Bubblegum Crisis (バブルガムクライシス Baburugamu Kuraishisu?) is a 1987 cyberpunk mecha anime OVA set in a future, post-earthquake Tokyo, called "Mega Tokyo". The series displays strong influences from Blade Runner, also making occasional references to it.
The series begins in the late 2032, seven years after the Second Great Kanto Earthquake has split Tokyo geographically and culturally in two. During the first episode, disparities in wealth are shown to be more pronounced than in previous periods in post-war Japan.
The main antagonist is Genom, a megacorporation with immense power and global influence. Its main product are boomers - cyberdroids used for manual labor and military purposes. While Boomers are intended to serve mankind, they become deadly instruments in the hands of ruthless individuals. The AD Police are tasked to deal with Boomer-related crimes. One of the series' themes is the inability of the department to deal with threats due to political infighting, red tape, and an insufficient budget.
The Knight Sabers are an all-female mercenary team and have considerable combat abilities using highly advanced suits of powered armor. They battle against long odds to overcome grave threats throughout the OVA series and preserve the overall safety of Mega Tokyo.
The OVA series is eight episodes long. It was originally slated to run for thirteen episodes, but due to legal problems between the two studios who jointly held the rights to the series, Artmic and Youmex, the series was discontinued. The problems may have been brought on by the series' lackluster sales in Japan. In North America, however, the series did comparatively well and has remained a fan favorite.
In Japan, a number of comic books were produced that featured characters and storylines based in the BGC (a common abbreviation for the series name) universe. Some were very much thematically linked to the OVA series, others were "one shots" or comedy features. A number of artists participated in the creation of these comics, including Kenichi Sonoda, who had produced the original Knight Saber character designs. A North American comic based in the Bubblegum Crisis Universe was published in English by Dark Horse Comics.
The series involves the adventures of the Knight Sabers, an all woman group of mercenaries who don powered armor and fight various problems, most frequently rogue boomers. Boomers are humanoid robots designed to perform a variety of tasks, from construction and firefighting to combat; a particular model of Boomer, the BU-33S "Sexaroid", is designed for sexual purpose, and also in need of human blood, as been revealed in episode 5
One of the central themes of the series, showing its Blade Runner influence strongly, is the exploration of what "human" really means. As in Blade Runner, this is often done by using the android characters, especially focusing on BU-33S.
Bubblegum Crisis was notable also in that it was one of the few early anime series that were brought over from Japan unedited and subtitled with English captions that still have a great deal of popularity today. While anime has become much more popular in the intervening years, in 1991 it was still mostly unknown as a storytelling medium in North America.
In 1997, a new series was created, titled Bubblegum Crisis 2040, but was not a sequel to the original OVA series. Headed by Chiaki J. Konaka, it was a standalone television series, and while it used similar themes to the original, it employed new designs for the characters and the mechanical devices. This series ran for twenty six episodes. Some discussion has taken place between the production companies for a second season, tentatively titled Bubblegum Crisis 2041.
Despite the age of the original series, a non-Japanese fandom still exists for it. The community of fans have produced large quantities of Fan fiction and Fan art based on both the OVA and television series with the current estimated count of fanfiction in English language alone well exceeding four hundred texts, though there is a preponderance of works and discussion based on the original series.
Bubblegum Crisis has many features that have proven attractive to many viewers of anime. The mecha designs, cyberpunk characters, and post-apocalyptic city of Megatokyo are well-realized and leave a lasting impression. The storylines are varied and complex, with some elements left deliberately unexplained and open to interpretation.
The music throughout the original OVA series is one of the most recognizable in anime fandom and generates a strong feeling of 1980's nostalgia. The opening song and sequence for the first OVA, as well as many of the other songs throughout the series, clearly draw inspiration from the 1984 movie Streets of Fire. Nearly all of the music is available, as there are 8 soundtrack releases (one per OVA), as well as numerous "vocal" albums which feature songs "inspired by" the series as well as many drawn directly from it. As a consequence Bubblegum Crisis, with its better than 1:1 soundtrack album to episode ratio (when one considers the "vocal" albums), may arguably have among the highest number of album-length music collections (percentage-wise) which may be attributed to any single title in contemporary anime.
A roleplaying game based on the series was published by R. Talsorian in 1997 under the Fuzion system. It contains many original sketches of the characters, mecha and settings, as well as detailed background information about them. A supplement detailing the 1997 series was planned, but could not be completed before RTG's license expired in 2002.
A digitally-remastered compilation of the original series' episodes, featuring bi-lingual tracks and production extras, was released on DVD in 2004 by AnimEigo Inc.
|#||Title||Release date |
|1||Tinsel City Rhapsody
|The Knight Sabers are hired to rescue a little girl from a group of kidnappers, but the girl is far more than she seems...|
|2||Born to Kill
|A friend of Linna's threatens to expose Genom secrets that led to the death of her fiancé, but Genom plans to silence her, first.|
|The Knight Sabers attack Genom Tower to put an end to the machinations of Genom executive Brian J. Mason.|
|A racer modifies his car into a weapon of vengeance against the biker gangs of Megatokyo, but the car soon develops a mind of its own.|
|A killer is draining victims of their blood, but this is no vampire. And what do a pair of escaped love-doll androids, Priss's new friend Sylvie and the D.D. super-weapon have to do with it?|
|A group of fake Knight Sabers are ruining the group's reputation, leading to a fight against a returning foe.|
|A singer with a vendetta comes to Megatokyo, and brings some heavy firepower with her.|
|An ambitious technical scientist and an aspiring reporter both plan to make their names at the expense of the Knight Sabers, and of all people, Nene is caught right in the middle.|
- AD Police Files
- Bubblegum Crash
- Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040
- AD Police: To Serve and Protect
- Parasite Dolls (a three-episode OVA about Branch, a secret division of the AD Police)
- Scramble Wars released with Ten Little Gall Force
- Holiday in Bali special (live action)
- Hurricane Live 2032
- Hurricane Live 2033
- Crime Wave: game for PC-88, set in Megatokyo and featuring Knight Sabers as the main characters (an overview of the game can be found here )
- Bubblegum Crash: game for TurboGrafx-16 (an overview of the game can be found here )
In May 2009 it was announced that a live-action movie of "Bubblegum Crisis" was in the early stages of production. A production agreement was signed at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. The film is expected to be released late 2012 and is consulting the original anime's staff members Shinji Aramaki and Kenichi Sonoda to help tie the film with the original anime.
- Bubblegum Crisis role-playing game produced by R. Talsorian Games. It introduces an alternate setting named "Bubblegum Crossfire", basing on a premise that data units with hardsuit blueprints have been sent to more individuals than just Sylia Stingray, resulting in that by 2033 there are numerous Knight Saber-like groups spread all over the globe. RTG's license to produce this game has expired and at present all copies of back stock have been sold.
- "Bubblegum Crisis: Before and After" (covering material from A.D. Police Files and Bubblegum Crash)
- "Bubblegum Crisis EX" which includes completely new materials (also incorporating early design concepts for BGC mecha and hardsuits as new variants)
- Knight Sabers
- Boomers (actually BU-55 combat boomers)
- A.D. Police officers
- "GENOM bosses" (pack contains Quincy, Mason and GENOM battlesuit)
- "Soldier Blue" novel by Toshimichi Suzuki. Translated into English language in 1997 by R.Talsorian Games. A copy of the translation can be found here.
- Some images from BGC also were used in the CCG Ani-Mayhem.
- Nerdcore Rapper mc chris references Bubblegum Crisis in his song Japanese Maid stating "She could be my Bubblegum Crisis. I don't know what that means."
- "Bubblegum Crisis Fan Fiction Guide". 2000. Retrieved 2009-03-28. Last version of the guide names 350 texts
- "Bubblegum Crisis fanfiction archive". Retrieved 2007-03-28. The BGC fanfiction repository on eyrie.org archive has over 400 texts. These do not fully overlap with ones named in the Fanfiction guide.
- "fanfiction.net Bubblegum Crisis category". Retrieved 2007-07-19.The Bubblegum Crisis category on fanfiction.net lists further 292 texts, although it is unknown how many of them overlap with previously mentioned sources.
- "Bubblegum Crisis [商品紹介:Video/Ld]". Anime-int.com. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- trebor View profile More options (2000-06-28). "Mason Largo Theory Part 2 [WAS Re: [INFO] ANOTHER BUBBLEGUMCRISIS FAQ (Part 3/3)] - alt.fan.bgcrisis | Google Groups". Groups.google.com. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- "channelnewsasia.com". channelnewsasia.com. 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- "AIC Agrees to Live-Action Bubblegum Crisis Proposal (Updated)". Anime News Network. 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- "Pre-Production Bubblegum Crisis Film Image Posted". Anime News Network. 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- "2012 Bubblegum Crisis Film Planned with Caucasian/Asian Cast (Updated)". News. Anime News Network. 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- Product Listing - BGC
- AnimEigo's Bubblegum Crisis website
- (Japanese) Bubblegum Crisis – AIC's official Bubblegum Crisis page.
Articles and information
- Bubblegum Crisis (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Bubblegum Crisis at the Internet Movie Database
- Bubblegum Crisis at TV.com
- Anime in Retrospect: Bubblegum Crisis
- Animerica article