Bubblegum Crisis - Tokyo 2040

Title - Bubblegum Crisis - Tokyo 2040
Publisher - ADV Films
Availability - VHS & DVD (Hybrid)

Pros - Intriguing characters, interesting story, good visuals, cool female cast

Cons - Deep plot is slowly revealed, several mentally unstable characters 

Overview

Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 is a "new generation" version of the Bubblegum Crisis/Crash series.  I haven't seen the original series, but from what I understand, the characters are all pretty much recreated based upon the original.  There are some similarities, but also very many differences, including plots and character designs.  The newer version is done in a more current anime style when compared with the original series, similar to the differences between the original Dirty Pair and Dirty Pair Flash.

Anyway, enough about the original.  I haven't seen it, and it's not important to know about for a review of this series on its own.  Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 revolves around four young women who wear robotic suits of armor.  They call themselves the Knight Sabers, and fight against boomers (robots) that have gone out of control.

Boomers are robots that have been used to rebuild Tokyo after it was devastated by a massive earthquake.  They can talk and perform menial (or specialized) labor, but not too much else.  However, they appear to be constructed using technology patterned after human beings.  As a result, things tend to go wrong after a while.  Sometimes the "biotechnology" in a boomer will begin to morph, and the boomer will start to go crazy, destroying things and causing mayhem.

The Knight Sabers are a secret vigilante group that destroys these rogue boomers.  Several characters have a strong hatred towards these boomers, based on things that happened in their past.  Naturally, the villains in this series have a twisted desire to populate the world with boomers. ^_^

Characters

The Knight Sabers all have distinctly different personalities.  Sylia is the leader of the group.  She's very wealthy, and funds the Knight Sabers' secret technology, including their robotic armor called hard-suits.  She owns a dress/lingerie shop as front, though it's fairly obvious that her money really comes from her family's involvement with the original development of boomer technology.  This had a strong impression on her childhood, and as a result, she has a strong hatred for the rogue boomers, even bordering on being mentally unstable.

Priss is a hardcore biker and rock-singer.  She's short on frills and has a loner type personality.  Priss is the strongest fighter in the group, and though she doesn't openly express herself, it appears that she has personal reasons for fighting the boomers.

Nene is the technical genius of the group.  She has pretty good hacking skills, and works her day job with the A.D. Police, the group assigned by the government to take care of rogue boomers (though they don't do it very well).  Nene is the youngest of the Knight Sabers, and isn't very good at hand-to-hand combat (the most effective method of fighting boomers).  This annoys her, particularly because of Priss makes fun of her skills, but she's also quite dedicated to the team.

Linna is the fourth Knight Saber, and the series starts when she encounters them for the first time.  Linna works a desk job for Genom, the company responsible for producing the boomer robots.  She's very athletic, and seeks out the Knight Sabers in the hopes of joining their cause.

Getting to see Linna join the Knight Sabers gives you an interesting perspective on how the Knight Sabers work.  As the rookie on the team, everything needs to be explained to her as they go along, and it's highly entertaining to see Linna's reaction to how things progress.

Conclusion

From what I've seen so far, Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 is an interesting series.  The characters have a lot of personality, and you get to see what they do during their day-time lives.  There's also a good deal of action.  The boomers are transformed into monsters when they go rogue, and hand-to-hand combat is the general method of destroying them, usually after they have caused a significant amount of damage, including broken buildings, fires, and explosions.

Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 reminds me a lot of Neon Genesis Evangelion, except the main characters aren't children, and the robots (suits included) aren't the size of skyscrapers.  The focus on the characters and not the suits is the best part of the show.

There's a dark side to the series as well.  Sylia obviously has a complex of sorts when it comes to boomers.  The bad guys don't have any ridiculous evil laughs, but have some twisted hidden motives driving them.  It kind of has an X/1999 kind of dark feel sometimes.  This is probably what earns the series it's 15+ suggested age rating.  It's definitely not a series for young kids to watch after school, but it has enough action and story to keep you interested.

     

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