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[Blue Gender box art]
AKA: ブルージェンダー
Genre: Sci-fi / horror
Length: Television series, 26 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: VHS and R1 DVD from FUNimation
Content Rating: 16+ (brief nudity, graphic violence, sexual situations); edited version 13+ (violence, adult themes)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Gasaraki, RahXephon,Titan AE
Notes:
Rating: Two StarsTwo Stars
 

Blue Gender

Synopsis

The year is 2031, and humanity has been driven to the brink of extinction by a species of monsters called "The Blue" who now rule the planet of earth. Humanity, in its continuing struggle to survive, has been driven into space to their last stronghold and hope of survival: The space station "Second Earth." It is into this situation that Kaido Yugi awakens, having been put into stasis some thirty years before as the only known treatment for an incurable disease.


Review

Anticlimactic and frustrating, Blue Gender is one of those titles that hooks you right from the beginning, but then just fails to deliver. Plot-wise, all the prospects in the first few volumes look good as this series does have excellent character set up and development though in the first three to four volumes. Also, while this series does set you up to take several of the horror-genre twists, such as "I like this side character, but gah! They died!", it solidly introduces two constants (Yugi and Marlene) to whom the audience is pretty much forced to become attached to if they want to continue watching and enjoying the series. Yugi, the main, faces and overcomes one of the staples of the "unwilling hero genre" very early in the series, the whole "I'm a non-combatant / Shinji-ism," a feat which allows for some real character growth and development. This growth in character maturity also provides a very realistic background for an interesting "respect relationship" between him and the leading lady Marlene which (thankfully) doesn't evolve into "something more" until much later.

Unfortunately, this title seems to get wrapped up in its own plot on its way to the finish line, and about halfway through decided to mess around (badly) with what really made this series tick: Yugi and Marlene. I don't know what gave them this bright idea, but basically the scriptwriter decided to go on an entirely different escapade (no, not a twist) about halfway through the series, taking all the character's maturity and just totally throwing it all out the window. Yugi, who I praised so highly for overcoming the "Evangelion dilemma" so early in the series suddenly reverts to being an immature, competitive a-hole (with reasons, I guess...). This forces Marlene who, at the beginning of the series, was an amazing "cold outside/ warm inside" character, to come out of her shell and play a kind of "mother"-type character to Yugi, instead of who the audience has known through the whole series. Also, it becomes apparent a little before halfway through that, in the future, "something more" as far as relationships are concerned will not exactly be the same. You see, everyone gets something more. Oh, they justify it of course: "In times like these, is it wrong to do something that allows you to feel 'human?'" All in all, though, this just adds up to everyone getting a whole lot of play, and though I don't remember any of the scenes shown in a direct and pornographic manner (mostly just to add some scenery to a camera pan of a room) there is no doubt of what's going on. The ending just rounds out the whole frustrating last half of the plot, containing about the same amount of preaching in one hour as was contained in the entirety of Princess Mononoke, it peters out to become one of the most anticlimactic and rather boring attempts at an ending that I have ever seen.

Animation-wise, up to the halfway point, the animation had been mediocre to bad, but ignorable because the plot was so involving. Now, however, looking back, it's hard to see how it was ignorable seeing as how it took so many shortcuts. I mean, for example: Giving the mecha wheels on the feet so that they don't have to animate walking during the "low-importance" scenes (like traveling & such). As for music? Well, I think I remember some mediocre background rock music, but nothing to write home about and nothing that I can remember with too much clarity, so it's definitely not an issue in this series.

After all is said and done though, the fight scenes with the Blue and a few "touching" moments between characters are the only saving graces to the last half of this series.

What a waste.

Thoroughly average and enjoyable mecha anime that wasted what potential it had going for it. Add one star if you really just like seeing mecha rip through a whole bunch of monsters and don't really care a lot about anything else. With so much better out there though, seriously, unless you're watching this for free on CN or can get a good bargain on the DVDs, do yourself a favor and go watch RahXephon.Isaac Cynova

Recommended Audience: Between the nudity in the ending credits, the wanton violence, blood and gore of the battles with the Blue, and the numerous sexual situations encountered in passing, please, adults only need apply. (Kids! Go watch CN! Daddy'll watch the same episode as you are, honest!)



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (26/26)
Blue Gender © 1999 AIC / Toshiba EMI
 
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