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Brigadoon - Anime Review
This anime is certainly up there as one of the weirdest yet intriguing anime series I have ever seen. In many ways this series showcases how mixing completely different themes and genres and even animation styles has given Japanese animation such a varied and unpredictable pallet.
Our main character is a zany 13 year old orphan girl called Marin who lives in a small town and usually just goes about her day with her head in the clouds delivering newspapers. Suddenly and without warning Marin starts being chased out of nowhere by mechanical monsters. This incident leads her to come across a tiny capsule like bottle which contains a human weapon called Melan Blue who then protects her from said monsters but for some reason will not explain the current situation they are now involved in. Soon after this it is revealed the earth itself seems to be in peril due to a strange phenomenon involving a parallel world floating above the earth called...you guessed it Brigadoon.
Somehow all these events are connected to Marin….the question is how and more importantly why?
What I both liked and disliked about the story is, just like our main character Marin, we the viewers are totally kept in the dark about what the hell is actually going on with these continuous ongoing manic encounters and this can be intriguing to watch…….well, to a point
So while this mysterious story lingers on the character interactions actually start to fill the void and keep things interesting enough so that you don’t feel yourself getting agitated waiting to see what is going to happen next and more importantly why
The story has elements of drama, action, comedy and surprisingly even romance. Now mixing all these things together in one show has been done before but with Brigadoon it kinda feels like things go from one extreme to another…..and this is something I didn’t particularly enjoy very much.
For example one moment Karin could be daydreaming about something humorous and insignificant and then a moment later she would be getting the s*it beaten out of her….because that’s how life is? Erm….okay!?! lol
Alright, to be fair those extreme moments were actually genuine in formation, however they just flow together rather abruptly and the cruel moments in this series are pretty intense
Add to this we have the mix of other extremely zany characters (the brigadoon alien committee) with extremely serious ones (the gun swordsmen) and the series really does feel like a washing machine full of various opposing elements set to super spin and for this series it works out for the most part. Okay a better analogy would be it’s like having a bowl of ice cream with sprinkles of chopped onions all around it….not the best combination to have at the same time
Ultimately, the story IS quite interesting but still a little convoluted with continuous questions that will not get answered until the last eighth of the series. Elements of this story did however come around as a surprise and it even had it's share genuinely sad moments. Sadly I'm not sure I like the actual implementation of the story on a whole
To me, the actual setting and character interactions make this mixed up story standout more than anything else……intriguing….yes…..consistent……not really
The animation style in general looks quite colourful and pastely as almost everything drawn has a visible white streak around the edge giving it a unique shine affect….and I’m not sure how I feel about that as an art style in here
Character designs look very cutey and soft looking overall which plants a friendly atmosphere perception in this anime……which is intentionally misleading.
Action scenes and various disasters points were animated quite well however because of the childish animation style things that happen in this story tend to HIT you harder when they come out unexpectedly. The overall feeling from the animation style also reminded me of shadow star narutaru somewhat.
I did actually like the fact that this animation style puts your mind in a certain place while the storyline alters that original perception and explores different….well..darker things you would not have invisioned being in here. This weird mix of dark theme storyline and cute animation is the kind of thing you will only find in Japanese Animation…reminding me just how different Anime can be in comparison to other animation types
This is without a doubt the strongest point for this title. The English dub was excellent, I have to applaud Wendee Lee’s performance for playing both Marn & LoLo as well as Tony Oliver as Melan Blue - I can honestly say I felt the emotions these characters were carrying through the dialogue because of the great voice acting…..good stuff
Background themes where very smooth and classical reminding me of escaflowne. Op and Ed where cute and full of life...but the ending theme got very annoying at times mostly because some of the crueller episodes would end on a very dark note (take episode 24 as an example) and then the happy go lucky ending theme just did not make sense at these points. This I will admit is more of a personal nit-pic. Overall I will just say the sound, dialogue and English dub was very impressive for this series
I actually found the characters to truly be the heart and soul of this series. Your two main characters Marin and Melan both have a kind of blind innocence which is endearing and compelling to watch.
Although I am pretty sure I have seen this kind of character setup before (human and alien/monster/cyborg etc) in this case the partnership did not feel like just another variant of an overused formula. Melan Blue’s character in particular grew the most throughout the series and I found him a particularly likeable and admirable character
Supporting characters are also surprisingly realistic with their interactions and although the story can jump from zany comedy to dark drama in an instant at no time did I get annoyed with the characters motivations as they all seemed to be playing their parts very well making things more believable as the series progressed
I guess the only thing I really did not like about some characters was the fact that they would not explain their actual intentions for so long I just did not want to see them at all sometimes (Brigadoon aliens) but that fault I should put down more on the storyline itself as keeping things secret or hidden was also a major running theme in this series.
In conclusion I can honestly say that if it was not for the genuine-ness of the characters and their realistic reactions to the situations in this series I certainly would not have enjoyed this anime half as much as I did
It's fair to say I enjoyed this series quite a bit and was consistently engaged to find out WHAT the hell was really going on and who was pulling all the strings. But as I said before, over time I soon became more interested with just watching the character interactions themselves and just hoping everything would turn out for the best for them
The thing I think that kept throwing me off at times with this series was the zaniness of the Brigadoon aliens and the sometimes radical shifts in tone which often made me wonder when I should take things seriously. Also there was the occasional yuri-ish vibe I got from another female character that was actually named “moe”. Well it’s not like I’m opposed to Yuri or anything it just came on a lil thick at times (Moe the Giant).
This title as many others have said is hard to label as it mixes many genres with a cartoony animation style, but even so I can honestly say this series achieved a sense of originality in my eyes and once it was over I really did feel the impact of the relationship between the characters.
Unfortunately I still feel the actual implementation of the story is a bit all over the place and I believe that if it had dropped some of the more comedic-zanyness and stop throwing the emotional tone from one extreme to the other this series would actually be more consistent making it’s grade be of a much higher level.
However, regardless of all that this series is still a solid and original experience....some patience may be required though.
Brigadoon: Solid B