Bubblegum Crisis 2040 Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040

Bubblegum Crisis 2040 Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     February 13, 2001
Release Date: February 13, 2001


Bubblegum Crisis 2040 Vol. #4
© ADV Films


What They Say
Mysterious clues about Sylia's past begin to surface as the Knight Sabers are drawn into a deadly race to discover a missing research facility. But even as they near their objective, the team starts to fall apart as the real reasons for the Knight Sabers' existence come into question.

Underneath the ruins of old Tokyo, the ultimate nightmare begins to awake as a long buried secret turns into a deadly trap. The last relics of law and order are blown to ashes and dust as Mason unleashes Dr. Stingray's most horrifying creation.

The Review!
It's good. It's all good. My god it's good. More. Must have more.

Audio:
For the purpose of our primary review, we listened to the Japanese language track. Throughout this track dialogue was clean and undistorted and as is with most TV series, through the center channel. The rocking soundtrack makes excellent use of the stereo speakers and really fills the room nicely. There wasn't a lot of directionality throughout these episodes, but a few instances during combat sequences were nicely done.

Video:
Right from the opening frame of this show, it's a visual treat. With such vibrant and fluid animation combined with a top drawer transfer, this disc is simply stunning and follows the three previous discs nicely. Colors are bright and vibrant, the darks are solid especially in near pitch black sequences and the night blue skies are practically artifact free. Rainbows are scant and only a few instances of minor line noise. This is simply a great looking disc that just gives me a big grin when I watch it.

Packaging:
This disc sports a most lovely picture of Sylia in her fashionable business attire with the paler image of her hardsuit to the right. Very attractive looking cover and a bit lighter in color than the previous three (which have Priss twice and Linna once... which means Nene darn well better be next!). The back cover lists the episode titles but no episode numbers (boo). The episode summaries are pretty well done with nothing really spoilerish in them. The insert has a grea picture of Nene in her AD Police outfit and her hardsuit to the left. The reverse lists the episodes and their individual chapters as well as the front loaded trailers you can expect to see if you watch them instead of hitting the menu button.

Menus:
These new menus still look pretty slick and have some good animation and music attached to them. The access times are also still pretty fast, which is always a definite plus. The overall design of the menus is solid and in the end, I think are much better looking stylistically than the ones on the first two discs.

Extras:
The only extras included in this round are a few character profiles which I now fully avoid after a few discs by different companies putting completely obvious spoiler material in them.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
If it wasn't official before, I'm now making it clear; I've become a BGC2040 junkie.

The shows strengths just keep building up on the established foundation. One of its biggest strengths in my opinion is its ability to have the story flow through each of the episodes as more of a serial than the usual TV series which go episodic for awhile and then flow into the real story. This disc brings us up to episode sixteen and the overall story is now just becoming clear, yet there are still many twists ahead.

The show starts off fast with Nene investigating Sylia's past while Sylia starts making deals to get the equipment she needs to locate her fathers lab which had been buried under the devastating earthquake. When she finally gathers it and tests it with Nigel, she brings the three girls back together to offer them the job of helping her locate the lab, offering them twice the normal since it's not a typical job.

This is when what little neo-family unity the four had starts to break down. Nene takes her questioning of Sylia and Mackey's past to the top of the agenda, backing Sylia into a verbal corner trying to get answers. Sylia's answers however don't help. While we do learn more of Mackey and Sylia's past, the crucial new item we learn is that the hardsuits are actual [spoiler: inert boomers! This horrifies Nene who runs out on the spot. Priss and Linna don't take this too well either, but opt to trust Sylia for now and help her find the lab. :End spoiler]

The search for the lab goes fairly well with both Linna and Priss checking each of the 27 possible locations. When the lab is finally found, Priss tries to enter it, only to have Sylia go nearly ballistic on her in demanding that she doesn't enter.

From here, things begin to take some odd turns. Genom, via the crafty and evil Brian J. Mason, follows Sylia into the lab after she ditches Priss and Linna. Mason's plans begin to fall into place during this time with word spreading to people in the AD Police that they're going to be disbanded and merged back into the normal police, at a time when boomer crimes are at an all time high!

Mason's trip into the Wiz Lab finds Sylia already there and about to destroy some mysterious project of her fathers. The result of her attempt to destroy it reveals far too much new information that can't be mentioned here as it would spoil far far too much. Suffice to say that the twists presented here radically change the perceptions of several characters and the general direction that the story is starting to take with only ten episodes left.

The shows animation continues to be outstanding. The design set from the beginning continues to hold up nicely with lots of detail for both characters and locations. Each new area, such as the ruins underneath the city to the real power brokers, is designed in such a way as to both mesh with the rest of the sets as well as being unique and very atmospheric. The only downside to these episodes was that the cute redhead boomer at Mason's office was only featured for about a minute. She needs her own series! Heh heh.

Bubblegum Crisis 2040 continues to be a real pleasure to watch. Great storytelling, great animation and one of the best vocal soundtracks I've heard in years. Highly recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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