Reviews: Bubblegum Crisis

Bubblegum Crisis 2040 is pretty great

Just finished the series on Netflix. I can't say it's the best anime I've ever seen, but it's certainly in the top ten. The show is almost a textbook demonstration of how to create an engaging narrative. Character development that doesn't interrupt the plot. 26 episodes without a single one wasted on filler. Subplots which build on each other and feed into the central story. It's amazing how even otherwise excellent anime so often gets the formula wrong.

Besides the plot there's plenty of charmingly 90's action sequences and some superlative dubbing. I've never seen the original show, so perhaps the other review was right and 2040 is inferior in comparison, but it certainly stands on its own merits. It's a shame that it never really took off outside Japan- it wouldn't take much editing to make the show presentable for something like Adult Swim or even Toonami. I would have loved it as a teen.

It's not perfect, of course. The ending is a bit abrupt, especially after several episodes are spent building up to it. The Boomers degenerate into an increasingly ridiculous enemy, eventually essentially becoming Tyranids made of fiber optic cables. There's a bizarre absence of government figures who aren't part of the ADP, which makes the society depicted in 2040 seem almost as though it's made of cardboard.

Minor complaints, though. Great show, enjoyed watching.

Bubblegum Crisis 2040 makes me ANGRY.

Even ignoring its pedigree as a descendant of one of the best cyberpunk anime series ever, BGC 2040 is merely 'Okay' at best. It stands..barely..on its own merits, providing you haven't seen the originals, or can take it on its own. But if you have, and you can't forget how much better Bubblegum Crisis - or even Bubblegum Crash - was, then give it a skip. Linna and Priss's character designs were painfully generic; I kept on forgetting which one was which, and having trouble telling them apart and, in Linna's case, forgetting what she looked like five minutes after watching three episodes focusing on her. They changed Sylia's character dramatically, in ways that really aren't for the better, and made Leon less impressive than his desk jockey bosses. The only character they didn't do horrible things to is Nene, who despite turning blonde, they left more or less alone. She is perhaps a little bit more childish and hyperactive, but that's acceptable to all but the most rabid of fans. In short, give it a pass. If you can pick it up for, say, a buck a disc, feel free to buy it, but otherwise, I suggest you leave this one on the shelf. Or torrent site.

I wrote that immediately after watching the series in December(2009), and I hold to it now. Even between episodes I'd forget which girl was Priss and which was Linna. 2040 is bland, makes decreasing amounts of sense as time goes on, and becomes a metaphysical ball of suck that I'm ashamed I watched. They could've changed the names of the characters and not referenced the original series at all, and it would have made more sense, but still not enough to classify it, in my mind, as good. I try to be a fair reviewer...I even didn't mind Crash so much. But 2040 was just garbage, regardless of what it's compared to. That it's considered a successor (spiritual or otherwise) to Bubblegum Crisis is an insult to everyone who worked on the original. I'm tempted to go as far as saying it's an insult to anime in general, but I've yet to see anything that has so much pure, concentrated suck as Gasaraki. Tehxnolyze and BGC 2040 do come close, however.