Bubblegum Crisis 2040 Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040

Bubblegum Crisis 2040 Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     June 15, 2001
Release Date: June 15, 2001


Bubblegum Crisis 2040 Vol. #6
© ADV Films


What They Say
Like a multi-headed serpent, the branches of the Dragon Line become the arms with which Galatea seeks to crush the last vestiges of human resistance in Tokyo. Now the city is abandoned. Only the Knight Sabers remain, mankind's last line of defense against the nightmarish spawn of man and machine. But can even the Sabers defeat a beast with a million eyes and the mind of an insane child?

The Review!
After the rush of events from the last volume, things only get more involved here. Once again, Tokyo gets the big tentacle.

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:
Much like the previous volume, the video here is solid. With the animation quality still high this late into the series, it pays off with a great transfer that provides great color saturation and solid black levels. There's no noticeable color bleeding and there's not a rainbow to be found. If anything, the only problem some folks may have (and it did tweak me on occasion) is the line noise/jaggies that you see during a few of the camera pan sweeps over the city skyline. If you loved how earlier discs looked, expect more of the same. Very nicely done.

Packaging:
This is a pretty decent cover that has the four Knight Sabers swirling up into space with Earth in the background (but where's the helmets!). It's a pretty decent looking cover but nothing really eye-grabbing. The reverse side has a few pictures as well as a brief summary of the final episodes. Episode titles are listed but no numbers and no volume numbering (boo). At least that's consistent. The insert has a different piece of artwork which may have been a bit more eye-catching for the cover as well as more art on the reverse side with the chapter listings.

Menus:
The menus are similar to the last disc in that they're nothing like the earlier discs. The layout is pretty decent but the coloring makes reading some of the selections hard with deep purple over deep blue and the highlighted selection being a light pale blue. The main menu basically looks like the front cover with animation playing in the back with some music. Access times are good and things are laid out in a pretty simple way.

Extras:
The only extra here is a credit listing for the four main Knight Sabers. A screen is there for two of the Japanese voice actresses and three of the English voice actresses listing their credits and a photo of them. This is similar to what was done for 3 X 3 Eyes and I admit that I still really like it. Even if I don't listen to the dub.

In the end though, Bubblegum Crisis 2040 offered really weak extras, especially for a series that ADV helped finance. I don't believe there's been much announced in the way of extras for the region 2 version either, so there just seems to be a general lack of material, which is really disappointing as it's a show I'd love to have more insights into from the creative staff, voice actors and production crew.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The final disc contains the final three episodes that were broadcast and then the two OVA's which followed it. The series does not end on the third episodes but on the final OVA. So if you were watching this in Japan, you had to fork over a few bucks to see the ending.

With the boomers now making their way into the Knight Sabers headquarters, the girls all decide it's time to really kick some boomer butt. Of course, what they should be doing is slapping Sylia upside the head for making their highly defensible headquarters easily broken into with a swimming pool that goes all the way down the center of the building that leads to their secret headquarters. Not particularly swift.

When all is said and done and some of the boomers have been nailed, everyone makes their way out only to see Tokyo covered in dank looking boomer tentacles. There's nobody left in the city but them. The time spent driving around provides a somewhat eerie feeling with wreckage strewn about and the empty streets with vehicles scattered about. So what's four girls, Leon, Henderson, Nigel and Mackey to do? They head to the beach.

Well, not really a beach, but sort of the coastline area where there's some sand a park. Apparently others have the sensible idea of hiding out where boomers would have no real need to go and acquire more raw materials for their takeover of the city. There's a fair number, upwards of fifty or so, of other humans who've fled from the city and are hiding here. They make a regular raid on the city stores when the boomers aren't around or infected an area yet, which proves to be amusing when they get Leon to help essentially rob the store.

While hanging out, getting drunk and fooling around, the group begins to unravel the mystery of what Galatea is doing. They soon discover how she's going to use the Showhamm energy collector up in space to send down the virus through the Dragon Line and expand across the world, allowing the boomers to take complete and total control of everything. Things become especially despondent when Galatea takes control of Mackey and toys with their mental stability.

From there the plot begins to move into figuring a way up to the space station before Galatea and then dealing with defeating her and saving the world. If you've seen anime before, you can probably figure out how things will end. The ending overall isn't necessarily bad, but after the incredible build up during the middle section, which is usually the most fillerish section of a series, the ending comes as a bit of a letdown. But there are some truly good moments that brings this series again up over its predecessor, especially in how Leon and Priss interact when they're in the mindset of everything coming to an end.

Nene and Mackey's relationship begins to take an interesting turn and Nene's probably one of the ones who grows the best in the end, with Linna being essentially cast to the side, Priss coming to terms with falling in love with Leon and Sylia with spawning Galatea and dooming all of mankind. At least Sylia fools around a bit more with Nigel.

The animation for the final episodes is pretty much on par with previous ones, though some sequences in the final two OVA episodes do look a bit better, but it's consistent with the TV animation and only a slight hint more nudity. The designs continue to be a highlight of the show, even if they are recycled AIC designs, they work well here and I still find this Sylia to be much more interesting than the original series one.

Overall, this has been a great series to watch and one I'm glad we got a bunch of episodes for on each disc. It definitely made the wait between volumes more bearable and makes it easier to get into repeat viewing. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Cast List

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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