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Vandread: Second Stage
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 02/26/2004

Synopsis:
As the advent of the harvest draws near, the men and women's merged ship Nirvana faces more uncertainty despite the fact that everyone onboard has finally learned to work together. Earthlings will stop at nothing to ensure their own survival, even if it means slaughtering every other human being in the universe for their organs; Planets Tarak and Mejale will most likely never accept the concept of men and women co-existing peacefully; and to top it all off, one of the Nirvana's crew members turns out to be a spy...

Review:
Vandread: Second Stage picks up where Vandread: First Stage leaves off: the harvest. The Nirvana picks up a human girl named Misty, who seems to have originated from a place and time where men and women co-existed. A message is retrieved along with Misty, explaining why and how the harvest came to be. It seems that what is left of the Earth's population has lost the ability to evolve, and is now facing extinction. It was determined that the only way for them to survive is to "harvest" external and internal organs from other living human beings for their own use. To make the job easier, the Earthlings developed highly adaptable unmanned spacecrafts that would be deployed throughout the universe to do the harvesting for them. The Nirvana had been fighting these harvesting fleets from the start, but with every battle, the enemy just grows smarter and smarter... until they start copying and countering everything the Nirvana has -- the Vanguards, the Dreads, and even the Vandreads.

It makes no sense to watch Vandread: Second Stage without watching the First Stage. Second Stage assumes that you already know the characters and the situation, and what's presented is mostly answers to questions that were raised beforehand. With its happy-sad-happy-sad event pattern, it's more of an emotional rollercoaster this time around especially since character development and relationships have grown a lot deeper. Romances continue to bloom, and a love triangle is formed. Dita and Misty vie for Hibiki's affections; Bart finds himself infatuated with BC; Duero and Parfet are slowly developing mutual admiration and understanding. Personally I liked the pace of Second Stage better. It just kept on gaining momentum. I was practically glued to the screen, and I ended up watching the entire series in one sitting.

In terms of visuals, Vandread: Second Stage retains the flawless art and animation style of its predecessor. The 3-D computer generated space battle scenes still don't merge as smoothly as we'd like with the rest of the series, but it's not really a big deal. The music is typical J-pop fare, with the ending theme song sung in English. Nothing really special in that department though.

Vandread: Second Stage is the most fun I've had watching an anime in a long time. I was quite burnt out with anime when I started it, but its unique mix of humor, antics, as well as the touching moments worked very well to give me that much needed jolt. Straightforward, uncomplicated entertainment is what the whole Vandread series is, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Miscellanies:
Like the First Stage, Vandread: Second Stage spans 13 episodes.

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Vandread: Second Stage
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Review Title:
Vandread: Second Stage
Type:
TV
Episodes:
13
Duration:
325 Minutes
General Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Aired:
2001-2002
Suitable For:
Teens
Genres:
Action, Adventure, Comedy,
Ecchi, Mecha, Sci-Fi,
Space
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