Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: A
- Age Rating: 14 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
- MSRP: 24.95
- Running time: 75
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Blue Gender
Blue Gender Vol. #2
By Chris Beveridge
January 30, 2002
Release Date: January 15, 2002
Blue Gender Vol. #2
What They Say
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
When Yuji disobeys Marlene's orders and saves a little girl's life, he vows that he'll protect her from the Blue. But can he manage to keep his promis when he discovers the shocking truth about his rescuers from Second Earth? Priority
The surviving members of the Sleeper Recovery Team haved decided that they must make an attempt to contact Second Earth. Their only chance resides in an abandoned communications tower that has become a Blue Nesting ground. With the Blue now converging on their position, their going to need bait to draw the Blue away. Live Bait... Relation
The tensions between Marlene and Yuji come to a head, as Yuji confronts the demons that now haunt him in this nightmarish new world. As she witnesses Yuji's struggle, Marlene's own horrifying memories of the past begin to resurface. But can even Yuji's fiery emotions help to melt away Marlene's icy exterior?The Review!
The second volume of Blue Gender takes things a bit slower in a few places, but for the most part gets things even more insane as we learn more about the Blue and about what humanity has been doing all this time.Audio
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The stereo soundtrack continues to push out some nice sounds with some interesting bits being thrown to the rear channels during the action sequences. While it's not a constant use of the rear speakers, they did make good use of them a couple of times. Dialogue was nice and clear and free of any dropouts or distortions. We spot checked the English track and didn't notice any glaring issues there.Video
The transfer here for the most part continues to look good overall, but there's something of a dip in quality compared to the first one. There's a bit more fuzziness that's noticeable throughout the program, which causes some of the dark sky backgrounds to get blocky. Some cross coloration also creeps into some scenes in the edges, but nothing terribly bad or overwhelming. Colors for the most part look strong and vibrant and areas such as faces don't show any problems with breakup.Packaging
Similar to the first volume, we get a nice dark background cover with the characters seemingly coming out from it while the little girl who is the focus of part of the episodes here takes center stage, along with the cute vicious doggie. The back cover gives a good listing of the discs features and an extremely brief show summary along with listing the episode numbers and titles. The insert provides another shot of the front cover but with a few less logos. It opens up to provide a variety of screenshots and artwork along with individual episode summaries. The episodes also get their chapter stops listed here. Menus
The menu system is laid out the same as the first volume but with some fixes that make it a lot better. The animations that play around it are considerably shorter making moving back to the main menu from the submenus a heck of a lot easier to deal with. The layout for the most part is pretty logical, though some quirks such as moving along one line to the end doesn't take you to the second line in the extras. The only part I don't like, most because it confused me the first time, is the language selection since what you're doing is selecting language and subtitles together.Extras
The extras included here seem to be mostly what we saw on the first volume with some new and some not there. The episode commentary is gone here, being a first volume exclusive but we do get some new images in the art gallery. I do like having the extended and textless songs available on each volume though as they're fun to watch and listen to.Content
: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For the people on Earth, things apparently went really badly for them while the Blue rampaged.
After finally getting themselves moving again after the disastrous results of the previous disc where half the time died, the remaining four members, including Yuji, make their way through Korea to try and find a communications center they can use to contact the Second Earth and let them know they're still alive. Seoul isn't all it used to be, but it's fairly different from other Blue infested areas. The Blue here haven't developed any flying variants apparently, but they've got the city fairly well infested in general. When the group heads to a comsat center, they do find out that the Blue here is evolving faster than other areas and are developing new shells to protect their cores from being shot to hell by the humans.
Seoul also has a fairly decent number of people living there still, far more than Yuji's seen since he was awoken from his cold sleep. With these being "real" Earthlings and not those that went to space, he feels a real kindred to them and tries to befriend them after he saves a little girl and her dog from a rampaging Blue. But he's not exactly welcomed there since he's wearing the military gear that the rest of the Second Earth folks use. It's from here that we start to learn just how bad things went during the escape.
With their being only so much room and ability to support life up in the satellites and whatever colonies may have been established, out of the billions of people on the planet, only the brightest and fittest couple of million made it up there. The rest were left to fend for themselves. And as things went worse and worse, there were fewer people left as the Blue cocooned them and used them for food. Those who managed to escape have since looked at the Second Earth folks as not exactly friendly. And the Second Earth folks don't look at humans on Earth as real humans either, since they can't save many of them. Their basic guideline is to think of any they meet as already dead and unable to save, so they avoid getting into trouble. Yuji of course breaks this with his compassion and general lack of understanding of the situation.
There's a lot of revelations through here as we also get to look into Marlene's past. She and Yuji begin to communicate more when it really counts and both characters really start to grow in the eyes of the viewer. Combined with the above average animation for a lot of this, and it's a series that's really growing on me fast. I really got into Marlene's character with these episodes and with the challenges that they faced. It's played straight and without farce or comedy. It treats the characters as rough as it's treating the world and the Blue. Straightforward SF style military shows are few and far between that are done in a realistic way, making this a really engaging show for me.
Blue Gender's main weakness right now during its release schedule is just that. An average of four months between releases makes it hard to really keep the energy going from disc to disc, especially with three episodes. And with as much anime as we watch, we'd forgotten most of what occurred during the first disc. Once it gets going though, it's very enjoyable. We just wish it was coming out faster. But otherwise it's definitely recommended.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Blue File 1,"Break Free" Extended Version,Profiles,Textless Songs,Image Gallery
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.