Daphne in the Brilliant Blue (光と水のダフネ Hikari to Mizu no Dafune?) is a 2004 anime series animated by the studio J.C.Staff and produced by GENCO. It was licensed by Geneon USA in 2004. However, Geneon USA had ceased operations in September 2007 and lost all their titles. In 2009, Sentai Filmworks had picked up the license and re-released the series in two complete collection sets.
In the future, water has covered much of the Earth due to the effects of global warming, leaving the human race to live on neighboring floating cities. The orphaned Maia Mizuki, 15, just graduated from middle school and has already applied for employment in the elite Ocean Agency, part of the futuristic world government. Only the best, most intelligent, and physically fit students are eligible for admission. Maia, the series' protagonist, is set to become one of the few.
But her ideal life quickly falls apart. To her disappointment, Maia unexpectedly fails her entrance exams despite her high grades. Making matters worse, she promptly gets evicted from her house, pick pocketed, taken hostage, then shot. She is "saved" by two women (Rena and Shizuka) that are part of an unorthodox help-for-hire organization called Nereids (inspired by the Greek mythological Nereids). With nowhere to go, Maia joins up with Nereids, taking jobs from capturing wanted criminals to chasing stray cats, often with unexpected results. Gloria and Yu later join up with Nereids.
"Daphne", Greek for "Laurel tree", in the title refers to Maia's grandfather last words. "Brilliant Blue" refers to the fact that this is a world covered by water with almost no land. The world consists of vast oceans, a few islands, and floating cities. This subplot that starts midway into the series concerns Maia's journey to retrieve a time capsule of her past buried under a laurel tree in Elpida, an undersea city lost over a century ago.
In almost every episode, there is a recitation of a verse that Maia's grandfather taught her. She and others say it whenever her life is difficult or in danger - "A tree that is planted by water will produce fruit in due season, its leaves will never whither...". It is mentioned as a mantra or prayer, but is never identified as Psalm 1:3, "He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." (NIV)
The manga of the series is a prequel that takes place a century ago when humans were force to live undersea when the cities were Greek named. Elpida means "hope." Now they're Russian inspired, like Kamchatka. Ai Mayuzumi, Millie's great grandmother is the protagonist of the story.
- Maia Mizuki (水樹 マイア Mizuki Maia?)
- Voiced by: Mai Nakahara (Japanese), Carrie Savage (English)
- Maia is the protagonist of the series. She has lost all of her childhood memories, because as a child, Maia was put into a one year coma because of a car wreck. The cause of it was because while in the car with her parents, the controls malfunctioned. Her parents died. Waking up, she was introduced to a man claiming to be her grandfather. In episode 11, Maia tells the girls of Nereids her story of waking up from her coma. During the flashback, Maia asks her grandpa why whenever he smiles at her, he seems sad. At the end of the episode, she is looking at a picture of her grandfather then she asks, "What is it that you were keeping hidden from me, Grandpa." Maia is an excellent student, yet having been rejected by the Ocean Agency,elite paramilitary Ocean Agency, part of the futuristic world government and only the best, most intelligent, and physically fit students are eligible for admission. Maia, was set to become one of the few. Maia has found work with Nereids, an unorthodox help-for-hire organization inspired by the Greek mythological Nereids. She is optimistic, hard working, and honest, yet a naïve and shy cute girl-next-door. Maia is in search of her past while working with Nereids.
- Rena Honjo (本城 レナ Honjō Rena?)
- Voiced by: Sayaka Ohara (Japanese), Wendee Lee (English)
- Leader of the Nereids Kamchatka branch. Rena is capable, elegant, and cunning, although she can be cold at times. Although not the branch manager in title, she is the de facto leader and makes the decisions. She is cool and calculating and her sharp instincts enable her to know the weaknesses of other people. Rena has no moral qualms about seducing others for manipulation or for a weapon use. She is also frugal with money and deducts pay from salaries under even the slightest pretext.
- Shizuka Hayama (葉山 静香 Hayama Shizuka?)
- Voiced by: Kana Ueda (Japanese), Michelle Ruff (English)
- Busty and bespectacled with purple hair, Shizuka is a brilliant mechanic who grew up in an inner city district of Shibuya and knows many people there. She is known for her poor shooting aim and is friendly, casual, and trusting with a voracious appetite for food.
- Gloria (グロリア Guroria?)
- Voiced by: Masumi Asano (Japanese), Megan Hollingshead (English)
- Loud, spontaneous, tomboyish, and somewhat reckless with a ganguro style complexion, Gloria is a trigger-happy champion marksman and the weapons specialist with a grudge against Rena for deserting her on a past mission. She tends to stick to her guns and loves to shoot things up and she does not get along with Yu. Gloria loves money and bothers Rena about how much she owes her. She is the only character without a regular civilian outfit.
- Yu Park (朴 ゆう Paku Yū?)
- Voiced by: Yuko Kaida (Japanese), Erika Weinstein (English)
- Silent, brooding, nihilistic, and a loner, Yu is a ridiculously strong fighter and hand-to-hand combat specialist. She had her license revoked in the past for destroying private property and injuring several police officers (including Detective Yagi) and bystanders. She has a loyalty to Rena, but does not get along too well with Gloria, where comically they are usually paired up on assignments, and constantly hits her. Yu's interests include animals and travel.
- Tsukasa Takagi (高城 つかさ?)
- Voiced by: Sakura Nogawa (Japanese), Hunter MacKenzie Austin (English)
- Maia's best friend from her Ocean Agency days who got accepted, despite having average grades. She and Maia had made a promise to work with each other.
- Tsutomu Hanaoka (花岡 勉 Hanaoka Tsutomu?)
- Voiced by: Mitsuo Iwata (Japanese), Doug Stone (English)
- The inept branch manager of the Nereids Kamchatka branch. He gets pushed around by his female co-workers. Hanaoka has a wife and a daughter Yukari.
- Yukari Hanaoka (花岡 勉 Hanaoka Yukari?)
- Voiced by: Ami Koshimizu (Japanese), Stephanie Sheh (English)
- Tsutomu Hanaoka's daughter. She gets displeased with her father's ineptness at times, especially when he lied about being a dashing, bold, detective, but still loves him dearly.
- Kosuke Yagi (八木 浩輔 Yagi Kōsuke?)
- Voiced by: Hidetoshi Nakamura (Japanese), Stephen Martello (English)
- The chief inspector of the Kamchatka city police force, he gets stressed when it comes to Nereids. One of his biggest burdens is Yu who injured him in the past.
- Millie (ミリィ Mirī?)
- Voiced by: Junko Noda (Japanese), Mia Bradly (English)
- Shizuka's friend (and later Maia's) who is a skilled race car driver. She is inspired by her great-grandmother Ai Mayuzumi (the protagonist of the manga version which is a prequel to this story). Ai was Maia's father's bodyguard.
- Wong (ウォン Won?)
- Chang (チャン Chan?)
- Lee (リー Rī?)
- Voiced by: Tomomichi Nishimura (Japanese), JB Blanc (English)
- Son of their mother's second husband and the oldest of the Wong-Chang-Lee brothers.
- May (メイ Mei?)
- Voiced by: Hitomi Nabetame (Japanese), Kirsten Potter (English)
- Sister of the Wong-Chang-Lee brothers (the daughter of their mother's 14th husband). She is more level-headed and comptetent than they are. She is a martial artist and also wants to find the treasure of Elpida, to which end she stole a submarine (which gets repeatedly confiscated by the Nereids and subsequently stolen again by the family). The submarine was named Agnes for their mother. Shizuka renamed it Yomogi-1.
- Tony Long (トニー·ロン Tonī Ron?)
- Voiced by: Shinpo Chiba (Japanese), Liam O'Brien (English)
- A mysterious man in sunglasses who can be seen following Maia throughout the series.
- Shou Mizuki (水樹 Mizuki Shō?)
- Shou Mizuki (old) Voiced by: Mugihito (Japanese), Alfred Thor (English).
- Shou Mizuki (young) Voiced by: Fumihiko Tategi (Japanese), Yuri Lowenthal (English)
- Maia's Grandfather who raised her after she awoken from her coma five years ago. He tried to help her regain the memories she lost in the supposedly recent accident that claimed her parents. Shown only in flashbacks, he died right before the first episode. His last word to her, "daphne", refers to a laurel tree in their former home. When Maia uncovered the buried time capsule where the tree once stood in Elpida, Grandpa was revealed to be her big brother. The siblings were placed in hibernation pods over a century ago when their parents and undersea city were quarantined by the Ocean Agency. He woke up 60 years prior to she did and was force into the government coverup. Maia did not age during her slumber.
- Yoichi Mizuki (水樹 Mizuki Yoichi?)
- Voiced by: Fumihiko Tategi (Japanese), John Smallberries (English)
- Maia's father.
- Meiko Mizuki (水樹 Mizuki Meiko?)
Daphne in the Brilliant Blue has running gags throughout the show:
- 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.
Pop culture references
- A "Picard Motor Co. DS-9 NC-1701D" motor is observed in episode 3 of the TV series.
- All of the episode titles are puns or tributes to the names of films. For instance, episode 3, titled "ネレイスほど素敵な商売はない?" ("There's No Business Like Nereid's Business") is a tribute to the 1954 film There's No Business Like Show Business.
|1|| Maia's Longest Day (Part 1)|
"Maia no ichiban nagai hi (zenpen)" (マイアのいちばん長い日(前編))
|Title tribute to The Longest Day?
Maia is having the worst day of her life. She gets rejected by the Ocean Agency, gets kicked out of her house, can’t find a job that offers room and board, gets her wallet stolen and gets taken hostage and then shot.
|2|| Maia's Longest Day (Part 2)|
"Maia no ichiban nagai hi (kouhen)" (マイアのいちばん長い日(後編))
|Maia is involved in a detainee exchange that goes bad. The housing agency confiscates all her belongs. She joins Nereids, the all-around service provider.|
|3|| There's No Business Like Nereid's Business|
"Neres hodo suteki na shobai wa nai?" (ネレイスほど素敵な商売はない?)
|Title tribute to There's No Business Like Show Business.
Maia and Shizuka solve the mystery of Martin's missing wedding money. Trouble is lying in wait for Rena in the form of a blonde woman.
|4|| Chaka Chaka Bang Bang|
"Chakachaka banban" (チャカチャカバンバン)
|Title tribute to Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang?.
Maia has to drive the experimental hovercar for Team Albatross. Someone is sabotaging the car so the Nereids try to find out who is doing this in order to keep Maia safe.
|5|| The Hooligan's Return / Call Me Rough Neck|
"Kaette kita abarenbo" (帰ってきた暴れん坊)
|Maia is introduced to a martial arts expert named Yu Park. Rena and detective Yagi are taken hostage while on a cruise ship. Yu is reinstated as a Nereids agent after serving 90 days in jail and saving detective Yagi.|
|6|| The Great Nighttime Manhunt / In the Heat of the Night|
"Yoru no daisosasen" (夜の大捜査戦)
|Title tribute to In the Heat of the Night
Maia gets partnered with Gloria and Yu and discovers the tense relationship they have. Car thieves kidnap Maia as Yu and Gloria are chasing a suspicious truck.
|7|| All That, Papa|
|Title tribute to All That Jazz?
The branch manager's daughter discovers he has been lying to her about his role at work. The gang catches a group of poachers.
|8|| Risk Everything For Speed! / The Speeding|
"SPEED ni karada o hare!" (スピードに体を張れ!)
|Title tribute to Speed
Maia takes the wheel of a test vehicle when Shizuka's childhood friend, Millie, is injured. Maia gets caught in some industrial espionage.
|9|| I'm the Only One Without a Tomorrow / Only I Don't Have Tomorrow|
"ORE Dake ni Ashita ha Nai" (オレだけに明日はない)
|Gloria is told she has a week to live. Tsukasa gets elected to help Gloria meet her ideal man.|
|10|| Siberian Special Vacation / Siberian Super Vacation!|
"Siberia choutakkyu" (シベリア超特休)
|The girls go to Siberia City where slave traders kidnap Shizuka. Maia has no recollection of being in Siberia before but knows the fastest way to intercept the fleeing kidnappers.|
|11|| Like this for a Long Visit / The Long Stay!|
"Kakumo nagaki taizai" (「かくも長き滞在」)
|Title tribute to The Long Goodbye?
When Maia passes a laurel tree it sparks old memories from her past. Everyone decides to spend an extra day in Siberia looking for clues about Maia's past.
|12|| The Day the World Surfaced / The Day Earth Floated Away|
"Sekai ga Fujou Shita Hi" (世界が浮上した日)
|Title tribute to The Day the Earth Stood Still?
The 100-year anniversary of the underwater cities raising to the surface is celebrated. The 100-year memorial service for the city of Elpida is also held. Maia, Tsukasa and Millie have a race to show off the Ocean Agency's new hovercraft.
|13|| Giving Hatred / Anger's Aweigh|
"Ikari wo Agete" (怒りを上げて)
|Title tribute to Anchors Aweigh?
Wong, Chang and Lee along with their rescuer, Mai, seek revenge on Nereids for putting the three brothers in prison. Nereids confiscates the submarine May stole.
|14|| The Elderly and UMA / The Old Kook and the Sea|
"Roujin to UMA" (老人とUMΑ)
|Title tribute to The Old Man and the Sea?
Since the submarine (Yomogi-1) is just sitting around and costing a fortune, Maia goes out and finds them a job. This job will also double as a training mission for the crew. Maia and an old man go looking for a sea monster. The Yomogi-1 is disguised as a sea monster.
|15|| The Great Surge (part 1) / Die Hard, Play Hard (1)|
"Daihadou (1)" (大波動(ダイハドー))
|Title tribute to Die Hard?
A grade-school boy runs away from home and Maia is sent to Siberia to find him. The branch manager in that city holds a grudge against Rena. A mechanic is paid off to sabotage the private jet of a wealthy CEO and then murdered. Terrorists take over the wave negation towers in Kamchatka.
|16|| The Great Surge (part 2) / Die Hard, Play Hard (2)|
"Daihadou (2)" (大波動(ダイハドー) 2)
|Maia and the boy are caught in the plot to kill a wealthy CEO. Rena and Shizuka track down the people behind the plot. Maia must pilot and land the aircraft carrying 1000 passengers in the confines of a very large water holding facility.|
|17|| Defeated by a Baby / Five Women with Guns and a Baby|
"Aka-chan ni Kanpai" (赤ちゃんに完敗!)
|Title tribute to Three Men and a Baby?
Yu finds an abandoned baby at her door. Who would do such a thing? Gloria is against taking the child to the police.
|18|| Conflicts Winding Down / Shizuka's Choice|
"Shizuka Naru Kattou" (静香なる葛藤)
|Title tribute to Sophie's Choice?
A con artist plays with Shizuka's heart.
|19|| Submarine "Yomogi No. 1" Doesn't Rise to the Surface / The Hunt for Green Yomogi-I|
"Sensuikan yomogi ichigo fujosezu" (潜水艇よもぎ一号浮上せず)
|Title tribute to The Hunt for Red October.
May, Wong, Chang and Lee steal the Agnes (their name for the submarine) back. Maia gets taken hostage in an attempt to stop them. Plans for a less than lethal recovery by Nereids goes awry. Maia rescues the treasure hunters from a potentially watery grave.
|20|| Once upon a time in Siberia / Once Upon a Time in Siberia|
|Title tribute to Once Upon a Time in China or Once Upon a Time in the West?
The stress of almost certain death in her rescue of the treasure hunters triggered Maia to remember an event from her past. She goes to Siberia to look for the time capsule she and her big brother buried under a laurel tree.
|21|| What Happened to Maia? / Whatever Happened to Baby Maia?|
"Nani ga Maia ni okotta?" (何がマイアに起ったか?)
|Title tribute to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane??
Maia is unable to concentrate on her new mission which is to find a girl that has been kidnapped by the slave traders. Shizuka is injured due to Maia's lack of concentration.
|22|| Everyday Life of an Eye and Recollection / Terms of Endangerment|
"Ai to kioku no hibi" (アイと追憶の日々)
|Title tribute to Terms of Endearment?
A band of slave traders captures Maia. The same traders that the Nereids' raid ruined. Millie and Tony Long, a guy that has appeared watching Maia from the shadows many time in previous episodes, save her. As Maia recovers she dreams of her past in the city of Elpida, Tony confirms Maia is the soul survivor of the city. The Information Division of the Ocean Agency then kidnaps Maia to insure she can say nothing about past events.
|23|| Escape From Kamchatka|
|Title tribute to Escape From New York?
Maia is told the reason behind her false memories. Tony tells the girls of Nereids about Maia's capture. Shizuka, Yu and Gloria quit Nereids on account of Rena's apparent cold-heartedness. Tsukasa returns from Greenland City and is immediately taken by Shizuka to help rescue Maia from the Ocean Agency.
|24|| Daphne In The Brilliant Blue|
"Hikari to mizu no Daphne" (光と水のダフネ)
|Kevin forwards the coordinates of Elpida to the Yomogi-1. Tony gives May, Wong, Chang and Lee the use of an attack sub. The Ocean Agency trails the Yomogi-1 to Elpida. While the treasure hunters chase off the Ocean Agency's pursuit vehicle, Maia descends into the shell of the city proper. Once inside memories flood her mind. Suddenly she recalls the outbreak from the biological facility. She finds the time capsule she and her brother buried and then realizes the person that raised her as her grandfather was really her older brother.|
|25|| Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Nereids (But Were Afraid To Ask)|
|DVD bonus. Title tribute to Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask).
The ladies make a PR video.
|26|| Heaven Can Wait For Maia Mizuki|
|DVD bonus. Title tribute to Heaven Can Wait?
While helping Gloria on a freelance job, Gloria and Maia switch bodies.