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Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 Vol 1
ADV has been rereleasing some of their more popular older titles at a lower price point under the "Essential Anime" banner. This is a great idea, allowing people who may have missed a show the first time around to check out some great anime without breaking the bank. One of the newest titles to get the Essential Anime treatment is Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040. This fast action series of four women in futuristic armor fighting berserk robots is not only cheaper now, this new release also boasts a 5.1 English dub track and commentary tracks on four of the nine shows that are on this two disc set. With a retail price of only $19.98, this is a great bargain.
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. This show starts of with Linna Yamazaki arriving in Tokyo, now known as Megalocity. It has been 6 years since an earthquake devastated the city, and much of the repairs have been done by 'boomers;' robot 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 and attack people. When that happens, the Knight Sabers leap into action. These three heros are tough women in form fitting battle suits strong enough to take on the biggest boomers. They are rock singer Priss, police officer Nene Romanova, leader and shop keeper Sylia Stingray. Almost mythical in the way they go into action, the Knight Sabers appear and handle the rogue boomer often before the police can get there. Their exploits are covered in the tabloids, and they are becoming starts in their own right. As a mater of fact, when she first arrives in town, Linna is hoping to see the Knights. After she is rescued by them from an attacking boomer, she wants to join their them!
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 first disc in this set mainly deals with Linna and her desire to join the Knight Sabers. You get to see this future world through her eyes as the main characters and situations are introduced. With the second half of this set the main story line starts to develop, and the Genom Corporation starts to get become more sinister. The company wants to create boomers that can go rouge whenever they want them to. On top of that, the AD Police to go after the Knight Sabers in an interesting two part episode. There are some filler shows with some standard Knights-boomer fights, but they also take time to flesh out the characters some more.
I enjoyed this series. Though it took a few episodes to get the series rolling along, it really picked up after that. Some good action with an interesting background story. The only thing I really didn't like about the show was the English version had Priss' songs dubbed in English too, and I didn't think they were nearly as good as the Japanese versions. Next time they should keep them in Japanese.
This two DVD set contains the first nine 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. There was some 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 4 with two of the voice actresses; Christine Auten (Priss) and Kelly Manison, Episode 6 with Spike Spencer (Mackey), and John Gremillion (Nigel); Episode 7 with Jason Douglas (Leon) and Chris Patton (Daley) and Episode 9 with Hilary Haag (Nene.) 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. In addition to the usual anecdotes and jokes, the point out some interesting in-jokes such as the picture of Linna in a Battle Athletes uniform hanging up in her room. A fun set of commentaries.
There are also character bios and a 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 warrent an upgrade for most people, if you don't have a copy of this series in your anime collection, this set is Highly Recommneded.