Reviewby Christopher Macdonald, Mar 29th 2003
Bubblegum Crash is the conclusion to the Bubblegum Crisis series. Crisis was incomplete at eight (out of a supposed thirteen) episodes, and Crash is supposed to be a rough equivalent to the remaining five episodes. Mega Tokyo is a very different place in 2034 than it was in 2032. It's basically a nice place to live; boomer crime--in fact, all crime--is down, the standard of living is up, and it's safe to walk the streets at night. Genom isn't around anymore, and there seems to be much less need for a band of armored vigilantes. The girls also have personal reasons for putting away their armor; is this the end of the Knight Sabers?
Bubblegum Crash starts out with a fairly good scenario: the Knight Sabers are growing apart, but there seems to be a new menace. From a script quality point of view, Crash has a more intricate and better scenario than Crisis because it brings in an element of internal strife which adds a lot to the story. Yet despite the quality of the script, it has some significant failings in comparison to Bubblegum Crisis.
The problem with Crash is that it's...just not right. One would hope for a sequel to answer some of the questions left over from the original series, but Crash answers none of the questions left over from Crisis, and in fact it adds more. Just what happened to Genom? Why is the city suddenly so safe and so rich? That's a lot of unexplained changes for a year and a bit.
In any series, when a sequel is made, it is important to keep continuity between the original and the sequel, especially in the characters' personalities. In Bubblegum Crash the characters' personalities have changed; they aren't the same people they were two years earlier. This is perhaps the one of the biggest flaws in Crash, especially to a BGC fan (and notably the same complaint many fans have with the 2040 series). The largest changes were made to Priss and Sylia. Sylia is much less ruthless than she was in Crisis, as she has become a kinder, warmer person. Priss is a much calmer person in Crash. In Crisis she was full of rage; rage that she vented in combat, in her music and in her interaction with the other Knight Sabers. While calmer, she definitely isn't nicer; she's become a cold bitch with little devotion to the Knight Sabers. Additionally, she suddenly hates Boomers. In Crisis she may have been the most violent towards them, leading many people to believe she hated them, but she never spoke badly of them. Yet in Crash she hates them with a passion. Nene seems to have grown up a bit, but while she is more mature, she has become a much less independent person. Linna too has changed; the Linna of 2032 was a person who was comfortable with her life, happy with her job, she valued the Knight Sabers as both her friends and her real occupation. Like Priss, Linna has lost her devotion to the Knight Sabers and become much more interested in the money she is making in her new profession as a stockbroker.
There are other differences between Crisis and Crash, and while these differences may make Crash less attractive to some people who enjoyed Crisis, they do not take away from the quality of the series in any objective way. While Sylia Stingray may be the raison d'être for the Knight Sabers, most of Crisis revolved more around Priss than Sylia; in Crash this situation has been reversed with Sylia taking the lead role. The design of the Hardsuits changed somewhat (This should be a small issue, but a large issue has been made out of it, many fans prefer the original design, and Kenichi Sonada gave his extreme dislike of the new Hardsuits as his reason for not collaborating on Bubble Gum Crash (Kenichi Sonada designed the original Hardsuits)). Some of the voice actresses changed; this is of little consequence except in the case of Priss because it resulted in a notably different sound to her music.
There are other things that make Crash! less then it could have been. One of the attractions of Crisis is that it portrayed an extreme city, populated by extreme heroes and extreme villains, highlighted by extreme art and extreme music. In Crash all of these aspects have been muted. Despite this, on its own Crash isn't that bad. True, it isn't as good as Crisis, but it's still not that bad. However, sequels are never judged exclusively on their own merits; they are judged in comparison with the original, and Crash simply doesn't have the character of Crisis.
In the end, despite its qualities, Bubblegum Crash is a failure. It completely fails to do what it set out to do, or what it should have set out to do, to complete Crisis. Fans of Bubblegum Crisis will want to watch Crash, just to see more of the series, but they absolutely should not go into this show expecting to see a quality conclusion to the original. Those that have yet to experience any part of the Bubblegum universe should watch either Bubblegum Crisis or Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040. The original is for viewers that want a raw, powerful and emotion driven show, 2040 is for those that want a story with a clear beginning, middle and ending that wraps up every loose end. Crash, is only for those of us that want more.
Overall (dub) : C-
Overall (sub) : C+
Story : B
Animation : B
Art : B+
Music : C+
+ Intrinsic storyline with internal strife, a clear openiong, middle and conclusion.
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