Mania Grade: NA
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- Audio Rating: N/A
- Video Rating: N/A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: N/A
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 3 & Up
- 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. #5
By Roman Martel
February 06, 2002
Release Date: May 15, 2001
Overall Rating: 4.1
(on a scale of 1-5)
English Acting: 4
Just as this series was starting to pick up and go somewhere, it slowed down, way down. It wasn't because of the pacing. It wasn't because there was no action. It was just not that interesting. And it seemed to take forever to get to those eyecatches. This series is really weird. What's going on here!?
Bubblegum Crisis keeps up all its typical scores on the technical front. You've got great sound and picture. The menus are pretty cool, lots of motion, and music, and of course they react pretty well. The cover is for all you Nene fans out there and it includes all the info except number of channels of sounds and leaves off the fact there are some design sketches in the extras. The sketches themselves are pretty neat looking but they are presented in such a way that they are a bit hard to see, especially on a small television. I prefer the way I've seen them done on Lain, where you get to page through and they fill up the whole screen. It's another solid technical job for 2040. On to the content!
Bubblegum Crisis 2040 has reached the same point that Trigun has reached. You have finally established who the main threat is. It's time for our heroes to confront the villain. But before they can get to the main threat, the villain throws everything they can at them. What follows should be an exciting series of narrow escapes and danger looming around every corner. What happens instead is almost boring, but not quite.
The first two episodes on this disc resolve the problem Nene and the three remaining AD police have. They are trapped in a building full of rogue boomers. Will Nene and friends get out alive and just what are the boomers after? It takes Leon, Daley some remaining ADP officers and Priss (sans hardsuit) to save the day.
The next two episodes deal with the Knightsabres and their new hardsuits. Linna quickly shows that she knows how to use them to the best advantage. Will Priss rejoin the group now that she knows the secret behind the suits? Another boomer threat in the form of a huge metal worm shows up. Linna, Sylia and Nene go take it on in the new suits but can't seem to stop it. Priss shows up but will she hold the winning card?
The final episode is the best of the bunch. Tokyo has been abandoned because of the boomer plague (as they are calling it). The Sabres relax for a moment (don't ask me why!). Suddenly things go horribly wrong when Boomers attack the Sabres hide-out. Will our heroes survive? Oh yeah and somewhere in those episodes Leon gets to read the backstory to fill in all the gaps. He is now Exposition-man!
The animation stays pretty much the same here. It's nice and clean and it looks good. I wasn't too thrilled about the mass shots of the boomers or the giant worm-beast creature thingy. It looks a little thrown together, and isn't as threatening as some of the previous boomers. The new hardsuits also look kinda silly. They are more form fitting, but look less practical than the original suits did (not that those were that practical to begin with). They kinda remind me of the ones used in Bubblegum Crash, but a bit more streamlined. And finally there is Galatia. As she develops into a more mature life form, she begins to look more and more like Ifurita from the Wanderers. I keep expecting her to turn around to Mason and in a sweet voice say, "Oh no, I'm evil." (happy grin). It's kinda weird. The sound is just what we've been having so far.
The plot is really typical and isn't doing much in the way of being overly interesting or overly boring. The problem is that this show is just passing the time away. The AD Police section in the first two episodes went on too long, or could have been more suspenseful if we felt any danger for any of the characters. It just didn't work at all. It could have been like Aliens and turned out being more like a long boring Bond car chase scene. The next two episodes fared a bit better but were still really poorly executed in the thrilling department. The last episode has the least action but it's more interesting than the previous ones. I'm thinking that there are some directing or writing problems here. The plot elements that should work just aren't clicking. It might have been better if some of the characters got injured or even died. At least then the threat would have been more real. Instead you just wait for the designated Knightsabre to show up and save everyone's bacon. And then you get Mason. Mason who, at first, seemed to be doing things a bit differently. Mason who ended up following the same tired old path of the anime villain. Even the Mason from the OAV seemed less stereotypical in his resolution. I don't want to give away too much. There is still a chance for things to change, but the way Mason and Quincy were handled was kinda weak.
The score is still good and I'm getting more hyped about getting a CD or two. It reminds me a bit of Trigun in its style and approach. Of course Trigun has some of my favorite music on it. So it's possible that this series might grow on me as well (even if Hurricane isn't on the soundtrack).
And finally we get to the entertainment value of this disc. It wasn't bad. It wasn't good. It just was. I was hoping that the pacing of the story would be a bit better but it just isn't happening. I'm not sure if the direction is to blame or perhaps it's the writing. This disc isn't really pulling me in. I'm beginning to lose faith in this show becoming better than it has been. Please don't let me down!
Roman J. Martel
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General Electric Performance Plus (25 Inch), Sony Playstation 2