Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 – Review

Time for another review, and this time we’ve got… a random-ass show from the late ’90s. And boy is this show EVER from the late ’90s. This might the most “from the ’90s” anime I’ve ever witnessed, absolutely dripping with a specific cyberpunk aesthetic, sound, and idea of “cool” that at this point comes across as more quaint than anything else. And as I say in the review, once you get past that, the show really doesn’t give you all that much else to talk about – Bubblegum Crisis is a very simple scifi-action thing full of very simple characters acting out a very simple story. Overall, I’d basically describe it as “harmless enough.”

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or read some of my frankly unnecessary notes below!

Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040

Episode 1

Oh god these designs look so 90s

This OP is terrible

All crappy techno music so far

Linna’s the first character

Racism against robots o no

The Genom Corporation created the Showhamm Project in space, which will solve our energy problems

Limited animation

The Knight Sabers, champions of justice

This writing is pretty stiff and clumsy

The “boomers” are the robots

“GET YOUR ASS BACK HERE.” Oh wow, Linna’s actually pretty awesome

And now she’s chasing a motorcycle in high heels. Lol

And now she’s climbing down a building what the fuck

And then she gets lectured by a boomer

Linna Yamazaki

Nene is MC #2, who has a pretty distinctive voice

Some really awkward voice acting from side characters

Ah, the Knight Sabers fight out-of-control boomers

More bad techno-rock music

All the music is ugly post-80s rock. In fact, the whole show is kinda future-80s. Cyberbikes and neon

Lady Sylia, with white hair

Linna kicking more ass. She helps

Rogue boomer approaches

The boomer design is pretty sweet. Decent animation, too

Priss is the last MC, pop star slash superbiker

These good guy robot designs are… not the best

Megalocity is what they call neo-Tokyo

Episode 2

This script loves its swears

Script keeps being awkwardly worded

Oh my god, this cyberspace CG

Sylia is basically Bruce Wayne, complete with her Butler Meisio/”Henderson”

“Boomers are a threat to everyone on the planet!”

Whoa, Sylia’s getting pretty worked up

The Shohamm Project. Wow, the villain sure is a villain. Sitting in a throne surrounded by monitors, talking about controlling the world’s energy and eternal life

Chairman Rosenkroitz

Oh god make her stop singing this song is the worst stoooop Prissss

Kind of a rockabilly song now. This one’s okay

And Linna’s in. Pretty easy initiation

Time for a mission in the simulator

Whole lot of screaming in this simulation

Episode 3

Nene fools the one cop who decides to investigate the cameras of Knight Saber incidents. Welp

A bike mechanic makes their super-robots that are way better than anything the police have

God, this “naturalized” dialogue is painful

Contrast between the boomers going haywire and humans abusing normal boomers

Mason’s the evil VP

Nice rave-ish lighting for this attack.

Lenna’s really enjoying her suit

“Knight Sabers, prepare for action!”

Woop, awkward CG as they bounce off buildings

Some nice backgrounds though

Episode 4

“I don’t work with amateurs.” Priss so tough

All I really care about in this show is Priss and Linna’s crazy sexual tension. I guess I truly have become a shittweeter

“I didn’t form the Knight Sabers to avenge my father’s death”

Apparently some former girl died

“I’m not that little girl anymore. I’ve grown into an adult female.” cool dialogue

Apparently they can maybe tell which boomers will go crazy

Sylia keeps throwing these fits whenever she learns something she doesn’t like. It’s really out-of-place dramatic affectation

Cop guy has fallen for Priss

The music’s a mix of bad techno and a bad combo of grunge and 80s rock – the tunelessness of grunge and the glam affectation of hair metal

And they’re contrasting Priss’s terrible song against Lenna jazzercising. Welp

Lenna used to be a great athlete

I kinda like the little interactions between people and everyday boomers. It’s a weird dynamic

Episode 5

God, this writing is so lame. This show’s the epitome of genre schlock

“I want to know why they hate boomers so much. Why can’t they love my boomers?”

The vice president is in love with a boomer

Flashbacks to the earthquake

“Some people just want to die.” “TO DIE?!?”

The AD Police are basically staging an attack to draw out the Knight Sabers

Sylia’s father developed bio-organic constructs. “I wonder if what he’s doing is against the will of god. Even if he’s your father. Can I love him in spite of that?” WRITINGGGGG

“Are his experiments more important to him than his family? What kind of man has he become?!?” THIS IS AMAZING

ono Lenna fell down

Episode 6

Ono, they’re being framed as terrorists

Crappy synth go!

There sure isn’t much energy to these action scenes

“This special news break was brought to you by Genom Corp.” That’s a nice, chilling detail

“Your calves are much too muscular.” Wow, fuck Lenna’s boss

“I’d like to crush his core.” Lenna remains the one good thing in this show

Mackey appears, Sylia’s “brother”?

Sylia has pretty consistent emotional outbursts. I guess that’s intentional, and not just bad drama?

And then the vice president orders his girlfriend to laugh. Okay

He has a very love-hate relationship with his boomer, apparently

Mackey’s tripping balls


Sylia is a ridiculous person

“The only thing I have to know is that you are my real younger brother, Mackey.” The writing is so jerky. I mean, obviously he’s a boomer, but this is the most graceless, hackneyed work



Mackey’s winning over the mechanic dude

“Mackey Stingray” is his name

Oh man, this show sure doesn’t have jokes

Episode 7

Looks like we’ve got an episodic story this time?

A mechanical worker who’s been away for a year and his wife is cheating on him

Nevermind, he loses it right at the beginning

Sometimes it seems like the characters moved too far away from the microphone

Sylia doesn’t want Mackey involved

Genom is going to use boomers to harvest other planets

The deep sea model has gone rogue

They’re called “Moto drones”

Yeah, weird sound levels. Some vocal parts are really low

This episode is incredibly boring

Mackey’s doing some nice tech work

ono Bill was so nice


Episode 8

Priss being cool as usual

Leon’s the cop

Mackey and Sylia drama. Mackey deciding to live at Nigel’s

Nene and Linna hanging out

“Singing means that I’m alive.” These Priss interviews are too much

The show is largely episodic, but the episodic stories have very little appeal

And god Priss’s songs are terrible

Priss using Nigel’s power-bike

oh hey, the Akira bike slide

Episode 9

“It’s just a rumor. If it was real, it would be on TV, right?”

Boomers are going missing

Leon and Nene talking about Priss

“I’m serious, what if someone’s controlling all of the media.” Getting it on the nose again

“Have you forgotten that the AD police have been trying to kill us?” “A little antagonism is good for a relationship”

Talking about the ruins of bio labs from the pre-quake period. Apparently that’s where the boomers have been disappearing

And of course Sylia blows up ridiculously about the Priss-Leon thing

Maybe if this show had good writing, Sylia would come off as anything other than aggravating and ridiculous

“I can do it! I’m not dead weight, damnit!” This was supposed to be an episode about Nene, but the storytelling wasn’t nearly coherent enough to lead to this point

And a giant monster appears

Episode 10

A monster that eats boomers

Leon’s getting rowdy with his boss. HE’S A LOOSE CANNON

The vice-chairman is seeking wherever that monster came from

Priss is telling Sylia to cut Nene out, or at least make her leave the front. It’s too dangerous for her

Mackey trying to cheer up Nene

The two cop dudes are investigating the monster

“How do they keep doing it?! Do I have a tracking beacon on my butt, or what?!”

This sure is some funky guitar for Sylia’s flashback

Episode 11

A prostitute-boomer goes rogue

This time Linna’s the one being insecure

Linna has to head out of town to see her parents

A problem with the Dragon!

The chairman making a big villain speech about controlling energy

So the Dragon is the geobattery underground that they’ll send the power of the satelite to

Brian J. Mason is the vice-chairman

Linna talking with her mom about her goals and whatnot. This is a nice scene

Woop, her arranged date is super cute

Aw jeez, huge boomer gone crazy

Uh oh, Linna’s gotta choose between her job and prince charming

Episode 12

It’s some classified military boomer

Haha this milquetoast suitor dude is great. Perfect dopey voice actor

And Linna heads back to Tokyo!

Some decent combat/explosion animation here

Sweet fight between the boomer and military robots

Ooh, and a cool pan around Leon

This creature’s directly inspired by Unit 01 Berserker mode

Nice that they’ve got a full team now

Aw dang, tension between Nene and Mackey!

The vice-chairman’s meeting with the mechanic dude

“Stupid kid. I wish he wasn’t so much younger than me.”

The vice-chairman sends Sylia on the track of her father’s lab, and then kills his mole

Yep, and now we’ve got the reveal about Mackey

So hey, no age difference after all!

Episode 13

The soundtrack’s honestly got a pretty broad diversity of tracks. They’re just mostly not very good

Sylia goes to meet a doctor to talk about Mason

Sylia wants to seal the Wiz Lab, her father’s lab, away forever

Nene asking Priss about where Sylia’s hatred of boomers comes from. Presumably a boomer killed her original brother

Using data from the boomer-eating monster to create a boomer-disabling sonar… and also to find the lab?

Nene confronts Sylia about her lies

Aw shit, an issue at the lab caused the earthquake

And Nene runs off

And the vice-chairman’s following their mission

Episode 14

Priss finds the lab. Mackey senses someone calling him

Mason makes his move

“Why’d you waste time changing?” “Because with that stupid skirt I’d have to ride sidesaddle, and I’ve seen you drive.” The three leads remain the easy best part of the show

“I feel her presence. She’s waiting.” Apparently Mason’s waifu is down there

Mackey actually… sneaks in after him? Well that’s ridiculous

ono, Mackey is compelled by the queen boomer-manipulator thing

uhoh, it’s a tiny glowing Sylia

Episode 15

Apparently the new girl is “Galatea”

Or Sotai?

Priss runs into Leon

And he’s cool about it

She’s the “Sotai,” the fountainhead. Her /name/ is Galatea

Mason wants to “awaken” the boomers

Nigel being all protective of Mackey, Nene being conflicted

Mackey and Galatea were both created using Sylia’s body as a host

Sylia’s father planted her with a device that copied her functions

Holy crap, Sylia’s dad dissected his mom’s brain to do that

“Does my existence justify the nightmare that Sylia endured?” More on-the-nose dialogue

So that’s why Sylia hates rogue boomers

Priss being all “we were just coworkers” now

ono their hard suits are boomers noooo

Leon and Priss bonding

The whole team suddenly has the whole ordeal flash in their minds

Episode 16

Backstory on Sylia’s suits, how the users have to be mentally compatible with them, etc

The AD police are apparently being rolled back into the normal police

“I was young too, once”

Nene talking to her stuffed weasel. She’s pretty great

The police are on strike, and now things are going crazy in the building

Giant boomer zombie horde destroying the ADP

Mackey fights off Galatea’s influence by thinking of Nene

Episode 17

“Some people are born to be cops” god I love this show’s bad dialogue

This episode’s basically a zombie/aliens thing. It’s okay

Nene’s being a badass this episode, as usual. The main three are great

“But you forgot one thing, Mason. In this tower, I am god. Any man who goes against a god is doomed to eternal damnation.”

So the second half of this series is basically “Galatea is testing her powers, more episodic stuff” until they fight Galatea

Priss is admitting she cares about them, d’aw

Some really great Nene faces in this episode

Episode 18

The show really overuses that one wub-wub-wub song

Invasion of ADP! Solid concept for a few episodes

I like the goomba sounds they make when they die

The second season is definitely mixing things up a bit with this no-hardsuit sequence

Yeah, this whole series is a nice diversion from the main story

And Priss is happy she saved Nene

The zombies are trying to take over the communication tower!

And they freeze the whole tower, blowing it with liquid nitrogen. Pretty sweet episode

“You can’t do this to me. I created you, boomer!!!” That is legit two “you can’t do this, I created you” moments in one show

Episode 19

Boomers going “rogue” is actually just them breaking free of their own conditioning. They’re not strictly robots – they’re organisms, chained for a time, but growing more intelligent

Leon and his partner are now just working with them, trying to transmit the truth to the world

Galatea is becoming more intelligent pretty fast

Apparently the vice chairman replaced his cancerous organs with boomer parts


The AD Police all show up to destroy the dragon line! Go ADP

New hardsuits

Leon and Daily kill the shit out of a mega-boomer

Or fail to

Episode 20

ono, Galatea’s rejecting Mason, who could have predicted this

“What’s that mean?” “There is no meaning”

Nigel and Sylia sharing a moment. Apparently they had a relationship???


aw shit, Priss is getting attacked by… evil clowns?

Leon and Priss almost kiss

Time for a little fanservice

Linna’s new suit has like laser-whips

Passable animation for the fight

Episode 21

“Promise you’ll come back, you hear?!?”

And again, decent animation for the fight

Everyone pairing up when they get back

ono, the boomers are attacking their home

Uh oh, Mackey is being used to help Galactea break in

Welp, that’s what you get for having a swimming pool that goes all the way down to your secret base

Episode 22

Knight Sabers saving their useless boyfriends

This show really can’t afford enough backgrounds to create a sense of scale

Mason backstory as he witnesses the city

They hide with the refugees of Tokyo

The natural park is the only place untouched by boomers

This is very much a “aw shit, we have five more episodes, not three. How the hell do we fill time?” kind of adventure

Episode 23

“This battle is between me and the monster my father created in my brain”

Last goodbyes between all the characters

ono, millions of tiny nano-boomers

Mackey sacrifices himself for the team

Episode 24

Galatea takes off, leaving the cast behind

She’s going to use the umbrella satellite network to take over EVERYTHINGGG

Nene eating popcorn while Priss and Leon make out is amazing

Ugh, Priss’s songs are so bad

Oh my god, such a good Nene face

Chasing the skyhook in a motorcycle is badass

Priss and her motorcycle have an emotional moment. It’s actually pretty cute

Episode 25

Galatea gets her big “why was I made,” “the robots will rise” speech

“I wonder how long my oxygen will last. I wonder if anyone will care.” And then Priss’s friends show up. A fine metaphor for the series – this is a bad story with some likable characters giving it meaning

Episode 26

Priss is saved by her beloved motorcycle. Yep

3 thoughts on “Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 – Review

  1. You mean to tell me you just watched Bubblegum Crisis 2040, the series, and not the Bubblegum Crisis the original ovas? That is akin to watching GitS Arise instead of GitS1995 movie by Mamoru Oshii. One does not simply do that.

    Please forget you ever watched this, and go watch the ovas, trust me if i say the original is the real deal, a cyberpunk by heart and a classic.

    • Ehh. I watched 2040 when it first came out, and rather liked it. Plot was a bit thin, but it was consistent, and carried through the entire show.

      I picked up a copy of the original OVAs, and just found them scattered and schizophrenic. I can only remember one solid plot hook that it had (the escaped fembots); the rest was typical 80’s nonsense.

      Overall, the only reason I’d ever recommend the original BGC to someone is if they want to have a personal understanding of some of the notable anime cultural references of the era.

  2. One (obvious) reason the series is future-80s as hell in both looks and music is that it’s a deliberate remake of the 1980s OVA series, which was very very 80s cyberpunk in that way. Modernizing either the music or the fundamental looks of the series would probably have irritated the heck out of all of the fans of the OVAs (of which there were many, it was a seminal show at the time).

    (The storyline of the remake is different, but many of the surface things were deliberately the same. My memory is that reactions to that at the time varied.)

    As for the quality of the 80s OVA series itself, well, episodes varied but on the whole I think it was pretty good (although very 80s and so potentially very dated by now). You can get a lot of the feel of the whole thing out of watching the first OVA, which really hits most of the show’s tropes (cheesy music included; whatever you do, don’t look up the translated lyrics of the song Priss sings).

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