Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Bubblegum Crisis 2040

Genre: Action
Parental Guidance Recommended
1998-1999. Hiroki Hiyashi (director). Toshimichi Suzuki (creator). AIC. TV Tokyo.

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Cover Description:
In the aftermath of the great earthquake, one ruthless corporation stands ready to take over the devastated city of Tokyo with an army of synthetic monsters. Only one small band of female mercenaries is ready to stand against the monolithic power of Genom, but in this case four women are all it takes!

Armed with the most incredible combat suits ever designed, the Knight Sabers wage a desperate war in the shadows, combating the monstrous by-products of technology run amuck with courage, sweat and blood. It's a deadly trial by fire as the acclaimed cyberpunk masterpiece is reborn in a new action-packed series!

(26 episodes)

Typical genuine action >>> by firesenshi (06.18.2002)

Great looking females in multi-colored hard suits? Yah... that's one nice thing to look at. But as a lesson learned in these kinds of anime or even genres like these in live action, the thing to watch out for is the story and characters first and the intricacy of the suits and weaponry later. Maybe I learned to look at those first being that I usually see the same things over again. With Bubblegum Crisis 2040, the design of the hard suits didn't change as much as those anime in the '80s. The action is not bad and the sequences do present changes and cut scenes that make everything exciting. The Knight Sabers are labeled somewhat as a 'vigilante' group so the concept of that alone, seeing them leap in tall buildings, engaged in crossfires and chases with the police is good enough eye candy. The art is quite good.

Like always, you'll find yourself relating to a any of the four girls here. My favorite was Sylia, the beautiful heiress with light purple hair who's the principal backer of the Knight Sabers and a warrior herself. Priss, the motorcycle riding extremely indifferent singer, will lead you into a mystery of her own, as well as a rather more colorful lovelife than the rest. However, her coldness reminds me of more of a brooding bishounen than any action heroine.

I must admit, of course, that I didn't see the original Bubblegum Crisis OAV but that's okay because these stand independent from them. All 26 episodes will lead you to a good suspenseful end of the origins of everything involved in the setting, including its characters. And as the characters are complex, so will the story lead you on from twist to another. All in all though, it's something I didn't get addicted to. Mostly because the mood was either trying to be too 'hip' and different with the futurism of the setting and graphics in the eyecatch and the electronica touches to the music. Something inside of me was hoping that once in awhile they'd at least... lighten up.

Dubs? They're okay I guess. But they sounded a bit too over acting so I wouldn't recommend them.

Individual Rating: Art: 7; Story & Plot: 7; Characters: 7; Sounds: 7

Decent remake of a classic. >>> by Kyubi Kitsune (07.27.2002)

Instead of going with a direct a remake of the original, and risk the ire of otaku, AIC decided to give an original spin to Bubblegum Crisis universe with pretty decent results. Gone are the smaller story arcs of the original in favor of just one central story arc. Characters also change and are given more depth, one would hope since this is true since there are 26 episodes. Also there are new character and mechanical designs.

Story wise 2040 has a pretty solid plot focusing on Sylia's (founder and leader of the Knight Sabers) family past and the problems it is causing in the present day. While at times the story follows the ever-popular problem of the week formula, all the loose ends do get wrapped up at the end of the series, but in a sort of ambiguous manner that seems popular in post- Evangelion anime. The major characters, in particular the Knight Sabers, have enough depth to make them interesting. All are given time for character development which is an improvement over the original series.

Animation is pretty solid for a television series, but problems do arise with the character and mechanical designs. The original series had some nice, if somewhat old school, character designs by Kenichi Sonoda, but 2040 seems to incorporate a lot of stock AIC designs. For example, Sylia bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain El Hazard character with long, blue hair. Mechanical designs also suffer in that Sonoda, in the original series, designed the hardsuits with multiple weapons, but in 2040 the Knight Sabers are limited to their signature melee weapons, with their hands & feet as the only backups.

The soundtrack is a pretty nice one that captures mood of the series pretty well. Voice acting on the Japanese side is pretty good, but the English dub suffers from miscasting and implying things that are not happening. The redeeming part of the dub is Hilary Haag as Nene's voice actor in that Haag really does a better job capturing Nene's character than her seiyuu counterpart.

2040, even with its faults, is a solid series that is worth watching if you want some action mixed in with an interesting story.

Individual Rating: Art: 7; Story & Plot: 8; Characters: 8; Sounds: 9; Overall: 8

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