Mike wonders aloud which anime would be a good fit for the prestigious Criterion Collection.
Reviewby Allen Divers, Apr 27th 2002
After the turn of the century, an unknown disease began to plague mankind. Those infected were confined to a deep sleep until a cure could be found. Yuji Kaido, one of the infected, went to sleep to wait for the cure. Now he has been brought back into the world screaming! While he slept, the Blue appeared on Earth with hardly any warning. They wiped out most of mankind, forcing 100 million souls into space. Those left on Earth struggle to survive.
Yuji and his saviors are on the run from the Blue when they stumble across a small group of survivors. Yuji is forced to face the desperate fate of all who remain on Earth, as a last stand is staged against the Blue. Coming to terms with this new reality is hard on Yuji as he and Marlene eventually make their way into the mountains. Could these events allow Yuji and Marlene form a new relationship in an attempt to survive?
Blue Gender Vol 2 brings 3 more episodes of this epic sci-fi drama to the North American public. The plot continues to thicken as Yuji and the others work towards the next rendezvous. Volume 2 continues the high marks set by FUNimation with the first volume, with a strong voice cast and solid production values in DVD authoring.
With Character designs, Artwork and Animation done by AIC this product features the familiar feel of other AIC products. Backgrounds remain highly detailed as the scenery shifts from Japan to Korea then into the wilderness. Monster design continues to stay creepy as the Blue become more detailed and diverse. AIC shows a great attention to the details with both the Mecha and creature designs.
Both the Japanese and English soundtracks share the same special effects and music. Both sides have a well-balanced mix between the dialogue and incidental music. FUNimation, like many of its other series, has taken the route of translating and performing the opening and closing songs in English. The words have been rearranged to fit the songs lyrically, but remain true to the original meanings. Being a very dramatic piece, Blue Gender's incidental music helps set the dark tone of the majority of the action. The music generates a nice creepy vibe when needed, and an almost desperate plea for redemption. At times, the music pushes the envelope in generating too much emotion, but the action on screen keeps up and justifies the musical feelings generated.
FUNimation has gone all out with the menus for the Blue Gender series. So far, both discs have featured nice animated menus. The menus include animation and sound. When switching between menus, the transitions are smooth. On most players, the transitions are nice and smooth, with no delays. All features are clearly marked, allowing easy navigation through all the features.
Extras this time around are pretty standard with character profiles, image gallery and textless songs. Also included is an extended version of the opening animation. Unlike the first disc, there is no commentary this time around. It would have been a nice addition, just to get a feel for what the actors think of this series as it progresses.
As the story of Blue Gender progresses, Yuji is forced to face the reality of this new world he finds himself in. In terms of story, Blue Gender takes a turn towards a very dark world as Yuji is exposed to the hopelessness that surrounds the survivors of the world. He is also exposed in a very dramatic faction the way emotions have changed in order to cope with this new world. It would be easy for the writers of this show to take the easy way out by showing a bright hope burning in the eyes of the people or portraying Yuji as some sort of savior figure that usually appear in similar dramas. Not so for Blue Gender as the story grows deeper and deeper. At this point, the viewer is truly drawn in to see what happens next.
Yuji is not alone in having his whole world image turned upside down. Marlene, as well, encounters emotions long since buried within her heart. Viewers are exposed to memories of her past as they discover just how she came to live on the space stations and why she maintains a cold posture. The real joy for the viewers is the performances of the various voice actors. FUNimation's voice actors do a good job in expressing the shifting attitudes of Marlene and Yuji.
With Volume 2, the main story behind Blue Gender continues to grow weaving a very dramatic tale that draws in the viewer. Action remains high as the fights with the Blue become more violent in nature. All the ingredients are in place to create a spectacular tale that will keep the viewers mesmerized. The only damper is the long wait for the next volume in the series.
+ Strong dramatic story that draws in viewers
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