Remember when cyberpunk dystopian environments were all the rage? I do. And believe me, it made for some pretty damn awesome entertainment. Even Anime wasn’t exempt from the cyberpunk bug. What you see above you was one of the most pivotal titles to ever hit the US. BUBBLEGUM CRISIS.
Bubblegum Crisis chronicled the adventures of an all-female mercenary group-for-hire called the “Knight Sabers”. Equipped with powered exoskeletons, these 4 girls would fly off into the night and keep the peace. During the day they would have to deal with their normal day-jobs. Apparently in the future, shit’s gone so crazy that people rely on robots(or are they? They’re half android/biological organisms) called “Boomers” to do most of the really gritty work that people don’t want to touch. What happens when those boomers run amok? The Knight Sabers come in and whup some robot ass.
The group is lead by Sylia Stingray. She runs a lingerie shop in the daytime, but at night she’s the driving force of the Knight Sabers. The main muscle of the group is Priscilla “Priss” Asagiri, and she’s your go-to girl for up-close in your face combat. Rounding out the group is Linna Yamazaki, who has athletic precision when she fights, making her an excellent support character for any situations they would come across. Finally we have Nene Romanova, a cutesy tech geek who absolutely hates fighting. She’s really suited for hacking into computer networks and stuff. The primary antagonists of the series are the shady GENOM corporation, a giant Japanese zaibatsu responsible for the creation and maintenance of the “Boomers” that the modern world depends on.
What made this series so popular, you ask? For one, the characters were all real characters who had their own shit to deal with, on top of their duties as Knight Sabers. Priss is a biker that lets her temper get the better of her. Linna is a tad money-hungry and she serves as an aerobics instructor/manager to get by. Nene is a police officer, and she feels conflicted with her duties as a cop, and her vigilante assignments as a Knight Saber. Sylia is still haunted by the murder of her father and the coverup by the GENOM corporation. Real heroes with real problems. Sorta like Marvel.
Second, the art was simply fantastic. The characters were drawn out by Kenichi Sonoda, the artist behind the Gunsmith Cats. Animation duties were handled AIC and Youmex. The art reflects the doom and gloom technological psychobabble that cyberpunk series at the time were known for. Shit’s not all roses and rainbows in post-apocalyptic cyberpunk Tokyo.
Third? THE MUSIC. This anime series has one of the best damn songs I’ve ever listened to EVER. Here’s some of the music from the original series.
Okay, I know some of the fashion’s a little off. It’s the 80’s. Shit was crazy in the 80’s.
As is the case with cyberpunk stories, the issue of humanity is touched on quite a bit. What makes something human? Can machines feel like we do? How far can we go with technology before shit blows up in our collective faces? You blend this all together and you get one of the most iconic anime series EVER. BGC has a pretty good following in its native Japan, but in the US…..HOLY SHIT. It’s HUGE.
Growing up, I always wanted to watch the series, but once I was old enough to actually start buying anime, the series went out of print. It was a battle to find them in my local electronics stores. Only last year at Comic Con 2011 was I able to buy the entire boxset. AND IT WAS WORTH IT.