Crisis Tokyo 2040 (1998-1999)
The evolution of all these characters, including Linna, is assisted by the way in which the episodes of Bubblegum Crisis have been connected with a continuing narrative. Several of the middle episodes can stand alone, but most episodes need to be watched in the context of the whole series. In fact, the presence of such an overarching storyline not only gives the program's characters a real complexity and depth, it also allows Hayashi both to develop an intricate fictional world and to craft a story that, by itself, is able to hold the viewer's interest. Generally, the world portrayed in Bubblegum Crisis resembles that of the 1990s, but, as the director does not forget each episode once it has ended, this imaginary world's distinctive features are brought out and explained in greater detail than is commonly the case in films or television programs depicting some future time. Even the way in which the series' narrative is unfolded keeps the viewer constantly fascinated and engaged with its characters.
What is more, the animation is well done for a television program , although it is not of the same quality as film animation. While most of the backdrops used are forgettable, the character designs of the four protagonists are all attractive and appealing. There are a few episodes later in the series in which its visual quality does deteriorate noticeably, but the final two episodes are perhaps better animated than are any of the others.
Finally, I should add that the English dub of Bubblegum Crisis is passable, although, other than Hilary Haag, who portrays Nene, few of the voice actors excel, and several overact.
Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 is by no means a masterpiece, but it is an entertaining, well made program.
Review by Keith Allen
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