The Series (4/5)
OK, I have a confession to make. Before I got this DVD set, I had never seen Bubblegum Crisis!
Alright, it's out there. I know this makes me a bad otaku or something, but until now I just couldn't find the time. Besides, I grew up a horror kid, I only got into anime 5-6 years ago when I got Akira as a Christmas gift. I wasn't completely oblivious to anime growing up. I spent Saturday mornings watching Robotech and Dragon Warrior on TV, I just did not know they were Japanese at the time.
Now that I'm done with the confession/apology, I'll get to the review. The 80's were ground zero for cyberpunk, not just in film, but in all rarities of media. William Gibson's Neuromancer had shaken the sci-fi book world to it's core, and Blade Runner, while not scoring box office gold, influenced the next generation of sci-fi cinema with it's proto cyberpunk stylings. It appears Bubblegum Crisis was heavily influenced by all this. Right, from the first episode you can see Blade Runner, The Terminator, and the influence of William Gibson and Philip K. Dick with a heavy bit of film noir influencing the proceedings.
Bubblegum Crisis tells the story of a 4 girl squad of mercenaries/vigilantes the “Knight Sabers.” MegaTokyo in the year 2032 is living in the shadow of a devastating earthquake. In the interim the Genom Corportion has invented the “Boomers” a cyberspecies that are essentially robots meant to assist mankind in rebuilding from the devastation. Unfortunately, Boomers are beginning to go rogue, and attack MegaTokyo. A special police force called the “AD Police” is put together to stop the rogue Boomers, unfortunately, they are not entirely up to the tasks. Fortunately, the Knight Sabers are! They are equipped with special combat suits, that are better, stronger, faster (and more Daft Punk), then the AD Police's own, and are ready to take the Boomers and Genom Corporaton on. Bubblegum Crisis follows the Knight Sabers on their crusade to stop the Genom, the boomers, and still maintain day jobs.
This set presents Bubblegum Crisis completely uncut, and remastered. It features all 8 original episodes of the series, and is chock full of extras including the live action Holiday in Bali episode.
Animeigo has done a superb job cleaning up Bubblegum Crisis for this DVD set. It is digitally remastered, and looks very clean. There is not a speck, or misplaced pixel to be seen. This is probably the best Bubblegum Crisis will look until it is remastered again in high def for a blu-ray release, but seeing as that could be many years down the line, this is the ONLY way to view Bubblegum Crisis.
Animeigo has presented Bubblegum Crisis with 2 audio options, an English 2.0 and Japanese 2.0 track. The Japanese track is excellent. It is loud, and clear with little distortion, and the voice acting is superb. The English track, however, is lacking. The audio is slightly muddied throughout, and appears to have been mixed lower in the mix. The voice acting is absolutely wretched, and sounds like a bunch of high school kids reading from the script.
If the cleaned up Bubblegum Crisis wasn't enough to recommend this release, the extras are where it truly shines. Animeigo has packed Bubblegum Crisis with so many extras it's dizzying. It's packed with music videos, text comments, and interviews with the creators and actors behind BGC. The 2nd disc also contains the “Holiday in Bali” live action special with the Japanese voice actors behind BGC playing their characters live.
BGC is an amazing, and classic cyberpunk anime. If you are like me, and haven't seen it, then this is the place to start. If you are already a fan, and haven't gotten a hold of this disc yet, then you should run out and do so. Bubblegum Crisis has probably never looked better, and probably won't until the day it is released on BR. If the remastered picture and audio wasn't enough, the extras push it over the top.