[Guest Review] Blue Drop

Yet again, it’s time for another guest review. Just like last time, Rock The Vogt will take my place and review a yuri-ish show that I still haven’t come around to watch. Enjoy~

Year: 2007
Length: 13 Episodes
Genre: Drama, School Life, Sci-Fi, Yuri

Five years prior to the beginning of the story, a tragedy struck Kamikaku Island that killed all of its residents except one, Mari Wakatake. Fast-forward to 1999, where Mari, suffering from amnesia due to the events of that fateful day, is sent to Kaihō Academy, an all-girls private school, by her ill grandmother. It’s there she meets Hagino Senkōji, the academy’s star pupil, who immediately tries to strangle her when they’re alone together. Holding a newfound grudge against Hagino, Mari incites an incident with her during dinner, losing her dinner privileges in the process. Later that night, Mari sees Senkōji-san sneaking out of the dorms and she decides to follow her. This is the moment where Mari first discovers Hagino’s secret.

The story takes itself pretty seriously and doesn’t feature very much comedy at all. That could definitely turn some people off who prefer lighter fare. Hagino belongs to a species of aliens named Arume. Back on their home planet, only lifeforms similar to Earth’s females exist. Because of this, their future as a species is in jeopardy. Learning of this immediately made me envision a scenario where an army of Arume Natasha Henstridge’s invade Earth and seduce the men, Species-style, thus propagating the species. That’s probably not how it would have went down. Just wishful thinking on my part, I suppose. Anyway, back to the story. There’s some betrayal, deception, revelations… you know, all that good stuff. There are some plot twists that give things an emotional punch and add to the overall investment you have in the characters. The climax definitely happened at the very end and was pretty well done. They saved the best for last, you could say.

The balancing of the school life portions with the sci-fi portions could have been better. The Arume spent a majority of their time just sitting and waiting. I understand they were trying to do the due diligence, but they could have been more proactive with matters. The pacing was a little bit better back at the academy, however. Most of the major characters have their own issues they have to work through, so someone’s usually dealing with something. A more consistent pacing would have improved the flow of the storytelling and made things more tolerable. At the end of the day, Blue Drop is a somewhat campy anime with uneven pacing, but the campiness never approaches ridiculous levels, and the story does smooth itself out later on in the series.

Mari Wakatake: Mari’s the amnesiac who’s the new addition to Kaihō Academy. Having lost her parents as a result of the events at Kamikaku Island, she’s been living with her grandmother ever since. Mari’s attitude changes drastically after that traumatic event. Before, she was a lively and cheerful girl. But after, she’s understandably more withdrawn and reserved. Being the sole survivor of the incident that killed more than 850 people has made Mari a person of interest for Arume and humans alike. Mari’s a fairly likeable character. She’s rebellious and scrappy, yet she’s caring to those who are kind to her. She’s not all that original, but she’s still an okay lead.

Hagino Senkōji: When she’s not busy being the ace student of Kaihō Academy, Hagino, or Ekaril as she’s known to the Arume, is the commander of an Arume battleship called Blue. Hagino is unassuming and the idol of all the girls at the academy. As Ekaril, she’s a more than capable tactician, although she’s been eschewing communication with the Arume ever since the incident on the island. After their first encounter at the academy, Hagino goes out of her way to get closer to Mari. As it turns out, there is more that Mari has yet to learn of Hagino Senkōji. Seeing how Mari was able to humanize Hagino in the grand scheme of things was lovely and inspiring. Love truly is a strange thing.

There are also several other characters with major roles including fellow students, Michiko Kōzuki, Akane Kawashima, and Hiroko Funatsumaru. Michiko is the wallflower that predictably blooms over the course of show. Being neglected in her youth has caused Michiko to turn to writing stories for solace. Akane is tomboy-ish and aspires to be a chef, practicing her craft in the school cafeteria. Last but not least, is Hiroko, the heavyset dorm chief. Hiroko’s the senpai of the group whose wit and wisdom comes in handy when dealing with her younger peers. Although she’s not a student, Yuko Sugawara still deserves mention as well. Mari’s homeroom teacher takes Mari under her wing and their relationship turns maternal to a degree. Despite her sincerity, Yuko may be hiding an ulterior motive to get close to Mari.

The few Arume that play big parts in the story are Tsubael: Ekaril’s right-hand woman, Azanael: an Arume soldier looking to avenge the death of her partner, and Shivariel: the Master Commander of the Arume fleet. Tsubael is Ekaril’s faithful companion. She reports to Ekaril when she’s busy at school and views humans as inferior lifeforms, calling them lazy and fragile. Azanael holds Ekaril responsible for her partner’s death and awaits her opportunity for retaliation. She’s constantly reminiscing about her lost love, which no doubt fuels her rage. Shivariel meets all the prerequisites for a good villain. She’s ruthless, manipulative, and goes to extremes in order to accomplish her goals. Deceitful? Check. Powerful? Check. Overconfident? Check.

The show is 7 years old, so it’s obviously going to look a bit outdated. That being said, even by 2007’s standards, the show is far from a visual tour de force. The characters look bland and don’t stand out that much. Well, their eyes do. I wasn’t a fan of that design choice at all. The 3D modeling done by Gonzo did stand out to me, however. It added some visual flair to a show that desperately needed a shot in the proverbial arm. The battle scenes between the various ships were serviceable and did an adequate job of making things all pretty-like. All in all, average is a pretty good word to use for the animation.

I felt that the overall sound direction was a highlight of the show. Both the OP and the ED, Blue and Tsubomi -blue dreams- respectively, are sung by Suara and are quite soothing. The OP, in particular, is surprisingly beautiful. Have a listen. The background music used throughout the series continued the overarching organic theme of the music. It was subtle, yet effective in contributing to the mood. The voice acting was of a pretty high quality as well. Nothing spectacular, but solid nonetheless.

Image courtesy of ラテ・ラピク on Pixiv.

Blue Drop does have some yuri involved, and it’s not just subtext. Azanael’s angle presents some yuri elements to the show, but given the fact that her partner is deceased, there’s obviously not very much. There are a few hints that Ekaril x Tsubael could have some yuri bubbling below the surface, but Ekaril’s developing relationship with Mari dashes those hopes. The bulk of the yuri hopes lie on the shoulders of the two main characters, Mari and Hagino. Things start badly between them, but things turn around and there’s eventually some handholding and even a kiss to satiate our unquenchable yuri thirst. By the end of the series, they’re essentially a full-on couple. You have to wait a while for things to pick up, but when they finally do, the series ends shortly thereafter. It’s bittersweet to say the least. But I’m an optimist, so I’ll be thankful for what we did end up with, knowing that it could have been even less.

After being urged several times to watch this by a certain female YuriReviewer who shall remain nameless, I finally gave in to her demands. I have to admit, after a few episodes, I was regretting the fact that I started watching it. I didn’t find the sci-fi elements very interesting, and there wasn’t really any yuri. Things slowly turned around, and the yuri eventually came, although more would have definitely been appreciated, especially once you consider some of the events of the manga. Still, the series turned out better than I thought it would, and it might be a decent watch for those who want a splash of yuri in their sci-fi.

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21 thoughts on “[Guest Review] Blue Drop

  1. You're up early to post this, Lena. 😛

    And I'm checking this blog late at night for some reason. 😀

    I think there should be a disclaimer on these. Something like… “The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily represent the views of Lena K. or Yurireviews.”

    That way, if there's any hate caused by a difference of opinion, it all gets directed at me. How considerate of me. 😛

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  2. achah. I'm still stuck on episode 6. spoiled on wikipedia episode list summaries.
    Btw, here's a random news flash on new summer Yuri media: a yuri eroge Lilium x Triangle ( http://www.pajamas.ne.jp/lilium/ ) , KanColle new book 艦隊これくしょん‐艦これ‐コミックアラカルト, and my favourite Adachi to Shimamura Volume 3 recently released light novel volume 3!!! 安達としまむら (3) (電撃文庫) [文庫].

    Coincidently, I wish to see some Yuri or solid subtext in Persona 5 or something like that is gonna be my Tanabata wish slip this Saturday for Kyoto's Tanabata encore. I probabl will wish for “a good yuri harvest for the future” or “yuri visions to the future.” That was a cool phrase. Yuritopia.

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  3. Yuritopia. That does sound cool. 😀

    I wonder what I would wish for… I'd probably be too selfish and wish for something ridiculous, like a ton of money. That Lilium x Triangle eroge looks promising. I've been meaning to play more of those, but I get preoccupied by other things and always end up putting it off.

    Aah, KanColle. That reminds me that January is so far away! At least I'll have Shingeki no Bahamut to tide me over until then.

    Thanks for the comment. 🙂

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  4. Your opinion is probably the same as mine, at least in this one.
    Well ok, I've only watched like 3 episodes, so I don't know yet (and I'll probably never know anyway) 😛
    But as long as you don't start hating on yuri, everything is fine 😛

    By the way, I almost forgot to say this, great review, thanks for the hard work 🙂

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  5. I actually loved the bitter sweet ending. Was really depressing though. (With “Crimson playing in the background”) I was like “NOOOOOO HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO THEM?!”

    The best was the OST as you mentioned. It had a watery theme to it, and was so calming to listen too.

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  6. There was more of an emotional impact the way things ended. It wouldn't have been as special if there was just a “happily ever after” conclusion.

    Every so often, I still find myself going back and playing the ED. It seems that's all I listen to nowadays, songs from various anime. That or songs I discovered through AMV's.

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  7. I bought the Lilium x triangle over DMM (conbini sold cards are convenient) and playing it now. It looks at first, to some, to be a eroge with h-scenes as the main focus, however, after playing it partway, I realized this was not the case. Unlike in Sono Hanabira where about 68% of the game is taken up by H-scenes, Lilium x triangle makes the story that 2% more enjoyable (own opinion). Should also mention that the artwork of LxT gives it great impact. That sorta artwork is something one might expect only of a eroge focusing on mere h-scenes rather than story. Well, LxT is indeed interesting and has great sound tracks (along the lines of jazz+piano mixtures, great emotional music).

    Another random news flash: I bought too many Yuri books and light novels (but still not enough) that my bag cannot fit them all in. D:
    Also, I just stumbled upon Yamanko yuri manga on dynasty. Another plentiful discovery among archives.

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  8. This is the first I've heard of Lilium x Triangle, so thanks for all the info on it. I like it when developers pay attention to the story and don't just sweep it under the rug, so this keeps sounding better and better.

    Sounds like you're getting a workout from carrying all that yuri. 😛

    I've been too busy and haven't been able to check out Dynasty Scans in about a week. That's gonna have to change at some point, because Yamanako does look interesting, even if it would take me forever to finish it. Better late than never, I suppose.

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  9. Just finished watching Blue Drop – Tenshi tachi no Gikyoku T_T Why does Hagino have to die?! :'( Like I would rather Azanael sacrifice herself so she can be with her partner, Onomil, in the netherworld and both couples can be happy lol) There is so much unexplained stuff too… T_T How can one of the main characters die before the mysteries are even explained?! In contrast to most viewers, I really really love the story and the beginning too! (didn't think it was boring) I wish there can be mari x hagino doujins… Definitely one the best yuri/shoujo ai animes in my opinion! (Y)

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  10. No couple was safe on that show. If you loved someone, there was a decent chance you or them were going to die. 😦

    The lack of doujins for this show is pretty surprising. You would think it would've been more popular than what it is. It's a shame.

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  11. For some reason I smiled when I saw I'm not the only one who watched this only recently.

    Spoilers Below

    Anyway, this show is somewhat exasperating for me, but my complaints seem to be different from most. The clichéd characters and slightly slow, almost boring way the story progresses I was able tolerate fairly easily, because ultimately I truly enjoyed the story, especially the romance aspect of it. What bothered me was the characters, mainly Hagino, doing things that made no sense. One of the worst offenders is the fact that Ekaril's allies attacked her. It's one thing for the Master Commander to have the ship sabotaged: it's a totally different thing to convince soldiers to attack their comrades without cause. Now if this had been explained at all beyond, “I said so,” it would not be a problem. However, the fact that after being attacked by her allies Ekaril does not take some kind of action to at least hide herself is still the most infuriating thing with the show, because that would have changed the entire course of the story. I am fine with tragic endings and even enjoy them but it's hard to sympathize with her nearly pointless martyrdom when, if she had taken more realistic actions, it most likely could have been avoided completely.

    I also have a hard time believing she could come to terms with sacrificing herself but could not stop crying during the process.

    So that was a good little rant and despite all its shortcomings I still feel like I enjoyed the story a pretty good amount, again mostly because of the way the romance developed.

    …It has just occurred to me after writing this that all of Hagino's actions stem from her guilt and this realization actually makes the whole show about ten times better and far more realistic. I'm trying to think of ways to argue my points around this but I'm coming up short. The only one that still stands is the willingness of the soldiers to betray Ekaril and Tsubael, and the mind control offers a pretty good explanation. Guess I'm just slow on the uptake. I'm still posting all this though because I went through all the effort of writing it and maybe you can get a laugh out of me arguing against myself and winning.

    As always thank you for posting an excellent review, and sorry for commenting so long after it was posted. Maybe I'll catch up with you guys someday but I doubt it.

    P.S. I feel like I may write too much and also that it might sound pretentious. If that is so please call me on it or any other dumb things I do. I promise you can't hurt my feelings and this is literally the only site I comment on so I don't want accidentally annoy anyone.

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  12. I wouldn't say the master commander attacking Ekaril wasn't without cause. First off, she destroyed the probe that was sent to retrieve Mari, then when the topic came up during her conversation with Shivariel, Ekaril didn't admit being responsible for its destruction (nor did Shivariel admit the reason she sent it). That—in combination with her going dark for five years—probably couldn't have endeared Ekaril to her comrades or Shivariel. That's the way I viewed it, at least.

    In episode 5, Tsubael was told by the shipboard AI that they weren't able to detect the spear that initially attacked them until it hit, so Tsubael said it was pointless hiding from the 2nd ship. If they really wanted to find them, there was probably nothing they could do to prevent that from happening. And when Tsubael finally did defend herself from the 2nd ship, notice she didn't return fire. She used the Emiru Force shift to ram into the 2nd ship. Returning fire certainly would've been seen as a full-blown rebellion, and I'm not sure Blue would've been able to survive a head-to-head battle with the 2nd ship anyway (especially with Ekaril not being onboard).

    Hagino might've accepted her fate, but just hearing Mari's voice one last time opened the floodgates. In doing something heroic and selfless, she was still going to cause Mari grief. (T^T)

    The romance between them took its time, but I think it was ultimately pretty good. I've seen much worse anyway.

    Thanks for the kind words. Even older posts still get the occasional comment, so Lena or myself will still reply to comments. Being a bit late is no problem whatsoever~

    P.S — It doesn't sound pretentious at all, so there's no need for any of that crazy talk. 😛

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  13. I had to go back and watch episodes five and six, albeit manually abridged by skipping to the battles and Master Commander scenes, to make sure but in episode five only one ship attacks on two separate occasions and in episode six two ships attack and Tsubael is actually able to cripple them while Hagino saves Mari. However, it appears that this uses most of their ships resources. While the Master Commander had cause to attack, it was not enough to convince her subordinates. If it was she would have started with a full attack like in episode six, the attack in episode five was just to provoke Ekaril, and it does not work. Like you said she rams the ship instead of directly attacking it. Unfortunately, the Master Commander is still able to use this to now openly and wholeheartedly attack her. Ekaril going dark definitely does not look good, but there's no indication that anyone besides Shivariel and Azanael have any reason to want to attack her. Again the mind control that is revealed at the end of the series easily explains away all of my arguments on that front.

    As far as Hagino accepting her fate I have to disagree. It is not her being heroic and selfless; it is she does not believe she deserves to live because she feels responsible for the tragedy on Kamikaku Island. The ship is so advanced that one person can control it so it seems unlikely that she could not also have ejected along with Tsubael, or shortly after, and still crash the ship. Putting that aside, the fact that she went dark for five years indicates that she is able to hide from them, though I think your right, if they really want to find her it would not take much effort. Unless she left the ship. Which she could have done at any point in time, especially when she knew an attack was imminent. She could even have taken Mari. The only reason not to leave the ship would be if the Arume have any physiological needs that Earth does not provide, but there was no mention of this being a problem. Hagino's guilt, however, explains all of this. She never leaves because she feels does not deserve to live, let alone have any sort of happiness. Especially by living with Mari, who is one of her victims, arguably her greatest victim. So, she passively lets whatever happens happen, only reacting in order to protect others, usually by risking her own well being. When happiness is within her grasp she sacrifices herself but makes sure Tsubael. Her best chance of survival was leaving. Tsubael seems to realize the futility of their actions but goes along with it all because of her loyalty to Ekaril and because she has survivors guilt. They probably could have even proved their innocence to someone else in the military. Then vouch for human beings and quite possibly prevent the war, or at least get the peace talks started decades earlier

    Now I am not trying to say it is selfishness, stupidity, or bad writing that causes Ekaril to act this way. I actually believe the opposite, it is excellent writing to create a character that is highly intelligent and selfless and make these inherently flawed and seemingly selfish decisions, because Hagino was emotionally destroyed by the incident and lived those last five years through sheer will power. Like I said before, looking at it with the guilt in mind makes the story much better to me.

    As far as the romance my biggest complaint is that it is not more explicit. The rest of the human-centric side stories felt a little out of place but does a good job of demonstrating how even while there is a war going on, life goes on, and that war can instantly and irreversibly change that life.

    They are not just kind words it's the truth, and the fact that you guys respond to the comments is impressive and awesome.

    Thank you for the reassurance, but the crazy and I are good friends so don't be surprised if comes out from time to time.

    Another long comment…I think I think too much.

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  14. It's been a while since I watched it, so I was pretty much just pulling answers out of my ass. 😀

    Your explanations make a lot more sense, so I can't argue with anything you said.

    Maybe I'll rewatch it at some point and have a better appreciation for it. That same scenario already happened with Shinsekai yori, so it might happen with this one as well.

    You should have been the one to write this review! Just from your comments, it's pretty obvious that it would've turned out great. Seriously, you should start up your own blog or something. If you're like that with everything you watch, your viewpoint would definitely be interesting to read.

    We get emails whenever a comment is left on any post, so it's pretty easy to just take a few minutes and reply back. If people can take the time to comment, the least we can do is do that.

    That's still better than not thinking enough, so be thankful for that~

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  15. You still managed to name the number of the episode you were referring to which is pretty impressive, and even re-watching it, the way it was edited makes it difficult to tell.

    As far as my viewpoint, this is rare. I usually can not think of anything more to say than I like or dislike something, but thank you.

    Even if it is easy the replies do leave an impression on the people reading your reviews.

    P.S.
    Sorry for the delayed response. I do not know how to take a compliment so you threw me off a little.

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  16. I had to actually go back and skim over the episode real quick, just to try and make sure I wasn't making stuff up.

    It's not easy writing stuff (for me anyway), so I think having people comment helps justify the time spent writing. Positive or not, you always look forward to the comments.

    Haha. I can totally relate to that last sentence. 😀

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