Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Review: Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 (1999)

Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 (1999) is a dark, cyberpunk Japanese anime television series about the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence (AI) lifeforms, also known as boomers. A major earthquake levels devastates much of Tokyo, and the ruthless and powerful Genom corporation manufactures these boomers to rebuild the city. These lifeforms have become integrated into everyday life, replacing humans in menial jobs, and hold positions ranging from janitors to office managers. Thus, the boomers become an important and stigmatized labor class to humanity.

However, some of the boomers occasionally malfunction and go berserk ("rogue"), and the city's inept A.D. (Advanced Defense) Police are outmatched and cannot stop them. Genom ultimately wants to take over the city with an army of robotic monsters. A mysterious group of four young female mercenaries, also known as the Knight Sabers, wear pilot-powered combat hard suits that outline their physiques and come with individualized weaponry. The Knight Sabers wage a major war against these rouge boomers before they take over the world.

The four women that comprise the Knight Sabers are Sylia Stingray, Priss, Nene Romanova, and Linna Yamazaki.

I was introduced to Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 on the Action Channel (Starz! network package). This is a "remake" loosely of the 1980s original action video (OAV), Bubblegum Crisis 2032. What makes Tokyo 2040 different is that it incorporates industrial rock and percussion music to give it a science fiction background. I thought the music of these series was pretty good although the some song selections may make you wonder how do they fit the characters and fight scenes. Each episode was named after a rock/punk song or album. The animation and action scenes are very well done and won't disappoint even hardcore and cult fans.

You are probably wondering why I labeled this series under the genre, "cyberpunk." According to Wikipedia, the science fiction subgenre features "features advanced science, such as information technology and cybernetics, coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order." In addition, the plots "often center on a conflict among hackers, artificial intelligences, and megacorporations in a near-future Earth setting." Mankind has created androids with the unexpected consequence of the machines to become "rogue" (out-of-control).

Although technology has become more advanced, artificial lifeforms cannot replace human souls. This series also highlighted themes of exploitation of labor (social classes) and the industrial revolution. There is supposed to be a sequel called Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2041, but since it has been almost ten years since the announcement with no new information, the series will probably never go into production.

This series is available to buy and rent on DVD.

  • Episodes: 26
  • OP Song: "Y'know" by Akira Sudou
  • ED Song: "Waiting for You" by Akira Sudou

"Y'know" by Akira Sudo

"Waiting for You" by Akira Sudou

No comments: