Bubblegum Crisis 2040 Vol. #2 (Mania.com)

By:David Owens
Review Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, December 05, 2000

The Review!
I typically don't like darker, serious series that much, but I picked up Bubblegum Crisis 2040 on VHS back when it first came out, simply because of the babes on the covers. Man, sometimes being shallow really pays off, because BGC2040 is one of the best series I've seen in a while, and I really love every minute (even if I've seen them all before since I have up to v9 on VHS. Doh)

Again, as with my Dual v2 review, I can't really be fair with the video and audio grades and commentary, since my usual DVD player decided to pretend it was a menorah the other day (guess it must be the season...).

But, the video does look rather good, even on my uncalibrated older DVD player. Since the first BGC2040 disc looks incredibly awesome (right below Gasaraki and Dual's level, I would say), I would guess that Crusade looks just as good as the first; I didn't notice any particularly glaring video blunders at all, even on my older DVD player.

The audio is also just as good, nice and crisp with no real noise floating through. No complaints at all here.

The packaging for Crusade is nicer than the first, if only because Linna is on this package, and Linna is a babe. I have a feeling that the Nene cover, when it comes out, will get rather high marks from me too. Hee. All in all, it's a good solid packaging job, again, with no real complaints here either.

The menu is functional and nice, but very spartan. You basically get most of your choices in one screen. This is nice, and some people like it, but it just makes it look kind of half-done to me. Oh well, I usually don't hang around in the menu for very long anyways, but for those interested who have the first disc, it's pretty much the same style as that, so if you liked it then you're in for a treat on this one, cause you get more of the same! Woohoo!

Extras? Er. There's extras on here??? Seriously, all this disc has for extras are some character profiles for Maki, Nigel and Leon. Sigh. I'd really like to see an art gallery, or quite honestly, a Nene and Linna Shrine or something (but I don't know that that'll happen). The profiles are nice, but they ARE rather slim inquantity, so there's really not a very good showing of extras on the disc.

Which is not a bad thing when the content is sooooo good. Bubblegum Crisis is quickly becoming one of my favorite action series, simply because of the cool fights involved, and some of the character interaction (well, and Nene). These episodes involve a fight where the girls actually end up getting into a bit of trouble (oooh!), and also introduce Maki, which I still think is short for Makoto, as in Mizuhara. But, I'm digressing back to the AIC argument which everyone likes to rehash. :)

As usual for me, I'll skip the content synopses for various reasons, chief among them being that the VHS of these episodes have been out for nearly 7 or 8 months now, I believe...so really, anybody on the web who liked the series has probably put up a webpage about it detailing the first episodes by this point. So go find them on the web and get your plot synopses there. But just speaking on the content on Crusade as a whole, it's sure to hook new viewers of the BGC2040 series, and also keep the people who jumped on with the first disc watching. It has no inkling of letting up, either, as the intrigue and action grows as BGC2040 goes on. Let's just say that unless you are a die-hard fan of the original BGC series (poofy hair and all) I think if you are into serious, action-oriented anime, then BGC2040 may be the cup of tea for you. Cute girls, good character interaction, and a much better job at character portrayal, especially of a group of girls that are vigilantes (vigilantism is a gray area, let's not forget, because they operate outside the law, whether they do good or not...). As for the voice acting? It's pretty good, I like it. Frankly, I am rather bad at keeping up with the names of the actors ADV uses, except for the ones I really, really like, but I do know that Hilary Haag does Nene. For those who don't know, she also does Yushiro's younger sister in Gasaraki, and although most people didn't like her voice for that, I think she does a great job as Nene, especially whenever any sort of repartee with Leon is involved (although the best of that was on the first disc, I thought). Sylia's voice actress is rather good as well, as she has a deeper voice which makes her sound older and more in charge than the other girls. Priss is Priss...quiet, introverted, and always understating things it seems. Her voice actress conveys this pretty well by doing most of her out-of-combat lines in a somewhat quieted monotone voice, but in combat, she livens her voice up as needed. Rather good job overall, I have to say, and BGC2040 does have one of the better dub voice acting jobs of all the series I've seen (and one of the best ADV jobs). The only choice I really dislike is Spike Spencer as Maki (he also did Shinji in the Eva dub, and Akito in the Nadesico dub). He isn't BAD, I guess, it's just he sounds a bit too old for the part if you ask me. Then again, I could always go watch and listen to Photon dubbed if I want to shake that feeling...

Anyways, BGC2040: Crusade is a great, great disc, and I'm already gearing up for the rest. Now, if only they would come out quick enough that I wouldn't feel this burning urge to buy the last couple VHS releases, just to see how things turn out in the end...;)

Review Equipment
Pioneer Elite 610 HDTV, Pioneer DV-626D DVD, Pioneer Elite VSX-35TX Receiver, Pioneer ISO-drive speaker setup, Monster component cables

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