Brigadoon Anime Review
Brigadoon - Marin to Meran
US Release By
Retro Sci-fi Action Comedy
26 25-minute episodes
2000-07-21 - 2001-02-09
The year is 1969. Marin Asagi is a chipper and relatively average 13-year-old girl who lives with her poor family in downtown Tokyo. Then one day aliens invade Earth... but their giant tower-like ship just sits there. Well, almost... they begin to quietly send out strange robotic assassins called Monomakia with the express purpose of offing poor Marin! Good thing a friendly creature known as Melan Blue comes to her aid. Except he's not exactly well-versed in the ways of human interaction, and as if that wasn't enough trouble there's her family, the police, and problems at school to deal with.
Note that this review is only based on the first few episodes of the series.
What is up with this series? About equal parts Figure 17 and Jubei-chan The Ninja Girl, it somehow combines part of the premise of a classic fantasy musical with cartoony characters, random situation comedy, serious action, and a world that at times seems strangely realistic despite all the bizarre stuff going on in it.
Brigadoon is so offbeat that I'm not sure whether I like it or not. Admittedly, after the first episode (which is really chaotic and cartoony) it settles down a bit, but it still keeps up a strange mix of highly caricatured characters and some strikingly realistic situations--bullying at school, the government's reactions to things, and the amazingly detailed images of the Japan of a bygone era. Not quite on the scale of Jubei-chan, but those who've seen that series will know what I'm talking about.
Set in 1969 (don't see that in an alien invasion flick every day), probably one of the most noteworthy things about Brigadoon is its period-piece nature. Unfortunately, a lot of the nostalgic cultural bits won't be appreciated by most non-Japanese viewers, and in other cases the unrealistic nature and nostalgic "culture-lag" of many anime shows makes things that haven't been around in several decades in the real Japan seem a little too familiar. In any case, though, the series lays out an interesting image of a quieter, more traditional Tokyo, and there's a lot of appealing detail in some of the out-of-the-way locales.
[Random side note: in a small slip, a scene of the New York skyline prominently features the World Trade Center, which was less than half finished at the time the show is supposed to take place.]
The look of Brigadoon is, at the very least, distinctive. The character designs are broad, with simple linework (again, reminded me of Jubei-chan), and a few particularly caricatured faces gracing the minor characters. The simplistic cel art is something of a contrast with the realistic backgrounds, which were for the most part detailed and quite well done. In any case, the animation is smooth and well-executed, with plenty of creative and attractive battles (creative in that our heroine has no fighting abilities of her own, but still does her best to help out one way or another).
The voice acting in Japanese is solid, although the characters are, keeping in tune with the rest of the production design, rather broad. On a cursory look the English version appeared a bit stiff, but I'll reserve judgement. The music seems interesting, including a few vaguely celtic tunes that seemed to be a nod to the Scottish setting of this series' namesake.
Since Brigadoon is a long series and has one heckuva strange start, it's hard to say where it's going to go or how worth watching it's going to be on the whole until I've seen the whole thing. So far, the plot seems to have some interesting places to go and a lot of room for fun, but the combination of realistic action and cartoony characters was a little too jarring for my taste.
Notes and Trivia
For those unfamiliar, Brigadoon is (in addition to a couple of place names) a famous musical written in the late 1940s about a town in Scotland that appears for one day every hundred years. It was adapted into a movie in 1954 and a TV movie in 1966.
Staff & Cast
Original Japanese Cast
Marin Asagi: Kaori
Melan Blue: Yoshitada Ohtsuka
Lolo: Mayumi Shintani
Moe Kisaragi: Ayaka Saito
Shuta Alan: Isamu Tanonaka
Mike White: Mitsuo Iwata
Moto Asagi: Rikako Aikawa
Momoi Three Sisters: Ryoka Yuzuki
Tadashi Tokita: Yuji Takada
Jun Tokite: Kae Araki
Makoto Alo: Hikaru Midorikawa
Takashi Tanzen: Kentaro Ito
Tamami Ebichya: Roko Takizawa
Wakana Konno: Kaede Tamaru
A-ko Sensei: Chinami Nishimura
Principal: Takashi Nagasako
English Dub Cast
Marin Asagi: Wendee Lee
Melan Blue: Rafael Antonio Oliver
Lolo: Wendee Lee
Moe Kisaragi: Michelle Ruff
Shuta Alan: Bob Johnson
Mike White: Rafael Antonio Oliver
Moto Asagi: Wendee Lee
Momoi Three Sisters: Michelle Ruff
Tadashi Tokita: John Smallberries
Jun Tokite: Wendee Lee
Makoto Alo: Dave Lelyveld
Takashi Tanzen: Dave Lelyveld
Tamami Ebichya: Debra Cunningham
Wakana Konno: Cindy Robinson
A-ko Sensei: Michelle Ruff
Principal: John Smallberries
Screenplay: Hideyuki Kurata
Character Animation Director: Takahiro Kimura
Monomakia Animation Director: Tohru Yoshida
Action Master: Masahiro Yamane
Original Plan: Hajime Yatate, Yoshitomo Yonetani
Creators: Masaki Kaifu (WowWow), Shinichiro Kobayashi (Sunrise), Tsutomu Sugita (Bandai Visual)
Series Supervisor: Hideyuki Kurata
Original Character Creator: Hotarunojo Mizutama
Character Designer: Takahiro Kimura
Modeler: Kenji Ando
Art Director: Takashi Nakamura
Music Director: Yuji Yoshino
Audio Director: Akira Ohkuma
Music Producers: Shiro Sasaki, Masao Fukuda
Producers: Junko Somemiya (WowWow), Takashi Kohchiyama (Sunrise), Hisanori Kunizaki (Bandai Visual)
Director: Yoshitomo Yonetani
Opening Theme: "Blue of Wind, Green of Sea"
Written: Yoshitomo Yonetani
Composer: Yuji Yoshino
Arranged by: Prall Triller
End Theme: "Rainbow Colored Treasure"
Written, Composed, and Chorus Arranged by: EPO
Arranged By: Satoshi Kadokura