Bubblegum Crisis (TV Mini-Series 1987– ) Poster

(1987– )

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Knight Sabers...GO!
Skyrcket6 February 2000
"Bubblegum Crisis." Those are words you hear said with reverence from just about every anime fan. It's one of those shows that inspired so many imitators and so many fans. When you hear so much good stuff about anything you really have to wonder if it can live up to the hype. In my opinion it does.

One thing that surprised me was just how much time was spent on characterization. While you hear mostly about the action, BGC does devote a good amount of time to its characters. Even one-shot characters like Irene Chang and Vision are well drawn. But the focus is on the Knight Sabers and each of them get at least one very good moment.

BGC also comes with an array of fun secondary characters like sleazy informant Fargo, who's always hitting on Sylia, cops Leon NcNickel and Daley Wong, Dr. Raven, and Slyia's perverted little brother Mackie. These guys also have their little moments and add some comic relief.

One thing that surprised me was that this show wasn't as dark as I'd expected it to be. You hear a lot of talk about how Mega Tokyo is really grim and gritty and stuff like that. But except for Genom running just about everything, Mega Tokyo doesn't seem that bad to me. It's really no worse than New York during a high crime year.

While it may look a little silly now, for 1985 BGC was really something big. Besides, what doesn't look goofy after fifteen years? In the end its formula of four really cute women, some really great mecha, good villains, cool VAs and some pretty decent music works. This is one for any anime fan.
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Quite good overall, but don't believe the hype too much.
vkn14 August 2001
Considering the large following and high reputation this series has, one imagines it must be quite good. Oddly, it never struck me as mind-blowingly fantastic as the fan hype makes it out to be, but I did quite like most of the series.

Many praises are sung about the soundtrack, and those are very true indeed; great rock songs with very good pace and vivid vocals accompany the action. They work a treat, and a lot of the songs stick with the viewer for very long.

Alas, the raving over the music is probably the only point where the hype got it right. For the rest, the actual series seems a bit underwhelming compared to what one might expect. For example, the supposedly excellent character development is a much-trumpeted point that falls a bit flat. Not to say that the characters are poor by any means. They're very likeable, and they do have their own distinct personalities, but they don't seem all that revolutionary. Our four heroines, Priss, Nene, Sylia and Linna basically consist of respectively the tough rebellious youth, the pink-haired girly "cute" computer whiz, the mysterious and only -really- interesting one, and...err, the other one (yup, poor Linna is badly under-used and shows very little distinct character traits). It's true that this is a cast formula that was innovative for it's time, and that it has been copied very often, but maybe that's exactly why the whole thing sometimes seems a little below it's reputation. There are tough, rebellious youths and pink-haired squeaky cute computer geniuses all over the place on the anime market. The fact that they're all female is hardly a novelty anymore either.

That might be the main problem here; time hasn't been too kind to Bubblegum Crisis. Those who first saw the series and became loyal followers in the 80's had every reason to be impressed back then. Alas, by now, the same formula has appeared so often, be it under different guises, that there's little left to be amazed about for one watching this series for the first time now. Somehow BGC doesn't really manage to hold up a feeling that it's the founding father of a whole generation of anime series.

Animation quality has aged a bit better though, with only the first episode looking genuinely old hat by now. Episodes seven and eight are still lovely to look at (probably due to the nice and somehow "softer" color palette used for ep. 8). The mecha action scenes -another highly hyped point- are indeed fast and furious, and have some very intense moments. The mecha designs as well are admirably intricate and innovative sometimes. But like most over-hyped elements of BGC, the fights have flaws as well, namely that they are sometimes cut short a bit. The way the main villain in the sixth episode (who is utterly brilliant, by the way) is finished off struck me as rather too sudden, as was the end of the battle in episode 5. It's supposed to be a very dramatic moment, but it went a bit too fast and thus didn't have all the punch it -could- have had.

There still is lots going in favor of BGC, however. Several minor characters are very likeable and amusing, and manage to actually be more entertaining than the four heroines. The adorable Daley springs to mind, not exactly because he's gay -homosexuality is very common in anime- but because during his few moments in the spotlight he's always delightful (and damn it all, he's -cute-). Most of the one-shot characters that only appear in one or two episodes are also handled with style and become very vivid. A very nice bunch, basically. And that goes for the minor nasties as well. The four heroines are also entertaining enough, despite not being all that full of surprises.

The storyline also manages to present some interesting themes. Revenge is one of them, as is the blurred borderline between machines and living beings. There's also a very intriguing triangle between Sylia, minor nasty Mason and more impressive nasty Largo. There are also hints that Sylia might be more than meets the eye. All these themes and possible subliminar messages are only established in the background and hardly ever mentioned in so many words. One could very easily miss them altogether.

Subtelty is all very well, but it's a shame that none of these possible deeper plot threads are ever tied up; the end of episode 8 is -not- a proper ending. The series was supposed to continue on for a few more episodes, but alas the project ran into murky waters at that point. And that's why BGC is so tricky to judge; it's an unfinished piece (a sequel tried to sort of tie everything up but didn't really succeed). It's as if Return of the Jedi was missing from the first Star Wars trilogy, for instance. And that's quite a shame, as the -promise- certainly is there.

If the series had lived to see it's originally planned ending, it might have become the masterpiece it's -said- to be. As it stands, it's a good, solid series with plenty to enjoy and a few flaws that don't get in the way too much. Give it a go, see what you think. You probably won't be blown over with amazement, but chances are high you'll have a very plain good time all the same.

(just note that you should avoid the dub if possible. It's tolerable, but the songs are dubbed as well, and as a result suffer overall. Besides, dubs are always inferior to the original)
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Well-made robot anime with many distinctive touches
James Terrell3 July 2002
I have recently finished watching 'Bubblegum Crisis' for the second time, on DVD, and I found myself both entertained and impressed.

The problem with most sci-fi and robot anime is that they are too heavy-handed and dark; as well, they often suffer from plodding and boring plots, to the point where they are not enjoyable to watch. Not so with 'Bubblegum Crisis'. The series is actually divided into two main storylines which comprise six episodes, and two side stories for the other two episodes. While the main stories require some concentration, they are interesting without being convoluted. _BC_ does not try to ponder the human condition or find the meaning of life, as other SF stories do, but simply creates stories that the viewer can enjoy. As well, there are some plot threads that are developed throughout the series, making events and characters more significant and more part of the story. While some may argue that 'BC' is nothing but science fiction lite, it keeps the viewer absorbed, which is more than I can say for most of the sci-fi anime I have watched.

I'd say that this series's greatest strength is its characters. Not only are they well developed, but they interact wonderfully with one another. Their differing and often conflicting personalities make the viewer identify with them, their lives, and their problems. We see people trying to cope with violence and destruction on a daily basis and simultaneously keep their humanity somehow. I believe that too many anime fall into the trap of trying to impress the viewer with things such as animation, sex, and violence, forgetting more important things such as character development and interaction. Like all the other best anime, however, 'BC' not only avoids this trap, but defines new standards.

'Bubblegum Crisis' also succeeds in its use of rock music, integrating it into the series and drawing the viewer in. Even though the songs are in Japanese, I still enjoyed them and was impressed by the quality of the songwriting. I should point out that these songs are some of the few I remember from any anime.

I thought the animation was excellent, especially for an OVA. The inevitable darkness of Neo Tokyo was nicely balanced by the brighter colors of the interiors of homes, shops, etc. This was another thing that kept the series from descending into sci-fi boredom. As well, the characters are animated according to their personalities, helping to develop them.

So I would call 'Bubblegum Crisis' a success because it manages to entertain all audiences, not just sci-fi and robot fans. In fact, it even entertained me.
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Finally, the classic series given the treatment it deserves.
Vegeta-25 January 1999
The DVD set of this series is excellent. The sound is great, and the picture quality is perfect, even surpassing the laserdisc release. The ability to watch it in the original Japanese without subtitles covering the picture is nice, also. All 8 episodes are in the set, which is a steal at about $50 (compared to about $120 for the tapes, or around $100 for the laserdiscs, if you can even find them). My only complaint is that the music videos are compressed really badly, giving them an M-PEG look, and compared to how the actual episodes look in this set, that low quality is unacceptable. Still, that one complaint aside, this set is more than worth the money if you like this series even a little.
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One of the best science-fiction anime ever, Bubblegum Crisis is a cyberpunk classic.
I B10 November 2010
Bubblegum Crisis has its share of advantages and disadvantages. It's a notable anime of the 1980s, and I enjoyed watching it very much. The look of its characters has definitely been influential in the medium. Its mecha designs are fantastic, with battles that are truly exciting. The soundtrack is the series' strongest point. In addition to the catchy rock & pop songs (mostly sung by Ohmori Kinuko) there is also an exquisite score composed by Kouji Makaino. The characters are another strong point. The stories, however, are a letdown in some ways. Revenge is an overused theme in the series. The animation is also a letdown in some ways. While the designs are impressive, the quality of the animation is poor especially in the first few episodes. Even the best episodes don't feature animation that can be called exceptional. Blade Runner (1982) was obviously a major influence on the series. My verdict is that, while enjoyable, Bubblegum Crisis is a mixed bag, with some original parts and some unoriginal parts. It's a good series though, especially for an anime, and I recommend watching it.
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Pretty cool cyberpunk OVA of the late 80s
chribren14 December 2014
"Bubblegum Crisis" is an 8-episode anime OVA-series which was released in Japan through 1987-1991. Made by AIC, Artmic and Youmex.

Basic plot: The year is 2032 in MegaTokyo, seven years after Tokyo was destroyed by a giant earthquake. Genom Corp, the big company which recreated the city, began mass-producing cyberdroids called Boomers meant to serve mankind by taking part in recreating MegaTokyo. When the Boomers started to run out of control, the A.D. Police tried to stop these cyberdroids, something which proved to be more difficult but deadly than imagined.

But, the hope isn't over yet, because four girls who have banded together as the Knight Sabers are also in MegaTokyo. These girls in powerful armor suits are strong enough to defend the city from Genom and the Boomers. And their names are: Sylia Stingray, Priscilla S. Asagiri, Linna Yamazaki and Nene Romanova.

I first heard about this anime around year 2004. However, for some reasons, I didn't get a chance to watch this anime until late autumn 2014. And I'm so glad to get to see this for once, at least with Japanese dub. This anime was epic, with lots of cyber/robot-action, car chases, humor and a pretty cool soundtrack which all together made me hooked from beginning to end. The MegaTokyo-setting in this anime was fairly realistic.

This anime was originally planned as a 13-episode long OVA-series, but was cancelled after 8 episodes due to legal problems between Artmic and Youmex. However, a 3-episode sequel called "Bubblegum Crash" was made. Still, the entire franchise remains a cult classic among anime fans.

This anime is highly recommended for any fans of Japanese cyberpunk animation set in future. I mean, if you haven't seen this yet, then this anime is not to miss, the same with "Bubblegum Crash". My overall rating for such a classic is therefore: 9/10.

Some similar anime also to be recommended include: "Angel Cop", "Appleseed", "Genocyber" and "Battle Angel".
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Watch it
washuu13 December 1998
A great OVA series. It personfies the babes with guns anime. Wonderful music, in depth plotline, perfect villain. The only thing this series leaves to be desired is slightly better artwork.
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Girls in Mechsuits battle cyborgs plus great japanese pop music
mvw8 September 1998
This series of eight videos is by far my favorite japanese animation series.

My other favorites are "Akira" (superb details, excellent coloring scheme, artistic aspects) and "Ghost in the Shell" (great opening scene, strong atmosphere) but my heart is captured by "Bubblegum Crisis" and its cast of female characters.

One of strongest features (esp. in the first episodes) is the soundtrack; albeit in general japanese pop music sounds pretty childish to most listeners, the songs from "Bubblegum Crisis" have something special to them.
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Best. OAV. Ever
magehedgemon30 May 2004
I like Scots. Hell, I am a Scot. But the guy above me is nuts. We all know that you can't just jump in the middle of a series. It's a cardinal sin of animé-watching, and something that will get you mocked mercilessly. And he did this.

The ep he's referring to is 'Revenge Road', and relies on you knowing who Priss, Linna, Nene, and Sylia are. Want to get a better picture of this animé without watching all eight episodes? Watch 5 and 6, 'Moonlight Rambler' and 'Red Eyes', respectively. You'll see some of the best drama, action, and plot to come out of animé ever.

/rant over.

Anyway, this is definitely worth a view. The premere babes-in-battlesuits animé, and home of the Knight Sabers (the most ass-kickin' group of mercs in animé.)
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Good stuff, but...
DarthBill27 April 2004
In a "Blade Runner" like future, four vigilante women - the Knight Sabers - assist the AD Police in fighting boomers, living machines not unlike the Replicants from "Blade Runner". The Knight Saber ring leader is Sylia Stingray, a rich, mysterious brunette who is the daughter of the man who created the boomers and whom might actually be a boomer herself. The others include rebellious biker girl Priss Asagiri, aerobics instructor Linna Yamazki and ADP computer hacker Nene. Other characters include ADP man Leon McNichol, a Brad Pitt like pretty boy with high ideals and a jerky attitude as well as a thing for Priss and with Leon is his hilarious partner Daley Wong. Oh and Sylia has a pervert whiz kid for a brother by name of Mackey. The villains include Quincy, chairman of GENOM, the company that produces the boomers, his right hand man Brian J. Mason (killed off too soon) and an obnoxious boomer man named Largo.

A good series overall, but being dated is the least of its problems. Originally slated for 13 episodes, it was cut short at episode 8, leaving many series plot threads unresolved. A sequel series, Bubblegum Crash, was concocted to solve this problem but it didn't help. Also the characters are never as well developed as you would like them to be. The most interesting character, the Knight Saber ringleader Sylia, is never completely explored. Linna had potential, but her subplot involving a friend who was apart of a mafia family was never resolved and most of the time Linna was just ignored. Nene was cute and funny but only had one episode to call her own, the last one. Sadly, most of the series attention was centered on Priss, who somehow became the most popular character of the series, so much in fact that although she was originally suppose to die, a fan backlash saved her; I think this was due partly to the fact that she was voiced by a then popular Japanese singer. But Priss herself was not that interesting of a character: all her episodes basically revolve around her seeking revenge for a minor character friend that we the audience sometimes didn't even get to know in depth. Priss became repetitive and dull after a certain point. I could never quite figure out what Leon saw in her.

But the series itself is not inherently bad. Animation is still pretty good in most of the eps (excluding the first one, which is a bit herky jerky, and the last one, in which the characters are drawn much too thinly) and it had an interesting theme on humanity VS technology.

Remade for TV as "Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040" in 1999. Hate to say it, but 2040 was superior in many ways, though not completely perfect in and of itself.
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Best anime work ever
Steppenpup13 November 2003
A product of the golden age of anime(mid to late 80s)Bubblegum Crisis has all the essential elements of great sci-fi and much more. There are the usual themes about technology and corporate domination but developed further than usual. But, best of all it has the great and incomparable Priss, perhaps the greatest and most glorious fictional female character ever created. The story grows in depth and complexity as the series progresses; often a forgotten thread gets picked up again later. The music ranks as among the most atmospheric in anime, the songs are topnotch and range from breathless rockers to melancholy ballads. Ultimately, it's more a modern myth in the making than just another sci-fi with babes. The impulse behind Bubblegum Crisis is that which gave us Athena. Check the archives at alt.fan.bgcrisis to learn more.
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Boomer Baby
julian kennedy22 October 2006
Bubblegum Crisis: 7 out of 10: Hot chicks, giant robots, and evil corporations fill every frame of Bubblegum Crisis as does some surprisingly catchy Eighties tunes.

Bubblegum Crisis much like Akira or Macross is one of those Anime that separate the thirty something Anime fans from this year's crop of snot nosed wannabees. When you think Japanese cartoons do you think Pokemon or shower scenes. Do you think irritating children or kick ass adults. Do your favorite plots involve the little kids defeating the big evil corporation or adults facing economic hardship and self sacrifice. Bubblegum crisis is an Anime of the latter.

As I settle into my damn kids today voice and distaste for every over hyped, rapid cut seizure inducing, saccharine piece of crap that passes for entertainment these days. (I'm looking your way Cartoon Network). I can sit back and watch full grown woman destroy some boomers (as well as half of Tokyo) and reminisce about my childhood when cartoon characters swore and every battle was followed by a gratuitous nude scene.

Is Bubble Crisis as good as I remember it? No. The episodes are not connected well and vary in quality. Some of the dubbing is dubious and the live action music videos contained in the extras are simply painful.

Does it both allow me to relieve my childhood and look down upon kids today? You betcha.
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Possibly the most mediocre anime ever made!
Zebetite21 April 1999
Meet the Knight Sabres, glam rockers by day, hi-tech armor clad superheroes by night! (Where have we seen that before?) Most of the characters in the series are pretty flat, and the plotline isn't much to write home about. I suppose the big mecha battles are neat, but personally if I haven't come to care about the characters piloting the super-suit, I yawn through big robot fight scenes. On the good side, the artwork is quite good, the story and the characters do have their moments, and the soundtrack is top-notch. If you're into mecha stuff, this is a good one for you, but otherwise, skip the anime and get the soundtrack.
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*This* is classic anime?
Ripe Peach8 March 2002
What a dreadful disappointment Bubblegum Crisis turned out to be. The episode I inflicted on myself featured a lacklustre plot about a vengeful motorist in a Batmobile, and I only managed half of it before falling asleep (literally, not figuratively).

On the plus side, the animation is superb, I won't contest that. Both the beauty and action scenes are handled with genuine style and panache. And while we're praising, there was a half decent effort to convincingly portray a disturbed individual slipping into insanity.

But all that is ruined, utterly and completely by the genre silliness. The whole concept of the "gal group kicking ass" is childish, but it doesn't have to be and childishly handled. What is a simpering bimbo doing in the group? You'd evict her in a second. The essentially juvenile fantasy fulfillment grrl action jarred badly with the pretentions towards serious drama with the Batmobile driver. It was just a big old mess.

I'll mention That Film again. Akira showed that you don't have to stick to the genre plot devices or risible charicatures to produce an anime film. I fell in love with Akira (yes, I know, pronounced AHkih'rah, not Ah-KEEra) and found the subtitled version far superior, and I've been waiting ever since for something of equal maturity. Monoke Hime came close, very close, but Bubblegum Crisis is just embarrasing. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
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