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"Blue Gender (Vol. 2)": More Blue, More Deaths

When Yuji sees a young girl about to be slaughtered by the Blue, his selfless actions endanger both the Sleeper Recovery Team and the refugees holed up in a makeshift camp. All the while, Yuji notices the harsh reality of relationships in this bleak future. Can Yuji’s naivete break down Marlene’s frosty exterior. More pressing still: Will they even make it through the day alive?

When the Sleeper Recovery Team comes upon a village of refugees, Yuji attempts to save the day. But, as in every other episode so far, people die and die and die. Forget Seina Yamada’s bad luck: Yuji’s is worse on a greater scale. His actions cause people to lose their lives. But in all of the episodes, Yuji’s compassionate nature shines through: he risks his life to save a girl he doesn’t know, and is hurt by Marlene’s apparent indifference to the loss of an ally. Yuji, the costar of the series, also shows off his compassionate nature. Without these touches of humanity, Blue Gender would just be a gruesome, animated Starship Troopers (and we’ve already had one of those), but Yuji’s personality gives the viewers a sense of hope. Despite all the bloodshed, you’re wind up strongly hoping that these compelling characters will make it through.

Blue Gender continues to be a great watch; it’s definitely not your standard animé. There is no humor or comedy, and it is possibly the only series where I can say with conviction that nobody is guaranteed to live through an episode. Life is expendable, and the characters know that. Marlene and other survivors operate under a simple code: try to live while you can. This code leads to some disturbing scenes, and sequences in which characters try to find solace in each other’s company are downright eerie; but in this series that’s a good thing. Blue Gender is not for kids, nor is it for someone looking for an “entertaining” (in the traditional sense) animé. It’s straight horror/drama/sci-fi. While the sci-fi comes from the mechs and Blue monsters, and the horror from the graphicness of the battles, the show’s strength is easily the drama.

Extras to Volume 2 include “Blue File 1″ (a visual guide to various species of Blue), “Berak Free Extended Version” (a music video set to the show’s theme song), profiles (both of the characters and the voice actors), text-less songs (the intro “Break Free” and the ending “Love Taught Me”), and an image gallery (composed of various cells with backgrounds, instead of actual screencaps, which does show more effort). While all of those (and the usual trailers) are nice, the first volume had a commentary by the voice actors, which would have been a greatly appreciated addition to the present disc. (I’m eagerly waiting for any animé company to do commentaries with the frequency Fox does with The Simpsons and Futurama). Audio and video are fine, naturally. The disc case has a shot of Yuji and Marlene behind Yung, the girl who Yuji risks his life to save. Dark and foreboding, it’s fits Blue Gender‘s mood. The back has technical-looking text, reminding you that this is two or three decades in the future.

More episodes and extras would have been nice, of course. But looking at the show and the show alone, these episodes continue to be a great look at humanity during its most stressful times.

Episodes included
Episode 4- “Agony”
Episode 5- “Priority”
Episode 6- “Relationship”

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