So what does a large group of women space pirates, four men, a monkey, alien cultists, a girl in a bear suit, an unknown enemy, and an egg-shaped robot have in common? Not much. But they are all in the same anime.
Vandread begins on a planet called Taraaku, where all the men are preparing for war against... the women? Wha? Well, apparently men only live on Taraaku, and all the women live on a planet called Mejiru. And the only interaction between them is war. So the entire planet of men is united behind crushing the oppressive women, and a great armada is built with a flagship named Ikazuchi, literally "Thunder." During this they also reveal a new secret weapon called the Bangata, a mech. No guns. Just swords and spears. So the armada takes off to head over to Mejiru, but who do they meet? Women. Naturally. Not just normal women, but Space Pirate Women!! And the Armada is efficiently destroyed. Against pirates. Lord knows what would happen if they met the women's armada. So the women collect the prize (the Ikazuchi), but the ship's energy core (made out of a solidified form of energy called Praxis) goes haywire and the pirate's ship and the Ikuzachi are fused together, and all the Dreads (pirate fighters) and the Bangatas are magically transformed. During the chaos, all the men evacuate the Ikuzachi except three, a cowardly heir to a food corporation, named Bart; a doctor, Duero McFile; and a 'Third-Class' (Third Generation) citizen named Hibiki Tokai. The men are taken prisoner but released as they become more useful. Even though they started close to home, an fight with an unknown enemy has landed them several months from home, and they have to fight their way back before the time of 'harvesting;' that is, before the enemy harvests the inhabitants of Taraaku and Meijiru for... well... their genitals.
Hibiki - A stubborn, short, angsty man who doesn't like to be told what to do. He's in love with women's food and clearly has an slight obsession with Dita Liebely, even though he thinks she's annoying. Even though he was not trained as one, he pilots a transformed Bangata very well.
Dita - A bright, enthusiastic, curious, and annoying young lady who has a thing for Uchuujin-san (Mr. Alien), as she so affectionately calls Hibiki. She is an apprentice Dread fighter pilot and an alien-hunter.
Jura - A tall blonde Dread pilot with an obsession complex. She has to find competition in everything and if she loses, she gets depressed. While she seems to pine after Hibiki, it's probably only because Dita is pining for him as well. She really seems to be in love with Barnette, her pseudo-sidekick.
Meia - Captain of the Dread fighters, she is calm, serious, and willing to sacrifice everything for a common good. She is the only character who's traumatic past is revealed in the anime.
Boss- An elderly woman. Captain of the space pirates. She is very wise and plays a very active role in her crews' lives, even dressing up as Santa.
Parfait - The ship's lead engineer. Classic geek girl from the 80's. Short, large glasses, long pig tails... yea... She's one of the first to trust the men, especially Duero.
BC - Second in command. She is very serious about her job and is ever vigilant.
Bart - a young boy who tries desperately to fit in but never will; because he doesn't act as himself. He is a fast-talker and claims to be (and becomes) the ship's navigator.
Duero - the ship's doctor. He is very calm and collected. He is interested in how everything works and because of that he befriends the ship's head mechanic, Parfait
Pyoro - the egg shaped robot. He is from when the Ikazuchi was used as a colonizing ship from earth, and is broken. He's not supposed to feel emotions, but because he is broken, he does.
Pei - a nosey nurse that is almost always seen scribbling in a notebook or taking pictures of people she is observing in secret. When she's not doing either of those things, she is usually cheering people up with her Frog hand puppet.
Rabat and Buutan - A man and his monkey. Rabat is short for Rat Bastard. He is a merchant and sells whatever he finds to whomever he wishes. Buutan is a monkey that is in 'love' with Pyoro and is usually chasing Pyoro around.
Odd and Ends
Hibiki's Bangata and the women's Dread fighters were all magically transformed when the two ships fused together. Because of this, the Dreads have the ability to "unite" with the Bangata to form a super-mech (although its not always a mech). Hibiki fuses with three people in this series, Dita, Jura, and Meia. When united, the new super-mech/dread... thingy is called a Vandread, thus the name of the series. Dita/Hibiki Vandread is a giant mech with two drill-like guns that can also be used as a javalin. The Jura/Hibiki Vandread looks like a giant crab thing; its weapon is some circular disks that can create an energy shield around anything as large as a planet (a gas giant, at that) and reflect laser beams in various directions. The Meia/Hibiki Vandread is a 1337 fighter that looks kind of like an eagle, the only weapon that’s used is raw speed.
The enemy's 'harvest' is a great mystery until the end (and then you don't know why), and I'm not one to ruin plot too much. But I will say that the enemy is trying to harvest various body parts from different colonies.
Hibiki's Bangata's weapons are swords. Not even energy swords or lightsabres, real metal swords. When first deployed against the women pirates, most of the Bangata pilots jumped onto the hulls of the Dreads and pounded it with their fists. I would imagine that a humanoid race that has mastered interstellar travel would have better technology than to pound its enemies senseless with a giant robot's fists...
- Boy meets Girl
- And then I don't know what to do
- This is how I will live
- Because I want to know more about you
- Sweet Trap
- What a Wonderful World
- Easy Life
- It's Impossible!
- More savage than Heaven
- White Love
- They don't care about us
- Feel the Fire
Vandread is a good anime and is worth watching. It's a romantic comedy with more comedy and action than romance. The antics between Hibiki and Dita are hilarious at times. It also, surprisingly, hints at a deeper meanings and delves into the minds of men and women; surprisingly, the delves are a look (a good look) how either gender would treat the other if they were separated for many generations. There are, also surprisingly, different cultural aspects that are highlighted in the show. The man-food from Taraaku is nothing more than pellets that can keep you energized for 300 days, while all the women are gourmet chefs and cook cakes and hamburgers perfectly (ok, so it's a little stereotypical, so?).
Vandread has good, quality animation and a great story line that draws the viewer in. The humor takes second place only to the amount of action in the series. Overall, a very wonderfully done anime. The only drawbacks that I've noticed is the music and CG animation. The music is decent, but not attractive. Fitting, but not beautiful. It works for what its needed when it's needed but that’s all. The CG animation is the bigger disappointment. While better than second-rate, it is nothing to be proud of. All of the CG occurs in outer space, and subsequently, it is very dark in space. The CG doesn't aide any, it is dark and undetailed, and in some cases, the Bangata just looks plain ugly (but that's probably the fault of the concept artist's). But never-the-less, it is well worth the watch.
Vandread: The Second Stage
Especially if you haven't seen the first 13 episodes.
Vandread: The Second Stage picks up exactly where the first season, Vandread, left off. (The title is changed for some unknown reason, and thus it is a different series. Probably the same reason Initial D has different 'stages.') The crew of the Nirvana is being chased around the universe by the harvesting ships sent from earth. This time around the enemies are "smarter," "faster," and they have imitation Vandreads and even an imitation Nirvana. The crew wanders around for a while, helping a planet here, destroying an Earth fleet there, not really doing anything useful plot-wise until about the 10th episode. The show has greatly improved since the first season, Gonzo apparently upped the budget for them near the end, which is rare. Most anime series have one budget for all episodes and because of budget restrictions, the quality of the anime worsens as it gets later in the series. Not so with Vandread, thank god. The first season would be a complete flop of both animation and plot were it not for the The Second Stage. In the Second Stage, the CG for the space battles is very impressive and wonderfully done. The plot and script and /everything/ has been improved since the last season.
Misty - No, she's not a pokémon wielding red head with a temper and a soft spot. But she is a temperamental raven-haired bombshell from Pluto with a cute Ditto-like holographic companion and a soft-spot. She comes with a warning about the Earth fleet, which completely shuts down the Nirvana for a while (password-protected). She develops a thing for Hibiki and seems to be winning him over from Dita until the entire crew of the Nirvana helps Dita out. Then Misty develops a thing for Meia.
Karu or Pyoro 2 - Erza's baby. It was born in an elevator during a system failure and some how saved the ship from total destruction. It never really does much of anything else except get taken care of by Pyoro and Erza. It is a baby, afterall.
- Red Angel
- Be my Baby
- The Path to Blooming Flowers
- Original Smile
- Kiss my Cheek
- Embrace Everything
- Easy Come, Easy Go
WARNING! CONTAINS MAD SPOILERS! EVEN MADDER THAN ABOVE! LIKE SUPER MAD SPOILERS OF DOOM!
Pexis is the power source that was used to fuse and power the Nirvana in both seasons of the Vandread. A sort of solidified nuclear fusion in a gelatinous ball. In the first season it is Pexis that shapes the destiny of Hibiki, Meia, Dita, and Jura. In the second season, the Pexis actually becomes a sort of character. It makes its will known and that it is even a living breathing organism. Red Pexis is being used by the Earthlings, and it seems that the red is the color of uncertainty. The Red Pexis and the green Pexis were separated by mitosis and one half went to aide the men of Taraaku and the other half went to Earth, respectively...
So what did happen to earth?
Earth, nay, humanity, reached its pinnacle. The human body was perfected due to genetic engineering. Then there was some sort of tragic accident, and the earth stopped rotating. With no rotation, there is no day or night, weather, seasons, or atmosphere. No plants could grow, and humanity would die out in a short time if nothing was done. Ah, those wiley earthlings... They built a series of gears around the earth to contain the atmosphere and artificially rotate the earth and the moon. But it was too late for humanity. There was no more chance for them to reproduce and flourish on the artificial planet. They sent out colonizing ships throughout the universe to save the human race. After 100 years, earth's desires have become warped. The original human race is now a shell. An immortal shell with no regard for life; and it wants to save itself any means necessary. To do that, the remaining humans created an automated space fleet to conquer and 'harvest' the space colonies. Taraaku and Mejeiru are only two such colonies selected for the harvest. Those two planets are for the genitals, thus the separation of the sexes. Other body parts and organs for the harvest that come up in the series are the skin, spinal cord, blood, and I believe the eyes (don't feel like rewatching). The automated fleet is destroyed (mostly?) by the pirated of the Nirvana and allies.
Sources: watching it. Full names come from w/u above this one, formerly called 'Vandread Characters'.