Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040
The much talked about remake of the classic Bubblegum Crisis OAV series. The year is 2040, the place Mega-Tokyo. Armed with highly advanced suits of powered armor, a group of young female vigilantes fights a shadow war against the largest mega-corporation in Japan, GENOM, and their army of mad "Boomers": androids built to replace humans in menial labor jobs, but which have an annoying tendency to run rampant.
It's odd, but the Lodoss War TV series and this came out right about the same time and I was really looking forward to Lodoss, but was kind of indifferent to BGC TV. Now that I have seen both, I have to say that while Lodoss was a disappointment, this remake of the cyberpunk classic we all know and love was a refreshing surprise. I was concerned about the altered character designs at first (Sylia looks suspiciously like Ifurita from El Hazard), but overall it made very little difference in the end, because what shines about this series is the characters themselves.
Compared to the original OAV, I find the characters much more endearing and believable than before. Yes, the story has been rehashed and diehard fans of the original will cry about it, but really, the way the plot has been reworked makes a lot more sense than before, and while the character designs may have changed, the mecha designs are just like the original, only more smoothly animated and spiced up with CG effects. (How can one complain?)
Another plus from the original is that the story takes a step back and describes how the Knight Sabers were originally formed, rather than dumping the viewer right into the middle of an ongoing story. Lots of detail went into humanizing the various cast members. From Nene's snack habits, to Priss's icy mercenary attitude, to Linna (best known from the original for her acrobatic green hardsuit) tripping all over herself the first time she tries on her suit, the characters shine with personality; a big improvement over the somewhat distant characters of the OAV.
The music is standard BGC fare, mostly hard rock and pop, but Priss' music has a trendier feel to it than the 80's "glam rock" style of her OAV counterpart. The opening and ending themes are both well done, but the ending animation sequence screams to me: "Look we ran out of money! Just fast forward through this part!" Heh.
In all this is a fitting tribute to the original Bubblegum Crisis. In fact, in terms of character development and action it may have even improved upon the original in some respects. The typically Japanese open ending to the series may disappoint fans who like more closure to their anime, but aside from that, BGC 2040 is a solid, action-packed, sci-fi anime. Highly recommended.
I really enjoyed this series and don't regret buying it at all. Fans of the old series who dislike the new character designs might remove one star. — Jason Bustard
Recommended Audience: Violent content and some minor innuendo and brief nudity will probably limit this one to teens and up.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, Japanese with English subtitles, bilingual DVD
Review Status: Full (26/26)
Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 © 1998 JVC / AIC
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