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Bubblegum Crisis

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Bubblegum Crisis
Bubblegum Crisis poster
(Baburugamu Kuraishisu)
Created byToshimichi Suzuki
Original video animation
Directed by
Produced byJunji Fujita
Toru Miura
Written byToshimichi Suzuki
Music byKōji Makaino
StudioArtmic & AIC
Licensed by
Released February 25, 1987 January 30, 1991
330 minutes (total)
  • 45 minutes (#1)
  • 28 minutes (#2)
  • 26 minutes (#3)
  • 38 minutes (#4)
  • 43 minutes (#5)
  • 49 minutes (#6–7)
  • 52 minutes (#8)
Episodes8 (List of episodes)
Related works
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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.[3] 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 exoskeletons and fight numerous problems, most frequently rogue robots. The success of the series spawned several sequel series.


The series begins in late 2032, seven years after the Second Great Kanto earthquake has split Tokyo geographically and culturally in two and it also forced the United States of America to annex Japan in the legitimate name of keeping the peace and from it descending into anarchy. During the first episode, disparities in wealth are shown to be more pronounced than in previous periods in post-war Japan. The main adversary 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 bodies being 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 (Advanced 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.[4][5] The opening sequence of episode 1 is even modeled on that of the latter film.[6] The humanoid robots known as "boomers" in the series were inspired by several movies, including Replicants from the aforementioned Blade Runner, the titular cyborgs of the Terminator film franchise, and the Beast from the film Krull.[5]

Suzuki explained in a 1993 Animerica interview the meaning behind the cryptic title: "We originally named the series 'bubblegum' to reflect a world in crisis, like a chewing-gum bubble that's about to burst."[7]


The series started with Toshimichi Suzuki's intention to remake the 1982 film Techno Police 21C.[8] In 1985, he met Junji Fujita and the two discussed ideas, and decided to collaborate on what later became Bubblegum Crisis.[8] Kenichi Sonoda acted as character designer, and designed the four female leads. Masami Ōbari created the mechanical designs.[8] Obari would also go on to direct episodes 5 and 6. Satoshi Urushihara acted as the chief production supervisor and guest character designer for Episode 7.

The OVA series is eight episodes long, made as eight separate works, with lengths varying from 26 to 52 minutes.[9]

A common misunderstanding that has developed, dating back as far as at least the mid-2000s, is that the series was planned and written to be 13 episodes, and that either legal or financial issues resulted in the series having only eight episodes. [10][11] The prevalence of this belief has resulted in it appearing in discussions of the series, even in Anime News Network articles and encyclopedia, and an Otaku USA feature from 2011.[12][13][14]

However, commentaries and interviews with production staff contradict this. Production designer Hideki Kakinuma said in commentary notes that appeared with the 2018 Animeigo release of the OVA series, "At the time there was no plan to make it into a series, each film was going to be made one at a time."[9] Akiyama Katsuhito, director of OVA parts 1, 2, and 3 echoed this in a November 1997 interview, recalling challenges in directing the OVA parts and creating a narrative due to a lack of long term plan, "...it was not easy to keep on producing episodes without knowing a clear plan of how many total they want us to make."[15] Further the staff don't discuss or mention the existence of these issues hampering the project in these interviews and commentaries, which included directors, voice actresses, character designers, even AIC president Miura Touru.[16] Katsuhito recalled the experience of working on the production as "fun".[15]


Major cast
Role Japanese[17][18] English[17]
Southwynde Studios
Sylia Stingray Yoshiko Sakakibara Jemila Ericson
Priscilla "Priss" Asagiri Kinuko Ōmori Sinda Nichols
Linna Yamazaki Michie Tomizawa Elizabeth Becka
Nene Romanova Akiko Hiramatsu Susan Grillo
Mackie Stingray Nozomu Sasaki Frank Trimble
Daley Wong Kenyu Horiuchi Marshall Caroll
Leon McNichol Toshio Furukawa Brad Moranz
Brian J. Mason Shuuichi Ikeda Eric Paisley
Largo Kazuyuki Sogabe Pierre Brulatour
Quincy Rosenkreutz Kiyoshi Kawakubo J. David Arnold
Chief Todo Masaharu Satou David Kraus
Fargo Kouichi Yamadera Geoffrey Honaker
Minor cast
# Role Japanese[17][18] English[17][18]
Southwynde Studios
1 Chopper 3 Pilot David Kraus
AD Police Communicator Barbara Lewis
Commander Swarz Teiji Oomiya Michael S. Way
Sylia Stingray (young) Loren Mash
Mackie Stingray (young) Michael Sinterniklaas
Katsuhito Stingray Hiroya Ishimaru Kevin Dowling
Bogey Yusaku Yara Marc Matney
Retort Keiichi Nanba Marc Garber
F.G. Frederick Juurouta Kosugi Clifton Daniel
Deputy Commander Shinya Ootaki Patt Noday
Checkpoint Guard Michitaka Kobayashi Steve Rassin
Cynthia Hiroko Kasahara Maryann Webb
Female Boomer Urara Takano Belinda Bizic-Keller
2 Irene Chang Miki Itou Jean Hrdlicka
Company Man 1 Matt Sullivan
Company Man 2 Sean Clay
AD Police Officer Masaaki Okamura Michael Sinterniklaas
Female Boomer Vocals Urara Takano
Guard Nathan Gray
3 Manager Ikuya Sawaki Mick McGovern
Shou Kyōko Hamura Ted Davis
Shou's Mother Minori Matsushima Amy Parrish
Funk Daisuke Gouri Marc Matney
4 Dr. Raven Kenichi Ogata Michael Titterton
J.B. Gibson Kaneto Shiozawa Zach Hanner
Naomi Anderson Mayumi Shou Mindi L. Lyons
Outrider Michitaka Kobayashi Patt Noday
5 Anri Yuko Mizutani Katherine Kopec-Burton
Sylvie Yoshino Takamori Martha Ellen Senseney
Kaufman Ikuya Sawaki Chuck Kinlaw
Flint Shin'ya Ootaki Jon Guttman
Captain Michitaka Kobayashi Jay Bryson
Lou Yumi Touma Tammy Starling
Meg Tomoko Maruo Hadley Eure
Nam Megumi Hayashibara Belinda Bizic-Keller
Captain Michitaka Kobayashi Jay Bryson
Doctor Motomu Kiyokawa Tom Holmes
6 Kate Urara Takano Emily Young-Keeley
Callahan Shin'ya Ootaki Steve Vernon
Executive 1 Ikuya Sawaki Sean Clay
Executive 2 Kouzou Shioya Nicolas Bottom
Boomer Michitaka Kobayashi Zach Hanner
7 Reika Chang Maiko Hashimoto Mindi L. Lyons
Kou Yasunori Matsumoto Zach Hanner
Richard McLaren Ikuya Sawaki Eddie Harrell
Gulf and Bradley Chairman Masashi Hirose Timothy J. Walsh
Yamada Michitaka Kobayashi Gray Sibley
Staffer Katsumi Suzuki Kevin Reilly
Interviewer Yumi Touma Joyce Leigh Bowden
Mr. Chang Eken Mine Mark Fincannon
8 Lisa Vanetta Aya Hisakawa Amy Parrish
Naoko Junko Asami Belinda Bizic-Keller
Miriam Yoshida Issei Futamata Dick Bunting
Ebisu Operator Kenichi Ono Eliot Preschutti
Ebisu President Hideyuki Umezu David Long
Ebisu Worker Michitaka Kobayashi Jay Bryson
AD Police Receptionist Chisa Yokoyama Amanda Tancredi

Additional voices[edit]

English:[17] Amanda Tancredi, Chuck Denson Jr., Chuck Kinlaw, David Kraus, Eliot Preschutti, Gray Sibley, Hadley Eure, Hank Troscianiec, J. Patrick Lawlor, Jack Bowden, Jay Bryson, Kevin Reilly, Marc Garber, Marc Matney, Michael Sinterniklaas, Scott Simpson, Sean Clay, Sophia Tolar, Steve Lalla, Steve Rassin, Steve Vernon, Zach Hanner


No.TitleRuntimeJapan first release dates[19]English first release dates
1"Tinsel City"45 minutesFebruary 25, 1987 (1987-02-25)August 30, 1991
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"28 minutesSeptember 5, 1987 (1987-09-05)September 27, 1991
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.
3"Blow Up"26 minutesDecember 5, 1987 (1987-12-05)October 10, 1991
The Knight Sabers attack Genom Tower to put an end to the machinations of Genom executive Brian J. Mason.
4"Revenge Road"38 minutesJuly 24, 1988 (1988-07-24)December 19, 1991
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.
5"Moonlight Rambler"43 minutesDecember 25, 1988 (1988-12-25)January 23, 1992
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?
6"Red Eyes"49 minutesAugust 30, 1989 (1989-08-30)February 27, 1992
A group of fake Knight Sabers are ruining the group's reputation, leading to a fight against a returning foe.
7"Double Vision"49 minutesMarch 14, 1990 (1990-03-14)March 19, 1992
A singer with a vendetta comes to Megatokyo, and brings some heavy firepower with her.
8"Scoop Chase"52 minutesJanuary 30, 1991 (1991-01-30)April 2, 1992
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. Bubblegum Crisis was aired in the US when it first aired on PBS affiliate Superstation KTEH in the 1990s, and STARZ!'s Action Channel in 2000. [citation needed]

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.[20] The series was released on a regular edition Blu-ray on September 25, 2018. The series is currently available for streaming on Night Flight Plus.


There are eight 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.


Critical reception of Bubblegum Crisis has been generally positive. Raphael See of THEM Anime Reviews gave the series a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, praising the quality of the animation, the soundtrack, and the series' sense of humor. However, he suggested it was held back by a low quality dub, a lack of character development, and an inconsistent plot, saying that while some episodes were "really solid", others would leave out many major details, forcing the viewer to make their own assumptions: "Overall, not a bad watch. In fact, at times, Bubblegum Crisis can be really good. Unfortunately, oversights and carelessness here and there keep this series from being all it can be."[21]

Tim Henderson of Anime News Network gave the series an A− rating, praising the animation, soundtrack, story, and characters. He states that the series gets better with every passing episode, and that the final two episodes are the best of the series.[22]


Masaki Kajishima and Hiroki Hayashi, who both worked on the Bubblegum Crisis OVAs, cite the show as being the inspiration for their harem series Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki. In an interview with AIC, Hayashi described Bubblegum Crisis as "a pretty gloomy anime. Serious fighting, complicated human relationships, and dark Mega Tokyo." They thought it would be fun to create some comedy episodes with ideas like the girls going to the hot springs, but it was rejected by the sponsors. He also said that there was a trend to have a bunch of characters of one gender and a single one of the other gender, and asked what if Mackey (Sylia's brother) was a main character, reversing the Bubblegum scenario. This idea then became the basis for Tenchi. Hayashi said that Mackey is "sort of" the original model for Tenchi.[23]

Kevin Siembieda's becoming aware of "Boomers" being already in use in this caused him to change his planned name for the Rifts RPG which he had named after the "Boom Gun"–wielding power armor which was also renamed to Glitter Boy.[24]

Other entries[edit]

  • A.D. Police Files is a three-part original video animation prequel produced by Youmex and animated by Artmic and AIC, released in 1990. It takes place in the original Bubblegum Crisis universe, and is a prequel to the original OVA series.
  • Bubblegum Crash is a sequel to Bubblegum Crisis, released in 1991. It takes place one year after the events of Crisis and follows a dissolved Knight Sabers as they try to figure out their paths in life before being forced to join forces one more time to take down a powerful enemy.
  • Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 is a 26-episode anime television series broadcast in 1998–1999. It is a reboot of the original series.
  • A.D. Police: To Protect and Serve is 12-episode anime television series released in 1999. It is a prequel to Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040.
  • Parasite Dolls is a three-part original video animation series by AIC, released in 2003. It is set in the original Bubblegum Crisis universe, taking place after the events of the original OVA series.

Crossover appearances[edit]

In 1993, it appeared on Scramble Wars, a crossover event between Bubblegum Crisis, Gall Force, Genesis Survivor Gaiarth, AD Police and Riding Bean. In 2023, the theme song "Konya Wa Hurricane" appeared in the series Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.[25][26]

Other media[edit]


  • Bubblegum Crisis role-playing game produced by R. Talsorian Games.[27] It introduces an alternate setting named "Bubblegum Crossfire", basing on a premise that data units with hardsuit blueprints have been sent to more individuals than just Sylia Stingray, resulting in that by 2033 there are numerous Knight Saber-like groups spread all over the globe. RTG's license to produce this game has expired and at present all copies of back stock have been sold.
    • "Bubblegum Crisis: Before and After" (covering material from A.D. Police Files and Bubblegum Crash!)
    • "Bubblegum Crisis EX" which includes completely new materials (also incorporating early design concepts for BGC mecha and hardsuits as new variants)


The series' creator Toshimichi Suzuki wrote two novels:

  • Bubblegum Crisis Vol. 1: Silent Fanfare, Fujimi Shobo
  • Bubblegum Crisis Vol. 2: Break Down-48, Fujimi Shobo
  • A third novel titled Bubblegum Crisis Hard Metal Guardians was also later written by Hajime Shima and released in 2012

Comic book[edit]

In Japan, a number of comic books were produced that featured characters and storylines based in the same universe. Some were very much thematically linked to the OVA series, while others were "one-shots" or comedy features. A number of artists participated in the creation of these comics, including Kenichi Sonoda, who had produced the original Knight Saber character designs. A North American comic based in the Bubblegum Crisis universe was published in English by Dark Horse Comics.

Video games[edit]

  • Crime Wave: a game for PC-88, set in Megatokyo and featuring Knight Sabers as the main characters.[30]
  • Bubblegum Crash: a game for TurboGrafx-16.[31]

Live-action movie[edit]

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.[3][32][33][34] The film was expected to be released in late 2012 with a budget of 30 million.[3] 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.[35] However, no further developments have been announced.


  1. ^ Henderson, Tim (August 9, 2007). "Bubblegum Crisis 2032 Collection DVD - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 6, 2020. Straight-up action cyberpunk helmed by a group of hard-suit wearing female vigilantes known as the Knight Sabres, Bubblegum Crisis has aged amazingly well, and it's been aging for a while now as its first chapter dates back a full twenty years to 1987.
  2. ^ "Bubblegum Crisis Collection VHS - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 6, 2020. Bubblegum Crisis is, quite simply, an institution to the anime world. Probably the best-known Girls-With-Guns anime
  3. ^ a b c Cannes 09: Bubblegum Crisis: The Movie - IGN, 14 May 2009, retrieved 2019-10-23
  4. ^ "Animerica: Animerica Feature: Bubblegum Crisis". 2004-02-12. Archived from the original on 2004-02-12. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  5. ^ a b "Film Monthly.com – Bubblegum Crisis Retrospective: Part I". www.filmmonthly.com. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  6. ^ "Streets of Fire". Teleport City. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  7. ^ Horibuchi, Seiji (May 1993). "The Animerica interview: Toshimichi Suzuki". Animerica. 1 (3).
  8. ^ a b c "Animerica: Animerica Feature: Bubblegum Crisis". 2004-04-07. Archived from the original on 2004-04-07. Retrieved 2019-10-23 – via web.archive.org.
  9. ^ a b Kakinuma, Hideki. Bubblegum Crisis - Remastered Edition (Disc 4). 2018. Transcript of commentary. Animeigo. (Archived) on 5 February 2023.
  10. ^ "Specials - Anime in Retrospect: Bubblegum Crisis". Animefringe. December 2005. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  11. ^ Conartistdan (30 March 2016). "Bubblegum Crisis OVA". The Con Artists. Archived from the original on 3 June 2023. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  12. ^ Henderson, Tim (9 August 2007). "Bubblegum Crisis 2032 Collection Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  13. ^ "Bubblegum Crisis (OAV)". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 5 October 2023. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  14. ^ Surat, Daryl (1 September 2011). "Bubblegum Crisis". Otaku USA Magazine. Sovereign Media 2024. Archived from the original on 28 January 2023. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  15. ^ a b Katsuhito, Akiyama. Bubblegum Crisis - Remastered Edition (Disc 1). 2018. Transcript of interview. Animeigo. (Archived) on 5 February 2023.
  16. ^ Bubblegum Crisis - Remastered Edition. 2018. Animeigo.
  17. ^ a b c d e "Bubblegum Crisis". AnimEigo. Retrieved 2020-07-05.
  18. ^ a b c "Bubblegum Crisis (OVA)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved 2020-10-03.
  19. ^ "Bubblegum Crisis [商品紹介:Video/Ld]". Anime-int.com. Archived from the original on 2009-06-12. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  20. ^ "Bubblegum Crisis Ultimate Edition Blu-Ray Set". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  21. ^ See, Raphael. "THEM Anime Reviews 4.0 - Bubblegum Crisis". THEM Anime Reviews. Archived from the original on 2003-09-22. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  22. ^ Henderson, Tim (9 August 2007). "Bubblegum Crisis 2032 Collection Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  23. ^ "Interview with Hiroki Hayashi". AIC Anime English Website. Anime International Company. February 2011. Archived from the original on July 5, 2011.
  24. ^ Rifts Ultimate Edition.
  25. ^ "Anime Video Games Reviews: Bubblegum Crash! PC Engine". www.netflix.com. Retrieved 2023-11-21.
  26. ^ "How To... Reinvent a Beloved Series with SCOTT PILGRIM TAKES OFF's co-creators | TIFF 2023". YouTube.com. TIFF. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  27. ^ "Bubblegum Crisis". Talsorian. 2013-07-30. Archived from the original on 2013-07-30. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  28. ^ "Bubblegum Crisis: Grand Mal #1 (of 4) :: Profile :: Dark Horse Comics". www.darkhorse.com. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
  29. ^ trebor (2000-06-28). "Mason Largo Theory Part 2 [WAS Re: [INFO] ANOTHER BUBBLEGUMCRISIS FAQ (Part 3/3)]". Newsgroupalt.fan.bgcrisis. Usenet: 8jbo8c$d7e$1@nnrp1.deja.com. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  30. ^ "Anime Video Games Reviews: Bubblegum Crisis Crimewave PC 88, PC 98". www.anime-games.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  31. ^ "Anime Video Games Reviews: Bubblegum Crash! PC Engine". www.anime-games.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  32. ^ "channelnewsasia.com". channelnewsasia.com. 2008-11-13. Archived from the original on 2009-05-17. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  33. ^ "AIC Agrees to Live-Action Bubblegum Crisis Proposal (Updated)". Anime News Network. 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  34. ^ "Pre-Production Bubblegum Crisis Film Image Posted". Anime News Network. 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  35. ^ "2012 Bubblegum Crisis Film Planned with Caucasian/Asian Cast (Updated)". Anime News Network. 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-07-05.

External links[edit]