Genre: Sci-Fi / Mecha
Parental Guidance Recommended
2000. Takeshi Mori (director). Gonzo. WOWOW.
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In the empire of Taraku, an empire composed of all men, it is said that the women once tried to conquer their planet and ate their livers. To do that, the leaders of Taraku built a giant ship called Ikazuchi (Thunder) that holds a lot of powerful mechas called "banggeta" to fight the women.
One day however, the empire of Mejeiru, an empire of only women, captured the Ikazuchi and took over the ship skillfully as they are pirates. There was a problem however when a third-class citizen got hold of one banggeta and was held captive in the ship along with two other men.
Diita, a pilot of one of the Dreads, the ships of Mejeiru is deeply fascinated with Hibiki calling him Mr. Alien. It is this kind of "fascination" that Hibiki wants to escape from and return safely to Taraku.
However, a new enemy is attacking all humans whether they be male or female. Aboard the Ikazuchi , this enemy unites both sexes from both empires and are learning from each other's cultures and differences.
Another advantage though is that Hibiki finds himself rather useful as a pilot of the "banggeta," known to the women of Mejeiru as "Vanguard." It is upon Diita's existence that made them learn a new secret. Dreads uniting with Vanguards? Can this be the new weapon to fight the new enemy?
3DCG mecha fights *_* >>> by firesenshi
As said in the preview, technically the series has not been completed yet since there is a Vandread: Second Stage showing as we speak in Japan. (December 2001). However, since the Second Stage was released a year after this first season, I'll just put in my thoughts and later consolidate them so I won't forget!
Anyway, this is the first time I've actually seen fights done in 3DCG (computer graphic animation). The success of the anime in Japan is warranted even to that fact. Personally, I find the CG a bit raw but considering that this is a whole series and not just one full-scale movie, I can't expect anything like Final Fantasy: Spirits Within. That took 3 years in the making. This one took less than a year in production. (I like the CG in the Second Stage though.)
Despite that, the mecha design is excellent! As it is Vandread, the very concept of the Vanguards (banggettas) uniting with the Dreads is a good one! You get a different transformation each time since Hibiki's Vanguard can unite with three Dreads. The specialties of course of each Vandread is different. Diita's is a giant robot which is more mobile for space fighting. Meia's more adept in shooting and speed being a ship. With Jura, it's well... "Kani?" he he! It does look like a giant crab but it has great force field to protect a planet! Now, if you're amazed at those concepts, the story would interest you very much!
How would men and women survive living apart? I guess, procreation as shown here, is done asexually, but would they survive? The story is built on the premise of a post-holocaust Earth that is why its inhabitants live separately according to sex. Sometimes it's funny to see how men and women relate LITERALLY living the cliche that they are both from separate planets. (There's a funny scene where Diita was surprised to hear that men have a "tube" in between their legs. The other women wonder how it is walking with that.) Aside from the comedies, there are also touching scenes with great characters such as Meia.
Good character design as Gonzo, producers of Gatekeepers, would. The great thing here is that there is variety. Hibiki is well... to put it in the greatest of terms, a gifted klutz. Piloting the banggeta is one special skill but his blunders are enough to make him very much likeable actually. Jura is a girl who adds spice to the whole thing but I'm sure a lot of people would love Meia, with all her leadership abilities and cold composure.
The ending of this season won't leave you hanging, I tell you! But it does make it clear that the enemy has not been defeated yet. I think though, after watching all this, you'll find it worthwhile to stick around for Vandread: Second Stage.
Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 8; Characters 9; Sounds 8