In the year 2017, a scourge of giant insects took planet Earth by storm, destroying human civilization and forcing a chosen few survivors to flee to space. Those unfortunate enough to not have been chosen to go to space live in a post-apocalyptic world, where they can be dismembered by the monstrous insects, known as the Blue, at any time.
Life is hell.
The key to defeating the insects might be a group of people who came down with a mysterious genetic mutation that were put into a state of suspended animation in the year 2009.
This is where Blue Gender starts. We see one of these so-called “Sleepers,” Yuji Kaido, inadvertently awoken by a recovery squad. Now face to face with this terrifying world, he meets one of the soldiers from space, Marlene Angel, and there they begin a wild adventure.
Sci-Fi Horror Done Right
Blue Gender is a mecha-based series that does its best to shock the viewer, particularly in the first story arc, which is the best one. There, you see the squad sent to recover Sleepers get whittled down in endless Blue attacks, leaving Yuji and Marlene the only survivors as they make their way from Japan, to Korea, and then all the way to an outpost near Moscow.
Encounter after horrifying encounter with the Blue follows them. Yuji is forced to adapt quickly to this world overrun by giant predatory insects.
Each fight in Blue Gender, especially early on, is action-packed with a psychological edge. Each fight is unique as the Blue shock your senses with how horrible they are. The more squeamish among you might act like Yuji did in those early episodes.
Yet, that isn’t the strongest part of the series.
As they run away from the Blue across half of Asia, the shocked Yuji slowly begins to accept the world he’s in and trains to fight, while Marlene’s coldness is melted by her charge. When given the chance to choose between a “normal” life with nomads on the steppes, who haven’t been harassed by the Blue, and journeying to space with Marlene, Yuji ultimately chooses her.
Aside from the action, the characterization is what drives this show. In the journey on Earth, Marlene Angel was a cold, ruthless warrior who considered all lives, including her own, expendable in the fight against the Blue. But just as Marlene begins to find her humanity, it’s Yuji that now loses it.
Yuji’s condition, called the “B cells” might be the key to defeating the Blue. The B cells, when activated in a special mech, give Yuji and other “Sleepers” superhuman strength, reaction time, healing, and even a form of precognition when facing the Blue…but that last part is because the Blue is actually the evolved B cell itself.
This means that as Yuji fights, he becomes steadily more like the Blue than a human being. The higher-ups don’t realize that their prized Sleepers, the weapon with which they want to reclaim the planet from the Blue, are as dangerous as the insects themselves.
The only one that realizes that danger is the lead scientist in space, Seno Miyagi, who informs Marlene Angel of what’s happening with her “friend.” Miyagi says that they need to remove the high council from power to stop the Sleepers from going out of control, as they would never change their plans willingly. Marlene agrees.
A nice touch of the Blue Gender series is that we don’t just see the horror that Earth has become, but the submerging of any freedom for those supposedly fortunate enough to escape from it. The survivors in space live under a regime where any individuality is subsumed to the “wisdom” of the high council and its mission to retake Earth from the Blue. There’s no real freedom. It’s a military government where everything is strictly regulated. Marlene Angel was expected to simply forget Yuji Kaido despite their epic journey on Earth and only managed to stay with him by, for the first time, disregarding orders, as well as a stroke of good fortune.
The cost of reclaiming the planet was never considered by the high council – but Miyagi begins to wonder whether all this is worth it. When the Sleepers go out of control, he decides it isn’t, stages, a coup, and overthrows the high council.
To make a long story short, Marlene was able to snap Yuji out of his berserk rage (just as he had once melted her ice), but another Sleeper nearly destroyed humanity’s last outpost in space. The high council thought the Sleepers would be a panacea in taking the planet back and they were too blinded to think of the drawbacks.
The role reversal and this violation of the laws of power makes the second arc of Blue Gender almost as enjoyable as the first.
Blue Gender does decline after Yuji regains his humanity thanks to Marlene. We see convoluted take on the Gaia hypothesis with an anticlimactic ending. The last two episodes resemble more New Age mumbo jumbo than the sci-fi horror and subtle character development that was such a hallmark of the series. But there is one last great fight.
These are the kinds of fights you’ll see often in the series, and if you’re a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, sci-fi, horror, or just good fights, you’ll enjoy it. What sets it apart from other series is the epic journeys that Yuji and Marlene go on and their development, which is superior to many similar shows.
Finally, if you just want to see some good fights, you won’t go wrong here.