Alt title: Brigadoon: Marin to Melan

TV (26 eps)
2000 - 2001
Summer 2000
3.488 out of 5 from 572 votes
Rank #6,552

The year is 1969, and strange things are happening on Earth: a strange formation known as Brigadoon has appeared in the sky, and mysterious alien machines have begun to attack a seemingly ordinary orphan girl named Marin! Luckily for her, Marin finds an artifact which summons the alien Melan Blue to protect her – but there is more going on between Earth and Brigadoon than meets the eye. However there is more going on behind the scenes between Earth and Brigadoon. Along with a cast of quirky characters, Marin must get to the bottom of what’s going on, lest both Earth AND Brigadoon be destroyed forever!

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StoryGrowing up, I was lucky enough to have epic sci-fi tales told at night by the wordsmith Arthur C Clarke, and out-of-this-world lullabies crooned by eccentric Ziggy Stardust. This gave me a taste, which rapidly developed into love, for the fantastical that still hasn’t left me as I rapidly approach thirty. Whilst browsing Anime-Planet for another rendezvous with the weird, a lone recommendation between Narutaru and the obscure Brigadoon Marin to Melan caught my eye. Going into the show blind with no reviews to read and no friends to comment on this older title, I took a step into the unknown only to discover the inexplicably underrated. Starting out with an overtly childish and juvenile tone, the story initially spends time introducing the title worthy, Marin. The young girl is given a heartbreaking family history and taken out of her comfort zone, only to be plunged into a science fiction nightmare. Keeping the viewer guessing what will happen next, the writers maintain a constant barrage of deeply depressing twists throughout. Each time you think life can’t get much worse for poor Marin, her life is flipped on its head and cruelly beaten into submission. The thirteen-year-old girl has not only blossoming maturity to deal with, but also social issues and philosophical concerns. Brigadoon’s diversity is its strength, and this quickly becomes apparent as this child-like character undergoes some jaw-dropping experiences. Jumping between Earth and Brigadoon, the plot successfully weaves an intriguing back-story for Marin and explains why both Melan Blue and the rest of the alien world would want this ordinary young girl. Playfully keeping the viewer on their toes, the cute cat-looking side characters remain a mystery throughout much of the show and frustratingly imply they know the whole story. In the meantime, the show quickly shifts into monster-of-the-week mode, as the heroic pair confronts new adversaries to fight off. With never a dull moment, Marin continues to evolve as she is thrust into more unfortunate situations and her life goes from bad to worse. Littered with scenes of graphic violence, certain portions may not be suitable for all viewers. Attempting to redress this balance and appeal to a wider audience, there are certain moments where brutal savagery is bizarrely replaced with slapstick and a cream pie battle ensues. However, young teens will certainly find appeal in the alien warrior, Melan. His flashy fighting style is reminiscent of a shounen anime series and this frequently punctuates the dark and psychological undertones of Brigadoon. Dabbling in both this, and other genres such as political war and comedy, the constantly changing face of the show is well suited to an episodic approach. Each twist and nuance, no matter how small, becomes a plot-device that blends together into a fearless climax that shows a total disregard for traditional happy endings.AnimationFalling into the tricky transitional period of the millenium, Brigadoon shuns any garish CG effects and instead sticks to simplistic drawings. With an initial off-putting feeling, Marin’s saucer-eyed charm missed the mark with me and I disliked the cartoonish feel of the show. However, perseverance definitely paid off and a dull palette of greys and browns reflecting an insipid life of 1960’s Japan are soon complimented by gleaming gold’s and blazing blue’s of planet Brigadoon’s scenery. Even though the visuals are nothing special, there is a surprising agility to the characters during the fight scenes that flow easily and are a pleasure to watch.SoundReminiscent of both Fantastic Children and the Hack series, Brigadoon successfully uses a simple vocal harmony to highlight the other-worldly feel of the show as the alien planet interferes with ours. The soundtrack, although unmemorable, defintiely adds to the diverse and ever-changing genres throughout and blends well with the story's circumstances. Dragging down the overall score of this section, the English voice acting was atrocious. With the cartoonish voices echoing the childish animation style, I cannot recommend the original (and excellent) Japanese seiyuu’s performance highly enough.CharactersOf Brigadoon’s gripping storyline, one of the most outstanding features is the complexity of a developing relationship between Melan and Marin. Potential romance between a thirteen-year-old girl and a twenty-something humanoid is wrong on many levels, but their feelings go well beyond this. Starting as best friends, they move through a father-daughter bond, but their eventual reliance on each other is designed to tug on the viewers' heartstrings, and it does it with an unmistakable temerity. There is a constant reminder of Melan's instinct to protect Marin and the effect this has on the young girl, as she starts to question her true feelings for the alien warrior. Causing a great emotional response in viewers, the supporting cast give more reasons to like and cheer on the unfortunate heroine. Minor psychological bullying from classroom adversaries evolves into attempted homicide as both the plot-line and Marin mature throughout the twenty-six episodes. To even the good-guy/bad-guy balance, the lovable make-shift family from the tenement add to the overall craziness with their "anything goes" attitude. Although the only believable tenant is Marin’s grandmother, the comical neighbours come into their own as they reflect the writers’ twisted visions.OverallStill unsure as to the target audience of Brigadoon, I finally settled on the show being a success and able to breach the generation gap, as it offers something for everyone. With a mix of childish looks and vocal overacting, there is a certain ambiance that may put off the majority of serious anime watchers. However, looking deeper will reward the steadfast with a complex tale of love, war and journey through puberty. I hope that this review reaches at least a few viewers out there and inspires them to sample the delights on offer, as this is a show definitely deserving of cult status.


Brigadoon combines childish naivety with dark and depressing stories, and it’s easy to misunderstand what it’s going for because of its cartoonish bright colored artstyle. Almost everyone will assume it’s kidstuff and will not bother with it. The few who will try it out will be confused with what it’s trying to be, since it is full of nudity, mass destruction, and tragedy, while also playing out like a cheesy shojo romance. It’s a great blender of ideas that did not found a way to mesh properly. It constantly jumps genres, and does not have a certain age group, meaning it’s not trying to be mainstream and has constant mood whiplashes. The complete lack of mention by retro fans and the mediocre average score are only adding to its obscurity.Despite its many issues, it’s worth a shot just to witness its creativity. It’s unconventional in many ways, having a wide scope, and likable main characters, and enemies with various types of powers, and a mystery in the background, while mentally torturing everyone. It keeps the stakes high, it is brimming with cool ideas, and it never stays the same for too long. It was made for people who got fed up with typical anime and are about to give up on them. At the same time, it can make people drop anime because of how offending it is with its constant lolicon and yuri overtones, cringy comedy, and crazy amounts of plot armor for the main characters who never die no matter the ridiculous amounts of damage they receive. Yes, it is that eccentric.It still tries a lot harder to be more than just loli torture porn ala Elfen Lied, and it’s not random bullshit strategies ala Code Geass. There are robots, and explosions, mass destruction, most of which need tactics instead of raw power. It never feels pretentious in its themes, or begs of you to take it seriously. The cartoony artstyle is giving an extra punch to the jokes, assuming you dig their style, and at the same time nobody is just repeating the exact same joke without offering something more to the plot. There are even many scenes of calm everyday life, with many locations and events being based on actual places and actual historical events. It feels holistic, since as a whole it is not neglecting something in favor of something else.It’s the transitions from one genre to another that can be hard to swallow, or the animation not always being on point, and the creepy fan service could have easily been toned down without damaging the narrative. You need a very specific mindset to get into it, which is something most viewers cannot do. It is not generic nonsense with predictable outcomes and it can get very confusing to get what it’s going for. And I am not trying to sell the show like some sort of underrated avant garde piece of fine art. It’s no Fooli Cooli or Tatami Galaxy. It has lots of issues, yet as a whole it doesn’t feel forgettable as most other series, or that offending as most light novels which are full of deviance yet try to sound serious and deep.It’s a jewel in the rough, which I will always adore for how different it was, for its mesmerizing opening song, and the broad scope of themes and characters. It’s unpolished, but it’s no train wreck. It’s partially sleazy, but it’s also packed with a lot of creativity. Its characters look cartoony and there is a lot of slapstick comedy, but they are not one dimensional and there is more than throwaway jokes. It’s very hard to recommend it to anyone, and it has way too many highs and lows to be considered a great series, but for those who seek something special, this is a fine choice.


What can I say, Brigadoon doesn't hold up well. The story and sound hold up, the animation and characters don't. Still, many people gush about it for good reason, and others hate it for good reasons, but say what you will, it is outside the norm. What I can say about it is that it has style. A style that aged badly, but a lot of it nontheless. OK, so some of the characters seem utterly boring by today's standards. Once again we get a protagonist that is a poor bullied orphan, that is energetic and confident all the same. The monster-of-the-week thing is tired to the extreme, and while other things exist in the show, that part is unimpressive. Actually, when you break down the show to elements, every single one is a cliche of some sort. Not only that, but one that has been done to death. Done to death, and better technically. And yet, this combination is a unique one. It is a unique one because it isn't particularly synergetic. What can I say, it is obvious that people have learned since. In a way, there is an unintentional parody here with all the things that seem badly mismatched and overdone. In a way, this is one of the shows that proves that unless a show is a tightly knit package, in fifteen years it will become an unintentional parody of itself. One cannot take Brigadoon too seriously nowadays. Luckily, there are enough moments of fluff and humor to make sure the viewer doesn't have to (Evangelion, I'm looking at you). But don't let that fool you, the fluff and humor is to take the edge off. Of what, you might ask. There are moments where the show will hit you in the face with a crowbar with nasty things happening. Nasty things happen to good people. Sometimes, very nasty things. Say what you will about Brigadoon, there are very little in the way of half measures in the show. It bounces back and forth from black to white, and has very little in between. It makes for both moments of greatness and for ones which feel forcefully bad. It is a very hard thing to judge a show like this in an objective way, due to the style being so different than most anime from the past twenty years. In many ways, I am still not sure if I liked the show more than I disliked it... for one thing, I can say that just for it being special, this show deserves a lot of credit. Writing (Story and Characters): Calling the writing of Brigadoon "uneven" would be an understatement. There are moments of brilliance swallowed by what by today's standards are endless overused tropes. The complete lack of cynicism will catch seasoned viewers by surprise. When nearly every show feels like a product for viewers rather than a creative endeavor, the honesty of the Brigadoon is unheard of in newer anime. While honest, the story does not hold up well. It has all the elements of a great story, but each element is executed in an extremely simple way. There is drama, hope, action, darkness, romance, humor, and every element you'd want in a story. There are character driven elements, there is an underlying story, and there is the episodic structure. All of these have been done more convincingly since. Not only that, the lack of grey areas is borderline painful. But still, Brigadoon manages to be interesting and unique. There is just something that works very well that I can't put my finger on. Character-wise we don't get anything too special. There is a surprising lack of development in most characters, as well as anything more than one dimensionality. But hey, the "sure, why not" attitude that makes the story so fun also alleviates a lot of the character issues. Still, despite the earnest execution of a cast that is a cliche made of cliches, the cast is still a cliche made of cliches. So all in all, while the cast fits it is still not worthy of being called good. Effectiveness only goes so far. Brigadoon's writing is original and unique, despite each distinct element being as far away from that as possible. This creates a very unusual mix that is quite enjoyable despite parts of it being laughably bad. There are moments of greatness, there are twists which catch most people off guard... and there are moment when one will bang their head against the wall due to stupidity of it all. Art (Animation and Sound): In one word: dated. In two words: not bad. The artwork of Brigadoon has some incredibly strong sides along with some that are downright silly, and at times both. There are moments of over the top gimmicky shots, there are moments of stilted and outdated movement. Some of the drawings are crude and childish, which is particularly annoying when it comes to character designs. Still, there is some charm to the style, and some of the gimmicks work so well (especially when use to humorous effects). The animation is still below par and has aged horribly.  On the other end of the spectrum the sound is great. The voice acting is well over the top and cliche, but fits the earnest feeling of the writing. In particular, Marin is voiced magnificently. The soundtrack is a wonderful blend of standard and Irish folk, giving a magnificent feel to it all. The effects are at times well over the top. There are childish moments, but overall, the sound just does a magnificent job at making them work. The blend of the animation and sound gives a lot of unique character to Brigadoon where it is desperately needed, which is great. That same blend gives a lot of unique character where the show doesn't need it, which is bad. The artwork is annoying at first, but once it grows on the viewer, it is effective at creating a unique world that makes the writing work. Overall: I am not sure whether I love Brigadoon or not. It has moments where it annoyed the hell out of me. Somehow, despite being a combination of things I dislike when so extreme, I just couldn't stop watching it. Recommended for someone looking for a show that's different, with a huge amount of fluff between blunt force trauma in the way of horrible things, and some monster of the day moments.

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