Daphne in the Brilliant Blue Vol. #5 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: C+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: NA
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe/Japan
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £15.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Daphne in the Brilliant Blue

Daphne in the Brilliant Blue Vol. #5

By Christopher Homer     May 12, 2009
Release Date: March 03, 2009


Daphne in the Brilliant Blue Vol. #5
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

The episodic nature continues to hit, but with a good mix of comedy and a finale which suggests everything is about to become clear, it doesn’t damper the show at all.

What They Say
Ridiculously impossible missions just seem to fall into the laps of the sexy female agents of Nereides. Yu is usually the calm and collected one, but she nearly loses it when stuck with an abandoned baby.

Shizuka, while trying to protect an injured undercover agent, falls in love hard. Then, the Wang-Chang-Lee Brothers plus their little sister May return again in an attempt to steal Nereides' submarine, Yomogo-1.

Meanwhile, Maia's partial recovery of her lost memory is making some people high up in the Ocean Agency very nervous...

The Review!
Audio:
I watched the disc in it’s initial 2.0 Japanese. Unfortunately, the disc seemed to suffer from a similar problem to Disc 3, in that the audio didn’t connect in time with the subtitles. It’s not as glaringly obvious as it was on Disc 3, but it is still noticeable. The sound is still good, but had to switch a few times to the English dub on the final episode (the most important episode) so I was able to enjoy it fully – the English 2.0 audio doesn’t have the problems of the Japanese audio transfer so it’s still a decent audio – hopefully this was only on the test disc and didn’t transcend to the sales discs.

Video:
As above, due to the transition between audio and video, the subtitling timing is off with the audio hence the poorer grade. The actual transfer of the animation is still vibrant as always, but the errors after a while will be noticeable. However, there aren’t any problems with lining or fuzz, and the scenic nature of the show will most likely make you disregard the minor problems, but the problems are there to be seen. Again, this was from a test disc so keep this in mind.

Packaging:
N/A

Menu:
The menu is very basic, with an easy selection box of play, episodes and languages easily selectable. The menu has a fanservicy shot, to finish off we have our favourite tanned girl, Gloria, with a sinister smile on her face in her risqué outfit. Whilst it’s not as attractive as some of the others in my opinion, the fanservice is enough to catch the eye especially on the trademark blue background.

Extras:
This disc contains one extra, namely an art gallery. It consists of mostly line art of characters and locations, with one very nice oil like art work of Yu in there as well. It’s fairly basic, but nice enough to give a flick through.

Content:
Daphne continues to go on it’s merry way – which consists of mostly the episodic nature of the crew in one off stories, but with the finale throwing a plot twist, it looks like the end is near and looking good…

It starts off with a couple of stand-alone episodes – the first one focusing on Yu, as she and Gloria get in each others way as usual for a mission, she returns to her apartment and to her surprise finds a baby on the doorstep. Needless to say for the most stoic member of the Nereids, this is not something she was expecting. However, she seems to take to the child quite naturally (with help, both necessary and unnecessary from Gloria) to the point of breast feeding it and heading to the hospital when it gets sick. The episodic is mostly comedy, focusing on Gloria and Yu’s fun tag team, and the revelation about the child at the end of the episode is pure gold.

The next episode again is a one off focus, this time on Shizuka. She picks up a stray man outside her place, who is apparently a detective/spy from the Ocean Agency on the run. Shizuka’s kindly nature is akin to someone taking in a stray cat, but at the same time seems to be attracted to him and his mystery. However, it soon becomes apparent that the man that calls him Trevor appears to be a con artist, on the run from people after him. After he raids Shizuka’s place and goes on the run, Shizuka tracks him down along with the Nereids, and leads to a few things (including one big plot point) but of course, it ends up being quite silly and ends comically. These two eps are both very funny, but seem to be a trend in deriving from the plot which occurred back in Disc 3.

The next episode is similar, but it does get bonus points for the return of the Wong-Chang-Lee group and their sister May, who have come back for their submarine, and as the running gag of the series, they a) get their submarine back and b) kidnap Maia who seems sadly used to it by now. They explain their goals to Maia who seems almost like a friend to the group about going to Elpida, which is like the El Dorado of the sea pirate world. However, the submarine brings a leak, their joy of treasure hunting looking ready to come to an abrupt end – but thanks to Maia’s skills and intelligence, they seem to be able to survive…until the Nereids come and go overboard (well, Gloria does) and as the sub begins to sink below some debris, Maia comes with a plan to escape, impressing both the sub group and the Nereids, however she seems destined to die as the battery in her pod runs out and she alone sinks to the bottom of the sea. At this point, however, the plot begins to turn as she goes into a panic, and remembers something from her past…namely her…brother?

The last episode focuses on this point as from earlier, from Maia’s past, it was established she was an only child, yet this dream or illusion suggested otherwise. Rena of course dismisses it as boulderdash, but Maia is certain the place in her dream is the same or similar to the tree she saw in Siberia. After learning what she could from both her doctor friends Kevin, Claire and the welcome return of Tsukasa, she finally pleads her case with Rena and is able to return to Siberia to see if she can discover her past. She meets up with Mori, the Siberia’s branch manager from before (who Rena of course teases to the end) and heads to the tree, where she believes there is a time capsule under the tree she put there. Despite her hunch, she fails to find anything and looks doomed to failure. However, the thoughts she got like when she found Shizuka from before come to her mind and she travels into the night, following her thoughts. And when a mugger tries to attack her, a new face appears to her…

With a nice little cliffhanger, suddenly everything begins to make sense. The man that Maia sees in both this ep and also the Shizuka based ep (the plot point I mentioned) had been seen fleetingly in previous episodes, and suddenly 1 + 1 equals more than two. A lot of the focus until the very end of the third episode was on the comedy and members of the cast (Rena seems to have almost become non-existent now, which considering she’s the leader, is one weak point I’ve noted in this series) – however now, it’s all about Maia and everything from the beginning, about how she was refused from the Ocean Agency, her past and now her supposed brother, it’s all connecting. Whilst a lot of this series has been fluff and comic, with the end drawing near, it’s definitely becoming a show to look forward to. The cast all have their quirks, but Maia, Yu and Gloria in particular are all fun to watch in different ways, Yu and Gloria’s relationship is hilarious and Maia is a great lead character because even with her damsel in distress nature, you can see she is smarter, calmer and stronger than she ever has been before, and you just know it’s going to make the finale much more satisfying.

Summary:
Daphne In The Brilliant Blue has been somewhat of a guilty pleasure. At first, I thought the rather unique fanservice was going to override the show itself. It turns out it’s the opposite and it barely even registers as having too much fun with the characters. The show is mostly comedy to be fair, and whilst enjoyable doesn’t seem to focus too much in plot, however with the characters this much fun it mostly is a moot point. And with the finale and Maia coming to terms with her past, it looks like that problem is soon going to be sorted out. Recommended if you want a fun series.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Art Gallery

Review Equipment

Toshiba 37C3030 - 37" Widescreen HD Ready LCD TV – Tangent Ht-50 Home Theatre System Multi-Regional DVD Players/Speakers – Tangent Subwoofer 50-150 Hz, Impedenced 8 OHM.

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