The entire time I’ve read reviews of Bubblegum Crisis, I’ve heard it refered to as cyberpunk. But honestly, I think it’s a misnomer. For the most part series like BGC Tokyo 2040 or A.D. Police were cyberpunk-light. None of them had the gravitas, and combination of canny commercialism mixed with socio-political-techological-message that really makes cyberpunk good.
The OAV is divided into three episodes. All of them focus around a super-secret branch of the A.D. Police called Branch. Generally they’re structured so there is a side-story and the detectives investigating the crimes. Buzz (Michael Vance) is the classic tough guy detective with a history. Michaelson (Monica Rial) is the somewhat naive pseudo-sidekick.
Each of the story’s floats around one aspect of boomers (the series’ name for andriods) and their place in society. While they may not be handled as we as say an Isaac Asimov story, they are each interesting and compelling enough to keep watching.
But what really sells this show is the atmosphere. It’s dark. It’s crowded. People are just trying to survive, using whatever means they can. The animation and the artwork are really the selling points here. Unlike the other BGC series, this does not devolve into campy transformation scenes or have any wierd sexual undertones. (Okay so it does, but more along the lines of what you’d expect.)
The voice acting (I only watched the dub) is pretty top-notch. Monica Rial really is at her best when she isn’t doing cutesy girls with soft whispery voices. And Michael Vance manages the tough guy buzz to an at least adaquate level.
The soundtrack is actually pretty good. Especially when it gets creepy. Generally there’s a lot of ambient sound and discordant notes.
But overall my main problem is that the series feels unfinished. There’s still a lot of questions that the OAV leaves unanswered. But overall it’s a good watch. Definitely worth the rental.
Cleverness: 3 out of 5
Characters: 4 out of 5
Story: 4 out of 5
Technical: 3 out of 5
Acting: 4 out of 5
Overall 3.5 out of 5
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