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Bubblegum Crisis (1987, Youmex)

Anime Reviews

Bubblegum Crisis (1987, Youmex)

Worth A Watch

Mega Tokyo 2032. "Boomer", android robots named due to the boom they brought about in reviving the city after the Great Kanto Earthquake. Now many are going rogue across the city, causing chaos and destruction. As the AD Police struggle with the outbreaks four girls; Sylia Stingray a luxury lingerie shop owner, Priss a club singer, Nene an AD Police woman and aerobics instructor Linna equipped with enhanced exoskeleton suits, act as mercenaries under the name of  "Knight Sabers" to hunt them down.

As they continue to accept jobs in-between from various clients both good and bad, they become entangled in Japan's top high tech corporation Genom's ever growing greed for power and get a clearer picture of Genom's intentions behind their Boomers. Meanwhile, a member of the AD Police, Leon continues to try and dig up dirt on Genom himself, often finding himself crossing paths with the Knight Sabers.

I watched the Bubblegum Crisis' reboot "2040" back in my uni days when I met a fellow Anime fan who lent me his DVDs (yup, internet streaming wasn't a thing yet). Since there hasn't been many interesting modern shows I decided to watch some older 80/90s show.

It's been so long I can't quite remember what the show's about but this is fairly much like those Japanese suited super hero shows but aimed at an older audience, out fighting monsters. An all female member, Power Rangers team. A cyberpunk world with pretty girls and gore like your late night Anime screenings they used to do on terrestial TV. There's nudity but extremely rare, not even one scene per episode. The fan service is no where near as heavy as the modern day fan service only shows.

It's a familiar AI vs humans setting but it's got a good set of characters and the plot chugs along at a decent pace with enough variation considering how old this is.

In a way, it actually reminds me of one of my favourite shows Psycho-Pass with the theme it has going on, just not as filled with gore and there are more comical moments with the Knight Sabers. Priss' recklessness and familiar archetypes throws in some comedy.

I think the artwork's great. The rough hand-drawn cels just works well with the cyberpunk aesthetics. Action scenes are great to watch. Despite the gore they're brief scenes compared to the likes of Tokyo Ghoul or Attack on Titan. As with most 90s action show HD remasters, there's a lot of flashing white screen effects and cheezy evil laughs.

It's also got a great soundtrack. There's a large number of vocal songs sung by the Knight Sabers voice actresses but mostly by singer Priss and the very first OP "Konya wa Hurricane" makes the biggest impression. The music actually has a City Hunter vibe to it, another great classic but not surprising since they're both produced in the same time period.

It feels like they put in extra effort for the last (eighth) episode of the show with a very cinematic opening featuring a fun morning routine of the gang.

Overall, a great cyberpunk action show. And what's more there's actually a number of shows set in the same universe. The ordering is somewhat confusing however since as I mentioned earlier, some are reboots.

Crash (1991)

The second series "Crash" (no HD remaster I'm afraid) continues with the adventures of the Knight Sabers helping with cases where rogue Boomers are involved. Sylia gets her own episode which kind of makes sense when the first only focused on three of the girls so we see more background of the Stingray family and how they came about developing the Boomers, what the goal was.

There's a lot less gore. Last episode felt a bit too cheezy when it suddenly loses its cyberpunk mechanical setting and feels more like a horror movie but overall the 3 part sequel was pretty good.

Priss' voice actress changed for the worst because it lacks enthusiasm sadly but otherwise nice to see how the girls are doing since the first show.

Just like the first series, it's almost episodic but eventually gets connected to something bigger.

AD Police Files (1990)

Taking place in 2027 we see the early days of Leon when he's just joined the AD Police and once again, go on the trail of Boomers going rogue.

Again, no HD remaster. It sticks with the rough crude cyberpunk visuals of the two Bubblegum Crisis shows but perhaps more graphic because most of the rogue Boomers take on the form of women. There's some sadism going on too. Only the last episode is more like a rogue Robocop.

The year suggests it's a prequel but there's practically nothing leading it into the main Bubblegum Crisis series. It just has the same cyberpunk MegaTokyo setting but that's about it so, you're not missing out on much nor does it matter if you watch this first. There is a cameo of Urusei Yatsura though.

Bubblegun Crisis 2040 (1998)

Linna Yamazaki has just moved to the big city, Megalocity and she's already made a bad impression thanks to a biker speeding pass her, making her drop her lunch. After relentlessly chasing the biker down, she soon learns the biker was a member of the Knight Sabers she aspired to be.

Pretty sure this was what I watched back in my uni days when I was just getting into non-mainstream Anime but I've fairly much forgotten what happens in it.

A reboot of the original show which takes a completely different approach to the Knight Sabers. All the girls get a character re-design. Other than Priss, everyone has new personalities too which ends up becoming a large part of the comedy. Nene likes to mess around instead of being pure and naive, Linna is strong-willed with an outspoken righteous attitude, while Sylia now hates Boomers with a passion almost ready to snap and runs a classier clothings shop instead of lingerie. Leon is no longer a Knight Sabers fan and Mackey doesn't try to peep any more.

Instead of Genom being responsible for the rogue Boomers this time, they are actually happening on their own and Knight Sabers are keeping them in check. There are multiple plots going. Everyone has their own agenda and rather than having you guess what they are, you watch them behind the scenes scheming away. Yet, there's still some bigger mystery slowly getting unravelled.

I guess you could call it a slowburn show compared to the more intense pacing of the original; longer at 26 twenty minute episodes instead of the original 8 although if you consider the 1 hour episodes, you could treat the 8 episodes as 24 episodes too. It's less of a heroes out to save the world kind of pacing but more a slice-of-life show for both heroes and villains alike. It means you often get some relatable scenes despite the sci-fi setting.

At some points it's like watching a zombie movie which isn't so fun to watch but, it does give our supporting characters some hero image screen time that makes up for it. It's pretty wholesome watching everyone back each other up rather than just making the Knight Sabers overpowered.

Aesthetically it's bright and cheery for the most part unlike the original. At least, until the rogue Boomers appear. They still look like aliens, kind of like the Angels from Evangelion but other than that there's actually less fan service and nudity. Mind you, there are still adult moments such as affairs and relations but this is actually heavier in romance than the original.

Some changes are pretty good like the Knight Sabers are launched out of their HQ rather than using a conspicious helicopter. They get shot out of a building like Samurai Pizza Cats...

Excel makes a cameo and even a copy of Microsoft's terms and conditions. Some of the direction reminds me of Evangelion that produced around 3 years before this show such as Shinji walking by the road, Nene's apartment like Misato's, launch pads used for the Knight Sabers and the rogue Boomers.

Overall, a cheerier take on the original show even though the ending felt somewhat abrupt.

AD Poilice: Protect and Serve (1999)

Year 2039. Rebellious and lone wolf Kenji Sasaki has just transferred from normal to the AD Police who focuses on rogue Boomer incidents; Voomer robots turning rogue. Unfortunately for him, he is infamous for losing his partners. After a bar fight he meets his latest German partner Hans Kleif who also just transferred from the normal police. As Kenji warms up to his new partner and team mates Jose, Karen and Mary, soon they are on the tail of the mysterious Backers who seem to be behind the incidents.

Just like the 2040 reboot, this show kicks off in a similar premise to the original spin-off show. Again, Genom doesn't play much of a role here other than being the big corporation manufacturing Boomers. It kicks off pretty comical with your usual laid-back overskilled hero saving the day that actually felt kind of like a scene from the classic City Hunter.

Every episode kicks off the same; a Boomer incident occurrs and they're off to fight it. Then of course, comes our dynamic duo to save the day but the OP villain outwits them and continues toying with the AD Police. Some of the supporting characters don't even get much screen time or development so you're left wondering what their roles even are.

One episode "Family" really shone but could also be considered the worst episode in a way. There's little comedy apart from Hans' laidback attitude and advances on the ladies. One chill episode "Memory" at the pub does takes the cake for it though.

It feels more like a very regular police fighting crime kind of show than cyberpunk really because the sci-fi side isn't very heavy, there isn't much world building so you don't actually see much tech being used or the everyday world it's set in.

Personally I think the theme songs are horrible but the background soundtrack is pretty good. As mentioned earlier, a lot of the background soundtracks and sound effects sound like they were taken from City Hunter. Aesthetics follow in the steps of 2040, clean bright colours that don't really suit cyberpunk. Not much fan service or gore but the ending is a familiar girls in provocative poses. All the fatal shots and suggested gruesome scenes are left to your imagination as they all happen off-screen.

This is the least cyberpunk-like, least exciting entry out of the entire franchise but it wraps up quite well returning to how the series started with Kenji and Hans. It's an ok watch.

Parasite Dolls (2003)

2034 Genom City, a rogue Boomer incident happens every Friday. Buzz Nikvest is part of The Branch, a small sub-division within the AD Police; undercover Angel, hacker Myers, frontline Reiko Michaelson and their Boomer partner Kimball. Together they investigate areas the AD Police have issues looking into and soon they discover a drug is doing the rounds that cause these incidents.

The last entry in the Bubblegum Crisis Universe, again no HD remaster. Originally split into three parts, this spin-spin-off later received an director's cut that puts them all together although even then, the story is divided into their parts with title screens.

Aesthetics return to the original nitty gritty art this whole franchise began with which is good considering it's cyberpunk so expect both gore and nudity again, fairly much along the lines of the first AD Police spin-off with a lot of female Boomers. The OVA title gives you an idea of how explicit it gets.

It does have a main theme going despite all the gruesome scenes, mainly a familiar what it means to be human compared to the previous shows where it was more about corruption.

Akemi Okamura, One Piece Nami's voice actress plays a role in this OVA which took me a moment to recognise.

Not a happy wrap-up but it's cyberpunk so it's decent enough.


I guess you can say each show is a different take on Bubblegum Crisis' cyberpunk universe filled with rogue boomer android robots.

I think the theme of robots is still relevant today especially with the advancement in AI and robots. Automated self-driving cars was sci-fi some time ago but is a reality today. As populations age and more people become wealthy in this digital age there will be a labour shortage and at that point we'd probably have to rely on robots.

If you like Tokusatsu style shows featuring suited heroes with a cyberpunk sci-fi theme going, you'll enjoy this.

If you prefer a slowburn with a side as bright as it is dark, go with 2040. If you prefer something dark with nitty gritty art, non-stop action and some great vocal songs stick with the originals as long as you don't mind graphic gore and explicit nudity. Just don't expect happy shows from the spin-offs.

Bubblegum Crisis


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