Did you ever read the synopsis of something and instantly feel like it had the makings of a grand epic? Or at least like something that feels like a great Hollywood movie? A love at sunset? A romance before the war starts? That sort of thing? That’s the sort of feeling I got from reading the synopsis of Blue Drop on VRV. A yuri romance anime that takes place pre alien invasion with all that good sort of tension that comes with it. A meeting of two lovers from different worlds which could shake the world apart. If you know what I am going for when I asks questions like this, then you know what to expect as we go on. Or at least what I’m going to write. Good or bad, take your pick now before it’s too late. Ok, it’s been some amount of time since you read the last paragraph. It is now too late.
Blue Drops starts off with first Mari Wakatake’s transfer to the elite all-girls school called Kaiho Academy. Her family is dead, aside from her grandmother, and her memories are gone from an event that happened to her home island five years ago. A mysterious event that goes beyond explanation or left in mystery for now. Her grandmother forced Mari to go to see change her for the better. She’s an erratic girl with nothing to focus her. On her way, she sees a beautiful girl talking to birds in the distance. A chance meeting that happened that happened like all of those meetings. Well, except this wasn’t their first meeting. In a lot of ways. For one thing, they didn’t even interact with each other in that moment.
After a fellow student by the name of Michiko Kozuki showed her around campus, which Mari mentions she plans on running away soon, Michiko shows her the dorm and Mari’s dorm room. You know, despite the fact that Mari might be a runaway? With Michiko leaving and the beautiful girl she saw earlier by the name of Hagino Senkoji, the perfect girl ever, greeting her, things turn in a wrong direction quickly. After a quick handshake, Hagino seems possessed by something and instantly starts choking Mari. The two have finally met and not in a positive way. Of course, no one believes that perfect angel Hagino ever choked Mari so she’s instantly ostracized by everyone except a small amount of people. Of course, Hagino eventually becomes Mari’s roommate to push the romantic tension even further.
To get the major non spoiler out of the way, Hagino isn’t just an angel or a perfect human. She’s a member of the Arume race. Yeah, she’s an alien and captain of one of a small amount of ships who were sent to scout out the human race five years ago before fully invading the human race. A ship called blue. Also, an invasion whose time slowly approaches as the series goes on. Yeah, this isn’t a spoiler because you learn about all of this very early on in the show’s run. Episode one hints at it and the major reveal happens in episode 2. That wasn’t the thing the show was hiding from the audience. Oh no, it gets worse than that in an unsurprising way. You can probably guess what that is because I’ve given hints. Fine, I’ll give a few hints away. Five years ago and this isn’t the first time they’ve met. Have I said enough?
The major plots in this show involve the slowly appearing Arume invasion force, Mari and Hagino’s slowly developing relationship in which they actually confess to each other, a play that the shy Michiko is forced to write based on the relationship between Mari and Hagino, and the very slow betrayal Hagino has towards the rest of the Arume race in wanting to conquer earth after the event happened. I say all of this because Blue Drop is slow and boring. There is a lot of waiting time in this show. You are always in between something in this show and no one ever commits to anything until the later part of the series. There is just a cackling villain leading the Arume ships who attempt to destroy Hagino’s ship in half-baked schemes that always fail. It’s just a frustrating watch. Especially when I don’t think Mari and Hagino had enough time in the series itself to build any sort of chemistry between each other.
I can’t really say that there were any good pay offs to these plot lines either. Mostly because there aren’t any pay offs or good pay offs. Every success in the final episodes means literally nothing in the end. Maybe I should mention that this show tries to lend itself into being a tragedy. Except that doesn’t work with the ending this show gave. Why? Because all of this was pointless in the end. So Michiko wrote her uninspired play, too bad it was interrupted by the alien invasion. So Mari and Hagino confessed to each other and Hagino defeated the rest of the scout fleet. Too bad the Arume Alien invasion happened in full force and wiped her off the planet. What was even worse is the time skip after credits sequence, we are left in the dark for everythign that happened, but an Adult Michiko is shown ready to sign a peace agreement with the Arume. That’s it. How did I get through this? The show either tells you what is going on to drop all sorts of drama or just resolves things by itself.
I don’t want to just spin a lot of crap towards this series because there were a few diamonds in the rough. Mostly in the forms of side characters. Tsubael, the only other crew member on Hagino’s ship after the major accident occurred. She’s probably the most patient and delightful character in the show. For instance, she has the ability to send a mostly invisible projection of herself where nobody can see her besides Hagino and Mari for some reason. That allows her the chance to keep an eye on her captain and even make fun of humans right in front of them? She’s just a lot of fun and an actual spark of joy for this sad and depressing series. Her loyalty to Hagino pushed it further. Akane, a delinquent character who likes to cook and learn how to cook is a pretty fun character too. I honestly wish the show spent more time with Akane then her small moments of guidance towards Hagino and Mari. Otherwise, the cast was either neutral or completely unlikeable.
Some more highlights, the dub is really good. VRV only had the english dub version so I didn’t have the sub version available to compare it, but I honestly don’t see a reason why I would watch it. It’s surprisingly well directed and the voices more than fit the parts for their ages and everything. What makes it more interesting is the use of accents in the anime too. Especially with Monica Rial having to switch between too depending on which role Hagino is in. For the most part, humans talk in pretty decent West Coast english. You know, what I would call accentless because I’ve from the West Coast. Yes, there is some bias there. The Arume talk in more sophisticated British accents to accentuate the difference between the show. I’m don’t know enough to figure out of the accents are good enough, but I can say that there was an attempt.
On a surprising note, Blue Drop is visually great. It is from Asashi Production, but the cg material is from Studio Gonzo. You know, in 2007. Gasp. All the spaceship effects in the water, out of the world, at night, at day, and everything else actually work really well. It’s utterly astonishing to me because a lot of standout moments come from ships firing lasers at each other and some blowing up. Even the insides of the ships themselves are visually interesting too because of how alien they feel. All of that is composited very well together in a way that makes sense. Oh, the character designs, backgrounds, and character animation are pretty solid too. A lot of work is put into making these settings and characters almost realistic. It was clear that Asashi wanted this series to be a big hit. Too bad that you don’t see anyone talking about it despite it being there on VRV. It must have been a failure when it came out.
Ugh, now for the worst sort of last Paragraphs that I have to write. I’m sorry, but please never give Blue Drop a chance. It is one of the largest wastes of time in anime form I’ve ever seen. Not the worst anime ever, but an anime that should just be laid to rest in the obscure category forever. I wasn’t as frustrated in the show when I was originally watching it, but writing this post has really centralized my thoughts in the more negative direction. It’s an anime that is too slow and pointless for its own good. It should have been a movie so everything could move a lot faster and maybe havemore impact. I’m just saying that there is too much filler in this anime. I feel like the studio tried to make this great epic but forget about all the things that makes something an epic in the first place. You know, a story that goes somewhere with characters that matter? That’s at least a good starting point.