Classic anime series reborn for the 21st century.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BUBBLEGUM CRISIS is one of the most beloved anime series of all time. It features the exploits of four beautiful vigilantes in powered armor-suits battling renegade androids and the evil Genom corporation. BGC 2040 is not a continuation of the original series, but rather a brand-new re-telling of the story with an expanded plotline, more mature themes, a darker mood, and start-of-the-art modern animation. The characters are basically the same, but they are given new appearances and attitudes.Anyone who loved the original BGC will probably love BGC 2040 even more--it has everything the original series had, but more and better. BGC 2040 is so well-done that even people who didn't care for the original might like this new series. The DVD release doesn't appear to promise much in the way of extras, but it will feature multiple voice channels and subtitles. The Japanese voice actors are so superior that they must be heard for the maximum viewing experience--it's worth putting up with the subtitles to hear them voice their wonderful characters Sylia, Linna, Priss, and Nene."
Welcome back Bubblegum Crisis!
M. Scott Walters | Ithaca, NY | 11/06/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The hard suits may look the same, but the faces have changed...Bubblegum Crisis - Tokyo 2040 is not a sequel to the classic Bubblegum Crisis, but a recreation of the characters and story concept into a new series. The hard suits will look familiar to fans of the original Bubblegum Crisis (BGC), but almost everything else has been re-done. Fans of an original always fret (and rightfully so) when a re-make appears on the scene, but this first release in the series is quality work and prime anime.So what's the same and what's different? Looking just at the broad strokes, most of the major characters are the same as from the original BGC. Although you're in for some changes, Sylia, Priss, Nene, and Leon are all fairly familiar and in-keeping with the same basic roles you remember, only changing as you look closer. Linna is the big surprise out of the bunch. In the original series, she was the Knight Sabre who was always just "there" (never any stories about her or any depth of character). In 2040, she's become the central character. The storyline of this first DVD in the series is how Linna comes to Tokyo and eventually joins the Knight Sabres. Of the rest of the cast, Priss has gone from aloof and rough to almost completely cold and detached, hardly uttering more than a half-dozen lines an episode. Leon, too, has gone down on the happiness scale, becoming more brooding and angry. Sylia has gone the other direction, seemingly more flighty, although no less driven and showing some extreme emotions. Nene is probably the least changed of the group, gaining just a bit more aggressiveness. The music has moved away from pop to get a bit more techno. It doesn't have the same "big 80s" catchiness the original series soundtrack had, but it's still good stuff.2040 is probably a cut ahead of the original with respect to the animation. The work is sharper and more detailed, showing that it's up to speed with the times. Another plus is the storyline with the "boomers" (the robots/androids that the protagonists hunt down when they go berserk - 'Blade Runner' is one of the influences for the original BGC). This is the central premise of the story, after all, and was one point in the original that sometimes came across as a bit weak. In the original, the boomers were all but invisible except when they "went bad." You'd occasionally see them as bodyguards or hear of them being used for the military, but otherwise you never saw them unless the Knight Sabres were fighting them. It never seemed like they had a use in society which justified the risk of their going berserk. 2040, however, shows the boomers and their visible role in society, kicking up the believability of the story a notch, and so far seems to be laying out more of a justification for "mad" boomers (something else the original glossed over a bit).Lastly, I can think of a couple of things on the negative side. One is just a small complaint about the transfer to DVD - in doing so, they kept in the commercial "headers" that ran just before and after what I presume were station breaks when this was originally aired on Japanese TV. The headers feature a prominent music rift and get pretty annoying after the second time or so (especially as they are just randomly there in the middle of the episode). Why leave these in? Somebody dropped the ball in not trimming those out, I'd say. The other worry is the new feature of the hard suits having a short battery life. This may be ok and seems more realistic, but it smacks of bad '70s sci fi TV where the hero always had some annoying weakness that came up EVERY SINGLE episode. An Achilles' heel is fine, but overuse gets old fast. Hopefully they won't overdo it. Overall, some great anime and nothing to diminish the original BGC. This one gets a place on the shelf all its own. Bring on volume 2, and if you haven't seen the original, go get that too!"
Knight Sabers, Back in Action
Matthew Chang | San Diego, CA | 03/12/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Well, The Knight Sabers are back, but I don't know if I can say better than ever... Actually, a 3 star rating is possibly a bit unfair of me-- plots, characters, art, and animation for BGC 2040 are first rate, BUT I have the misfortune of being too much of a BGC 2032 fan, perhaps. Out of five stars, subtract one for character design (no, I don't mean art). All the names are the same, but the personalities seem much more shallow in the remake, especially Sylia and the Genom folks. Also, the boomers have been dumbed down signifigantly. Subtract another star for plot and ambiance; the new series lacks the depth of the old. MegaTokyo itself has lost a lot of its personality-- it's not nearly as "dark." I think that many of the differences can be attributed to the design of BGC 2040 as a TV series; the target audience is different than that of the direct-to-video BGC 2032, and thus the creators couldn't get away with some of the things done in the original.If you are just getting into BGC, I would recommend watching the 2040 series first, then going back to the original 2032 stuff; moving the other direction makes adjustment difficult. Without exposure to BGC 2032, 2040 becomes excellent anime. I wish though that JVC had put their money into assembling the original writers / artists / cast to finish off the last 5 episodes of BGC 2032, as Crash! was a pathetic effort, and the original series had more promise than the new. One caveat; this review comes 12 episodes into the new series; maybe something will happen that will change my mind, or the new series will grow on me, we'll see. It's nice to see continuation of the BGC concept, which was cast adrift way too early... Overall, worth watching, your mileage may vary."
Future Classic? Maybe. Entertaining? Yes!
the_fanboy | 06/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The year is 2040 (as if you couldn't tell) and the Knight Sabers are back in their very own 26 episode TV series! Nene is still a lovable hacker ditz, Sylia's still the mysterious leader, and Priss is still the kind of girl you really don't want to take home to mother. In this new reincarnation of the golden age classic, one character, Linna is pretty different from her late 1980's early 1990's counterpart. Considering how Linna's personality from the original series wasn't really all that memorable, that's not a problem.The plotline starts to unfold along similar lines. The 'rogue boomers' are the centerpiece of the early episodes, the characters make friends and fight crime, and Genom lurks in the background. About half way through the series, however, the climax approaches, simplicity begins to give way to a much deeper story, and mysteries about the entire team are revealed. And really, some of them are truly Evangelion worthy revelations.While this new Bubblegum Crisis boosts great J-Rock music, good character designs, and excellent color and animation, 2040 is a successful series because it combines the better elements of the late 80's anime, with the more challenging plotlines of the post Evangelion era. While some critics will point that it panders to the audience, a little pandering now and then is healthy. Yet more critics will be befuddled that a series could be in one episode described as "cute, trashy fun" can turn into something closer to "cerebral thrill ride". All in all, what fandom has on its hands here is a very good series, with a little of everything. "Tokyo 2040" is not a fine wine, like a studio Ghlibi film might be, but maybe it can be a tall, refreshing mug of beer. Or, if you prefer, a sweet glass of Coca-Cola. Now go out and give it a shoot."