Vandread: The Second Stage

vandread2logojn1As state previously, any time there is an anime that has a second season that should be analyzed, I will take the time to break them into two different reviews. Much like I did with Valvrave the Liberator. Today its time to finish up Vandread and see if the series is able to bump itself up a bit and receive a higher rating.

The crew of the Nirvana is still on its way back to their home planets. Just as the group is starting to grow closer together some new crew members come aboard. The first is Misty, a young woman from a planet where Men and Woman coexist and Ezra’s baby, Karu gets delivered. Team members also start to grow and mature but stakes also get more intense. Can the crew save their homes or with the alien force beat them their first?

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There is a lot of growth in this series and that’s really key to any good series to have a lasting impression. Characters change and grow closer as the series progresses along. Whether its Bart’s cutting his hair in memory of a lost girl to Ezra having her baby in an trapped elevator, the second series if filled with a lot of great character moments that seemed to be lacking previoulsy. Its as if someone looked at what went wrong with the first season and did their best to improve upon it.

The series is really able to bring it home at the end. The last few episodes are an intense mix of emotions and action as the crew is broken apart, is brought back together, and just in time to fight in the final battle. Between the heroic speeches of Hibiki and the others professing that they are going to fight for their freedom and all the different friends and allies they have met coming to help them, the joy and intensity hits a high point.

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A new Mecha is introduced in the second season. A combination of three different dread ships and Hibikis Vanguard robot fuse into Vandread Hibiki (Also known as Super Vandread). The new robot is impressively strong but sadly doesn’t get to be seen more than twice in the entire series. Isn’t that how it always happens? The most destructive and powerful robot doesn’t get used as much as one would hope.

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Though this is the end of the series there is a light novel that helps to add as a prologue. Unfotunately, this book has never been translated into English so the only way to really know what happens is to read fan sites and Wikipedia. Shame too as it seemed to really have a very satisfying ending for Dita and Hibiki’s relationship.

Thanks to the fun ride with the last few episodes the series is able to come from behind and goes up in its rating. Over the course of the full run of both seasons, the show serves to be a great mixture of comedy, action, and giant robots. Check it out and see how much fan the battle between the sexes can truly be.

RATING: B

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Vandread

232094 Animes that have a lot of hype on their initial release but then fade into obscurity are not uncommon at all. Its a little surprising that this show has seemed to go that way as it had a huge fan following when it first came out. Still, its not exactly an essential series when it comes to Mecha so I guess I can see why it had that effect. It is worth discussing though so let’s dive in.

Men and women are from different planets and are at war with each other. Hibiki is a low class laborer who wants to prove himself to the rest of his fellow workers. He sneaks on board the latest warship to steal a Vanguard robot but the ship is attacked by women. In the course of the battle, the two flagships of both men and women fuse and are transported away. Now Hibiki has not choice but to work the alien obsessed Dita, the cold Meia, and flirtaous Jura and combine his Vanguard with their Dread ships to create Vandreads.

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The interactions between men and women that treat each other as aliens offers some very entertaining moments. Dita is cute with her quirk of calling Hibiki “Mr. Alien” and its adorable to see the two of them grow closer. The side romance between Duelo and Parfet is also interesting to watch but sadly they never get a really good romantic moment (not even in the second season). The series does well to showcase that it takes a combination of men and women working together to truly succeed in life.

The robots in this series are interesting but could have had a better focus. There really isn’t any data files or show moments that showcase each of the different Vandread’s full abilities. Instead each of the three has a generic specialty such as offense (Dita), defense (Jura), and speed (Meia). I personally prefer when a robots abilities are established rather than being able to pull out a special move from thin air as the situation dictates. Sadly they never thought to make technical specs for this series so each robot basically has the ability to do what it needs to when the story requires it.

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Again I won’t make the claim that the Gonzo effect is in place here. The series starts and ends on a good note with little in terms of a decline in quality of the art. This is probably right before Gonzo started to cut corners and work on getting the most anime out on as little budget as possible.

So that’s Vandread, or at least the first half. Fun bit of romantic comedy mixed with giant robots. Its worth a look but I wouldn’t spend hours trying to track it down or anything.

RATING: B