Review by: Eduardo Zacarias
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $39.98 US
Running Time: 750 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/ Action
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
The battle to save Earth begins and no amount of Raid will help against these bugs.
Blue Gender is one of those rare anime series that takes you complete by surprise and not just because it contains plenty of blood, gore and sexual themes but because it takes a familiar theme (Earth being overrun by bug-like creatures) and makes it work in ways that make it a compelling, exciting and unique sci-fi action series. The series has been released on DVD before but the Anime Classics release of The Complete Series of Blue Gender is definitely the set you need to own.
Just in case you need another reason besides the fact that this 26-episode series is downright cool, the Anime Classics collection comes with a fifth disc filled with extras that also include the “Blue Gender: The Warrior” feature film. If you managed to catch this series on TV, you really missed out because the uncut version looks fantastic on DVD.
The story finds a young man named Yuji Kaido waking up to a living nightmare as he is suddenly awakened from suspended animation inside a capsule. You see, what was once a medical facility is now a grave for others like him but the nightmarish part is that there are vicious giant bug-like creatures attacking a scary looking squad that’s armed to the teeth. He is suddenly taken by surprise by what he first thought might be a robot when he discovers there’s a woman behind this walking armor. She is Marlene Angel, a human soldier whose mission is to take him away from this facility.
Yuji finds out that 22 years have passed since he allowed himself to be placed in suspended animation after he was diagnosed with what Doctor’s told him was an illness that could actually be cured in the future. What he wakes up to is Earth now dominated by the creatures Marlene calls the Blue and that humans are being wiped out to the point that a chosen few are living in a space station known as Second Earth. All of this is too much for Yuji to handle and – on top of it all – Marlene doesn’t seem to care about anything and anyone. Marlene only seems to care about her mission to take him, also known as a Sleeper, to Second Earth.
Along the way, Marlene loses members of her squad until all that is left is her and Yuji … who she reluctantly helped train in the art of firearms and driving the armor knows as Armor Shrike. Together, they encounter other human survivors trying to live the best they can and Yuji makes an effort to defend them despite the fact that Marlene won’t even lift a finger to help anyone else. However, as cold-hearted as she is, Marlene begins to change thanks to Yuji. At one point, she even decides to let him go and live with a group of goat herders.
However, it becomes clear that Yuji has feelings for Marlene and joins up with her again but as soon as they get to the Second Earth station, members of the High Council that ordered Marlene to recover any Sleeper they find take Yuji away. Suddenly, the heartless Marlene fights to find Yuji only to find an ally in a scientist named Miyagi who happens to oversee the High Council’s pet project that Yuji is now a part of seeing as all Sleepers have a unique trait called B-cells.
So the young woman who once only thought of her mission is now fighting to save Yuji who – along with two Sleepers named Alicia Whistle and Tony Frost – becomes a fighting force against the Blue. They are sent on dangerous missions to reclaim key areas on Earth and to fight Blue that have evolved. Marlene sees that the Yuji she knew is replaced with an obsessed Blue-killing machine who is desperately trying to outshine Tony who is skilled at slaying Blue. When Marlene learns of the secret behind the Sleepers, she heads off to save Yuji and hopefully bring him back to his senses.
Unfortunately, it becomes too late for Tony and Alicia who start a chain reaction of events that lead to changes in Second Earth. Meanwhile, Marlene and Yuji come to realize something about themselves and head to Earth where a significant event is occurring that will also change everything as well.
While the series is TV PG, there’s more than enough gore as well as sex that should have made this a TV MA rated series. However, looking past these things you will find a story of humanity trying to cope with losing their planet to monsters. Yuji and Marlene are interesting characters who evolve throughout the series and find each another. It’s also a very exciting series with a lot happening to the main characters to the point that you will be on the edge of your seat the whole time.
As I mentioned earlier, the Anime Classics set also comes with the “Blue Gender: The Warrior” movie that is basically a condensed version of the series with old footage and new footage to fit the timeframe so we can also expect a different ending. If anything, “The Warrior” fixes a few things about the series. It makes a lot more sense that Yuji wakes up from suspended animation with long hair and Marlene and Yuji have a more violent disagreement than the one scene in the series.
A true adrenaline rush from start to finish, The Complete Series of Blue Gender is a deliciously dark, disturbing and exciting anime classic that has everything you can ask for in a sci-fi action series. You’ll even come to like the characters and, if you’re into it, the blood and gore action scenes. This Anime Classics set really is the definitive version you definitely should buy and believe me when I say that if you’re a fan of the genre you should own this one for sure.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Waking up from suspended animation, Yuji finds that Earth has been overrun by massive insect-like creatures known as Blue. He also finds himself trying to survive the new environment with a tough-as-nails Second Earth survivor named Marlene. Together, they change each another’s lives as join other “Sleepers” like Yuji who were kept alive to fight the Blue in a major effort to reclaim Earth once and for all.
VIDEO QUALITY: B+
The animation is on the dated side but that doesn’t mean the visual effects, action scenes or gore don’t look awesome. If you’re troubled by heads exploding, limbs flinging off or nudity, you might want to skip this. The movie adds familiar footage but adds some new stuff as well.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The original Japanese voice cast is certainly the best way to watch this series, although Laura Bailey gives Marlene a far sexier tone to works well for the character. Then there’s the Kuniaki Haishima score that is absolutely unforgettable and the lovely closing theme song that’s still a favorite after so long.
Now this is how you handle extras for a Complete Series set of an anime classic with the rough sketches, profiles for the Blue as well as the Armor Shrike (complete with music from the series) as well as the extended (and one remixed) versions of the opening and closing theme songs. On top of that there’s the original trailer for the series as well as original Japanese promotional commercials for the series. You’ll even find some Funimation commercials.
The best extra, however, comes in the form of the “Blue Gender: The Warrior” feature film that is a reworked abridged version of the series complete with a few extra scenes and an alternate ending different from what is seen in the anime series.
Blue Gender is the type of series that deserves the Anime Classic treatment and those who haven’t seen it as well as those who have will find this package a worthy buy. Sci-fi action fans will absolutely love this series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is definitely the version that you must own right away, Blue Gender fans.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment