Written by Atsuhiro Tomioka
Directed by Takeshi Mori
Character Design by Kazuya Kuroda
- English and Japanese language tracks, English subtitles
- Design gallery
- Textless opening
- Trailers for other anime titles
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Gratuitous cleavage
- Jiggle factor high
- Adorable but clueless hero
- Cool mecha you’ll desperately want
Released by: Geneon.
My Advice: Buy it.
[ad#longpost]Nirvana picks up where the first volume left off: the females and their few male prisoners attempt to fight off alien attacks while avoiding killing each other and actually trying to learn to work together as a team. Hibiki discovers something interesting: the mecha fighers the males use, Vanguards, can merge with the space fighters the females use, the Dreads, forming the fearsome Vandreads. Different Dreads merged with a Vanguard make different types of Vandreads, and a certain two female Dread pilots want very much to “merge” with Hibiki’s…um, Vanguard.
Like the roughly similar Nadesico series, Vandread becomes more complex as it goes along. While still a gender comedy with moments approaching the chuckle-factor of Ranma 1/2, the series deepens into a space opera with political unrest, alien invasions, and even hints of deeper philosophical gender studies.
The characters continue to develop the heroes. Hibiki is charming and goofy–the quintessential reluctant hero. Other characters demonstrate heretofore unseen depths of pathos, showing compassion, pain, and even wisdom (if rarely). The writers, however, are adept enough to manage character growth without sacrificing enjoyment, humour, or clarity.
The features on this disc are decent, but not astonishing. The design gallery is very nifty, and it’s nice to have the option of the textless opening, a common feature of Anime discs (as it should be). As always, it would have been nice to have an interview, even a brief one, with any one of the creators or artists. And is it just out of the question to have a commentary track on an ordinary anime title? Failing that, the design gallery could have been augmented with concept drawings, storyboards, or perhaps uncoloured comparison shots.
The sound and visuals on this disc are quality. The creators manage to blend computer animation with traditional animation quite well, and the visuals of the disc do this justice. The sound carries the tones of the voice actors beautifully, as well as balancing the demands of background music versus dialogue.
In short, fans of comic anime will enjoy this second volume, as will those otaku who swear by such titles as Gundam or other “serious” space anime. Vandread is funny without being hopelessly childish or goofy, and dramatic in places without the angst or melodrama that sometimes characterizes science fiction, animated or no. Anyone who enjoys a good mixture of interesting story with distinct and enjoyable characters will love the show, as will fans of science fiction in general or just lovers of good Anime. Even people interested in gender dynamics will enjoy it, for its lack of a moralizing tone or heavy-handed lecturing.