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BUBBLEGUM CRISIS: TOKYO 2040 -- Watch & Learn

This sort of show has come a long way.

Change of pace, lunatics. We’ll be taking a break from EUREKA SEVEN and YU YU HAKUSHO for a week or so to catch up with a number of fine, new Funimation titles that have come to my doorstep. Read my thoughts on…


Having as lacking an exposure to the BUBBLEGUM CRISIS franchise as I do, I’m going to go ahead and assume that the “Tokyo 2040” subtitle denotes that this is probably a lesser follow-up that fans of the original loath. The first episode in this set was unimpressive enough that I really started wondering if long-form anime shows may have gotten better, on the whole, since the 90’s because this already feels like a schlocky OAV from the day. You know, back when animators often tried taking on more than they could actually handle, conceptually, and it was really just enough to see weird, violent and titillating cartoons for you to deem an anime cool.

Perhaps I’m just snapping to too harsh of a judgment with this one. Perhaps cyberpunk brilliance lays ahead in the later episodes. Or perhaps this show just led out on one really clumsy step, because I was seriously rolling my eyes over the main chick’s laughably-handled sexual harassment sub-plot and the rather dumb way she investigates the stranger on the motorcycle. If the show’s being so upfront in intro about how she and the other ladies are going to presumably don the tightest mecha suits on the catwalk and run in with Knigtsabers, I wonder why it’s dillydallying about getting to it. This is set-up, sure, but it’s really bland set-up.

The most entertaining part is where the main girl (didn’t bother to catch her name) has to participate in what’s essentially manners therapy with the one company’s awkward Boomer. There’s a degree of ROBOCOP-style corporate satire there that the show grasps there but falls short of grasping in the rest of the run time. Honestly, the whole business with the Boomers and their machine rights seem like quaint “hard SF” you’d see in an old issue of ANALOG, yet it’s trying to dress it up with the appearance of BLADE RUNNER’s edge.

Watch this episode, "Can't Buy a Thrill" here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

zaldaron Feb. 19, 2012 at 7:02 p.m.

There was some good stuff in analog back in the day, but then I love hard SF. I read and enjoyed all of the rama books by Arthur C. Clark, so my tastes my be different. I would say long form stories have gotten much better, only then to get worse again when the moe craze started.

Marshal Victoryon Feb. 19, 2012 at 9:25 p.m.

its better than average overall . good intro music to .worth a watch at least.

PenguinDuston Feb. 20, 2012 at 2:40 a.m.

I am a big fan of the original OVA series, and while I don't loath 2040, I just see little reason to watch it when you can see the earlier, better series. The characters don't shine as brightly as in the original and the image of a cyberpunkish future isn't as exciting. Back in 1989, when I saw the OVA series, I thought this is how the future will look and it will be awesome. Of course, that didn't turn out to be true so far, but it seemed quite possible at the time. My biggest problem with 2040 is the soundtrack. The most distinguishing feature of the OVA series is it's 80's synth-rock song collection and score. Priss and the Relplicants (an homage to Blade Runner, obviously) were a great imaginary band that reminded me of Ellen Aim and The Attackers from 1984's Streets of Fire, except Priss herself as more of that "tortured soul" providing an edginess to her personality. She displays characteristics from the template of the Japanese delinquent archetype but without the boorishness. Sadly, the original series was cut short due to budget restraints. They followed it up with Bubblegum Crisis Flash which is also better than 2040 but at 3 episodes long, just a taste of the original.

Considering your tastes, Tom you'd probably prefer the spin-off series A.D. Police Files which was a police procedural set in the same future. It's been a long time, but I don't even think the Knight Sabers are in the series. I imagine anyone seeing it today might compare it to Ghost in the Shell, but in all fairness it came out before the GitS animations.

Chris2KLeeon Feb. 20, 2012 at 4:59 a.m.

I consider it a classic, but it is very much a product of it's time.

sickVisionz moderator on Feb. 20, 2012 at 9:25 a.m.

I remember seeing write-ups about this and a few other manga/anime in the back of Wizard Magazine where they would preview upcoming releases. I never checked them out though because as a 10 or 11-year old boy, Bubblegum Crisis sounded like it was something for the Rainbrow Brite and My Little Pony demographic, which I wanted to nothing to do with.

CapeBarneson Feb. 20, 2012 at 12:16 p.m.

In spite of their flaws, I consider the BGC ovas my all-time favorite anime. I also enjoy BG Crash, underrated as I think it is.

Tokyo 2040, well, I think the flaws ruin the experience for me, if that makes any sense. I didn't care for most of the characters, the cliches, and the dumb DEMs that bothered me.

From my viewpoint: BGC ovas=9.7/10

BG Crash=8.6/10

Tokyo 2040=6/10 Plus one point for Priss.

Btw, a picture of the ovas used for a review of Tokyo 2040=XD

sotyfan16on Feb. 22, 2012 at 8:09 p.m.

I haven't watched anything in this franchise except 2040 and I'm ok with that. I enjoy the show and own it.

Werupensteinon Feb. 27, 2012 at 3:58 p.m.

Just wanted to post that full episode of this series are on Youtube from the distributor Funimation for those outside the US that don't have access to Hulu.

I really enjoyed this series back when it came out.

Dig Deeper into Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040

A remake to the original Bubblegum Crisis.

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