Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 (Japan 1998)

Rating: **
Review Date: 8/22/99

Divided into twenty-six installments.

Just what I've been waiting for - more "Bubblegum Crisis!" Unfortunately, fans of the original series are bound to be disappointed with this retelling of the Knight Sabers' story, and Kenichi Sonoda's original character designs are sorely missed. Since this is a TV series, the pacing is slow and deliberate, focussing more on character development and interaction than on action sequences and plot development. Linna sees the majority of the action in the first few episodes, as she's just moved to Tokyo from the countryside and takes a boring office job. She quickly realizes that she's not cut out for office life and becomes determined to track down a mysterious group of vigilantes known as the Knight Sabers and join their ranks in fighting Boomer crimes. She finally does, but it's not smooth sailing.

It's really hard to accept this series on its own terms without comparing it to the original. It's good, but decidedly different. Fortunately, it has an edge to it that was missing in "Bubblegum Crash," but unfortunately, the characters aren't as endearing (maybe they will be as the series progresses). Priss is still a hot tempered bad attitude bitch, which is nice to see. Nene still works at A.D. Police, but her red hair and jubilent exuberance is absent. She's still kind of a klutz and a whiner, though. Linna gets a complete makeover as a defiant and strong willed woman who wants to make a difference as a crime fighter, but lacks confidence and experience. Probably the greatest disappointment is the treatment of Sylia Stingray, the leader and developer of the Knight Sabers. In the original, she was an intelligent and sophisticated woman, weighed down heavily with guilt and grief over her father's death. Her solemn mission was to continue her father's research and avenge his death. Her new incarnation portrays her as a rich psychotic tramp, with little depth or feeling. She doesn't even go into battle with the rest of the girls! Hopefully things will shape up and pull together in later episodes, but for now it just leaves a slightly bitter taste in my mouth.