Bubblegum Crisis 2040 Vol. #5 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

What They Say
Tokyo becomes a killing field as a living wave of bio-organic metal sweeps through the city like the hands of a mad god! As Galatea's power continues to grow, the Knight Sabers must join with the remnants of the A.D. Police in a desperate battle to stop the boomer onslaught. But will even their combined forces be enough when the boomers outnumber the humans by a million to one? An all-new series of HARDsuits with spectacularly advanced capabilities may be mankind’s only hope, but the new technology is untested and potentially lethal.

The Review!
As if the last volume didn't leave me wanting more, this one is like torture. And with five episodes on it, it made the separation anxiety even greater. This series is going to require a single viewing of the whole thing once the last disc comes out.

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.

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.

It's a Nene cover. It ranks high. It rocks. Simple put. The only reason it didn't get an A+ is the lack of volume or episode numbering, which is a long and ongoing argument between fans, studios and retailers. But in the end, it's a Nene cover. And a very high skin-level Nene. Ah, life is good. The insert provides a nice slightly subdued image of all the girls in their hardsuits against the bluish green water of the swimming pool while the reverse side has the episode and chapter listings.

The menus this time around are fairly minimal in selections but bright and fluid in design. The right and top are a static image of the cover with animation playing to the lower left just below the menu selections. Access times between menus is nice and fast and everything's laid out in a pretty simple logical way. No real issues at all with the menus.

The only extras included here are four pieces of conceptual artwork in color, one for each of the hardsuits. It's nicely presented and in general is interesting to see, but it's just so little.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Though there are five episodes included on this disc, the stories flow from episode to episode and it's over before you know it. Things pick up right where we left off last time with the mad boomers now infiltrating the AD Police headquarters. The chief and two section managers are racing up through the levels with the assistance of Nene in the Information Center using the cameras available throughout the building.

This chase lasts through three episodes and provides several hairy encounters, as the Information Center becomes acquired by the mad boomers just after Nene sends off a distress call to both the AD Police officers out in the city and to Sylia and the other Knight Sabers. Nene ends up meeting up with the chief and the others, finally taking some amount of confidence in herself and fighting alongside them, though not to the best results.

When Priss learns of Nene's situation, she books it over there on her motoslave and finds Leon and Daley preparing a small contingent of AD Police officers to head into the building to see if they can rescue those missing. Priss doesn't take time to fool around, but does invite Leon to join her in her search as they descend into the lower levels. There's some interesting twists and turns here (and a few obvious solutions to anyone whose watched any kind of SF movies in the past 20 years), but in the end the chase scenes are fun to watch as you wonder whose going to get killed.

The next two episodes deal with the change in the city as the boomers continue their movement through the city. The TV networks aren't covering the disaster at all, which prompts some resourceful folks to break into the airwaves and urge people to evacuate. Once they see the carnage on the street, there's plenty of incentive to do so. From there we start to see various minor incidents as well as how some of the more loyal AD Police officers handle things as the city quickly turns into a near ghost town.

There's a fair number of revelations along the way as well, as we're introduced to the next generation of hardsuits (very cool and very sexy... and with an unfortunate requirement on the part of the wearer). Mason and Galatea also provide some rather enlightening sequences as we learn just how absolutely disturbed that man is. There are also a fair number of touching scenes, such as a tender moment between Sylia and Nigel or the time when the Knight Sabers are off fighting and all the men in their lives are sitting around waiting for them to return.

There's a lot of things going on in here and the majority of it flows nicely. Great character designs, excellent looking animation and a storyline that makes you want more and more as fast as possible. Watching this weekly would be a nightmare for me. Four or five episode batches are the only way to go.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Conceptual Artwork

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

Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
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