|Created by||Toshimichi Suzuki|
|Original video animation|
|Produced by||Junji Fujita|
|Written by||Toshimichi Suzuki|
|Music by||Kōji Makaino|
|Studio||Artmic & AIC|
|Released||February 25, 1987 – January 30, 1991|
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 exoskeletons and fight numerous problems, most frequently rogue robots. The success of the series spawned several sequel series.
See also: List of Bubblegum Crisis characters
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. The opening sequence of episode 1 is even modeled on that of the latter film. 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.
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."
The series started with Toshimichi Suzuki's intention to remake the 1982 film Techno Police 21C. In 1985, 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 Ōbari created the mechanical designs. 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 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.
|Sylia Stingray||Yoshiko Sakakibara||Jemila Ericson|
|Priscilla "Priss" Asagiri||Kinuko Oomori||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|
|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|
|3||Manager||Ikuya Sawaki||Mick McGovern|
|Shou||Kyouko 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|
English: 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.||Title||Runtime||Japan first release dates||English first release dates|
|1||"Tinsel City"||45 minutes||February 25, 1987||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 minutes||September 5, 1987||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 minutes||December 5, 1987||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 minutes||July 24, 1988||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 minutes||December 25, 1988||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 minutes||August 30, 1989||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 minutes||March 14, 1990||March 19, 1992|
|A singer with a vendetta comes to Megatokyo, and brings some heavy firepower with her.|
|8||"Scoop Chase"||52 minutes||January 30, 1991||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.
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. 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."
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.
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.
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.
In 1993, it appeared on Scramble Wars, a crossover event between Bubblegum Crisis, Gall Force, Genesis Survivor Gaiarth, AD Police and Riding Bean.
The series' creator Toshimichi Suzuki wrote two novels:
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.
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.
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.
Bubblegum Crisis is, quite simply, an institution to the anime world. Probably the best-known Girls-With-Guns anime