Bubblegum Crisis poster
|Genre||Action, Mecha, Cyberpunk|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Katsuhito Akiyama (1-4)
Masami Ōbari (5-6)
Hiroaki Gōda (7-8)
|Produced by||Junji Fujita
|Written by||Toshimichi Suzuki|
|Music by||Kōji Makaino|
|Studio||Artmic & AIC|
|Released||25 February 1987 – 30 January 1991|
|Runtime||330 minutes (total)|
Bubblegum Crisis (Japanese: バブルガムクライシス Hepburn: Baburugamu Kuraishisu?) is a 1987 to 1991 cyberpunk original video animation (OVA) series produced by Youmex and animated by AIC and Artmic. The series was planned to run for 13 episodes, but was cut short to just 8.
The series involves the adventures of the Knight Sabers, an all-female group of mercenaries who don powered armor and fight various problems, most frequently rogue robots. The success of the series spawned several sequel series.
The series begins in the late 2032, seven years after the Second Great Kanto Earthquake has split Tokyo geographically and culturally in two. During the first episode, disparities in wealth are shown to be more pronounced than in previous periods in post-war Japan. The main antagonist is Genom, a megacorporation with immense power and global influence. Its main product are boomers - artificial cybernetic life forms that are usually in the form of humans with most of their body's being a machine; also known as cyberoids. While Boomers are intended to serve mankind, they become deadly instruments in the hands of ruthless individuals. The AD Police are tasked to deal with Boomer-related crimes. One of the series' themes is the inability of the department to deal with threats due to political infighting, red tape, and an insufficient budget.
The setting displays strong influences from the movies Blade Runner and Streets of Fire. The opening sequence of episode 1 is modeled on the opening sequence of Streets of Fire. The humanoid robots known as "boomers" in the series also resemble Terminators cyborgs from the Terminator film.
Suzuki explained in a 1993 Animerica interview the meaning behind the cryptic title. Explaining that "we originally named the series 'bubblegum' to reflect a world in crisis, like a chewing-gum bubble that's about to burst."
The series started with Toshimichi Suzuki intention to remake the 1982 film Techno Police 21C. However, he met Junji Fujita and the two discussed ideas, and decided to collaborate on what later became Bubblegum Crisis. Kenichi Sonoda acted as character designer, and designed the four female leads. Masami Obari created the mechanical designs. Obari would also go on to direct episode 5 and 6.
The OVA series is eight episodes long but was originally slated to run for 13 episodes. Due to legal problems between Artmic and Youmex, who jointly held the rights to the series, the series was discontinued prematurely.
|1||"Tinsel City Rhapsody"
"(Runtime: 45 minutes)"
|The Knight Sabers are hired to rescue a little girl from a group of kidnappers, but the girl is far more than she seems...|
|2||"Born to Kill"
"(Runtime: 28 minutes)"
|A friend of Linna's threatens to expose Genom secrets that led to the death of her fiancé, but Genom plans to silence her, first.|
"(Runtime: 26 minutes)"
|The Knight Sabers attack Genom Tower to put an end to the machinations of Genom executive Brian J. Mason.|
"(Runtime: 38 minutes)"
|A racer modifies his car into a weapon of vengeance against the biker gangs of Megatokyo, but the car soon develops a mind of its own.|
"(Runtime: 43 minutes)"
|A killer is draining victims of their blood, but this is no vampire. And what do a pair of escaped love-doll androids, Priss's new friend Sylvie and the D.D. super-weapon have to do with it?|
"(Runtime: 49 minutes)"
|A group of fake Knight Sabers are ruining the group's reputation, leading to a fight against a returning foe.|
"(Runtime: 49 minutes)"
|A singer with a vendetta comes to Megatokyo, and brings some heavy firepower with her.|
"(Runtime: 52 minutes)"
|An ambitious technical scientist and an aspiring reporter both plan to make their names at the expense of the Knight Sabers, and of all people, Nene is caught right in the middle.|
In North America, AnimEigo first released Bubblegum Crisis to VHS and Laserdisc in 1991 in Japanese with English subtitles. The series is notable in that it was one of the few early anime series that were brought over from Japan unedited and subtitled in English. While anime has become much more popular in the years since, in 1991, it was still mostly unknown as a storytelling medium in North America.
An English dub of the series was produced beginning in 1994 by AnimEigo through Southwynde Studios in Wilmington, NC, and released to VHS and Laserdisc beginning that year. A digitally-remastered compilation, featuring bilingual audio tracks and production extras, was released on DVD in 2004 by AnimEigo. The company later successfully crowdfunded a collector's edition Blu-ray release through Kickstarter in November 2013.
Nearly all of the music is available, as there are 8 soundtrack releases (one per OVA), as well as numerous "vocal" albums which feature songs "inspired by" the series as well as many drawn directly from it.
In May 2009 it was announced that a live-action movie of "Bubblegum Crisis" was in the early stages of production. A production agreement was signed at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. The film was expected to be released in late 2012 with a budget of 30 million. The production staff was said to have consulted with the original anime's staff members, Shinji Aramaki and Kenichi Sonoda, to help maintain consistency with the world of the original. However, no further developments have been announced.
- Horibuchi, Seiji (May 1993). "The Animerica interview: Toshimichi Suzuki". Animerica 1 (3).
- "Bubblegum Crisis [商品紹介:Video/Ld]". Anime-int.com. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- "channelnewsasia.com". channelnewsasia.com. 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- "AIC Agrees to Live-Action Bubblegum Crisis Proposal (Updated)". Anime News Network. 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- "Pre-Production Bubblegum Crisis Film Image Posted". Anime News Network. 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- "2012 Bubblegum Crisis Film Planned with Caucasian/Asian Cast (Updated)". News. Anime News Network. 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- AnimEigo's Bubblegum Crisis website
- (Japanese) Bubblegum Crisis – AIC's official Bubblegum Crisis page.
- Bubblegum Crisis (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Bubblegum Crisis at the Internet Movie Database