In the early 21st century, the emergence of an incurable condition known as B-cell growth led some of the affected to become "Sleepers" - people put under stasis until a cure could be found. Yuji Kaido is one such Sleeper who awakens, several decades later, to a horrifying new reality. Giant bugs known as Blue have invaded the Earth, eating everything - and everyone - in sight. Now, all Yuji can do is escape from the city with the ones who saved him from his inevitable death, and make their way towards Second Earth: mankind's new home in space.
The main themes and story in Blue Gender are grim and handled with more maturity than most anime, and that alone is enough to give it praise. Unfortunately the pacing is also very slow and mostly episodic, thus it’s hard for most to go through it, especially today when most anime fans prefer shameless fantasy isekai over depressing sci-fi.The art quality ain’t bad at all. The animators went for realism instead of flash thus the weaponry feels fairly realistic despite including bulky mecha. That tends to make most battles to feel slow or simple, although the goal was always a down to earth approach instead of spectacle. It depicts better themes of survival and existential horror when the heroes can’t solo armies using broken powers. And boy, does this anime excel at atmosphere.The setting is post-apocalyptic, with most of mankind having been exterminated by grotesque monsters and their corpses having been turned into big green meatballs, sort of food storages for the monsters. Most cities now look like giant bee hives and the streets are filled with said meatballs, full of faces writhing in agony on them. It will give you the chills. The surviving humans are actually affected by all this. Have you noticed how in most anime the characters act happy-go-lucky no matter how grim their world looks like? Like, there is always a high school and cosplayers and beach episodes even if the whole world has gone to hell? They have no touch with reality. Blue Gender is not one of those anime because all its characters are cynical, pessimistic and do not act like typical harem leads in some school comedy. Their faces are expressionless, devoid of hope, and they even have sex in random moments with random people just to feel they are alive.Obviously, the number one reason for that is because the demographic the show is aiming for is seinen (adult males) instead of children who still like Naruto and Spy Family. But there is more to that, since most moe anime are also seinen and they are nothing like Blue Gender. There are erotic scenes and numerous gruesome deaths of major characters, and they don’t feel like they are done just for edgy schlock entertainment in the likes of Akame Ga Kill or Mirai Nikki. They mostly respect the viewer and exist to serve the narrative instead of destroying it with crap like fan service or comic relief.With that said, the grim atmosphere of the setting overlaps most of the appeal of the characters, since the latter are almost average people with no broken superpowers. Even the special ones with the blue cells aren’t supermen. So it can be hard to bond with the cast, especially when they seem to have stopped caring anymore and turned into cynical materialists who just eat, fuck, and die. There is character growth for the major characters, by the way. One learns to deal with reality, another finds hope by falling in love, a third one embraces who he is meant to be, and so on. It’s just that they will be mostly overshadowed by the imposing sceneries of the bug-infested world.There is also a bit of mystery concerning the origin of the bugs and how they correlate with the once-sick main characters, although the answers will be mostly for the heck of having a twist near the end than for developing the themes any further. The pro-ecology angle of Blue Gender is one of its weakest aspects.The biggest issue is the run-down budget on animation which makes a lot of scenes to feel stiff and dull to look at for long. It is not something you can’t excuse if you have accepted it’s mostly about the atmosphere than the action, but newer anime watchers who were spoiled by shows like Demon Slayer will have a hard time staying focused for long. That aside, Blue Gender is a good anime that was unfortunately never given much attention because it came out at a time when Cowboy Bebop and Trigun were the gold standards. The industry moving away from dark sci-fi in favor of silly school romcoms and isekai made it even harder to recommend, especially when the plot is slow and semi-fillerish, while the characters are mostly un-relatable. If, though, you are in a mood for super slow and super depressing anime, this one is one of the best B-grade series of the 90s.
Intro My Blue Gender review took me a long time to fully complete and many months after I had originally finished the anime, so please keep that in mind, and understand that portions of this review maybe shorter than normal for that reason. Story This anime takes place in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic Earth where humans no longer inhabit the planet and are forced to reside in space. This is all due to the discovery of an unknown, incurable disease that effects human B-cell growth. Decades later, humanity eventually returns from Earth’s orbit to try and recover and awaken certain people who were left behind. These people, known as “Sleepers,” are special individuals who were put into a cryo-type stasis to keep them alive from the B-cell growth that plagues their bodies. However, their mission is not as easy as you might think. Since their departure to space, also known as Second Earth, the Earth itself has been overrun by a mysterious species of creature. They are called the Blue, giant insects that invaded Earth, consuming everything in their path, including human beings. They are the reason humanity has not returned to Earth for as long as they have. So why, after all these years, does humanity return to Earth to rescue the Sleepers? Is there another purpose or agenda to their motives? Enter our two protagonists, Marlene and Yuji. Marlene is a space-born modern-day soldier sent to Earth as part of the recovering mission. Yuji is one of the Sleepers who happens to be a part of the “behind-the-scenes” agenda of the current Second Earth government. To what extent do Sleepers and taking back Earth have in connection to each other? That right there is the mysterious question that needs to be discovered. In my discovery to the answers to the pivotal questions that plague this anime, here is what I discovered. There are many plot holes and bits of confusion in the first third of the series. It is not until episode nine the suspense and story begin to evolve a little more, especially when the outer space folks come into play. The mystery of the Blue is yet to unravel though other than their evolving nature, which leads to the furthering of the horror. Episodes 11 and 12 are a prime example of both their evolution and the horror in which they bring. The story has some surprisingly unpredictable moments as well as some very predictable ones. The Blues’ origins, which becomes more and more apparent as the purpose of the Sleepers unfolds is a prime example of an unpredictable moment eventually becoming a more predictable one. It is not entirely surprising, but it is still interesting all the same. To some degree, Blue Gender has a quasi-Resident Evil sense about it. Animation The art is relatively bad considering the time frame in which it was produced. The animation on the other hand is well above average. Collectively they work well together and give the anime a sense of realism regarding the ever-changing emotional landscape that happens to a variety of the characters throughout. Sound The OP is slightly above average with a hard rock sounding edge to it. The ED is a letdown unfortunately. The sound effects of the Blue, the armor shrikes, and remainder sound effects are all very solid. However, the best part of the whole series is the eerie atmosphere the music creates in various scenes. It can draw out the suspense and really enhance the horrific aspects of the series. In this genre of series, that is a particularly large part of the overall enhancement and impact of the sound. Characters The characters of Blue Gender tend to be all over the place, especially ones who play an important role throughout or at a specific arc in the story. Regardless, the cast of characters plays a significant role in the success of the series, but I am only going to briefly discuss select characters. Marlene and Yuji lead the way with solid and consistent character development over time, little by little. However, Yugi starts off as a pants peeing, big whining Sleeper baby, who grows up and comes into his own as a courageous, dependable person and soldier. At first, he reminded me of Shirou Emiya from Fate/stay night, and ends up becoming more like Marlene, in terms of courage and skill, before further "evolving" as a character. He changes so much at a couple of points in the series that it becomes easy to forget just who the heck we are watching. Pants peeing, to semi-badass, to near-bonkers extremist exterminator, to humanity’s last hope. That’s quite an epic change for one single character. Marlene is a the seemingly cold-hearted, stoic, ruthless soldier who slowly softens up for all to discover her passionate and warm-hearted nature. She transforms from unlikable b*tch to my favorite character, while still maintaining the most consistency of any other character in the series. She is the most plausible person in this dystopian world. Dice is a fun, carefree soldier (former) who's involvement with Yugi and Marlene is cut way too short. He has got skill, class, and is a bonafide badass! He is just a likeable guy in general. Last, but not least, there is Tony. All I can say about this self-proclaimed Sleeper overseer is, “F*ck that guy!” Watch this anime and you will see why. He plays the part well, and I mean that as a compliment, although still, “F*ck that guy!” There are some other important and significant characters to keep track of, including Alicia, Chairmen Victor, and Seno, but I am not going to discuss the important roles and influences they have on the plot and story development of Blue Gender. Overall This series is not going to be for everyone due to its sheer content, subject matter, and both character and plot deficiencies. Its characters are not bad, and its concept is quite intriguing. If the writing was cleaned up and the visuals were given due justice, then Blue Gender would be a quite the series to behold. Still, I recommend it because its intentions, concept, and slight allure are better than a large portion of today’s modern day, tropey anime offerings. Entertainment Score: 7/10 Achievement Score: +0 to Overall My expectations were Moderate, and it delivered Spot-on to those expectations. Additional Information: Video Format: DVD Audio Format: English Publisher: FUNimation Equipment Used: LG 60UH6550 4K TV, Vizio 5.1 Sound Bar System SB3651-E6, Sony Blu-ray Player BDP-S5
While the animation may be lacking due to budget and the year the anime was released, the overall story is quite amazing. It starts by immersing you into a dark world where the world is overrun with these monsters called blue. Its a world where the human population in order to survive set up living facility in space called 2nd Earth but left the majority of people to die as if they were already dead. For the most part the planet is abandoned and desolate. Where most of the only remains of humans left are basically these freaky green balls that blue make to feed on later. The soundtrack also helps to set the mood of the anime (except for the opening and ending). You'll also the main character lose his mind among other things, I'm trying not spoil it for anybody. My only gripe with the anime however is that only 2 characters in the anime really get development, I mean sure a lot of them die off, but it wouldn't have hurt to at least add a little background to some of them like Tony or Joey. Its definately worth watching and in my opinion a highly underrated anime.
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