Anime DVD Box Set Review: Bubblegum Crisis Remastered DVD Box Set

Bubblegum Crisis Remastered DVD Box Set includes four DVDs that contain two of the episodes of the series and bonus features. Audio is available in English, Spanish, and the original Japanese with English subtitles. The set comes packaged in an artbox.

Bubblegum Crisis Remastered DVD Box Set
English Publisher: AnimEigo
Format: DVD
Release Date: November 6, 2004

Bubblegum Crisis is a cyberpunk-style anime that is set in 2032, in a post disaster Tokyo that has been renamed “Megatokyo.” A corporation called Genom holds immense power in Megatokyo, and their main product is Boomers, artificial beings used for manual labor. However, the Boomers end up being used by villains to be deadly instruments of destruction, and the A.D. Police have the task of dealing with Boomer-related crimes. There are also the Knight Sabers, a group of women who fight the Boomers for money for those who are willing to pay. These four women are a fighting team with incredible abilities, and they also have powered armor suits.

Sylia Stingray is the ringleader of the Knight Sabers, and she is the daughter of Dr. Katsuhito Stingray, the man responsible for creating the Boomers. Her father was murdered by a Genom executive, and the death was covered as an accident. But before he died, Dr. Stingray managed to send Sylia a data unit that provided the technological means to create the Knight Sabers’ suits. Sylia is a scientist in her own right, and is also a wealthy businesswoman. Sylia’s younger brother, Mackie, serves as the Knight Sabers’ youthful mascot and mechanic. He’s a whiz kid with computers and technology, and is the sole caretaker of the hardsuits. Mackie also drives a truck that delivers the Knight Sabers and their bikes to any situation they need to attend to.

Priss Asagiri, a member of the Knight Sabers, is also a rock ‘n’ roll singer. She is a motorcyclist who has a bad temper and hates virtually all authority figures (especially the A.D. Police). Priss also finds herself in a love/hate relationship with an A.D. Policeman named Leon McNichol. Leon has a tendency to rush into things without thinking, and is a skilled armor pilot.

Nene Romanova, another member of the Knight Sabers, is a technical conductor and hacker. She is also an employee of the A.D. Police, where she functions as the Knight Sabers’ mole. Outside of her skills as a hacker, Nene is often portrayed as bubbly, naïve, and blissfully inept with real world logic. Linna Yamazaki is the final member of the Knight Sabers, and she is often presented as shallow, greedy, and superficial.

Brian J. Mason, who is also known as Largo, is the main villain of the first three episodes of the original OVA series. After this, there are several other antagonists for the Knight Sabers to deal with.

I really enjoyed the feeling of “girl power” that’s prevalent in Bubblegum Crisis, and also appreciated that the series was realistic enough to show that these women have weaknesses. Characters like Sylia, Priss, and Linna receive some fantastic character development in the series, and Leon and Nene add some comic relief that helps to keep the stories from becoming too dark. Bubblegum Crisis has the right mixture of drama and comedy to keep viewers wanting to come back for more.

Bubblegum Crisis can be violent, but it has nowhere near the amount of violence that A.D. Police Files has. There are also occasional shots of female nudity when the Knight Sabers change into their hardsuits. But these things didn’t really bother me, though.

The biggest disappointment for me is the fact that Bubblegum Crisis doesn’t actually end. While there are individual stories that run throughout the eight episodes, you can still tell that there’s a bigger overarching story that should lead up to some kind of climax. But since there’s no ending, that overarching story just seems to come to a screeching halt.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, each disc includes music videos for the songs that appear in Bubblegum Crisis. Considering how important of a role music plays in the series, this really isn’t that surprising. But I was happy to see that the videos had the songs in Japanese, and that the lyrics appeared as English subtitles. Most of the music videos are clips that focus on the animation from the series, there are a handful of live-action videos that were released in Japan on a set called, Hurricane Live Music Videos.

Each disc also contains a line art gallery, and each one is done in a slideshow format. The length of each one varies, but the slides change every five seconds. Fortunately, the decision was made to have music going in the background during the slideshows, which helped to keep my interest as the various images came and went. There are also “Program Notes” on each disc, which usually includes text of interviews with various members of the production, as well as summaries for the Bubblegum Crisis episodes. Disc Two also contains 57 pages of text of a reunion of the voice actors that took place seven years after Episode 8 was released. For all of the program notes, the viewer has to scroll through each one by using their remote.

Disc Two also has the distinction of including “Holiday in Bali,” which was a live-action special that featured the series’ voice actresses as they’re on a vacation in India. This must have been done as some kind of promotional thing back when Bubblegum Crisis was first being released, but I really didn’t understand the point of it. While this was a nice inclusion for fans that want to have everything that was released in regards to the Bubblegum Crisis OVA, I personally wasn’t too terribly impressed with it.

If you’re a Bubblegum Crisis fan and haven’t picked up the series yet, this DVD set would be a great way to pick up the whole OVA series, as well as the Hurricane Live Music Videos and the “Holiday in Bali” special. While AnimEigo ran a Kickstarter to release the series on Blu-ray and successfully funded it, I don’t know easy it is to acquire that Blu-ray release.

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