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Anime / Daphne in the Brilliant Blue

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"A tree planted near the water bears fruit, but only when its time is right.
Its leaves won't ever wither, and it brings prosperity to all."
Maia Mizuki

In an unspecified future year, long after global warming has inundated the world, a young girl named Maia Mizuki is expecting to get a job at the prestigious Oceans Agency. She's an obvious shoo-in for one of the limited number of positions available, having passed the grueling qualifying exam (which is offered only once a year) with flying colors. But she is inexplicably rejected and within days finds herself not only jobless but homeless, too. An amnesiac orphan whose only living relative, her grandfather, died shortly before, Maia has no one to turn to, and faster than she can comprehend she finds herself stumbling penniless (thanks to a pickpocket) through the seedier side of the city she's lived in all her life. And just when it seems like things can't get worse, a criminal takes her hostage and she is shot by the women chasing him.

Maia comes to some hours later on the couch of Nereids ("Neres" in the original Japanese), a troubleshooting agency which is staffed by the women. Manipulated into helping with their case against the criminal and her brother, Maia shows quick wit and ingenuity in the field and soon finds herself offered both a job and a place to live at Nereids. Although her days seem to alternate between boring scut work and life-threatening danger, and her coworkers are often rude and volatile, Maia (to her surprise) starts to find a certain satisfaction in her job — although she is intent on reapplying to the Oceans Agency when the next set of positions open up in a year's time.

When a company vacation to tropical Siberia Island seems to awaken memories she had thought forever lost, Maia begins to wonder what secrets her forgotten past holds, and what they may do to her hopes for the future.

This show provides examples of:

  • After the End: The story takes place after the world's been flooded. Only five or so cities exist.
  • Bifauxnen: Tsukasa, pretending to be a guy in one episode.
  • Big Fancy House: A client (implied to be a crook) in the first episode lived in one bigger than the branche office.
  • The Big Guy: Gloria is the most aggressive and carries a lot of big guys.
  • Bird Run: Maia does it as a child when she was still innocent.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Maia learns the truth about her origins and communicates that to the rest of the world, ending the lies that have put her in danger. She learns that her "grandfather" was actually her long-lost brother, and although that only increases her grief at his death, it allows her to properly deal with that grief and finally begin to heal.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Rena can do this; Gloria cannot.
  • Blatant Lies: Rena, in episode 2: "I guarantee your personal safety."
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Gloria and Yu; Yu prefers a Boot to the Head to the Paper Fan of Doom.
  • Catchphrase: Gloria's "Ha-ha and ha!", at least in the English dub. Maia's little "why me?" moan/whimper may count as well.
  • City on the Water: The main setting for the series.
  • Cool Ship: The Yomogi-1, a submarine the girls "acquired" from a certain band of dumb criminals.
  • Crapsack World: For every scene of someone happy, there's five or so of something bad.
  • Damsel in Distress: Maia is kidnapped on numerous occasions, but it's justified on grounds that Rena doesn't give her any combat or weapons training before sending her into dangerous situations. This is because her role for most of the series is basically to be live bait to lure out the bad guys, and Rena simply trusts her team to be able to rescue Maia whenever it's necessary.
  • Damsel out of Distress: At the end of the introductory two-parter, Maia is trapped in a sinking submarine car with two unconscious crooks, while neither Rena or Shizuka can reach her before it would sink below the depth limit for their submersible jet skis. Fortunately, Maia remembered how to reboot the sub car, and managed to pilot it back to the surface — with her hands still tied behind her back. This is not the last time that Maia is able to save herself.
  • Debut Queue: With Maia as the viewpoint character, Rena and Shizuka make a cameo in the first episode before entering the narrative in the second episode. Gloria appears in the fourth episode, and Yu completes the main cast in episode 5.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: The two-part episode "Die Hard, Play Hard"
  • Doorstop Baby: Left on Yu's doorstep. By Gloria's sister so she could have a break. The baby returns home at the end of the episode.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Gender flipped. Shizuka finds a guy injured near trash cans and quickly becomes attached to and protective of him. The guy's a con artist and calls this his 'lonely engimatic spy routine'.
  • Evil Laugh: Gloria's HAHAHA and HA!"
  • Evil Plan: The government conspiracy to keep the truth of Maia's homeland a secret.
  • Finagle's Law: The girls' plan will go wrong for comedy purposes.
  • Flashback to Catchphrase: In the eleventh episode, showing Maia's recovery from her amnesia, her grandfather recites the "tree near the water" incantation when she's upset about her lack of progress recovering.
  • Flooded Future World: The show is set hundreds of years after the planet was flooded by global warming, and the only remnants of humanity are the descendants of several underwater cities that resurfaced and colonized the remaining landmasses. Siberia is now a tropical vacation paradise, and virtually all transportation is submersible or seafaring to some degree.
  • Flung Clothing: Yu is shown in the opening credits literally ripping her outer clothing off to reveal her "work clothes".)
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Gloria and Maia, in one of the Omake episodes, due to a mechanical problem with an abandoned vending machine. Maia is left holding the bag of Gloria's bad deeds, while Gloria exploits Maia's woobie status to seduce a guy.
  • The Future: See After the End.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Every ally (and Friendly Enemy) comes to Maia's aid when she's kidnapped.
  • Government Conspiracy: Maia is from a city that was sealed off by the other cities by stationing submarines at the gates and shoting anyone coming out. It was because of a plague outbreak they didn't want to spread to other cities. Afterwards they said it merely 'failed to surface'. Maia could reveal the truth if she recovered her memories and this would be 'embarrasing' so they make her life shit.
  • The Heart: Maia is the emotional center of the group.
  • Here We Go Again!: Subverted. In the last minutes of the last episode, we see the Ocean Agency exam held a year after the one that started the series; a girl who appears to be Maia with the same applicant number clocks in with as good a score on the field exercise as Maia had a year previously — but the moment she reports in, we can see it's someone else entirely, and Tsukasa subsequently worries about Maia making the application deadline. Then Maia passes by along with the other Nereids in a ski boat chase; she's chosen to stay.
  • Holographic Terminal: Desktop and larger systems all seem to use projected screens rather than physical ones.
  • Homage: The two-part episode "Die Hard, Play Hard" manages to blend homages to both Die Hard and, weirdly enough, gonzo disaster movie parody Airplane!!
  • Hostage Video: In the second episode, after Maia gets captured attempting to capture Wong, she's forced to read a video denouncing Nereids and demanding they return Wong's brother Chang — threatening a Fate Worse than Death for Maia if the Nereids refuse (Maia literally faints when she reads the cuecard). Chang also threatens to send the video to the media, since he doesn't trust the Nereids to actually cooperate for Maia's sake.
  • Human Popsicle: Maia and her big brother when they escaped their home in the backstory. The former was in stasis for sixty years.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Many episode titles are plays on the names of famous movies or literary works: "The Old Kook and the Sea", "Anger's Aweigh", "Die Hard, Play Hard", "Five Heavily Armed Women and a Baby".
  • Kind Restraints: Gloria is so aggressive and impulsive that her co-workers at Nereids often have to knock her out and/or tie her up to keep her from hurting them, damaging their office, or jeopardizing their missions.
  • The Lancer: Yu's the most loyal to Rena and the one most likely to be in charge after her. Also, she tends to work alone when not forced to work with Gloria. She fights with her fits instead of guile or cunning.
  • The Leader: Rena is the defacto leader of the group.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Almost every character who appears in more than one scene. Oddly, minor character Tsukasa seems to have a realistically diverse wardrobe. Even more oddly, the contents of Maia's closet are shown to be extensive and widely varied — but she only ever wears either the Nereids Battle Bikini or a somewhat formal-looking pink-and-white dress — or both at once.
  • Mascot: Mammo the wooly mammoth, for sunny Siberia City.
  • Master of Disguise: Tsukasa manages to pass as Maia and a boy at different points.
  • The Men in Black: They work for the Ocean Agency and kidnap Maia near the end.
  • Mistaken for Dying: Gloria gets to go through this trope, and decides that she wants to fall in love before she dies. Of course, it turns out she handles love like the rest of her life — violently.
  • New Eden: A century before the opening of the story, this was the goal of Maia's parents.
  • Not With the Safety On, You Won't: How Maia was captured in the second episode; she has no idea how to use a gun.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When everyone thinks Gloria is dying and decide not to tell her, she gets a little suspicious at how strange they're all acting. She purposely spills tea right in front of Yu, who doesn't hit her or even threaten her, increasing her suspicions.
  • Panty Fighter: Effectively, considering the outfits.
  • Promotion to Parent: Maia's grandfather is actually her brother, who defrosted sixty years before she did.
  • Running Gag:
    • The gang of criminals who are all half-siblings but look nothing like each other.
    • Rena deducting pay off salary for any botches, usually Gloria or Maia.
    • Yu hitting Gloria when in disagreements.
    • Maia hitting or falling on her head.
    • Maia being kidnapped by the Wong-Chang-Lee brothers as bait.
    • Yagi being terrified by Yu's presence.
    • Hanaoka's daughter getting angry at her father.
    • May and the Wong-Chang-Lee brothers taking the submarine back from Nereids who do the same.
  • Shout-Out: Several, including a blatant one to Star Trek in the second episode, and another to The Flintstones in episode 6.
  • Siblings in Crime: Wong, Chang, Lee, and May — the Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains Maia and the other Nereids repeatedly encounter — all have the same mother. After Maia's attempt to impersonate Chang in the second episode, they start using the number of the "husband" who parented them as a Trust Password to identify each other.
    It's true: I am the son of my mother and my mother's seventh husband, and my name's Chang!
    Yes, and I'm the son of my mother and my mother's second husband, and my name is Lee.
  • The Smart Guy: Shizuka gets to name the company submarine because she's the only one who knows how to work it.
  • Stamp of Rejection: Episode 5 begins with the Nereids getting their licenses renewed, or issued in Maia's case. They are stamped and verified one after the other, except the last one which is stamped as denied. This one belongs to Yu, a woman the detective has no intention of ever approving as long as he has anything to say about it due to a laundry list of damages and injuries she caused just apprehending a pair of minor criminals.
  • Stock Footage: Various establishing shots and hovercraft race sequences, among others.
  • Stripperiffic: Just about everything Nereids wear.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Rena feels this way at times because she's The Leader and she has a Gloria Yu Shizuka and Maia working for her. On episode 5, Lee feels this way too once Yu Park steps in the action.
  • Survival Mantra: The page quote; Maia says it when she feels down.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted — we see a pair of psychologists who work with the young amnesiac Maia for two years. Then again, they are part of the conspiracy trying to ensure that Maia's memory never comes back.
  • True Companions: No matter how much grief Nereids gives Maia, they care about her deep down. Milly and Tsukasa even more so because they don't give her such grief.
  • Underwater City: They play an important role in the backstory of the world of the series. In Maia's backstory, as well. She's from there and is one of two survivors.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: When Gloria tells Maia about an old job with the Nereids, she makes it sound like she heroically stayed behind to cover Rena’s and Shizuka’s escape (much to Maia’s unknowing awe), even as we see that she just ran back to get a single dropped coin and found herself surrounded.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Nobody ever seems to notice the extremely skimpy outfits the Nereids wear while on the job. Possibly justified by the fact that the cities all have tropical climates where it's summer all year; skimpy clothing is presumably common (although we never see anyone else in clothes quite that skimpy...).
  • Visible Boom Mic: One of the two OVAs is styled as a (poorly-done) promotional video for the Nereids, with a boom mic seen at one point.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Episode 11, "The Long Stay"
  • Zany Scheme: Several, such as the Manager's scheme to impress his daughter by bribing the girls to pretend to be criminals.