Most anime series can be neatly categorized into some kind of cliche-ridden group or another: magical girls, mecha, sports, slice of life, ecchi. "Magical girl" series, for example, will always have prepubescent girls with colorful wands, long transformation sequences and brains the size of a Chinese dumpling. That, my dear kiddies, is "cliche". It causes cancer.
Brigadoon, I am happy to report, does not suffer the cliches usually associated with certain anime categories or genres. It simply doesn't belong to any. In fact, It will quietly defy all attempts at categorization and will summarily step on your face if you attempt it.
Brigadoon Marin to Melan's story
revolves around Marin Asagi and a giant humanoid monomakia, Melan Blue. Combining fantasy, sci-fi, action, comedy and drama, it's a happy mix of everything every anime genre has to offer, all packed into 26 episodes.
First and foremost, Brigadoon's story is not something you can appreciate by watching the first 5 or 10 episodes and then jumping to the last episode. Despite all the action and the blood and the killing, Brigadoon is, deep down, a love story, brilliant and intricately built over a span of 26 episodes. Marin and Melan's kiss on episode 26 requires the past 25 episodes to explain; save my keyboard the trouble and just watch all of it.
Second, Brigadoon is not for the faint of heart. Most people will be uncomfortable with a romantic pairing between a 13-year old heroine and a much older-looking hero, and may decide not to even give the series a chance. This is a sad mistake. The most intimate thing that ever happened between Marin and Melan in the entire series was a goddamn kiss, and half the time Melan didn't know what a kiss was to begin with. It DOES have fanservice, but the pantyshots were far in-between and mostly for humor. It shouldn't be a hindrance from enjoying an otherwise brilliant series.
Now that we've got that out of the way, on to the review:
STORY: 8/10. Brigadoon's first few episodes makes it look like your run-of-the-mill, monster-of-the-day anime. Thankfully, it changes its mind and the pace picks up after three episodes. When it finally does, Marin's brattiness stops and Melan's slam-bang kick-assery begins.
Melan's "duty" is heavily fueled by events from Brigadoon's past, but the series manages to avoid too much flashbacks by letting Lolo narrate Brigadoon's backstory little by little. However, there are still some confusing points in the series and even as a fan, I found it hard to follow especially at the last few episodes. A more prominent flaw, however, is the deus ex machina ending. I hate this. It's very abrupt, a little too convenient, and leaves so many unanswered questions that I can't help but wonder if the makers originally had a sequel in mind. Explaining the motives of the Hensu-chi alone should take more episodes, considering that this is not the first time Brigadoon and earth almost ended because of the Hensu-chi.
ART: 7/10. The fighting sequels were superb. The action shots are tense and speedy, with no repeated cells to make a one-minute fight last five minutes. The character designs for the monomakias were excellent, notably Melan's and Kushatohn's. However, I've noticed that most people dislike Marin's character design; She's supposed to be 13 but she looks everything under 9. And her feet. I'm pretty sure something's wrong with them...
Anyway, that doesn't bother me. What DOES bother me is how the animation tended to screw up at the worst possible moments. There were a few bad sequences in the Submaton Color episode [which was the best in the series], and it irritates me to no end that Melan's first smile in the entire series was drawn by a retard. I actually have to cover half of the freaking monitor with my hands to make Melan look normal! [Thankfully, Melan smiles radiantly in another scene in the same episode.]
SOUND: 9/10. I found Brigadoon's soundtrack haunting and enjoyable, but I'd admit it's not for everyone. Most tracks were Celtic-themed acapella singing, balanced by bouncy instrumental tracks and a fun closing theme. The acapella rendition of the opening song, "Kaze no Ao, Umi no Midori" is powerful and heart-wrenching. This provides strong contrast to the catchy ending theme, "Nijiiro no Takaramono", sung by the actress who voices Marin herself.
ENGLISH DUBBING: 0/10. Just think of the English dub as parody dub, then forget it exists and watch the subbed version instead. The English dub made several changes in the character's lines, [e.g. Marin never says "Ahaaa~" in the English dub, even though it's her trademark expression in the series] and altered some scenes altogether [Melan and Marin's kiss in Episode 15 seemed to have NEVER happened in the English dub.]
And Marin. Ahh, let me see... it sounds like a fully grown woman trying to sound like a cute 13-year-old, the kind of voice you hear when you dream of little girls asking if you want to play, and when you turn around you see them holding knives dripping with blood, and when they raise it in the air you wake up in the middle of the night screaming. I hate it with all my heart.
Tony Oliver's voice is decent enough, but for a killing machine like Melan its too soft and low, like a whisper that's JUST barely audible. Somewhat like a commentator for a golf show. I don't know, but when Melan gets into a huge catfight involving guns and swords and his voice suddenly reminds me of golf, it kinda ruins the moment.
But more importantly, it's not worth missing out on Melan's Japanese voice. It's emotionless and solid, with a metallic twinge that fits his alien character unquestionably. It constantly reminds you that Melan is a huge bulk of steel and alien flesh you shouldn't mess with. Unless he's talking to Marin, he's ALWAYS unimpressed.I... it's just... perfect. I want to go on, but I can't think of any other words to describe it.
CHARACTER: 9/10. Though it has more than a dozen characters and only 26 episodes, Brigadoon manages to provide enough 'camera time' for most of them. Not enough time for character development per se, but enough for the viewer to grow familiar with and develop empathy towards them. There's Uncle Onando, who never says anything and just keeps throwing peace signs whenever he's onscreen. But I like him, and I don't know why.
ENJOYMENT: 10/10. I've watched the series over three times already, and although I am aware of the series' flaws, it has not stopped me from enjoying it. It's a pretty obscure anime and it's a pity people have not enjoyed it simply because they don't know the series exists. Highly recommended.
As others have reviewed before, this anime is very hard to categorize and it's due to that, which makes this anime shine. It's not simply a clone of another series. It's what every anime should aspire to be.
First of all, it has the human weapon as male (a rather good looking one at that) rather than female as seems to be the standard in anime, seemingly push this from an ecchi shounen aspect to a more shoujo one. Most series if they want to reverse it, either make the human weapon as some ugly robot, as some monster hybrid or some female cute monster. That's
what attracted me to this series in the first place. I was wondering where they would go with this.
After getting hooked to Melan and wanting to see more of him, it's then that the story hits. It really doesn't pigeonhole itself into the "Proxy battle", "Mecha" affair that it seems like it's going to shove itself into. The mystery deepens when we find out that Melan is protecting Marin for a reason. You want to find out why. Toss in a magical transformation device and some romance and you really feel for the characters. It's stops being about a formulaic trope that so many anime base themselves on.
Others have mentioned the ecchi aspect, but really the way it's done in this series more or lets blends it away. Yes you see Marin's panties, but she's underage and they don't really point to it and say "HEY LOOK!" like every other ecchi and non-ecchi anime does and make it the focus of the anime. You find out that the reason you can see them in the first place, is probably because she's poor and doesn't have any money to buy new clothes. Even the scenes of nudity is for a reason and they don't parade it down the street like it's the point of the episode. People are simply nude because they have no clothes, or they can't wear them at the time.
Really over all, the story is VERY original. It doesn't have an aspect you can plop into a category. Similar to DT Eightron in that respect. The ones who came up with the story actually sat down and probably did some world building versus sit down and go "Yeah let's make another anime about a harem... with ecchi. Yeah, like those other five hundred out there." It's really want I want to start seeing in anime. More original stories that don't ruin the experience by having ecchi parts all over the place (Umi Neko and a few other mecha shows), toss in a harem aspect for no good reason (yeah, let's have a bunch of women... for no real reason. If anyone asks... we'll say it's SCIENCE!), or simply be on long string of colosseum battles (YuYu Hakusho, Shaman King, Yu-Gi-Oh, Bleach, the list goes on). It even averts the tried and troped "Let's have a guy... that controls a woman... but she's really a sword/demon/mecha/killing doll/dingo/familiar!" It really doesn't want to make me watch another master-slave relationship being played out on TV where the master is male and the slave is female. I see that in real life too much thanks.
There are anime where the master is female of course, but they add so much ecchi to it that is shoves it back into the shounen, ecchi, boin, harem category. This averts it by making the master female and a child and the slave a good looking bio-mecha type where you don't see the romance coming until the characters start to get closer to each other. It's played more realistically.
Overall this anime is good, because it doesn't try to be like every other anime out there. It makes it's own path in the world and doesn't rely on tropes and cliche out there to get it done.
If you were to ask me to fit Brigadoon: Marin and Melan into one dominant category, I would honestly be at a loss. This is a series that doesn’t tie itself down to any specific genre, Brigadoon instead opts to include a wide variety of elements into its grand stirring pot. You want series mech (or very mech-like) battles? Heartwarming family drama? A world endangering conspiracy? Goofy comedy? Yuri undertones? Dark psychological drama? Brigadoon brings all of these ingredients together. This type of blend will likely prove off putting to those who aren’t a fan of one or more of the aforementioned areas, an will
probably end up too jarring for some folks to get into. Even then there can be little doubt that once the wheels of the plot start spinning, that Brigadoon is at the very least a highly imaginative title.
The storytelling of present here isn’t something that can be judged based off of the first couple of episodes. While the monster of the week format persists throughout the 1st half, there are other serious elements at play here. What sets Brigadoon’s earlier episodes apart from other proxy battle titles are the actual repercussions that come with a child summoning a monster to combat other monsters. Lives are damaged/destroyed, thus people grow fearful and act on their fear. This is where the more tragic elements come in to play as not only does Marin become a pariah in the eyes of her peers, she is also targeted by the police as well for being at the centre of all the madness she never asked for. This is a series that won’t pull it’s punches and knows how to use shock factor as a means of getting points across.
Once the 2nd half hits, Brigadoon plunges head first into its own strange mythos and slowly reveals elements, those that are both entirely new and those foreshadowed earlier on. The story picks up a greater sense of urgency as well, as its plot-twists suggest that there is more at stake than just the lives of Marin and Melan. Although there are many elements at play within the setting of Brigadoon, some of the more vital ones do not receive much attention and feel pulled out of thin air with last minute explanations during the last episode. Another somewhat annoying trait this series adopts is use of cliffhangers sometimes. Very rarely will there be a cliffhanger that isn’t resolved via disappointingly simple means. It’s these somewhat cheap tricks that put a damper on what is otherwise a rewarding experience.
The true heart of Brigadoon lies in the intriguingly handled relationship between Marin and her alien guardian Melan. It develops from protector/protected, to father/daughter, and finally to the kind of relationship that should by all accounts feel wrong. The progression of their love feels gradual and given their extreme reliance on each other, the destination feels justified. The actual ending as a result gave me what as the “feels” even though the path to that ending came about could have gone smoother, as I’ve already mentioned. The wrapping up of their character arcs as a result feels cathartic enough to bring one to tears. Helping Marin get through her hardships is her makeshift extended family. Their personalities often rely on one-note gags, but the levity they offer is welcome in the face of the looming despair hanging over the story.
Brigadoon’s aesthetic, while dated visually, evokes a feeling of uniqueness not unlike the story itself. Although the visuals are by no means amazing, the overall cartoony style gives the show its own look. The series is set in 1969 and it certainly shows since special attention is given to make the locations give off that kind of vibe. Though the fight scenes are fluid enough, still, the OST is much more remarkable. “Kaze no Ao, Umi no Midori” by Ikuko is a damn good opener with an appropriately sorrowful feel to it. The rest of the track is diverse enough to accommodate for the range of tones that series employs. My only gripe lies with the ending theme, which on its own is pretty decent, cutesy stuff. However when an episode ends with a serious cliffhanger, it only serves to damage the mood with its cheery tune. It’s better to just not watch it once the second half hits.
It’s to easy see why Brigadoon: Marin and Melan incapable of achieving any more then cult status. I believe that the quirky look may have given off the wrong message to many anime watchers as to what this series is all about. It’s a “something for everyone” sort of show to the point where it ends up being an acquired taste, if that makes any sense. Perhaps the best recommendation I can make for this series is that you should watch it if you’re the sort of person who can live with having their emotions jerked about. If so then prepare for a game of Genre Roulette the likes of which you may never see replicated to this success.
The series starts off really well- but slowly goes downhill from there. It starts off as a school story with action mixed in, and then slowly turns to pure action. But that's not the bad part. The action was alright. However, around episode 15, the series went from having a plot, to complete and utter nonsense. The plot becomes incoherant at this point, and the only thing that would save this series would be the sweet tale of friendship between Marin and Melan- if the series itself wouldn't have become borderline pedophilic at this point.(Just trust me on this- it does. >_<;.)
Avoid this at all
costs- the anime, anyway. If you're interested in the plot, read the manga. It's the same thing, only without the pedophilic parts, and with a coherant plot.
Brigadoon was a series I wasn't sure what to make of it considering it doesn't entirely following a specific genre or appeal to a targeted viewer demographic. The art style, Marin's manic behavior and bizarre comedy would have one think this was a light-hearted comedy geared for children, yet the show's dabbling into some pretty dark territory with Marin's tragic past, portraying humanity at its worst in dire circumstances, the occasionally brutal violence from Monomakia and humans, Marin and other girls frequently being nude and the things Marin puts up with in both her family and her connection to the Monomakia would be things you
would expect to be geared for older viewers. I found this mish-mashing to be a bit of a mixed bag throughout my watch of Brigadoon.
What I did enjoy with Brigadoon was how effectively it went into its more serious elements. Marin is portrayed as a believable tragic heroine whose tragic past, current upbringing and connections to the Monomakia regularly put her at odds with classmates and others among the human populace throughout the show. She gets regularly bullied for her social status as an impoverished orphan and this worsens throughout the show as her bond with Melan Blue against the Monomakia threat leads classmates, the police and citizens to lash out at her at points thanks to personal tragedies and thinking she has something to do with the problems humanity is struggling with thanks to Brigadoon. Melan also makes for an interesting character as well as he adapts to living life on Earth and tries to maintain his loyalty and growing bond with Marin as he comes at odds with other Monomakia, a few of which being former comrades he used to coexist with before going rogue.
Brigadoon is also good at keeping you hooked on its plot developments as the merging of Brigadoon and Earth leads events to worsen throughout the show. The series slowly reveals more about the world of Brigadoon, Marin's possible connections to the world and characters taking their own different routes with trying to manage the problems between both worlds. Mood whiplash happens quite frequently throughout the show as Brigadoon juggles between light-hearted moments and shocking plot twists that worsen the situation faced by Marin and other characters. The series isn't afraid to kill off major characters or put said characters in life-threatening situations stemming from the Monomakia threat.
Still though, my praises for Brigadoon's serious elements still suffer from the title's more comical elements. I found the show's attempts at comedy as a breather from the more serious moments to be quite hit or miss as I much rather enjoyed the light-hearted moments of bonding Marin had with other characters over the show's comedic moments. With its comedy, the show quite often gets in the annoying habit of fooling the audience with Marin have a bizarre dream over her thoughts of any serious moments that take place throughout the show, and they are quite often a mood killer following the show's serious moments.
Brigadoon's more serious elements are also not safe from criticism from me. Many of the shows' early episodes tend to follow a "monster of the day" type plot that do nothing to advance the title's plot and I did often find myself getting creeped out with the frequent occasions of seeing Marin and a couple other girls around her age being nude. The final episode of the series was quite a letdown as well, having a good amount of deus ex machina to undo any major character deaths taking place, leaving Marin's connections to Brigadoon unclear and any details concerning the major foes of the series rather vague.
Visually, Brigadoon is rather average as character designs are on the simple side with details and look a bit rough with their lining with the childish-like style to many designs taking away from the seriousness of the series. Scenery is well designed having vast shots and a nice amount of detail applied to them. Animation shortcuts happen rather frequently throughout Brigadoon with speed stripes, still shots and reused frames being the norm with it.
Musical tracks do their part in accompanying the show's calm, comical, serious and dramatic moments. However with exception to the anime's OP musical track "Kaze no Ao, Umi no Midori", the soundtrack to the series isn't too memorable for me.
Overall, I felt Brigadoon's mixture of comical and serious moments in exploring Marin's ordeals with her everyday life and the Monomakia to be quite hit-or-miss for me. While I did enjoy much of the show's serious approach to its story, the comedic moments were too much of a mood killer for me and the final episode felt too convenient and open-ended with how it resolved its major plot elements. I suppose your mileage will vary with how well you warm to the series since it looks like Brigadoon has a cult following among anime fans.
Very original story. I enjoyed it thouroughly. Thoughout the series I had no idea what was going to happen. No matter what I though the outcome would be or what I expected to happen, the story shattered it to bits. It has to be one of the top 25 animes i've seen. It is proof that not every excellent anime has to have excellent art.
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.
I remember watching this series as an twelve year old. Now I am seventeen. When I watched Brigadoon, I watched it overnight nonstop. I was tough when I was younger to strong theme and violence so watching Brigadoon was no trouble. I can still say the series was excellent today. It really came together in a well paced story with an ending that made me smile and remember so well. It's original and complex, you'd definitely enjoy this show if you like action, mecha, and maybe a twist of romance. I understand the show has it's major flaws, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying
it so much.