The middle third of Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 has been released
under the"Essential Anime" banner. Previously released at a higher price
point and with fewer extras, this fast action series of four women in futuristic
armor fighting berserk robots boasts a new 5.1 English dub track and commentaries.
With a retail price of only $19.98 for a two disc set, this is a great
Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 is a retelling and expansion of
the original OVA series Bubblegum Crisis. Some things are
the same, and others have changed, but the basic premise is still the same.
It has been 6 years since an earthquake devastated Tokyo, now known as
Megalocity, and much of the repairs have been done by 'boomers;' robots
to you and me. The boomers, created by the Genom Corporation, have
wormed their way into most aspects of society; they not only do heavy work
and manual labor, they also work in office buildings and restaurants.
The only problem is, sometimes boomers go berserk. When that happens,
the Knight Sabers leap into action. These four heroes are tough women
in form fitting battle suits strong enough to take on the biggest boomers.
They are rock singer Priss, computer hacker Nene Romanova, new member Linna
Yamazaki and leader Sylia Stingray. The police aren't ignoring this
problem of course. They have a special unit, the AD Police, that
was created to handle boomer related crime. This organization isn't
terribly happy that a bunch of girls are constantly showing them up either.
The story really starts to pick up in this second set of DVDs.
While the first set had a "boomer-of-the-week" feel to it, the show starts
expanding with this volume. It is clear that Mason, head of security
for Genom, is up to something, but what he's searching for, and what his
ultimate goals are, aren't quite clear as the set begins. It is also
apparent that Quincy, the president of Genom has some nefarious plans,
plans that don't exactly mesh with what Mason wants. There are also
secrets about Sylvia that are revealed, and just where the Kinight Sabers
suits came from. Not to mention some unexpected twists.
The characters of the Knight Sabers are expanded on in this volume too.
In the most interesting pair of episodes in the set, Linna goes to her
family in the country and has a bit of a crisis. She realizes that
being a Knight Saber is what she's always wanted, but she's not sure if
she's willing to make the sacrifices and commitment that it will take.
Being a Saber means giving up the chance at a regular, normal life, and
she's not sure if she can do that.
This show originally aired in 1998, and while the animation isn't up
to the best that is offered today, it still looks really good. The
action scenes in particular work well giving the feeling a speed and action.
The fights are very kinetic, and it helps the series a lot.
This is a fun, enjoyable series. The action is good, but doesn't
come at the expense of the story, which continues to surprise me.
This show has become more intricate than I thought it would, and I'm looking
forward to seeing how it all turns out.
This two DVD set contains the next eight episodes of the show and comes
in a single width clear Amaray case with a reversible cover.
This boasts a new English 5.1 dub, as well as Japanese and Spanish language
tracks in stereo. I liked the original language track a little bit
better, mainly because I didn't care for the English version of Priss'
songs. The dub was actually good besides that one flaw, with the
actors managing to sync the lip movements fairly well. In the 5.1
dub, there was some good use of the soundstage, especially in the battles.
Overall a nice sounding disc.
The full frame video quality looked great. There are a lot of
dark areas, especially in a lot of the fight scenes, and the detail in
these areas is quite good. The colors of the boomers and the Knight's
battle armor come through bright and vivid giving the show a wide color
range. Digital artifacts were hardly noticeable. I was really
pleased with the way these discs looked.
The discs have a commentary tracks on the following programs: Episode
11 with voice actresses Kelly Manison (Linna), episode 13 with Laura Chapman
(Sylia), Episode 14 with Kelly Manison (Linna) and Christine Auten (Priss),
episode 16 with Laura Chapman (Sylia), Kelly Manison (Linna), Christine
Auten (Priss), and Hilary Haag (Nene.) I'm not a huge fan of
commentaries on anime, but I have to admit that I found these more enjoyable
than usual. It's interesting to hear these actor's opinions of the
show 5 years after they recorded the dubs. ADV used a lot of new
talent on the show and they had fun reminiscing about this early work of
theirs. A fun set of commentaries.
There are also a series of character sketches, text profiles on the
vehicles in the show, voice actress profiles, and clean opening and closing
These two discs originally retailed for nearly $60. This set,
which has remastered sound and bonus commentaries not found on the original
has a MSRP of less than $20. A fun show that looks and sounds good:
It's a screaming deal. While the 5.1 sound and commentaries probably
wouldn't warrant an upgrade fro most people, if you don't have a copy of
this series in your anime collection, this set is Highly Recommended.