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Pioneer Entertainment presents
Vandread—The Second Stage #1: Survival (2001)

"This is no time to be doing that kind of stuff!"
- Hibiki (Yoshino Hiroyuki)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer  
Published: December 01, 2002

Stars: Yoshino Hiroyuki, Kakazu Yumi, Orikasa Fumiko, Asakawa Yuu, Rafael Antonio Oliver, Julie Maddalena, Melissa Williamson, Wendee Lee
Other Stars: Neya Michiko, Sawami Youko, Asano Mayumi, Toyoguchi Megumi, Ishige Sawa, Kyouda Naoko, Oohara Sayaka, Tasaka Hideki, Seki Tomokazu, Iwata Mitsuo, Ellen Wilkinson, David Lucas
Director: Takeshi Mori

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (13+ for mature situations)
Run Time: 01h:31m:41s
Release Date: September 24, 2002
UPC: 013023183292
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A-A-A C-

DVD Review

Hot on the heels of the first season, the "second stage" of Vandread picks up where the first left off with its first installment containing four of thirteen episodes. Gonzo (Hellsing, Gate Keepers), the show's producers, took fan feedback in developing the season, which this disc evidences in a collection of strong, character-driven episodes, continuing the premise established in its predecessor: members from two societies who have been warring for ages, one all male, the other all female, are thrown together and must fend off an evil greater than either have ever faced, with their only hope for survival being cooperation. The comedy continues to be excellent, with the ignorance each sex has of the other forming the central conflict, but their curiosity, in light of new revelations of their distant ancestors, has them learning to cope coexisting together.

A nightmare shared by the crew of the Nirvana looks as though it may become reality, as a new and more deadly threat appears, coinciding with the discovery of a young girl adrift in space in a cryonic chamber. This is no ordinary girl, as she holds clues to the origin of the alien aggressors, but she also provides yet another source of jealousy for Dita when the new arrival expresses an interest in Hibiki. As the Nirvana fights to overcome their latest situation, they gain assistance from an unlikely source, which sparks a new interest amongst several of the female crew in the capabilities of their male companions. When the ship discovers an inhabited planet, even more is revealed about their past, and it causes some of the crew to face new challenges and mature.

The battle of the sexes that is the underlying story in Vandread evolves nicely here, adding additional depth to the background of the cast, plus adding ample fuel for the comedic content. The addition of the newest crew member is a catalyst for much more relationship-based humor, especially when coupled with the naïveté both sides of the equation exhibit. While on one level the show is hilarious, in a fairly typical harem anime sense, it is also delving into more emotional depth and seriousness, which works well for contrast. Action remains high, with a plethora of high-octane space battles, showcasing the extensive CG content. With the characters firmly established from the first season, the show looks to be building is overall story nicely, keeping the same general feel with a more expanded scope in the situation. Vandread has quickly become a favorite.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Much like season one, the image quality here remains extremely good, with eye-popping color definition, rich blacks, and good contrast. Normal amounts of aliasing and interlacing are present, but are not overly distracting.

The nonanamorphic widescreen image will be of concern to those with widescreen sets with significant overscan, as although they remain within the image area, the subtitles may be chopped off since they are close to the edge of the frame.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The stereo audio is excellent, delivering a dynamic and full bodied soundtrack. Directionality is well used, and dialogue is clear and easily discernable. No complaints in this department.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Clean opening credits
  2. Limited holographic card pack-in
Extras Review: Extras are somewhat limited, but do include clean opening animation for each of the four episodes included here, as well as a promo clip for the series.

A trailer reel contains previews of Armitage III: Polymatrix, Gate Keepers, Hellsing, The Soul Taker, X, Fushigi Yugi: Eikoden and I My Me! Strawberry Eggs

This disc is also available with a nicely designed cardboard box which houses the entire 8-disc Vandread and Vandread—Second Stage collection. Like the rest of the series, some of the discs include an extremely limited edition foil card pack-in.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

Vandread—The Second Stage takes everything that was great about the first season and steps it up a notch—more action, more drama, and more humor. The creators have taken their battle-of-the-sexes premise to new heights in the opening installment of the second season, while adding more background and a deeper plot. This one's a winner!


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