Vandread (Season One)

Vandread Season 1 Title

As humans colonized space, two planets had a massive falling out and segregated themselves. Now, the male planet of Taraak is planning to attack the female planet of Mejere, but something else crashes the party!

What did you watch?

Where possible in my A to Z Anime Challenge, I’ve been trying to pick one season shows that have only twelve or thirteen episodes. Sometimes, I’ve not been able to and other times, the pull of the show was too much. For Vandread, I thought it was just a thirteen-episode season, but then I got to the end and discovered another thirteen-episodes. This is a series from 2000. It’s crazy to think how long ago that was. So, how does Vandread hold up? Well, let’s find out and there will be spoilers, but it’s nineteen-years-old, so you’ve had plenty of time to catch up…

Vandread Season 1 Jura Basil Elden Hibiki Tokai and Dita Liebely

What happened?

Hibiki is a hot-headed mechanic from the planet Taraak who makes a bet that he can steal a Vanguard from the new flagship about to launch. With no thought of backing down, he makes his way on board and ends up stuck there as the ship takes off. He is thrown into the cells and forgotten about, but then a pirate ship from the Mejere planet attacks and begins to loot the ship. With the potential of losing their new flagship, the men order it to separate, leaving the pirates with only half the ship. Then another ship appears and attacks and somehow the pirates and the half of the flagship are flung far across the universe.

During the bizarre event the crystal that powers the new ship, altered the pirate’s ship and merged the two together. Only three men remained on board, Hibiki, a pilot called Bart, and the doctor, Duelo. They are instantly imprisoned by the female pirates, but soon they are found roles within the crew, especially as Bart is the only one that can pilot the new ship and the pirate’s original doctor isn’t really a doctor. Hibiki uses the Vanguard to fight off more attackers and it somehow merged with one of the pirate’s ships making a Vandread, a more powerful mecha. Can these men and women overcome their differences to make it back home and will they be the same when they get there?

Vandread Season 1 Gascogne Rheingau

What did you think?

I can’t believe this series is nineteen-years-old! The animation was as good as some shows today and it even had some of the same CGI issues, but they probably weren’t as bad. Other than some shaky CGI, this was a really enjoyable series. The story is excellent and I loved the way it explored the two worlds and the differences or similarities between genders. The idea that the two planets would be completely populated by one gender and the way that it would shape the world and mythologies was excellent. On top of that, I loved how they all grew with one another, learning more about how they’d all been deceived. Then throw in the threat of giant warships run by robots harvesting human tissue and you have a winner.

Vandread Season 1 Jura Basil Elden

What was your favourite moment?

At one point, they encountered a water planet with a small human colony living on the only island. They were preparing for a festival which was some sort of special appearance by their god. Of course, it turned out to be involved in the Harvest and that this world was being harvested for spinal columns… This is the moment that you truly realise the depth of the situation and just what is going on. The Harvest has colonies set up on various world for various different reasons. There are worlds which are ideal for skin or other organs and that’s why they are there. It’s a brilliant dark idea and I think that’s one of the things that differentiates this series from a lot of others.

Vandread Season 1 BC

What was your least favourite moment?

There was a point in the season where several of the women turned against the three men on board and tried to imprison them. While this seems like a fairly natural progression from the original standpoint of the two genders, it happened in a very unnatural way. The men had been working with the women for quite some time and proven themselves to be helpful and not a threat. To make this leap at this point without a suitable provocation seemed to be a bit annoying. Maybe, it was just so that Hibiki could escape with the Vandread and witness first hand how the Harvest is killing people, especially when the people killed were men and women, living and fighting together.

Vandread Season 1 Duelo McFile and BC

Who was your favourite character?

Meia was my favourite character and filled the usual role that attracts my attention. She is determined and stoic, preferring not to rely on others as that might show that she has a weakness. It gets even harder for her when that person might be a man. Of course, this is a symptom of the segregated lives on the different worlds and not a man-hating issue in general. For their entire lives, they’ve been told horror stories about the opposite gender. As she begins to understand Hibiki and the other men, he views changed, but even then she’s still the lone badass character that I love.

Vandread Season 1 Meia Gisborn

Who was your least favourite character?

I’m going to mention Hibiki here even though I did come to like him as the story went on. For some reason, he is the annoying shouty protagonist that is incredibly stubborn and repressed. I guess it was a product of the times with anime, especially as I learnt that he wasn’t like that at all in the manga. It turns out there were a lot of changes from the manga and most of them I liked, but Hibiki would have worked fine as a character without being quite so loud. I get that they were trying to show the difference in genders, but Hibiki should have been the catalyst to show that there aren’t as many differences as we believe.

Vandread Season 1 Hibiki Tokai

Would you like some more?

As I said earlier, I discovered another thirteen episodes upon finishing season one and I was delighted. This season finished with a really strong moment where they basically created a star from a gas giant to defeat one of the Harvest ships. It was an epic battle and a thoroughly enjoyable way to end things, but there were more Harvest ships and they were all now on an intercept with the Nirvana. Well, who wouldn’t want to know what happens next? This is a very interesting story and covers some really cool ideas with quite a bit of style.

Vandread Season 1 A Star is Born

What have you learnt?

I think one of the coolest things with this series is that it takes something as every day as the differences between men and women and blows it up to the most ridiculous level possible. Both genders living on separate planets and constantly at war with one another, fueled by the lies and false information spread throughout each community. There are so many parallels that could be drawn from this that I won’t bother you with that, but the idea that you could take something like this and turn it into a truly compelling story with what is ultimately a redemption arc for the two warring genders is outstanding. So, don’t ever write off an idea because it may be too mundane or insignificant. Take that idea and see how far you can take it. There are no limits.

Vandread Season 1 Dita Liebely and Meia Gisborn

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6 Comments

  1. That’s one anime I unfortunately missed. I do want to check it out. I still can’t believe how old Vandread is.

    • It was a lot of fun and raised some really interesting questions. I was really surprised to see how old it was.

  2. I sure bet. Gonzo came out with some cool stuff earlier on in their existence.

  3. I believe I watched this anime. Had a harem element to it from what I remember but I was a very long time ago in my Marine Corps years. Anime was a decent distraction from my deployments back then. Please Teacher, Galaxy Police, Kiddy Grade and the Mai Hime series were among my most watched. Cool post.

    • Anime is still a decent distraction. I was pleasantly surprised with this one and the animation holds up considering how old it is. Definite harem elements, but not full on.

    • Ok. I believe harems were better executed back in the 2000s being they had to live up to Tenchi’s format. Martian Successor Nadesco was another notable one I enjoyed.

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