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"Or: 'What if Joan Jett and Coco Chanel became New Wave terrorists?'"

"Knight Sabers, sanjo!"

One of the groundbreaking anime series to come out of Japan in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bubblegum Crisis is a Film Noir/Cyberpunk 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. In what is certainly a coincidence, the OVA production roughly corresponds to the peak (and burst) of Japan's Bubble Economy (1988-1991).

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.

R. Talsorian Games published Bubblegum Crisis Mega Tokyo 2033 The Roleplaying Game using their new Fuzion system in 1996. In addition to the game, the books contained a guide to the episodes and with unused sketches and notes on unused ideas.

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 Knight Sabers.

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 seemed 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 complete lack of news in over a decade since its announcement suggests the project entered Development Hell, and has probably since been silently cancelled.

The most recent installment in the franchise is a one-shot 2012 Light Novel, Bubblegum Crisis: Hard Metal Guardians,note  which reimagines the story High School AU style.

Additionally, AnimEigo 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.

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    Tropes Applying to Both Series 
  • Action Girl: All the Knight Sabers, but mostly Priss and Linna.
    • Jeena Malso in the A.D. Police Files prequel.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The rogue boomers in 2040; it's unclear whether most of the rampaging boomers in the original series were accidents or "field testing" by GENOM.
  • Alternate Continuity: The OVA series, AD Police OVAs and Crash form one continuity, while 2040, AD Police TV and Parasite Dolls are a separate universe.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: A nuclear power plant going into melt down can't cause a nuclear explosion, unlike what's claimed in AD Police TV series episode #11.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Mason has a trio of Boomer Robot Girls in the episode "Born To Kill", capable of performing GENOM's wet work off the clock, and going toe to toe with the Knight Sabers.
  • Body Horror: An important aspect of the OVA Boomers' design that was unfortunately absent from 2040's Boomers.
  • Bottle Episode: One episode of the AD Police TV series is set entirely inside a bar during a hostage standoff.
  • The Brigadier: Leon, sort of.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Most of the characters have names (and appearances in some cases) that suggest they're of mixed ancestry, but they still all speak Japanese and are pretty obviously Japanese culturally. Part of this has to do with the show's genre and Japan's take on impending multiculturalism (well, for The '80s at any rate).
  • Camp Gay: Daley, apparently one of the earliest anime examples. On the other hand, 2040!Daley is more of a Straight Gay.
  • The Captain: Sylia.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each Saber has a different colour that identifies than and, for 2 of them, carries over to their Motoslave (Priss has a red Motoslave, and Nene has a pink one that was only seen once).
    • Sylia, White/Bluish-white and Blue
    • Priss, Blue and Red
    • Linna, Green and Orange
    • Nene, Purple and Pink, later Red and Pink after the Mid-Season Upgrade and in 2040.
  • Combat Stilettos: Both the Sabers' powered armor and their Motoslaves in robot / armor mode have these. God knows how the Sabers manage to do much more than walk in theirs, as they have the same basic design as a ballet boot. The shape of the hardsuit feet is not necessarily the position of the wearer's feet. The lack of an ankle probably strengthens the legs - one less point to break.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: Genom Corporation already has tremendous influence over the governments of the world — they just want to Take Over the World in the more traditional manner, using the Overmind Control System to take remote control over every Artificial Intelligence on the planet.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Everyone in GENOM.
  • Cowboy Cop: Leon
  • Cyberpunk: One of the defining anime examples, which takes heavy inspiration from one of the big trope makers.
    • Interestingly, though, there are at least shades of Post-Cyberpunk throughout all of the various incarnations of the franchise. The Knight Sabers aren't dedicated to "the destruction of GENOM" (with the possible exception of Priss) but rather to the much broader ideal of peace and social justice. Also, even though they're often rather ineffective, the AD Police (as agents of the State) are not villainous at all, and the two major male characters who are AD Policemen are explicitly heroic (and Nene is a data analyst and part-time traffic cop for the ADPD, and she openly loves her job). And, generally speaking, the tone of the original OVA at least is pretty positive - the Sabers can make a positive impact on the world, GENOM can be stopped, etc.
    • And it is strangely dry compared to other works influenced by Blade Runner.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Sylia.
  • Evil Minions: Various boomers.
  • Five-Man Band Concert: The Knight Sabers form a band in the video for "Touchdown to Tomorrow". They're also credited with a number of other songs associated with the franchise. Priss, The Lancer and protagonist, is the lead singer and the only one with an In-Universe musical career. Sylia, The Leader and the Big Good, is the backing vocalist and plays the electric bass. Nene, The Smart Girl, plays a multineck guitar. And Linna, The Big Girl (in terms of abilities, not appearance), is on the drums.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Priss is Choleric; Lina is Sanguine; Sylia is Phlegmatic; Nene is Melancholic, though rather more cheerful than most.
  • Free Handed Performer: Priss is the lead singer for her band, The Replicants, but does not play any instrument.
  • Future Spandex: The Knight Sabers, underneath their power suits, wear form-fitting outfits, aka innerwear. It's also justified, as it's explained that the outfits serve as a neural interface between the user and the suit.
    • Before utilizing the suits, the girls wear body stocking suits called "measuring suits", which when used in training records their movements so that Sylvia can modify the hardsuits to their fighting styles.
  • Gratuitous English: On signs all over. For instance, the "Lanjary" shop. And the songs.
  • Hand Cannon: Leon's oversized revolver that is almost effective against Boomers.
    • And to really drive it home, this revolver can fire RPG rounds.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Boomers explode out of their human skin to show their robot form. One boomer is wearing a suit when he transitions and is still wearing the suit once he's a robot.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: In the first part of Parasite Dolls, we have people getting sexually stimulated by the sensorial input of boomers going berserk and, in a more moderate and benign note, the ADP policewomen using a helicopter's machinegun to hit the transmitter of aforementioned people without hitting them.
  • Leg Focus: Word of God (in this case, Kenichi Sonoda) says that the stripes on the legs of the hardsuits is specifically meant to invoke this.
  • Meaningful Name: Boomers are ostensibly named after the economic boom they brought about by rebuilding Tokyo after the earthquake of 2025, but their name could also reflect the way combat models burst out of their skin before attacking.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Hardsuits, motoroids, motoslaves, powered suits, battlemovers.
  • Mecha Show
  • The Men in Black: Most of GENOM's Boomer Mecha-Mooks have human disguises that fit this trope.
  • Meta Mecha: The Motoroids/Motoslaves, which transform from Cool Bikes into both robots and exoskeletons for the hardsuits.
  • Midseason Upgrade: To the hardsuits in both the original series and 2040. Especially "funny" in the original - they spend all of Nene's Day in the Limelight getting their suit upgrades and clearly preparing for a major confrontation narratively... and then the show ends!
  • Motorcycle on the Coast Road: How Priss and Sylvie hang out.
  • Mr. Fixit: "Pops" Doc Raven; Nigel in 2040.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Knight Sabers all take turns being in this in both versions.
  • Multinational Team: If you count base ethnicity rather than actual citizenship. Specifically, Priss seems to be part-American, Sylia is at least part British or otherwise Western European (unless you consider the Grand Mal comic canon, in which her name is really Stengovich), Linna seems to be straight-up Japanese and Nene has some blatant Russian/Eastern European background, if the name didn't clue you in. See But Not Too Foreign above. In 2040 Priss, Linna and even Leon all appear to be of some mixed ancestry that is difficult to pin down.
  • No New Fashions in the Future: Archetypal example.
    • Exception: Sylia's midriff-baring high-collared sleeveless blouse worn under a business suit has never been fashionable in the past, but as the years pass it's starting to look increasingly common for women to dress like this in the future.
  • No Product Safety Standards: You'd think Boomers would be better to test in a lab than on the public.
  • One-Winged Angel: The 2040 boomers do this when they go rogue, becoming distorted mockeries of their "normal" states (see the waitress boomer). The boomers in the original OVAs Hulking Out of their skin also qualifies.
  • Our Graphics Will Suck in the Future, along with Technology Marches On: Sylia's car has a full-colour fax machine, but cellphones seem quite rare (she does have one, though). Computer equipment in general seems bulky and antiquated by early 21st century standards. Video pay phones seem to be the usual method of communication (sometimes the video is a 3D hologram, though).
    • Three words: Microsoft Excel 2040 (which looks less like Excel 2007 and more like Excel 2000.)
  • Playful Hacker: Nene.
  • Police Are Useless: With three exceptions.
  • Powered Armor
  • Promotion to Parent: Sylia, with Mackie.
  • Race Lift: The Hard Metal Guardians novel eliminates the Multinational Team aspect of previous BGC versions by giving all of the main characters Japanese surnames and black hair.
  • Redshirt Army: The AD Police, yes, but the ones in helicopters are specifically screwed.
  • Research, Inc.: GENOM does a lot of R&D and hardly any safety tests.
  • Robot War: Largo tries and fails to start one in episodes 5-6 of the OVA, One finally breaks out in the second half of 2040.
  • Sentai: A team in brightly colored suits. Yeah.
  • Shout-Out: To Streets of Fire, Blade Runner, Top Gun, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Marvel Comics, and others. Deserving special attention is the Miura/Miula factory in 2040, which references AIC producer Toru Miura.
    • AIC themselves get visual nods at places, most prominently on Priss's motorcycle helmets during the OVA. Animal Ya, who provided backgrounds to the original OVA, also inserted their own name into one of Episode 1's establishing shots.
    • The Boomers' metallic skulls with glowing red eyes are reminiscent of the Terminator's endoskeleton, as well as the Beast from the film Krull. Its ability to shoot lasers from its mouth was inspired by the God Warrior from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. In 2040, the nanotech-based second generation hardsuits resemble liquid metal in their initial state, like the T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
    • The weapons the AD Police carry are clearly the pulse rifles from Aliens. The way Sylvie kills the last Doberman with Weaponized Exhaust is also a reference to the first Alien movie.
    • The police cars the AD Police use have a high-speed mode that transforms the car in a manner similar to K.I.T.T.'s "Super Pursuit Mode" in Knight Rider.
    • All of the episode titles for 2040 are the names of rock songs and/or albums.
    • The mere existence of Priss (and her backing band, the Replicants) needs to be mentioned here. Especially since she first appears to us as a wild-haired blonde. (The joke is that it's a wig.) Leon is also named after one of the replicants from Blade Runner.
    • AD Police headquarters is a cylindrical building like the police headquarters in Blade Runner as well.
    • The Character Name and the Noun Phrase format used in "Priss and the Replicants" and "Vision and the Revengers" is a shout-out to Streets of Fire's Ellen Aim and the Attackers.
    • The female head of GENOM security is named Madigan, a possible Shout-Out to actress Amy Madigan who had a supporting role in Streets of Fire.
    • BGC features a red-haired Romanova. A certain hardsuit-wearing hero features a red-haired Romanova as a secondary character. Hilariously, though, the two could not be more dissimilar otherwise (Nene is a Playful Hacker who isn't that great at the physical violence while Black Widow is, well, a bigger Action Girl than Priss).
    • A neon sign in the background of the first episode reads "MZ 23". Megazone 23 was AIC's previous project before starting BGC.
    • The AD Police's Roadblock "truck" in Revenge Road is named Lulu Belle. That's Bogart's tank in Sahara (1943).
      • J.B. Gibson may have been named after Mel Gibson, since he was the star of Mad Max. Similarities between the title of this episode and Fury Road are definitely coincidental.
      • The "Highway Star" superbike is named after the Deep Purple song. Its lyrics are also applicable to Gibson's storyline — "Nobody gonna take my car", "Nobody gonna take my girl", "Nobody gonna take my head".
    • On Linna's desk in 2040 is a picture of her wearing the uniform from Battle Athletes.
    • A street display screen in Episode 1 of the original series briefly shows an image of Panthro before moving offscreen. (AIC had worked on animation for Thundercats.)
    • MC Hammer appears on another screen in Bubblegum Crash.
    • The appearance of Sylia's building "Ladys633", especially its cylindrical tower, is based on the Shibuya 109 building in Tokyo.
    • The hardsuits were partly inspired by the music video for "Go" by Asia.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Boomers vs. Voomers vs. Buma, anyone?
  • Superhero: The ladies are a quartet of Iron (Wo)men. However, Sylia has more in common with Bruce Wayne than Tony Stark.
  • Those Two Guys: AD Police Officers Leon McNichol and Daley Wong. Nigel Kirkland and Mackie Stingray have a bit of this in 2040.
  • Trick Bomb: In episode #6 of the AD Police TV series, it looked as if the bomb would go off and kill the hostages, Jose's wife and baby daughter, but the bomb was just a party popper-like fake (the bomb released confetti and a doll of the perp instead of a deadly explosion)... Until the secondary, real bombs went off, destroyed the building and killed Jose.
  • Universe Compendium: R. Talsorian's RPG sourcebooks serve this purpose, even if you don't use them to play the game.
  • Villain Decay: At the end of Parasite Dolls, GENOM is completely destroyed by a terrorist bombing campaign.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Priss hogs a lot of screen time, more so in the OVA than in 2040.

     Original Series 
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The cityscape sequence that introduces each episode of Bubblegum Crash!.
  • '80s Hair: So very much, from the boomer trio in the second episode to Priss' scene wig that looks like it's borrowed from Jem.
  • Actually a Doombot: GENOM's CEO in the OVA is never found on-screen; it's always an android impersonator. Which is good because this saves his life.
  • Age Is Relative: Believe it or not, but Linna is only a year older than Nene in the OVAs.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The third OVA episode "Blow Up" starts with Mason sending a military-grade Boomer at Sylia's Silky Doll store — and none of the Sabers are able to suit up in time to fight it.
  • Animation Bump: The quality of the OVA's animation improved noticeably between "Moonlight Rambler" and "Red Eyes".
  • Arm Cannon, Breath Weapon, Combat Tentacles, and Chest Blaster: Boomer weapon options. Knight Sabers may have Arm Cannons and/or the Power Fist. Sylia carries a Blade Below the Shoulder. Linna's hardsuit has microfilament hair ribbons that cut through steel!
  • Armed Legs: Priss' Powered Armor has contact-triggered explosives on top of both its feet. And rockets on both ankles. Attack sequence; 1). Jump. 2). Kick. 3). Activate rockets for rocket assisted kick. 4). Explosives go off once Mecha Mook receives kick to head. 5). Get dustpan to sweep up remains of mook.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: In the first OVA episode and the last episode of Crash, the only way to stop fusion boomers is by destroying their original bodies inside the huge accumulation of matter they've assimilated.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Quite a lot of the series carnage is set to rock tunes. Then there are the official videos for those songs. It could even be argued that the entire OVA series is a series of Music Videos with a bit of plot hung around them.
  • Awkwardly-Placed Bathtub: Priscilla Asagiri lives in a semi-truck trailer that has a clawfoot bathtub which is weirdly placed right next to a TV and right underneath a speaker which looks to be an Electrical Hazard.
  • Bath of Poverty: Priss' has her bathtub clumped into the one room semi-truck trailer that she lives in alongside several unrelated furniture.
  • Battle Butler: Kou, to Reika, in OVA episode 7.
  • Big Bad: Several — GENOM, Largo, Quincy; Galatea in 2040.
  • Break the Cutie: The second AD Police OVA is told from the viewpoint of an idealistic young policewoman who is trying to prove that the serial killer in the episode is human (both to the police and herself) while struggling with the decision to replace her right eye with an artificial one. The episode ends with her going under the knife, narrating that this was the story of how she lost part of her humanity.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Bubblegum Crash!...
    • Priss starts using ore instead of watashi as a first person pronoun, which she hadn't done beforenote  her voice actress was replaced. Her animosity to the idea of Adama being a boomer who thinks exactly like a human is inexplicable considering her previous relationship with Sylvie.
    • Nene Took a Level in Badass, right after OVA 8 gave her A Day in the Spotlight episode that was all about how she didn't need to be a conventional badass.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In ep. 2 of the OVA, Linna takes Irene's engagement ring after Boomers kill the young woman, as a memento to remember her friend. This comes into play later, in ep. 7, when Linna gives this ring to Irene's sister, Reika, aka Vision, to convince her not to take up the leadership of the Hou Bang group and pursue further vengeance against GENOM.
  • Compressed Hair: In the OVA, Priss and Nene are sometimes seen pinning their hair up before putting on their helmets, but not always.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Several. After Sylia mentions Sexaroids, Nene (who doesn't know Sylvie is one) wonders if they're as pretty as Sylvie. Priss spotting Anri and Largo is covered in Slow-Motion Pass-By. This is also how clues get picked up in the first two AD Police OVAs.
  • Cool Bike: The Motoslaves.
    • The Highway Star, a bike custom-built by Mackie and used by Priss to chase the Gryphon during the 4th OVA.
  • Cool Car:
    • In the OVAs, Sylia drives a replica (according to the artbooks) of a red 1954 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing. Her 2040 counterpart has a Porsche 911, but it only appears in two episodes.
    • The Gryphon that episode 4 of the OVA is centered on is also a very cool, highly customized vehicle. It just happens to be owned by someone completely insane.
  • Cool Code of Source: It's typically music; track lists from the BGC OST, lyrics from the same, or sometimes from Madonna music. Very occasionally there will be some BASIC code.
  • Cultural Translation: When Sho's mom wanted him to make hamburger steak, he told her he already got a hamburger from Priss and would rather have curry (most likely with rice). In the dub, he wants a pizza.
  • Cut Short: With the originale OVA. The eighth episode is a Midseason Upgrade episode which focuses on Nene and wasn't intended to be the end at all, but various factors made it the last produced episode of the first OVA series.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Discussed in the AD Police OVA, with two episodes revolving around cyborgs going insane, and other characters worrying about the consequences of having smaller artifical organs installed. It's also revealed in Episode 2 that anyone who replaces more than 70% of their body with implants is legally considered a "Boomeroid", meaning that the AD Police can terminate them with extreme prejudice if they step out of line.
    • R. Talsorian's Bubblegum Crisis RPG books expand on the humanity-loss phenomenon: "Boomer Syndrome" has various causes, ranging from purely mental to actual mechanical malfunctions in the implants, and over time can cause such delightful side effects as phantom pain, mood swings, emotional disassociation and terrifying hallucinations. One of the worst, though, is "cybermorphosis", which occurs with implants that incorporate recycled Boomer tech: occasionally, the self-repair functions of the Boomer parts will reactivate, causing severe pain and disfigurement as the implant attempts to "fix" itself. This eventually happens to The Ripper in the AD Police OVA.
  • Da Chief: Chief Todou
  • Darker and Edgier: The AD Police OVA series, set five years before the original BGC OVAs, shows a grittier MegaTokyo with more pervasive crime and urban decay, more graphic sex and violence, and people with more obvious-looking cyberware.
  • A Day in the Limelight: What the eighth OVA episode amounts to, focusing on Nene and developing her character substantially. (This ends up being a weird capstone for the original OVA series, since the run wasn't supposed to end there.) Linna also gets some focus in the second episode, but to a much lesser extent.
  • Deus Angst Machina: The D.D. Battlemover. Everything about it is ridiculously contrived in order to force Priss to kill Sylvie. (For specifics, see Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds on the character page.)
  • Deus ex Machina: OAV 6 "Red Eyes" has two notable examples — the new Typhoon II Motorslave shows up with Priss's new hardsuit just in the nick of time to save Priss from Largo and his Hyperboomers, and the prototype MSX-01 Motorslave equipped with a surface-to-orbit anti-satellite laser cannon was never previously established.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: Lampshaded by Jeena in the AD Police manga when she finds herself trapped in a building being taken over by anti-corporate terrorists (the leader of whom happens to be one of her ex-boyfriends).
  • Dirty Old Man: Dr. McLaren.
  • The Dragon: Brian J. Mason, Madigan, others.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Or rather, a radio tower in Adama's case.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Sylvie, Sylvie, Sylvie. Justified in-story by her background as a purpose-built sex slave.
  • Evil Twin: A set of Boomers dolled up as fake Knight Sabers in one episode.
  • Failed Future Forecast: In one episode, there's a danger that military boomer technology might get sold to the communists. Granted, especially given where the show is set this could still sort of work, but it's very obvious which kind of "communist" they're talking about.
  • Fake Band: Priss and the Replicants (and Sekiria, the 2040 version of her band), Vision and the Revengers. The OVA Knight Sabers sing as a group on some songs and are seen playing instruments in the "Asu e Touchdown" video, but they're not canonically supposed to be an in-universe band.
  • Five-Man Band Concert: The Knight Sabers form a band in the video for "Touchdown to Tomorrow". They're also credited with a number of other songs associated with the franchise. Priss, The Lancer and protagonist, is the lead singer and the only one with an In-Universe musical career. Sylia, The Leader and the Big Good, is the backing vocalist and plays the bass. Nene, The Smart Girl, plays a multineck guitar. And Linna, The Big Girl (in terms of abilities, not appearance), is on the drums.
  • Flipping the Bird: Done by Michaelson to provoke the Boomer Crusher battle robot.
  • Game Face: While the Boomers from the OVAs were heavily derivative of Terminators, an important difference is that Terminators only lose their skin through injury, while Boomers intentionally have to burst out of their skin and expand their bodies when they go into combat.
  • A God Am I: Largo considers himself a Boomer God, complete with comparing his access to a Kill Sat as a Bolt of Divine Retribution.
  • Going Critical: A threat of such an incident is part of the plot of the final episode of Bubblegum Crash, "Meltdown". The title of this episode is also a Spoiler Title.
  • Gratuitous English: Oh good lord, absolutely infamous for this too. Almost none of the English in the show escapes without some kind of error. A lot of neophyte anime fans in The '80s were introduced to the Engrish concept via this show. The very first scene has a sign advertising the band "PRISS AND THE REPRICANTS".
  • Groin Attack: Priss knees an uncooperative ADP crowd control trooper in the groin when he refuses to let her pass so that she could slap a boomer in Episode 2, "Born to Kill" of the original series.
  • Gunship Rescue: Mackie pilots a gunship, unofficially called the "Knight Wing", to rescue the other Sabers from their first battle with their Evil Knockoffs during OVA episode 6.
  • Hacker Duel: In the eighth and final episode of the original series, Nene, the Hackette of the Knight Sabers, is caught in the middle of a "Die Hard" on an X situation at A.D. Police headquarters caused by a disgruntled scientist and the hero hunter boomers he created — one of which physically merges with the ADP's main server and takes control of the building. Once Nene's teammates come to the rescue, Nene has to battle the hacker boomer in order to escort the police chief's daughter to safety, opening locked doors and overriding building defenses all the while. After the other boomers are defeated, Nene has to prevent the hacker boomer from self-destructing the headquarters building.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: We didn't get to see it, but Kimble the boomer saved Michaelson from an assassination attempt by Sorime's minions using a helicopter gunship at the expense of his artificial life.
  • Honey Trap: Used on Dr. MacLaren by Vision as part of her revenge for her parents and sister. Includes Room Disservice by multiple parties.
  • Hot Springs Episode: There was a rejected script proposal for one of these. Word of God says that the script eventually resurfaced as an episode of one of director Hiroki Hayashi's later projects: Tenchi Muyo!. This Usenet post attempts to reconstruct the original storyline.
  • Idiot Ball: Relating to Deus Angst Machina above, if Sylvie can hypnotize people with her eyes, why does she need to use the D.D. Battlemover to drain victims of their blood?
  • Intrepid Reporter: Lisa Vanette, a young would-be photographer introduced in the last OVA episode. She talked her father, Da Chief of the AD Police, into letting her visit in the hopes of getting her first scoop, and risks her life to get a very news-worthy photo of one of the Knight Sabers. Lisa's photo of the Arc Villain for the episode being arrested gets published. She returns the incriminating photo and camera memory card to Nene at the end of the episode.
  • It's Personal: It's extremely easy to make it this way for Priss, even when it was Linna's friend, and is the theme for most episodes of the OVA. Parodied with Lisa's vendetta against the Sabers for destroying her camera.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: There in some ways, given the show's roots, but oddly inverted in a sense: while the world does seem to be largely under the heel of various kinds of zaibatsu, nearly all of the top-level executives in the show are westerners, implying that Western influence took over originally Japanese megacorps and made them their own.
  • Killer Robot: To quote Zoogz, "GENOM assumes no responsibility for your domestic boomer going on a psychotic murder spree."
  • Kill Sat: The first episode centers around a stolen Kill Sat controller, and Kill Sat strikes are important events in later episodes.
  • Lighter and Softer: MegaTokyo looks surprisingly clean and shiny in the eighth OVA episode, and more so in 2040 before the Robot War.
    • The eighth OVA also refreshingly bucks the trend of having important one-shot characters be killed off.
  • Lipstick-and-Load Montage: Priss is seen doing this as part of the opening montage of the first episode, preparing to go on stage and sing the opening theme. Contrasted slightly with Lock-and-Load Montage for other characters.
  • Machine Blood: Most of the Boomers tended to bleed bright orange fluid when damaged, which is unusual for robotic enemies.
  • New Neo City: The city of Tokyo was devastated in 2025 by the Second Great Kanto Earthquake (a reference to this real-life earthquake), which split the city "geographically and culturally in two" as it was rebuilt into "Megalo City Tokyo", or "MegaTokyo" for short.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Briefly when Priss was changing into her battle attire in episode #2 and #3 (the same shot is recycled for both).
    • Very briefly in episode #8 during Nene's shower scene.
    • The boomer running amok in AD Police OVA #1.
    • Also very briefly from Gina, the former girlfriend of Billy the cyborg, in mid-shag.
    • Again very briefly one of the women getting sexually aroused by the sensorial input of bommers going mad in the first part of Parasite Dolls.
    • In the second part, it's a bare breast of a boomer in the background of the Branch cops talking to an owner of an illegal boomer factory.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dr. McLaren looks suspiciously like Walt Disney, and the new AD Police chief in Crash is clearly based on George H.W. Bush.
  • No Name Given: Sho's mother.
  • No One Could Survive That!:
    Largo has fallen, on fire, into a deep chasm, and exploded.
    Nene: We did it! But... do you suppose he's dead?
    Linna: He's got to be. Nobody could survive a fall from this height.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: Downplayed. As revealed in supplemental material, and occasionally referenced in the series, the Knight Sabers have 11 rules:
    1. Do not divulge any information concerning this organisation.
    2. Do not act upon a personal grudge.
    3. Do not act without the mutual consent of all members.
    4. Do not secede from this organisation.
    5. Members are personally responsible for any damage done to the organisation's equipment unless that damage was unavoidable.
    6. Do not divulge any information concerning our clients.
    7. Do not gather information on your own. The task of intelligence gathering is to be distributed evenly among all the members.
    8. Keep in contact with the other members regularly.
    9. The members do not know each other outside of this organization.
    10. Do not get involved with a man.
    11. The penalty for violating any of the ten regulations listed above is death.
    • This would certainly constitute an Obstructive Code of Conduct if followed strictly - however, almost all of the rules get broken, and rule 11 is never enforced. Ultimately, they seem to be ideals which have been rapidly modified in the face of reality.
      • Rule 1 is a tricky case - while several people know the identities of some or all of the members, nobody actually reveals anything.
      • Similarly, Priss has almost broken rule 2 several times, but the others always end up supporting her grudges.
      • However, Priss has broken rules 3 and 4, and how her personal duel with Largo and his Hyperboomers (which resulted in the destruction of her hardsuit and motorslave) relates to rule 5 is also a scary thought.
      • Linna, on the other hand, breaks rule 10 regularly.
      • Everyone except Sylia has broken rule 8.
      • Rule 9 is flagrantly disregarded by all four members.
      • Rules 6 and 7 seem to have been followed, though (regarding 7, in OVA 1, Priss is doing what she's told... until she's chased by Boomers, then she's surviving).
  • O.C. Stand-in: Madigan, the female GENOM executive who appears in the Largo arc.
  • The Ojou: Sylia and Reika.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The 'vampire' stalking Megatokyo in one episode of the OVA is in fact an old-model Boomer that uses artificial blood in its internal systems. Who has a friend with a big leak or something. Also more or less a Lesbian Vampire.
  • Paintball Episode: The Sabers' introductory scene in OVA 4, "Revenge Road".
  • Plot Leveling: Perhaps it was a mistake to introduce Kill Sats and runaway Nanotechnology in the first episode, since these are the most powerful weapons that could realistically exist in this setting. Further into the franchise, the technology becomes increasingly cartoonish and superhero-like, such as the Boomers used by Dr. Miriam in OAV 8 and Largo in Crash, and the upgraded hardsuits in Crash and 2040.
  • Rape and Revenge: In the fourth OVA, J.B. Gibson rebuilds his car into an instrument of revenge against the motorcycle gang who, it is implied, raped his girlfriend.
  • Robot Girl: Sylvie, Anri, other sexaroids, plus Mason's bodyguards.
  • Robotic Reveal: The first OVA episode.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Guest characters frequently get killed in order to invoke It's Personal, including Cynthia, Irene, Sho's mother, all five of the Sexaroids, Dr. Yuri and Adama.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: Sylvie and Anri.
  • Shadow Archetype: The Largo-Sylia relationship.
  • Slow-Motion Pass-By: Priss recognizes Anri as the driver of a car she just happens to pass by on her motorcycle.
  • So Last Season: In an unusual example of this happening to a villain, Dr. Miriam builds customized Boomers to defeat the Knight Sabers' current hardsuits, only to find that they've already upgraded their hardsuits when he deploys them.
  • Something Only They Would Say: "This is the look of the true victor!" Said by both Corrupt Corporate Executive Brian J. Mason and his "reincarnation", Largo. In the English dub, during Largo's confrontation with Leon, he calls Leon "little puppy," which he also called him as Mason.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The second original OVA closes out at a graveyard, with a wide shot of many gravestones and mourners... then immediately kicks in the upbeat '80s anime pop music. Both the shot and the music remains constant throughout the end credits. Not quite putting The "Fun" in "Funeral", but...
  • Spider Tank: The GD-42 mecha, piloted by Reika and Kou.
  • Staking the Loved One: At the end of AD Police: To Serve and Protect. When Hans saw what happened when bio-voomer Liam got out of control, he asked Kenji to kill him, if the same should happen to him, too. Unfortunately, he had to keep his promise in the next episode and kill him and the GENOM CEO who turned himself into a bio-voomer to escape his old age and illness.
  • Stock Sound Effects: As the two were made concurrently with one another with a similar crew. Sound effects from this series can also be heard in the animated Captain Power training videos.
  • Stripperific: Vision's stage outfit, also the Knight Sabers' spandex thing worn under their power armour.
  • Super Hero Origin: Given the above, the OVA is oddly notable for avoiding this; we never actually get around to seeing how the team got together, and the first episode is practically In Medias Res. At best we get some vague hints about Sylia's reasons for wanting to assemble the team in the first place, but how in the world Priss, Linna, Nene and Sylia all fell in together (when it seems highly improbable that they'd all meet by chance) is never even remotely explained. It seems like they were building toward addressing this in the original series (it would've been a logical segue from the team-building of OVA ep8), but, well...
    • Even more interestingly, none of the "direct" sequels to the original OVA bother answering this either, not even Crash! or AD Police. The only part of the franchise that details anything like an origin for the team is 2040.
    • The music video for "Touchdown to Tomorrow" ("Asu E TouchDown") in Hurricane Live shows a few glimpses of it. It makes Nene's recruitment clear enough (hey Playful Hacker, that woman whose files you're in WANTS YOU), but still leaves a lot of questions about the exact circumstances and motivations around Priss' and Linna's recruitment.
      • Worse, it counts as All There in the Manual, since Hurricane Live was a separate product and not widely distributed outside Japan until AnimEigo's DVD collection was released.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Nene in Crash.
  • Transhuman: The OVA had numerous hints at Sylia being this.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: The Hou Bang from OVA episode 7, "Double Vision".
    • Triad Princess: Reika Chang, though Linna was able to convince her to give up being the Hou Bang leader at the end.
  • Trojan Ambulance: In "Double Vision", Reika/Vision impersonates a call girl in order to poison a boomer designer so that she and her allies can kidnap him using a fake ambulance.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The OAVs never offer any explanation for how and when Mason transferred his mind into Largo, or how Largo got put into a life-support tank in Crash.
  • Video Full of Film Clips: The music videos for several songs mostly consist of these.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Billy from the A.D. Police episode "The Man Who Bites His Tongue", an ADP officer who gets picked as the test subject for the new Cyborg Unit of the force.
  • We Help the Helpless: The Knight Sabers usually take paying clients for mercenary and private detective work, but they'll fight Boomers for free if they're major threats to the AD Police and the city.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Kate Madigan is covered in the One Episode Wonder example on her character page.
    • Why don't we see the Motoslaves after OVA 6? They would have come in handy fighting Reika's Genki battlemover, and they could have taken on Miriam's Boomers without needing the hardsuits to be upgraded.
  • What Song Was This Again?: AnimEigo produced English versions of every vocal song on the OVA soundtrack. Particularly infamous is their version of "Mr. Dandy".
  • Whole-Plot Reference: AD Police Files episode 3, The Man Who Bites His Tongue, is this for RoboCop (1987). It's also a perfect example of doing this right; rather than simply feeding off the popularity of RoboCop and cribbing the plot, it is a much darker and more serious exploration of what would happen in that scenario.

     Tokyo: 2040 
  • Acoustic License: A great example in the Tokyo: 2040 series episode "Minute by Minute". Priss and Leon have a quiet conversation together... while speeding down a highway on motorcycles. No evidence of radios here, and in fact it's even crazier because Leon is wearing an open face helmet while Priss's helmet is totally enclosed, which would muffle her voice even if they were at a dead stop.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: From the OVAs to 2040.
    • Nene went from being a redhead to a blonde in 2040.
    • Sylia became white-haired instead of a Brainy Brunette.
    • Linna, Mackie, and Mason went from black hair to brown.
    • Daley went from a redhead to having brown hair.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • The Sylia of the OVAs is calm and collected, whereas the 2040 incarnation was more volatile and prone to outbursts. Being a test subject from her father may be the cause of the 2040 Sylia's instability.
    • As like with George Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man, Leon, who was supportive of the Knight Sabers in the OVA series, started off in Tokyo 2040 considering them dangerous vigilantes and thinks they make the AD Police look bad.
    • Daley went from Not-full-on Camp Gay to Straight Gay.
    • The Priss of the OVAs pretty much wore her anger, annoyance and other assorted emotions on her sleeve while her 2040 incarnation is The Stoic - though still prone to shooting her mouth off when angry.
  • Adaptational Badass: While many people debate whether the original or new series is best, what they don't debate is that Linna took twenty levels of badass in 2040. While in the original series she was a ditzy, materialistic and (to most of the series' plot) inconsequential character, in 2040 she's a much more down-to-earth girl with a strong personality and a hidden intolerance of authority. A big part of her character in the new series is how being a Knight Saber lets her cut loose and be more true to herself than she can be when in the civilian world. She has such a strong personality, she actually manages to impress Priss, of all people, and when she joins the Knight Sabers she becomes their close-combat specialist, Priss's Lancer and her full equal in combat ability.
    • Nene also got a bit of a badass upgrade in 2040 - in the original OVA she was content to watch the action from the sidelines while working her hacker magic, and the few times she had to engage in physical combat usually ended badly for her, while in 2040 she's much more aggressive and usually handles herself better when in combat (though sometimes things still don't work out for her).
    • Boomers are much stronger in 2040 as one rogue boomer can create enough trouble for the whole team, whereas they could take out scores of boomers in the original series. Boomers also need to be targeted in a specific area, their cores, in 2040 or otherwise they'll still function whereas any generalized amount of damage was enough to take them out in the original.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Nene is kind of a brat at the start of 2040, as opposed to the lovably goofy girl she was in the original. She gets better, though.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: In the original OVA, Priss initially had little interest in Leon but showed increasing interest in Episode 6 "Red Eyes." In 2040, by contrast, she's Tsundere for Leon and doesn't appear to reciprocate Linna's affections (though Linna also liked at least one guy during the course of the show) while being infatuated with the soft spoken mechanic Nigel. Conversely, Linna and Nene's subtext (though in 2040 they were usually more like surrogate siblings until the series finale), and Sylia's textual bisexuality, were added in 2040.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • The 2040 version of Sylia is in a more Mission Control role, rarely going into the field, whereas the OVAs version of Sylia led the Knight Sabers into battle herself.
    • Oddly enough, this happens to GENOM: on the original OAV/2040 continuities it's such an unstoppable juggernaut that the Knight Sabers are locked into a shadow war where most of the time the best they can do is make sure that the company's excesses don't hurt innocents and the only threats that can do any damage to it are on the "mass destruction" level (Galatea's Robot War on 2040, Largo needing to break out the Kill Sat WMDs for Quincy to even listen to him on "Red Eyes"), while an anarchist bombing campaign brings it to its knees in Parasite Dolls.
    • The Knights Sabers' armor are less advanced in the 2040 continuity as they have a time limit for operational time, whereas in the original there was no time limit.
  • Age Is Relative:
    • Linna is only a year older than Priss - who is supposed to be nineteen years old.
    • In general a lot of characters both in the original and 2040 don't look their intended ages. Sylia is 23/24 but looks to be in her early 30s, the 2040 Leon looked to be early-to-mid 30s but was only 24, etc.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: 2040 has a more full-scale invasion of the Sabers' base once Galatea starts the Robot War.
  • Ascended Fanboy: The 2040 version of Linna came to Tokyo because she'd become a fan of the Sabers and wanted to join them; because of her encounter with Priss and other lucky breaks, she succeeded.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: In 2040, boomers can only be destroyed by attacking their core, a small red sphere embedded somewhere in their body. This serves to make Nene's combat role more understandable than in the OVAs: she uses her sensor equipment to locate the core.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Happens at the end of 2040 episode 26, when Nene and Linna are stranded nude on a desert island after their suits burn away upon re-entering the atmosphere. Most likely as a consequence of Japanese censorship laws which forbid explicit frontal nudity.
  • Bittersweet Ending: 2040 ends with the world being saved, but Sylia is a mess while Nene and Linna are stranded on an uninhabited island while Priss is alone in a desert, all three with little to no chance of being rescued or surviving. Even worse is that all three ladies are completely naked because their hardsuits broke down into scrap metal, presumably from re-entering Earth's atmosphere. Whatever happens to them now remains a mystery.
  • Break the Cutie: Nene undergoes this in the 2040 episodes My Nation Underground and Woke Up With A Monster when her bratty arrogance finally comes back to bite her in the ass after she tries to play match maker between Priss and Leon, earning her a long overdue scolding from Sylia for endangering the team's secrecy, and then gets her ass handed to her in a boomer fight when she tries to rush in and beat the boomer by herself in a misguided attempt to prove herself. Probably more Break the Haughty in her case though.
  • Broad Strokes: 2040. Provoked reactions of They Changed It, Now It Sucks! from some fans of the OVAs.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Near the end of the 2040 series, Linna and Nene are riding behind Priss on her motorcycle; all three of them are wearing hardsuits. Linna and Nene get cross popping veins on their hardsuit helmets, which then detach and float away on the wind.
  • Darker and Edgier: In comparison to Classic, this series is quite a bit darker and much more serious in terms of presentation. Rogue Boomers are more like horrifying mutated monsters as opposed to the rampaging robots of the original, while many of the newly interpreted characters have become either meaner or more sullen then they were in the original series. Priss' haircut is even a literal representation of this, as it goes from light brown and rounded in the original OV As to dark brown and semi-spiky in here. The change in music also helps to show this as while Classic's OST was pretty upbeat and full of pop rock, 2040's soundtrack is much more gloomy and serious, falling more along the lines of heavy metal.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: In 2040, Quincy is always shown sitting in a chair with life support equipment hooked up to him.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: The 2040 version of Nene gets to go through this along with Da Chief and two random office workers when Galatea reanimates the Boomer wreckage stored at ADP headquarters into a Zombie Robot Apocalypse.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation: Two in 2040.
    • Sylia is shown with mental instability, possibly as a result of the creation of Boomer tech involving an experiment with her brain.
    • Quincy is depicted as a Dark Lord on Life Support.
  • Earthquake Machine: What caused the earthquake that destroyed Tokyo in 2040's backstory. GENOM tried to keep runaway boomer technology are getting loose, deciding to employ the device to bury the lab, and causing the city to be rebuilt. However, this didn't destroy the technology as it later got loose.
  • Enhance Button: The last notable element of Blade Runner that the original OVA didn't borrow shows up in episode 7 of 2040 instead.
  • Evil Twin: Arguably, Galatea from 2040.
  • Going Commando: In 2040, the Knights Saber are at first commando in their plug suits. Later, they don't even get plugsuits and are naked under their upgraded power armor (which is now transparent in places). Lampshaded by Sylia when she tells Mackie that "he's in the girls' changing room" when they're discussing it, and a totally flustered Mackie runs away all red-faced.
  • Guinea Pig Family: In Tokyo 2040, Professor Stingray created the Boomer prototypes Mackie and Galatea by implanting their cores inside a young Sylia's brain and letting them learn its structure. He created the cores by dissecting his wife's brain — which is why it only worked with Sylia.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Tokyo 2040 uses 1970s heavy metal/hard rock song titles as episode titles.
  • Jumped at the Call: 2040!Linna
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Priss gets a bit of this in 2040. Sylia also may not count in 2040.
  • Loving a Shadow: Priss's infatuation with Nigel in 2040. Sylia comes dangerously close to this herself until it becomes clear that Nigel does care for her on some level.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: A frequently-seen characteristic of rogue Boomers in 2040.
  • Musical Theme Naming: The 2040 episodes have titles taken from famous (or infamous) songs or albums including Jefferson Starship's "We Built This City", The Doors' "Light My Fire", Eagles' "One of these Nights", Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother" and The Police's "Walking on The Moon".
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Linna can be occasionally seen wearing a sweatband on her head just like she (nearly always) did in the original series.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Quincy's surname was never revealed in the OVA, but 2040 give it as "Rosenkroitz/Rosenkreuz".
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Particularly in 2040, the Boomers start out as mostly-believable humanoid cyborgs, only to degenerate into magical fusing zombie ghost robots by the end.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Sylia humiliates Priss with this trope in 2040 episode My Nation Underground when the tomboyish biker loses a bet to her flighty boss, forcing her to be photographed wearing an ugly pink dress while Nene and Linna laugh at her and mock her.
    • It made more sense in the original Japanese language version (where Priss wanted Nene kicked off the team for digging into her personal life) than in the English language version (which changed it to Priss wanting Nene removed from the team for her own safety).
      • Comes back to bite Sylia, Nene and Linna in the ass when Priss temporarily quits and refuses to help them due to Sylia lying to them and abusing their trust.
      • Incidentally, pink tends to be a prominent color in Nene's hardsuits and 2040 indicates that she and Linna both own and wear at least one set of pink underwear each.
  • Plucky Office Girl: Linna's day job in 2040. In the OVAs she was an aerobics instructor (turned stockbroker in Crash).
  • Red Herring: In episode 9 there are numerous strange boomer disappearances in the underground before a rouge boomer finally appears, except it was not responsible, but rather some kind of weird experiment that makes short work of said boomer. The appearance of the rouge boomer was just a coincidence.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Galatea.
  • Space Elevator: Tokyo 2040 has a "skyhook" connecting Tokyo and an orbital power satellite play several important roles in the plot. GENOM is building a network of tunnels beneath Tokyo to store energy released by the satellite, which are put to other uses by both Mason and Galatea. Sylia also tries to use the energy discharged by the skyhook to power a BFG so she can try to fry Galatea while she's still Sealed In A Can. (It doesn't work.) Before the end, the Knight Sabers have to hitch a ride into orbit.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Played for laughs in 2040; Linna (over)reacts to Priss riding off after accidentally making Linna drop her lunch by shouting "Yurusan!" and running after her.
  • The Tokyo Fireball: A part of the backstory of the series is a massive earthquake destroying Tokyo, leveling the city and it being rebuilt by Boomers. In 2040, it's destroyed again because of Galatea. In fact, in 2040, the earthquake was a man-made event to stop Galatea in the first place.
  • Uncanny Valley Girl: Boomers that are meant to resemble humans all have alabaster skin, unusual hair colours and unblinking eyes, which Linna's co-worker points out seems creepier than the more obvious mechas that do manual labour. This is a start contrast to the original series where the Boomers were based on Replicants and Terminators, meaning they could easily pass for humans.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Towards the end of 2040 Daley Wong disappears after the ADP make one last stand and is never seen again, nor is his own fate ever established.
    • In 2040, Mason's fate is left ambiguous. Did he die? Was he assimilated by Galatea? Is he somehow still alive inside her?

Alternative Title(s): Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040