Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040, Vol. 1: The Legend Reborn (1998) – DVD Review
Directed by Hiroki Hayashi Character Design by Masaki Yamada Screenplay by Chiaki J. Konaka and Sadayuki Murai Music by Kouichi Korenaga
Voice actor commentaries on four episodes
Clean opening and closing animiation
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
Women sexier than you
Enslaved mechanical intelligences
Damage to beautiful Tokyo
Released by: ADV Region: 1 Rating: 15+ Anamorphic: N/A; appears in their original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Definitely get it.
ADV’s Essential Anime Collection has re-released Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 in two-disc, nine-episode installments. In this first installment, the story is the familiar one to fans of the show: Tokyo has been devastated by a massive earthquake, leaving the city in ruins and the rule of law in jeopardy. A corporation called Genom wants to take advantage of the chaos to take over the city by strategically placing their “helpful” robots (called “boomers”), and they are opposed only by the Knight Sabers–four women who wear the latest in power suits and are fueled by their own courage and dedication. These Knights protect the city from rogue boomers and meanwhile try to find out what Genom really wants.
What makes this series so good is the characterization and how those characters interact. The ostensible leader of the team and the money behind its creation is Sylia Stingray, a woman with more than a few screws loose. Priss is a rockstar to the core and has anger management issues that make her a great fighter, but also a loose cannon. Nene is the heart of the team, but as always, that makes her less than an exemplary fighter. New fighter Linna is new to all this, but determined to be an excellent Knight and get to the truth, while benighted Nigel the engineer/mechanic is his own man with his own secrets. How this group of misfits, crazy people, and dedicated heroes mixes and clashes is the real secret of why Bubblegum Crisis is such a great show–that and the intricate, interesting setting.
The remastered art looks great, and is a definite improvement over earlier releases of this show. The colors are clear and saturated without being overly bright or glaring, and the art shows up to fantastic effect. The English dub language track has been remixed in very nice 5.1 surround sound, and the extensive battle scenes and city scenes make the most of it. You will truly feel immersed in the destroyed Tokyo of 2040. Even if you don’t usually like English voice acting, give this track a shot, and it just might change your mind. The only disappointment with the sound is that we don’t get a Priss soundtrack; it’s that good.
The features are what make this new “Essential Anime Collection” edition worthwhile. We get nine episodes on a two-disc set, so the price is unbelievable, especially if you remember the days when anime only came on VHS tapes, had maybe two episodes, and still cost $40. In addition, we get voice actor commentaries on four episodes. Episode four gives us commentary by the voice actors of Priss and Linna, episode six has commentary with the voices of Mackey and Nigel, episode seven gives us the voice of Leon and Daley, and episode nine with the popular Hilary Haag, the voice of Nene. This variety ensures that no matter who your favorite Sabre is, you’ll get to hear from them. We also get a very well done reversible cover in a clear case, some nicely decorated and designed discs, a clean opening and closing, and some character bios that are a must-read for anyone new to the franchise or this version of it.
Definitely recommended for fans of the older Bubblegum Crisis series who might just like this even more, this new edition will be enjoyed by anyone who likes action, fun, great music, and mecha-suits. The release is an amazing value; even if you already own the series on DVD, you might want to pick this release up for the voice actor commentaries and the new remastering. Besides, the two-disc packaging alone will save space on your shelves and leave room for even more anime in your living room.