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Vandread

An examination of gender politics and cultural divisions played out as a Space Opera Mecha Show...no, really.

In the far-flung future, there are a pair of colony worlds: Tarak and Mejale, locked in a constant state of Space Cold War.

Tarak is the Orwellian, industrial, militarized planet of men. All food is synthetic, flavorless pills. All public gatherings are related to sports, marching, and being manly. Everyone wears a uniform. Babies are made by merging your genes with those of your buddies in a factory, and they are raised by dedicated orphanages/schools.

Mejale is the beautiful but impractical planet of women. All things are polished and shiny. All military uniforms are excessively flattering. Appearances are all important. The citizenry form couples, of the lesbian top/bottom variety, called the "Oma" and "Fama" in the native vernacular (probably derived from homme and femme), and make babies by merging two eggs and implanting them in the Fama. They eat real food and celebrate real holidays, like Christmas.

Naturally, the two worlds hate each other.

The story follows a young man named Hibiki Tokai, a factory worker from Tarak who wants more than anything to be a mecha pilot. When his attempt to steal a Humongous Mecha get him thrown into the brig of reconstructed battleship, things seem to be looking down...until the ship gets attacked by Space Pirates, and Hibiki, a Bishonen doctor, a cowardly officer and a malfunctioning robot wind up as prisoners on a ship full of women. Things couldn't possibly get any worse.

That's when the pirates find themselves stranded on the far end of the galaxy, with a mysterious alien force out to kill them. But, as a result of some serious Plot Technology, the pirate vessel merges with the men's starship, and one of the "Vanguard" mecha and three of the pirates' "Dread" fighters are altered. The Vanguard, piloted by Hibiki, can combine with any of the three Dreads into a form with amazing abilities.

All of the sudden, Hibiki's the focus of three girls with different personalities whom all want to try and "merge" with him. Of course, none of them have any concept of heterosexuality, and Hibiki doesn't even seem to know about any sexuality. They clumsily rediscover their biological imperatives as they fight a mysterious shadow enemy across the universe.

The three main girls, the pilots of the Dreads, are a variation on The Three Faces of Eve principle, with a military twist:

  • Dita Liebely, a child-like, bubbly Genki Girl, who's obsessed with aliens. She calls Hibiki "Uchuujin-san" ("Mister Alien" in the English dub). She can't cook too well, but then, Hibiki was raised on synthetic food pellets.
  • Meia Gisborn, The Stoic leader of the Dread squadron, is a consummate fighter pilot and professional officer. She acts as a mother figure, despite her lack of domesticity
  • Jura Basil Elden, the vain, voluptuous and self-absorbed squadron sub-commander. She has a lover, Barnette Orangello, who's exasperated at Jura's attention towards Hibiki.

The characteristics of the merged Vandread mecha are unique metaphors for Hibiki's relationship with each girl:

  • "Vandread Dita" is a large, powerful humanoid mecha armed with a pair of beam cannons. When they merge, Dita loses her seat and winds up on Hibiki's lap
  • "Vandread Meia" is a fighter that resembles a robotic bird. It's extremely fast and manueverable. It features a motorcycle style seat with Hibiki in front.
  • "Vandread Jura" is a slow, crab-like fighter, with a collection of remote pods, that can fire beams at the enemy, and project an energy shield around an entire planet if needs be. The cockpit has a round control console with mobile chairs, meaning Hibiki and Jura are constantly jockeying with each other for control of the ship.
  • In addition to all this, the "Super Vandread" (aka "Vandread Pyoro"), formed by combining Hibiki's Vanguard and all three Dreads with Pyoro at once, is a massive humanoid mecha with the abilities of all three Vandreads. It can also mix their abilities, such as combining Vandread Dita's cannons and Jura's shields into a Wave Motion Gun. It even gets enough chairs and control stations for everyone. See what happens when we all work together? The controls for the Super Vandread have Hibiki and Dita sitting in a way similar to the way they are in Vandread Dita, Meia having her own console behind them facing backwards, and Jura sitting on a lower level in front of Hibiki having a wall of unlabeled buttons that she has to figure out. Take that for whatever symbolism that you will.

Most of the crew fit dual roles for both a madcap, romantic-comedy and a military story. The Captain is also a wise grandmother, the medical technician's a naughty loli nurse, the local Wrench Wench is a Meganekko and a Gadgeteer Genius, while the communications officer is a friendly, pregnant Yamato Nadeshiko. The first officer's essentially the Harem Nanny, and the quartermaster's the wise Cool Big Sis.

Over time, the three men and the enormous gang of women come to an understanding, and they work together to unravel the bigger mysteries of the universe, like the origin of their robotic enemies and the fate of the other human colonies. A very funny and enjoyable dose of Martian Successor Nadesico meets Love Hina meets Star Trek: Voyager.


This show contains examples of:

  • Absent Aliens: The closest thing we have to real aliens are a bunch of psychic Navajo expies who border on Homo Novus. It runs into Human Aliens with Ma-Ger and Tarak, the inhabitants think the people on the other planets are evil aliens, when they're really just male and female humans trying their damnedest to be One Gender Races with genetic engineering.
    • Arguably, Earth as well.
  • Abridged Series: So far there's just one episode, but the next one should be up soon. With actual girls playing the females too!!
  • Absolute Cleavage: Jura. Just look at the page picture.
  • All Your Powers Combined (Super Vandread, naturally, being a Combining Mecha of the three Vandreads)
  • An Aesop (Something about life being worth fighting for)
  • A Grandmother To Her (Wo)men: Magno Vivan.
  • Ancient Conspiracy (The rulers of Tarak and Mejale were in on Earth's harvesting operation the whole time.)
    • It is later revealed that they were not willing to lose any natural children (i.e. conceived and delivered the traditional way)of the rest of the original colonists -- the vast majority of whom still remain secretly secured in cryo-stasis, guarded over by the man who raised Hibiki -- hence, the reason for the genetically-engineered sons and daughters of Meger and Talark respectively, who were secretly considered to be merely Expendable Clone 's, and thus sacrificeable to the Harvester Fleets of Earth.
  • Anime First
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Meia delivers one to Hibiki after he angrily accuses Gascogne of always trying to act calm and cool under pressure and not knowing what frontline fighters have to feel and suffer like. Shortly after we get to see exactly why Gascogne acts the way she does...
  • Babies Make Everything Better (the birth-cry of Ezra's daughter causes a computer virus to shut down, as it was pre-programmed password/deactivation switch.)
  • Back for the Finale: See Gondor Calls for Aid
  • Bare Your Midriff: Jura and Dita.
  • Beam-O-War
  • Beam Spam (Nirvana's primary attack)
    • Hibiki does this in episode 6 by shooting a laser at his squadmates and having their shields reflect it towards the enemy ships.
    • The Big Bad's ship at the end of Season 2 is also capable of this type of attack.
  • Beehive Barrier (Super Vandread, not to mention the Nirvana. Also Vandread Jura when NOT using its planetary shield)
  • Berserk Button (Do NOT hurt Jura while Barnette is anywhere nearby...)
  • Beta Couple (Parfaite and Duero, generally.)
  • Big Bad (Earth)
  • Big Damn Heroes: Several examples, generally Hibiki anytime he merges with one of the dreads, Bart has one, and Paksis saves the crew a couple of times as well.
  • Big Eater: Despite Misty's implausible food storage, Hibiki can still wolf down all of her intentionally prepared cooking without feeling full.
  • Bishonen (Duero)
  • Blind Idiot Translation (Misty calling Meia "dear sister" in the dub, confusing the hell out of everyone. This is unfortunately in the sub as well)
    • Including Meia.
    • The literal phrase ("big sister") wouldn't have been any clearer to someone who didn't understand the phrase as it's meant in Japan. "Dear sister" was close enough.
      • "Miss Meia" would still fit better.
  • Blue with Shock: Happens to Dita when Misty takes Hibiki's First Kiss. Pyoro, while he doesn't change colors, also seems shocked by it.
  • Birthday Hater: Meia. Episode 21 is entirely devoted to the rest of the crew's efforts to lure her into attending the birthday party they throw for her, which she skillfully evades (like in all her previous years on Nirvana). Needless to say, said episode gives her a great deal of characterization beside that.
  • Born in An Elevator (Kahlua, aka Pyoro-2)
  • Breather Episode: Episode 7, which deals largely with Hibiki and Dita's growing relationship.
    • Episode 7 again, this time in Season two, which happens right after a Wham! Episode.
  • Bridge Bunnies (Belvedere Coco, Celtic Midori and Amarone Slantheav)
  • Butt Monkey / The Chew Toy (Bart; the poor guy never catches a break. No one gives him any respect ever. When he is piloting the ship he suffers damage when the ship gets shot. When they get back to Tarak and neither he nor Duelo will renounce their female friends, he is the only one tortured. He also gets a stream of constant verbal and physical abuse from people. Most of whom he has done nothing but good for.)
    • Hibiki is this when it comes to Dita, to the point that practically the entire ship teases him about it.
  • Cannot Spit It Out (Hibiki and Dita have a communication problem)
  • Cat Smile: Ezra's baby has one when she's first shown. Ezra and Dita also display subtle ones occasionally.
  • Christmas Episode: A Mood Whiplash scenario where everyone is enjoying food and Yuletime fun, looking a comet that looks like a flocked tree, and OMG the Evil Aliens are hiding in the comet's tail waiting to attack! Wait, Hibiki's there and once again Christmas is safe!
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Dita usually doesn't like it when Hibiki combines with anyone other than her.
    • She also takes an immediate dislike to Misty when she first shows up and hugs Hibiki in the second season. Made worse by Hibiki apparently not objecting to it, at least not in the same manner that he seems to do toward Dita's hugs.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The manga adaptation is way shorter than the anime, and changes several major plot points. Here are some differences between the two.
    • Bart & Duero only appeared in one page.
    • Many characters are absent (Ezra, Gascogne, Pyoro, even the pirate leader).
    • Buzam aka. BC is the Big Bad.
    • Hibiki only combines with Dita.
    • Barnette is in love with Hibiki.
  • Conspicuous CG (All the space scenes are done with computer graphics, mixing animation in surprisingly well)
  • Cool Old Lady: Magno Vivan.
  • Cool Starship (Nirvana, obviously. Not to mention the massive and terrifying Harvester motherships)
  • Covers Always Lie Adverted for the most part but that Dark-Skinned Redhead on the complete boxset? She appears in the last two episodes despite it looking like she's a main character.
  • Cosplay Otaku Girl (Celtic wears a costume even while on duty, but that's just to protect herself from nasty boy germs)
    • Only in the first season. Second Stage has her in a different costume each episode, none of them terribly "protective".
      • It's more-or-less stated that she's gotten used to the guys by Second Stage.
  • Couch Gag (Second Stage has a clip of the current episode in its opening sequence)
    • It's there in the first season, too
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Hibiki often formulates some really off the wall ideas, but they usually work.
  • Creepy Child (The Earthling who attacks Tarak and Majale at the end of the series)
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Happens to a few characters, especially Dita/Misty in regards to Hibiki.
  • Cry Cute: Both Dita and Misty in episode 7 of Season 2.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas (Mejale tends to give this vibe, in contrast to the Spartan-Industrial Tarak)
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Usually happens whenever Hibiki merges his Vanguard with the women's Dread fighters.
    • Rabat delivers one to Hibiki when they first meet. Hibiki later comments to Meia that Rabat was holding back despite easily beating him, and could've easily killed him had he wanted to.
  • Date Peepers: While they're not on a date per se, a lot of the girls on the ship seem to like spying on Hibiki anytime Dita or especially Misty is with him.
    • The ENTIRE ship gets a reality show-like view as Jura has cameras focused on Hibiki and his antics with Misty and Dita in episode 7 of Season 2. Practically everyone stops what they're doing to watch after Jura locks Dita and Hibiki in a room together. The only that thing that "saves" them from this is a Harvester attack at the end of the episode.
  • Default to Good (Rabat, eventually)
  • Deflector Shields (Vandread Jura)
    • The Nirvana has some as well. While fairly strong, sometimes enemy attacks do breach it.
  • Designer Babies (Genetic engineering lets two males have a baby who's born in a factory, while with two females, one of them carries the engineered baby to term in the normal style. In a way, Cloning Blues ensues)
  • Discount Lesbians (Space pirate lesbians of an One-Gender Race, of both the Lipstick Lesbian and Tachi variety)
    • Then again, there is only one depicted lesbian pair, and half of that one is after Hibiki.
      • There's also one other, but we don't get to meet Ezra's Ouma until the penultimate episode, as she was left on Mejale Yup, this is still very much a Seinen fantasy
      • Still one more: There's also Meia's parents in her flashback, though her Ouma was kind of butch. The flashbacks also shown that Meia's had a lover or two during her troubled period.
      • It seems actually pretty safe to figure that most of the Mejale women are lesbians (or Bisexuals with no other option); the one who is after Hibiki seems to be drawn to the...novelty of having babies that way, sort of the equivalent of a modern lesbian asking a guy to be her sperm donor. Besides, it'd be a rather different sort of series if it spent much time on the sexual implications of One Gender Races.
  • Disney Death ( Gascogne. She gets better)
  • Does This Remind You of Anything? The pilots use "combining" in ways that make it sound an awful lot like something else men and women do...
    • Jura does this most frequently with Hibiki in the early episodes.
    • On the subject of 'combining...' take a look at the first episode. The elegant, sleek female ship combining with the large, rather bulky male ship?
    • Doujinshi took this and ran with it.
    • And Hibiki is inexplicably exhausted by the end of each combine battle.
    • Hibiki first (joyfully) recognizes his Mecha "Partner" by the mark he had placed on a certain part. A certain part that juts forward right from the pelvis and seems to be vent.
  • Do They Know It's Christmas Time? (With the Captain Magno even dressing up as Santa)
  • Dropped a Bridget On Him (Bart Garsus, upon The Reveal that BC is a Gender Bender mole. This doesn't stop him, though...
    • In all honesty, this probably got dropped on EVERYONE.
      • Except the captain. She knew about it the whole time.
    • Technically, since homosexuality would seem to be the norm back on Tarak (well, put a bunch of guys together on a planet without any women, what do you expect?), this would be an inversion. The Bart/BC relationship seems to be the Vandread equivalent of the typical shoujo plot of a heterosexual guy finding out the guy he's attracted to is actually a girl (cue sighs of relief). Unless you want to apply heteronormativity to people who think they are a One-Gender Race.
      • Wrap your brains around that one.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The crew of the Nirvana go through quite a bit, and have to constantly adopt new tactics in order to defeat the Harvesters who also try to develop new counters.
  • Empathy Pet (Misty's holographic blob Q-chan)
  • Enemy Mine: The men of Tarak and the women of Mejale, along with various factions/planets that the Nirvana interacted with throughout the series, end up all fighting together against the Harvester fleets from Earth.
  • Enfante Terrible (The commander of the Harvester Fleet, who has red eyes, telepathically "speaks" with a grown man's voice, and can use telekinesis to crush things/people)
  • Everyone Can See It: The whole crew pretty much knows that Hibiki and Dita were meant for each other, even if he himself denies it.
  • Everything Is Better With Monkeys: Rabat has a pet orangutan.
  • Evil Counterpart (The green Paksis Pragma inside the Nirvana has a twin red Paksis...used by Earth for commanding its Harvesters)
  • Evil Knockoff (The Harvesters gain the ability to copy the Vandreads, even the Nirvana)
  • Evolving Credits
  • Everyone Can See It: No one seems to object to Dita constantly smothering Hibiki, and every time someone brings this trope up, he vehemently denies it.
  • Eyes Always Shut (Ezra)
    • Averted? She opens her eyes once after giving birth for a few seconds.
  • Eyecatch: Usually shows Jura, Dita, Meia, or Hibiki and their respective mechs. Season two usually shows their combo forms along with the respective pilots.
  • Fantastic Sexism: Due to their upbringing, the men of Tarak and the women of Mejale have been led to believe that the other is a demonic monster hellbent on destroying them.
  • First Girl Wins: Not that she would allow any rivals anyway.
  • Flash Step Vandread Meia can do this.
  • Forgotten Birthday: Subverted. They TRY the whole "pretend everything is normal"-thing on Meia. She sees through them instantly, and when Misty ask why everyone is acting funny, Meia explains that tomorrow is her birthday. So, instead, they they start making plans on how they manage to keep her from hiding from the party...
  • Gainaxing
  • Gender Bender (Telling who it is would be a spoiler, of course. (It's BC) If you read the spoiler without seeing the show, you now have anti-zen: knowledge without understanding)
  • Genki Girl: Dita, especially around Hibiki.
  • Girl in a Box (How the crew finds Misty)
  • Girls Have Cooties (Inverted with the aforementioned Celtic)
  • Giver of Lame Names: Pyoro, who gives Ezra's baby the name "Pyoro 2", and calls the Super Vandread "Vandread Pyoro". None of the other characters are too fond of them.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid (Actually, they came unbidden)
  • Grand Finale
  • Green Rocks: - In this case blue and red rocks in the form of the crystalline plexis... plexises? (sic)
  • Gunship Rescue: Hibiki usually when he merges with Jura or Meia, and Paksis does a couple, sometimes with Bart, sometimes without his input.
  • Has Two Mommies (Implicitly, all of the Mejale characters. Explicitly, Meia (as seen in flashbacks), and Ezra's daughter. Ezra's "Ohma", Rebecca, doesn't show up until The Second Stage)
    • Ezra and Rebecca's offspring has been described as "him", but surely this is a translation error since the offspring of their culture would surely be all girls.
  • Heroic BSOD: Jura briefly suffers one in Episode 9.
    • Dita goes through one anytime Hibiki lashes out at her too harshly, such as in episode 7.
  • Heroic Sacrifice (Subverted: Hibiki attempts to stop the Big Bad's Wave Motion Gun by plugging it with his Vanguard, mentioning he really doesn't give two damns so long as his friends are safe. Dita, Meia and Jura fly into the breach without even a moment's hesitation. The Paksis helps them out by blowing said Wave Motion Gun away, effectively the Eleventh-Hour Superpower)
    • But not subverted when Gascogne pilots her ship into the side of an enemy mothership, a suicide run that creates a hole in the ship that they use to attack it from within in the following episode.
    • Actually, it is subverted, she survived and repaired the defeated ship, now under her control.
  • Het Is Ew (In the Christmas Episode, everyone except Dita had this reaction to the video showing a man-woman couple and their daughter)
    • Everyone except Dita and Hibiki. Hibiki was more subdued than Dita, but you can tell he liked the idea.
  • Hey, It's That Voice! (What we have here... Hibiki: (H)Allelujah Haptism, Dita: Seolla Schweitzer, Meia: Kuchiki Rukia, Jura: Rider, Barnette: Melissa Mao, Bart: Gai Daigoji)
  • His Quirk Lives On: when it looks like Gascogne dies by Heroic Sacrifice, Barnette volunteers to take over her job, and adopts her signature clothing style and some mannerisms.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum (Hibiki; just combine with someone already and get it over with!)
  • Hot Shounen Mom (Ezra, once she gives birth anyway)
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl (Duero and Parfait. Oddly makes the whole pairing cuter)
  • Humans Are Bastards (Partially invoked: turns out Earth's responsible for sending out the Harvester fleets)
  • Human Resources (The Harvester fleets)
  • Humongous Mecha
    • Real Robot (The unmodified Dreads of Magno's pirates are not too implausible from a space opera standpoint)
      • Vanguards, too.
    • Super Robot (The titular Vandreads, on the other hand...)
    • Combining Mecha (The Vandreads again)
    • Transforming Mecha (One Harvester Elite Mook copies the Nirvana's shape and transforms it into a humanoid mode)
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Misty is understandably lonely considering she's been in stasis for a long time (the anime mentions she's 14 years old and was in stasis for 63 years) and is only survivor left from her family. When Hibiki runs after Dita, shes feels rejected, and tries to play off her wooing him as "being bored" and letting him go as to "not making enemies of Dita's shipmates/friends". But a few moments later, she begins to cry alone in the park bench, and Meia tries to assure her that she has friends here.
  • Important Haircut (Bart)
  • Improbably-Female Cast: (Justified in that the story focuses on three guys that got captured by a squad of Mejale outcasts.)
  • Incendiary Exponent
  • Instant AI, Just Add Water (Arguably, this along with the Paksis is what happened to Pyoro to bring him from brick to human-level sentience.)
  • Instant Expert - Characters seem to be able to pilot completely unfamiliar ships and mechs flawlessly despite having no experience in their operation.
    • Subverted (albeit briefly) when Hibiki first pilots his Vanguard.
      • Or when the Woman first pilot the Vanguards, or when Hibiki uses his Vanguard on a planet's surface (with gravity) for the first time, or when he first combines with Jura, all giving them at least some problems for a few scenes.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum (The Paksis, both the one on the Nirvana and the one controlling the Harvester fleet)
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY" (Gascogne wants you to know it's pronounced "Gas-Co-NYU")
    • This troper believes it also refers to the fact that "Gas-cone" sounds like "Gas-Co", which was her older sister's nickname for her, and doesn't want her memory of her sister to change. In the original Japanese, it's not so much a pronunciation issue as her refusing to accept her nickname of "Gasco-san".
  • I Was Quite a Looker: An old photograph of the captain and her family illustrate this trope. It is also revealed that she still has a head full of beautiful golden hair.
  • I Will Protect Her: Hibiki although he usually denies it. Played straight with Bart when he befriends an Ill Girl and defends the planet she's living on.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hibiki towards Dita, and Rabat, who's a total Smug Snake when he first shows up, but ends up helping them in the end.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: While the series largely uses energy weapons, during episode 4 of Season 2, when Jura tries firing an energy weapon at the harvesters invading the inside of a space station, it doesn't do anything to it. Barnette suggests that she use the guns she brought, which uses regular bullets, and are quite effective against those things. At least while they have ammo for them.
  • Lampshade Hanging Pyoro in episode four of Second Stage: He can smell the sexuality!!

  "This isn't some third rate soap opera! Go on without me and then come back to get me!"

  • Large Ham: Hibiki usually falls into this territory, particularly when playing cards with Gascogne, or usually around Dita.
  • Last-Minute Hookup (Literally)
  • Latex Space Suit (Meia's suit)
  • Lightning Glare: Dita and Misty exchange it with each other.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient (One-shot character Shirley)
  • Lovable Traitor (Rabbat/Robert/Labbat)
    • It's Rabat; Word of God says it's a contraction of "rat bastard" (his real name is revealed to be Sam later in the series)
  • Lover Tug of War: Happens to Hibiki between Dita and Misty.
  • Macross Missile Massacre
  • Magic Skirt: Dita has one of the shadowy variety. Blatantly obvious in the opening to episode 5 where Hibiki falls onto the floor.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Hibiki in one episode bumps in Jura's breasts while she is telling him to combine with her.
  • Meganekko: Parfait.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Bart manages to give the Nirvana a Beam Spam attack in the second season, and the Super Vandread shows up as well, merging all the girl's Dreads with Hibiki's Vanguard.
  • Mission Control: BC usually performs this role, but Magno sometimes assists or takes command.
  • The Mothership
  • Ms. Fanservice: Practically every female character but the captain.
    • In hindsight, BC probably doesn't count anymore. Unless that's your thing of course....
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Hibiki during his card games with Gascogne. He always tries to place his cards down in a really dramatic fashion, only to have Gascogne nonchalantly beat his hand.
  • Naked Apron: While not completely naked Barnette seems to prefer not wearing a top underneath the apron when she cooks.
  • Nerd Glasses (Worn by Wrench Wench, Meganekko Parfait)
  • Nerds Are Sexy (Parfait, who even starts hooking up with Bishonen doctor Duelo)
  • Non-Human Sidekick (Pyoro and Butan, Rabat's pet orangutan)
  • Nosebleed: Hibiki suffers one after Misty kisses him.
  • Not So Different: The three men and the women aboard the Nirvana gradually learn to get along with each other, and then they learn the truth about the Harvesters and Earth.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness (The male elders of Tarak)
  • Off-Model (Happens as early as the second episode. This is a Gonzo show, after all...)
  • Onee-Sama (Meia; she literally gets called this way by Misty, causing her to break her stoic persona)
  • One-Gender Race (This is accomplished through technology, however. Genetically, they're still human)
  • One-Way Visor: the pluto colonists.
  • Oranyan (Hibiki)
  • Our Indians Are Different (The telepaths on the planet in the middle of the magnetic storm on the way to the Tarak/Mejale system all have a definite southwestern Native American vibe, and they live in pueblos. The elder even does a sand painting while Hibiki's finishing his trial.)
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish (Subverted; who the hell sets a password to the voice of a baby's cry?
    • Subverted again with the minefield (it had to be spoken by a high-ranking official). Parodied with the Nirvana's lockdown, when Barnette set it to something that crew members should be able to guess easily, but Hibiki still had no idea what it was. Though that one was justified, since it was in a language the captors couldn't read (and they only had the ship for a day, tops).
  • Pirate Girl (The entire female cast)
  • Planet of Hats (Tarak and Mejale as An Aesop that men and women need each other)
    • Also some what deconstructed in that the Planet of Hats were created to be worn.
  • The Promise (Hibiki's promise to visit Dita's room)
    • Which, despite its sexual symbolism, has quite the degree of Narm to it.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy (The men from Tarak are generally portrayed as this: the commander of the Vanguard unit even goes out of his way to say "It is a good day to die" before drawing first blood in the most Badass way during the final battle)
  • Rags to Royalty (Hibiki's in fact the son of the leaders of Tarak and Mejale. This allows him to have a say in regards to how both worlds should forge their own destinies instead of being cattle for Earth.)
  • Redshirt Army: Hibiki runs into a Space Navy one in Episode 11. Despite their actions, they get wiped out pretty easily. Perhaps they shouldn't of shared their backstory with him...
  • Robot Buddy (Pyoro)
  • Romantic False Lead (Misty)
  • Running Gag: Pyoro constantly referring to Ezra's baby, Kahlua, as "Pyoro 2".
  • Screaming Birth (The Second Stage, Ezra finally delivers her baby while trapped in an elevator in the middle of an attack and with her only help being Hibiki, the only one there with her, and the advice of Duelo and Magno.)
  • Screw Destiny: The crew of the Nirvana tries to do this for every planet/space station they pass by whenever the Harvesters show up to gather the people living there. Some are thankful for their help, others slightly less so.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right (Hibiki launches into an epic speech near the end, hoping to rally support against the Big Bad that Tarak and Mejale's planetary governments have denied the very existence of. As a result, there's massive defections from the military of both planets, to form an impromptu defensive line against the forces from a degenerate Earth. It works.)
  • Sentient Phlebotinum (The Paksis is eventually revealed to be this, explaining a lot of really weird events earlier in the series.)
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Hibiki vehemently invokes this trope anytime others mention how close he is with Dita. Dita likes to think otherwise however.
  • Shout-Out: When Dita first meets Hibiki, she does the handmotion from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (goes with the Bah bi bah bom baaaaaaa). Also, there's a poster for the show on the wall in her room.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal
  • Sitch Sexuality: Most of the women hate men as the enemy, but as the series progresses, many of them seem to have been in same-sex relationships due to a lack of options rather than preference. It also seems as though none of the men on Tarak pair off (this is, after all, a Seinen fantasy show, not a shonen-ai vehicle).
    • Possibly justified by the Tarakians' hat being over-the-top manliness, making Ho Yay, with the possible exception of Hard Gay, unlikely.
      • Unless they model themselves on other warrior societies such as Samurai, Spartans, Romans, Athenians, the Big Nambas from Paupa New Guinea, the Vikings, Pirates. Actually almost all warrior societies come to think of it.
    • There is some idle chatter in the first episode where some random Tarakian soldiers muse on making a baby together (in pretty much the same tone as going out for a beer).
    • Also, in the start of the second season, Paiway observed that the day started with Dita chasing Hibiki, to which she says "I can't believe Dita would want to chase a man, what a weirdo." This suggests that most women prefer to go after other women.
    • Jura, for all her attempts to combine with Hibiki and trying to have a kid with him, is quite obviously gay for Barnette.
      • The two live together, spend most of their time together and when Jura first starts going on about having a baby, Barnette thinks she means -with her-. Yeah...I think they're a couple.
      • ...With an open relationship. At the series' end, it's shown that Jura has become just as male-obsessed as Dita (she asks the departing guys to bring back men -- but only the handsome and powerful -- from Talark when they return to Nirvana) and even appears to have now transferred her attentions to Duero (much to Parfet's violent jealousy). Meanwhile, Barnette seems to not mind at all.
  • Space Opera
  • Space Mines
  • Space Pirates: Pretty much the entire crew of the Nirvana, although they don't do it very much after the first episode. Rabat seems to play it straighter.
  • Spaceship Girl Boy - Bart, a rare male example of this trope.
  • Sterility Plague: The heroes come across a planet in the second season which had this done to them by Earth. Needless to say, they cure it.
  • The Stoic (Meia and Duero)
  • Stripperiffic: Jura's daily costume.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens (The Paksis)
  • Supporting Harem: While Meia doesn't seem romantically interested in Hibiki, Dita, Jura, and Misty all seem to want him at one point or another. Jura's seems more like The Tease, but Misty and Dita eventually butt heads about their rivalry regarding Hibiki.
  • Synchronization (Bart and the Nirvana)
  • Telepathic Spacemen
  • The Three Faces of Eve: Dita (child), Meia (wife), Jura (seductress)
  • Touched by Vorlons (Hibiki, Dita, Jura, Meia and Pyoro, due to the influence of the Paksis)
  • The Aesthetics of Technology: Tarak tech is rough and bolted on and they still use conventional firearms while Majarl has shiny spaceships and laser rings.
  • Third Person Person (Jura... sometimes. Also, Dita)
  • Through His Stomach: Dita often uses this on Hibiki. It usually works, especially considering he only ate pills on Tarak.
    • Misty does this as well in Season two.
  • Trash of the Titans
  • Tron Lines
  • Twelve-Episode Anime (Originally, but then a second season was made which picks up right where the first left off and provides the real conclusion)
  • Unexplained Recovery ( Gascogne, who supposedly died in a Heroic Sacrifice that no one could survive. She comes back not only alive, but somehow having managed to get onto, taken over, and piloted a giant enemy mothership.)
  • The Unwanted Harem (Not just the pilots are chasing Hibiki, after a while)
  • Unstoppable Rage (Semi-subverted, as Hibiki cuts through a swath of smaller robots after seeing someone die in front of him, just to be swatted away by the enemy flagship)
  • Unusual Euphemism (If the proof of your existence lasts more than four hours, consult your physician)
  • Uterine Replicator: Used by the men to reproduce in the absence of women.
  • Verbal Tic (Pyoro)
  • War Is Hell: While we never get to see Tarak fight Mejale directly (other than the first episode when the female pirates attack), as the show goes on, it shows how hectic and pointless fighting can be, and virtually everyone suffers from it in some way.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression
  • Wave Motion Gun (Features a lot of them, from Vandread Dita's twin shoulder-mounted cannons, to the Harvester motherships' main guns)
  • We ARE Struggling Together!: The crew of the Nirvana at first seem to have no luck convincing most of the groups they encounter about the imminent threat posed by Earth. But in the end, many of them show up to assist the Nirvana in the struggle when they all begin to realize that they in fact have a common goal, which is to not be used for parts by Earth.
  • Wham! Episode: Episode 5 of Season Two When Gascogne's ship crashes into the Harvester mother ship, and the Nirvana forcefully flees from the area.
    • Later, episode 10 when BC is revealed to be a spy for Tarak, and is actually a guy.
  • Whip It Good (BC during her fight with Liz)
  • The Worf Barrage (The Tarak minefield activates when the Harvester motherships enter the star system. In a mild subversion, it actually manages to destroy one. Unfortunately, there are three more.)
  • World of Cardboard Speech (Episode 12 of Second Stage)
  • You Shall Not Pass: Bart goes into Papa Wolf mode when the harvesters come to a planet where he befriended an Ill Girl.
    • The final episodes of Season 2, when Earth's forces invade Tarak and Mejale space.
  • You Will Be Assimilated: Well, not so much turned into Borg-like creatures as much as the Harvesters going to human colonized worlds and capturing them for their organs.
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