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Blue Gender #4 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by maehara   
Thursday, 18 January 2007 04:00
Blue GenderJourney's end may be in sight, but there are still some battles for Marlene and Yuji to fight before they can finally reach Second Earth - and further battles for Marlene to fight once they get there, once it begins to look like Yuji's future may have been brighter if he'd just stayed on the surface...

10 - Tactics
Marlene and Yuji arrive at Baikonur, only to find the base in a state of chaos.  The facility is crawling with Blue, and the computer defense systems have turned on their human counterparts - a bug in the automaton system means the unmanned weapons can no longer distinguish friend from foe.  Now, with supplies and personnel dwindling, the assembled recovery teams must launch a desperate bid to regain control of the base.  Yuji, meanwhile, is beginning to think about what will happen when he reaches Second Earth - will be still be able to see Marlene?  Would she want to see him anyway?  To Marlene, at least, such worries are secondary to the small detail of living through the planned operation to retake the base...

Last night on EarthCrazed look

11 - Go Mad
The battle outside the base between the Blue and the defenders, including Marlene's squad, continues - but the actions of computer expert Han threaten to make their job pointless.  Having fallen in love with his idolised vision of the Sleeper he's recovered, it's Han's plan to hijack the shuttle and take her to somewhere they can be together - where that may be doesn't appear to have crossed his mind yet.  His plans are dashed when the shuttle's launch procedure is interrupted by a fault in the bases's nuclear reactor, which has been infiltrated by the Blue - leaving Marlene and the other defenders without the support of the automaton defenders, and the rest of the team with no apparent way to launch the shuttle...

On her way homeUnhappy ending for Yuji

12 - Progress
Yuji is rushed to intensive care on arrival at Second Earth - hardly the happy ending to his travels across Earth that he'd been expecting.  Marlene faces an inquiry before the station's High Council to defend her actions since Yuji's recovery - especially as to why she allowed him, the Sample that she was under orders to return at all costs, to take part in combat.  But Marlene has questions of her own, and soon begins to suspect that the Council's plans for Yuji won't be in his best interests...

On trialExperimental subject?

Yuji still doesn't quite get this whole "military protocol" thing - during the battle to secure Baikonur he spends most of his time pushing the other members of the team he's with to do something to help Marlene, rather than just letting them get on with their jobs.  You get the feeling that it's only his status as a Sleeper that stops the commander from putting a bullet through him.

Han's the first indication that there may be trouble in store for Yuji.  He seems to know what the Sleepers are being used for, and doesn't want the girl he's recovered to be used for whatever that is, so there are some bad vibes there to start with.  The aides during Marlene's "trial" and the way Yuji's subsequently treated would seem to back that up - I'm sure we'll see soon enough exactly what's going on, but it's fairly obvious that it's not going to be good from Yuji's point of view.  You can look at this two ways: either the leaders of Second Earth are completely cold, calulating and uncaring; or they're taking a wholly justified and pragmatic view that the greater good justifies whatever mistreatment they may dish out to individual humans.  The way everyone on the station is addressed by their ID number rather than their name would seem to back that up.  Since Yuji's one of the stars of the show and we're probably meant to have developed some sort of attachment to him by now, it's easy to go with the first option - but the second is equally valid and worth bearing in mind.

Following her trial, Marlene is withdrawn from active duty and sent back to basic training and prove she's fit for active duty again, but some of Yuji's concern for other people has rubbed off on her - she finds she can't ignore "groundlings" as easily as she used to, which doesn't go down well with her trainers and affects her simulation scores.  While on one level she's determined to prove her worth to her superiors, it's also very clear that in her current frame of mind she's not going to be able to - and Second Earth doesn't seem to be very accommodating of people they have no use of.

I'm glad the road-trip portion of the series is out of the way now, as it was beginning to feel a little strung out.  The story's now moved into a different phase - I haven't seen enough of it yet to get a feel for how it's going to play out, but the developing relationship between Marlene and Yuji does give a definite hook into wanting to know how things play out, as much from their personal viewpoints as in the greater scheme of things.  Blue Gender's been very addictive viewing right from the start - hopefully now the setting has changed a bit that will continue to be the case, and there's nothing here that makes me think anything different.

Rating - ****

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