Follow TV Tropes


Anime / Blue Gender

Go To

Blue Gender is a 26-episode anime series directed by Masashi Abe and produced by AIC. It ran in Japan from October 1999 to March 2000 on the Tokyo Broadcasting System.

In 2009, Yuji Kaido (Kenji Nojima) is an ordinary young man with a normal lifestyle, but after being diagnosed with a strange and terminal illness, doctors suggest that he and other similar individuals be frozen and awakened after a proper cure for the disease has been found. Flash-forward to 2031, where Yuji awakes to a world that has been completely taken over by a giant insect-like species known as the Blue. Yuji is only saved from certain death by the beautiful but cold soldier, Marlene Angel (Houko Kuwashima). Together, both characters must find a way to survive onslaught after onslaught of the Blue and make it back to a space station called Second Earth, where Yuji must discover the true nature of his condition. Along the way, Yuji and Marlene form a bond with one another, one that starts off as hostile but gradually evolves into trust, friendliness and, ultimately, love.

In many ways it is a Fish out of Water plot, but without the humor as Yuji wakes up to a world completely different and is at first unable to cope with a world in which the Blue have taken over. He does quickly learn to fend for himself, but is still shocked by how the ethics, morality, values, and general outlook on life have changed so radically since his time. For example, sex is meaningless pleasure, and there's no point in forming close meaningful bonds because Anyone Can Die at any moment. There is no longer any value placed on human life as every individual human is considered expendable. At the same time, it is one of the greatest stories of Character Development ever, as Marlene, who begins the series as an emotionless soldier, slowly regains her humanity and empathy that the Blue and Second Earth has robbed her of.

The premise is similar to that of Starship Troopers but without the campy satirical feel of the film or the controversial political ideology of the novel. [adult swim] even described this show as Starship Troopers meets Futurama. See also Earth Maiden Arjuna for a similar series, but in the Magical Girl Warrior genre.

Blue Gender contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In the series, the Clincher shows up in the Baikonur power room, kills Han by fusing to him, takes a few bullets and appears to be dead, but follows the gang into the shuttle when they escape. In Blue Gender: The Warrior, the scene in the power room is cut, so suddenly, this thing appears on the shuttle, fused to Han's body, with no explanation whatsoever.
  • After the End: The Blue has wreaked such havoc and destruction on modern society that a majority of humanity was forced to retreat into space and live on a station dubbed "Second Earth". Those who weren't that lucky live day after day in perpetual fear that the Blue will swoop down and kill them at any moment. Buildings lie abandoned and the Blue infest nearly every area of the Earth.
  • Alternate Continuity: Blue Gender: The Warrior cuts up various bits of the anime and condenses/mangles it into a 100 minute movie with vague similarities. Many fans hate what the movie did to the series and generally consider the anime to be the "true" canon story.
  • Anyone Can Die: Most supporting characters end up not lasting more than a few episodes, if that. Of the six supporting characters introduced in the first episode, four were dead by the end of the second, three having died within a minute of each other. By series end, only the two main characters with names, Yuji and Marlene, manage to live; everybody else with a name ends up dead, though Dice Quaid is presumably still alive and roaming earth while Amick's fate after escaping Second Earth is unknown.
  • Apocalypse How: Planetary, Class 2 verging on Class 3.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The core, the small fleshy tube on a Blue's head.
  • Ax-Crazy: Using Newtype B-Cell powers tends to result in this. Tony completely gives into his madness. Yuji was on the verge of it until he's saved by Marlene.
  • Babies Ever After: Yes, despite the overall tone of the series, it does end on a rather happy note for the main characters. Yuji ensures that the threat to humanity is over, and then reunites with Marlene, with the promise that they can live a happy life together on Earth. Marlene is pregnant with Yuji's child.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Yuji and Marlene do this with their Humongous Mecha during a training exercise.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Blue are a race of Big Creepy-Crawlies who aim to wipe out humanity, but Chairman Victor, leader of the High Council that runs Second Earth like a dictatorship, is the one responsible for the Blue attacking humans, by screwing up the Earth badly enough to bring about Gaia's Vengeance (and driving the Blue berserk with their experimentation), and he is doing everything in his power to escape justice. Around the end of the series, Tony briefly becomes the Big Bad when he leads the Blue in killing the council and raiding the station, and after his death, Seno Miyagi takes over the station himself and tries to keep humanity from returning to Earth, making him the final Big Bad.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Blue.
  • Break the Cutie: Alica is introduced as bubbly and optimistic. Then she happens upon Tony in a Blue's nest and her attitude changes rapidly.
  • Breath Weapon: The Land Whale spits out what looks to be a glob of compacted sand that impacts targets like a cannon ball.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: How Yuji reacts to first seeing the Blue.
  • Broken Aesop: "Take to the stars to ease the planet's burden? Screw you! Green Aesop or death!"
  • Broken Bird: Marlene, and later Yuji, for a time.
  • Bug War: The Blue are more or less created by the humans, in fact, because humans wanted to use B-cells for war. This backfires on them spectacularly.
  • Celibate Hero: Interestingly, despite the attitude towards sex and love in this world, both times Marlene is presented in such a situation prior to having sex with Yuji, the male involved in the situation only gets so far as groping her before she stops them from going further. In the first occurrence, she's not in the mood. In the second, adding to the previous reason, by that point she'd fallen in love with Yuji. Additionally, this may be in part due to her backstory, in that she was forced to discover about such things at an unfortunately young age, and ended up deeply hurt as a result.
  • Character Development: Both Yuji and Marlene go through this, especially Marlene.
    • Yuji starts the series naive about his new circumstances and is a bit of a pushover. As he goes through his hellish experiences, he learns to become more assertive and becomes a worthwhile leader. His fiery emotions manage to thaw Marlene's icy exterior, leading her to discover her humanity again.
    • Marlene starts off as cold and as ruthless as any other Second Earth citizen; apathetic to the suffering of others, only caring about the "mission" (wiping out the Blue) and remorseless in her actions. As she starts to hang around Yuji and sees his drive and compassion for others, this starts to slowly get through to her and she begins to doubt everything she ever believed in. By the middle of the series, while still ruthless, her demeanor has softened considerably and she is hell bent on staying near Yuji, aiding him in all his trials. By the series end, she has completely fallen for Yuji and adopted a motherly side towards children, hinting at her pregnancy with Yuji's child.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Another of Yuji's Fish out of Water traits. This becomes important in awakening Marlene's humanity.
  • Cold Sleep, Cold Future: Most of the human characters are heartless bastards who place little if any value on human life, to the point where civilians who are not granted access to Second Earth are not only expendable but are pretty much considered dead to those who are on Second Earth. The one and only thing on everyone's mind is wiping out the Blue, and that's it.
  • Common Tongue: For all the efforts at realism, everyone living in the future speaks the same language, no matter how geographically isolated.
  • Crapsack World: It's a world where anyone can be eaten by giant bugs and humans with the capacity to save the Earth are assholes. And by the end, all technology is wiped out.
  • Creative Sterility: A big weakness for much of the 2nd Earth military, they are so by the book that there was a scene of soldiers getting slaughtered because they encountered something that wasn't in their manual and they froze up in panic.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: The military with their Armor Shrikes, being the ones well equipped for fighting the Blue.
  • Cryonics Failure: This happens with alarming frequency. Hell, happens right in the first episode.
  • Deadly Dodging: In The Warrior, Marlene kills two Maneaters (praying mantis-esque Blue) by evading their attacks and causing one of them to impale the other. She skewers the second one with her bayonet at the same time.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All of the main characters and a fair few side characters have their moments.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Houko Kuwashima, Marlene's voice actress, sang the opening and ending themes.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all the hell our two main leads go through, Yuji and Marlene have certainly earned it. Yuji ensures Earth is saved by "communicating" with Gaia and Marlene reunites with Yuji, content that they can finally live in peace and looking forward to raising their child. But as for the rest of humanity...
  • Face–Heel Turn: Tony, after completely giving into his madness. Alicia as well, though she manages to snap out of it. Unfortunately, it's not enough to save her...
  • Fanservice: Some very...random sexual encounters. Marlene is the main source of this trope for the series, appearing naked on the ending credits, throughout the show and on the VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray covers.
  • Finger-Tenting: Victor, Chairman of the High Council and Big Bad of the series, likes to do this.
  • Fish out of Water: Poor Yuji, waking up from his cryo sleep into a world taken over by the Blue.
  • Foreshadowing: The last couple of episodes include a few hints to how the series ends out. In the 24th episode, Yuji and Marlene, after finally admitting their feelings and having sex, are shown transparent in a naked embrace against the Earth, signifying the new life they promise to live together at the end of the series. In the 25th episode, Marlene is shown acting much more passive than she normally does, and in one scene, watches a group of settler children play whilst resting a hand on her stomach, before interacting with them in an unusually motherly way, hinting she's pregnant with Yuji's child.
  • Free-Love Future: In this story, even the act of kissing is seen as a "pre-battle ritual". Justified because humanity is on its last legs, and everybody has to get it on while they've got the chance.
  • Freudian Trio: After most of the recovery team are killed, Yuji becomes The Id, Joey (and to a lesser degree, Robert) become The Ego, and Marlene becomes The Superego in the dynamic of the remaining members. After Joey and Robert die, Yuji and Marlene predictably begin to wear on each other's nerves, establishing their initial dynamic, with each of them improving through the other's influence. Yuji's Shrinking Violet tendencies become less pronounced, learning to take the lead once in a while and fend for himself, and Marlene becomes less and less of a coldhearted Ice Queen, opening up a bit more and embracing her more human side, although it takes a little bit more time for her to actually take a level in kindness.
  • Future Primitive: The surviving humans on Earth will live with nothing more advanced than a clay pot and thatched hut.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: The Earth created the Blue because the human race has become overpopulated and wrecked the environment. Gaia waited for humans to make the Blue while trying to cure a disease, then directed the Blue to kill them, then when that fails, she kills only the Blue and drives all the humans in space insane.
  • Gainax Ending: Yuji somehow communicates with Gaia and convinces her to let the humans and Blue live on Earth in peace. While he reunites with Marlene and their unborn child, Second Earth citizens suddenly go insane and wipe themselves out.
  • General Failure: The High Council and several higher-ups tend to lack tactical acumen and borders on General Ripper, leading to death that could have been avoided.
  • Genius Loci: Gaia.
  • A God Am I: Tony, who declares that upon wiping out humanity, he will "become the world's Messiah!"
  • Gorn: The amount of violence in this series is insane, courtesy of the Blue killing the humans.
  • Green Aesop: Technology and its abuse of it caused the Earth to punish humans by siccing the Blue on them.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Yuji briefly becomes this after fighting the Blue for so long/after his B-cells awaken.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Some deaths in this series leads to this trope.
  • Hollywood Tactics: The anime itself is somewhat guilty of this with mecha designs. While the mechs — Armored Shrikes — were designed to deal with Bugs in both ranged and melee combat, somehow the pilots' head area was exposed underneath their heads that nearly got Marlene killed in the first episode along with the misfortune of many pilots.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: A major theme of the series is that, in their attempt to survive, pretty much every human being has become cold and unfeeling, placing absolutely no value in human life, love, or simple compassion since everyone is viewed as expendable. While Marlene is certainly capable of handling herself, she's not an especially warm or likable character. As she begins to change through Yuji's influence, the tables are turned when Yuji becomes like Marlene was at the beginning of the series, and she has to save him from going completely insane. Yuji himself takes the mindset from pretty much every other human being living at that point. Meanwhile, the people of Second Earth are shown to be corrupt, outright subjecting their soldiers like Marlene to Mind Rape for disobedience, and actively train recruits to be unfeeling killing machines. And by the end, it’s revealed that human overpopulation and technology was what spawned the Blue in the first place, and their attempts to weaponize the Blue were what drove them insane. Chairman Victor, the head of Second Earth and the leader of humanity’s battle against the Blue, is the Big Bad of the series who spearheaded this operation.
  • Human Popsicle: Kaido Yuji and the other Sleepers.
  • IKEA Erotica: Intentionally; the war with the Blue has destroyed human intimacy, and sex is a mechanical, meaningless act. Episode 24 subverts this when Yuji and Marlene sleep with one another, an act that both parties go into willingly and lovingly.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: A major part of Yuji's Character Development is how completely powerless he is to prevent the deaths of anyone close to him. This doesn't do much good to his already hurting mental state, as 'hurting' swiftly becomes 'rapidly deteriorating'. Marlene of all people is the one to finally snap him out of it.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Seamus Han, who was willing to abandon humanity and run away with a beautiful Sleeper woman, chews out his superiors about their attitudes towards Sleepers in general:
    Han: Shut up! You guys are all alike! Whatever suits you, military're nothing more than vermin to see everything in those terms! How are they Samples? How are they guinea pigs? She is just like us! She's a human, with the same red blood flowing through her as us! And yet...and yet, am I right? All that waits for her are ruins and bugs, and your egos! You, who would cast her out into a world more rotten than Hell itself, and carve her up with the tainted blade that is reality! Do you think she would be happy with something like that? Don't you feel sorry for the Sleepers? I will protect you! I will...I will...For her life! For her future! For her peace of mind! You'll pay! You'll pay for this!!!
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Only because they exist - the rifles used by the infantry aren't much better than what's out there now. While the Armored Shrikes carry autocannons, these aren't too effective either and they still often resort to shooting Blue in the weak spot. Energy weapons haven't been developed until the experimental 2nd generation Armored Shrikes are created and these are only for the Sleepers plus Marlene.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The series does this repeatedly, and these might be considered the only forms of humor throughout the show.
  • The Load: In the beginning, everything is trying to kill Marlene. Let's just say Yuji doesn't exactly make keeping the two of them alive easy.
  • Ludd Was Right: The show basically posits civilization (i.e. pretty much everything after the introduction of agriculture and the wheel) as against Man's true harmony, and blames humanity and technology for the rise of the Blue, which was created to restore the natural world. Of course, this is done by showing how depraved and screwed-up life on the technologically advanced Second Earth is compared to those who "embrace" nature.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: In the middle of a transmission back to base, right before a Blue attack. Then again, they're both dead by the end of the episode, so maybe that was their only opportunity...
  • Male Gaze: While hiking behind Marlene, Yuji fixates on the seat of her skin-tight suit.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Marlene and Yuji, so much so that Yuji totally qualifies as a Broken Bird.
  • Militaries Are Useless: This is combined with Show, Don't Tell, as it is mentioned that humanity's militaries were defeated off screen, but we are never shown or told exactly how. The humans show themselves capable of defeating the Blue without tremendous difficulty in the series, and if they were to use modern day military tactics, the humans should, by all accounts, have been able to win pretty handily.
  • Mind Rape: The main disciplinary tool of Second Earth. The recipient ( Marlene) is forced to watch a virtual reality simulation showing the brutal deaths of everyone she cares about.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Armor Shrikes are some 6 meters tall, quite impressive, but not on the order of Neon Genesis Evangelion's EVA or Gundams.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Elena has one of these after a night out in the open with Yuji. One wonders why he wakes up fully dressed.
  • Must Not Die a Virgin: There's an entire culture developed around this.
  • Official Couple: Yuji and Marlene. One of the major factors in this series is showing the development of their relationship from beginning to end. More justified than most, as the fact that Marlene is falling in love with Yuji is a telling sign she's being humanized more and more through Yuji's influence. Her behavior comes to clash with her superiors, who are so absorbed in fighting Blue that they do not seem to be able to even comprehend what love is anymore.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The High Council, complete with a Gendo Ikari look alike.
  • One-Book Author: Brandi Evans McComb, best known as a former lead vocalist for Vince Vance & The Valiants, sang the English version of the anime's opening theme, "Set Me Free". To this day, Blue Gender is McComb's only work in an anime.
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: Yuji and Marlene get to live a happy, peaceful life in the new agrarian society. Literally everyone else they have ever met dies horribly. Even if it makes absolutely no sense (the people on Second Earth moved up there to lessen the load humanity places on Earth, but Gaia kills them for the horrible crime of... not kissing her celestial ass, apparently).
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In episode 14, Marlene is able to evade (apparently) trained guards and High Council members by letting her hair down and putting on a medic's uniform. Possibly justified, as most of the guards heard about that through their radios; aside from, say, height and hair color, they'd have no way of knowing what she looked like. Then again, that’s hardly the only show of incompetence from the humans in this series.
  • Pregnant Badass: Marlene's in the (very) early stages during the last two episodes.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: Yuji becomes this by end of the series, not only wanting to protect humanity but because he wants to protect the one good thing that came into his life since waking up from his cryo sleep: Marlene.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Inverted: The more of a badass Yuji becomes, the less benevolent he comes off as.
  • Real Robot: Second Earth's main method of combating the Blue. What makes the Armored Shrikes realistic is how difficult it is to pilot them and how crude they appear. Controlled by a series of joysticks and buttons, it takes a lot of practice to become minimally proficient and the melee versions require two people to pilot. The Shrikes also don't have movable legs which are complex and a vulnerable point, they run on roller skates. Later Shrikes are much less realistic, built with the Sleepers's superhuman fighting ability in mind.
  • La Résistance: The Ark, formed by Seno, who seek to overthrow the corrupt and arrogant High Council led by Chairman Victor.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: In the very first episode, Yuji is seen eyeing an unnamed, attractive female sleeper. It seems like she might be set to provide a companion in the future to whom he can relate, until he finds her body twisted into a Blue cocoon, establishing that Anyone Can Die.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Marlene gets one of these with Yuji, who is as surprised to find that she's human. Naturally they become the closest this series can have to a Love Interest.
  • Scenery Gorn: Plenty of footage of destroyed cityscape covered by Blue nests.
  • Science Is Bad: The Aesop is that humanity should never have advanced beyond an agricultural society, as the Blue are wiping out humans because they have overpopulated and caused pollution with their technology.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Happens in the last episode, when the last survivors of technological humanity in orbit Freak Out en masse and destroy themselves in a stampede back to earth, completing Gaia's Vengeance.
  • Training Montage: Yuji's training-montage contains the world's bare minimum elements for a training montage: a total zero at the start, someone correcting how he holds a gun, some guy going "hey kid, you've got a knack for this!" and suddenly, Yuji being ready to go into battle. On the other hand, when he's "ready to go into battle" he immediately gets his ass kicked, so perhaps not a completely straight example.
  • Tuckerization: Yuji's friend Takashi, named after one of the producers.
  • Worm Sign: The reason for the Land Whale's name. It exhales while burrowing, shooting a "spout" of air and water vapor up through the sand. It sometimes causes a more normal form of the trope, disturbing the sand as it moves beneath it (though this depends on how close to the surface it is and how fast it's moving).
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: The one good point of Victor, the High Council Chairman.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After weeks of Everything Trying To Kill Marlene, she finally brings back the mission objective that cost everyone else their lives. For that, she gets reprimanded by Ominous Multiple Screens, busted down to bottom rank, and stonewalled for any information on the man she may or may not have saved.
  • Zerg Rush: Partial example, since individual Blue are hardly weak, but they do tend to attack in huge numbers.