Friday, September 24, 2010
On paper, Blue Drop doesn't sound like much, but it rises above its tropes with superior execution. A new girl, Wakatake Mari, transfers to a prestigious all-girls' school and catches the attention of the coolest, most popular girl there (with the inevitable fangirl following), Senkouji Hagino. They have a less than perfect first meeting, but eventually learn that they like each other, and then that they really, really like each other. Hagino is, at first, only interested in Mari because she is the only survivor of a catastrophe Hagino caused 5 years ago on the island of Kamioki where Mari and her parents were living. Hagino is, incidentally, a member of the Arume, an all-female alien race that is preparing to take over the Earth (lol), and commander of the spaceship Blue.
As Mari and Hagino grow closer, Hagino is targeted for revenge by Azanael, an Arume who was the lover of Ekaril, one of Hagino's subordinates who died in the Kamioki incident. Hagino still beats herself up over what happened 5 years ago, especially as she falls in love with Mari. Rounding out the yuri dynamic of this show, Blue's operator Tsubael is in love with her commander.
Blue Drop's calm, mellow atmosphere and deliberate pacing, alternating the Arume's alien politicking (which I liked quite a bit) with Horime (that's "human" in Arume-speak) slice-of-life character-building, won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoyed it. All of the characters get their due time in the spotlight, including the other girls Hagino and Mari are friends with in their dorm and their homeroom teacher Sugawara Yuuko-sensei, who is really at the school to gather intelligence on the Kamioki incident via Mari.
The relationship that develops between Mari and Hagino is sweet and believable (if brief), despite their rocky first meeting, and their inevitable parting (foreshadowed at the beginning) packs an emotional punch- especially when Mari starts reciting her lines from Michi's play and Hagino does the same, even though Mari can't hear her. It isn't happily-ever-after, but the tragedy makes sense and isn't abrupt, and it's a good choice if you're in the mood for a romance about star-crossed lovers. I really liked how the series showed Mari years later, as a diplomat for the U.N. on her way to negotiating peace talks with the Arume- while holding the script for the play that she and Hagino were in.
All 13 episodes of Blue Drop are streaming legally, for free on YouTube on the Anime Network's account. (Unfortunately, I think that it's only viewable in North America. The English dubbed episodes can be rented. Clips from them can be watched for free, for the dub-curious.)