Anime: Bubblegum Crisis
aka: Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040
One of the groundbreaking anime series to come out of Japan in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bubblegum Crisis
is a Film Noir
epic with superhero subtexts (especially Iron Man
), heavily influenced by the films Blade Runner
, The Terminator
, and Streets of Fire
In the early 2030s, the world economy (and some of its politics) is controlled by the megacorporation
GENOM, whose primary product is the boomer
— humanoid robots that can be manufactured for any purpose from cheap labor to prostitution to heavy combat. Opposing GENOM and its plots are the Knight Sabers — four women in astoundingly advanced powered combat suits, led by Sylia Stingray, the daughter of the scientist who invented boomer technology and who was murdered by GENOM's agents when they stole it.
The meaning of the title is obscure. Most commentators believe that it refers the point in blowing a bubblegum bubble where it has equal chances of exploding all over your face or collapsing limply. The mid-21st-Century society depicted in the show appears to be approaching a similar crisis point.
Originally plotted for 13 hour-long episodes, Bubblegum Crisis
was forced by a mixture of budget issues and internal politics between the two studios producing the show to cease production with the 8th episode (which wasn't an ending at all
). A 3-hour sequel series, Bubblegum Crash!
, is believed to be a compressed version of the plot of the remaining five episodes, but is generally considered to be inferior to the original
In 1990, a prequel
series, AD Police Files
was released, featuring Cowboy Cop
Leon in his early days on the force, five years before the series.
It was "reimagined" in 1998 as the TV series Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040
, but the result bears almost no resemblance to the earlier show. It kept the Broad Strokes
of the premise and the hardsuit designs, but broadly changed the character designs and personalities, and went off in a different direction from the original series. This version began with Linna as an Office Lady
who moved to Tokyo to join her heroes, the mysterious
In 1999, a second AD Police series: AD Police: To Serve and Protect
, was released. A third OVA
focusing on the AD Police, Parasite Dolls
, was released in 2003. For a time there was talk of a sequel series, Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2041
that ADV Films would have been more involved with in terms of production and story, but it never materialized. This project probably died when ADV went bankrupt and reorganized itself into Section 23 Films.
In 2008, the company AIC
announced that they'd signed an agreement to let a Singaporean studio begin production of a live-action version of Bubblegum Crisis
— which has ballooned into a coproduction between six countries (including Australia and China), planned for release in 2012. Fan reaction seems to be skeptical (especially with the reported $30 million budget), yet hopeful — especially with the possibility of another anime revival as a tie-in. However, the lack of news suggests the project entered Development Hell
The most recent installment in the franchise is a one-shot 2012 Light Novel
, Bubblegum Crisis: Hard Metal Guardiansnote
, which reimagines the story High School A.U.
ran a very successful Kickstarter
to fund a Blu-ray
release of the original series. Both the original series and Tokyo 2040
are available on Hulu.
This show provides examples of: