Type: TV (12 episodes)
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Pioneer ships were sent out by the human race to colonize the galaxy. In one of these systems men and women ended up separated by being on entirely different planets and have been at war for quite some time. Third class citizen Hibiki was one of the males who ended up a stowaway on the men's latest battleship set to take on the women, but ends up being one of three male prisoners when the ship is hijacked by a group of female pirates. The ship is inexplicably sucked into a wormhole and ends up light years away from their planets. The ship's power core alters many aspects of the ship including the male humanoid mecha (Vanguards) and the female star fighters (Dreds).
That's when they see the face of a new enemy, the harvester fleet. As their name indicates, they harvest, but it's what they harvest that's troubling: human body parts. The ship is on a journey back to their home star system as quickly as possible to try to warn their home planets, but the only way they'll make it is if both men and women work together.
I'll be honest, I found Vandred incredibly hard to watch. There is much I'd LIKE to like about Vandred, but there were too many bad points that got in the way. The basis of the show is all sci-fi, which is actually pretty good. Even what looks like a lame attempt to set up a harem anime turns out to be nothing of the sort. Three guys end up on a ship full of women, but men and women detest each other - and consider each other different species. Aside from that there is the energy source attached to the ship which allows the Vanguard to merge with the Dreds, and has other mysteries and surprises throughout the series. The coolest thing behind Vandred is the concept with the harvesters, and the secrets behind them. The lamest part of Vandred is more giant freaking robots. I cannot think of anything that makes LESS sense then giant robots fighting in space, aside from a giant robot that combines with a space fighter to form a bigger robot, or possibly merging with multiple fighters to form an even larger giant robot.... to fight another giant robot. Seriously Japan, can we move on to what your true strength should be? Robot maids? The Vangard merging with the Dreds is at least amusing in the way that it forces Hibiki into (literally) close contact with the women pilots.
The thing I hated most about Vandred were specific annoying characters. Hibiki is the main character but I had a hard time watching his immature tantrums literally every 5 minutes. There were a lot of other characters that were annoying for multiple reasons, but the other big annoyance was the egg shaped robot mascot who I'm guessing was added for comedy, but found absolutely nothing it did even remotely amusing. About the best Vandred did for me character wise is that it had a few that I didn't hate. That's pretty bad.
Vandred has good and bad parts concerning the dialog of all things. Some characters go out of their way to give long winded speeches out of nowhere. I started getting flashbacks of being lectured in high school, and the characters weren't even talking to me. Conversely dialog was also one Vandred's greatest strengths. Some lines are so sexist that they're totally classic (from both the males and females).
I suppose the last thing I should mention is the animation. Most of the space battles are rendered with (dated) 3D CGI. It wasn't intending realism so it's hard to say if it aged well. Either way it still looked pretty cool. I did however get this feeling like I was watching a video game with the techno type music common in late 90's space shooters (maybe that was intentional?).
Vandred has its moments, and there were times I felt like this anime would grab me, but then it would stumble into a stupid dialog, or some other issue. Some of the episodes were dull, some were ok. It's about an even split between the two. Season one doesn't really wrap anything up either. I have no idea why Vandred is so well received, I don't think it's that good. While I like good sci-fi, the entire title felt way too cliche and more like a generic mess. If you're into sci-fi, it's worth investigating, but if not I'd steer clear of this one since it doesn't have much else to justify watching it. Vandred: 2nd Stage does improve things though.
Women are monsters, and men were once their playthings. They ate our forefather's innards, sucking them dry of all life. Over the centuries they have plundered our cities. They have oppressed our people with forced labor. And that unspeakable horror is about to strike our planet again. Even those who are fortunate enough to survive are horribly scarred after their encounters with women!
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