Blue Gender Vol. #3 (of 8) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, June 05, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, June 04, 2002
What They Say
Yuji has an incurable virus. He opts to undergo artificial hibernation and wakes up to find that the Earth has been taken over by the man-eating Blue. Now he must fight his survival and that of the entire Human race! Episodes 7-9.
Blue Gender chugs on ahead with Marlene and Yuji making the trek across various landscapes to reach Baikonur in time. Of course, everyone has time to go for a swim in the closest thing yet to a hot spring sequence.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The show continues to feature a good strong stereo mix with some nice directionality across the forward soundstage. Guns in particular sound nice and distinct in this show. We didn’t notice any dropouts or distortions throughout the program.
The slight dip in quality we saw on the second volume isn’t noticeable at all here, with this volume looking nice and strong on our setup. Colors look nice and solid, cross coloration is extremely minimal, showing up only in a few tight sequences. Aliasing is also very minimal throughout the three episodes. In general, there’s not much to be disappointed in here.
The opposing forces pulling Yuji in different directions make up this somewhat subtle cover, with Yuji in the center and the strong tides of Marlene and Dice while the softer eyes of someone else is in the background. The back cover provides a very brief summary of where things stand as well as episode numbers and titles. The volume number is also nicely placed on both the spine and the front cover. The discs features and languages are clearly listed. The insert provides another shot of the cover while the interior opens to give more detailed summaries of each episode as well as chapter stops.
The menu system is laid out like the earlier volumes. 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. 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.
There’s another block of nice extras with this volume, enough to keep people happy. Blue File 2 has a mix of animation pieces and production art showcasing the origins to finished product of various things such as cityscapes and the human pods. Some of the information is translated, some not. The profiles make another return here with the voice actors and characters they play. The opening and closing songs also appear again while the image gallery provides images relevant to the episodes on the disc. There’s also an extended music video from one of the songs here that’s rather nice.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The trek to Baikonur continues with Marlene and Yuji making their way through the hot and arid desert. Not knowing the region, I have to wonder if their map skills are as good as some other anime shows, where paths go all over the place instead of a straight line.
Regardless, it’s a hard and hot journey. Yuji reflects that an oasis would be really good right about now. Speaking as a prophet, one appears just over the next rise. It’s some sort of abandoned outpost that the Blue eventually got to, but it’s got an oasis with lots of water and potentially some supplies. It only takes a minute before Yuji is down to his tightie whities and in the water.
Marlene’s very distrustful of all this, fearing that the Blue could still be there. But she eventually succumbs to the allure of the water in all that heat and strips down, much to Yuji’s surprise. I thought we were going to have a Golden Boy moment with the way he stared at her. Of course, I was staring at her much in the same way. Marlene is a great character design.
As luck would have it, a Blue is there and it’s a vicious bugger that’s adapted to the whole core being blown bit. Marlene and Yuji luck out in the sense that a Shrike arrives on the scene as they’re being attacked, which brings us a new person for them to journey with. Dice, a former soldier who no longer remembers things from that long ago, has a vendetta to settle and ends up working with the “kids”. Dice adds the older more laid back and world weary kind of character necessary to keep things going as opposed to just Yuji and Marlene.
He also adds a bit of tension since Marlene doesn’t trust him and he figures she and Yuji are a hot item.
Another interesting aspect that’s brought about is the introduction of a roaming tribe of people who are goat herders, keeping themselves alive in this rugged wasteland like people have for hundreds and hundreds years. Yuji finds himself separated from Marlene and Dice in a sandstorm and ends up with them. Their calm and peaceful ways are a strong attraction to him. These episodes play out a bit Mad Max like when the roaming marauders decide to claim a little action, but there’s enough good stuff with Yuji here to keep things interesting.
The show still moves at something of a slow pace unless there are Blue on the screen, but the way these characters interact continue to be the draw for me. The expanding worldview with others getting into the picture also add to things, building up the way the world works and why people are so distrustful of those who’ve gone into space. Thankfully, the release pattern for this series is picking up and we’ll get more episodes more quickly. This is a show that when the third episode is over, I want more right away.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Profiles,Blue File 2,Music Video,Textless Opening,Textless Ending
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Blue Gender