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|Average Rating: 7.66|
Martin scored this with 8/10. Disagree?
The OAV of Bubblegum Crisis reaches its (albeit premature) conclusion with a reclusive pop star hell-bent on revenge and a young niece of the AD Police chief giving Nene a tough time. The self-contained episode structure of the series eventually proves to be something of a blessing to the series as a whole, since the whole affair does not end on a frustrating cliff-hanger with a myriad of loose ends to tie up.
The first half of this disc concerns itself with the incident involving the pop singer Vision and her family troubles that have stemmed from GENOM. It’s predictable enough in some ways but as is often the case with such storylines the characters make it compelling; additional complications arise when the Knight Sabers are offered the task of protecting a businessman who is entering an agreement with GENOM and their latest boomer.
As obvious as the double-crosses, hidden identities and so on appear to be, the series maintains its original aims of providing hard-hitting characterisation and (for its time) great action scenes. The second half, on the other hand, is a lighter piece that descends into comedy as Nene looks after her boss’s niece; the complication here is that the girl in question fancies herself as an amateur journalist and immediately tries to confirm her suspicions concerning Nene’s connection with the Knight Sabers.
Kenichi Sonoda’s character designs are particularly evident in this second episode, which does not deliver in the serious action but is really fun to watch (it also features a really Gary Numan-esque synth tune in one scene, which I loved for the pure nostalgia factor!). It does pick up towards the end though, with a dramatic rescue from the ADP headquarters after the hapless occupants are trapped by four invading boomers. Fans of Nene’s character in particular will love this episode too; it’s a nice change to have the spotlight shifted away from Priss and give one or two of the others opportunity to take centre stage.
The inescapable, albeit not deadly serious, problem with this volume and the OAV as a whole is that it is unfinished. The eighth episode is resolved fully and there’s no ‘to be continued…’ flashing up on the screen at the end to make you wonder what happens next, but it still feels like part of a greater whole. We get to see more of Nene but the periodic shifting in focus feels like it’s stopped in mid-flow because we’ve yet to learn about Linna and Sylia in more detail. There are one or two details from the two previous volumes (such as Sylia’s childhood and the fate of Largo) which are not addressed either, but when the main themes of the rest of the episodes are dealt with so thoroughly it does not detract much from the series overall.
In case you feel short-changed from only two episodes on this disc, the musical aspect of the show provides a number of music videos, which take footage from the series itself and come across as some of the best AMVs in recent memory. Much of Bubblegum Crisis’ charm (and possibly my own favourite aspect) is that of the 80s vintage soundtrack, so this is a welcome extra.
The premature ending to the Bubblegum Crisis OAV includes two highly enjoyable episodes which provide more closure than the ‘unfinished series’ reputation suggests. For sure, there were one or two nagging details that I wish could have been addressed but when viewed as stand-alone adventures in the same way as the earlier episodes, the content on offer in this volume helps to earn the OAV’s status as a classic of its type.
After the somewhat odd experience of seeing the remake first, the original still comes out as a really entertaining show that finds a pleasant balance between the lighter and darker sides of its characterisation and storyline. Although the 2040 version benefits from shinier animation and a definite ending, the OAV can still hold its own and I can’t help but recommend it with equal enthusiasm. The later episodes are the strongest though, so we can only speculate how it would have fared if its run had not been cut so short.
Screenshots (click to pop out)
|Score:||8 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Wed, 29 Aug 2007|
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