Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040

Official Blurb:

"They are the stuff of legend. Anyone whos into anime knows Bubblegum Crisis. Now as the year 2000 arrives ADV proudly presents you Bubblegum Crisis 2040 AD! This is one series you cannot afford to miss. The Knightsabers are BACK!"

Director:         Hiroki Hayashi
Character design: Masaki Yamada
Music:            Kouichi Korenaga
Copyright:        JVC / AIC

Label:            ADV Films
Language Format:  English Language
Director:         Matt Greenfield
Translation:      Masako Arakawa, Chris Hutts

Volume no.:       1              2               3               4
Running time:     72 mins        72 mins         50 mins         48 mins
Certificate:      12             PG              PG              12
Catalogue no:     VHSBG/001D     VHSBG/002D      VHSBG/003D      VHSBG/004D
Price:            £12.99         £12.99          £12.99          £12.99   
Release Date:     15th May 2000  10th July 2000  11th Sept 2000  6th Nov 2000  

Volume no.:       5              6               7               8
Running time:     50 mins        60 mins         60 mins         50 mins
Certificate:      PG             PG              PG              PG
Catalogue no:     VHSBG/005D     VHSBG/006D      VHSBG/007D      VHSBG/008D
Price:            £12.99         £12.99          £12.99          £12.99
Release Date:     22nd Jan 2001  5th Feb 2001    3rd Mar 2001    2nd April 2001

Volume no.:       9              10              11              12
Running time:     ?              ?               ?               ?
Certificate:      PG             PG              PG              12
Catalogue no:     VHSBG/009D     VHSBG/010D      VHSBG/011D      VHSBG/012D
Price:            £12.99         £12.99          £12.99          £12.99
Release Date:     7th May 2001   4th June 2001   2nd July 2001   6th Aug 2001


The original Bubblegum Crisis OVA series (ignoring the later, rather more dire Crash series) is one of the most popular and well known anime series in the western world. Made between 1987 and 1990, it blended superhero-style characters with cyberpunk settings. However, due to disagreements between the studios producing it, it was cut short to only 8 episodes out of the 13 originally planned. This left the original series without any kind of definitive conclusion.

In 1998, Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 was unleashed onto Japanese TV, and now in the early part of 2000 it makes its way onto home video in the UK. This tape contains the first three episodes of the 26-episode series.

From the opening credits, this show oozes charm. Although the animation is of only TV quality (with what seems like far to many static shots in this first batch of episodes), it makes the best of its budget, with some fairly impressive CGI and good character designs that, although markedly different from the original (the only one who looks vaguely similar is Priss), update the characters for the late 90s but retain their original charm. The original series' late 80s guitar rock soundtrack has been replaced with a techno-rock one, which, although I prefer the original, keeps in tune with the series during these episodes.

The first episode opens with Sylia, a country girl new to the city, starting a new job at the GENOM Corporation, the company that manufactures the Boomer robots that helped rebuild the city after the great earthquake. However, Sylia is only using the job to try and find the vigilante group known as the Knight Sabers, who she has been tracking over the Internet. The episodes continue as Sylia attempts to, and succeeds, in joining the Knight Sabers.

These episodes are hugely enjoyable. If all goes well, let's hope this new series goes on to be just as popular and memorable as the original.

Rating: A - [Daniel Fawcett]

Comment from newsgroups:

The opening animation sequence is one of the best I've ever seen and the story looks to be
really interesting.   Unlike the original BGC, we're treated to a slow
introduction of each of the characters, with most of the focus being on Linna,
but by the time the third episode finishes (with a real **** cliffhanger,
dangit) all of the original characters except Mackie have been introduced.  The
new character designs were a little odd at first, but I adjusted to them pretty
quickly and I actually like the new Priss design a lot better than the old one.
 The only one that I had real trouble with was Sylia, since she looks nothing
like the original character, but fortunately the voice was dead-on perfect and
helped smooth over the transition. Which brings us to the dub... it's
excellent, easily up to the standards of Sorcerer Hunters and City Hunter, and
at times it actually gave me goose-pimples (the good kind).  The characters all
sound right, although Leon seems a bit more macho than in the original series.
I was especially impressed with the girl doing Priss,  Not only does she have
the character down perfectly, she also has a great singing voice (ADV dubbed
the scenes where Priss sings on camera, but left the Japanese versions intact
for the BGM and op and closing credits.)  I just wish that AnimEigo had had
these voices on their dubs, since it was so odd to hear the "right" voices
coming out of the new designs.  My only real problem was that, since I got to
sneak this volume so early, it's going to be a long, long wait to find out what
happens in the second volume.

while it didn't give me goosebumps, per se, you're right.  It's a good-looking series
and the dub really is outstanding... especially given the expectations it's got
to live up to. (or to live down, considering the awful dubs AnimEigo released).
 However, while you're right that the woman who plays Priss is very good, I
thought that the actress playing Linna was the real glue that made the whole
thing stick together. There's a real evolution in her character over the three
episodes that somehow makes the whole thing just a little more real.  The
voices for Nene and Sylia were really good too, and I loved the voice they've
got for Mason.   Of course, given that ADV partially financed this show, it's
not surprsing that they used their best people on it.