Looking at character designs and images from this show, I was overwhelmed by the ugliness of the designs, and figured that this anime would be an easy one to write off, but lately it seems that time and time again initial impressions have proven wrong for me. This show had me so engrossed in the story and feeling so sorry for Maya that I totally forgot about the ugliness! And actually, the still shots don't really do the show justice; even when I'm paying attention to the designs, they don't look nearly as bad in action. ^_^
WARNING: I really spoil the plot of the first two episodes here, and I think they're REALLY good, so if you're already thinking about watching the anime, just skip this review and go watch them! Seriously! Oh, but you can read the last paragraph if you want. ^^
The first two episodes of Daphne focus on the worst day ever for a poor girl named Maya. An elite student headed for a sure position at a cushy government job doing what she loves in the Ocean Government Office or something, she suddenly finds out that even though she was practically best in her class, she failed her exams and was not accepted. Of course, she has to move out of the house she was renting because her grandfather she was living with just passed away, and now she's not able to live in the housing she was expecting. She doesn't have much money and so can't find anyplace to live, even when she tries for a job that will provide her with housing too. To top it all off, she gets robbed walking around the more unsavory districts of town, and basically ends up with no way to get home. Oh wait... that wasn't all. She gets taken hostage by some criminal, and shot at by the bounty hunters chasing him!!!
She wakes up in the office of Nereis(?), the bounty hunter group that shot her, and before she can escape, they manage to convince her to help them out trying to get the criminal's partner and some money from them... bad idea. (Well what do you expect from the same woman who just shot at the hostage?) Anyway, she gets taken by the criminals, only exchanged back because they threatened to go to the media badmouthing Nereis, re-kidnapped, almost killed in the escape, and then to top it all off, when she FINALLY gets home, all of her belongings have been confiscated because she hasn't moved out yet...
With nowhere else to go, she decides to take up the offer of the same woman who has done so well by her so far and work for Nereis and live there. At least Shizuka, the other woman working there, is nice. ^^
Heh, so character designs aside, I really like the world of Daphne! I have a real fondness for settings based on lots water, like the manga ARIA and AQUA and that h-anime See in Ao. I haven't really seen too much stuff like that (Aika doesn't really count because it's too destroyed... doesn't give the same feel), and so I was really happy with the way they designed everything here. Combine this with a great OP song, great plot, and good writing, and I think you've got the most unexpectedly good anime of the season. Even beating out MEZZO for me! I'm really looking forward to the rest of this anime, because if they can keep up the good stories, it might be one of my favorite anime this year! ^_^