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Blue Gender #1 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Written by maehara   
Thursday, 07 December 2006 04:00
Blue GenderAnother dip into the depths of the backlog produces Blue Gender - I'd enjoyed the movie edit and bought the series off the back of it, and then never quite got around to watching it.  Now, I have the time - so here are the adventures of Yuji Kaido in their full, 26-episode glory.  How would you react if you woke up to find the world as you knew it no longer existed?  Yuji's not taking the news too well...

1 - Oneday
It's the year 2031, and mankind has been replaced as the dominant species by a race of monstrous insect-like creatures known as Blue.  Yuji Kaido finds awakens from cryogenic sleep to find himself in the hands of a military sqaud, and under attack by the Blue - creatures that didn't exist at the time he was put into suspended animation 22 years earlier.  To say it's a little bit of a culture shock for Yuji is an understatement - after all, the world as he knows it no longer exists - and his only hope for survival in the new world comes from an elite Sleeper Recovery Team, and a seemingly unfriendly mech pilot named Marlene...

Waking sightMarlene

2 - Cry
Yuji and the Recovery Team arrive back in his home town - now nothing more than an abandoned ruin.  While the squad raid the shops for some supplies, Yuji gets a chance to speak to Joey & Keith about what's happened while he was sleeping.  The Blue first appeared 14 years previously - at first thought to have been created as a biological weapon, but later realised to be an alien lifeform, and one who found Earth to be perfectly suited to their life cycle.  The lucky surviving humans now live on the orbiting station Second Earth - the unlucky ones remain abandoned on the surface.  Yuji's a special case, though - the illness that led to him becoming a Sleeper makes him of particular interest to the military's researchers, and that's his ticket to Second Earth, but a Blue attack on the orbital shuttle's launch site leaves Yuji and the survivors of the Recovery Team stranded on the surface...

Not helpfulRoll Out

3 - Trial
With the shuttleport destroyed, Yuji and the Recovery Team survivors - Marlene, Joey and Commander Bradley - are left facing a lengthy trek across South-East Asia to the nearest alternative shuttleport.  Tired of feeling like a passenger, Yuji pleads to be trained as part of the team.  At first Marlene's against the idea - getting him to orbit alive is their mission, after all, and allowing him to fight wouldn't exactly be helpful - but eventually she agrees, and so an abandoned school becomes a temporary training ground as she tries to bring Yuji up to a useful combat skill level before their journey continues.  An old cargo ship gives them an escape route from Japan - but once again the Blue attack, and Yuji's new-found cockiness in his fighting abilities soon lands him in trouble...

Weapons trainingInto action

Yuji's still having a hard time dealing with all this.  After 22 years, his friends and family would still normally be alive, but that's highly unlikely now, and he seems torn between trying to make the best of a bad situation and wishing he'd already died and got it over with.  Obviously, he's been awakened without there being a cure for his illness, so presumably it's only a matter of time before the symptoms begin to manifest themselves, so I'm a little curious to see how that side of things plays out.

The remaining members of the recovery team that survive the initial attacks are Marlene, Joey and Bradley - Marlene's not the most outwardly emotional of people - possibly as she's an orphan - but she's coldly efficient in battle and the most useful of the three.  Joey's far more down-to-earth and approachable, and soon strikes up a friendship with Yuji - the two eventually end up operating an Armoured Shrike together - while Bradley's a typical command type who only bothers speaking when it's really necessary to.  They're a fairly typical anime combat group, really.  I know from seeing the movie that the relationship between Marlene and Yuji is something that's worth keeping an eye on.

The series dates from around 1998, and looks surpisingly good for something of that age.  Animation's nicely detailed, motion is fluid, and there's very little in the way of obvious signs of age - so a full set of thumbs up on the presentation front.  Content-wise, these episodes provide a decent amount of setup, including some background information into the appearance of the Blue and Yuji's own history that was stripped out of the movie version, along with a few nice but short set-piece battles to give a real feel of an Earth that's now very hostile to human life.

So far, so good, then.  These episodes are as good as introductory stories are likely to be - the real story's still to come, and hopefully they don't spend too much time concentrating on the journey across Asia (Blue Gender: The Road Movie?).  A good start, though.  A note about the price of this release, by the way: officially, it's still £17.99 - a bit steep for a 4-year-old release - but if you buy it from MVM's own online store, you'll get it for a far more reasonable £4.99.  At that price, you really can't go wrong.

Rating - ***

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