Brigadoon - Reviews

Alt title: Brigadoon: Marin to Melan

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KiraRin's avatar
Sep 20, 2009

Story

Growing 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.


Animation

Falling 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.


Sound

Reminiscent 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.


Characters

Of 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.


Overall

Still 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.

8/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
9/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
Apr 19, 2012

Although Sunrise is responsible for the oversaturation of mecha, they did lots of bizarre series over the years, which are as different as they are flawed. Amongst the most known rough jewels were directed by Yonetani Yoshitomo, who likes to combine childish naivety with dark and depressing stories. Brigadoon is one of them and it’s hard to explain why it’s so good while being so bad.

It’s so easy to misunderstand it by the cartoonish bright colored artstyle. Almost everyone will assume it’s kidstuff and 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 uniform them properly, like Vision of Escaflowne did. 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.

So if it has so many issues, why do I make it sound like it’s worth a shot? Aside from how unconventional it is for someone who got fed up with formulaic anime, it also has a wide scope and the main characters are very likable. The stakes are high, it is brimming with creativity, it never stays the same for too long thus becoming stale, and it’s so full of mystery, dementia, and intrigue. This is what people who are fed up with anime and are about to give up on them, watch to have their interest rekindle. At the same time, it can make people drop anime because of how offending it is with its constant lolicon and yuri overtones, which can be very cringy, as well as the high amounts of plot armor for the main characters, who early on let you know they will never die no matter the ridiculous amounts of damage they receive.

Despite all that, it manages to achieve much more in terms of overall presentation. It’s not 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, 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 of our history. It feels holistic, not neglecting something in favor of another.

But I fully understand the issues many others had with it. The transitions from one thing to another are not done very well, the animation is not always 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. They just want to see generic bullshit with predictable storylines and get easily confused with anything that is different. 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 a lot more than simply 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.

8/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall
ChillWinterheart's avatar
Nov 17, 2009

Most anime series can be neatly categorized into some kind of cliche-ridden group or another: magical girls, mecha, sports, slice of life, ecchi. "Magical girl" series, for example, will always have prepubescent girls with colorful wands, long transformation sequences and brains the size of a Chinese dumpling. That, my dear kiddies, is "cliche". It causes cancer.

Brigadoon, I am happy to report, does not suffer the cliches usually associated with certain anime categories or genres. It simply doesn't belong to any. In fact, It will quietly defy all attempts at categorization and will summarily step on your face if you attempt it.

Brigadoon Marin to Melan's story revolves around Marin Asagi and a giant humanoid monomakia, Melan Blue. Combining fantasy, sci-fi, action, comedy and drama, it's a happy mix of everything every anime genre has to offer, all packed into 26 episodes.

First and foremost, Brigadoon's story is not something you can appreciate by watching the first 5 or 10 episodes and then jumping to the last episode. Despite all the action and the blood and the killing, Brigadoon is, deep down, a love story, brilliant and intricately built over a span of 26 episodes. Marin and Melan's kiss on episode 26 requires the past 25 episodes to explain; save my keyboard the trouble and just watch all of it.

Second, Brigadoon is not for the faint of heart. Most people will be uncomfortable with a romantic pairing between a 13-year old heroine and a much older-looking hero, and may decide not to even give the series a chance. This is a sad mistake. The most intimate thing that ever happened between Marin and Melan in the entire series was a goddamn kiss, and half the time Melan didn't know what a kiss was to begin with. It DOES have fanservice, but the pantyshots were far in-between and mostly for humor. It shouldn't be a hindrance from enjoying an otherwise brilliant series.

Now that we've got that out of the way, on to the review:

STORY: 8/10. Brigadoon's first few episodes makes it look like your run-of-the-mill, monster-of-the-day anime. Thankfully, it changes its mind and the pace picks up after  three episodes. When it finally does, Marin's brattiness stops and Melan's slam-bang kick-assery begins.

Melan's "duty" is heavily fueled by events from Brigadoon's past, but the series manages to avoid too much flashbacks by letting Lolo narrate Brigadoon's backstory little by little. However, there are still some confusing points in the series and even as a fan, I found it hard to follow especially at the last few episodes. A more prominent flaw, however, is the deus ex machina ending. I hate this. It's very abrupt, a little too convenient, and leaves so many unanswered questions that I can't help but wonder if the makers originally had a sequel in mind.  Explaining the motives of the Hensu-chi alone should take more episodes, considering that this is not the first time Brigadoon and earth almost ended because of the Hensu-chi.  

ART: 7/10. The fighting sequels were superb. The action shots are tense and speedy, with no repeated cells to make a one-minute fight last five minutes. The character designs for the monomakias were excellent, notably Melan's and Kushatohn's. However, I've noticed that most people dislike Marin's character design; She's supposed to be 13 but she looks everything under 9. And her feet. I'm pretty sure something's wrong with them...

Anyway, that doesn't bother me. What DOES bother me is how the animation tended to screw up at the worst possible moments. There were a few bad sequences in the Submaton Color episode [which was the best in the series], and it irritates me to no end that Melan's first smile in the entire series was drawn by a retard. I actually have to cover half of the freaking monitor with my hands to make Melan look normal! [Thankfully, Melan smiles radiantly in another scene in the same episode.]

SOUND: 9/10. I found Brigadoon's soundtrack haunting and enjoyable, but I'd admit it's not for everyone. Most tracks were Celtic-themed acapella singing, balanced by bouncy instrumental tracks and a fun closing theme. The acapella rendition of the opening song, "Kaze no Ao, Umi no Midori" is powerful and heart-wrenching. This provides strong contrast to the catchy ending theme, "Nijiiro no Takaramono", sung by the actress who voices Marin herself.

ENGLISH DUBBING: 0/10.  Just think of the English dub as parody dub, then forget it exists and watch the subbed version instead. The English dub made several changes in the character's lines, [e.g. Marin never says "Ahaaa~" in the English dub, even though it's her trademark expression in the series] and altered some scenes altogether [Melan and Marin's kiss in Episode 15 seemed to have NEVER happened in the English dub.]

And Marin. Ahh, let me see... it sounds like a fully grown woman trying to sound like a cute 13-year-old, the kind of voice you hear when you dream of little girls asking if you want to play, and when you turn around you see them holding knives dripping with blood, and when they raise it in the air you wake up in the middle of the night screaming. I hate it with all my heart.

Tony Oliver's voice is decent enough, but for a killing machine like Melan its too soft and low, like a whisper that's JUST barely audible. Somewhat like a commentator for a golf show. I don't know, but when Melan gets into a huge catfight involving guns and swords and his voice suddenly reminds me of golf, it kinda ruins the moment.

But more importantly, it's not worth missing out on Melan's Japanese voice. It's emotionless and solid, with a metallic twinge that fits his alien character unquestionably. It constantly reminds you that Melan is a huge bulk of steel and alien flesh you shouldn't mess with. Unless he's talking to Marin, he's ALWAYS unimpressed.I... it's just... perfect. I want to go on, but I can't think of any other words to describe it.

CHARACTER: 9/10. Though it has more than a dozen characters and only 26 episodes, Brigadoon manages to provide enough 'camera time' for most of them. Not enough time for character development per se, but enough for the viewer to grow familiar with and develop empathy towards them. There's Uncle Onando, who never says anything and just keeps throwing peace signs whenever he's onscreen. But I like him, and I don't know why.

ENJOYMENT: 10/10. I've watched the series over three times already, and although I am aware of the series' flaws, it has not stopped me from enjoying it. It's a pretty obscure anime and it's a pity people have not enjoyed it simply because they don't know the series exists. Highly recommended.

8/10 story
7/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
10/10 overall
Skadi367's avatar
Jul 25, 2012

This review may contain some spoiler-content and may be a tad lengthy as well as image-heavy.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

 Though I have experienced the various genres of anime and animation itself—I must confess that mecha, ecchi, and even romance at times did not pique my interests or just rubbed me in a wrong way. Even as many new series come into reality, most of them hold the same clichés and can stretch its number of episodes over 50. (with of the course the exception of Puella Magi Madoka Magica and other various series.)

 Sometimes it’s nice to backtrack into older animes and see a few classics that were the eventual lead-up to most series today.

 Upon this very journey is when I was reminded of a curious little series that was advertised at the back of TOKYOPOP manga books whose captions read “Mess With Her? Mess with Her Friend!!” What exactly reminded me of this were the Brigadoon: Marin to Melan DVDs themselves—propped haphazardly on a 99 cents store shelf next to InuYasha and Reign: The Conquerer.

 The image of this was quite something to behold. InuYasha was propped up understandably there due to copious amounts of copies, but was Brigadoon so bad that they deserved to be shelved in such a place? One had to know—and there was absolutely nothing to lose.

 I got much, much more than I could have ever bargained for.

STORY: 8/10

The construction of the story is paced very well. Many I am sure will find this series notorious for its various mood-whiplashes. As cluttered as the last episode may be and what plot points it leaves unanswered, this doesn’t make the show anything less than enjoyable. What the series does best is how it tugs at your emotions. Much like how the Disney version of Snow White does. Sure, some things may not make sense or may never be revealed, but you know deep down that you want a happy ending with characters all alive and well. (Can you imagine if the series ended right after Melan’s fight with Kuston? The tear-jerking rates would go up the roof.) I may as well add however that Brigadoon has a rather bittersweet ending. Whatever your ending preferences are, you can imagine the series ending in one scene or another and just leaving the rest out because of how well each scene is paced.

 Plus, even though the series starts out in a “Monster of the Week” fashion, once you hit episode 16 it drops all signs of which and the cliff hangers just won’t stop. But this doesn’t mean it drops all signs of hilarity or kookiness, so prepare yourself for a much darker second half that is what truly makes this series shine. (Not only are two worlds are about to fall, one of them actually gets taken over—do inform me the last time you have ever seen a story go this far.) The way Marin is treated throughout the last half—if the episodes before were not cruel enough given the acts of bullying, kidnapping, and abuse—is downright traumatizing for any 13-year-old. (There are many anime with heroines of this age range that claim they have rather large love issue problems that don’t compare to Marin’s life but I digress.) Once you think things for little Marin can’t possibly get any worse, it does. Melan isn’t safe either since he sheds blood in every episode. (Not even in the opening sequence is he safe--he bleeds there too!) And this goes without saying to the amounts of tragedy to the people on Earth.

 Even though the biggest flaw of the series would be how it’s non-applicable to any genre, it may also be its greatest strength. As rare as a series is to be a genre-roulette, at the very least it has something to offer for anyone be it the action, the drama, the comedy, the dark twists, the developed love story, or even the many plot points regarding the world of Brigadoon itself. And whatever you do favor in the most, the series does an overall decent if not great job at it.  

 The theme is delivered very cleverly bit by bit complete with foreshadowing that you don’t even realize what it is until the very end. This can also be said by the reveal of the big bad. (Clever or not—it did take it’s time, but one couldn’t complain if they wrote another episode to explain everything much more slowly.)

ANIMATION: 7/10

During the time Brigadoon was released, series such as Sailor Moon and .HACK were on the move. Though Sailor Moon may have the upper-hand at popularity, people sometimes pick at its animation loops and stock-footage. But of course that doesn’t stop a series from being quite enjoyable. Brigadoon, on the other hand, while including superb animations, does not stray from being captivating. As the rainbow is a running theme in the series, you’ll be happy to see (some literally) colorful characters of the light and dark kind.

 Many scenes have rather clever shots that set the perfect mood. The most noteworthy of all would be Melan’s action scenes, generally all scenes that include monomakia, (this is SUNRISE we’re talking about) and whenever a serious or memorable scene comes on.

 Despite the pros, the animation does share its portion of short-cuts and light usage of conspicuous CG. However scenes with these effects don’t last anymore than a few seconds, so it shouldn’t deviate away the viewer from other delights the series has to give.

ART STYLE: 6.5/10

Though there are various complaints regarding the way Marin is drawn and the whole human cast in general—you can see that all the time and effort were focused on the mechas. Even though there may be more impressive designs in other series, the ones in Brigadoon are certainly worthwhile and positively unique. Most noteworthy would be the Gunswordsmen, Kushatohn, Poikun, and the way Brigadoon is drawn.

CHARACTERS: 8/10

 The series has quite a handful of characters, each one is given just enough screen time to develop them in an enjoyable, relatable or sympathetic manner. A character by the name of Uncle Onando has no dialogue at all, he just does peace signs whenever you see him and that alone makes him enjoyable.

 What you will end up investing yourself in the most would be the growing relationship between the main characters: Marin and Melan, which is essentially the focus of the whole series. Even if the pairing may put you off in the beginning due to the huge age gap and the, err, “interspecies” issue, you’ll soon fall for the way the Marin and Melan begin to care for one another in ways such as regular fire-forged friendship to star-crossed lovers. After all, there are far worse case scenarios than this one, example being the two switching ages if you believed the age range was the biggest problem. The most intimate scenes they have with each other are nothing more than an innocent kiss. Some of them are even plot points, and though they (Arguably—due to whether or not you’ve watched the English dub.) have three consecutive kiss scenes they are saved around the end of the series.

 Love story aside, some have a dislike of Marin’s development claiming that she comes very close to becoming a “Mary Sue.” Otherwise, one can say that at least she doesn’t suffer from the “damsel-in distress” cliché very well known in storytelling. Of course, the whole story revolves around Melan’s protection over her, but she does strive to help him at one point and acknowledges that she is a burden. And she does require the power to immensely grant the help Melan needs for his duty.

 MUSIC & SOUND: 10/10

The track consists of very cultural-sounding tunes that can either sound timeless or around the dated time Brigadoon takes place and then some. (I’m no musical whizz so take what you will.)

 As much as the entire track of Brigadoon may not be palatable to everyone, whoever does enjoy it heavily will certainly feel how worthwhile it is. Each track plays at precise moments that are appropriate to the scene. (Give or take a few.) Sound effects create tension and the battle sounds between Melan and whatever enemies are pure mecha classics. Even if you detest the track you can admit that it is memorable. (Melan’s leitmotif anyone?)

ENGLISH DUBBING: -10/10

…I cannot digress how badly the English dub was done. Given that the original Japanese dub consisted of an all-star cast, the English dub was casted quite well with actors/actresses such as Wendee Lee, Tony Oliver and Terrence Stone. Even though the original cast did a few double and triple castings, Wendee Lee in the English dub voiced around 10+ characters. As much of a great actress she is, there is so much a single person can do to disguise her voice. (Which can cause Erin’s and Marin’s voices sounding so much older than they should)

There is nothing worthwhile you can get from the English dub except perhaps hilarity value.

With editing mistakes across the production and a terrible script—it can’t be saved. Some of the edits are so bad that you can’t hear the music or sound effects compared to the original. There’s even a scene where if you watched the episode where Moe turns into a giant, they toned her voice down to a lower pitch (which I could’ve sat through since many use this effect.) when she first spoke, but then that edit was never used again, giving us a rather blatant error. Sometimes whatever they write out makes no sense and sometimes whatever they keep in makes no sense. (See that joke in episode 15 where Marin compares the voices of Chroma and Grandpa Shuta.) At times, the voices aren’t in sync with the animation, the voice may be laughing while the character itself does otherwise.

 Not even the performance is sound—you realize quite soon that no English-speaker ever speaks in ways conveyed by this dub. Pronunciations are a complete joke. Note that Marin is a completely different character from Marine, so the handling of the two names in the series should be carefully done—however it is not. Not to mention that they even have a hand at “cultural cleansing” the series when it came to Aloma’s snacks and whatnot similar to the hands of a 4kids company. Melan, while sounding a bit more emotional, takes away from the story since the whole point of Melan’s character is all about his (subtle) transformation enabling him to smile and sob for the first time in his life. Tony Oliver either underplays him or overplays him depending if it’s an action scene or not. And according to his version of Melan, the love story is nothing but mere friendship.

 Melan’s dignity? Out the window. The beastly cries of Kushatohn? Out the Window. The deep emotions presented by Pyon at the end of episode 13? Out the window. If you are busy hounding a Miyazaki film on its English dubbing, feel free to stop in your tracks and check the work of this one out. It baffles me to no end how horrid this dub is for no reason and one can’t help speculate that this is what drove people away.

 Quite a fair amount of people have watched and enjoyed or outright demand for the English dub, however, and it shouldn’t go without question. Give it a try after watching the series in Japanese (recommended, since the story is told completely and the puns will make sense) or vice versa if you wish.

OVERALL: 10/10

This series is an obscure one out of the many anime series. It can leave you happy and refreshed to making you bawl you eyes out. It’s a perfect and clever blend of favorite genres and it certainly has re-watch value, but when you first watch it through it’s quite something. The story provided many if not heart-breaking surprises and constantly keeps you guessing Marin and Melan’s fate. The mystery alone will drive you to watch the series all the way through, think of the first half as an exercise for the second half

 The number of episodes it takes to tell this epic tale is a fairly standard size regarding anime series. (26) And no episode makes you lose interest with perhaps the exception of episode 14 that mainly recaps the episodes before it. (Then again, taking a look at the cliffhanger at episode 13 will glue your eyes on the screen despite.)

 (Marin: Before & After)

THE JOURNEY THROUGH

Brigadoon is not as horrible and unmemorable as one may assume. As I watched the series after this fateful encounter, the only way I could describe the experience would be that it just got better and better and exceeded any expectations. (What little you may have had) It’s extremely refreshing concerning how it dodges many clichés. It's a grand mistake if you don't watch this anime all the way through because it is criminally underrrated.

 You can laugh, cry, rejoice, or have your heart crushed on the journey with Marin and Melan, and as the series ends it can mystify you since it’s hard to see the two leave because they were always there—from beginning to end. I am extremely fond with this series for it’s a unique one—and I have yet to find any person who detests it. 

8/10 story
7/10 animation
10/10 sound
8/10 characters
10/10 overall
Gzerble's avatar
Feb 21, 2015

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.

7/10 story
3/10 animation
7/10 sound
4/10 characters
6.4/10 overall