Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Blue Gender Box Set |
Actors: Eric Vale, Laura Bailey, Carol Hope, Dameon Clarke
Director: Christopher R. Sabat
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Anime & Manga, Animation
"Big bugs, big bots, lots of character conflict and a little romance - what more could you ask for?" --- Animerica Imagine waking after spending more than two decades in suspended animation. You awaken to a world more ter... more »
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Jay F. Grissom | San Diego, CA. USA | 04/17/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have a mediocre feel about this anime.
The set comes in a cheap "cardboard sleeve" type case. (Perhaps it is earth friendly/recycled?).
That didn't bother me so much. But the Audio and production quality did.
The audio quality is really bad on all of the DVDs except for the last one (which is a feature length summary of the entire series.) In many places you have to crank up the audio to hear the dialog, only to crank it way down to keep the action or background audio from blowing the roof off.
The audio isn't normalized very well... and you find yourself struggling with hearing dialog that is drowned out by background or action noise.
The overall production quality feels dated, and lacks some depth, compared to many other items made at the same time...
The last DVD is a movie called "Blue Gender the Warrior". Which is actually better than the series... the audio is much improved, the action has been sped up, and the dialog more clearly leads the viewer to see more clearly what is going on.
The good thing about this is the story... the characters aren't always faithful to their roles... the main character Yuji proves to be a total idiot throughout... with occasional moments of mature behavior... but mostly a total idiot.
Marlene comes off as a really hardcore soldier but turns into a marshmallow after interacting with Yuji. It doesn't seem to be in alignment with her character and often seems incongruent with her background... but then again people do funny things when they fall in love... I just can't see why she would fall in love with such a loser...
Some one else said Marlene is too good for Yuji in another review... I couldn't agree more... The fact that I felt so strongly about this tells me the writers were faithful enough to the characters that it should be commended.
It is easy to believe the characters would react the way they do given the situation they are in so I have to say the story on this is solid.
So in a nutshell:
Production quality? Mediocre at best.
Story? Very good.
Emotional delivery? Probably a bit over done... (Yuji reminds me of an over-actor. Like Anakin in "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith")
Action? Pretty good. (It reminds me of Starship Troopers)
Because of the story I couldn't give it two stars... The story was enough to lift this up.
But overall, when you consider the packaging, audio problems, and dated production quality... you have to feel neither hot nor cold on this....
I'm glad I own it but it isn't close to my favorite. I had high expectations of this work... it wasn't horrible... but not amazing either."
Big bugs attack
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 07/02/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In the future, civilization has collapsed, because the earth is infested by big, big bugs.
It sounds like the stuff of utter mind blowing disaster, but thankfully "Blue Gender" succeeds in being a fairly intelligent, intricate sci-fi anime. Lots of horror, giant bugs and a fish-out-of-water hero who manages to be fairly interesting as he becomes a seasoned warrior, but the characters develop by leaps and bounds -- and the ending is completely out of left field, apparently in an attempt to be bleak and "deep."
Yuji Kaido was an ordinary teenager in the not-too-distant future, until he came down with a strange disease. The only hope for a cure is to be put into cryogenic sleep.
A few decades later, he awakes to a whole new Earth -- sparsely populated, civilization overturned, and with every continent overrun by hideous enormous insects called the Blue. Then two enormous mecha piloted by humans appear, and after many dangers Yuji is taken by a chilly soldier named Marlene to Second Earth, a space station where humanity is organizing a fight against the Blue.
But Yuji soon learns that life is dangerous -- not just because of the Blue, but because of the militarized humans on Second Earth, who see him just as a sample to be used. After Yuji vanishes, Marlene begins a desperate quest to find him, even if it gets her in hot water. And when she does find him, they both discover the secret of Yuji and the Sleepers, and why they may be the key to destroying the Blue once and for all. Except of course things aren't that simple.
"Blue Gender" has a pretty generic sci-fi concept behind it, the sort of thing you'd probably see on a Sci Fi original movie. Fortunately the actual series is much better than you'd think -- a vivid cocktail of action, conspiracy-laden suspense and science fiction in equal measure, but with the occasional pauses injected between the action and suspense sequences, where the writers can focus on the characters and what they feel.
Along the way, there's lots of grotesque, vaguely Freudian megabugs that have swarmed all over the globe, and whose origins are explored even as they eat people and overturn large machines. Lots of splattered gore, enormous insects that almost look real, and big industrial-looking mecha. But as the series winds on, there's an increasing emphasis on what the humans are doing as well, and their desperation to defeat the Blue -- and there are some surprising plot twists thrown into the mix.
The biggest weak point? The ending is a disaster that throws out most of what comes before it, in the name of a bizarre pseudo-environmental message that just explodes out of the, ahem, Blue. It feels like the writers couldn't come up with a suitably epic ending, so they went for the most bleak and "deep" finale they could.
Yuji is a bit of a pain at first, since he does nothing but scream and panic over the first few episodes. But after a little while, he decides to become master of his own fate, and his story arc shows him turn from a nice ordinary guy to a hardened soldier. On the flipside, Marlene starts as an ice princess, but we see her gradually
thawing under Yuji's influence until she has become more like he once was, and vice versa. Most of the secondary characters die off or vanish pretty quickly, but they're well-drawn as well.
This box set also contains "The Warrior," which basically takes the whole movie and whittles it down to movie length. It's sort of "Blue Gender: The Cliff's Notes," and it's a severely mixed bag.
"Blue Gender Box Set" is a solid sci-fi/action anime with plenty of giant bugs and military attacks, but the ending entirely spins out of control."
Big Guns, Big Bugs, and Even Bigger Ambitions
ONENEO | Buffalo, NY | 06/24/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If there's one thing that drives me mad, it's the idea that I've somehow missed out on something great. For the past couple of years, the hype surrounding Funimation's sci-fi epic, Blue Gender, has been one such property. Amazon reviews, message boards, even the print rags seemed to all have a lot of good to say about this tale involving incurable diseases, alien invaders, and my own personal beloved anime element: mecha.
Better still is I discovered a boxed set release of the show known as the Viridian Collection which takes and combines all 26 episodes of the series, "The Warrior" OVA, and a host of extras (including English actor commentary over one of the episodes, character profiles, textless songs, sketch collections, cast bios, and trailers).
Coming in at a total runtime of 750 minutes, The Viridian Collection spans 9 discs that come packaged in a really cool cardboard flipbook which itself slides into a cardboard outer slip case. Additionally the show wears a very generous TV PG (13+) rating considering that it runs the gambit of animated versions of what would certainly be Rated R material in a live-actor film: Female topless nudity, some foul language, and lots of blood and guts.
Language options are standard sub & dub fair with original Japanese dialog option or a solid English dub (with English subtitles available with either selection).
The story goes something like this: In the near future, an unknown disease begins to plague mankind in the form of a cellular mutation called "B-Cells". Those infected are given the option to be put into a chrio-sleep (tube and all) until research could yield a successful cure to the condition. Yuji Kaido, one of the infected, chooses this option.
The show literally opens with his rude awakening as in a sudden and sickening yank from his slumber through a bitter firefight between mechanized humans and what appear to be giant bugs. It turns out that while he slept (22 years despite the fact that he was only supposed be under for 2), an aggressive species of insect like creatures (the Blue) have appeared on and taken over the Earth. Most of mankind has apparently been decimated by these terrifying life forms and those who haven't given up the ghost are forced to live within the confides of a space station (known as Second Earth).
Yuji finds himself awakened by a forward-advance/ scouting military unit sent to the bug-infested earth from the space station. Encounters with the Blue are literally immediate and become increasingly violent as the team makes its way across Japan to the awaiting military base/ spaceport
The majority of the story actually follows this team as they make their way across the barren lands that were once the earth we currently know. Encounters (violent battles) with the Blue are frequent and definitely welcomed considering the slow plodding of the back-story. The team of rough and tumble soldiers are picked off one at a time (kind of like in the classic Schwarzenegger action flick, Predator) until all that remains is the male (Yuji) and female (Marlene) leads in their struggle to get off the planet before the Blue turn them into a green ball of fertilizer.
On the surface, comparisons to American sci-fi franchise staples like Aliens & Starship Troopers (or more accurately, Roughnecks) abound but are not entirely accurate. Sure it's the military versus giant bug invaders theme that makes such associations possible, the truth is that pacing and a hidden agenda actually pull Blue Gender off into a tangent that really works only in the anime medium.
Let's discuss the pacing first, which is not entirely as consistent as it should be. A majority of the story plays off the survival element as witnessed through the lead characters in their near real-time trek across the scorched earth. While there are action sequences to tide over even the most easily bored viewer, there are long periods where seemingly nothing actually happens. Worse still is that to break up the monotony of these sequences, the show's writers decided to work in some tangents and side quests that literally go nowhere. Examples include their teaming up with but never again encountering the energetic rogue Dice and Yuji's brief foray (and love interest) into a nomadic tribe of humans yet living on the blue planet. These little fillers would be a lot more justifiable if only they were revisited by the show's conclusion.
The second part of the grand story arc moves along at a much quicker clip than the first and takes place once the protagonists finally make it into space. Here the realities of a brittle pseudo-military outfit come on so strong that you may actually find yourself rooting for the bugs! Additionally and like countless anime titles since, Blue Gender takes a stab at the ideal that humanity is the real villain against the earth itself (environmentalism).
This would all be fine except for the simple fact that the show is a bit too ambitious in terms of magnitude than its own silly timeline can deliver. In the end what we're looking at is the evolution of an entirely new species, the near-complete annihilation of humanity, an exodus into space, then the extinction of said species within a span of 22-years. From a geological scale, this is comedic at best. Perhaps our hero Yuji should have been comatose for two thousand or even two-hundred-thousand-years instead of twenty-two.
Finally there is a creepy man-love angle that the show builds from whenever Yuji thinks back to his life prior to going under. Granted you can certainly tell the show's writers did what they could with the dialog (things like "we'll cruise the world looking for girls") to salvage the lead character's heterosexuality, the truth is that these sequences are enough to make anyone wonder what's really going on between these "friends".
Small complaints aside, the show does manage to tell a pretty dramatic (grand) tale without being forced to introduce the viewer to dozens of locales and hundreds of characters. Much of the bigger conflict taking place is told through the background while the lead characters seem to be meandering around.
The soundtrack is spectacular, especially the closing theme which is presented in a wonderful English rendition in the dub... one of few times in history that the English vocalist puts the original lyrics to shame. The dub work itself a far above average with a vocal performance solid enough to warrant going back through the show once you've enjoyed the original Japanese dialog track. Clearly special attention was given to the sound effects themselves, especially the ambient noises (there's a slightly askew (and eerie) version of cricket chirping that can be heard at all times on earth to remind the viewer that there are terrifying giant insects all around).
In all this is a show that may actually suffer from the hype surrounding it. Due to the ongoing rave reviews I fear I came in with expectations so high that no show could possibly live up. This is solid sci-fi entertainment at an absolutely unbeatable value. I will be going back through Funimation's entire library in effort to buy up every Viridian Collection they've offered."