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The Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2004

The Bubblegum Crisis series is often hyped as a mainstay in anime television.  Originally made in 1987, it is certainly one of the original shows out there before anime really exploded onto the American market.

Bubblegum Crisis is set in futuristic Tokyo, called Mega-Tokyo, in the year 2032.  As the story goes, a great earthquake destroyed most of the city 7 years earlier.  During the city’s extensive reconstruction, a big corporation called Genom rose to power as the sole provider of ’boomers’. 

Boomers are a central element to the story.  They’re a fusion of robotics, cybernetics, and artificial intelligence cast in a human form and originally created by the infamous Dr. Stingray.  He died shortly after the inception of the boomers and Genom ended up making a fortune on their sales.  Boomers are used primarily for manual labor and military roles throughout the world.  They share a lot of qualities with the replicants in the Bladerunner story (based on Phillip K. Dick’s ’Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’) and there are many throwbacks to other western icons throughout the series. 

The remainder of the story focuses on a group of renegades called the Knight Sabers.  They’re fronted by Dr. Stingray’s daughter, Sylia.  Her mission in life is to oppose the distasteful practices of Genom outside the scope of the helpless law and government officials.

The principal characters of the story are the four Knight Sabers.  They run around shooting up bad guys in what’s known as a ’hardsuit’.  The hardsuit was also a creation of Dr. Stingray and they allow a human to possess the same strengths as the boomers.  The Knight Sabers are four women.  Sylia is the leader, while Priscilla, Linna, and Nene round out the rest of the cast.  On the opposing side there is the CEO of Genom, Quincy, and his legion of followers.

Originally made in 1987, Bubblegum Crisis was an OAV with an 8-episode story arc in 25-minute segments.  Many critics argue that Bubblegum Crisis has not aged well with time.  For those who watched the original series back in the late 80’s there was certainly something to get hyped about.  Now, all of the same storytelling techniques and animation have been improved in other series.

For this very reason, Bubblegum Crisis received an update in the late 90’s in the form of ’Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040’.  Made in 1998, Tokyo 2040 is a continuation that’s about 6 years after the story left off.  Due to contractual disputes, all of the major characters had to be redesigned.  Several plot elements and historical points were also shifted to create a relatively original story.  The only thing that stayed the same was the hardsuits.  Tokyo 2040 ran for 25 episodes of about 25 minutes each and is available on a six-volume DVD set.