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Indescribably Strange and Unexpectedly Good
Brigadoon Marin And Melan is a charming Slice Of Life series set in Japan, 1969. You'll laugh and cry along with sweet-but-resilient 13-year-old orphan Marin Asagi as she tries to make her way through the ups and downs of seventh grade. Marin faces the burdens of poverty, sexual harassment, and all the angst of puberty, armed with her overactive imagination, her cheerful disposition, and an enormous blue robot named Melan whose mission it is to protect her from the hordes of Robeasts who have suddenly descended on Japan.

Oh, yeah. About that. See, this is actually a pretty serious science fiction adventure story, full of gunslinging robots and crazy mid-air battles. The fate of two worlds is at stake: that of Earth, and that of Brigadoon, the strange, scientifically advanced alternate reality that is somehow now looming above the sky of earth, threatening to collapse into Earth. Somehow, Marin is at the center of a conflict between assorted alien life forms. Fortunately, she has a wacky but tough surrogate family to support her, Melan to protect her, and a bizarre furry green alien to offer cryptic advice.

Genre Roulette and Mood Whiplash are the order of the day with Brigadoon. This series is trying to do several things at once, and the result can be pretty confusing. Fortunately, it's also pretty entertaining. Although it starts off as a Monster Of The Week plot, most episodes end on cliff-hangers, effectively building narrative tension. This is the sort of show that you have to keep watching once you're a few episodes in, even if you're initially thrown off by the bizarre leaps from comedy to adolescent angst to political maneuvering to well-crafted fight scenes. The characters are not always believable, but they are mostly pretty likable. Marin's grandmother is a strong, loveable matriarch. Central to the show is Marin's developing relationship with her robot bodyguard. Their interactions, like the rest of the show, are alternately sweet, hilarious, dramatic, and heartbreaking.

What can I say? This is not a series for everyone's tastes. It has an uncomfortable amount of underage fanservice, and it gets quite dark at times (were they TRYING to make characters—and viewers—suffer as much as humanly possible?). Still, it's worth watching if you don't mind having your emotions yanked around.
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