Set in a universe where men and women are completely segregated (on completely different planets: Mejere by the women, Taraak by the men), the gender wars are 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 the male attack force battleship about to fight the “evil females”. Caught on board when it takes off, the battleship is suddenly attacked and all males evacuate, with the exception of Hibiki, Duelo McFile, and Bart Garsus. Stuck on board and held as prisoners with female pirates all around, things seem to have hit an all-time low, until the retreating males retaliate by firing torpedoes at the ship, to prevent it from falling into women’s hands. The Paksis Pragma, the core of the battleship, a mysterious crystalline entity, protects itself by eradicating the missile, while forming a wormhole that sends the pirates and warship to a distant part of the galaxy, and fusing the battleship with the females’ pirate vessel, forming the Nirvana. This results in a quirky ship with very smooth lines, a host of technical problems, which some episodes are often aimed at solving, and various hidden capabilities that become apparent in later events. 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 titular mecha.
In this alternate, futuristic universe, men and women 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…” The crew is stunned; their enemy 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?
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