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Vandread: First Stage


Genre: Drama
Company: Gonzo/Media Factory
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 10/3/2000 to 12/19/2000

The citizens of the planet Tarak have long been engaged in a brutal war against the insidious inhabitants of the planet Mejale. Of course, this is no ordinary rivalry as it is the age-old gender war brought to full fruition; men and woman are at war and have been for years. Hibiki, low class citizen of Tarak, and two military cadets find themselves caught with a band of female pirates who have been mysteriously thrust to the furthest reaches of the universe. Now they must work together to fight a common foe and make their voyage back home.

summary by Mugs


Reviewed: 04/15/2004 by
Grade: 83% av-Mugs

Highs: Action sequences; character interactions

Lows: Little more than another Tenchi clone, even if it is a well done one

Take Tenchi Muyo!, throw it in a blender with Star Trek Voyager and the game Genderwars and you basically have Vandread. We have our primary male character, the requisite gaggle of cute girls running around, entire ship thrown outside of known space and major animosity between the male and female characters at the beginning of the series. All in all not a terrible setup for an anime.

So does the series fulfill its potential? Thankfully, the answer, for the most part, is yes. We get some character background for most characters, including a couple of eyebrow-raising looks at how the two planets live. Unfortunately not all of it makes sense, and certainly there are things left unexplained, plus the fact that the story is not wrapped up. Fortunately all of these are left to Vandread: Second Stage to fulfill. To ease minds the anime ends on a good breaking point.

The show relies on a heavy action element and while it all looks good, it comes with a major caveat. Parts of the action are CGI, and when I say CGI I mean actual rendered models, not 2D animation assisted by computers. While this blends in rather well it is quite noticeable, and at least for me it disrupted the continuity of the series. Needless to say some people will really hate it; others won’t mind. I would much rather have seen traditionally animated action, but it wasn’t a huge deal for me.

Vandread doesn’t set the bar too high for itself but hits the mark on what it does set out to do. Not making political statements or comments about life, Vandread essentially wants out to keep you happy for a couple hours. At this it succeeds admirably.


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