Licensed by Sentai Filmworks, Brighter than the Dawning Blue is the latest example of an anime title that originated as a PC game. This adult visual novel was very successful in Japan with several iterations including a version on the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable. There was later a series of novels, some manga, and in 2006 a 12 episode animation was broadcast in Japan. It may have taken a few years, but we finally have this series in hand. Was it worth the wait?
Brighter than the Dawning Blue takes place in a world where humanity has colonized the moon. The problem here is that a rift formed between the folks on Earth and the people on the Sphere Kingdom. A war (named the Oedipus War) erupted and needless to say it was a while until peace between both worlds was made. The United Nations eventually worked out a deal that opened diplomacy to the Lunar Kingdom.
The show focuses on Feena Fam Earthlight (yes, that's actually her name), who comes from Sphere Kingdom. Well, she doesn't so much as come from there, but she's the princess of the place. Unfortunately for the poor girl, her mother passed away. In light of this Feena has decided to move to Earth to see what it's all about. She winds up staying with Asagiri Tatsuya, whose father is first assistant to the president.
Considering Tatsuya is a teenage boy, having a cute princess move into your house is naturally the cause for some problems. Making matters worse for the kid is the fact that Feena also joins his school. Traditional humor applies in this respect, and for the most part it feels quite generic. In case you're unfamiliar with anime that set up a situation such as this, the class is intimidated by Feena, however, Tatsuya knows her personally. Making matters worse is the fact that she's a princess and he's a commoner.
As one might expect, considering the two are thrust into this situation, love begins to blossom soon enough. The show follows Tatsuya and Feena as they get to know each other, and eventually it addresses the relationship issue head-on. Feena is apparently betrothed to someone back on the moon, and the folks back home aren't too thrilled about her hooking up with a commoner earthling. There's a certain Romeo and Juliet mentality to it all, though those parts aren't played quite as strongly as they could have been.
Aside from the shoujo elements, Brighter than the Dawning Blue also contains a fair amount of comedy as well. Feena's reactions to the new world around here are very charming, and in many cases she overreacts. Tatsuya is quite funny himself and his friend Natsuki is the cause for much grief. They work together at her father's restaurant and in particular her brother, Jin, will give viewers plenty of laughs.
All the pieces come together to make a rather interesting show, however, I can't say that Brighter than the Dawning Blue is a highly recommended title. The show tends to drag at times, and in all fairness it's not the most original anime out there. Characters fit generic roles and some elements of the story just don't rise above mediocrity. Anyone who may have imported the game will want to give this one a whirl, but it's a rather obscure title for the uninitiated.
Brighter than the Dawning Blue is presented on DVD with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and has been enhanced for anamorphic widescreen. The show is bright and colorful, and quite frankly it lives up to its namesake. Grain is present here, though it's very light, and all around there were really no digital artifacts to point out. The show features attractive character designs and decent animation. Overall it's a solid looking series, even if it's not the most impressive from a content standpoint.
As is the case with every other Sentai Filmworks release Brighter than the Dawning Blue hits DVD with Japanese 2.0 stereo as its only audio source. For what it is it's not bad, but don't come expecting a robust, engrossing experience. The sound quality is clear with sharp dialogue and a good soundtrack, but it's just flat. Then again this isn't exactly the kind of show where a bombastic presentation would be required. English subtitles are included.
Clean animations and trailers are included for bonus features.
Brighter than the Dawning Blue is a rather peculiar release. I mean, it's not like this title is going to have a huge audience in the States, because it's from a PC game very few have probably even heard of. With that being said the 12 episode anime is self-contained and endearing in its own way. Fans of shoujo comedies will want to check it out, but anyone looking for something with original characters or fresher situations will be left wanting. It's not bad by any stretch of the imagination; it's just not great either. Consider it lightly recommended.