Bubblegum Crash has a bit of a mixed reputation. Diehard fans of the original tend to abhor it, while more casual fans accept it as being a decent, albeit inferior sequel to the original Bubblegum Crisis. I wasn't quite sure which stance I take before watching, but now I can safely say I fall into the latter category.
Fans of Bubblegum Crisis will notice that Crash is a bit scaled back compared to its predecessor. The darker tone of the first is noticeable absent and the gritty violence has been significantly toned down.
The characters, though, sure shine through. All of the Knight Sabers are back for more Boomer-busting action: Priss, Nene, Linna and Sylia. It's worth noting that Priss does have a new Japanese voice actor, but it really doesn't affect things very much. Leon and Daley also show up quite a bit, and the only character which is noticeably absent is Mackie. The girls' hardsuits have also had some upgrades and have become a whole lot deadlier. Priss now sports shoulder mounted cannons, Nene has some sort of beam weapon, and Linna has a pair of retractable spikes that can be electrified.
Bubblegum Crash is episodic in nature, but there is an overriding story line which ties all the episodes together. Each episode focuses around Boomers causing general mayhem and the Knight Sabers are there to stop them. In the first episode, a group of Boomers in hardsuits are performing a string of bank robberies and the AD Police are completely helpless to stop them (naturally, of course). The second episode involves a new type of Boomer with advanced AI being stolen, then pursued by a group of Combat Boomers headed by a criminal scientist. In the third and final episode, Boomers are rioting and it's up to the Knight Sabers to find the mastermind for a final showdown. I must say the writing is certainly not intellectually challenging, but the story lines serve well enough to dish out the action. And rest assured, there's plenty of Boomer combat to go around.
The artwork and animation are much darker in appearance than modern anime's tendency toward overly-bright visuals. Certain sequences, such as the Knight Sabers getting decked out in their hardsuits, are repeated a few times. Still, for its time, the visuals hold their own. Music is also a strong point in the BGC universe, and I found the main theme to be pretty catchy. Again, there's nothing award-winning here, but nothing terrible either.
Bubblegum Crash can probably best be described as "Bubblegum Crisis lite". It's by no means stellar, but it's still a fun ride with the Knight Sabers.
The Verdict: * * * (average)
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