Love knows no bounds. Neither gender nor planet of birth can stop it.
What They Say
Five years ago, something horrifying happened on Kamioki Island. Something so nightmarish that it stripped all memory from Mari Wakatake's mind even as it left every other human on the island dead in its wake! Now enrolled against her will at an isolated girl's academy, Mari is unaware that hidden eyes are watching her, waiting for her memory to return. For buried in her psyche is the most terrifying secret of all: while Mari was the only HUMAN who lived, she may not have been the only survivor! As something in a female skin invades Kaihou Academy, Mari's only hope may lie in a strange girl to whom she is inexplicably drawn yet cannot trust. An all new English dub featuring an all-star cast takes on a story of star-crossed love on an interplanetary scale in BLUE DROP - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION!
The DVD contains both an English and Japanese track and both are 2.0 in their presentation. For the purpose of this review the Japanese track was used but the English track was played in its entirety after that to review the track that was newly added for this release. The Japanese and English track both mirror each other in that the side speakers are used to drive the dialogue and effects while the center speaker is used mostly for adding in some of the background music on the release. Neither track presented either distortions or dropouts and both did a good job of making sure that the dialogue, effect and soundtracks complimented each other without drowning each other out at inappropriate times.
Originally airing in the winter season of 2007 Blue Drop is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The release has a few issues with noise, softness, dot crawl, color shift problems and ghosting being present to a degree though not to an over whelming extent. Beyond these issues the presentation does do a good job with both the bright colors and the blues that appear in the feature.
The packaging for Blue Drop is a standard two disc case with the discs on either side of each other in the case. The cover features Hagino Senkoji looking like she is diving/floating downward from the upper left corner of the front while Mari Wakatake is in the lower right looking up. The ship (Blue) from the series is diagonally in between them while the title of the series and its Earth logo run parallel to the ship. The text proclaiming it the complete collection and English language version run perpendicular to the logo. The back cover has Hagino and Mari facing each other and clasping hands while looking kindly into each other’s eyes in the upper right hand corner. There are twelve stills from the show that run vertically under that picture while the copy for the title is found under that. The spine features Hagino’s subordinate Tsubael in her uniform from aboard Blue as she looks like she is floating. The first disc features Hagino on the left side as she has the bird from early in the first episode landing on her arm while Mari us on the right moving her hair out of her face as she is caught in a strong breeze and both are wearing their school uniforms. The second disc features a close up of Hagino in her military uniform while the full image of Tsubael from the spine is on the other side.
The main menu of the first disc features Mari Wakatake and Michiko Kozuki in their school uniforms as well as Yuko Sugawara wearing her lab coat from the school on the right side of the screen while the left and center feature each episode as a block that can be selected as well as the language and special features options below that while the instrumental beginning of the opening song plays in the background. The Language screen features the images of Mari and Hagino Senkoji from the disc’s label along with an image of Blue as the beginning of the closing theme plays. The second disc focuses on the Arume as Azanael clutches her pendent and Tsubael looks longingly into the distance as the fleet leader Shibariel looms behind them and uses the same part of the opening as disc one. The language screen features a front and elevated shot of the Blue and shows off its main deck and command tower while playing the part of the closing as on disc two. The special features screen has a collage image of the main girl’s from Mari’s dorm and Yuko as the main academy cast is well represented as the sub screen uses the opening theme intro again. The selection currently highlighted is either represented by part of the logo of the circle with its concentric lines around it though using less than half of that image or a silhouette that looks like it is a military insignia. The menu is quick to respond to changes in selection and the implementation of those selections.
The extras on this release are a clean opening, closing and an art gallery that looks to feature the original Japanese DVD covers and some of the production models from the series.
While not a traditional extra this release does have a bonus that the previous release did not and that is an English dub. The particular highlight of this track is the performance of the two leads, Hilary Haag as Mari Wakatake and Monica Rial as Hagino Senkoji. The story demands quite a lot out of the two of them as they have to portray a pair of school age girls as they go through the highs and lows of love, hate and pretty close to everything in between.
The role of Mari provides quite the challenge for Hilary Haag, as the role requires significant vocal range since Mari is a very emotional character who expresses herself strongly with both her face and her voice. She has to use her voice to match the character on screen and Mari is the type of character who wears her heart on her sleeve and Hillary Haag proves herself to be up to mastering that task. On the other hand Monica Rial’s Hagino requires a far more subtle approach as the character of Hagino is not only more reserved but also under some incredible pressures with her joint role as captain of a scouting invasion force but also school girl who learns more about the land she is supposed to be invading and comes to empathize with those she should ostensibly be the enemy of and the emotions that blossom between her and Mari.
Kelly Manison’s Azanael is also worthy of being singled out due to her portrayal of a character that is obsessed with revenge and sometimes has to hide just how far down the depths of her hatred run. The rest of the dub actors also turn in a strong performance as the other characters in the story. The use of accents for those aboard the invading Arume ships works well as the cast does a good job of trying to synch up their use and create a sense of unity among the invaders though the fact that they don’t always match fully could be seen as giving a size to the Arume home world as even in the same region accents can vary among its different corners.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The story begins with two people leaving the Earth and on their way to negotiate a peace treaty. Though her aid is nervous the middle aged women who is leading the delegation expresses optimism and recites lines from a play. When questioned about the lines she flashes back to the year 1999. A young lady named Mari Wakatake is being transferred into Kaihou Academy which is a girl’s school where most of the girls live in the dorms though she is completely against this and sees it as her grandmother looking to get rid of her. On her way to the school she sees a girl her age standing on a rock sticking out of the ocean and a swarm of birds passing her and she is immediately intrigued by the girl.
Mari’s introduction to the school administrators and her homeroom teacher goes poorly though Mari couldn’t care less. She has no intention of staying but is stranded when her driver leaves her at the school as Mari is being shown the school by Michiko Kozuki. As Mari is feeling abandoned and she is being shown to her dorm a snippet of Mari’s past is revealed in that she was part of an event five years ago that caused her to have amnesia and even forget her parents. As Mari is looking around her new room the girl she saw by the ocean comes in and introduces herself as Hagino Senkoji. Mari greets her warmly but as the two shake hands Hagino sees a scene of disaster and a young girl crying with fire in the background and she goes blank. Mari is shocked as she finds that Hagino’s eyes change and suddenly Hagino’s hands are around Mari’s neck.
With this introduction Mari is put at odds with Hagino which Hagino seems not to understand and worse given Hagino’s status with many of the other members of the dorm she is set at odds with Hagino’s fan club. After she gets into a brawl with them she is sent to bed and sees Hagino sneaking out of the dorm. Mari follows her but is stunned when she sees Hagino in front of an unearthly looking ship and her eyes glowing blue when she turns to Mari. Now both Mari and Hagino’s life will be thrown into a turbulent sea of emotions as they both get closer and try to keep their distance with each other. Secrets will be revealed about Hagino and the source of the ship Mari saw as well as the link she has with the tragedy in Mari’s past. The two will learn more about each other and themselves. Perhaps they may even become friends or more but do they have a chance when Hagino’s superiors start to make plans for moving forward with their invasion and past machinations are revealed? And what happens to Mari when it seems those she relies most on have secrets of their own? When two worlds are set to collide what is the fate of two young girls as they are at the pivotal point of history?
Blue Drop is kind of two series in one as it tries to meld the story of two girls and their relationship with each other against a science fiction backdrop of war and loss. The series does a decent job of establishing the main characters and bridging the worlds between them as they clash with each other and learn more about each other and themselves. The pathos some characters build is developed and carefully nurtured. The negative side to this coin however is that a number of factors and events are left empty and it seems that the planning staff either failed to plot events out in advance or had the number of episodes cut on them as they leave some interesting clues about Mari that go absolutely nowhere and the brief scene at the start of the series really isn’t wrapped up. The series just leaves so much hanging it feels like they should have concentrated either on the school or sci-fi elements but the mix just leaves the audience wanting too much that gets left undone.
Blue Drop is an emotional story of the paths two girls walk and how their pasts butt up against the present where they meet. The feelings will fly as Mari is a character to quickly show her emotions and who is constantly being forced to adapt as her world view gets changed while Hagino has to come to terms with these new feelings she has that grow both toward the human race in general and Mari in particular that is set against a backdrop of an alien race looking to invade the Earth. The series shines when it comes to developing its characters but falls short in the execution department of really making the invasion of Earth seem like something deeper. Perhaps if the series had been longer it would have finished stronger but what is here is a strong character piece set against a much weaker backdrop.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Japanese Promotional Video, Japanese TV Spot, Art Gallery, Clean Opening & Clean Closing Animation
Samsung 50" Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Receiver with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080.