Blue Drop (ブルー ドロップ Burū Doroppu?) is a Japanese science fiction yuri manga created by Akihito Yoshitomi. It comprises five chapters that were serialized in the shōnen manga magazine Dengeki Comic Gao! from June 2004 to December 2005, and later collected into a single volume. In 2007 Yoshitomi began to work on a new Blue Drop manga, entitled Blue Drop: Tenshi no Bokura (BLUE DROP ～天使の僕ら～?), which was serialized in the manga magazine Champion Red between February 19, 2007 and January 19, 2008. A Blue Drop anime series directed by Masahiko Ohkura and produced by Asahi Production and BeSTACK aired in Japan between October 2, 2007 and December 25, 2007 under the title Blue Drop: Tenshitachi no Gikyoku (BLUE DROP ～天使達の戯曲～?).
All the Blue Drop stories revolve around a war between humanity and the Arume (アルメ?), an alien race consisting solely of women. Both manga series are set after the war while the anime is set before. The two manga series feature some degree of sexual content; the second manga being considerably more explicit than the original one.
The war against the Arume is set from 2000 to 2008, ending with the aliens winning the conflict. In 2009 the aliens take control of the Japanese government, which sets the backstory for the Blue Drop storylines.
The decisive factor in the Arume's victory is the use of biological weapons and a modified version of an alien toy called Emiru Force (エミル フォース Emiru Fōsu?). Along the years, the remnants of this weaponry have become dangerous creatures which the government (ran by the aliens) has to deal with. This is the main premise of the original Blue Drop manga, which is set around a thousand years after the war. The military uses an experimental vaccine that gives human children special abilities for a determined period of time. During this time the military forces them to confront the weapon remnants, an action that usually ends up in the children's death. Most of the chapters follow the conflict between the military and the resistance, which tries to save those who have been given the vaccine, as well as the relationships between the people involved. In addition, the story introduces the aliens' traits and behaviour. All of them have blue eyes and their blood turns milky white when it touches air, but their main characteristic lies in their gender: they are all female, and their sexual orientation is homosexual.
The aliens' sexual behaviour is dealt with even more prominently (and explicitly) in the Blue Drop: Tenshi no Bokura manga, which shows its consequences upon the human social structure. This manga also deals with the first experiments done on human beings by the aliens; specifically experiments concerning sex change. Set one year after the war, it focuses in the relationship between Shōta, a normal high-school student, and Kenzō, Shōta's former-male best friend who has been turned into a girl by the aliens.
Unlike both manga stories, the Blue Drop: Tenshitachi no Gikyoku anime series is set before the war. The storyline starts in 1999, with Mari Wakatake transferring to a girl's dormitory school called Kaihō Academy (海凰学園 Kaihō Gakuen?). Mari's background hides a traumatic past: four years before her arrival at Kaihō, all the inhabitants of the island where she lived died in one night. Mari was the only survivor, but lost all her memories prior that point.
At the academy Mari meets Hagino Senkōji, the school idol and class rep. Although Hagino is introduced as a calm and collected person, when she touches Mari's hand she panics and attempts to strangle Mari. From then on, Mari is torn between anger and attraction towards Hagino, who pretends as if nothing had happened.
Unbeknown to Mari, Hagino is actually the commander of an alien battleship called Blue, which is the vanguard of the invasion to Earth. The incident on the island where Mari lived occurred when the crew of the ship and the island's inhabitants killed each other. Blue was seriously damaged and hidden, and Hagino blended into human society and continued her reconnaissance.
The story focuses on the relationship between Mari and Hagino; as Mari begins to come out of her shell, Hagino, who has been living a double life, gradually begins to have doubts about her mission. While the invasion and war draw closer unnoticed, they begin to understand each other.
Although most of the chapters in the original Blue Drop manga are auto-conclusive, the first recurrent character and main protagonist is Yui, an alien/human hybrid introduced as a member of the resistance. Because of her alien heritage, Yui possesses their characteristic blue eyes, the white-colored blood, and their sexual orientation. Other recurrent characters include Misato (美里?), an alien initially introduced as a school nurse but later shown to be working for the military, and Shōko (称子?), a high-school girl that Yui rescues from Misato.
Blue Drop: Tenshi no Bokura's main protagonist is Shōta Yanami (矢波 翔太 Yanami Shōta?), a regular high-school student. At the beginning of the story, Shōta is met by a girl who asks him to have sex with her. Not much time passes until Shōta finds out this girl is actually Kenzō Sugiyama (杉山 健造 Sugiyama Kenzō?), his former-male best friend, who has been transgendered by the aliens and commanded to get pregnant.
The main characters in the Blue Drop: Tenshitachi no Gikyoku anime are Mari Wakatake (若竹 マリ Wakatake Mari?), voiced by Akiko Yajima (Japanese) and Hilary Haag (English), and Hagino Senkōji (千光寺 萩乃 Senkōji Hagino?), voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro (Japanese) and Monica Rial (English). After the incident in the island, Mari is taken in by her grandmother, who has her educated by tutors at home. Eventually, knowing that she herself may not have long to live, her grandmother enrolles Mari in Kaihō Academy. Enrolled against her will, she misses her home, and can not hide her distress and anger. Hagino, on the other hand, is calm and collected, an excellent student, and an all-round athlete. Despite being very popular among her classmates, however, she never shows emotion, surrounding herself with an aura of mystery.
Written and illustrated by Akihito Yoshitomi, the original Blue Drop manga was serialized in the Japanese shōnen magazine Dengeki Comic Gao!, published by MediaWorks. The manga was initially a collection of five one-shot stories: the first chapter was called Kaijin (海人?), and was published on June 27, 2004; the second chapter followed on December 27, 2004 under the title Kaminoko (神子?); the third release was on July 27, 2005, and was entitle Blue Drop: Kowareta Tenshi (BLUE DROP ～壊れた天使～?); the fourth chapter, called Blue Drop: Tenshi no Yakusoku (BLUE DROP ～天使の約束～?), was released on October 27, 2005; and the final one, Blue Drop: Tenshi no Sentaku (BLUE DROP ～天使の選択～?), was published on December 27, 2005. The five chapters were later collected into a single bound volume which went on sale on January 27, 2006. In the volume release, the order of the chapters was altered: Kaminoko was first, followed by Kowareta Tenshi, then Kaijin, Tenshi no Yakusoku, and finally Tenshi no Sentaku.
Yoshitomi's second Blue Drop manga, entitled Blue Drop: Tenshi no Bokura, was serialized in the magazine Champion Red (published by Akita Shoten) between February 19, 2007 and January 19, 2008. Subsequently, a two-chapter story called Blue Drop: Tenshi no Itazura (BLUE DROP ～天使の悪戯～?) (also by Yoshitomi) was published in Champion Red's sister magazine Champion Red Ichigo; the first chapter being released on June 5, 2007 and the second one on October 5, 2007. The first part was later included as a special chapter in the first volume of Blue Drop: Tenshi no Bokura, which was released on September 20, 2007. The second part was included in the second (and last) volume of Blue Drop: Tenshi no Bokura, released on March 19, 2008.
A Blue Drop radio drama was broadcast in Japan from July to September 2007. The drama aired every Monday on fm osaka, starting at 12:30 AM and running for twenty-eight minutes at a time. It focused on the original manga's storyline and featured Kaori Nazuka as Yui, Mami Kosuge as Misato, and Ryoko Nagata as Shōko. The radio drama was released as two drama CDs called Blue Drop vol.1 Lovers Side and Blue Drop vol.2 Traitor Side, on May 23 and June 27, 2008 respectively.
Anime TV series
After a year and a half of planning, Asahi Production and BeSTACK produced the Blue Drop: Tenshitachi no Gikyoku anime series. Directed by Masahiko Ohkura, the show aired in Japan between October 2, 2007, and December 25, 2007 containing thirteen episodes. The series featured character design by Itsuko Takeda, series composition by Natsuko Takahashi, and screenplay by Akihito Yoshitomi and Masahiko Ohkura themselves. 3D modeling was done by studio Gonzo.
The soundtrack was composed by The Kintsuru, providing mostly orchestral music, with violin and piano pieces. The opening and ending themes, "Blue" and "Tsubomi -blue dreams-" (蕾-blue dreams-?), were performed by Suara. A single containing both songs was released on October 24, 2007.
The anime has been licensed for release in North America by Sentai Filmworks and is distributed by Section23 Films. The complete collection was released on November 17, 2009 with English subtitles. Sentai Filmworks re-released Blue Drop with a dub on DVD on September 7, 2010. The Anime Network began airing the dub of Blue Drop on Anime Network On Demand on July 22, 2010 and on the Anime Network Online Player on July 23, 2010.
- Yoshitomi, Akihito (2007). "Chapter 1: Shōta to Kenzō". Blue Drop: Tenshi no Bokura. volume 1 (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. ISBN 978-4-253-23291-3.
- "Blue Drop official chronology" (in Japanese). blue-drop.jp. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- Yoshitomi, Akihito (2007). "Chapters 3 and 4". Blue Drop: Tenshi no Bokura. volume 1 (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. ISBN 978-4-253-23291-3. These chapters show that the aliens have a private street wherein men are not allowed to enter. There they have bars for lesbian group sex among humans and aliens. The men end up with their own similar street, with boys cross-dressing to take the place of girls, whom the aliens have drawn away.
- Yoshitomi, Akihito. "Blue Drop development (page 6)" (in Japanese). blue-drop.jp. Retrieved 2007-11-13. According to Yoshitomi, "emiru" (エミル) is an anagram of "mieru" (見える / ミエル), which translates as "visible".
- Yoshitomi, Akihito (2006). "Chapter 2: Kowareta Tenshi". Blue Drop (in Japanese). MediaWorks. ISBN 978-4-840-23327-9.
- Yoshitomi, Akihito (2006). "Chapter 3: Kaijin". Blue Drop (in Japanese). MediaWorks. ISBN 978-4-840-23327-9.
- "Aliens' setting memo (page 3)" (in Japanese). blue-drop.jp. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- "Blue Drop: Tenshi no Bokura volume 1" (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- "Blue Drop: Tenshitachi no Gikyoku post-recording comments" (in Japanese). anime.goo.ne.jp. Retrieved 2007-10-15.
- Yoshitomi, Akihito. "Blue Drop development (page 3)" (in Japanese). blue-drop.jp. Retrieved 2007-10-13.
- "Dengeki Comic Gao!'s August 2004 issue" (in Japanese). MediaWorks. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
- "Dengeki Comic Gao!'s February 2005 issue" (in Japanese). MediaWorks. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
- "Dengeki Comic Gao!'s September 2005 issue" (in Japanese). MediaWorks. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
- "Dengeki Comic Gao!'s December 2005 issue" (in Japanese). MediaWorks. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
- "Dengeki Comic Gao!'s February 2006 issue" (in Japanese). MediaWorks. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
- "Blue Drop". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- "Blue Drop: Tenshi no Bokura volume 2" (in Japanese). Akita Shoten. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- "Blue Drop radio drama" (in Japanese). blue-drop.jp. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
- "Blue Drop radio drama" (in Japanese). fm osaka. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- Yoshitomi, Akihito. "RAKUGAKI - 3X" (in Japanese). nifty. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
- "Blue Drop: Tenshitachi no Gikyoku". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
- "The Kintsuru" (in Japanese). nifty. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
- "Blue Drop: Tenshitachi no Gikyoku OP/ED themes" (in Japanese). blue-drop.jp. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
- "Section23 Films Announces November Slate of Anime, J-Horror". Anime News Network. 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
- "Sentai Acquires Xan'd, Hell Girl Season 3 Anime, Adds New Dubs". Mania. June 24, 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
- "Blue Drop English Dub Premieres This Friday on AN Online". Anime Network. 2010-07-21. Text "accessdate-2010-07-21" ignored (help)
- Official website (Japanese)
- Blue Drop (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Review of anime at Anime News Network