Bubblegum Crisis

volume 1 sleeve volume 2 sleeve volume 3 sleeve volume 4 sleeve

Official Blurb:

"Like a Phoenix, the city of Mega-Tokyo is rising from the ashes of a devastating earthquake. In the twisted canyons of the megalopolis, the Knight Sabers, a small band of high-tech mercenaries, fight a lonely battle against the evil GENOM Corporation and its sinister android "Boomers."

"A hard-rock soundtrack and gritty "cyberpunk" style propel this intense action film into an all too probable future, where technology has run amuck, and emotion is all that seperates man from machine."

Original Story:   Toshimichi Suzuki
Director: Ep 1-3: Katsuhito Akiyama
               4: Hiroki Hayashi
             5,6: Masami Oobari
               7: Fumihiko Takayama
               8: Hiroaki Gooda
Screenplay: Ep 1: Kenichi Matsuzaki/Hideki Kakinuma/
                  Shinji Aramaki/Katsuhito Akiyama
             2,3: Katsuhito Akiyama
               4: Emu Arii
             5-7: Toshimichi Suzuki
               8: Hidetoshi Yoshida
Character design: Kenichi Sonoda
Copyright:        Artmic, Inc./Youmex, Inc.

First VHS subtitled version:
Language:     Japanese with English subtitles
Label:        Anime Projects
Release date: 1992-3

Volume:       1           2           3           4
Running time: 53 mins     30 mins     30 mins     40 mins
Certificate:  PG          PG          PG          PG
Catalogue no: AP092-001   AP092-002   AP092-003   AP092-004
Price:        £21.99      £21.99      £21.99      £21.99

Volume:       5           6           7           8
Running time: 45 mins     47 mins     49 mins     50 mins
Certificate:  PG          PG          PG          PG
Catalogue no: AP092-005   AP092-006   AP092-007   AP092-008
Price:        £21.99      £21.99      £21.99      £21.99

Second VHS subtitled version:
Language:     Japanese with English subtitles
Label:        Anime Projects
Release date: 1995

Volume:       1           2           3           4
Running time: 53 mins     30 mins     30 mins     40 mins
Certificate:  PG          PG          PG          PG
Catalogue no: AP092-001   AP092-002   AP092-003   AP092-004
Price:        £12.99      £12.99      £12.99      £12.99

Volume:       5           6           7           8
Running time: 45 mins     47 mins     49 mins     50 mins
Certificate:  PG          PG          PG          PG
Catalogue no: AP092-005   AP092-006   AP092-007   AP092-008
Price:        £12.99      £12.99      £12.99      £12.99

First VHS English version:
Language:     English
Label:        Anime Projects
Release date: 1995

Volume:       1           2           3           4
Running time: 53 mins     30 mins     30 mins     40 mins
Certificate:  PG          PG          PG          PG
Catalogue no: AP095-003   AP095-005   AP095-008   AP095-010
Price:        £12.99      £12.99      £12.99      £12.99

Volume:       5           6
Running time: 45 mins     47 mins
Certificate:  PG          12
Catalogue no: AP095-013   AP095-015
Price:        £12.99      £12.99

Second VHS English version:
Language:     English
Label:        MVM

Volume:       1                 2               3 
              (eps 1 - 3)       (eps 4 - 6)     (eps 7,8)
Running time: 113 mins          132 mins        99 mins
Certificate:  PG                12              12
Catalogue no: MV1001            MV1002          MV1003
Price:        £14.99            £14.99          £14.99       
Release date: 4th May 1999      4th May 1999    7th June 1999

DVD release:
Language:     Japanese and English, optional English Subtitles
Label:        MVM
Volume no.:   1                 2               3  
              (eps 1 - 3)       (eps 4 - 6)     (eps 7,8 + Hurricane live)
Running time: 113 mins          ?               ?
Certificate:  PG                12              PG
Catalogue no: MVD2003           MVD2004         ?
Price:        £19.99            £19.99          £19.99       
Release Date: 17th Sept 2001    8th Oct 2001    5th Nov 2001


Episodes 1 & 2:

this is set in a future Tokyo and features the battles of the high-tech battlesuited all-female KNIGHT SABRE vigilantes against the robots of the equally high tech GENOM corporation. Some quite good rock music features prominently in the series. Very popular with teenage and adult fans alike; this was one of the tapes rated low enough (PG in this case) to be lent to my 14 year old nephew, Sam, who says: "I think this video was extremely good and my friends who saw it agreed with me."

BUBBLEGUM CRISIS is, judging by the number of column feet devoted to it in fan publications, one of the most popular anime series. It is set in a violent future Japan, where Tokyo is dominated by a powerful industrial corporation, GENOM, which builds 'Boomers', industrial androids and robots. Genom's not always legal activities are opposed by the police, and by a group of all-female vigilantes, the KNIGHT SABERS, well equipped with powered hard suits and other hi-tech devices. This prominence given to powerful female characters is quite usual in anime. One strength of this series is the pains taken to depict the Knight Sabers as real women with real daytime jobs; one, Priss, is a singer, another, Nene, a policewoman, another an aerobics teacher. The spectacular backgrounds (particularly in ep.1) are another. I'm less keen on the battle scenes, where credibility is strained by motorcycles transforming into robots, and androids transforming into indestructible blue battle robots twice the size. The climax of Ep.1 redeems itself somewhat by excesses of quite Dali-esque proportions. There's a lot of belting rock music in this series, some performed by Oomori Kinuko, the voice artist for 'Priss'. Ep.1 has a live action rock video appended, repeating the featured track 'Hurricane' and allowing us to see what Oomori Kinuko looks like.

Ep.1 is probably the best value for money ; Ep.2 being much shorter and rather anticlimactic by comparison. These tapes should be identical to the previous AnimEigo releases and are clearly aimed at the British (or possibly European) market. If you're hooked on this stuff, there are 8 'Crisis' episodes, 3 'Crash' episodes, and three episodes of the associated 'A.D. Police', plus various music videos, trailers, CD's and other merchandise. [Geoff Cowie]

Episode 5:

I hadn't seen this before; it's a more than usually interesting episode in which a group of female androids try to blast their way out of a space station and only two manage to escape to Earth where the authorities search for them. Thus far the plot is an obvious steal from BLADERUNNER. One of the androids is wounded and both, having deficient metabolisms, need human blood in order to survive. Somehow, one of the androids meets Priss and the two become friends. Some rather sensual-looking female bonding takes place in these scenes.

Meanwhile, the vampiristic activities predictably cause alarm, and the Knight Sabers take up the case. A high-powered battle suit is being used by one of the androids (one of the weakest parts of the plot) and appears in the final scenes.

The dubbing is well done and this is one of the best episodes of BGC so far. [Geoff Cowie]

Episode 6:

This episode is a sequel to #5, and continues the story of the androids, in particular the melagomaniac Largo who is bent on defeating GENOM in a struggle for world domination.

Oh dear! Sorry Nigel Fisher & Robert Woodward, I thought this episode was utter crap!

I sat through it in mounting disbelief, enduring a plotline that totally failed to suspend my disbelief, some very strange voice acting notably one character with an odd-sounding Irish accent that made her sound like an IRA terrorist, and some dialogue lines naff enough to make me wince. There's a scene where Priss's fancy battlesuit fails to stop a stab from a very ordinary knife. There's an android whose powers, including the ability to control laser satellites, and psychic powers, are totally over the top.

Unless you are bent on completing your set, you really ought to give this tripe a miss. [Geoff Cowie]

Comment from newsgroups:

Bubblegum Crisis was released in the UK
originally by Anime Projects some years ago, and has a fairly large
following. Some folk, esp. the mecha nuts, slag it off as airheads in
battle suits. Others (me included) view it as a one off, an example of an
anime series that clicked for many reasons, and subsequent attempts have
never paid off.

Despite original plans, BGC was eight parts long, charting the progress of
a group of women who, when not pursuing their daily living, become the
"Knight Sabers", a group of mercenaries who, for a price, carry out
missions using battle suits and other mech from protection to rescues. The
background to the group is all tied up in the early years of leader Sylia
Stingray and her fathers' work, which was stolen by Tokyo based
conglomerate Genom. Dr. Stingray left the wherewithall to create the suits
and other mech for the Sabers in a data unit which was sent to Sylia after
his "mysterious" death.

The whole series was haunted by backroom difficulties. The second and
third episodes were recorded against a financial background that saw the
creators almost ruined before the series finally took off. This had knock
on effects as the various members of cast and crew made arrangements for
other jobs only to find that they were going to be needed for more
episodes, notably Oomori Kinuko, seiyuu of Priss Asagiri, who was in the
process of starting her own group and had signed a solo contract to that
effect, thus barring her from performing solo songs on OAV's 4-7 (the solo
song on OAV 8 is actually from one of her albums recorded with the group,
"Silk"). By the time the various staff members got to ep 8, Scoop Chase,
there was so much aggro that there was no way that any further eps could
be made (the successor series, Bubblegum Crash, had less than half of the
Crisis crew involved, including a new seiyuu for Priss). 

The animation quality varies distinctly from start to end, some of the
early animation being crude and jerky compared with later series
sequences, but the ambience is maintained right through, partially by the
consistent handling of the various charas and partly by the soundtrack,
mostly written by Makaino Kouji, which is often seen as something of an
original concept given that anime prior to BGC used somewhat more
conventional bases. The idea of a rock based background certainly was a
major factor behind the success of the series, especially such memorable
songs as Konya Wa Hurricane, Mad Machine and Asu E Touchdown, though the
idea of a tame group within the series didn't emerge until the second
episode, the first episode using songs recorded mostly by contemporary
artists such as Bleuw. 

Anime Projects first released the subtitled version in the early 1990's,
the subs provided by AnimEigo, though it was originally provided in an
eight volume set costing 22UKP per tape. Naturally this was seen as over
the top by some, hence the re-release that was priced at a more reasonable
12.95UKP, the cover replaced by a replica of the current AnimEigo cover.
They then attempted to release the dubbed version, but only succeeded in
releasing eps. 1-6. before the events of the AP/ADVUK debacle effectively
killed AP's distribution of BGC off. Since then, MVM have bought the
license to the title in the UK, and are preparing to release the dubs as a
three tape series (three eps for the first two tapes, two eps on the last

There was an extra two tapes released by Anime Projects, containing the
music of the series including live footage of a concert given by the
seiyuu of the original series, known as the Hurricane 2032 and Hurricane
2033 tapes. These are rare now, and I have no idea whether MVM have plans
for those titles. However, unless you get lucky and inherit a full set of
the Anime Project tapes, the only source of the subtitled series is to
import them. Note that the majority of the Hurricane titles are NOT
included on the DVD set.