Better in its second half

Since its earliest scenes the trademark of Daphne has been costuming so skimpy that it might make a Vegas showgirl blush, and the second half of the series does nothing to change that. By this point, however, most viewers should be so inured to the near-overexposure that it no longer registers as prominently, thus allowing concentration on the rest of the series' content. In some senses that is a Bad Thing, as the lessening of such a distraction allows viewers to realize how much the series is merely retreading stale one-shot story ideas without doing much to freshen them up. In other senses that is a Good Thing, though. For all the faults that the series has, it can be genuinely entertaining once one gets past the whole costuming thing, and that shows through a bit better in the second half than in the first.

Any listing of the story elements used through this run shows a decided lack of creativity. A fish-out-of-water story about taking care of a baby? Humoring an old kook on an underwater hunt for a sea monster? A heroine having to land a commuter plane under distressed conditions? A case of amnesia hiding a dire secret? A seemingly benevolent organization with something to cover up? A character getting charmed by a con man? Chasing down a runaway kid? Yawn. All of these are “been there, done that” material from other anime series, in some cases many times over; the amnesia gimmick, which was dropped on viewers out of the blue toward the end of the first half, is particularly guilty of this. Not helping matters is the lack of depth the series shows on any character other than Maia, as what little true glimpses viewers get into the backstories of other characters barely fleshes them out at all. (That Rena once rejected a guy in a way that took him ages to get over is hardly a shocking revelation.)

What the series does do well, however, is to find a way to make things entertaining despite how moldy its ideas are. The characters may be fairly basic archetypes, but they are used effectively to generate a lot of spirited content, some of which even becomes outright funny; somehow, Yu's deadpan contrast to Gloria, and the way she regularly beats Gloria into submission whenever the latter goes too far out of control, never gets old, nor does the way Rena flaunts her sexuality when off-duty. Maintaining the three brothers and sister May as recurring characters is one of the few places where the series shows inspiration, as they serve well in the way they mix comic relief with crises and never disappoint on any of their appearances. Maia also has her turns as the comic fall girl.

Nearly smothered under outlandishly risqué costuming and retread story ideas is some surprisingly entertaining content which mixes humor with a semblance of true sentiment and actual plot. Although still far from great, the series is definitely better in its second half than it looked like at first.


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