Daphne in the Brilliant Blue Vol. #7 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • 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. #7

By Chris Beveridge     March 06, 2006
Release Date: March 21, 2006


Daphne in the Brilliant Blue Vol. #7
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
(Includes Episodes 23, 24, & Bonus Episode 2) As Maia's past is uncovered, will she be able to handle the truth? The secret of Daphne is revealed in this shocking finale!

The Review!
Maia's past comes crashing back to her as she avoids the Ocean Agency and seeks out Elpida.

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, the final cover to the series lets the entire female side of the team get in on the picture as they twirl around each other and show off plenty of skin with their skimpy outfits and a very blank background. It does look rather good though in combination with the logo and the border that helps pull it all together. The back cover provides a large illustration shot of the mystery man from this volume 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 from the end sequence. 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 artwork from the insert on it which looks much better there.

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 in this volume is a collection of the second set of twelve next episode previews which are cute as they have the small sized characters moving about and acting up. They are not dubbed however but they are subtitled.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Even as much as the series progressed towards the ending and several revelations during the last couple of volumes, the show does at time feel rushed during the final two broadcast episodes here and it even gets you to the eye-catch at the last episode and you have to think, "well, how are they going to wrap it all up in the next time minutes." Series like that tend to aggravate me since last minute revelations in order to close the series tend to leave me feeling unsatisfied since it doesn't allow for any real sense of epilogue or closure. They tend to be more of the "wham bam" variety.

That said, Daphne in the Brilliant Blue does spend a good part of the first two episodes on the volume going through the revelation process of the past and bringing in several characters we haven't seen for a bit in order to facilitate the plot that they want to push out. So many at the upper levels of the Ocean Agency are afraid of letting the truth out that they've pushed out other branches of the service in order to ensure that nobody gets close to Maia. Her captivity in their hands isn't flawless however as there are those within, such as Kevin, who don't believe she should be going through this anymore and should be told the truth. And while Rena on the outside isn't exactly gung ho for another free job, things do get moved into motion when Shizuka gets motivated enough to head off on her own and work with some of Maia's other friends to rescue her.

The show does go into some predictable moments as everything comes together smoothly in order to send Maia to Elpida so that she can discover the truth of what happened all those years ago and to reveal to the world the real crime that's gone on here. As a back story to everything, it is very interesting to see it all come to the surface here during the final two episodes of the series and the way that some characters are used in order to make it happen. But in the end this again feels like a show that was twice as long as it needed to be. Daphne's revelations at the end of the series are definitely intriguing but it feels like the show took such a strange and unrelated route to get there for so long and had so many things happen in between that didn't really affect anything else that it does feel very filler heavy. If it was done in half the time I think it would have been a much sharper and more interesting show and had far more impact.

The end of the series is also somewhat complicated by the release style. The previous volume took a hit as it was only two episodes long and the bonus episode, the first of two OVAs, was nothing more than a recap really and between that and the eight week release window between volumes, the energy of the final four episodes ended up being lost considerably. This volume makes out a touch better with the last two episodes and then a new bonus episode OVA since there's so much good content but also because the OVA episode does a fun side story that doesn't fit into real continuity. The idea of having Gloria and Maia switch bodies isn't new by any stretch of the imagination but it's the right kind of straightforward comedy mixed with sexual situations that brings you back to a normal level after the two straight episodes of drama.

In Summary:
All told, Daphne in the Brilliant Blue was a very uneven series at times that had some gorgeous visuals, particularly early on when they wanted to showcase all the water scenes as it just made the show come alive. As it progressed it had a lot of fairly filler style episodes that may have tweaked the overall storyline for maybe a minute or two out of every twenty minute piece which gave it some justification. In the long run though, the amount of really good material here and some judicious editing could have made this a very strong half-length series that would have ended up with better animation and a better flow in the plot. What we do have is a fun show that's not terribly into the plot for a lot of it but ends strongly if you're able to see the last couple of volumes together and not spaced out.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Original TV Previews

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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