Bubblegum Crisis box cover

© 1987 Artmic / Youmex


Available on VHS and DVD from AnimEigo.
OAV Series: 8 episodes on 3 VHS tapes or 3 DVDs
30-50 minutes per episode
Science Fiction/Action
Version I Watched: Subtitled in English
Objectionable Content: Graphic violence, nudity

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Bubblegum Crisis

Bubblegum Crisis is considered a cyberpunk classic by many anime fans. It certainly has a pretty good legion of supporters. Of course, with fame also comes hype, and sometimes the product doesn't live up to it. And while Bubblegum Crisis isn't quite as good as I expected, it's still quite entertaining nonetheless.

In 21st century Tokyo, technology has advanced enough for androids or "Boomers" to be developed. However, not all Boomers are law-abiding, and some are downright deadly. Since the regular police seem unable to control this menace to society, four women make it their goal to wipe out Boomer crime. Sporting nifty battle armor and calling themselves the Knight Sabers, these women fight to preserve order.

The center of this series is violent mecha action. The four Knight Sabers, dressed in their nifty body armor, do battle with various types of Boomers and other assorted weapons of mass destruction. The action sequences are quite good, with some neat chase scenes thrown in. Sequences featuring Priss on her motorcycle were particularly memorable.

While this series does have its share of mecha, explosions, and general mayhem, the characters also have a fair amount of depth to them. Comprising the four Knight Sabers are Sylia, the team's leader, Priss, a rock star, Nene, who provides the "cute", and Linna, a fitness trainer who is probably the most normal of the bunch. We get a good insight into the characters personal lives and the difficulties they have dealing with their secret identities.

However, the stories are this series weak point. Essentially they're in place merely to set up violent clashes between the Knight Sabers and various foes. I was especially unimpressed with the first three episodes, but things do get somewhat better, particularly in the final two episodes which were more character-driven.

The artwork did a good job of capturing the gritty future in which the Knight Sabers live. The animation was decent, but it did look a little grainy. While I haven't seen the dubbed version, I've heard it's simply awful. That's why I sought out the subtitled version to watch.

If you want cool mecha, lots of action, and females in nifty-looking body armor, then Bubblegum Crisis is exactly what you're looking for.

The Verdict: * * * * (good)