Vandread (ヴァンドレッド Vandoreddo?) is a Japanese anime series directed by Takeshi Mori and created by Gonzo and Media Factory animation studios. Vandread presents a mix of comedy ranging from slapstick humor to subtle humor. It also utilizes well-animated characters and cleanly rendered CG action sequences.
The series is composed of two seasons (Vandread, released in 2000 and Vandread: The Second Stage, released in 2001), each composed of thirteen episodes of twenty-five minutes. The first series is summarized in the Vandread Taidouhen OVA in 2001, and the second in the Vandread Gekitouhen ("Turbulence") OVA, released in 2002. There is a Vandread Extra Stage Novel, that explains the events after Vandread: The Second Stage. Along with acquiring the two original series from Geneon, Funimation also liscensed the two OVAs.
According to an anime magazine called FCM, Gonzo is working to make the third stage of Vandread with Dita's and Meia's daughters as the lead characters.
Set in a universe where humans have colonized the galaxy, and in one star system, men and women are completely segregated (on completely different planets: Mejere by the women, Taraak by the men) causing the gender war to be more than just a metaphor.
Male protagonist Hibiki Tokai, a third-class laborer, takes up a bet to steal a high-tech humanoid robot, known as a Vanguard, from a male attack force battleship about to fight the "evil females". Still on board when the battleship takes off, Hibiki is caught in a battle with female pirates that causes all of the ship's crew to evacuate, except for Hibiki, Duelo McFile, and Bart Garsus. Stuck on board and held as prisoners by female pirates, things seem to have hit an all-time low for Hibiki until the retreating males retaliate by firing torpedoes at the ship to prevent it from falling into women's hands. The Paksis Pragma, the mysterious, living core of the battleship, eradicates the missile, forming a wormhole that sends the pirates and warship to a distant part of the galaxy, fusing the battleship with the female pirates' vessel. The fusion results in a quirky ship with very smooth lines, a host of technical problems, and various hidden capabilities that become apparent later on. The Vanguard Hibiki attempted to steal has also been altered along with three of the women's fighters, known as Dreads, allowing the separate ships to combine. The fusion of Hibiki's mecha with one of the fighters is called a Vandread, the eponymous mecha.
In this alternate, futuristic universe, men and women (at least on Taraak and Mejere) consider each other to be completely separate species (Hibiki gains the nickname "Mr. Alien" from Dita Liebely, the female protagonist), and the three men put up with much abuse at the hands of their female captors, but gradually make their presence accepted: Hibiki as a mecha fighter and technician, Duelo as a skilled doctor and engineer, and Bart as the ship's helmsman and navigator.
The story of the first season revolves around the crew's trip back to the system where their respective home worlds are. Along the way, they encounter strange, robotic machines, both enigmatic and rather Borg-like, though they do not communicate at all. After a few sorties with the unknown enemy, the crew manages to take some alien data samples from a desert planet. The data is read out: "Blood platelets, white blood cells, red blood cells..." Their alien enemies kills human beings and harvests their body parts from them. Not only this, but a later encounter with the flagship of the "Harvesters", the name given to the enemy, reveals that the robots were sent out by the people of Earth, the same planet humans originated from, whose colonists would eventually colonize Mejere, Taraak, and countless other planets.
At the start of the second season, they rescue an escape pod from the Harvesters. The pod contains a girl, Misty Cornwell of Pluto, the last planet in the Earth's solar system to be harvested, and a virus which enters the ship's systems. When the correct password is entered, the virus shuts down and the crew is given access to the hidden data that the pod brings, revealing why the Earthlings are harvesting their own species.
Following the initial drive to colonize, pollution has devastated Earth, making any life on the planet near impossible. Huge metal gears now cover the Earth's stratosphere in an attempt to create a living environment for people in massive structures surrounding the planet. Earthlings, alone and dying on the toxic planet, began to question the humanity of the colonists. Eventually, they convinced themselves that only the inhabitants of Earth are human, and all other humans exists solely to ensure their continued existence. Their solution, therefore, was to send out the Harvester fleet of machines created from the same basic material as the Nirvana's core, the Paksis Pragma. The Harvesters raid and dominate colonies to obtain body parts, allowing the Earthlings to replace their own dying bodies, thus becoming immortal through the lives of others.
For the crew, fighting is not just about defeating their enemy and surviving; they need to rush back to their respective home worlds in time to warn their people. But will the leaders of the planets listen to their almost impossible tale?
- Dita Liebely
The female protagonist. She is romantically involved with Hibiki.
- Misty Cornwell
She is rescued from a space capsule in deep sleep by the crew at the beginning of the second season of Vandread.
- Meia Gisborn
At first, she has the behavior of an Amazon. As squadron commander, she leads the other Dreads in battle.
- Jura Basil Elden
The secondary leader of the Dread fighting force, although she is inexperienced.
- Barnette Orangello
She is one of the Dread pilot co-leaders under Meia's command, and a collector of 20th century firearms, such as the M4A1, Uzi, SIG552, SPAS-12, P226, and the Steyr AUG.
- Gascogne Rheingau
She runs the Nirvana's Registry system, and is responsible for supplying the Dread fighters with all of their weapons.
- Buzam A. Calessa "BC"
The commander of the Nirvana.
- Parfet Balblair
The ship's chief engineer.
- Paiway Underberg
The ship nurse under Duelo.
- Magno Vivan
The captain of the pirates; everyone addresses her as 'Boss'. She is one of the members of the original Colonists.
- Ezra Vieil
Part of the bridge crew of the Nirvana. She has a daughter named Kahlua.
- Hibiki Tokai
The male protagonist. A third-class citizen of Taraak that gets thrown into the mess with Duelo and Bart. His real aim is to prove his manhood by stealing a Vanguard. But around the time he did that, the pirates attacked, and the rest is history.
- Duelo McFile
The ship doctor for the Nirvana. They say he submitted his application form blank during recruitment.
- Bart Garsus
A first-class citizen from Taraak. He is initially weak and ends up becoming the helmsman of the Nirvana.
The story has several differences from the anime such as:
- Hibiki is the only male onboard the Nirvana.
- Dita is less childish in the manga, and addresses Hibiki by name, rather than "Mr. Alien".
- Hibiki's Vanguard does not change from the Paksis, and there is only one Vandread and it is the form Hibiki and Dita share. Its fusion is also made permanent. An evil counterpart to the Vandread exists, called the Vandora.
- Meia is captain of the Nirvana.
- Jura is the fourth bridge operator.
- Barnette, rather than lay her interests in Jura, sets her eyes on Hibiki instead.
- B.C. is a female and is the main antagonist in the first manga. It is also revealed that she was in love with a man meaning she did not come from Taraak, Megere, or Earth.
- In the Anime, the enemy is called "The Harvest", but in the Manga, the enemy is called "Teran" which means invader. "Terran" can also be a reference to Terra the latin name for Earth meaning a citizen of Earth. Since the enemy originated from the Earth this meaning is likely.
- Duelo, Misty, Paiway, Ezra, Gascogne, Rabat, Butan, and Pyoro do not exist in the manga. However, Bart is seen in the first chapter, but is not a crew member of the Nirvana.
- Two new characters exist exclusive for the manga:
- Tenhou Farland, a green-haired, twelve year-old girl, with a unique ability to interact with machines and finds a surrogate brother in Hibiki.
- Asra Mutie, the blue-haired pilot of the Vandora. She helps the Nirvana crew, only to know who they are. When the Vandora takes control of her, Hibiki, Dita, and Tenhou save her, and Asra officially joins the crew.
- Paksis Pragma
- The blue energy entity acting as the Nirvana's core. It originates from a different universe, but encountered earthlings and became separated in two when it was used for the Ikazuchi; its twin stays on Earth. Due to its unique properties, it has been used to generate energy in various ships, without the builders realizing the nature of the Paksis. Meanwhile, the Paksis on Earth takes on a red color, after infusing with Earth's hatred and refusal to open their hearts. As the Nirvana crew learns that the Paksis is a sentient being, they also start to bond with Pyoro, a navigation robot that was linked with the Paksis. The result was Pyoro becoming sentient, and developing a personality of its own. Occasionally, the Paksis will override Pyoro's systems to communicate with the crew members. Machines linked with the Paksis may also 'evolve' to some extent, thus resulting in the upgrades to Dita's, Meia's and Jura's Dreads and Hibiki's Vanguard. These upgrades would provide the basis for the three Vandread types, and eventually, the Super Vandread, which is the fusion of all three Dreads, the Vanguard, and Pyoro. The Harvesters, from the influence of the red Paksis, can also evolve and become stronger through combining smaller Harvester units, creating almost-exact copies of the Vandreads, as well as the Nirvana, which could transform into humanoid robot. Also, the Paksis has a self-preservation instinct, which it revealed when it fused the Ikazuchi and Magno's pirate ship, creating a wormhole and transporting the crew light years away from Taraak and Mejere.
The overall main villains of the series. It was created by the humans remaining on Earth to go out to colonized worlds and "harvest" the inhabitants, i.e, killing them and ripping them apart for the organs so the people on Earth could use them. Although some planets would resist the harvest fleet, they could never stop it. The primary ships in the fleet consists of smaller cube-like robots that combine to form larger ships and weapons. Throughout the whole series, smaller ships from the fleets are encountered by the Nirvana, taking a variety of forms. In the finale of the first series, a harvest flagship was encountered. These ships dwarf nearly every other ship seen in the series, which addition to their own weapons, have a massive number of cube robots with them. At that point, the cube robots had also learned how to form copies of the Vandreads. The only way the flagship could be stopped was turning a large gas-planet into a star, which destroyed most its support and after which the flagship was destroyed by Vandread Dita. Harvest flagships were occasionally fought in Second Stage, and continued to be dangerous enemies. During Second Stage, the cube robots showed the ability to form copies of the Nirvana, though the copies were instead armed with a powerful beam weapon and could transform into humanoid robots. The harvest ships had also upgraded themselves later in the series, growing even deadlier. In the finale of the series, all of the harvest flagships assembled to attack Taraak and Mejere, but a coalition between the two planets, along with a number of other planets that had been attacked by the harvest fleet, and the crew of the Nirvana destroyed them all. However, one final ship was shown, similar in appearance to the harvest flagships, but much larger and more menacing. According to Rabat, its purpose is to destroy planets no longer needed by the harvest fleet. It appears to be built around a huge energy weapon, but it also possesses numerous others. This ship also contains the Paksis that was left on Earth, which spoke through the body of young boy. This ship was initially able to overpower even Super Vandread, but when Hibiki mocked the Paksis for its stubborn views it went insane and attempted to destroy the entire galaxy with an out of control wormhole. Super Vandread was nearly defeated but Nirvana's own Paksis Plagma protected it with a net-like shield.
Vehicles and mechas
- The battleship the characters use throughout the series. It houses the Paksis Pragma as the ship's core, powering almost anything within the vessel. After the Ikazuchi battleship and Magno's pirate ship were thrown into the wormhole, created by the Paksis, both ships began to fuse with one another. At first, the crew was unsure what to call their new ship, but after a lottery was held in giving a name, Magno christened the vessel from a list of entries 'Nirvana'. Bart Garsus fills in as the ship's pilot. The only armament the Nirvana carries are a series of turrets that encompasses the ship's hull, all which fire a laser that automatically locks-on to enemy units, while bypassing all friendly units.
- The space fighters used by Magno's pirate crew. Most Dreads are armed with vulcans, missiles, and laser cannons, depending on how the Dread is customized to the pilot's taste. Before battle, each Dread goes through the Registry system and is fitted with the chosen weapons. With the help of Gascogne's supply vessel, a Dread can be re-armed during battle. When the Paksis created the wormhole the Dreads of Dita, Meia and Jura underwent changes. All three Dreads became structurally different from the others, while possessing greater firepower than an average Dread. When any of these Dreads fuses with Hibiki's Vanguard, they become a powerful Vandread. In Vandread: Second Stage, after becoming the Super Vandread, the three fighters receive an additional boost of power from the fusion, noted from Parfait's analysis. All Dreads are extremely large, Hibiki's Vanguard actually enters the Dreads it combines with
- The newly introduced mobile weapons of Taraak. These machines carry an assortment of melee weapons, ranging from swords, axes, spears to chainsaws. As well, they can easily withstand artillery fire. Initially, along with the Ikazuchi battleship, the Vanguards were used to eliminate any hostiles (mainly, space pirates and the women of Mejere) that threatened Taraak airspace, until Magno's pirate ship hijacked the battleship. Hibiki's Vanguard (though it really was not his), like the Dreads, was also affected by the Paksis, transforming it into an even bulkier version of its original self. Later, when fused with either Dita's, Meia's or Jura's Dreads, it becomes the all-powerful Vandread. In Vandread: Second Stage, after becoming the Super Vandread, the Vanguard receives a small physical transformation, and possibly an additional boost of power from the fusion.
- The name of the flagship of the Taraak Imperial Fleet. Formerly a colony vessel, it was reformatted to become a battleship. Its purpose was to eliminate any hostiles (mainly, space pirates and the women of Mejere) that threatened Taraak airspace, until Magno's Pirate ship hijacked it. The wormhole created by the Paksis Pragma fused the Ikazuchi and Magno's pirate ship into a completely different vessel, later to be called the Nirvana.
- Dita-type VANDREAD
- The first Vandread to appear. It is the fusion of Dita's Dread and Hibiki's Vanguard. This Vandread resembles a giant mobile fighter, with its main armament to be a pair of enormously powerful long-range energy cannons that are usually strong enough to fend off the enemy. They can also be used as a pair of cutting weapons, whenever in melee combat. Finally, the cannons themselves can be removed from the frame of the machine and interlock to become a throwable spear. Other armaments include its massive, physical strength, being able to rip apart some of the enemies it encounters, and bulky armor. More or less, this Vandread incorporates an offensive strategy. In the cockpit, Dita sits on Hibiki's lap while controlling the unit.
- Meia-type VANDREAD
- The second Vandread to appear. It is the fusion of Meia's Dread and Hibiki's Vanguard. This Vandread resembles a silver eagle and its main form of attack is a high-velocity ram, which pierces all enemy units in its path of flight. It has also demonstrated the ability to fire an energy beam from between the horns on its head. It is also the only Vandread not referred to by name, and is easily fastest of the three types. In the cockpit, Hibiki sits on Meia's lap while controlling the unit, much to Meia's annoyance.
- Jura-type VANDREAD
- The third Vandread to appear. It is the fusion of Jura's Dread and Hibiki's Vanguard. This Vandread resembles a red crab with around 8 green discs orbiting the machine and one large disc as part of the machine's frame. More of a defensive weapon than an offensive one, its main armament is an enhanced shielding system, which allows it to cover any object, up to the size of a planet. Other armaments include a laser from each disc that fires in all 8 directions, its movable arms, and even redirecting matter with the large disc (in one episode, the Vandread draws water from a planet to destroy a Harvester machine), but its weapons aren't nearly as powerful as those used by the other Vandreads so it generally doesn't take part in head-on fighting. In the cockpit, there is a circular seat with a central table that houses the controls.
- Super VANDREAD
- The fourth and final Vandread to appear, and by far the most powerful. It is the fusion of Dita's, Meia's, and Jura's Dreads; Hibiki's Vanguard; and Pyoro (which prompts him to christen the fusion "Vandread Pyoro"). The overall power of this machine is unknown, however, it can be said that the Super Vandread incorporates all three Vandread types into its design: with a wave of its hand, the Super Vandread can erect a shield strong enough to absorb any enemy fire (Jura-type); the discs scattered around its frame can form to fire an extremely powerful laser (Jura-type, Dita-type); a large energy sword, created from the hands, easily slices any Harvester unit (Dita-type); it still maintains significant speed for a combined machine (Meia-type). It is the least used of the Vandreads, which for overall plot reasons is simply because it would make nearly all battles too easy (in its debut it easily destroyed a copy of the Nirvana and a Harvest Flagship). The only time it met an enemy that could challenge it was in the form of world destroying harvest ship
Opening and ending songs
- Trust ("Vandread" opening; also used as the ending in the last "Second Stage" episode) by Salia
- Himegoto ("Vandread" ending) by SiLC
- Justice ("Second Stage" opening) by Aki Kudou
- Yes, Together ("Second Stage" ending) by Yasunori Iwasaki, sung by Aki Kudou
- Spacy Spicy Love ("Taidouhen" opening) by Mejare Pirates
- Proof ("Turbulance" ending) by Mejare Pirates
- What a Wonderful World ("Vandread" insert song) by Donna Burke
- Somedays ("Second Stage" insert) by Donna Burke
- Ikutose Karuka/Many Many Tears
- Good Day Friends (Dita's song) by Yumi Kakazu
- Kanojo wa Dandysm (Barnette's song)
- Moon Light Lullaby (Meia's song) by Fumiko Orikasa
- Slow Down (Jura's song)
- Welcome Home (Parfet's song)
According to an anime magazine called FCM, Gonzo is working to make the third stage of Vandread with Dita's and Meia's daughters as the lead characters.
However, most fans expressed their desire that they would prefer a sequel that explains the events immediately after Vandread: The Second Stage in which Hibiki, Dita and the rest of the Vandread crew try to deal with Earth and the remaining Harvest.
- "Funimation Licenses Vandread Integral, Turbulence OVAs". Anime News Network. 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2010-05-10.