next to a brief summary of the premise and a rundown of the episodes and titles. A few small shots from the show and the discs features fill out part of the bottom while the usual production and technical credits take up the rest of the space. The insert has a few shots from the show along the right while the chapter listings are to the left. It opens up to a two-panel shot that has an illustration of the entire female cast together now at the office. The back of the insert provides street dates for all volumes of the series. The cover for this release is reversible and the main side has the full shot of Gloria from the Japanese cover while the back panel provides a teasing fanservice piece of Rena.

Menu:
The menu layout is done in an interesting way that keeps it in-theme but goes off in its own direction. The background is actually a brief clip of the scene underwater from the opening with the bubbles flowing up but its underneath a couple of layers of angled pink and purple lines where small face shots are put located and beneath the white sections of menu navigation while in the center there's full color clips from the show cycling through all set to a bit of music. The navigation is fairly straightforward though without it being linear you can find yourself moving in unintended ways. Access times are nice and fast for the most part and it's the disc correctly read our players language presets.

Extras:
The only extra included on this volume is a clean version of the ending sequence.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first volume of Daphne proved to be something that was strange in how it told its tale since what we originally thought we were getting turned out not to be what we were getting and the original premise was something we thought was going to be more entertaining than what we eventually got. With the second volume and four more episodes of the show where that expectation is now removed, it's a fair bit easier to get into the routine of the show since the basics are out of the way and the lowered expectations allows it to be more enjoyable since you don't expect it to really rise up to what it showed at first.

The series essentially continues on with the group as it stands doing their various missions and collecting the rewards. Things are in for a change though as one of their former members, Yu Park, is about to return to the group since her prison sentence is over. Yes, prison sentence. This group just gets more and more rough around the edges as it goes on. As if Gloria wasn't enough for this type of character, they're going to double it. As it turns out, Yu went to prison for a two year sentence based on what she did during an attempt to catch three petty thieves which resulted in far too much damage, chaos and the extensive injuries given to one police detective who made it his passion to screw her over after that. In fact, he's still trying to do that as her return to civilization has resulted in her license to work for Nereids is denied.

The tales told about Yu in the office have certainly put the fear into Maia so when Yu actually walks in the door, complete with a badass look of skimpy black leather top and very low cut black jeans and the dark look to her eyes, her reaction is priceless as she screams and reaches back against the bookcase. Even worse for poor Maia, she's sent to tail Yu to see what she's up to since she can't work yet. Yu actually took it in good measure and eventually she simply takes a roundabout route home and invites Maia in even though Maia thought she was doing a good job at hiding from her. This lets the two get to know each other a bit but Maia's still got the fear and Yu isn't exactly the most outgoing character. As we see from her interactions with Gloria, she's in the same mold but much more controlled and without the bravado.

Naturally, things work out through some amusing circumstances and a bit of seduction that lets Yu come back to work and we get to see how the team dynamic handles two complete badasses on it. Rena tends to put both of them together in order to keep them competitive with each other and to keep an eye on each other so they don't get out of control but also she puts Maia with them since that's where she'll be the safest. Maia unfortunately isn't able to mitigate the damage the two cause or their arguments like one might hope so she ends up in more bad situations as well but that's only natural for her. The overall change in the group does work though and eventually I was enjoying the way Yu and Gloria tend to play off of each other, especially when they're both resigned to things.

One episode that was particularly amusing on this volume involved the branch manager. It turns out that his home life is amusing in that he talks things a bit bigger there, as most people do to some extent, and his daughter has a rose colored vision of his work life, even though his wife continually tells it like it is. So when she insists on going to work with him for a daddy/daughter day, he has to figure out how to handle it. This of course comes down to lots of bribes for the women in order to get them to treat him with respect for even a little while and let him play boss. It just goes from bad to worse once the day starts and things simply start happening. It's a lot of fun and it just goes on and on to worse places.

In Summary:
Daphne doesn't feel quite as much of a letdown this time since we're a bit more removed from the first volume (even more so for us since we reviewed that two months prior to release). It's settling into its routine nicely now and with what I hope is the last character introduction to the team, it's fleshed out well enough to start moving forward. The show is still keeping to episodic tales at the moment but it's also starting to showcase more of the world at hand and how it works, so there is some interesting bits that make it enjoyable. It's still a pretty average show that I think really went the wrong direction when it comes to clothing choices, but it has a few flashes of fun here and there and some good action sequences.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Ending

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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