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"Blue Gender Vol. 4": We’re Off to Outer Space …

by on August 26, 2004

Yuji Kaido was cryogenically frozen decades ago, only to wake up in a hellish future where giant bugs called “the Blue” have overrun the Earth. He was rescued by Marlene, a member of the Sleeper Recovery Squad, whose mission is to get Yuji, a “sleeper” with the genetic potential to save the world, to “Second Earth,” a space station that is humanity’s last refuge. Yuji joins as an active member when the Squad is decimated, leaving only him and Marlene on a trek to Baikonur Space Base, the only place from which they can hope to get off the planet.

A kind of animated Starship Troopers (though, yes, completely unrelated to that animated Starship Troopers series that is actually out there), Blue Gender aired on Adult Swim to moderate success. I personally enjoyed it more than such other Adult Swim Action shows as Inuyasha and Wolf’s Rain. It successfully melded a love story with gritty action. How’s it hold up a second time on DVD?

For the last disc or two, Baikonur Space Base has been the goal of the Sleeper Recovery Team (or, at least, what remains of it). Everyone but Marlene and Yuji has been killed. As Marlene’s the only fully trained soldier of the pair, and as Yuji’s kind of a pacifist who’s freaked out by the new world, things haven’t been going smoothly. But it still doesn’t prepare them for what they find when they get to Baikonur, where, instead of a warm greeting, they are attacked by a bunch of Sentry robots. Turns out that after years of misuse and disuse, these ‘bots can no longer tell the difference between humans and the Blue.

Luck turns in their favor when Marlene and Yuji meet up with another Sleeper Recovery Team, one that’s got a space shuttle. But, to launch, some will have to use the Armored Strikes—military-issue mechs—to hold off the Blue. Marlene’s fighting so Yuji can escape into space, but Yuji’s not going into space without her. They’ve made a connection over the series, with Yuji melting Marlene’s frosty exterior.

If that’s not enough, there’s one member of the other Sleeper Recovery Team holed up in the base who has fallen in love with their cryogenically frozen sleeper. He wants to take her out into space, but not to Second Earth to be tested and turned into a guinea pig. More drama.

Do they make it out into space? Let’s just say that they do, but that it’s not the end of the adventures. Not by a long shot. In fact, it’s in midflight (during the episode “Go Mad”) that we get probably the most memorable scene in the entire series. “Progress” features Marlene back at the base, dealing with the repercussions of all they lost on Earth. It’s a real nice Marlene episode, and it shows that Yuji has changed her for the better over the course of the series.

“Tactics” and “Go Mad” feature enough of the mech-action we’ve all come to know and love, with “Go Mad” having, hands down, the best episode-ending of the series. “Progress” is a great character-driven episode. While it does have some action sequences, it’s driven by Marlene’s character.

Since this is the DVD, you get some extras. An “Armor Shrike File” (that’s what they’re called? I thought it was “Armored Strikes”) covers designs and footage of the various mechs, just as the “Blue Files” did on previous discs. There are also character profiles, bios of the cast members who voice them (a very nice bonus, that), textless songs, image galleries and trailers.

Episodes included on Blue Gender Volume 4
Episode 10 “Tactics”
Episode 11 “Go Mad”
Episode 12 “Progress”

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