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Blue Gender #2 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Written by maehara   
Thursday, 04 January 2007 04:00
Blue GenderYuji's extended road trip continues, as a visit to Seoul proves to be a disastrous outing for the survivors of the recovery team - and the survivors they find in the city.  As getting off the planet proves to be far harder that anyone had expected, it begins to look like none of the squad will survive to make it back to orbit - especially if Yuji continues to disobey orders...

4 - Agony
Yuji and the others arrive in Seoul, and are immediately welcomed by a Blue attack.  Trying to keep clear of any trouble, the group simply run for it and try to make contact with the Korean region recovery group - but when they reach their location, they find the Blue have been there already and left no survivors, leaving Marlene looking for another option for trying to get back to orbit.  On their way through the city, Yuji spots a young girl, under attack by the Blue, and against orders heads out to help her.  Realising that if the girl has been able to survive up to now there must be a safe location nearby, the squad go in search of it - and find the largest group of survivors they've yet found.  But the survivors aren't exactly pleased to see them...

The Korean Recovery TeamMaking promises

5 - Priority
The team enter the Blue nest, hoping to reach the communication centre there and contact the station.  Inside, they find a Blue hatching chamber - and the Blue they find there have evolved into a form that they realise they'll be unlikely to defeat.  With time running short, they head up to the communication room, where Marlene is able to raise the station and receives word that the team will need to travel to Baikonur space centre in Russia if they want to return to orbit.  First order of business is getting out of the city - but with the Blue closing in on their position, they need something to distract the blue.  Bait of some sort.  Preferably live bait...

ContactFinal moments

6 - Relation
And then there were two.  Yuji and Marlene begin the long trek to Baikonur, on foot as their transporter and Armour Shrikes were destroyed in Korea.  Their journey takes them through the Tibetan Himalayas, by which point Yuji is almost at the limits of his endurance - both physically and mentally.  The emotional scars of seeing so much death are beginning to get the better of him, and seeing Marlene apparently shrug the entire episode off upsets him almost as much.  What he doesn't know is that Marlene's icy exterior is bottling up even more hardship and death than he can imagine.  It's only when Marlene tells him of her past that he finally begins to understand...

ExhaustedEarliest memory

Two things that become clear over these episodes: first, don't get attached to any of the characters (although I suspect Yuji and Marlene at least will make it to journey's end alive), and two, Yuji does not take orders well - he disregards Marlene's orders more times than enough and lands the team in more than their fair share of trouble as a result.  Part of that is through disgust at how the Earth-based survivors are treated by those safely in orbit - Second Earth treats the survivors on the surface as if they were already dead.  There's no capacity to support them in orbit and therefore no incentive to save any of them, so they just don't care what happens to them.  The Seoul survivors, and how they're callously used in episode 5, is a good example of this.

The introduction of Yung came with big red warning flags over it - you just know that when a character in an anime series promises to protect someone "no matter what", the protectee is destined for a messy end, and so it is with Yung.  The difference between Blue Gender and most series, though, is in how it's done: no episode-long build-up, teary goodbye or five-minute farewell speech while the victim dies in their loved one's arms here, just a death at a completely unexpected moment that's over in a fraction of a second.  All very callous and maybe a bit manipulative, but it's the effect it has on Yuji that's the real story behind it.

Episode 6 felt a bit like filler - lots of scenes of Marlene and Yuji climbing over and around mountains, with little or no dialogue and no encounters with the Blue.  It's only towards the end of the episode, when Marlene finally begins to drop the icy exterior and opens up to Yuji, that it starts getting interesting.  Her outlook on life has been shaped by her past experiences - she's got no memories of the time before the Blue and only knows fighting, so emotions aren't something she's had a lot of use for, but they are there - they've just been suppressed by necessity.  It seems that Yuji's influence is finally bringing them to the surface, and that could make her a far more interesting character, depending on how they're used.

Not a bad volume, then.  Blue Gender still feels like it's in set-up mode, but it's nice to see a series that isn't afraid to write off "major" characters at a moment's notice - it keeps you on your toes and indicates that genuine surprises can happen.  It's still maybe stuck in "road movie" mode - I'd like to see something different before too long - but what's here is definitely enjoyable.  Well worth a look.

Rating - ****

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