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"Blue Gender: The Warrior" Offers Great Romance and Giant Roaches

Yuji Kaido has been in suspended animation for two decades, thanks to a mysterious blood illness. But when he awakes, will his mutation be the saving factor in humanity’s fight against the Blue? Can he melt the ice-cold exterior of Marlene, an all-business military soldier? Or, in this world with little hope, will her heart be literally melted by the monsters’ acidic blasts?

Blue Gender: The Warrior is somewhat of an oddity. How do you make a movie companion to a series that has a definite beginning, middle and end? I suppose the producers could have made a sequel or prequel, but there’s no place inside the story arc that they could have fit in an extended film. Instead, the writers have gone with a different approach: They have compressed an entire 26-episode television series into a 95-minute film. That would have been easy enough to do with a series like Dragonball Z, which is filled with a lot of extraneous stuff. But with a series like Blue Gender, in which every episode advances the plot, you get a movie that trims not only the fat but some of the muscle as well.

If you haven’t seen Blue Gender, here’s a short-and-dirty summary of the plot. Yuji Kaido’s a teenager who, upon finding out that he suffers from a mysterious disease, had himself cryogenically frozen. He intended to be on ice for only a year or two: just long enough for scientists to figure out what’s wrong with him and come up with a cure. But when he wakes up, he finds that twenty-two years have passed. Worse, he finds that the the Blue—giant killer bugs—have infested the Earth. Cities are wastelands, cocooned corpses litter the streets, and there’s nary a person in sight. He is rescued by a military team that has been sent to escort him to Second Earth, humanity’s last bastion. The military itself can only stand up to the Blue with their Armor Strikes, twenty-foot-tall mechs armed with swords and guns and such.

One of the team members is Marlene Angel, a blonde woman who only sees Yuji as “the sample,” not a boy who has just woken into a strange and dangerous world. She’s not his friend; she’s a soldier assigned to make sure he gets to Second Earth safe. She has her own scarred past which she keeps hidden under a tough exterior, and Yuji has ample opportunity to call her filthy names.

But who are we really kidding? It’s guy meets girl. Yes, it’s pudding-pop guy meets GI Jane girl while engaged in a running battle with escapees from the Raid testing center. Still: Guy meets girl.

If you’ve seen the series, you’ve seen most of this before. There are, necessarily, some changes. Many characters and plots are dropped (Dice makes no appearance, and various other side quests are shortened/forgotten), but it’s not exactly the cliff notes to the series. There are also some cosmetic changes. Yuji’s hair is now long; Marlene and Yuji get a nice fight scene; and Yuji vomits instead of wetting himself at the beginning. The characters also look somewhat different. Marlene looks more feminine. So does Yuji, to be honest.

Those who haven’t seen the series should be warned: the film is gruesome.. I never really thought a head could be liquidized, but hell if it doesn’t happen in here. But while the action is cool, the real heart comes from Marlene and Yuji. You might not want to admit it, but you’d be acting just like Yuji if you woke up. Marlene’s cold to start off, but you begin to like her. She’s not designed to be a bombshell, but dang, she’s certainly become one of my favorite females of animé. And putting these two together makes from some terrific drama, even as the surrounding story gallps along at a breakneck speed.

If you get this disc, it will be for the story, not for the extras, because there aren’t any to speak of: a couple of trailers, but that’s all. Note also that this is a FUNimation dub, and there are some very familiar-sounding actors lending their voices to the characters. This can make for unintentional comedy.

This is an interesting release. I like Blue Gender quite a bit, so I’m not unhappy with it. But viewers who are familiar with the series should think carefully before investing in it, as it re-presents a lot of stuff that we’ve already seen before.

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