Title: Blue Gender
Company: AIC/Toshiba EMI
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 8 Oct 1999 – 31 Mar 2000
Synopsis: Afflicted by a rare, genetic disease, Kaido Yuji has volunteered to be cryogenetically frozen so that he can wait for an era that can cure his illness. 22 years later, instead of awakening to good news that a cure has been found, Yuji opens his eyes to a living nightmare. The world is overrun by a new species of insect-like creatures known as the Blue. The human race is now reduced to nothing more than weak, cowardly scavengers living in perpetual fear. Yuji must now fight for the only remaining human resistance military or die at the hands of the continually evolving Blue.
Character Development: Starts out good but becomes jarring by the end.
Music: The OP makes my ears bleed, but there is one deeply haunting song among the mediocrity.
Story Arcs: Many are pretty good, but there are some questionable ones.
What will happen if humanity loses its place at the top of the food chain? What would happen if evolution crowns a new species that views man as pesky food? Welcome to 2031 A.D. where a new bug-like species has systematically taken over the planet. Though this apocalyptic scenario certainly isn’t all that original in the world of science fiction, it’s one that Blue Gender boldly tears into headlong, leaving behind a mass of insect and human carnage in its wake.
Much like numerous other productions of sci-fi, this anime has meaning beyond the giant robots and the flashy technobabble. It’s a social commentary, an evolutionary exercise and psychological study into the human condition. In the beginning of the show, the main character, Kaido Yuji, is the only “normal” person left in a world that has fallen into fear fueled decadency. Along with the audience, he looks at this new world in horror as emotions become suppressed, empathy shed and only the primal drive to survive remains in many of the soldiers around him. Social norms are warped and even base actions like love and sex are twisted. Those people who do still have human emotions often lose this trait or quickly become road kill.
Given the heavy subject matter, I find it to be such a shame that the actual drama is nowhere near as compelling. Feeling bad for Yuji and his accompanying meat sacks is only natural. Actually caring about them is a whole lot harder. Characters die with such frequency that apathy eventually settles in. The character development is admirable, the suspense is good, the action is decent, but the deaths just lack that gut ripping punch. This is probably the emptiness the characters in the show felt, but without the accompanying, visceral fear, this feeling eventually grows into boredom.
Due to the show’s above average story and mature presentation, I really do want to have a higher opinion of the series, but the show doesn’t make it easy. By the time the guns stop roaring and the blood stops spilling, the characters have their personalities warped forwards, backwards and sideways in such a jarring manner that it becomes hard not to raise an eyebrow. Yes, people do change under extreme situations like war, but some of the changes of heart displayed here feel downright absurd. Perhaps the gratuitous bug splattering could have added teeth to the show, but because of the lackluster animation, there’s no dice there either.
For those of you who love a hardboiled military thriller, I give Blue Gender a conservative, half-nod for its unflinching presentation and pretty good story arcs. For everyone else, rip out the roach motels and forget this show even existed.
The Rating: 5
Reviewed by: Shadowmage