First off…this is not Bubblegum Crisis 2040. Certain persons are more tolerant of that remake series than I am. I’m glad it makes Linna, the least-used character in the old series, a main viewpoint character. But I don’t like the rest of the changes; so for me, it’s simpler just to ignore it entirely.
Because once upon a time, there was Bubblegum Crisis — a series I saw for the first time in the U of Michigan’s Student Union with their anime club. It featured an almost entirely female cast from all walks of life, who shared a secret identity as high-paid, justice-seeking, evil-corporation-fighting, robot-butt-kicking mercenaries in powered armor: the Knight Sabers.
Now, all of that was quite enough, even if you didn’t have subtitles, a translated script, or even more than a vague summary of the plot. You could tell what was going on. But there’s a saying that there’s seldom much wrong with a series if the music is good — and Bubblegum Crisis had one of the biggest and best hard rock soundtracks ever, not just in anime. Sung by the voice actors, what’s more. (Did I mention one of the Knight Sabers had her own band, Priss and the Replicants?) So of course I loved the show.
But then we got the subplots. Priss the musician is also the team’s red-suited, motorcycle-riding hothead. She has an admirer in Leon, one of the police detectives investigating both the mysterious giant robot malfunctions that keep devastating Megatokyo and the elusive Knight Sabers. And then there’s Leon’s partner. And then there’s Nene, who acts like a bubblehead but maintains a triple identity: Knight Saber, police clerk, and hacker. Meanwhile, the overarching story is of Sylia’s revenge against the Genom Corporation for killing her father and tampering with the robots he designed. There are a lot of twists in each episode as well, but I’ll let you discover them for yourself.
I should mention there are a couple annoying things about the show. The team’s leader, Sylia, runs a lingerie shop as cover and funding source. Her little brother (the team driver) occasionally tries to check out the team members while they’re putting their armor on. In other words, typical Japanese “fan service” moments.
In general, however, the show is a wonderful, fun, and exciting trip to a cyberpunk future full of rubble, robots, horrors, and hope. I recommend it without reservation.