Cyberpunk Review » Bubblegum Crisis

August 13, 2006

Bubblegum Crisis

Movie Review By: SFAM

Year: 1987

Directed by: Katsuhito Akiyama, et. al.

Written by: Katsuhito Akiyama, et. al., Toshimichi Suzuki (story)

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Medium

Key Cast Members:

  • Sylia Stingray (voice): Yoshiko Sakakibara
  • Priscilla S. Asagiri ‘Priss’ (voice): Kinuko Ômori
  • Linna Yamazaki (voice): Michie Tomizawa
  • Nene Romanova (voice)Akiko Hiramatsu: Akiko Hiramatsu
  • Rating: 8 out of 10


    Creation of the Bubblegum Crisis Screen Capture


    Overview: Bubblegum Crisis (BGC) is one of the all-time classics of cyberpunk animation and anime in general. With a team of hawt chicks kicking butt in cute mecha outfits, while upbeat songs play in the background, Bubblegum Crisis has developed a franchise and staying power that few titles can match. Quite a number of sequels have been created as a testament to this. BGC is influential in a number of ways. Not only has its character animation been widely imitated, BGC was one of the first shows brought over in the US with subtitles. Overall, while there are some dark moments, the original BGC is an action-oriented, mostly light-hearted affair.


    Creation of the Bubblegum Crisis Screen Capture


    The Story: In 2025 an earthquake destroyed Tokyo. With the assistance of androids and robots created by the omnipresent and ever-powerful Genom corporation called boomers, Tokyo is rebuilt as Mega-Tokyo. Unfortunately, like Bladerunner, sometimes the boomers get out of line, often in fact. Boomers can appear human, but often this is just a fascade for a far more dangerous bio or mecha beast that can break-through the skin. In response to this danger, the authorities have created an under-funded agency called the AD Police, who’s primary mission is to handle boomer incidents. Unfortunately, often the boomers are too strong for the police to handle.


    Creation of the Bubblegum Crisis Screen Capture


    Enter the Knight Sabers. Headed up by Sylia Stingray, the billionaire daughter of the former Genom Corporation scientist who invented boomers, Sylia has advanced the research on her father’s mecha hard suits, and has recruited a team of three other hawt action chicks who, along with Sylia, comprise the Knight Sabers. All of them have secret identities. Priss is a pop singer, Nene is a hacker who works as a dispatcher at AD Police HQ, and Linna is an aerobics instructor. But all four of them have trained to become mercenaries extraordinaire in defense of boomer incidents.


    Creation of the Bubblegum Crisis Screen Capture


    Unlike most OAVs, BGC is designed with each episode being as self-contained story. While many of the stories string together, there are no cliffhangers here. Some of the episodes have at least a modicum of intrigue, but generally, when it gets right down to it, the goal is for the knight riders to kick some boomer ass. Action dominates, which works considering the relatively short time allotted to each story (up to 50 minutes). As the series continues, most of the storylines deal with the Kight Sabers foiling attempts by the Genom corporation to secure even more power. A few of the episodes have complex storylines, but the majority are straightforward, with evil genius types (boomer or human) directing boomer machines who create death and destruction.


    Creation of the Bubblegum Crisis Screen Capture


    For me, my favorite episode is Episode #5, where a two unique bio-based sexroid boomers who need blood for sustenance escape from escape Genaros, the SDPC’s orbital supply station for humanity’s moonbases, and make their way to Mega-Tokyo. The episode is far more complex than most, and touches on similar issues to Blade Runner, in that these Boomers just want to be free to live. Most of the boomers in BGC (other than the major villains) don’t really exhibit any form of sentience, but the ones in this episode (and the continuation in #6) are sentient and multidimensional.


    Creation of the Bubblegum Crisis Screen Capture


    Influential Visuals: Along with Akira, BGC animation has been very influential in transforming anime to the popular style we see today. Characters with overly large eyes and the familiar facial styles are on display in BGC, as are a bevy of experimental looks and styles. The look of anime changed dramatically from the late 80s to the early nineties – BGC will always hold a place in history due to its influence on this change.


    Creation of the Bubblegum Crisis Screen Capture


    Mega-Tokyo: BGC took the Blade Runner city visuals and applied them to anime, which was then imitated by most of the shows that followed. The cityscapes are modern looking with a blue background, with various green and red highlights. Grays and blues are shown in abundance, with occasional orange and red daytime scenes. Most of the shots are from above, focusing on the overall city-scape, but there are a number of ultra-modern buildings including the Genom’s Tower (which looks like the Blade Runner Terrel Corporation building) and the AD Police building – same as Blade Runner as well.


    Creation of the Bubblegum Crisis Screen Capture


    The Action: By far the best quality animation BGC brings is in their action sequences. While the rest of the series is really not very special, the action sequences are very well done. We get a variety of effects and perspectives that driving the relatively quick-pacing. In many of the scenes, the backgrounds show a variety of methods to enhance the speed and action. Often BGC engages in mecha-style battles (many of the bad-guy boomers are variations on mecha characters), but these are different from some in that the Kight Sabers are in nimble, tight-fitting suits, which increases the speed of the action.


    Creation of the Bubblegum Crisis Screen Capture


    The Music: Very few OVAs have music as recognizable as BCG. BGC is known for being one of the first (or at least one of the most recognized) to essentially embed music videos into their action sequences. The songs play a big part in Bubblegum Crises, with a large number of the action sequences and dramatic moments overlaid with song accompaniment. Almost twenty years later, this innovation has blossomed and morphed into what we see with FLCL for instance, where entire sequences are purely videos intertwined with the story.


    Creation of the Bubblegum Crisis Screen Capture


    The Bottom Line : While I’m generally not too excited about mecha anime (this is purely a preference on my part, and not a knock on mecha), I find BGC quite enjoyable. BGC is more like an earlier version of GITS SAC in that the focus is action first, and philosophy second. While a few episodes do explore what it means to be human, in all but a few cases, this is usually done in the context of a fairly light plot and intense action. Perhaps the philosophical aspects would have been highlighted had the series continued, but for legal reasons, BGC was cut short at only eight episodes. On pure enjoyment I’d probably rate the series a 7 out of 10, but due to its significant influence on anime and cyberpunk I’m giving it an extra star.


    Page 2: More Screencaps —>

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    This post has been filed under Man-machine Interface, Hot Cyberchicks Kicking Butt, 8 Star Movies, Animes, Android Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 1980-1989 by SFAM.


    August 13, 2006

    DannyV_El_Acme said:

    What a classic, I love BGC.

    Oh, and for those who wanna delve deeper, get all three volumes of the BGS tabletop RPG by R. Talsorian Games. Not only is it an incredibly fun game(it’s based on Cyberpunk 2020), it’s also a great sourcebook and artbook, with lots of notes on storyline, mecha designs, and many concept sketches of unused characters and Boomers.

    There’s also a remake of BGC, BGC 2040, and it’s a great series on its own as well. Although I prefer the original characters and style, BGC 2040 is worthy of the name, and some characters I actually like more in 2040(Linna, for example, is a MUCH more interesting and strong character in 2040).

    Wiremuse said:

    BGC is without a doubt one of my favorite all time shows. To those who do like anime in this genre I’d also highly reccomend the AD Police Files a 3 OVA spin off from the original BGC centering around(obviously) the AD Police and some of their cases Not to be confused with the crap AD Police tv anime series that came out.

    DannyV_El_Acme said:

    Oh, and LARGO ROCKS.

    August 14, 2006

    SFAM said:

    Hi guys, sorry I took so long to get to this title. And yeah, its loads of fun. I’ll probably be putting up a review for Bubblegum Crash later this week.

    EDIT: And I’ll be getting around to doing a page 2 of my BGC review for more screencaps in the next day or so.

    Bartaaa404 said:

    Excellent! However I don’t think it deserves a 8/10, it definetely deserves a 10/10! Considering that it influenced so many generation or artists/authors/anime afterwards and still has a rabid fanbase of many people who consider it the “one of the best of anime”.

    As Blade Runner”&”Neuromancer” were for cyperpunk for movies&books, “Bubblegum Crisis” was the cyberpunk for anime.

    Anybody notice that Priss’s band was called “the Replicants” just like the robots in ‘Blade Runner’? Or how Leon where’s his sunglasses indoors, when its night time… lol.

    BGC & BGC: Toyko 2040 is the best two anime of all time! And my two personal fav’s!

    DannyV_El_Acme said:

    I think the 8/10 rating is appropriate. BGC is definitely influential and an excellent cyberpunk anime, but I think other anime like Akira, GITS and Lain are much more important for cyberpunk enthusiasts.

    BGC rocks face, though, it’s definitely one of my all-time favorites. It would have made an awesome videogame…

    DannyV_El_Acme said:

    Oh, and fun fact: Bubblegum Crisis 2040 was written by Chiaki Konaka, a name that should be known to all fans of cyberpunk anime, having written such great shows as Lain, Texhnolyze, The Big O, Armitage III and the newest Astro Boy series.

    SFAM said:

    Hi DannyV, I’m still waiting to see BGC 2040 (just ordered it today in fact), but Chiaki Konaka is one of my favorite all-time writers. I LOVE his stuff (I’d add that he did Malice@Doll as well). I can’t wait!

    And Bartaaa, BGC clearly has a rabid following. Just in looking at IMDB the most reviews for BGC are for a 10 star rating, so you’re clearly not alone in your sentiment. That we’re within 2 stars of each other is OK with me. Although, I have on occaision changed a review star rating based on popular sentiment or well structured points (Serial Experiments Lain, for instance), so this is always a possibility.

    August 15, 2006

    Bartaaa404 said:

    Hey SFAM, if you liked BGC, just wait till you get BGC 2040 … your gonna’ be in for a real treat. ;)

    SFAM said:

    Hi Bartaaa, I can’t wait. It really looks pretty fun.

    BTW, The screencaps on Page 2 are now up.

    August 19, 2006

    Net said:

    I made a Kight Sabers patch for my bomber jacket!

    September 11, 2006

    Zeonic Freak said:

    This is one of my favorite animes as of now, and because of this im a fan of Kenichi Sonoda work (Charactor Designer for BGC, Gall Force, Gunsmith Cats, Riding Bean).

    Yea, i have seen the original 3 part OVA to AD Police Files, its very dark, but very good, kinda like Parasite Dolls in a way.

    Ive got Mr. Sonodas artbook as well, good stuff.

    September 19, 2006

    SFAM said:

    Hi Zeonic Freak, BGC is certainly great stuff. I’m going to be reviewing the rest of the series shows hopefully in the next month or so.

    October 12, 2006

    Zeonic Freak said:

    Thats good, its only 8 episodes, it shouldnt take you too long. And if you get to AD Police check it out!

    January 4, 2007

    Hugo said:

    Bought the four-disc set on a Tuesday, finished with it on Wednesday. Quite a good series, though the English dub comes off as being a little…ameuterish…at times. Sounds a little too much like “Saturday morning cartoons” in some places.

    Even so, an amazing series despite its age. I was worried that as the series was ‘cut-off’ the last episode would be a bit of a let down, but I found the whole series to be very enjoyable. A must see for everyone! :D

    January 16, 2007

    SFAM said:

    Hi Hugo, glad you liked it! Did you give the japanese language track a go?

    April 10, 2007


    it stuck

    June 25, 2008

    Adam Daub said:

    I haven’t seen any mention of the incredibly short prequel OVA series ‘A.D. Police Files’ (not to be confused with the more recent TV series A.D. Police to Serve and Protect)
    Granted it’s only 3 episodes, it’s setting is much darker, has a massive amount of action, and covers the philosophy of man and machine in a deeper manner than BGC. It’s by all means closer to Parasite Dolls.

    Just another recommendation for review. ;)

    August 5, 2008

    Karla Marina said:

    hola ke bueno ke esta por aki est amagnifica pelicula es de lo mejor esta chidisima no puedo cree tarde mucho en encontrarla la recomiedo al 100% gracias y hasta luego suerte a todos besos…

    March 19, 2009

    kobra said:

    Songs appeared too in Macross

    March 20, 2009

    kabukiman said:

    I saw Bubblegum crash and didn’t liked, so I didn’t give Bubblegum crisis a chance. On the other hand, AD Police was fantastic. Very mature in the theme.

    April 27, 2009

    Gothik_Knight said:

    I enoyed both BGC 2032 and BGC 2040. I have not seen BGC Crash yet as it is hard to find, and when I do find I’m broke.

    I liked the 2040 Knightsabers more however, though I liked the 2032 Boomers better in some ways. Namely the Combat Boomers and the Super-Boomers were great, and Largo was awesome.

    My favorote Knight Saber design will always be Sylia. Though I just loved the 2040 version of Nanna. “Leon Poo”

    June 2, 2009

    Immortal_Peregrin said:

    Live Action soon?

    July 1, 2009

    chaoseye said:

    just watched the first ep, AWESOME!!!
    pretty much had access to it for a year but never got around to watching it. wish I did.

    November 12, 2010

    Tekyu said:

    Between all the spinoffs, toys and incoming movie drawing more and more attention, I’m beyond ecstatic that I’m not alone in adoring this series.

    August 9, 2011

    ISO 3166-2:f-i said:

    hard to find any downloads : / or even buy it

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