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[Vandread Second Stage]
AKA: N/A
Genre: Space opera / action
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Licensed by FUNimation; R1 DVD from Pioneer out of print
Content Rating: PG-13
Related Series: Vandread
Also Recommended: Vandread, Macross, any Gundam series, Martian Successor Nadesico, Irresponsible Captain Tylor
Notes: This is actually a direct continuation of Vandread's storyline.
Rating: Four StarsFour StarsFour StarsFour Stars

Vandread Second Stage

Synopsis

Vandread: The Second Stage takes off immediately where Vandread left off (I can't tell you anything else without spoiling Vandread's ending). Along the way, the crew of the Nirvana stumbles across an escape pod that contains a young girl cryogenically frozen inside.

Who is this mysterious girl and is she really the one who will save the universe from the Harvest?


Review

Since this series takes off immediately where the first ended, there is a sense of continuation from the final episode and they waste no time re-introducing the characters or the story. Studio Gonzo has managed to maintain the art style and character designs so the transition is smooth.

The story keeps getting better as you go on. Many mysterious points that were introduced in the first series are slowly revealed here, like the origins of certain characters or secrets about the enemy that they are facing. In fact, a main character is killed just a few episodes into the beginning and this changes the overall mood of the characters and makes the story just that bit more believable. Besides dealing with the loss of one of their friends, the crew has to deal with the issues within them as the origins of the genders are slowly revealed and the plot thickens.

When compared to the first series, the visuals here have improved a lot. The computer-generated space battles are more frequent and loaded with effects and fast-paced action, even more than the first. Occasionally the story takes the crew to places such as a space station, and here the crew manages to show off their combat skills in a really sleek manner. Picture Barnette with assault rifles. Then B.C. with a whip (down, boy!).

Character development is a key in Vandread, and it shows in all the characters through death and experience. No 2 dimensional cardboard cutouts here. The crew is not oblivious to things happening around them but you will be able to see the situations have an effect on them, good or bad.

The addition of the new crewmember, Misty, was a bad move in my opinion. Although she is supposed to play a key part in the story, she basically ends up as a rival to Dita's total dominance of Hibiki. And poor Hibiki is interested in *neither* of them - having one annoying female glomping him is enough, but *TWO*? Add one more girl and you'll have a harem anime.

People say being surrounded by anime babes is heaven. In this case, Purgatory is more like it.

The plot does have good twists and is generally well written, but the script gets rather corny from time to time. The characters occasionally have lines that sound like they're ripped from B-grade movies or an Arnold Schwarzenegger film, whichever is worse. Yes, your ears would curl in on themselves as you hear lines like "You're not alone. We're all here to support you" or "I am what I am because I believe in myself" and all that. But of course, these don't happen all the time - most of it is well written and well acted.

Vandread: the Second Stage is a worthy continuation to the first series and it wraps up most of the plot at the end. But you really shouldn't watch this one by itself. Start with the first season and go all the way. The two series really seem like one whole 26 episode story that was just split nicely down the middle.

Misty's fighting over the 5th star with Dita so I can't put it here. For best results, take *both* series and I'll see you in the morning.Enoch Lau

Recommended Audience: Just like the first series : animated violence, implied gender jokes here and there. No nudity but some rather figure-flattering costumes. Death really happens in this anime and while the focus is more on the effect it has on others, it may be a bit hard younger viewers to swallow, so a glass of water and some lighter anime would probably be better.



Version(s) Viewed: TV (AXN-Asia), Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Vandread Second Stage © 2001 Mori Takeshi - GONZO/MEDIA FACTORY - GDH
 
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