Where do I start with this one? Do I talk about how this is yet another show that was on my watch list? This seems too much like my common approach and would be easy enough. What about the fact that it’s 80’s everything combined with science fiction references and adult females wearing robot suits attracted me to it? Yeah, let’s go with that. Bubble Gum felt like what would happen if Pepper Pots divorced Tony Stark, took everything he ever owned and built, then formed a super hero group with three of her friends, and then call themselves the Night Sabers. Or the something by Tony Stark quitting the super hero business and letting Pepper do whatever she wants with his suits. I think the first one is more fun though. Anyway, combine that with all the 80’s science fiction references and I think you might see why Bubblegum Crisis appealed to me so much. 80’s science fiction is the best sort of material to listen.
There isn’t a strong over all plot because this is an episodic series. The first half episodes are standard episode length while the second half’s episodes are almost movie length. Four and four episodes out of a planned thirteen. That being said, I don’t think the episodes have any strong plots themselves. The basic format is something happens in the first half of each episode which gets one of our pilots emotionally involved and then the action happens in the second half. A lot of episodes revolve around one of our Knight Saber members meeting some other girl that is working hard and then gets killed by being put into the wrong circumstances or being involved with the wrong people. That’s not the only plot set up, but that is the most common one. The action is usually the Knight Sabers fighting against powerful android units that are virtually terminators called Boomers. The main boss Boomer is usually a robotic tentacle beast. There is some continuity from one episode to another because the characters recognize each other from different events and one certain police officer wants to date the hot blooded one. Bubblegum Crisis isn’t a deep series, but it is a dark/fun one that I find very enjoyable.
Next, let’s talk about the four Knight Sabers. Maybe they aren’t the deepest characters in the world, but they are definitely characters that have their own unique personalities For starters there is our brunette, Priss. She is the hard core, hot blooded never day say character of the group and that is why Priss is our main character. She does get sentimental and/or soft around families, kids, and such, but otherwise she is always in the mood to be as bad ass as possible. At one point, she had a cast on her arm and she cuts it off with a knife like a bad ass and just goes on a mission. We never see that injury pop up again after that. Priss also works as a singer/idol at a club, so she has a sing songy heart too. Bubble Gum Crisis never digs that far into what drives Priss, but that’s ok. She is entertaining enough to drive this show forward by herself, but it’s nice to have other characters that go with her.
Then there are the three other Night Sabers which are easily enough to explain. The Boss of the Night Sabers is a dark blue haired chick named Sylia and her being a boss defines who she is personality wise and what she does. She is a good and sentimental boss too. Unfortunately, she comes with a younger, perverted brother that likes to watch when the girls change into their skin suits (which they don’t wear anything under) that go under their powered armor but is tolerated because he is a better then good mechanic. Nene is the pink haired short cute one who is just a sweet heart and also works for the A.D. Police. Linna is the black haired straight man of the group and keeps the group grounded. Working as a Aerobics Instructor that wants to get into dancing, she is the one character that has bad things that happen to her like her car being stolen or broken into. The four of them gel very well with each other.
Remember when I said on Megalo Box that the art/animation was replicating 80’s style of anime? This is the real deal here. The cityscape of Bubblegum Crisis is beautiful and obviously inspired by Blade Runner. That is in no way a detriment to the show, because I just love looking at the city scape. It feels so real. Did I mention the art style? The character designs are just so distinct and interesting that you can tell who is who by their character profiles/hair designs alone. The hard robot suits are distinct from each other in color, design, and specialty abilities. Then let’s not forget how this show is dripping with 80’s culture. That includes the dumb tall hair, the dumb work out clothes that people wore in music videos at that time. I still can’t believe people wore that, but then my dad wore a leisure suit in the 70’s. What do I know?
Then there is the animation. Considering that this is an 80’s ova series, it’s stellar. Character just walking around or driving/riding around in their cars/motorcyes looks amazing. Especially everything is hand drawn. Then there are the fight scenes. Do I really need to say anything? If I do, the robot fight scenes or Priss down bad ass things on her motorcycle looks so good and fluid. The choreography is solid as well. What is there to complain about here?
If I going to talk about the soundtrack, it’s 90% 80’s pop songs and 10% traditional soundtrack. For a series that is dripping with as many 80’s references as possible, it works. Why not go for it all the way including the music if referencing the 80’s is what the series is about?
Final Thoughts – Fun but dated
I would be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy this. Bubblegum Crisis was a joy to watch, but I can’t help but think I watched this too late. I mean I was barely alive when this series came to an end. There is nothing that I can do to help that. I can say why some people who were around when this came out call this a classic show because while it is dark, it is still a celebration of everything 80’s. What that means is that Bubblegum Crisis is a show that is heavily dated because of this. That’s not a bad thing at all but means that it doesn’t have anything staying power for anyone else who didn’t see it at that time it was meant to be watched. I watched this not thinking as much about it because of this fact.
That being said, I think people should check it out. It still is a lot of fun, has good and powerful female characters that live by their own rules while also trying to not get weighed down by society, and the action is fantastic. It might not be that memorable to us newer fans, but who cares? Maybe I will feel stronger about this show if it wasn’t cut down to 8 episodes and completed it’s run. A good, final episode would put a stamp on the whole package. Oh well, what we got is enjoyable enough and I still have some OVAs to dig into.